I'm gardening when I sense someone approaching from the forest. Leaving hand trowel in the dirt and dust my hands to greet the person I've been waiting for. The sun is rising, and other than birds chirping, it is quiet around us.
Adria comes out of the forest, hugging herself tightly. I clench my fingers, furious as my eyes land on her. I've been hoping that she'd leave us be and never come back, but what does she want by coming here again?
“Adria?” I see my dad put away his tools and gloves to greet her—Adria sobs and rushes into his arms.
“Are you ok? What happened?” My dad implores her, folding her into his arms. I'm not too fond of this. He's never showed such concerns for me, and she's all he's cared about ever since she came.
“I'm fine.” She whispers, gathering herself. She gives my dad a wet smile and looks at me as she walks out of his arms and towards me.
“Don’t expect me to greet you. I'm still mad at you!” I scream at her, and she flinches.
“It's not you, Jade, and it's not you feeling that hatred towards me.”
I raise my eyebrow, “And have you lost what little brain you had in the forest? Tell me did you meet your family? Is your daddy alive? Do you have other siblings from those violet-eyed creatures?”
“No, Jade.” She chuckles and then suddenly punches me in my face, hard without giving me a chance to retort. I'd always marveled at her strength when she used to work with us on the field or when she used to take a lot of crops on the cart through the forest on anything but a bike. Her next punch hits me squarely in the jaw, and I see stars as I stumble down to the ground. As I fall, I hear a small scream inside my head, which is weird as it belongs to someone old and not me.
“Adria, what did you do?” I hear my mom rush over to my side, but my vision remains dark.
“It wasn’t Jade. She isn’t herself since yesterday.”
“What do you mean? What was it then?” My dad asks her as he supports me up.
“I don’t know. No one has ever seen Pneumas other than my mother or me then how does she know that they all have violet eyes? And did you hear her voice? It was raspy, old.” Adria tells my parents in an unsure voice
“She could’ve guessed by looking at you?” I hear my mom ask Adria dubiously.
I try hard to breathe as I lay down with my back supported by my dad. He is stroking my forehead, but I still can’t see anything.
Jade, she is playing your family. I hear a whisper in my head and start shivering as sweat pops up on my forehead.
Who are you?
That is not important. I'm someone who knows what resides in the forest. Forgive me for manipulating your thoughts since last night. I wanted her gone.
Who are you? What has Adria done to you? I start trembling more and hardly feel my dad shaking Adria and me calling out my name. All I listen to is the voice in my head and see nothing.
She hasn’t done anything yet but will. She belongs to the creatures that reside in the forest. She has a family there, and if she chooses to stay with you, none of you will survive.
Why don’t you tell me who are you?
You will know soon enough. Just remember, things are going to change, and a war will break out because of those creatures in the forest and what they can do. No one will survive in Baskerville A and B both. Make sure Adria goes back to her people. She has to stay there.
I vaguely feel Adria slap me hard again.
“Adria, what is wrong with you? Can’t you see she is trembling and burning with fever?” I hear my mother shout at her.
“It's not her. She's possessed!” I hear Adria’s shrill voice and feel her grip my shoulders tight.
Look, she's trying to get into your good books again. She can feel me, she knew instantly. Don’t you think she is not normal? Nothing about her is normal. I hear that voice again, but this time her tone is gentle and loving.
What is she? I ask the voice.
“Jade, fight it, please. Whatever it is, you'll lose your control over it. Please, Jade. JADE!!” Adria keeps on shaking me.
Stop listening to her, and I will tell you everything.
“JADE!! JADE STAY WITH ME!” Adria pulls me into a tight hug, but my vision still stays dark.
She's calling me. I gotta go. Please leave me alone. I tell the voice.
THAT IS WHAT SHE WANTS! The voice shouts, and I scream as I feel my head splitting into two. Adria doesn’t let go of me.
“Jade, I’m sorry. We are sisters remember? I love you, Jade. Please stay with me!” Adria whispers as she rocks my limp body.
Stop listening to her if you want to know the truth about everything. The voice goes back to being gentle.
