I’m falling again. Tree branches scratch at my arms, rip my clothes, and yank my hair. The ground is rushing at me at an impossible speed. I squeeze my eyes shut and suddenly everything just stops. I open them and find I’m floating a couple inches off the ground. In front of me, there is a beautiful purple flower. Its petals are so dark that they’re almost black, the same color as my eyes. I reach out to touch it when suddenly a muddy hand comes up from the ground and grabs my arm.
I sat up in my bed and gasped for breath. My skin was soaked with sweat, and my room was pitch black. “Elum,” I gasp and an orb of white light appeared above me.
I reached for a pencil and my dream journal, which are on my nightstand next to my bed. I opened it up to the first blank page and made an entry.
I had that dream again I wrote. It still scares me, but not as badly as it did last time. I closed my dream journal and set it on my lap.
“Elum,” I said again, and the room is plunged back into darkness.
That was that last thing I remembered before I woke up. Outside, birds chirp to one another and I heard the whoosh of dragon wings as one flew over my house. I squinted my eyes until they adjusted to the sunlight invading my room. I sat up, swinging one leg then the other off the bed, until I am sitting on the edge of my bed. I stood up and stumbled into my bathroom.
I took a quick shower and slipped on my uniform before I ran out the door with a cinnamon bun in one hand and my bag in the other. Outside the sun had just about finished peaking above the horizon. It’s weak rays filtered in between the gaps in the leaves of the trees, creating a pattern on the path.
I began to jog when I heard the first gong of the bell, twenty minutes until class started.
I wasn’t really worried about being late, I was more worried about Emily leaving without me. I really wanted to talk to her about my dream. I reached the top of a small hill and saw she was waiting for me in our usual meeting place. She had on her green and yellow uniform, the same one I wore, a bright yellow buttoned up shirt paired with a long dark green skirt.
“Emily!” I yelled. She looked up and waved at me, “Sorry I’m late.”
“It’s okay, just hurry up,” she yelled back.
I ran the rest of the way to her, and when I reached her I was breathing hard. We began walking towards Elemental School, which rose like a jagged mountain out of the forest.
“I had that dream again,” I said after I had finished catching my breath.
“You mean the one with the flower and the hand?” she asked.
I nodded, “Yep.”
“Hmm, you know I’ve been thinking a lot about it, and what if it means that your element is earth? It makes a lot of sense if you really think about it. The hand was muddy and mud is just like wet dirt. Dirt is earth and flowers grow in the ground. Before my element awoke I had dreams that I was a bird flying in the sky. Birds aren’t air just symbols of it.”
I faked relief, “Yeah, that’s probably it, thanks, Em!” I smiled at her.
She smiled back, “No prob, hun.”
On the surface, Emily’s explanation made sense, well kind of, but deep down I knew she was wrong. I didn’t think those things in my dream stood for the earth.
The warning bell rang, and Emily’s eyes widened. She looked at Elemental School that was still so far away.
“Violet, we’re going to be late!” she cried and gave me a pleading look.
“So...” I said, but I knew what she wanted to do.
“You can borrow my brush!” she said, and I gave in.
“Fine,” I sighed and gave her my hand. The second we touched I was in a column of air flying through the air. In seconds, we were standing on the front steps.
I let go of Emily and reached for my hair. It was not as bad as last time, because I had it in a braid instead of wearing it down, but it definitely needed a good brushing. I looked at Emily and, of course, not a single hair was out of place on her golden blonde head.
Emily was a wind type which was one of four elements you could be. The other three were earth, water, and fire. You usually found out what element you were when you turned sixteen, and I was going to be sixteen in three days.
The day you turned 16 was supposed to be exciting most people, but for me, it brought a sense of dread.
“Well, see you at lunch,” Emily said after examining her stuff to make sure nothing was missing. She began speed walking down the hall.
“Em...” I called after her.
“Oh right! Sorry.” She pulled out a pink hair brush and tossed it to me. I caught it and tucked it into my bag. “Just give it back to me at lunch!” she called, before disappearing around the corner.
I turned down a hallway and made my way to the girls’ bathroom, where I could view the disaster of my hair. I walked in and went straight to one of four marble sinks and mirrors lining the wall opposite the stalls.
I had just undone the ruins of my braid and had begun ripping the little pink brush through my hair when I heard the door of the bathroom squeak open, and the sound of boys talking. I froze for a second, had I accidentally gone into the boy’s bathroom? I looked up at blue walls that should have been pink.
Yep. I had.
Thinking fast I ducked into one of the stalls and got on top of the toilet. If I had been a second slower they boys coming in would have seen me, and good thing they didn’t, because in walked Danny Feather and Conner Kingfisher. They stopped right in front of the sink I had just been at.
“Relax man, Bridget is probably on her time of the month or something.”
I looked in the crack of the stall door and saw it was Danny who was talking.
