When I was six my parents took me to the circus. It was a Saturday and my brother was at some sort of football intensive for the weekend. Since it was just us three, my parents decided that the day would mostly be centered around what I wanted to do. We went to lunch at my favorite 'restaurant' (McDonalds), took a trip to the Disney store as well as the mall and then lastly, they surprised me with the circus that was in town.
I didn't know it at the time but that day changed my life. That was the night I first saw trapeze. How the women flipped effortlessly through the air; spinning and defying gravity with each jump. She was so elegant and I couldn't drag my gaze away from her. For the first time in my young life, I was truly fascinated by something. When her hands left the hanging bars, I held my breath until she gripped onto the next ones and my body seemed to want to move with her.
My dad was the first to realize my obsession. He had blown it off as amazement at first but when I wouldn't shut up about it, he knew it had to be more. Even after the show had finished and we went home I kept talking about how much I wanted to be like the 'flying lady'.
For the next week or so nothing else mattered to me. I wanted to fly, flip and fall just like the that women had. Plover became very annoyed with me pretty quick.
Both my parents only began to worry when I started talking about joining the circus... that and I starting trying to do my own tricks. Let's just say hanging upside down from the 10th floor fire escape is a pretty good way to give your mother a heart attack.
My parents obviously didn't want me running away with the circus so we compromised and the next week I started gymnastics.
I started at a pretty decent age so it didn't take long for me to get good. It also helped that I was very passionate and loved it the moment I started.
My goal was to make it the Olympics. So, after I made it past level three, I tried out at Chelsea Piers Gymnastics so I could begin training to be elite. It was the top program in NYC and even if I didn't make it as an Olympian they could still put me high up in competitions.
I started there when I was ten or eleven. For the first few years or so I did homeschool, that way I could spend almost all my time there. That all ended though when I started having trouble learning. My parents decided that it was best that I went to real school for my freshman year.
I hated them for it, but once I started school that all changed. I loved the social atmosphere and not only did I flourish with friendships but my grades changed drastically as well.
After a year, I decided that maybe the Olympics weren't for me. I still did the competitions but I decided that I would rather coach the girls then be one. That's what I was planning on doing after I graduated. Life had other things in mind.
When the Awakening happened, not only were the Olympics indefinitely postponed, the gyms as well as almost all the sports centers were closed down. SIFA said that it was only temporary but I was and never will be one to believe them.
Me and a few of the coaches would sneak in a few times a week to get in some practice but besides that, nothing. Instead I had to go to college to take up my time.
For a long while I didn't believe my life could get any worse. Now though as I walk into an underground hideout -basically a fugitive- I realize there's always room for more lemons. I'm just not sure how many more lemonade I can handle.
The room opens and I see a mix of concrete and metal walls surrounding us. It reminds me of a prison lunch room. Metal chairs and tables fill the space. Large scratch marks cascade the floors and what looks like mold or old food is staining the walls.
A wooden table is in the middle of it all, looking extremely out of place. Ten or so people stand around it talking over each other. It's strange seeing all of them. I can tell just from one look that they are younger; all teenagers or in their early 20's.
I haven't seen this many people my same age in one room together in a long time.
Cala coughs from next to me, grabbing the attention of each person. Their stares pierce through me with curiosity. They're asking the same silent question I'm asking myself; what am I?
"You can all go to your rooms now." A mature voice speaks from the other end of the table.
Nobody hesitates and instantly exits. They all go through separate tunnels that I hadn't noticed littered the room.
A woman remains at the wooden table. Her hair is dyed a dark brown, I can tell because of the gray and blonde growing out from her roots. Wrinkles cover her forehead and age spots on her arms contrast darkly against her pale skin. She's smiling softly at me with her paper-thin lips and small semi-sharp teeth. I half expect a snake tongue to slither out from her mouth.
"Was there any trouble getting her, Cala?" She asks, a scaly smoothness to her voice.
"Two casualties, zero weapons retrieved and one successful rescue."
"Good, good... anything else you want to tell me about?"
She's silent for a moment, mulling over her words. "A SIF'er saw me take her. I lost him through the clouds though." Cala sends a look of annoyance my way, obviously thinking it's my fault.
"Hmm." The women hum. "Just one, then?"
"Yes, he was only a private so I wouldn't be too worried."
"A single spark can light a fire, my dear." She says and stands up. Her lengthy body instantly catches my attention, everything about her is long and skinny. "Nevertheless, good job tonight. You are excused for now."
The angel doesn't hesitate and instantly takes her leave. She's probably just as eager as I am to get out of her wet clothes.
"What's your name, honey."
I swallow hard and wipe some of the water from my forehead. "Lark... where-where am I? Can you tell me- tell me what's happening?"
"There's no need to become skittish." She smiles. "This is a safe place and trust is key to keeping it that way. My name is Miracle, the others refer to me as Miri; it's easier that way. Come sit with me Lark, we'll have a nice talk." Her hand pats the chair next to her.
I do as she asks, not knowing how much longer my legs can hold me up. When I'm seated, she instantly drapes a small blanket around my shoulders. It's scratchy and made of wool but provides the warmth I've been missing.
"I truly am sorry that you had to come here under such terrible circumstances. Still we are all very happy you're here. We will try to make your stay here as comfortable as possible."
"Who are you people?"
She lets out a sigh and stands from her seat again. I'm about to follow but she gestures for me to stay seated.
"I'm positive you've heard of certain renditions of who we are. What the so-called government tells the people about us." She ponders more to herself then to me. "Tell me everything you've heard about the Guardians." It's a command not a question.
I rear back a small bit. "You're-," disbelief rolls off of me and I have to clear my throat before speaking again. "You're the Guardians?"
"Well I wasn't saying that, I was just asking what you knew about them." She smiles, showing me her teeth. Once again their small points catch my attention.
"Sooo... you aren't?"
"Oh! No, we are." Is her simple answer. Her right hand comes up and moves in circles telling me to go on.
"Ummm, the news said you were a radically band group. That you called yourself the Guardians but it's just for irony because all you do is destroy, not protect."
"But we do protect." She interjects so I can't continue. "We protect all those who have and will turn."
For a moment, I wait for her say something else but she never does. Instead she stares at me with thin expectant eyes.
"You're all supernatural." I finish, having nothing else to say.
"Yes! As are you." She sits down again next to me. "What might that be by the way? It doesn't look like you have any physical changes, though for some it can take longer to develop. Could be a fairy -maybe a pixie- but your eyes aren't phosphoresced. Perhaps a Djinn or even a witch?"
My mind wanders, pondering the same question she's asking.
"I don't know."
She sits back in her chair and folds her long arms. "That's a first. Most know fairly soon after their turning. Of course, there are the hybrids who occasionally don't find their other side until later..." She studies me once more, the air becoming serious. "No worries, we'll know soon enough."
Our focus shifts to pair of footsteps coming from a near hallway. Two red heads appear from the hallway, their faces somber and alike. The boy has sharp ears sticking out from under his fiery hair, while the girl's eyes shine with silver.
"Ah the twins." Miri says then stands to her feet and walks towards them. "We've been expecting you. You're late."
"Sorry, I lit our room on fire again." The girl replies with a slight lisp to her speech.
"I'm speedy quick though so I was able to stop it before it spread." Her twin says proudly.
Miri shakes her head slightly, a grin hiding at the corner of her lips. She turns back towards me, stepping to the side so I can see them properly.
"This is Candace and Carter; they'll be showing you to your room. You can ask them any questions you please and I'm positive they'd be delighted to answer."
I smile at the two siblings, thinking about how they seem close. My smile drops quickly when a detonating thought enters my already overwhelmed mind.