It’s been two years since Remaria. Adilah was 18 now, and her memory was almost restored. Sometimes she liked not having any recollection of what happened. Nightmares crept into her sleep, Aamir stayed up with her telling her stories of the things she had forgotten. But something was different with her, when she got mad it was enhanced. Aamir said her eyes would turn a deeper blue and fog over, her fingertips would dance with little lightning bolts, and when it got bad she hurt others just by a single touch. After her father died her Mama decided it best to get her a therapist, they met every Friday, and sometimes Aamir would come with her, explaining things she didn’t want to talk about or didn’t remember. Adilah just drifted, school was the same, periods, inventing, bullying, home, repeat.
“Aamir?” she said. “Hm?”
“What did you get for 43?” she asked lying on the bed, feet in the air. “Um, let me check,” he said, flipping through the pages. “I got x = 97 times pi over 89/197.” Adilah laughed, “That’s completely off,” she said. “Why were you asking then?”
“Because I just like hearing your voice,” she said. He rolled his eyes and stood up, walking over to the bed. “Scoot over,” he said. He jumped on the bed. “Okay, first of all, give me this,” snatching the homework. “Hey I need to finish that,” she said. “Eh, later. It’s due next Friday, it’s a break, just enjoy it,” he said. She rolled her eyes, “fine.”
“Aamir, what if my memory doesn’t get fully restored?” she said. “Well, the doctors said that might happen but it’s been doing good with therapy and everything. And at least you remember me,” nudging her shoulder. “Yeah well that’s a good thing,” she chuckled. “Yeah, because now I can still do this.” He pulled her chin closer and their lips met. His hand was still on her cheek when they parted, “I love you, A,” he said, his forehead against hers. “I’m a pretty great person to love,” she whispered. He laughed. He glanced at the clock, it was 11:18 pm. “You tired?” he asked. “A bit.” They sat up. Aamir pulled her back against the headboard, wrapping his arm around her. She fell asleep quickly, curled up in the nook of his arm.
They awoke the next morning to the smell of baghir. Adilah yawned, and she screamed, waking up Aamir. “A, what’s wrong,” he said. “Where am I? Who are you? Wh-” she said, asking questions. This happened now and then, Aamir had to cover the bases again and then memories came back. He explained everything but she was still panting. He stroked her hair. “It’s okay, sh,” he said. She was shivering. “Are you hungry,” he asked. Nothing. “A?” Nothing. Her face was set in stone but she stayed curled up in his arms. “I will be right back,” he said slowly, removing his arm from her.
In a few minutes, Aamir came back with two plates of baghir. “Your mom said we can eat in here,” he said, Adilah nodded. They ate in silence and then suddenly it’s like her personality flipped a switch, “What do you want to do today?” Aamir swallowed his food, “I don’t know,” he said, with a mouthful. “Hm,” She thought out loud. “We could go to the town...or what’s left of it,” she said. “I wonder if Lil’ Loki is still there,” Aamir said. “I normally go into the town with Pa, but because of the fucking bitch elder he’s gone, and I didn’t even say goodbye,” she yelled. Her fingertips started to spark, and her eyes clouded over. The lights flickered until each bulb burst one at a time. “Adilah, calm down,” he said. “Remember the trick?” he asked. She shook her head, tears falling. “A. One. Two. Three. Breathe. One. Two. Three. Breathe,” Aamir said holding her hands, he winced. She started to count and her eyes went back to normal. “Better,” he asked. Adilah nodded. He exhaled, “I’ll get the bulbs,” he said. “I’ll get the sweeper,” Adilah added, walking over to the closet. They worked on screwing in new lights and cleaning up the glass. “I’m sorry,” Adilah whispered. Aamir stayed silent. “Aamir?” she asked. “Hm.”
“I’m sorry,” she repeated.
“I’m getting tired of hearing that, you need to work on controlling it, A. I don’t mean that in a bad way but we are running out of supplies and I keep stepping on glass,” he said, still unscrewing the light on the ceiling. Balancing on a chair. “I-” Adilah started.
“Let’s, NOT do this again,” he said. “Do what,” she asked. “I always tell you something about controlling it and you tell me, you can’t. It’s not that you can’t, it’s because you won’t. You’re worried about being even remotely like her. Well guess what you are, but you have the right qualities. And, I’m here every step of the way.”
She looked down.
