I grasp the edge of the pool. Every ounce of strength focused on dragging myself back up. My wings flap against the current pulling me down. My grip on the edge begins to slip. Before I know it, all that’s keeping me up is my trembling fingertips.
“Help!” I cry out, even though I know no one is within earshot. This is my last initiation day, and of course I had to be the one to get in trouble. I never should have left my patrol group.
My dagger slips from its hold and falls to the Earth beneath me. Damn it! I I think. Why did I have to get so close to the Looking Pool? I knew that I could fall, but I just couldn’t wait another day to see it. One more day and I would have been a... I slip.
As I fall, time seems to slow, does slow. The world blurs beside me, but all I can feel is the slow tumble of my body through the air. Complete silence fills the space. I see the forest I am headed for, I begin to hear again. Just before I hit the ground I remember...
Drip, drip, drip. My body is guided into consciousness by the soft, steady flecks of water on my face.
Crunch, crunch, crunch.
“Hey, beautiful.” A clean shaven face winks into view. Eyes as green as emeralds twinkled above me. My blurry vision begins to allow me to take in the scene. The creature in front of me is a... a what? I shake my head, attempting to clear it. I almost faint. “Easy, sweetheart.” The, thing, says. “Wouldn’t want to ruin that face, now would we?” He reaches down and looks as if he's going to place his hand on my cheek, until I notice the needle.
Bad. That's the one thought flashing through my head. Along with, what the hell is going on?
I scramble backward, or at least try to. The guys hand grasps my arm too tightly, and my pounding head an aching body don't... Black, dark, sleep.
. . .
A spinning head ache forces me back into consciousness. The thin blanket wrapped around me does little to block out the cold rock; cave? Is this a cave? what’s a cave?
“So the sleeping beauty awakes, eh?” It’s the same guy as before, but what is he? He has pointed ears and looks taller than he should be. Maybe he’s a, a what?
“He’s an elf” I jump at the new, voice that sounds behind me. “You can call me, Empress Of All, and him ElfBoy” Her clothing consists of a plain, dull-brown dress that ends just above her feet which are clad only in thin leather shoes.
“Come on, Fyra,” The, elf, says. Turning to me he continues, “I’m Frank. She is Fyra, and you are?” His clothing consists of a tunic, with small boots for shoes.
“I, I am...” I pause, realizing that I have no clue.
“Stupid?” The girl asks, “Oh wait, you actually don’t know! Ha!”
“Fyra! Quit it! That’s rude!” Frank reprimands Fyra, but in more of a teasing manner than anything else. “Sorry, she reads minds. It’s kinda cute though.”
“FRANK! Seriously, now?” Her cheeks color, contradicting her sharp tone.
“What the hell is going on?” I shout,or rather try but my voice cracks instead.
“Oh I don’t know,” Frank replies, “You just fell out of the sky, rudely interrupting a very nice moment between Fyra and I,”
“Sorry, sweetie, anyway. So you fell from the sky, crashed into our other fort, and you’re asking ME what the hell’s going on? I’d like to ask you the same question.”
“Frank, she doesn’t know.” Fyra says, staring intently at me. “She doesn’t know who she is, or where she came from. Wow, she doesn’t even know the obvious.”
“Which is what?” Frank and I ask at the same time.
“You’re an Angel.”
Crickets. That’s the only way to describe what happened next. You could have heard a feather fall in that silence. Frank turned to me with a look somewhere between wonder and horror.
“What?” I finally break the silence, I glance at my back and there sit two silvery wings, “How did you know?” My high pitched voice shatters the glassy air.
“I am a Demon, you are my natural enemy. I can’t believe even in this state you can’t sense that we are enemies. Also, the wings are a dead giveaway.” Fyra turns, a tail creeps up out of her skirt.
As soon as I see it, something clicks. I don’t actually remember, but something makes me scramble backwards. My self preservation kicks in, and all I can think is that I have to get out of here, now. I don’t know exactly what a Demon is, but I know it’s not good.
Adrenaline allows me to push my aching legs into an upright position. I run towards the cave’s narrow entrance. I almost make it before Fyra grabs me, and shoves me to the ground.
“Oh no you don’t, Angel” Fyra hisses in my ear, her breath is hot and smells of fire. “I’ve had pets before, but never an Angel.”
“Fyra,” Frank says in a warning tone.
“Shut it, elf” Fyra snaps, the embarrassment gone from her cheeks, replaced with anger. “You always get all the fun, all the girls, my turn.”
“What. The. Hell. Let me go!” I scream, thrashing around.
“Chill, Angel, I am not going to hurt you. That wouldn’t be fun.”
“Fyra!” Frank snaps, coming towards us, “Back off! She’s lost, and confused. Stop threatening her, and maybe we can figure this out.”
“But she’s an-”
“Yes, an Angel. She never hurt you directly. Now let her go before I make you. She doesn’t even know who she is.”
“Frank,” Fyra clearly thinks he’s joking. The notion of him “making her” is obviously ridiculous to her.
“I’ll leave, for real this time.” That seems to get her attention.
It takes Fyra an excruciating amount of time, before finally releasing me. I pull away, and almost sprint when Frank speaks up.
