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Chapter 7

The next morning I went to my classes like normal, including Power Control. After all of them were finished I went for a walk through the forest. My body hurt too much from yesterday to go for a jog. I couldn’t push myself like I did yesterday or I would hurt myself more than help myself.

On my walk I spotted a bird. Only it wasn’t the type of bird I was expecting. It was a phoenix. A dark phoenix. I could tell because it was a mixture of dark red and blue feathers. But it didn’t attack me like I was expecting it too. I slowly approached the phoenix, and it came towards me as well. Soon enough it was on my outstretched arm, and I was stroking its silky smooth feathers.

Then I randomly found a bright red feather on its back. I looked at it peculiarly, and it started making noise. All of a sudden its wings were flapping rapidly in my face, and the phoenix was flying away from me. Does that mean that the phoenix had been born dark, but is turning light?

I turn back the way I came, and when I return to my room Mya is waiting in the hall for me. I roll my eyes, and head for my door. Before I can turn my knob Mya grabs my arm. I pause and turn to look at here, my eyebrow raised. She instantly retracts her hand.

“Sorry,” she said, “I just wanted to talk to you.”

“I know what you want to do,” I replied. “There’s a reason I’m not talking to you, Mya. We were never friends, and if you thought that you’re delusional. You may be a part of the Chosen but you’ll never be my friend Mya. So stay out of my way or you’ll regret it.”

I push into my room, slamming the door behind me. I change into some workout clothes, waiting ten minutes before I leave to make sure Mya is gone, and then I head down to the gym. I’m going to do a small workout to start getting myself back in shape. Start small, and work my way back up to where I was. Storm was right, I’m not going to get better by pushing myself so hard I feel like passing out.

Thirty minutes into my workout Storm comes in. He gives me a look. I roll my eyes. I finish up my final rep, and head back to my room. On my way back I hear the strum of a guitar, and I’m launched back into that room.

He had started playing a song. Then, the pain came. I could feel him searching through my head. But he wasn’t delicate about it. He was ripping through my memories, the good and the bad. And I was helpless, useless. I hadn’t trained myself for a fight of this kind. But I used my will, forged by fire, to push him out. Out, out, out. Then his presence left and I was left reeling from the relief.

I shake my head to get rid of it, and continued my way to my room. When I got there I pulled out a book. A random book from my TBR. I didn’t care what it was, as long as it meant I didn’t have to think about the things he had done to me. I started reading, and quickly got lost in someone else’s pain.

When I came out of the book it was only because I had finished it. I looked at the time, and it was almost midnight. I was still sweaty from my workout, so I headed into the bathroom to have a shower. I hadn’t realized that the shower was already on. When I walked in I saw that there were clothes on the floor, and a silhouette behind the shower curtain.

I slowly backed out of the bathroom, and closed the door quietly behind me. I covered my face with my hands in embarrassment. I really hoped he hadn’t heard me. I looked over at the book I had finished, still on the bed, and decided to reorganize my bookshelves, and find a place for that to go.

A few hours later I had reorganized everything. And had found a place for the book I just finished. I tuned back into reality, and the shower was off. I grabbed my towel, and headed to the shower. My shower was normal. Storm didn’t even storm into the bathroom like he usually does. And for some reason I was disappointed.

When I had put on some sweatpants and a t-shirt I went outside. It was at least two by now, and there was no way I was getting to sleep. I wanted fresh air. I climbed out of my window, and went to the edge of the roof again. It would be so easy to just jump. But if I did they win. Even if they’re dead, they win. And I don’t like to lose. So if I have to put myself through hell again, I will.

I feel someone jump down from the roof to our rooms. I assumed it was Storm, but when I turn around Storm is not what I see. It’s a Darkling. I get in a defensive position, but it only holds out a scrap of white. I look at it closely, and see that it’s paper. It’s probably a note. I reach for it, and when I touch the paper the Darkling pulls me closer, saying into my ear, “From our master.”

It leaps from the roof. I go to the edge, and see it run away. I open the note and it says, Phoenix clearing. Midnight, tomorrow. I look at it back and front. Nothing else. The phoenix clearing. The clearing where I had seen the phoenix. Is the phoenix on their side? Or had they just seen me there?

It didn’t matter. Tomorrow I would get answers to my questions. Or at least some of them. I had to go if it meant I would get closer to catching her.

I walk back to my window, and climb back into my room, collapsing into my bed. I was exhausted, and if I could get a couple hours of sleep it was better than nothing.

The next day all I could think of was the note. I wasn’t going to visibly show myself, but I could spy. It wasn’t my strongest skill, but I could do it. I just have to wait, I glanced at the clock, nine more hours. I had nine hours to kill, and I had no idea what to do with myself.

I spent the next few hours distracting myself, and when I couldn’t stand the waiting any longer I gathered some things, water, and food mostly. Then I exited my room, and made my way to the forest. I headed to the clearing, and scoped out the area surrounding it, filled with tall pine trees. I approximated the size of the clearing, it was big enough to fit a class of people, and found the best vantage point to watch.

I found the sturdiest tree I could find, and climbed up halfway, hiding behind enough needles to not be noticed if someone, or something looked my way. The climbed up, and sat with my legs out on a branch facing the clearing. I used rope to tie myself down, and started my vigil.

An hour later, as I was dozing off, I glimpsed movement in the trees. I startled to full wakefulness, and watched as a creature went to the center of the clearing, making a sound. It was low and guttural. Soon creatures from all over were appearing in the clearing. Even the little phoenix I had met the night before. Then I realized.

These creatures had planned this, and my mom had lead me straight to it. They were all dark creatures, and I could get new information on all of their attacks against us

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