My head ached, but I couldn’t open my eyes. Where was I? What had happened to me?
Images of the school and a girl I recognized…Lynna, yes that was her name… drifted in my memories. I revisited the memory of me protecting her, of the men kidnapping her, of me fighting to set her free and Lynna attacking the men who became dust, of me blocking my body with that crystal prism looking thing, but this time I didn’t feel any pain when it hit my chest. I instead lay on the ground gazing up at the ceiling tiles. I couldn’t move though, after reliving the memories. I just stared upwards at nothing until Lynna’s face with her long plain brown hair, appeared over the top of my head.
She no longer sported the white hair she had while I was protecting her. She stared down at me with worry written all over her face; her eyes even spoke of it, but the emotion was soon replaced with panic. Her mouth formed my name several times before a strange old man that I didn’t recognize, took her place over me. He assessed my body, the damage from whatever had injured me. My eyesight blurred as the aura descended upon me. My head wasn’t in pain, so I didn’t understand why I had a side effect from migraines that was present in my dream. Slowly, the light faded into black, and the school hallway fell away from my sight as sleep overtook me once more. I wasn’t destined to wake again.
I heard people talking around me, Lynna, her family, that old man again. Their voices were muffled and indistinct. I never once made out what exactly happened to me, nor where I was, nor what I witnessed. Everything was blurred, and I didn’t regain my sight. Lynna never explained anything about what happened with her body, or why she was white or why she dusted one of the men in the suits like a vampire slayer from TV. None of what I witnessed made any sense.
I caught glimpses of Lynna’s siblings, though they looked nothing alike. The pair were much younger than Lynna; the boy was dark skinned and shorter while the girl’s skin was colored somewhere in between Lynna and her brother’s tone. Her sister’s stature stood somewhere in between her brother and herself. All I heard out of that conversation was the word adopted and epileptic. I made my own conclusions from there. But they, like the old man and Lynna herself, disappeared from my memories as I saw nothing but black and darkness.
Eventually I dreamt of a world that wasn’t my own. I don’t know if this world existed, but I wished that it did. It was marvelous, enormous, and gorgeous all at the same time. The land was like nothing I had ever seen in real life; only in the movies and imagery from books did wonders like these exist. The vegetation was lush and plentiful. The grass was a deep green and the flowers were vivid and bright in their array of colors. Tall hedges lined walkways bordering structures and courtyards. Structures of black cast iron entwined with marbled arches of rose and amber formed houses, buildings and pathways. Crystal domes surrounded the ceilings of buildings creating shades of light and wonder. Huge statues of black marble lined the dirt paths, standing guard over the entrances of private estates. The sun shone down on this land, highlighting the bright features and illuminating the people milling about.
They all were different too, and I knew that I wasn’t looking at humans, though they looked similar. Their features were sharp and distinct. Their hair shone a myriad of dark and light tones underneath a burning sun. Even their skin seemed perfect no matter the color. But there was something in the way they walked and the way they communicated with one another that alerted me to their high standing. They were formal yet casual; happy yet serious in the way they greeted one another. Children were the same, they weren’t rambunctious rascals causing trouble; they were polite and joyous in their play. I watched the people of this world interact with one another for what seemed like eons, and even though the time passed, I never wanted to leave this place nor be distracted by anything else. I wanted to study this culture and become a part of it. I wanted to be free in this world and live their lives.
In what felt like a year’s time, a great shadow passed overhead. The adults rose up and clothed themselves in amber and green clothing. They replaced their flowing long skirts and shawls for fitted pieces. Some wore white robes with streaks of blue swirls on them, while others chose tunics and pants that were snug. Even more men and women appeared among the population that dressed in the tight clothes, and those that still wore their loose-fitting robes, shed them for new pieces. The men and women pulled back their long hair and pinned strands away from their faces. Some wore their hair short already, but others cut their hair as though part of a ceremony or ritual instead of twisting the strands into a knot or a braid. The white robed ensemble brought out elegantly carved staves with jewels entombed in the wood or iron that shaped them. Bubbles of air and water encased the warriors and the archers that now appeared on the horizon, standing in the fields of green and gold.
An elegantly clad man wearing a dark green robe with black pants led the foot soldiers that carried swords and shields at their sides. His long brown hair whipped about his face in the breeze. He wielded a huge golden sword marked by an emerald gemstone at the base of the hilt. Whenever he pointed the blade up towards the sky, rays of light penetrated the clouds and beamed down upon the land, causing the trees and vines to grow bigger and sprout limbs. These new creatures detached themselves from their parent vegetation and mingled amongst the warriors and archers, making themselves a part of the army already present.
The voice, I heard her speak, came from behind me. I didn’t think I could move in this dream when I longed to join the others in their play. But as I thought about the girl, I turned around. She stood in front of one of the manors, on the light brown path. One of the huge black marble statues was closest to her in the center, but she wasn’t completely beyond my reach. Her eyes met mine briefly before turning away to face the impending doom that the others readied themselves for.
I noticed that she didn’t wield a weapon of any sort; she wasn’t like the others. She was clothed in a green and amber gown that surrounded her body like a sheet. Her pale hands were visible in the dim light, as well as her round face. Waves of molasses colored tresses fell behind her back highlighting her eyes which were green like the grass and blue like the water all at the same time, though the color was never the same. Her figure embodied that of a young adult, but her people seemed that young when I glanced at their faces. Hardly anyone was old; in fact, now that I thought about it, I hadn’t seen a single aged person since I arrived in this land.