“You can run, and I won’t stop you,” He begins, causing me to pause,”but you won’t last long out there. You are strong, but you don’t remember any of your obvious training. You don’t know what’s happening, and you need us now. More than anything, you need to figure out who you are.”
I look out at the world, it looks like just woods. Who can tell what hides there though. Besides, Frank’s right, I don’t know how to survive.
“Fine,” I grumble, turning towards the cave’s back once more, feeling like I’ve sealed an unwanted fate.
As I walk back into the cave, I get a better look at my surroundings. I think everything is, grey? Yes, grey. It’s more of a speckled grey that has sort of flecks that sparkle in it. In the center is a fire that snaps and pops. I glance around, not seeing any wood. Maybe it’s Fyra’s... I never finish my thought, because at that moment Fyra opens her mouth.
“Yes, I am a Demon so obviously I can conjure fire,” she spits sarcastically, “I am not going to burn you to the ground so don’t worry.” With that, Fyra storms off outside.
“Don’t mind her,” Frank says, “she just doesn’t particularly like Angels.”
“Great,” I mutter. “Why doesn’t she like us?”
“Well she is on the run because of them.” Frank says this as if it’s the most commonplace thing in the world.
“How?” I inquire.
“Well, that is for me to know, and you to wonder,” Frank says, his tone saying this conversation is over.
“Ok,” I say, “so why are you travelling with a fugitive?” Fugitive, that’s a new word.
“Well, I am one myself.” Frank says, glancing up at me.
An image flashes before my eyes of a wanted poster with Frank’s face plastered on it. He’s wanted for...
“Murder?” I squeal a little bit, “you killed an Angel?”
“Well of course you would remember that.” Frank says, “just my luck. Come on though, you can’t say you don’t like a bad boy.” He winks at me with those emerald eyes, obviously expecting me to swoon. Instead, I roll my eyes.
“And why,” I ask with the slightest stutter, “did you kill an Angel?”
“Give me a break,” his voice spiked with indignation. “Do I look like a killer to you?”
“Well, I don't really know what a killer looks like so...”
“Oh, shut your smart mouth. A killer looks like a lot of things, but not me.” He meets my eyes with his. “I look like a thief.”
“Oh good, so you’re still a ‘bad boy’” I tease, before turning serious. “How do I know you aren’t lying?”
“I am a lot of things, Lucy, a liar is not among them.”
“Whose Lucy?” I ask.
“Whose Lucy? You said Lucy.”
“Oh, no one.”
“Fine! But if Fyra asks, I didn’t tell you.” Frank gives up, “you’re Lucy. Fyra saw it in your head.”
“Wait,” I flick my gaze to the cave’s mouth that Fyra left from. “I thought she was a mind reader?”
“Then how can she see something that isn’t in my head?”
“Easy.” Frank replies. “It’s still in your head, just buried. The way Fyra describes it, people never forget anything. They just bury it. As long as it’s somewhere, she can see it.”
“So you’re telling me that she knows all about me, and I know nothing about her?” Somehow, this doesn’t seem fair.
“Well yeah, pretty much.”
“Huh,” I say. “And she doesn’t feel like telling me?”
"She's gotten me out of more scrapes than I can count."
"She's still a bitch," I mutter.
"Maybe, but once she warms up to you, I bet she'll loosen up and tell you something, Lucy." Frank seems dead set on defending her.
"Fine!" I finally give in, "but at least tell me why she's on the run."
"She was betrayed by a friend." Frank keeps his answer short, clearly not wanting to spill his heart to a stranger. "An Angel no less."
"Great." I mutter.
"Well, you're going to need some way of defending yourself, so let's get you a dagger." Frank says, changing the subject.
I follow him through a small tunnel in the back of the cave that I hadn't noticed before. There's a small chest that hold daggers, throwing knifes, and one bow with a quiver of arrows in it. Frank digs through the daggers which each have their own sheath. He finally decides on one whose sheath is decorated with vines crawling up it. When it's pulled out, the shining metal greets my eyes.
"Here," Frank says. "This one will keep you nice and safe."
“Angels,” I mutter to myself. “I hate them, every last one.” My feet crunch on the crisp leaves that have been dropped by the tall oaks that stand tall beside me. I can’t believe Frank, he actually thinks we should help this idiot Lucy. I hate her, and reading her mind isn’t helping how I feel about her either.
I should clarify, technically I can read minds, but there are some restrictions. I can only see what you‘ve forgotten, or rather think you’ve forgotten. As sentient beings, we never truly forget. You can bury something, or lock it away deep inside, but you can never forget. Forgetting entails that you can never recover it, but every memory is there, bubbling beneath the surface.
I told Frank that the Angel’s name is Lucy, and not to tell her. He will though, he’ll let it slip. That’s ok though, she can know her name. I won’t tell her that she’s Heaven’s good little girl, or that she agrees, politically, with the werewolves rebellion. I won’t even tell her that she is following in her poor, deceased mother’s footsteps by being a Sacred EarthGuard. I don’t know what that is, and I don’t feel like searching.
I allow my frustration at her, and Heaven, and Hell, and pretty much everything else settle on my skin like a heavy blanket. I keep walking, until I hear them.