“Alright, I think that’s all of it,” He said. Aamir looked around. “Show me,” Adilah said. He pulled his hands towards his chest. Adilah held her hands out. He placed them in her palms, and she turned them his palms facing up. She sucked in her breath. Aamir’s hands were blackened and he had scars from Adilah’s previous outbreaks. She looked into Aamir’s eyes, I’ll learn to control it. For you,” she thought. Aamir pulled his hands back. “I’ll learn to control it, for you,” she said out loud. He smiled. Adilah leaned in and kissed his cheek. “I love you too, that I will never, ever forget,” she said staring into his moss green eyes.
They walked down the hall, Grammy and Mama were sitting at a small round, oak table, creaking with the weight of the world, just like the rest of Morrocco. “Hi dear,” Mama said, kissing Adilah’s forehead. Aamir threw the lightbulb box in the recycling bin. “Another outbreak,” Mama said staring at Adilah. She had tried to keep it from Mama but she was there when one of them happened, and she was scared. Adilah nodded. “Control it,” she said. She nodded again. “I keep telling her that, on an unrelated note, Grammy where do you keep that ointment, for burns?” Aamir asked. “It’s on the top shelf in the medicine cabinet, should be on the right,” she said, gripping her cup of coffee. “What do you need it for?” she asked. Aamir looked at Adilah, “A burn?” He said. “No duh, Captain Obvious,” Adilah said, rolling her eyes. “Don’t take that tone with me, it’s your fault!” He said, sticking out his tongue. Adilah’s mom smiled, the corners of her eyes creasing. Aamir walked out of the room to Grammy’s bathroom, grabbing the cream from the top shelf. Aamir was now 6′, and Adilah was 5′10″ tall for her age but being enveloped in Aamir’s arms was all the same.
Aamir rubbed the cream in his hands like lotion. He winced and then sighed. “Okay that feels much better,” he said. “A, you wanna walk?” he asked. “Sure let me get Dari’s leash,” she said. Adilah whistled, Dari, pranced into the room, tail wagging. Mama bent down to pet her, soon joined by Adilah. She clipped the leash and clucked her tongue, Dari was quick to get to her heels. Once they were around the door Aamir grabbed her hand, “Do- Do you ever think about going back,” he asked, swinging her arm. “Sometimes, I miss our friends but no. I don’t want to be anywhere that asshole set foot on,” she said. Dari growled. Adilah bent down and scratched her head, “You get it,” she said, standing up again. They passed the used-to-be orchard. “I wonder if the arch would still appear,” Adilah said. Without thinking, she started to walk towards the ashen grounds. She moved around the dead trees and moved to the clearing that she had memorized. Nothing. She moved around again. Nothing. “I guess not,” she said. She turned back around to the path where Aamir was waiting. “Nothing happened,” she said and shrugged. “Maybe because we don’t have the key anymore?” Aamir said. Adilah’s face paled. She reached into her shirt and pulled out a key on a chain. “You- You’ve had it?” Aamir said. Adilah nodded, “Look, it’s my Dad’s writing,” she said. “He knew something would happen,” Aamir said. Adilah nodded again. They started to walk home, and for many nights the same thing repeated. Sleep. Eat. Walk. Eat. Sleep. Repeat.
It was Friday now, the week had gone by fast, and school would start up soon. Aamir had made it onto the football team and Adilah was on the inventing team, before the concussion she would have run for captain but, after everything, winning an election was the least of her problems.
Adilah walked to her locker, the halls were overcrowded and the smells and sounds wafted to her. Her arms locked across her chest, carrying her books. Her head faced her feet until she was at the locker she looked up.
No wonder your dad is dead, you destroy everything you touch.
Monster! I bet you’re a spy for the French!
And those were some of the nicer notes that were taped to her locker. She took a deep breath, she felt her fingertips beginning the burning sensation, she counted just like Aamir said. She grabbed the notes and clutched them in her fist, ashes fell from her hand quickly after. She looked around, 4 girls snickered and stared at her before walking away. Her eyes welled up with tears, she opened her locker and headed straight to class.
Adilah drifted through the day. Aamir met her at the front of the building, his messy hair plastered with sweat. “How was the day,” he asked. “Same as always,” she shrugged. “That’s bad?” he said. “I didn’t even say anything!”
“Exactly.” Aamir pointed out, “Was it the girls again?” he asked.
“Maybe, I can take it though, I controlled it today,” she said, not meeting his gaze. “Wait, it happened,” he asked. “Yes it did, Aamir. There is always something, some fucking trigger so yeah it happened. More time to practice I guess,” Adilah said.
