Authors: S.E. Myers
The pair headed into his room and he cracked the door behind him and plopped into the twin bean bags in front of his small entertainment system.
“I am still jealous of the set up you have here,” Ryleigh mentioned. Her father refused to put a television in her room fearing he would never see his daughter emerge. It was bad enough he allowed her to have her laptop in her room with the amount of time that she spent on it. Her father wanted real interaction with his daughter.
“Don’t be jealous Ry, it was a buyoff from my mom because of how my dad left,” Cy remarked.
“I know Cy, I know. I remember.” A short time after Ryleigh moved next door, Cy’s dad, Rodney, disappeared in the middle of the night. It was shocking news when he left his family. There wasn’t any explanation, no note, not even a phone call.
Ryleigh reached over to comfort her friend. As they embraced, Cyrus’s body stiffened, as if each muscle in his body convulsed at the same time. He then relaxed into her arms. Ryleigh could feel a tingling sensation pulsate over her skin and her heart started to beat faster. She wasn’t sure what to do and attempted to break the hug but Cyrus leaned into her more deeply. Ryleigh jumped up immediately. Cyrus looked at her with his eyes glazed over and a goofy grin.
“What are you doing?” she asked him. He looked at her blankly for a moment. Regaining his composure as confusion masked his face he asked, “Wha-? What just happened?”
“I’m- I’m not sure, but maybe you need to get a drink of water or something.”
“Yeah. Yeah, maybe you’re right.” He agreed standing up slowly. He made his way to the bathroom to get a drink of water giving Ryleigh a moment to think about what happened. Ryleigh was a little nervous and self-conscious. The urgency to leave pressed against her. She didn’t want Cy to think that it was because of him so she restrained herself to stay for a little while. She decided that she would make an excuse to go back home after a while. He was her best friend after all.
Cy opened the bathroom door, “You know, I’m actually feeling a little sick. Can we play this when you get back? I promise I will wait.”
Ryleigh was a little hurt and yet a little relieved at the same time, “Yeah, that’s fine. I have to pack anyway.” Ryleigh got up to walk out of the room and Cyrus went to grab her hand. Ryleigh jumped back. Afraid of the contact, she stumbled over the bean bag falling backward landing on the floor. Cyrus just stood there staring at Ryleigh.
“Are you okay?” he stammered.
“Mhmm, I’m fine. Just, uh, let me get up.” Ryleigh pushed herself up from the floor avoiding touching Cyrus at all cost. “I promise I’ll call you as soon as I get back.”
“Sounds good Ry.”
“Hey, if you do play while I’m gone, don’t spoil it for me, ‘k?”
“Alright,” he replied meekly, “Take care of yourself. And – Happy Birthday.”
Ryleigh ran almost panicking from Cyrus’s house to her own. She sped through the door and up the stairs before her parents could ascertain what was going on. Slamming her door she threw herself onto her bed burying her face into her pillow trying to understand what just happened.
A soft knock on the door was followed by her mother’s concern, “Ryleigh? Is everything okay?” “Yeah mom, I’m fine. It’s just - Cy isn’t feeling so great, so we are going to hang out when we get back from camping.”
There was a short muffled conversation between her mom and dad behind the door. Ryleigh sat up on the side of her bed and walked to the door pressing her ear into the wood attempting to hear the whispers of her parents curious to know what they might have found out already about her little encounter.
“We should leave today,” she could hear her mother telling her dad. “It’s happening already.”
“Alright, let me see what I can do and we’ll go.”
Ryleigh opened her door fiercely, “Why do we need to leave today? I thought we were going to leave tomorrow?”
Her parents looked at her as if they were willing the words to come for an explanation. She could see it in their eyes. The words were there to give her a clue but she wasn’t picking it up.
Her dad was the first to speak, “When we get to the campsite we will talk. There is so much that we need to tell you.” Ryleigh’s confusion was apparent as her facial features told the story. Her bright green eyes flashed with hurt and betrayal. They were always honest with each other and never kept secrets. But it seemed as if her parents were keeping a secret so huge it would take a trip away from civilization for them to finally clue her in. Adrianne reached out to embrace her daughter. Ryleigh flinched and turned away from her skulking back inside her room. She thought about slamming the door in her parents face for good measure. Just so they could understand exactly how she was feeling.
