I was hungry, cold, and alone. My father died when I was little. I never met my mom. I went straight into the system. I got passed around to different homes. Nobody loved me or wanted me because of what I was. I never knew why no one loved me until I got stuck with my last family.
They called me names and pointed out the many reasons why no one would love me. My race, eyes, and height, they told me that I was the sign of the devil. The things they did to me were something unimaginable, the excruciating pain they put me through made living horrible.
The children would make me close one eye and then the other while stepping on my body, telling me it would stop me from growing. The adults would put me in small spaces for long periods to get me to stung my growth as well. I ran away from that hellhole after they tried to bleach my skin. I didn't want to be different. I fought until I was free. I didn't know where to go, knew that I wasn't going back to the system.
The travelers found me alone in a park and gave me some food. They told me about the life I can have if I came with them. They didn't treat me differently and didn't bring up my race or the way I look. I got to pick out a new name. I was on my way and got rid of the old me and welcome the new me.
We traveled for weeks by car then, plane. I didn't talk to anyone the whole time. My body and I had been exhausted and need rest. When I arrived at Indigofellow, I didn't think anyone would love me for who I am. The land was beautiful, everything fresh and vibrant. I never thought the world could be so beautiful. I watched different people walking around.
They're all different shapes, colors, and sizes. Walking with the Stemtress, she told us that we either live with people or by ourselves.
The Stemtress chose me to live with a girl about my age. I didn't know who she was and if she would accept me.
When my name got called hers was too, it was time to meet the girl who could be a dream come true or my worst nightmare. Waiting for her to walk, the anxiety I feel from the stares makes me sweat. I look up to see a petite, average height girl. She looked like she was my age, maybe a year younger. Her skin was like a piece of caramel candy, a tootsie roll.
She doesn't look real. She didn't look like the girls back home.
Her energy is more radiant and pure. I realized I stared at her for too long. My face was heating up. "Hi, I'm Dream. What's your name?" She spoke to me, voice soft and low. I look down at her and meet her innocent eyes, "I'm Henry, but my new name is Keifer." I force myself to sound confident.
Would she think I sounded confident? She grabbed my hand and walked me with the others. Her hand felt nice in mine. Before we left to celebrate, I wanted to speak to her privately.
I stare at what's in front of me. My mind swirling with questions, my breathing is slow and heavy. I don't know what happened tonight with Dream and the person from the council. I needed time to be by myself. I went to the cottage and continued to work and think about what happened.
The way that man looked was grave and filled with anger. I never experienced that here with anyone. Fear ran through my body. That experience is something that they promised would be gone when joining Indigofellow. That was was then though now everything seems to be changing in front of me, especially with the girl I like. Maybe even love.
She couldn't see me have a panic attack. I had to get out of the house for a bit. What did she do? "Keifer, don't be mad at me. I can explain." I look at her. She's shrunken in her seat like a small child that got caught misbehaving. I didn't know what to ask. "What's going on?" She sat across from me, wordless to my question, with fear in her eyes.
"Why did he question you about being at the guy's house?" I continue staring at her, "You can trust me, Dream I need to know what is going on." She gets up slowly and walks away. I get up and reach out for her, "Where are you going? We need to talk about this right now." Her brown eyes stare at me with panic.
She meant the world to me. Whatever was going on, all I wanted is to be there for her. "I'm not going to tell anyone. Whatever is going on and has happened, we can figure it out together." I stumble, trying to keep myself up.
Dream grabs me, helping me over to the couch, "I will tell you everything tomorrow. I need to know you won't tell anyone, not even Stream and Star. I need time to collect things." I nod my head.
My mind is swirling as the taste of bile liquor fills my mouth. I sit up quickly, running to the bathroom. Everything in my stomach comes up quickly.
My body curls in agony. Dream help pulls back my hair and holds me. Her hands felt like home. I couldn't be mad at her. I didn't want to be mad at her. I just wanted to know that everything will be ok. She helps to clean me up. My mind and eyes felt heavy. "I'm not mad at you," I look into her eyes. Her face relaxes, she smiles. "I don't want you in trouble or to get hurt. You mean the absolute world to me, Dream."
My eyes close.
My head feels like a thousand sharp daggers are attacking my brain. My body winces at the sun hitting my eyes. It has to be morning. I look over and see the sun shining. I sit up, holding my head in my hands, wondering where Dream is.
"Dream," my throat dry and beckoning for water, "Dream, where are you?" I get up slowly and head to the kitchen. I grab a cup of water, feeling my clothes stick to my body. I can feel the sweat rolling down my back. I go back to search for Dream, finding her in her room, "Dream, what are you doing?"
