Before I get started, I’d like to apologize in advance for the confusing formatting ^^ At the beginning of each chapter, there’s going to be a snippet of a story that is directly linked to this one, although you (hopefully) won’t figure out how until the end of the story. It’ll be italicized and separated by a line like this ______ or something (haven’t really thought about it much yet ^^”)
Karyn. Pronounced: Kuh-rin.
Congratulations. You have been chosen out of six billion the host for your soul.
Echoing in my head. I could tell you a million ways to pronounce it, a hundred ways to say it in each of a thousand different languages.
Your mission is simple. Give hope to the people: let yourself shine.
The speech–I could hear it now. A voice that wasn’t quite a voice, telling me what to do, how to do it. Speaking in all tongues at once, but not saying a word.
It was impossible to describe.
Test the world. See if it is livable. Many of you will not make it. Your souls will be crushed, your spirit destroyed, and you will become just a Notherling.
Something platinum, metallic drops over my eyes. It goes dark, all is black, and I felt cold metal on my back.
You will not remember your mission. You will walk among them. You will give them strength, courage. You will keep your light alive…
Light–suddenly, blindingly, shockingly bright–bounced off the reflective walls and back into my eyes, growing brighter and brighter. It was as if every time the light waves hit the wall they multiplied, until the air was thick with white. It held me up, kept me from touching the cold metal walls.
… Or you will perish in the darkness.
I heard a scream and fear filled my heart. The light faded, but it did not die. It diminished, though, and it no longer held me up. I knew I should have hit the metal surface again, but I instead began to plummet, and I did not stop.
Remember what you have learned, but remember not who you are. The blessings of the Karyn are with you, and we hope you will return.
Spiralling, spiralling: down, down, down. I felt myself shrivel up and devolve.
I was not afraid.
A fair-haired child sat alone in the darkness, her blue eyes wide and brimming with tears. Her last candle had burnt out and not an inkling of light shone through the swirling blackness that hovered over her eyes like a thick sheet.
She cried not out of fear, but out of yearning. She had long ago learned not to fear the darkness–in fact, she would have welcomed an attack, if only to remind herself she wasn’t completely alone. She knew in her heart, of course, that there was someone (After all, the candles couldn’t just be leaving themselves, could they? And where else would her food come from?), someone who at least knew where she was, but she had seen neither hide nor hair of them. It did not matter to her, anyway; she wanted someone to care for her, someone to hug and laugh with, and whoever supplied her with the candles (and, she assumed, the food she received) clearly did not care enough for her to release her from her cold confines.
She longed so to be free–to once again feel the wind in her hair, the sun on her face; to dig her feet into the moist, cool earth, and to feel the heat from a flame on her cold body.
The child had learned that sleep without exhaustion was nearly impossible. She had tried singing herself to sleep, but she had grown to find that not even that helped any more. The drip, drip, drip of the water that trickled down the face of rock opposite her bed was irregular. It was the only noise that she heard as she tried to fall asleep and reach her dreams, and the lack of a pattern made it even worse.
She could hear it now–Plink! Plink! Plink!–as it landed in the little pool at the base of the rock. She had once tried to examine the tiny crevices through which it seeped, hoping that they might lead her to the other side, but to no avail; the only thing that had happened was the extinguishing of her candle.
Suddenly, her eyes caught movement. She nearly jumped right out of her skin. Holding her breath, she stared straight ahead into the darkness, wondering if a monster had finally emerged, intending to make her its dinner. Instead, she saw it again. It wove a spidery line of faintly glowing green-white through the darkness. Another followed, then another. Each drop grew brighter and brighter.
The child got to her feet and rubbed her eyes. It was the waterfall. It was glowing!
She walked cautiously to the pool and knelt by the edge. The water was glowing much brighter–it now illuminated the entire cavern. It frightened the little girl, but not because she knew it would harm her. She could feel that the water contained something greater than she could imagine–something larger than her own life. However, a warm feeling of benevolence radiated from the liquid with the light itself.
