Waking Other Lives

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Chapter 30: The Escape

“Abby, what’s going on?” I asked. “How come you are here under the water, and you remember it all? Did grandma send you?” I wanted to hug her, I really did, but not before I heard what she had to say.

“No, your grandma didn’t send me. I have the ability to move in between the worlds, I’m the only one who can actually.”

" I don’t understand. I didn’t even know where I was when I ended up in here, and you are telling me you knew about this place all along? How could you have known, how could you even possess the ability to travel back and forth? Do you know what’s going on here? How come I ended up here, and what do I need to do to get back?”

“Those are too many questions, my dear Sierra,” she said, laughing. “Let me get to them one at a time... I’ve been calling you for some time now, but he always got in the way, not allowing me to explain.”

“Who, Seth?”

“Yes, Sierra. Listen, this will come as news to you, but I want you to listen carefully to everything I tell you. The only way you can go back is to complete the mission, though I can travel freely in between the worlds, I do not have the power to bring somebody else with me.”

“Who are you Abby?” I asked, thinking I was losing my mind. This was not the Abby I lunched with every day, gossiping and laughing about trivial matters, the one with whom I talked for hours on the phone in the weekends, the one with whom I studied together in her dorm room till dawn before our Calculus midterm, just to fall asleep together in her bed, the one who was as enthusiastic as I was in watching Baran’s basketball games, with a huge popcorn on our laps, cheering for the team until our vocal chords were busted, the one who had comforted me till the morning when my grandma had a stroke. No, this was not that Abby. “Are you using my friend’s body as a vessel?” I asked, a new comprehension dawning on me.

“No, Sierra, I’m not. I am your friend, Abby, right in the flesh. I am, however, also something else.”

“Yes? I’m listening,” I said impatiently. The wait was killing me, I wanted to know it all.

“Let me start right from the beginning. Thousands and thousands of years ago, the Goddess of Fire created the Drakons to coexist with the humans. The Drakons had the ability to shift to their animal form, their dragon, any time they wanted. They were ferocious and powerful creatures at the time, as they are now which, I’m sure, you had the ability to witness for yourself. The Drakons and the humans lived peacefully for some time, but it didn’t take long for the Drakons to yearn for something more. They believed that they were far more superior creatures than the weaklings they called humans, and they soon began to roam in the air, blowing their fire on them, killing millions and millions of them right at the spot, where they stood. It was then that the protectors emerged, your grandma being one of them, to save the humankind from extinction. The protectors were a group of ancient beings, with the ability to mask humans from Dragon sight, until they could start to reproduce once again.”

This fascinating, yet so very hard to believe, story had taken me in its firm grip, I was neither able to move, or speak. All I could do was listen.

“But, of course this was not a permanent solution. The protectors needed to rid the Drakons of their beastly nature, but they didn’t possess that kind of a power. They appealed to the sister of the Fire Goddess to end the war between the two species. And, thankfully she heard them.”

“What did she do?” I whispered.

“She put their dragons into dormant sleep, and she hid the key inside a few humans that passed from generation to generation.”

“The key?” I asked.

“The key, or in other words, the light. You are one of them, Sierra. You are the light.”

“Holy Crap, grandma kept saying that.” Her story resonated well with grandma’s words which I deemed to be gibberish at the time. This meant Abby was telling the truth.

“And once the deed was done, the Drakons were turned into mere humans, with no memory of who they once had been, or what had transpired in their past. For all they knew, they had always been humans, leading normal lives. And, the protectors were now tasked with preserving the light, and keeping their carriers away from the originating source of the light, the Drakons.”

“Wait, you said generation from generation. Are my mom or dad...?” I asked, pausing.

“The light comes from your dad’s side by the way. But, the answer is no, unfortunately. Things went awry somehow, and many generations failed to reproduce the light, which is why you are absolutely precious for us, Sierra.”

“Precious for you? Who are you? ” I asked.

“We help keep you away from The Drakons, Sierra. We are the armed wing of the protectors, so to speak. We are there in case things go wrong.”

“I see. But, what makes you so special that you can travel here, and grandma can’t?”

She laughed, her silky garment flowing all around her, defying the water.

“I see you preferred your grandma. I’m the head of that armed wing, Sierra and I’m blessed by the Sister of the Fire Goddess to possess a few unique abilities of my own to help with our cause.”

There were so many questions in my head, I felt I could stay in this lake forever. “Who is Baran, and why did he kill us?”

“Baran is one of my neutralizers.”

“I don’t give a damn ...you had us killed!” I shouted.

“I didn’t have a choice Sierra, the Uruloki was waking up. He recognized your light. And, once his dragon woke up, we’d be back to the annihilation of humankind. And this time, I doubt we would get the ear of the Goddess. She’s been silent for ages.”

“You mean Seth? You said he recognized my light, how? And, how can you be so sure he did? I certainly didn’t notice anything at the time.”

“The light is preserved within your birthmark Sierra. And despite your grandma trying to hide its trace with the magical pendant, it began to shine brighter and brighter because you fulfilled the prophesy.”

“What prophesy?”

“There were three steps that could trigger the Drakon awareness, first it started with his response to your plea during the fight on campus, then you two touched at the basketball court and it all was combined with his sacrificial act at the end.”