“No, she knows I’m cheating on her with Glenith,” Conner groaned.
“Hey, I thought you were done with Glenith? I know she was good at stuff, but totally banshee crazy though. And why are we talking in the bathroom that is what chicks do?”
“Because Bridget owns almost all the girls in this school, it’s weird. Even the ones she’s a witch to are like her little lap dogs,” This is the only girl free zone,” he said, and I watched him whirl his finger around the room through the crack.
Oh, if he only knew.
“And yeah, I was...until Glenith started threatening to get all psycho and stuff and snitch on me. Oh man. I’m so trolled aren’t I!” Corner said and turned on the water and began to splash his face. Danny leaned on the sink next to his and watched him.
“Yeah kind of. But anything has to be better than dating that witch for any longer. If you don’t tell her soon, I will.”
“No, please don’t start too man!” Corner cried raising his head up from the sink.
Danny sighed and gave Corner a quick pat on the back, “I’m not going to, you’re just no fun to be around when you are like this. You are going to go bald with all the stress this is causing you.”
“Don’t you think I’ll look sexy bald?”
“Nah I like you better with hair; it makes your tiny head look bigger.”
Conner laughed and gave Danny’s arm a couple of light punched. “Well, anyways, tell her anything and I’ll beat the living daylights out of you. Just let me handle it, alright?” he said and then punched Danny in the arm hard enough to make him wince.
“Okay, okay. I won’t, but I wouldn’t worry about Glenith. She might be crazy, but she doesn’t have the balls to make enemies with Bridget.”
Conner let out a half-hearted laugh, “Yeah, neither do I.”
The door squeaked again, and they were gone. I waited a couple of seconds to make sure it was all clear before I ran out of the bathroom as fast as I could and almost knocked over Peter who was coming around the corner. All the books and papers in his hands fell onto the floor. I quickly bent over to help him pick them up.
“I’m sorry! I didn’t see you coming!” I said scooping a Math of Fire book into my hands.
“Violet, did you just come out of the boy’s bathroom?”
I felt my face turn red. “Yeah, I wasn’t paying attention and didn’t realize it until someone came in.”
“Did they see you?” Peter asked, horrified.
“No, I hid in one of the bathroom stalls right before they could see me. Please don’t tell anyone! I think that you’re the only one who saw.” I looked around and saw that nobody else was in the hall. “You’re the only one who saw,” I confirmed.
“I won’t tell anyone. I would never do that to you, Violet, never!” I saw that his face was beginning to turn a dark shade of red. He straightened his glasses and ran a hand through his thick dirty blond hair.
“Thank you so so much! I owe you one.” I threw my arms around him and gave him a hug. I felt him stiffen under my touch, and I let him go.
“Well got to go, I can’t be late to class again, or I’ll get detention,” I said and took off down the hallway.
At times like this, I really hoped my element would be wind, because if it were wind, maybe I wouldn’t be so late all the time.
I made it to Elemental History just in time. I climbed up to my row and sat down in my seat. After a while, I noticed that everyone was staring at me. It took me a second to realize they weren’t staring at me, they were staring at my hair.
“Bad hair day, Violet?” Mr. Rosewood asked and tried not to smile, but couldn’t keep a straight face. The whole class began laughing. I felt my face heat up with embarrassment. “Wind magic?” I nodded my head.
“May I go to the bathroom and fix it?” I asked. He nodded, and I walked out.
I made sure it was the right one before walking into the bathroom and up to one of the mirrors. I had to admit my hair did look funny. It was just one big black ball of hair that vaguely resembled an afro.
I began to work on my bird’s nest. The magic wheel in Emily’s brush helped to work through the mess. When I was done, it fell in two black rivers on either side of my face.
I walked back to my Magic History class and was about to turn the door when something stopped me. I stopped and listened.
From the other side of the door, I heard the sound of leaves rustling in the wind, the sound of birds chirping, and insects buzzing, the kind of noises that should not be coming from your classroom. Slowly, I turned the knob to crack open the door and was amazed by what I saw. The giant tree that I fell out of in my dream stood there, surrounded by a meadow of black flowers under a clear blue sky. A wind came sweeping across the meadow and gently stirred my hair.
I took a step into the meadow and spun around as I heard the door shut behind me, only there was no door anymore.
I was trapped, alone in the meadow with the tree.
For some reason, this didn’t scare me like it should’ve. I walked over to the tree, put my hand on it, closed my eyes, and ran my hand up and down its bark. My eyes snapped back open as I felt something grab my ankle.
I looked down and saw a muddy hand wrapped around it. Before I even had time to scream, another hand shot up and grabbed my other ankle. I fell backward onto my back. Two more shot up on either side of me and grabbed my arms, pinning them to the grass. More hands wrapped around my middle until I could barely move. Then I felt one come out of the ground right beside my head.