She reached out tentatively, her hand hovering over the face of the rock. Her mind was teetering back and forth. Something finally weighted her mind–telling her it was safe.
She pressed her hand firmly onto the rock face, letting the water run over her hand.
An explosive light filled the room.
I woke up in a cold sweat. I had the strange feeling that I should have been disturbed by my dream, but I couldn’t quite remember what it was. I shoved the thought to the back of my mind and glanced at the clock.
3:14 A.M. I flopped back down onto my mattress and exhaled heavily. My mother was coming to pick me up at eight. I had about five more hours to go. I rubbed my face with my hands and let out a little groan.
I really don’t like sleep-overs.
“Drasia?” the creak of a bed told me that Morgandy was awake. “Are you feeling alright?”
“I feel fine,” I lied, “I just had a weird dream, that’s all.”
“Oh,” she said. I could tell she was tired–her voice was cracking like a glass plate hit by a mallet.
There was a long silence, but the rustling from her bed told me she hadn’t gone to sleep yet. The truth was, I couldn’t either.
I usually sleep like a log, but for some reason, something was preventing me from shutting my eyes that night.
“Why are you awake?” I asked. I figured that I might as well make conversation, as to not seem indifferent.
“Hm?” she responded quickly. Once her brain had time to catch up, she quickly replied, “Oh, I had a funny dream, too.”
“What about?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” she groaned. “Something about a house of mirrors and loudspeakers.”
“That does sound funny,” I said, humoring her. It didn’t sound funny at all.
She laughed weakly. “The funny part is that it scared me,” she said. “It… I don’t know. I feel like there was something chasing me.”
“That’s how a lot of dreams end,” I reminded her. “It’s just a dream, you’ll be fine.”
“Thanks, Drasia,” she said.
In a few minutes, her deep, rythmic breathing told me that she had succumbed to slumber.
I looked at the clock. 3:40. I closed my eyes and tilted my head back into my pillow, pointing my chin at the ceiling.
A wave of chills rose up along my arms, spread across my torso, and ran up my neck. My body felt numb, and the same sensation spread from the bottoms of my toes up my legs. The hair on my scalp started to crawl.
I sat up quickly, rubbing my hand along my arms. I stayed there for a moment, my only companion in the darkness the pulsing second indicator on the digital clock. Then, beside me, Morgandy sprung up from her bed and opened the window. Cold, harsh moonlight streamed through, burning my eyes. They had become accustomed to the dark.
Blinking, I got up and stood beside her.
“What are you doing?” hissed Cam. She had been sleeping peacefully. I felt rather guilty, saying as we were her guests.
I had no response, so I looked to Morgandy. She seemed not to have heard Cam. She was staring intensely at something outside the window. I followed her gaze and found she was staring at a large van down the street (the window was on the front side of the house). A tall, graceful boy was unloading boxes from the back.
“Cam?” Julie, the fourth sleepover member, had awoken. She was a light sleeper.
Apparently, though, Laney was still asleep. With her loud voice (and foul language), that was probably a good thing.
“Cam, what’s going on?” Julie scrambled clumsily to her feet and pushed us out of the way so she could look out the window. “Are those your new neighbors?”
“Go to sleep, Julie, Drasia, Morgandy,” Cam said tiredly. “It’s almost–“she checked the clock, “4:00 in the morning. Get to bed.”
After the brouhaha had concluded and I had settled back down into my bed, I realized the tingling was gone.
I had no trouble going to sleep.
When we awoke the next morning, I wanted to ask Morgandy why she had gone to the window. However, she was still asleep. I decided to let her rest, and I went down to breakfast with the rest of the girls.
I was halfway through my cereal when I heard a basketball bouncing outside. I looked up, but no one else seemed to hear.
Next to me, Julie sat up suddenly.
