Amber Obscura was born in a land of distress and war. Her mother was extremely sick due to the food and medical supplement shortages across the area, the consequence of the fighting and disagreement between higher powers. The outcome of this was a tragic one - the mother died shortly after giving birth to her healthy baby girl.
Her father was the leader of a rebel group who fought against the injustice and harsh, unfair treatment of the opposing order. Because of this, he was always in great danger of surprise attacks and other hazards, and so his newborn daughter was not safe being around him for long periods of time. Instead, his father, Ruey Obscura, tended to the young girl - providing her with adequate supplies and treatment. They continued living there, in her homeland, until they no longer could.
The war worsened, and tragically Amber’s father, Khane Obscura, was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He died very suddenly, so the young child and her grandfather made the decision to leave the land, and become refugees in a country far away from the violence and strife that they were forced to bear.
However, Ruey was an old man, weak and tiring, and so he made the painful decision to hand her over to foster parents, though still able to see her when he wished. She lived with a woman called Mazel, aged thirty-two, with fair hair, blue eyes and an impressive figure, who worked as the editor-in-chief for a popular fashion magazine. She was the wife of a man named Theodore and lived with him and their two other children she bore - a girl a year younger than Amber named Meadow, and her younger brother Jackson.
Amber never really felt that close to her foster family. Meadow was now fifteen and had a huge interest in all things fashion and beauty. As for Jackson, a young boy in Grade Two, he was still fairly innocent to the world’s injustices, always laughing and earning approval and adoration from teachers, his parents and other adults.
Theodore was the owner of a large, popular technology company, and was often away running various errands with his secretaries and businessmen and women. And since Mazel was often busy with her job in the fashion industry, it was usually Amber who was left to look after her foster-siblings.
So, when she could, she escaped from the big, grand house of theirs by running off into the woods that lead into a large, deep forest - smothered with bushes and leaves painted in vibrant shades of green, wildflowers that blossomed proudly, showing off their vivid coloured petals, and thick sturdy trees, some so tall that only their rough, dark trunks were visible. She would climb up them eagerly, swaying on her own DIY rope-and-stick swing, and either read old, big fiction books or sketch in her art book. Sometimes she would stay there for hours, undisturbed by the busy lives of her family and the roaring of cars, the rushing of people going to work and meeting at nearby malls. Here, she could escape to mother nature, and there was nothing she loved more.
She had also had a young husky, gifted to her from her Grandfather on her thirteenth birthday, named Marcel - meaning “little warrior”. He too enjoyed his long treks in the forest, and would often wander around near Amber or lie beside her tree while she was reading and sketching. Her drawings often consisted of mythical animals and forbidden lands; characters from her novels and princesses that rebelled, turning against their natural Disney fate.
Some days, she would approach the edge of cliffs or dips leading to waterfalls, and spread out her arms, her eyes locked onto the skies, imagining the feeling of flying, being free of the uncertainties of the world; free of humans’ distress and confusions. Marcel glanced at the waters for a few moments, then decided that he didn’t like heights after all, gambolling back to the safety of the inky-green bushes and leaves.
“I do wish you wouldn’t spend days on end in those woods, Amber,” Mazel commented with a frown after she came home in the early evening. “You get all dirt and muck on your designer outfits! Most of your tights have gags and ladders in them, and I’ve given up buying you white clothes now. You need to try and set a better example for your siblings.”
Meadow came downstairs, smirking smugly, her fair hair bouncing under her pink clips as she stepped.
“I’m ready for my ballet lesson now, Mum!” She pretended to be shocked at Amber’s appearance. “Wow, what happened to you!? There’s a green stain all down your leg, see?”
Amber glared at her, rolling her eyes, and pushed past her to go upstairs. Her and Meadow had to share a room, so most times she would go up into the attic, which she had decorated with fairy lights and candles, blankets and pillows, with her favourite books and old journals stacked in the far corners. There was old merchandise from Mazel’s Runway shoots which cushioned the hard, light-wood floorboards. Some might liken her behaviour as sociopathic, but her Grandfather knew better. She was permitted to visit him when she pleased, often after school when her siblings were at clubs and parents still working. Although she did have house keys, she loved talking to her Grandfather about foreign myths and legends, discussing scientific cases and ultimate questions.
Ruey lived in a small bungalow on the outskirts of a nearby park, content with living a simple life with his old Siamese cat, Celeste. He worked privately as an Anthropologist, entranced by human behaviour and actions, and would always be delighted to see her, showing her his latest invention ideas and biological studies.
“Could humans ever, like, gain superpowers? Such as flying, and other unnatural traits?” Amber questioned him one late afternoon, inspecting his recent works. He sat himself down slowly in his pillowed armchair, leaning back and peering at her over his spectacles.
“Our biology denies it, Amber dear. But perhaps, perhaps one day something could change that. There was once a myth from Vatican City, a city-state surrounded by Rome, that a scientist worked out an unbelievably complex, incredible formula to create beings with human-like traits and appearances, who had powers made of various elements and creatures!”
Amber’s eyes widened in bemusement.
“Really. But I very much doubt something like that will happen in my lifetime.”
Amber and Ruey had one of the closest of relationships, and shared the same historical and science-based interests - hours could go by with them talking. But her foster parents, especially Mazel, wasn’t so keen on the idea - though she was always polite to him.
“I know that you two are very close, but that man puts too many warped ideas into your head, Amber. A respectable man, of course; I just wish you could have a somewhat normal conversation,” Mazel said disdainfully.
Theodore frowned a little, resting his head on the palm of his hand.
“Well, there’s no problem with them discussing history and... what is it - science? - together, since those two subjects are quite important in exams at school. I agree, a nice man though.” He looked over at Meadow, who was piecing together a bead bracelet.
“Wouldn’t you like to go with your sister, Meadow?”
She looked up, raising an eyebrow.
“I’d rather not, honestly. Wouldn’t that be a bit awkward? And anyway, I hardly know him - he isn’t my relative.”
Amber stayed silent, sketching roughly her ideas of the superhuman creations, her bright green eyes darting across the cream pages. She was seen as different and weird because her reality was seen as some sort of fantasy. She always hoped, and deep down was certain that there was so much more that life secretly offered than this. An adventure, a change - just something. Anything.
But I can safely assume that the adventure that she was very soon going to partake of was not what she imagined at all.
After all, what would wishes and dreams be if they turned out exactly the way you visualized them?