“We are going to leave in a few hours,” her mother advised, “Your dad and I will pack the car. You need to make sure you have everything ready to go. One last count for all items.” Ryleigh contained the scream building inside her and allowed only a single tear to make its escape. She grabbed her mp3 player, jammed the ear buds in her ears, and blasted the comforting melodic tones of her latest crush.
Ryleigh’s bags were already stacked at the end of her vanity. She resigned herself to go through her bags and repack them once more. Going through her things and listening to her music kept her emotions in check. She used a methodical approach to the situation. She didn’t allow for immature emotions to bubble up. Her father taught her that. If she didn’t control her anger - things could get out of control. So instead, she concentrated on something else. The run that morning helped to ebb the emotional runoff, but she still had to work on suppressing it.
It took Ryleigh about an hour to continue going through her backpacks. She was bringing two normal sized backpacks and one large bag. “Preparation is in the details” is what her father always said. She had a checklist that she created to double and triple check all items were accounted for. Her family could not be faulted for lack of organization. They moved so many times they developed the habit of checklists to verify everything was where it needed to be and also to ensure things got done the way they needed to be done.
Ryleigh headed downstairs with her bags and stopped at the bottom. She could hear her parents muffled voices in the garage. She couldn’t help the overwhelming feeling that the conversation was about her.
The moment Ryleigh entered the garage the conversation stopped. The truck bed was packed with all the camping gear, waiting for the remaining personal items. Family camping was a ritual that they loved. Nature was a second home to her family. It didn’t matter where, not really, they’d even camped in the desert from time to time. But this time, the mountains called to them.
“Oh, don’t stop talking by my account,” Ryleigh muttered under her breath. Adrianne raised an eyebrow at the disrespectful tone she was getting from her daughter, “We are
going to have this attitude for the duration of our trip. You need to chill out.”
“I am chill mom,” Ryleigh snarked back, “I just don’t see why you can’t say what’s going on now and why we are leaving like we stole something!” Tom laughed at his daughter’s comment and then immediately sobered as he saw his wife’s expression.
“Ryleigh, we just need to get out of here. The whole point of the camping trip was to have family bonding and talk about things that we need to. There are things that you need to know. Especially now that you are seventeen. We just figured we would do it there.” Ryleigh just stared at her parents in disbelief. It was her birthday!
“Well, I guess there isn’t any cake is there? Or are we waiting to celebrate my birthday camping instead of what we originally planned here. You know I had plans for today actually. I wasn’t going to just stay in my room all day or with Cy playing games!” Ryleigh ended up almost screaming at her parents. Her mother placed a cool hand onto her shoulder. “Ryleigh, that’s enough. We are still going to celebrate; we are just going to do it on the road instead of at home. Okay?” Adrianne half implored.
Hot tears streamed down Ryleigh’s face. What choice did she have really? She didn’t have any other plans. She never had any other plans. The only thing she was going to do today was hang with her best friend. That was it. Ryleigh agreed and went back into the house to grab the rest of her things.
“Let her cool off, Tom,” she could hear her mom telling her dad. “She is going to have to absorb a lot and we need to allow her some space.” Tom agreed and they resumed packing the truck.
Two hours later they were on the road heading to Yosemite. Ryleigh sat in the back seat with her headphones in. She just wanted to listen to her music and not talk to anyone about anything at the moment. Before they took off she talked to Cy one last time. It was an awkward conversation, but he looked like he was feeling better.
“I swear,” Cy repeated, “I’m fine. We’ll hang out when you get back.” Ryleigh wasn’t too convinced and thought she could hear a slight nervousness in his responses. He was her best friend and she trusted him. Implicitly.
Neither one of them knew or understood what happened to him, but they didn’t hug or touch during the entire conversation. Ryleigh felt better that way. It was something that had never happened before. And would make sure it would never happen again.
Closing her eyes she allowed the music in her ears and the rocking motion of the truck put her to sleep.
