I was running in the dark while screaming at the top of my lungs. I couldn’t see what was ahead of me. I was running as if the death itself was following me. The only thing I could hear was my own screams as I was gasping frantically. The blood rushing to my ears was throbbing loudly in my head.
My feet were touching the soft sand. It was as if I was running on a beach or a desert at night. However, I couldn’t hear the sound of the waves, and the sand wasn’t hot to touch. It only left a soft sensation on my skin. I was floundering through the sand, and it was taking the strength out of my legs. My whole body was about to collapse. I was so tired that it felt like I could fall any second, yet the danger was right behind me. Even though I couldn’t see it, I could feel that.
I noticed a light that was the size of a pinhead. It got brighter as I ran closer as if the sun was rising. The darkness of the night was descending. I’d been running in the dark for so long that I had to cover my eyes when the light dazzled my eyes.
As my eyes accustomed to the light, I realized that I was in a desert. There was nothing but the golden piles of sand shimmering under the sun and me. When did I get here? How did I end up here? I had no memory of it.
A shadow was forming far beyond me within the light. In a split of a second, the shadow turned into a human silhouette, but it was barely visible. I couldn’t see who it was. For a few frightening seconds of heartbeat, I stood still and tried to figure out if the shadow was a threat or a help. The mist that was coming out of my mouth from breathing too fast was mingling with a soft wind that was blowing my hair. As I was still trying to figure out what was going on, the silhouette started running towards me! Its hands were reaching forward as if it desired to catch me. As it’s getting clearer to see, I noticed that it was a man. He had curly hair, sharp features, and an athletic body. I debated with myself and decided that he didn’t have an aggressive look on his face. He radiated a strange feeling of trust.
When I knew I had no strength left on my knees, he caught up with me. Exhausted and confused, I tripped on a pile of sand. He caught me with his muscular arms and helped me to stand straight. The muscles on my knees were shaking helplessly and protesting against my will to stand up. I looked up to his face. With a sudden beam of light in the darkness, I realized that his eyes were a vibrant green. He locked eyes with me and started to talk. At first, I couldn’t make sense of what he was saying. As my ears were ringing, the only thing that caught my attention was the swift motion of his lips. I did not know how to read lips, so as I tried to focus more carefully, his words became clearer.
“It’s time, Mia. There is no more running away. We are all in danger. You have to pick a side or else...”
He paused in the middle of his sentence. He turned back in a sharp motion, and while I was still trying to figure out who he was and how he knew my name, he used his body as a shield to protect me. As I peeked over his shoulder, I saw another man. The first thing that crossed my mind was how spectacularly tanned his skin was. He had the most beautiful and most muscular face I have ever seen. As he was standing in front of me with his nose as perfect as if it was sculpted, high cheekbones, slightly cornered chin, and shapely lips, he seemed almost unreal. His hair, spilling on his shoulders, was fluttering lightly in the wind. His eyes were like a rainy night sky, black as the night itself. His eyes had a slight shimmering to them, like a massive tornado waiting to consume everyone who dares to come closer. And then I heard his laugh. It wasn’t the typical bad-guy kind of laugh. He had a fine, strong voice that held a certain kindness. It was a kind of laughter that you do out of courtesy when you hear a terrible joke.
“What are you doing here?” said the man who was still shielding me.
“The same thing as you… Apparently, you already found it.” It was the most beautiful voice I’ve ever heard from a man. It was as if his voice was coming out from a cave in his chest, but it was still as clear as the harmonic sound of water running down a stream on a warm spring day. His accent made me think he was Hispanic. It explained why his skin was so perfectly tanned. His sarcastic yet suggestive voice showed that his tension levels were high.
“Don’t you dare to touch her, Alejandro!”
He didn’t even pay attention. His eyes found mine, and the way he looked at me sent shivers down my spine. I felt like I was hypnotized, and his eyes were swallowing me. I couldn’t decide if he was one of the good guys or the bad guys. My brain was numb, and I couldn’t think. I was not able to take my eyes off of him for a while. He broke the eye contact first. He looked at the guy who was shielding me as if he wanted to get rid of the only obstacle that was standing between us. He grabbed the guy from his crisp white shirt, which I only just realized and then threw him aside. The guy fell onto the sand. Frankly, he didn’t seem as weak as to be tossed aside so easily. But If he was as tired as I was, that could have been the final straw. Our eyes met, and he looked at me apologetically, but he stayed on the ground.
When there was no longer an obstacle between us, I could see Alejandro in his full glory. He was neither beautiful nor handsome. He was simply magnificent. His muscles, which his black shirt couldn’t hide, were broad under the light of the desert sun. With his matching black pants and belt, he was looking as solemn and dangerous as a Latin god.
He leaned forward and held my hands carefully as if they were made of glass, and before I had a chance to draw them back, he kissed my hand. I did not expect that.
“I wish our meeting could be more pleasant, Mia. I’m Alejandro. Please forgive the Rio’s rudeness,” he said, pointing at the guy on the ground. It was the green-eyed guy’s name. I took advantage of the opportunity and used my talent; I perceived and interpreted what I sensed.