I began to cry as it reached for my face.“No!” I screamed. “Please No!”
“Violet, wake up. Violet!” I was lying on the stone floor and Mr. Rosewood was standing over me shaking my shoulders. Not far away, my whole Magic History class stood around us in a circle. They were whispering to each other and giving me worried looks as they watched what was happening.
“Violet, can you hear me? Look at me!” My eyes snapped over to look at him, and I saw the concern in his eyes. “Can you understand what I am saying!?”
I nodded my head, and he flung salt at me. I made a face as some hit my face and went into my mouth. “I free thee if thou is under a curse for purposes of harm. Evil be gone.”
Nothing happened. I didn’t feel any different; in fact, I didn’t feel anything except a little confused.
“Well, at least we know it wasn’t a curse.” He said dusting off his hand. “Can you walk?”
“I think,” I said.
“Okay, somebody walk her down to the nurse,” he said, turning his head to look at the entire class.
In the end, a quiet brunette who sat behind me in casting class, offered to walk me down. We didn’t talk until we were almost at the nurse’s office. When we were a couple of feet away from it, I stopped and turned to her.
“Can you tell me what happened?” I asked. “You know when I started acting weird.”
She turned her head to look at me. “Well when you came back from the bathroom you looked all confused, and then suddenly you just fainted and started screaming. Mr. Rosewood told us to stay away from you in case it was a curse. He thought it might be an earth curse by the way you were wiggling on the ground.”
She paused as she thought about what she was going to say next. “What happened to you? Are you seeing weird ...I mean, are you going to be alright?”
“Yeah, I just had a horrible day dream.”
“Oh,” she said and walked me the last couple of feet to the nurse’s office.
“Thank you,” I said and turned to go into the nurse’s office.
“You’re welcome, and I’m Amber, by the way.” She turned and walked quickly down the hallway.
Mrs. Dewy, our school’s nurse, was a big woman, both in body and personality. She always acted like she was so happy to see you and always had a smile on her face.
When I walked in, Mrs. Dewy was waiting for me. “Hi, honey. Why don’t you come over, have a seat right over here.” She said, patting her examining table. “Mr. Rosewood sent me a wind whisper and told me what happened. Let’s take a look at your chart.”
She waved her hand, and the chart floated over to her on a ball of water. “Oh, I see that you are turning sixteen in a couple of days and you’ve been pretty healthy up until this point.” She said after reading the piece of paper. ” Tell me, have you had anything like this happen before?”
“No, I mean, I have been having bad dreams lately, but nothing like this.”
“Well I don’t think you need to go see a doctor for this one, but I can give you some herbs to help you relax and a pass to send you home. Is there anyone who could pick you up and take you?”
“No,” I said. My mom was always working late, and my dad had died a long time ago. I knew my grandmother was alive, but my mom spoke little of her. I knew very little about her.
“Well, why don’t you just hang out here and just relax,” she said.
I nodded my head and gratefully laid down on the examining table.
I was back on the field again, but this time, the sky was dark and a full moon hung in the heavens. The same tree was there, but I wasn’t alone this time. A group of hooded figures stood in a circle under the tree holding hands. They were chanting something that I couldn’t quite make out the words to. They didn’t seem to notice me as I walked towards them.
As I got closer I saw that there was something in the middle of the circle, something awful. It was me, but I was dead. I didn’t know how I knew this, but I did. She wore a dress that looked like it had been cut from the night sky. One of the hooded figures placed a hand on the dead version of me.
Something began happening to my skin, the dead me’s skin. It began to move and pulse like a hundred worms were crawling under it. Its arms and legs started moving like they were being pulled by invisible puppet strings until it was standing. Then it stopped moving. Slowly its head turned, and its eyes opened, and it looked straight at me.
I jerked awake and saw that it was just Emily shaking my arm. She looked at me with her golden brown eyes in concern.
“I’m here to walk you home.” I let her help me into a sitting position. “What happened to you? The whole school is talking about how you fainted during Element History,” she said, her voice full of concern.
“I’ll tell you on the way home,” I said and got off the table.
By the time I finished my story, Elemental school was disappearing behind us. I told Emily everything, except the dream I had in the nurse’s office.
“Maybe the nurse is right. You should see the doctor. I haven’t heard of anyone having a dream like that in the middle of the day,” she said after a moment of silence.
“Em, you know we can’t afford to go to a doctor. My mom can barely afford my tuition.”
“We could help you pay for it,” Emily offered.
“I can’t ask your family to do that. They’ve already done so much for us already!”
“What if you get worse!?”
“I’m not sick.”
“But there’s something wrong with you. I can feel it.”
“Thanks,” I said sarcastically.
“You know what I mean.”
“Okay. If I get worse, I’ll go to the doctor.”
“Promise?” Emily held out her pinky finger.
“Promise,” I said wrapping my pinky finger around hers.