Bringing the dead back to life
He surveyed the wreckage before him. Twisted metal and the smell of burning oil and gasoline permeated his senses. The heat from the flames were intense. For once he was glad that his imp was nosy. Obviously not nosy enough or he could have prevented this from happening.
He spied her lying in the ruins of the accident. Running over to Ryleigh, his heart beat furiously in his chest hoping she was still alive. Anyone else happening upon the scene would assume her dead. She didn't have a pulse and didn't respond to physical stimuli. With her body surrounded by blood and her skin a sickly pallor, the prognosis was not good. Tristan, however, could sense the energy still lingering within her. It hadn’t dissipated and he knew that he could bring her back. The energy humming within her core was playing an old familiar song that only he could hear.
Ryleigh’s injuries were devastating. She had multiple contusions and fractures. Tristan grimaced at the compound fracture in her right leg as he could see the gleaming white bone penetrating her flesh and skin. But the worst part…the worst of it was the three-foot metal rod impaling her chest.
“Shhh, it’s okay. Everything is going to be alright,” he said knowing she couldn’t hear him. He felt a pop of air and his imp was beside him. “Vee, I’m going to need your help with this,” he instructed. The imp gazed at his master with his dark sparkling eyes. “We should not meddle, we should not meddle, Sir,” he reminded.
“Meddling or not, this girl should not die. We need to save her. I need to save her,” he implored. The imp knew that any order he was given-- he had to comply. The imp placed his long fingers beneath Ryleigh’s head. Tristan placed his hands her chest beneath the injury and one on her stomach. “Are you ready, Sir?” the imp asked his master. “Yes,” Tristan said closing his violet eyes.
The air stilled around the trio. A small violet flame erupted from Tristan’s hand travelling outwardly encasing Ryleigh’s body in a soft glow. The imp, who stood about two-feet tall, began to glow in the night as Tristan used him to channel energy into Ryleigh’s beaten and broken body.
The sound of bones snapping into place echoed in the darkness. Ryleigh’s body started to shake violently as it continued to heal. “Hold on, just hold on,” Tristan pleaded. His eyes flashed open and the violet flames continued to glow even brighter.
The rod impaling Ryleigh’s chest began to move outward and with each centimeter, the flesh and muscle behind it was being repaired. “Master, we are not going to be able to finish,” the imp said breathing heavily. “We can’t fix it all. We can only do what is killing her.” Tristan nodded and he focused on the metal piece protruding from Ryleigh’s small, limp body. The last few inches of the metal rod came loose with a sickening wet sound and the wound closed up behind it.
As the rod fell to the ground, Ryleigh opened her eyes with a sharp breath. “Mom?” she asked. Tristan brushed her hair, caressing her head with his hand. “Shhh, it’s okay,” he comforted again. He placed his hand on her forehead, “Sleep.” Ryleigh closed her eyes and fell immediately to sleep.
Tristan exhausted, reached for his cellphone in the pocket of his pants and made the necessary phone call to 9-1-1. Vee looked up at him, “Are you just going to leave her here master?”
“I have to for now,” Tristan said regretting the decision. “I have no choice; we can’t bring her with us. She has additional wounds that need to be tended to. But for now, she is out of immediate danger.” The imp nodded and they both disappeared as suddenly as they came.
In dreams are answers
Slowly starting to stir she could hear the voices say, “Shhh, quiet – she’s coming around.” Ryleigh groaned as she attempted to open her eyes. “It’s okay little one, wake up,” she could hear the soft voices calling to her.
Ryleigh opened her eyes and shut them immediately. The blinding light like fire lit through her skull. She could hear rustling around her. Opening her mouth to speak, her voice caught the gravel coating in the back of her throat. “Hello,” she choked up.
With no response she attempted to open her eyes again. She slowly opened her eye lids until the light was bearable. Her body felt as if someone used it as a punching bag. She attempted to sit up but her arms didn’t want to cooperate and felt as if she was moving through water in the deep end of the pool. She made an attempt to call out to whomever was the in the room. “Hello?” she asked again. She could hear the soft tittering of voices.