The battle began. Cries of exaltation escaped the foot soldiers as they charged into the shadow warriors who massed just beyond my sight. I knew they were there somehow, even though I could not see them. The knowledge was there in my mind like I expected this attack, though I had never been here before. The robed figures used their staves and summoned up balls of fire and shards of lightning piercing their enemies. Already shadow men and women escaped the front lines and surged towards the magic wielders. The archers tried pushing back their advance, but even a few more of those escaped as they surged to meet the white robes. The two enemies met at a distance, each using their specialized element to incapacitate their enemy. Some went down, falling into a deep sleep for a few minutes before springing back up to fight once more. The shadow people who were defeated disintegrated into a cloud of smoke before materializing in a different location to fight their enemy again.
Eventually the battle surrounded me and the girl, as the foe pushed their advance into the heart of the land. There were people fighting all around the area in which we stood. Occasionally one of the shadows would break off from the main force and head towards us, but someone always intervened, driving them back and away from the manor. The battle drifted back into the mainland. The party I witnessed upon arrival in this land was gone by now. The inhabitants were at war. The children had disappeared, taken presumably to a safe house. Archways crumbled with the force of the elements. Stone pillars were torn asunder. From my bird’s eye view, whole villages lay in ruins from the destruction. The light upon the land dimmed as the cloud of darkness from the shadow warriors gained strength.
I saw all of this from where I stood, though I don’t know how I could see over great distances. In the middle of the greenery, a city I hadn’t seen before appeared in my mind. It lay on a hill, surrounded by mountains. The deserted village, where I stood, was on the other side of the world. The sun had pierced the top of the crystal spire in the city, casting rays of golden light across the countryside below it. But as the shadow crept towards the spire, it engulfed the air, blocking any kind of light. Eventually the light faded from the spire, and the crystal at the top grew dim until even I could no longer see the object.
I found that I could focus in on any part of this world and see what transpired in the present. But I channeled my attention back to the girl who stood alone, on the other side of the world. She stayed near the black marbled statue, one of the remaining statues that were still intact and hadn’t been destroyed yet. Whenever a shadow creature got too close to her, the statue came to life, slicing the creature into oblivion. But this charade couldn’t go on forever. Eventually she needed to be taken someplace safe, far away from this. Who knows how long this war would take? Already it felt like years… centuries… maybe eons. Time had no meaning here.
She spoke once more in my head, though part of the conversation was muffled. Why was her language muffled in my ears? Could I not cope with the situation? Or did I have to witness the events first before I could understand the phrasing? The answers to my questions were not provided, and I was left guessing. I didn’t know who spoke in my mind. It wasn’t Lynna; the two sounded nothing alike. Exactly what was I dreaming about?
The voice spoke again, though stronger in voice now. The girl sounded louder like she was breaking through a barrier in my mind or probably in hers. She fell on her knees and landed softly on the ground. Before I could intervene, a girl and boy, much older than she, exited the house, picked her up, and carried her away from the battle. The statue moved, watching them go, always the sentinel. It destroyed some of the creatures that tried coming near the threesome as they moved away.
…is in chaos.
The girl’s voice was much louder now, though the girl in the dream had fallen asleep in her brethren’s arms. I understood what the voice meant. After seeing the battle, witnessing the endless warfare that felt like years upon years of unending chaos, I grasped the meaning. Something drastic had happened. But what was it? What had changed? Why wasn’t the girl fighting? What made her so special that she needed protection above the others? But most of all, who was this girl and why did I dream of her? This was no mere accident.
You were chosen.
A new, more powerful voice replaced the girl’s and I knew instantly that this came from someone who knew about the world’s origins. The voice was soft and whispery, light and wise. As soon as I thought of the unknown person, an image of a gigantic tree with green leaves and yellow flowers filled my head. The tree was so big that it covered a whole city with its trunk. The roots were entwined over a large crystal submerged in water. Sunlight filtered through the boughs casting light into the shadowy glens that surrounded the tree. More rays caught the majestic petals of the flowers, enhancing their color so the tree looked golden amongst the greenery. Birds chirped nearby, a nightingale sang a pretty tune. Squirrels and other small animals dotted the grassy meadow that encircled the tree. Deer played in the streams of water that flowed from the lake. But there were no people, no children. And the girl wasn’t there as well.
A massive shadow descended upon the tree, blocking the sunlight. The flowers fell upon the ground and curled up, lifeless. The leaves turned red and died. Branches grew thin as the water dried up. The animals disappeared, and the birds flew away. But the tree was still there, looking crippled and forlorn. A shard of ice fell from the sky and froze the tree in its place. It looked like crystal now. All life had fled from it. Now it was frozen.
Everything went black.
I must’ve been sleeping again, but this was different. I wanted to help the world. I wanted to help the girl, but they had all disappeared from my sight and I was left powerless. What had happened to them? What had happened to me that I dreamt all of that? What exactly was going on? Where was Lynna? And who was that girl? And above all who were the two voices that spoke in my mind? What did this mean?
The voice tried speaking in the blackness of my mind, but it faded away before I heard the rest of the word or sentence. I wasn’t shown anything else. I couldn’t see the narrator. I couldn’t hear sounds anymore. I struggled with my senses, urging them from slumber. My body wouldn’t respond with my thoughts. It felt weightless. Even my mind grew tired eventually, and I only knew I wanted rest.
I fell onto a cloud of pillows or feathers; it wasn’t a hard landing, but extremely soft as something fluffy spooned itself around my body, wrapping me up into its velvet tresses. Every sense of mine tingled with weakness. Already my muscles relaxed as my mind drifted. Sleep would come naturally in this state. I was a human after all. I lay back and let it overtake me, knowing I couldn’t fight the sensation. Somewhere in my mind, the voice continued speaking to me from wherever it was. And even in my sleep I repeated some of its words.
Keep the secret.
It stated those words over, and over again.
Keep the secret.