I grew up the first thirteen years of my life with everything I needed. I had food, shelter, and water. I had a family that loved me even though they were gone most of the day. I had video games, cute clothes, and lots of book smarts. I didn’t need any survival skills when I had everything I wanted and needed at the tips of my fingers. The only thing I didn’t like about my life was that I wasn’t allowed outside of the house. It made me feel like I was stuck in a prison. I read all the time, fiction and nonfiction alike. That’s why I knew about all the things I was and would always miss out on like having a pet and doing sports and being in a relationship. I always used to ask about why I couldn’t experience any of those things and they said it was just to keep me safe. Once I got to a certain age I just came to terms with it and settled for my books to keep me company and things like Mario Kart.
I knew how to cook and bake after reading so many cookbooks and learning recipe after recipe. I always loved making dinner for my parents before they got home every night and being able to make whatever I wanted for lunch when they weren’t home. One thing I was able to do to get my body moving was yoga. I did that once a day in the basement. Our basement was one of the largest rooms in the house.
We had a living room type area taking up one half, and essentially a gym type area taking up the other with a treadmill, weights, some gym type equipment, and my little area where I did yoga and played music. I spent a lot of time down here walking on the treadmill, doing yoga, and reading on the couch. A lot of the time I wished I had been able to enjoy life outside but I didn’t want to push the limits of my parents because they were always working and came home tired. So I obeyed the rules and enjoyed what I was given.
But today was a big day. My fourteenth birthday. The sun was just coming out as I opened my eyes and stretched everything out before swinging my feet over the side of my bed. I looked in the mirror across from me. My hair was a dark brown like my mother’s, and I got the ocean blue eyes from my dad. The combination always seemed really pretty to me.
Looking down at my wrist I saw the tattoo-like angel wings that had been there since I was born. They were just an outline of a pair of wings etched in black, but I always thought it was pretty. I just didn’t know how it was possible for it to be there from birth. Looking back up at the mirror, I got up and started to get ready for the day. I brushed my hair and put it up into a French braid. I then went into my bathroom, washing and exfoliating my face. As I was drying what felt like a brand new face, my mom came in with a birthday cake, my dad following close behind.
“Happy birthday, Elena,” Mom spoke softly but firmly. Her hair was braided down her back and her chocolate brown eyes looked at me expectantly. The candles on the cake were lit, and so I blew them out. The cake was frosted with ocean blue frosting that were the color of my eyes and had the angel wings that were on my wrist in the middle with the words ‘Happy Birthday Elena’ written across the top with the same black frosting.
“Thanks Mom,” I smiled as I hugged both of my parents. They held me tight for a few moments before letting go. My dad spoke next.
“We have to head to work, but we’ll do birthday dinner after we get back as well as your presents.” He winked at the second part. “Until then though you can read or do any of the normal stuff you like to do. We’ll come home as soon as we can.”
“Alright, love you guys.” We all smiled to each other as my parents began to go down the stairs. And as quick as my day had begun great, it turned into literal hell. Shots rang through the air and the glass in my bedroom windows shattered.
“Get down, Elena,” my father shouted as he took out his pistol from its holster. He shot three rounds and kneeled down. I got down on my knees and crawled towards the side of my bed as my mom also took out her gun. After a few more shots, my mom collapsed on the ground. My heart stopped.
No. I thought. She can’t be dead… this can’t be happening. I crawled over to her, calling for her.
“Mom.” No answer.
“Mom!” I reached her and saw blood soaking through her shirt at the stomach. The bullets stopped for a moment and my dad came over to us.
“Sarah?” He looked into my mom’s eyes. She took my hand in hers, and I felt her press something into my palm before letting go. The light in her eyes faded and her breath stopped. I looked at the object in my hand… it was a necklace with a black cross on it. Another bullet flew through the window, hitting my dad square in the back. He grasped at his stomach as blood started to seep through his shirt and looked at me. I was in too much shock to even scream or cry out.
“Elena. Hunters are after you, and they will stop at nothing to get to you…” He grasped his stomach a little tighter as it became harder to speak. “Your mother and I kept you in this house as much as possible so that you would be safe. We had groups of people who would switch off patrolling day and night to make sure nothing like this would happen, but it has. You need to take my gun and RUN. Do you understand me? You keep on running until it isn’t possible anymore. Do not stop for anyone unless it’s a young man named David. He is your protector and he’ll be able to find you. Do not trust anybody else.”
“But how will I know if it’s him? I’ve never met him before.”
“You’ll know. You’ll be able to feel it.”
“Feel what?” He didn’t answer. “Dad, what will I be able to feel?!?” He looked at me as he began to lay down next to my mom.
“You’re special, Elena, and you’re capable of so much. That’s why the Hunters are after you. And that necklace, keep it with you at all times, wear it if you can. Your mother and I will always be with you in spirit, just remember that. Now go, before they catch you…”
“I love you.” My vision began to get blurry as I realized that this was real… I was losing both my parents in one day and now I was just supposed to blindly run. My dad handed me his gun.
“I love you too, Elena. Now go.” I stood up and ran down the stairs. Once I reached the front door I quickly unlocked it and ran as fast as I could out of the house, past the front yard and into the woods. Once I made it into the woods, there was no stopping.