The sun shone through the small gaps in the blinds of Amber’s room, causing strips of warm light to stretch over a side of her face, illuminating her cheek and waking her. She sat up, rejuvenated with motivation, then noticing that Cressela wasn’t in the room. Amber slipped on a hoodie and some leggings, coming out of the room and approaching Ruey, who was busily jotting down notes in a notebook and sipping his coffee. He looked up and smiled warmly at Amber.
“Hello, my dear. Did you sleep well?”
“Yeah, thanks,” she said distractedly, looking around the house. “Where’s Cressela?”
“Back garden,” he said, nodding towards it, “practising her powers, I suppose. It’s walled off to the road and other houses, so she should be fine doing it out there. Oh, and also,” he continued, standing up and emptying some cat food in Celeste’s bowl, who made her way to it judgementally, “I’ve got a friend that’s been going on tours and expeditions to rainforests for magazines and the papers. I’ve managed to book a flight to where this inventor resides. All I need is for Cressela to make them forget about where they dropped you off at.”
Amber beamed happily, nodding and going out to where Cressela was, watching her from the doorway. Electricity and lightning conducted themselves and sparked from her hands and fingertips, travelling up her arm and darting about her. She noticed Amber, and she beckoned her over, offering her hand. Amber hesitated for a second before putting out her hand, to which Cressela took and brushed against hers. Mini bolts of lightning danced above Amber’s palm, and she watched, frozen in excitement and shock. After several moments it wore off, dissipating into the atmosphere.
“Wow,” Amber breathed, astounded, “you can control and summon lightning?”
“Yes,” Cressela replied, smiling, “we all have different powers. My friend, Natalia, she can fly as fast as the speed of light.”
“She can fly?” Amber questioned, amazed. “How? Does she have wings, or can she just... do it?”
“Wings,” Cressela replied, “Insanis likened her to a... fairy? She’s my species, but with different powers too.”
“And we’ll see her if we go there?”
“Yes. You see all of them. And Whitney Wynter, she is what Insanis calls an enchantress. And Ash Black, she has ice powers.”
“That’s so amazing,” Amber said, watching as birds flew past the house, “I wish I was more like your species.”
Cressela shook her head, disagreeing.
“No. You are very restricted with Insanis. Anything you do, it is for him. And if you manage to escape, humans will kill you. It’s like the feeling you’re in... in war.”
Amber bit her lip, empathising with her. It was so unfair - Cressela and her kind didn’t deserve it. They were beings too, and they had emotions, visible or not, and although they did take getting used to, Amber decided that they were undeserving of the treatment that the inventor Insanis made them do.
“It won’t be like that for much longer, I promise,” Amber told her, “because we’re going there as soon as we can. I want to try to talk to him, and reason - and if that won’t work, talk to the rest of your species held captive there. All of you against him - I don’t think he’d be able to stand that.”
“Difficult,” Cressela said, processing her words, “they all live in fear of him. Won’t want to go against him. But,” she continued, nodding, “it's possible.”
“We’re going there on a plane - which is something that you can get moved around quickly on without walking. Can you try and wipe the person that will take us there from remembering where we are going is?”
“Yes,” she replied confidently, “I'll do that.”
Ruey came out to the garden, leading them back indoors.
“You get your rides there tomorrow morning, at four o’clock. It’s early, I know, but the best we can do on short notice.”
Amber’s heart raced as she sat down at a table, stroking Celeste’s fluffy ashen fur. So many emotions filled her that she started to feel dizzy. Excitement, because it was the adventure that she had always needed, desperately - nothing that she’d ever imagined, but even better. Worry, in case her plans failed and made things worse. Anger, towards the mad doctor behind the scenes, training innocent creations into mindless terminators and mistreating them. And shock that the plan was going ahead, with Cressela by her side, as the first of her kind to befriend a human girl, who had suddenly entered her life and offered her the chance she yearned for.
Cressela’s voice snapped her of her thoughts, as she sat opposite.
“Yeah, I’m okay,” she replied, biting the inside of her lip.
“You know, when you came, found me, I was dying. I was alone without family or species too long, and went through Delusional faze.”
Amber’s brows knitted, as she looked up at her.
“When we’re left alone for long times, your thinking gets damaged and go delusional. Killing things, living as rabid, until the body and mind shut down.”
Amber’s eyes widened in horror.
“Is that why your eyes were white and you were bleeding?”
“Yes, I think. But we bleed because Insanis accidentally made us with too much blood. Sometimes it comes out. Doesn’t matter much though.”
“Oh,” Amber said, nodding slowly. “That must’ve been awful.”
“But then you come, and tell me about friends and my kind again, and I slowly go back to my normal self. So, if you do that to me, you defeat Insanis.” Her face darkened as she mentioned him, and then worry spread across her features.
“He will be annoyed to see me,” she said, “I escaped, and he wants me.”
“How do you know? There’s a lot of your kind like you, isn’t there?”
“Yes. But I am different. I don’t know how though.”
Ruey came in the room, and Cressela went back outside, practising her techniques alone.
“Amber,” he started, taking her hands in his, “I have something I’ve been meaning to give you.”
He took something out of his pocket, placing it on the table. Amber stared at it, amazed. It was a beautiful thin gold chain, with a silver pendant that held a small orange-yellow glossy stone inside it.
“This is a real piece of amber, my child,” he said, smiling at her. “I found it in a pile of many old letters. It was sent here a long time ago, by your father. It was your mother’s chain; he put together the amber pendant. I should’ve found and given it to you sooner. Take it. Remember, I will always be with you.”
Amber couldn’t speak for a moment and allowed her grandfather to put the necklace around her neck, the amber stone softly thumping to her chest.
“Thank you,” she said, hugging him tightly. “I’ll miss you, grandad.”
“As will I, my child,” he said, patting her on the back and releasing her.
“Stay strong, stand proudly, and with Cressela by your side and your firm attitude, you will be unstoppable, Amber Obscura. I just know it.”