She looks back at me, hiding whatever is in front of her. "Dream, what are you doing?" She looks back at me, hiding whatever is in front of her. "Is whatever you have under there have to do with the man's house?" I look at her. I need to pace myself or, I'm going to throw up. She looks down, "You have to keep this between the both of us," the fear in her voice is real, "These papers came from Joaquin's home."
She continues looking at me. Her face is frozen with fear. Whatever happened there, she didn't want to relive it. "Why did you take the paperwork? Does Star know about you going to his house?" She shakes her head, "The night you arrived, I heard the Stemtress and the council speaking about Joaquin."
She stares at the floor, "They took him away to punish him, no one saw where he went, no one knows where he is. Star told me that he could've been sick. That they took him away," She paused, "Now, they're saying he ran away or left." Her voice started to shake.
"What do you think happened to him?" She shrugged, "I don't know, there was someone in his house screaming as if they were in pain," She stopped.
I didn't know if to comfort her or to hug her before I move. She looks up, "Remember the night you arrived? I told you I was heading home? Well, I didn't go home. I saw two people with our souls, watched them dig his old soul up and replace it with a fake one. I followed them into the woods," She stops catching her breath, "I don't know where they took his soul but, there's is a building or room out there."
She was talking so fast that my mind started to hurt. The things Dream said began to make me scared. "Dream, I need you to know that I'm not going to let anything or anyone hurt you. I promise. You have to calm down now. I'll help you with whatever you need."
I walk up to her and pull her in. Her body stiffens and relaxes, wrapping her arms around me. It's good that she can trust me. I need her to trust me and know that I am on her side. I pull back from her and look her in the eyes, "Dream, let's worry about this stuff later and get something to eat. I need food. I'm pretty you do too." I get up, holding my hand out for hers.
We go to the kitchen and prepare breakfast and sit to eat. "Do you still want to go to the pond today? We don't have to if you don't want to." I need to take her mind off things for today. She looks up, "We can. I think it'd be nice to have a relaxing thing. But, don't you have to work today?"
I sip my coffee, shaking my head to her, "I have today off. I have some news to share." Dream's face turned red. I want to make today special for her. Have her feel that she has someone with her.
We both stare at each other for what feels like a lifetime.
It never gets old staring into her beautiful face. I clear my throat to break the silence, "I can pack a bag of towels and some clothes for us." She smiles and finishes her tea.
Once we finish up, we both get dressed and head to the lake. It's nice out today, which means my plans for the lake have to change. Last night, I planned something special. I know we've only known each other for a month but, I want to take it to the next step.
Figuring out a way to ask to help her out is something I need to bring up to her when she feels safe and comfortable. She knocks on the door and comes in slowly. "Do you want to pack some food for lunch?" She has her bag and holds it close to her, "Is the camera in there," I always knew she had the camera in there. She looked at me with disbelief, "I know you carry it when you have the bag with you."
I don't think anyone knew besides me.
It was pretty clear to me that she carried it with her, "How do you know I do that?" She sounded surprised, "I saw it in your bag the day you brought the lunch. I won't tell anyone." I smiled and winked.
I grab her hands, "Hey, maybe if you get caught, I can take your mugshots." I smile. She laughs, "Make sure to get my good side."
The sun is bright outside. I have her on my arm and mind. How am I going to ask her the question? Maybe when we have lunch, I can ask her to be a part of the search for the room. I want to help her and be there for her. She needs a support system. "Has anyone ever told you that you're pretty?" I didn't realize what I said until it I said it. I look straight ahead, hoping she didn't hear me.
It's silent the whole way. When we reach the pond, there's something out there in the water. Before I step further, I stop holding Dream behind me. Someone's floating in the water, "Look at me, Dream. Go and find someone and tell them we need help at the lake," She stares into my eyes, "Go to the medic and have them come here. Go now!"
I turn, running in the water, "Joaquin!" She runs past me, grabbing him, "Help me get him out of the water!" My body doesn't move. I go into shock that's him. It's Joaquin, Keifer, hurry, help me get him out of the water." I start running into the water. I see the scars, cuts, and blood on him. "We need to get him back to our house and fast."
I pick him up and carry him back to our place. Dream covers him with the towels we brought. "What are we going to do? Do you think they're looking for him?" Dream stares at me, "They can't know I escaped. Please help me." I pulled him up and helped him. "We need to get you some medical attention. You're bleeding. I can stitch him up." I used to give myself stitches when I was younger. Maybe that'll help him.
Dream stares at me, "Keifer, go to the medic and ask for some pain killers. Tell them I have a migraine. I have a few bottles of medicine my mom hid." We try to move as fast as possible, she directs us to a small path and leads us home. When we get in the house, she set's Joaquin into her room. "Place him on the bed. I will take care of him and clean him off. Go get the medicine, don't talk to anyone."
I run out of the room quickly and head for the medic. Dream calls for me, tears in her eyes, "I think my mother might still be alive."
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