Chapter 24: The Waterfall
When I entered the hole in the mountain, I did not expect my work to be done for me. Zephyr laid on the ground groaning, blood erupting from his nose and side of his mouth. Kai was barely restraint by Alvina, Clementine and Madame Mai.
“You need to shift back” Nyra warned me, “He’s worked himself into a rage.”
“Okay.” I thought back to her, allowing my bone to readjust and break back into place.
“Twyla! You are alive!” Clementine shouted and let go of Kai.
Kai’s head snapped in my direction. He shrugged off Alvina and Madame Mai and stalked towards me. His gaze burned and I shrunk back. Please don’t yell at me.
With each heavy footfall brought him closer to me, “Twyla.” He said huskily.
“Before you kill me, hear me out. It wasn’t my fault. Not to mention I just survived a near death experience.” He silenced me when he wrapped his arms around me and pulled me in tight.
“If you die, I swear I will resurrect you and kill you myself.” He growled burrowing his face into my neck.
I flushed red and couldn’t contain my smile, “Duly noted.”
He broke the hug abruptly when Zephyr spoke, “I knew you could do it!”
My vision flashed red, “I could have died!” I roared and lunged for him. Kai grabbed me by the midsection, and I was left grappling at the air. “Did you not care!” I began sobbing.
“Not care!” Zephyr’s voice rose, “I was helping you! How do you think I learned? I wasn’t coddled, it doesn’t work for us. You need to face death to be able to fly!” He stood up and wiped away the blood running down the side of his face.
Madame Mai clapped her hands, “Enough melodrama for one day! We need to practice learning how to set on fire!”
I scoffed, “Fine.” I said and untangled myself from Kai, “I’m hungry. The sooner we finish the better.”
“Twyla.” Kai said softly as he interlocked his fingers with mine, “I’m sorry.”
I flashed my fake smile, the one I spent year perfecting, “I’m okay.” I let our finger separate
“You may lie to them, but you can’t hide from me.” Nyra said.
“Can I go catch my breath first?” I asked Madame Mai.
She looked at her watch and sighed “Go ahead, be back after dinner.”
I nodded and turned to the hole in the wall. I sprinted towards it and jumped off the edge.
“Shift!” I called out to Nyra.
“We are still learning; you can’t just rush things.” She lectured as we slowly turned into an owl. Our wings where carried by the wind.
“I don’t want to go back just yet.” I whispered and tears clouded my eyes.
“He broke your trust.” Nyra said softly, “You don’t feel safe anywhere, do you?”
I didn’t respond and let the wind carry me. We soared through the sky watching the sun set beyond the horizon.
“How about we find the waterfall?” Nyra piped up.
“The waterfall?” I asked as we flipped in the air.
“Remember on your way here you met a girl Lyra. She said there was a secret waterfall.” Nyra reminded me.
Oh Lyra! I wonder how she was doing. I haven’t seen her since we came here, I hope she is okay. What was that restaurant we went to?
“Firestorm.” Nyra said taking control of our wings, “let’s go look.”
I let her take over. It was like letting someone take the wheel while driving. It was difficult and we almost fell a couple times. I watched as we passed mountain after mountain. The sun was leaving its last rays in the sky.
“Maybe we should turn back. We won’t see past our beak soon enough.” I commented.
“We are an owl. I think we can see in the dark.” Nyra retorted.
“Right.” I forgot about the night vision, though I have never tested it out. I wanted to see what I the world will look like.
“Do you hear that?” Nyra’s voice chimed in.
“What?” I stained to hear past the harsh sounds of the wind, “What are you hearing?”
“You are deaf. Can’t you hear the sound of water?” She piped and picked up the pace.
“No, I can’t hear anything.” It was only several minutes later did I hear the faint sound of water. It got louder and louder until it was the only thing I could hear. It’s thundering splashed was so loud, I couldn’t hear anything else.
“Hear it now?” Nyra asked coyly.
I refuse to answer her sarcasm. Thick tress covered hid the waterfall, there was no direct way in. I could hear the water from the other side of the trees. It covered what seems to be a valley in luscious green fooling anyone who scanned the place over.
“Not us.” Nyra said triumphantly, “We are going to see that waterfall even if it kills us.”
She plunged down in between a small opening in the trees. I forgotten we were smaller and could fit into the cracks. The branches seemed to come alive and grabbed at our wings. We tumbled down, only to barely catch our self from hitting the ground.
Slowly we shifted back into my human form. I surveyed the breath-taking view. The trees hid a beautiful waterfall that glowed a deep blue. It covered many smaller trees and sparkling river.
“How can a river sparkle? It’s nighttime and there is barely any moon light?” I thought out loud.
“It’s magic!” A voice called out.
I glowered, just the person I wanted to see, “What are you doing here?” I turned to Gabriel.
“I should ask you the same thing. I was here first.” He motioned to a small hammock in between two small pink trees.
“I am exploring.” It wasn’t the whole truth nor was it a whole lie, but he didn’t need to know that.
“Don’t you have classes?” He quirked an eyebrow and strutted over.
“Don’t you?” I shot back and folded my hands.
“I don’t care about classes.” He laughed, he walked even closer.
I began to back away until I hit the water. A cold sensation ran up my leg. I turned towards the water. For a moment, I swear I saw green eyes looking at me. When I blinked they were gone.
“I don’t like this place. Something is off.” Nyra’s voice echoed in my head.
“Ditto.” I thought back to her as I faced Gabriel.
“Did you come seek me out because you wanted to see me?” He taunted.
I took another step into the water. The water began to crawl up my leg.
“Are you doing this?” I stuttered as it climbed higher up my body.
“No way!” He laughed in disgust, “I don’t control something as puny as the water.”
“But you have blue eyes.” I pointed out.
“Magic can change your eye color.” He laughed as the water was now encircling my waist.
“That’s it! I’m getting us out of here.” Nyra said in a panic. She quickly took control of my body and swiftly changed us back into an owl.
“What a cute little birdie.” Gabriel taunted as we flew through the cracks and away from him and the waterfall.
“Let’s never come back here again.” Nyra shuddered.
“Agreed.” I said but a sinking feeling weighed in my gut. Why did I feel like I was leaving something important behind?
As we approached the mountain, I remembered why I flew away. But if I had to choose between here and the waterfalls. I choose here a thousand times over. I reentered the mountain. Alvina was sitting on the ground playing on her phone. Clementine was patting Kai as he looked anxiously at the hole. Zephyr and Madame Mai where nowhere to be seen. When I entered through the hole, Kai stood up with a start.
“Are you feeling better now?” He asked, walking away from Clementine towards me.
I was glad I was in my owl form or else Clementine would have seen my victory smile. Why was I acting so petty over a boy? Snap out of it!
I slowly transformed back into my human form. My legs where sore and my arms hurt.
“Let’s go get dinner. Classes are going to begin soon.” Kai said, as I all but collapsed into him.
“Sounds great.” As if on que my stomach let out a furious growl.
I struggled for several moments trying to get out of Kai’s grasp. But everything hurt. Maybe I overexerted myself. I guess I should not have pushed myself to this point.
When I was finally able to stand, I motioned to the changing room door, “Let me get changed first.”
I slowly pushed myself towards the changing room. Once inside grabbed my gym bag, which was exactly where I left it. I walked into the stalls and slowly peeled off my leggings.
I let out a small gasp, the skin on my legs where red and purple. The skin was sensitive to the touch.
“That’s where the water touched us.” Nyra said what I was already thinking.
What was in that water?