NO! Get out of my head! I scream at it.
“Whoever you are, get out of this girl’s head, for I swear I will find you and kill you!!” Adria whispers threateningly.
You are going to regret this. I WILL KEEP VISITING HER TILL YOU ARE GONE. Hahahahaha I can take over her body too, Adria. This time the voice talks to Adria, and surprisingly I am sure that she can hear it.
“Good luck with that because I'm not the same Adria I was last night, and certainly I won’t be this Adria next time we meet,” Adria warns.
We will see.....
Suddenly I feel my head going light, and I pass out in Adria’s arms.
“What was it?” I hear my dad whisper.
“I don’t know. I don’t know who it was, but it was a woman. She sounded like someone I know, someone I met, but I'm not sure!” Adria sighs and puts her hand over my forehead.
“How did you know?”
“She kept giving me weird looks since she came up after hearing you and Orla talk about me last night. Her presence felt different. Normally, she feels warm, but that time, I felt like something was crawling all over my skin when she looked at me or when she talked. And today when I saw her, I felt something surrounding her when she shouted at me, I felt her voice in my head like a boom, and when I punched her, I heard a scream inside her head but not from her lips. Strangely, I could hear whoever was in her head.”
“Do you think it will happen again?” My mother asks in a low voice.
“I'm awake, guys!” I open my eyes and look around me. Adria is sitting on my left with one hand on my forehead and the other holding my hand loosely, my dad is sitting on my right sipping his evening tea, and my mother is sitting by the foot of my bed.
“How are you feeling?” Adria smiles as my mother tickles my foot.
“Fresh. Light, I don’t know!” I giggle and try to get my feet away from my mother.
“We are glad, kiddo!!” My dad kisses my forehead.
“What do you think we should do to save her?” My mother asks Adria and my dad.
“Jade, would you like to move away to the city?” My dad asks me.
I sit up and look at him, “Dad are you....are you sure?”
“No, she can’t go!!” My mother speaks up, but my dad raises his hand to stop her.
“She has to. Or whoever it was will take her away from us.”
“Orla, she will be safe out there. Jade, can you go to Exeter? I had a friend there. I bet he is still there; if you mention me, he will help you.” Adria smiles warmly at me, probably at the thought of her friend.
“Both of you!” My mother points at my dad and Adria, “She's not even twenty yet.”
“Above eighteen and an adult Orla. She should see the world.” My dad ruffles my hair. I'd asked him to let me go and find work outside Baskervilles when I'd turned eighteen but then, my mother hadn’t let me go because she'd said that I needed to stay and graduate, and now I hate, so it makes sense to leave.
“Orla, she'll be safe out there. She's a grown woman. Don’t you want her to live a better life out there?” Adria holds mom’s hands into hers.
“Okay, fine!” My mother sniffs and refuses to meet our eyes.
“Thanks, mom, I love you loads!” I hug her fiercely.
“Anyway, you should rest and leave as soon as you can.” My dad stands up and stretches. He takes my mother’s hand and guides her out of the room, leaving me with Adria.
“I am sorry, Adria!” I whisper and look down, for I'm ashamed to meet her eyes.
“Why?” She smiles at me.
“I just... I did feel angry and shocked.”
“It's not your fault Jade. You were kinda possessed? I don’t know. I don’t know much either! I need to go back if I want answers!” She hugs me tight.
“You'll be fine out there and safe. Something tells me whoever it was, that person is in Baskerville A or B.”
“I should pack!” I give her a tight squeeze and let her go.
“I...uh will write a letter. Give it to Cyril, will you? I promised him that I would come back, but I don’t think, so I will ever go back!” She rubs her nape of the neck and walks towards the desk.
“You have something to do here?” I ask.
“Yeah. I have a family here. I met my cousin Devon. He is really cool. Those beings, Pneumas, freaked me out, but now that I think about it, I want to go back or more like I have to go back!” She smiles over her shoulder and bends down to write.
“Since I got the permission to leave, I don’t want to know what they are or what you are!” I smile at her, and she chuckles.