“Oh. My. Gosh,” she said slowly, dragging out the space between her words.
“What?” Cam asked, a little cranky from being woken up in the middle of the night.
“Look! Your new neighbor. He’s super cute!” Julie exclaimed.
I stared at her. She had woken up in the middle of the night, too–how was she possibly so perky?
Cam looked out the window, “Oh, you’re right,” she agreed, “he’s mega-cute!”
“Mega-hot!” she corrected.
“Whatever,” Laney rolled her eyes and poured herself another bowl of cereal.
Cam shot Laney a glance. I was’t quite sure why the two of them were friends–Laney was never nice to anyone–but they were, and Cam seemed to tolerate–maybe even cherish–Laney’s unendearing qualities. Maybe because they made her look even better in comparison.
“You want to go out and meet him?” Julie asked, her cereal pushed to the side, forgotten in all the excitement.
“Sure, in a little bit,” Cam said hastily. “I’ve still got my morning face on. Are the bags under my eyes too big?”
“You look fine,” Julie scoffed.
Julie was right, too; no matter how little sleep Cam got or how early she woke up, Cam always looked fresh faced–although her personality often begged to differ.
“Who are we going to see?”
We looked up to see Morgandy had entered the kitchen. Her straight, red hair was twisted into a messy braid, and her nightgown was at least three sizes too big for her. She was the only fifteen-year-old I knew who managed to pull off dressing like a little kid.
“The guy down the street,” Julie’s interest in him became suddenly quelled.
“Well, let’s go, then!” Morgandy said, stretching. “I like taking walks in the morning.”
“You slept so long, it’s hardly even morning any more,” Laney growled. Cam shot her another glance, but Laney did not heed it.
“Are you crazy?” Cam said, blowing by Laney’s rudeness, “You don’t even have shoes on!”
“I don’t usually wear shoes,” Morgandy pointed out. “Come on, let’s go!”
We rose from the table (Laney protested a lot to this action, using a lot of words I dare not repeat) and headed outside to greet Cam’s new neighbor.
We recognized his hose by the large moving van. I noticed a basketball lying abandoned in the grass. I wondered if he had been the one I’d heard playing earlier, before all the distracting boy talk started.
“He-llo?” Julie called out in a sing-song voice. “Welcoming comittee!”
A stout woman with dark skin hustled out of the house and came to greet us.
“Are you our neighbors?” she asked.
“Well, we aren’t,” Julie pointed to herself, Laney, Morgandy, and me, “but she is,” Julie pointed to Cam.
“Oh, it’s a pleasure to meet you,” the woman said kindly. I could tell she was in a hurry. “Have any of you seen Elwyn?”
“Elwyn?” Laney asked. I think her intent was to mock his name, but the woman acted like she was inquiring who he was.
“He’s my son. Tall, thin, dark hair, green eyes? Have you seen him?”
“I think,” I volunteered my answer, “he was playing basketball a couple minutes ago.”
The woman clucked her tongue and shook her head. “That child’s never anywhere to be found when you need him.” Then, louder, she called, “Elwyn!”
There was a rustle and a teenaged boy slipped out of the tall oak tree.
“I’m right here,” he said with a grin.
Now I saw why the Julie and Cam had been obsessing over him. He was tall and slim, but not scrawny. His teeth shone like brilliant stars against his dark skin, and his hair hung straight on his head, falling into his eyes.
His eyes. They were a shocking shade of green! Not the blue-green or gray-green you would usually see, but a pastel green. He was a very nice looking young man.
We exchanged greetings, then left the pair alone to finish unpacking their things.
“Is he not the most fantastic peice of man candy you’ve ever laid eyes on?” Julie squealed as we arrived back at Cam’s house.
“I must say, he’s unlike any guy I’ve ever seen,” I admitted.
So why did I feel like I knew him?
(End of chapter 1)
(Sorry for the crummy ending; it’s late and I want to sleep ^^”)