I was not born to be ordinary, and neither were my sisters. My family, our acquaintances, none of us were ordinary people. We were Azurites, a superior clan to humans. Every one of us is blessed with a different ability. Mine was the ability to sense everything and beyond. We are called the Azurites because our eyes turn into the color azurite blue when we use our powers. We don’t have the kind of superpowers that can save the world, so we almost look like ordinary people. The rest of humanity is unaware of our presence, and we also cannot recognize our kind among other people. Every clan has a distinct emblem, but it is a mark not visible to anyone but themselves. The two men I was standing with were also one of us. They were Azurite too. That was the only thing I could sense.
“Go back wherever you came from, Alejandro!” Rio turned his eyes to me as he was trying to stand up. “Mia, don’t listen to him. It’s a trap! It’s all a game.”
For a moment, his words startled me, and I decided that Alejandro was evil. To be honest, I had no evidence other than Rio’s words. I didn’t know why I trusted Rio. Maybe I was just confused. Alejandro and Rio had something which partially blocks my abilities. Something was wrong. This place and these people were all wrong.
Alejandro kept looking at me as if Rio had never spoken. “Mia, I only came to warn you. I am going to be there for you to protect you from the upcoming disasters and you will stand by me. We wouldn’t want lovely little ladies like you and your sisters to share your mother and aunt’s fate now, would we?” There was a trace of threat hidden under his kind voice. He was not going to give me any other options. He had the arrogance of a man who is used to get what he wants.
I knew something that could help me at a time like this: Martial arts. I had lots of medals. My sisters and I knew how to defend ourselves. As a matter of fact, my oldest sister Lana was actively sent out to operations by an undercover organization which works for the government. This meant that I knew some useful moves and techniques myself. While Rio was standing up, Alejandro became distracted for a moment. I decided to use that to my advantage. The adrenaline and fear which were being pumped through my veins gave me the strength I needed. I jumped to kick his face. I spun in the air once and gained more strength and with that momentum, I stretched out my leg. For a moment, I thought I was going to succeed but then he grasped my leg while it was still in the air.
“Did you really think you could defend yourself with cheap parlor tricks like that Mia? This is my final warning. Do not dare to challenge me again. Never!” He let go of my leg and held me in his arms. He pulled me closer. He was pretty tall. The tip of my head was the same level with his chin. I caught a glimpse of a soft expression in his eyes. He was so close to me that his lips were about to touch my skin. He brushed against my cheek and leaned into my ear. The time slowed down. I could hear my pulse right under my ears. It wasn’t beating frantically because of anger. I was completely terrified. A light wind blew both our hair as he whispered into my ear.
“It’s time for me to go now Mia. We will meet again soon. I will be there when the time comes.” He said with a silky voice. I wished I wasn’t so afraid but it was too late.
The last thing I remembered was the sandstorm. I heard a soft voice calling my name from a distance. I slightly opened my eyes. I was looking at Carmela’s beautiful face. Her big eyes were filled with concern. We always envied her as she was the only one in our family with colored-eyes. Her long auburn hair was braided as always. She was twenty-two which meant that she was two years older than me and she was the second child in our family. We were sharing a room in our family house. I loved being roommate with her because she was the closest one to me among my sisters. We shared almost everything.
She spoke with her sweet, calming voice. “Sweetie, wake up. It’s over now. You were having the same dream. You were screaming and saying our names in your sleep.”
I stood up and looked into Carmela’s hazel eyes. It was hard to describe last night as a dream. It was more like a series of images but not so much. It felt so real, almost like a memory. I couldn’t explain these to her because even to me that sounded insane.
After a long pause I asked the time.
“It’s five in the morning. The sun is about the rise.”
“I had the same dream Carmela. That man was talking to me again.”
She hugged me tightly. It felt so good to be at home even though I didn’t really go anywhere. “Come on, let’s go downstairs. Others have already woken up to your screams.” I guess I disturbed everyone’s sleep. I blamefully apologized.
“It doesn’t matter. Come on, put on your robe.”
I nodded and put on my satin lilac nightie which was almost reaching to my ankles and its matching robe. I carelessly put my brown hair into a bun.
“It’s better to be cautious. We are no longer safe in this house. We need to warn the others,” I said turning to her.
By ‘others,’ I meant the Azurites. We were living among other people. I didn’t even know how many of us were left.
I turned to Carmela who was looking at me with an anxious look on her face. Her talent was telekinesis. This meant that she was able to control objects with her mind. It was a more active talent compared to mine. Besides, it was more useful in a daily life basis.
She had been worried for days because of my dream. I also agreed that we had to do something about it. For the last few days, the moment I closed my eyes, I was having the same dream. No matter how many hours I slept, I was always tired. We had to mention this to someone. We could no longer ignore this because this dream was not like any other.
Maybe we should even call some Zathefs. They had information almost about everything. Surely they would help us understand what was going on. Zathefs were stronger than us. They were created to control the world and ensuring the divine balance. They were neutral creatures. They were living among the ordinary people just like us and they were not recognizable to anyone but their own kind. It was hard to contact with them.
In other words, humans consisted of three different races: The Ordinary, the Azurite and the Zathefs. There were only the ordinary humans at the beginning. However, they failed to appreciate the value of the gift of life. Then the Azurites came into existence as a superior race. When they -I mean us- also failed to keep the balance, the most superior race, Zathefs, was formed.
I put aside my thoughts which were buzzing in my ear. I turned to Carmela.
“It’s time Carmela. I repeated Rio’s words from my dream. “Let’s go and find out who those men are.”