It looked exactly like it did in my dream awhile back.
Buildings demolished, nothing but rubble left behind. The once lush forests and beautiful nature was burnt and blackened, trees turned into long poles lacking leaves and grass nothing but ashes.
The one thing missing from my dream- well, more like nightmare, was the massacre. Dead bodies were not littered all over the ground (thankfully) like they were in my nightmare.
"We should check the buildings, or at least the ones that we can enter. To make sure" Dylan said, offering to go by himself in case the building collapses.
"No, we're coming too" Declan said sternly.
They all turn and start making their way towards one of the searchable buildings (that wasn't completely destroyed). I move to follow them, but they all quickly turn and send me worried glances.
"Cricket, you uh... you stay here, okay?" Damien says, sending me a somewhat smile before jogging away with Declan and Dylan.
I sigh, dropping my shoulders in defeat.
I wasn't certain why they didn't want me coming, perhaps it was the possibility that somebody had been killed there, or that the building might give out and collapse.
Well what do I do now?, I thought. I was completely alone and hadn't been given a task with any significance. Even though the boys had just left, I was already bored.
So to occupy myself, I went for a walk. Memories were flying as I took in my surroundings.
I looked at a brick wall, almost destroyed but one of the only things that had mostly survived. It was covered in colourful graffiti and art. That's where Damien and I used to play Wall Ball, a game we invented together.
Next I surveyed an area that used to be a beautiful grassy lawn with shrubs and flowers. Now it was reduced to ashes and dirt. My brothers and I used to play tag there.
I didn't realize I had been attracted to the forest until I was standing on the edge of it. As I stared into the blackened forest that had once been beautiful and green, my stomach churned.
Why am I so affected by the destruction of the forest? Yes, it's part of my home but I had spent more time in the village of Pluto rather than in the woods.
I had no clue why the desolated forest was hitting me so close to home, but I knew that I wanted to find out why.
Just as I was about to step forward, a voice cries out to me.
"Dakota!" Declan yells.
I turn to see all three of my brothers running to me. My mind instantly thinks the worse, something like they found out where the massacre had taken place or our parents dead bodies.
"Thank god you're okay!" Declan sighs, pulling me into his chest. As soon as he lets me go, I am enveloped in a hug from Damien, then Dylan.
"Why wouldn't I be?" I say, confused.
"We didn't see you when we came outside" Damien explains "we thought you were taken or something"
"Oh" I nod, turning back to the forest.
"Why are you over here?" Dylan asks quietly, stepping up to my side.
"I... I don't know..." I respond honestly, trailing off at the end. I was going to tell them that for some reason I felt connected to the forest, if that was the right way to explain it? I still wasn't sure myself.
"Uh, Dakota?" Damien says with a tone of unease "your hands... they're turning green again"
"Wha-" I almost cut myself off with a scream as I looked down at my hands and noticed that they were indeed glowing a light shade of green.
"Guys! Look!" Dylan yells, pointing to a streak of red, running off in the distance.
Before anything can be said, the three of them ran off into the trees, chasing after the stray alien.
I charge after them, right on their heels when suddenly a gust of air propels the three forward into battle, leaving me behind. Again.
I was angry. Of course, I know I can't hold my own against the alienati without any Elemental abilities. But still, to see Declan leave me behind like that hurt.
I stopped running, almost as quickly as I stopped caring. It was like a kick to the face.
I realized, that all those times I cried about being helpless and useless when it came to battle and my brothers would instantly disagree, they were just lying to make me feel better. My brothers secretly agreed with me, this whole time, but they never had the guts to tell the truth.
Instead of chasing them, I walked.
I walked in the direction I thought they flew to. I'd reach them eventually, and when I did I'm sure they'd be done fighting.
As I looked down, I realized that my hands were still glowing a green, but this time brighter. I almost - almost - didn't notice the grass growing around my feet.
I turned around slowly and gasped at what I saw. On the ground where I had been running, was a trail of bright green grass, starting at the tree line of the woods.
Curiously, I poked a tree right next to me, and what happened next shocked me to the core.
The tree started growing back leaves and branches, as if returning to its natural, healthy state before the attack.
I ran in circles, touching tree after tree and watching the grass grow beneath my feet. My hands were no longer glowing green, for a reason I wasn't sure of.
Maybe this has something to do with why I felt... connected with the woods.
I stared at the ground long and hard in concentration, focusing on one spot. Suddenly, just like I was picturing in my mind, a beautiful pink flower sprout from the ground.
Maybe I don't have a connection with the woods, but a connection with nature itself? I considered.
My train of thought is cut of when I hear a strangled scream. My head snaps in the direction of the noise and instantly I start sprinting.
I had no doubts in my mind that that scream belonged to one of my brothers.