“You mean Seth dying for me?”

“Yes, and I have punished Baran enough for this mucked up plan, believe me.”

“But, it’s all done, now and we need you back. You need to complete the mission to come back to us.”

“But, I don’t understand why you wouldn’t tell anything to me, wouldn’t it have been easier to avoid Seth if I just knew? Heck, I would not have gone to the same school with him, had I known I had such an important role to play in the preservation of humankind. This so does not make sense. What kind of a stupid plan is this?”

“You are absolutely right, but it was your grandma’s choice to have you live a normal life, and we respected that. First, we didn’t know it was him. Then, we thought we could simply keep you two apart. And you know, to a certain extent, this was all so unexpected. Apparently, Seth transferred to Northwestern University right after you started college, it was almost as if he had this innate desire to seek his light. What I’m trying to say is, he’d have found you eventually. He’s extremely dangerous for you Sierra, he would kill you in a second, should he know about what you have stolen from him.”

“I have not stolen anything from him. I was not even aware of any of these things up until now,” I reacted immediately. What the hell was she saying, Seth, being dangerous for me? No, I would not believe that. But, I also knew he had done nothing to free me from the death row, and he would have watched me die. Or would he have? I didn’t know what to feel, what to believe anymore. All I knew was that he was still in my heart, and my heart rebelled against all these allegations.

“I know, but it does not change the reality that it’s the utmost truth Sierra.”

“But, he is a dragon here, he doesn’t need the light. I don’t understand, “I said. I wanted to question her relentlessly because I still refused to believe about Seth’s sinister intentions.

“Indeed, he does not need it. Not, as of yet, anyway. But, he will certainly need it back on earth.”

“What do you mean not as of yet.”

She did not answer. “Sierra, I don’t have much time. While I can come at will, I can’t do it frequently, and I can’t stay for too long. I need to tell you about the mission, so you can come back to us, to help our fight back on earth.”

“Baran is here, why can’t he tell me about the mission?”

“He does not know, Sierra. Baran does not remember a thing here in Rawonia, and neither does Payal.”

“Is Payal also?” Oh my God, my whole world was collapsing all around me.

“Yes, she is also a neutralizer.”

“Damn, my whole life has been a joke,” I said. “My boyfriend, my friends have all been fake,” I said, suddenly feeling extremely sick.

“The time spent together was not fake Sierra, we’ve been real friends and Baran loves you very much, as you’ve witnessed in this world as well. His feelings are steady as a rock, even if he does not remember whom he’d been once. He did what he needed to do back then, not because he didn’t love you, but because he did. The awakened Uruloki on earth would mean your immediate death. The Uruloki would have snatched his light, ripping your chest apart right on the spot. This way, it has not been ideal, but we have gained some time. And, once you complete the mission, this world will be destroyed, and you’ll be back with us as before. Don’t be too harsh on the boy Sierra, he did it all for you.”

“Okay, I understand he killed Seth, but why did he have to kill me?” I asked, suspiciously.

“Killing Seth on earth did not do much good Sierra. All it did was to create an alternative universe, as we’ve just evidenced, I have been warned against this, and I have warned my men, too. But, somehow Baran felt he was at the end of his tether in protecting you. Then I was given a vision that you’d regain your consciousness here if you died as well, and I asked Baran to kill you. He didn’t want to do it, but I convinced him that it was the only way you would stay alive.”

Hearing my friend order my death made me flinch uncontrollably.

“Anyway, so when the alternative universe was created, the neutralizers, the Drakons, and the humans ended up being thrown into this universe with no idea about the mission. And in here, a twisted version of the fight between the Drakons and humans is taking place, but none of this is real, and it’s urgent we all get back to what is real, which won’t happen unless this universe we created by mistake disappears. And, my hands are tied because none of my men have the awareness, that is, they don’t even recognize me. So, I can’t really command them to do the deed. But, as I predicted, you do have your consciousness Sierra, and you are the only one who can fulfill this mission. You are so special, my dear friend.”

“I’m not your friend Abby. I never was. What is the mission? Just tell me, so I can go back to my family.”

“I know it’s all new to you, but you will see in time, we did the best to keep you happy and alive Sierra.”

I needed lots of time to digest this information, and it could wait. “What is it?” I insisted.

“You have to kill the master Uruloki” she said, but her form and voice were already fading.

“And who is that?” I asked, knowing full well whose name would pour forth from her lips.

“Seth,” she said, and then disappeared, as if she’d never been there. How I wish, that was true.

I felt the water rush all around me again, and breathing no longer provided me the oxygen I desired which I learned when my last inhale filled my lungs with water. I wish she had warned me before she’d left. I don’t know how I managed to rise to the surface, but I did, coughing and spurting water from my mouth. I was wet, I was exhausted, and I was shaken to my core with everything she’d said, but especially with her last words.

I lay on the ground, turning my face to the sun, hoping the heat would help dry my clothes, but also the void that was growing in me. The sun’s rays were penetrating the thick foliage in the beautiful landscape, bathing everything around me in oranges and yellows. The beauty of it all mocked my inner demons. She expected me to kill Seth. Was she kidding me? How was I to do that? Would I have to go back to the rebel unit where I’d barely escaped? And, if I did, how could I bring myself to kill him? How in the hell was that possible?

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