“I just need to make it through the week and then we have Monday off.”
“We do?” Aamir asked. He looked at the schedule. “Oh, I guess we do,” he said, shrugging.
“Hey, I may be a walking electrical outlet, but I’m still on top of things,” she said. He nudged her shoulder.
They made their way back to the house passing the orchard, suddenly the sky went dark, the sky rumbling hungrily. The dead trees blew around, Adilah looked down at her fingertips, they were sparking. She looked back up at the sky, a patch opened up and something fell to the earth, fast. “What the hell was that!” Aamir asked. “I- I have no idea.” Aamir shifted his backpack on his shoulder, the one strap comfortably hanging on his shoulder blade. Adilah took a tentative step towards the object. A door opened, “Goddammit, the shuttle crashed! Yakir you said you had it handled,” yelled Flame. “I thought I did!” he said. Ivy rolled her eyes, “Boys.” Slowly, Ivy, Flame, Yakir, Ceres,, and someone else came out of the shuttle. “Holy shit,” said Flame looking around, “This place is a disaster.” Ivy jabbed him in the ribs, shooting him a sharp glare. Adilah ran up to them. “Hey,, Adilah!!!” Ivy said, hugging her. “Ca-n’t Br--ath,” Adilah said. “Oops,” Ivy told her, “sorry.”
“No harm done.”
“Damn Flame, Aamir is taller than you now. And muscular?” Aamir blushed, going red in the face. “Hey, Ceres,” Adilah said, waving. Ceres was wearing a locket and smelled like lemons or; like Jupiter. Adilah gave him a sad smile. He looked up and waved, trying to seem enthusiastic. “Why the hell are you guys here?” Aamir asked. “This isn’t exactly a good vacation spot at the moment,” he said. A few chuckles went around. “Um, Adilah it’s about you...again.” Adilah’s face went pale. “this is Kali,” Ivy said, pulling the unknown girl over. She was dressed in blue, little lightning bolt earrings hanging from her ears. She had long hair pulled back into a ponytail, with bleached blue tips. Her shirt was white, tied in the front with a blue and black plaid skirt and high black boots. Kali waved. “Hi,” she said in a giddy voice, her ponytail bouncing. Adilah waved back. “Kali is your, your sister,” Ivy said, nudging the girl forward. “What? I- I don’t have a sister,” Adilah said confused, her face going red. Kali went silent. “Um, well see Kali is adopted. Before Bolt, your dad, left Remaria he had adopted Kali. Then she went missing and he was led on a wild goose chase trying to find her here. Then he fell for your mom and had you, but he assumed Kali was dead, he never stopped looking. That’s why he went to the mines. Because when he was off, he could look for her.” Ivy explained. Adilah examined the girl, she had gray eyes, and her ears were pointed, “You’re an elf?” asked Adilah. “No, I’m a nymph, from the sky. I control the weather,” she said. “You’re like me?” Adilah asked. “Yeah, I am.” Adilah looked at her hands, they were sparking again. Kali gave a small smile. “Does my Mama know about you?” Adilah asked. “I don’t know,” Kali answered. “How old are you?”
“I’m 14, I turn 15 in a few weeks,” Kali answered.
Adilah walked up to the nymph and hugged her. Kali was surprised, but she wrapped her arms around the Moroccan girl. Kali smelled the eucalyptus shampoo, she hadn’t had a hug in so long, and now she was home. “I didn’t know I had a sister,” Adilah said into Kali’s neck. She pulled her away by her shoulders. She examined the fair-skinned face of the nymph. Kali smiled wide, I gap separating her two front teeth. Adilah let her hands drop and turned around to Aamir who appeared by her side. He placed a kiss on her forehead. Ivy giggled, “Ah so y’all are a thing now?”
“Yeah, I guess you could call it that,” Aamir said, squeezing her hand. Ceres faced the ground. “Okay the most important thing, why are you here? I know it’s not just to introduce me to my long-lost sister.” Adilah said.
“Um, see we don’t really know. Remaria is a lot happier without you know,” Ivy said, gazing at Ceres. Ceres swore under his breath. “But there is danger on another island. Just of the shore of the Black Shore,” Ivy said. Ceres winced at the name, right that’s where Jupiter died, Adilah thought. Adilah examined Ceres, he was covering his wrists but not before Adilah saw the reddened scars. She gasped. He tried again. She brought her gaze back to Ivy and Kali. “What does this have to do with me?” Adilah asked. “Because the island, well, it’s in the sky.”