Authors: S.E. Myers
Ryleigh continued through the cave which spilled into a larger room. The cave wasn’t a cave. It was instead a corridor that led into a room.
“Where am I going,” she asked the creature.
“You know where you are going, Mistress,” the creature replied.
“What is your name?”
“You haven’t given me one yet,” the creature said with a strained sadness.
Ryleigh thought about this, “I will give you a name; it just will take a while to think about.”
“Yes Mistress,” the creature responded.
“What-what are you?”
“I am your imp, Mistress.”
, she thought.
Even though she thought it was strange, Ryleigh knew the imp was there as a companion to help protect her. She thought she could hear a sweet music emanating from this imp. Its energy pulsed and matched hers. She tugged at it with her own Chi and could immediately feel energy flow into her. She then realized this imp was more than just a companion, it was a channel, a conduit.
Ryleigh released the flow of energy and looked around the room she was standing in.
It looked as if it were a place for ceremonies. An altar made of stone stood center of the room covered with a dark cloth. Symbols were carved into the rock and she noticed they were the same symbols she’d seen at her Aunt’s house and on the vehicles that come to visit. The walls were painted dark ochre and sconces graced the walls with lit torches. To her left she saw a slight movement and continued trying to find whoever it was that brought her to this place.
The place seemed familiar almost as if she’d been here before. She approached the altar and reached out to touch the cloth. She hesitated, fearing the repercussions if she did. She pulled her hand back as if she’d touched an oven burner left on mistakenly.
“It’s okay,” the imp advised. The moment her fingers graced the cloth she felt an electric pulse travel from her finger tips and up her arm.
“Is this supposed to happen,” Ryleigh whispered to the imp, knowing it was.
“Yes,” it answered. “Yes my Mistress, it will always happen this way.”
Ryleigh placed both hands on the altar feeling the pulse beat in time with the drumming of her heart. The altar began to glow, increasing in brightness as the pulse sped its tempo. Her heartbeat matched the increased tempo of the altar and her body began to sway with the rhythm she felt. The brightness continued to increase forcing her eyes closed. Ryleigh could feel heat emanate from the brightness of the altar. It crawled over her body. Her skin began to burn more intensely. Ryleigh tried to pull her hands from the altar but was unable to. She tried to yell for help, but she couldn’t open her mouth. She tried to open her eyes, but they seemed glued shut. She shouted in her mind for the imp to help her, but it was as if her brain burst into flame and resonated with pain. Her heart sped up with such ferocity it felt as if it were going to explode from her chest. As soon as she thought she couldn’t take anymore, a quiet stillness overtook her. She opened her eyes. She couldn’t see anything but darkness. She opened her mouth to speak, and all she could manage was a long and loud scream.
Discovering who you really are
The next morning, Tristan and Ryleigh skipped school prior to home room. “So, what did she say,” Tristan asked curiously. He wanted to know exactly how much information Vera was willing to offer up. And if he would be the one, or
be the one to fill in the blanks.
Tristan drove them to the same place they were the day prior.
“Vera knows I left school yesterday, she probably knows that I’m not at school right now,” Ryleigh said.
Tristan picked up some gravel from the side of the road and threw it into the open desert. “I know she keeps tabs on you,” Tristan said. “I’m really not surprised to be honest. It’s like she is keeping you as her own private prisoner.” Ryleigh sighed as she stood beside Tristan.
“You know that I feel like I know you,” Ryleigh started. Tristan stumbled for a moment and turned to look at her. “Just that, I feel like we have a connection. I felt it the first time I saw you in the office.” She faced Tristan. “Do I know you?”
Tristan wiped the dust off his hands and wondered if he should tell her the truth. If he did, it might ruin things.
“Aunt Vera also said not to trust you or Illeana.”
Tristan made a choking sound in his throat, “She did what?”
“She said that you and Illeana would get me into trouble. Do you know what she means by that?” Ryleigh wanted to know. She needed to know what she meant. If she continued to trust Tristan and Illeana, and didn’t at least take heed to what her Aunt said, she could be led in all sorts of directions. She didn’t know what was right or wrong. She still wanted to know what happened to her parents. What
happened to her parents?
“You want to know everything,” Tristan hesitated waiting for a response.
Ryleigh nodded, “Yes, I do.” Inside a storm was brewing. She was nervous but unafraid. Ready to face whatever Fae would come her way. Or, who might come her way.
“Well, if you want the truth, then we need to go someplace else,” Tristan headed back to his car. Ryleigh knew she was going to catch hell for missing school. But this seemed more important.
After driving for an hour, they finally arrived at a humble home in a suburban neighborhood. Tristan turned off the car, “Come on.”
Ryleigh got out of the car and followed Tristan into the house.
“This is a safe house,” Tristan instructed. “My parents bought it years ago, just in case.”
“In case what?”
“That’s why we’re here.”
She followed Tristan into the living room. Illeana was sitting on a chair waiting for them.
Illeana smiled, “I’m glad you came.” Ryleigh’s storm subsided…somewhat.
Illeana motioned for Ryleigh to sit down. As Illeana spoke, Ryleigh could hear the music in her words. Her voice carried throughout room like the tinkling of piano keys. “Well, first of all, no one can know about this place. It is our family’s safe house. It’s been warded, protected so that no one can be found inside of it. And since the FP’s moved in, we’ve been coming here, staying here, and have searched through every square foot of this house trying to find any clue possible. We do want to know what Vera told you, and if she told you the truth.”
Ryleigh told them about the conversation she had with Vera. She looked at their faces for any signs of truth or deception but they were stoic. They didn’t let any hint of emotion out while she relayed what Vera told her. “So, she told me that I need to learn to control this energy. I think I have always felt it.”
Illeana nodded, “Yes, you should have. If not controlled we become enraged easily.”
A light bulb moment flashed for Ryleigh, “That is why my dad must have started me running. And why I continue to do it. I feel so much better as if, as if I can face my day.”
Illeana nodded again, “Yes, when we were younger our parents would make us run and play for hours, but as we have grown they taught us how to ebb and control the energy we use. But there is something you must know… You have to learn your true form.”
“Uh, true form?” Ryleigh asked.
“Yes. What you see before you in the mirror, day after day… that is not who we are.”
Ryleigh couldn’t help but think about how many times she’d thought her face was not her face in the mirror. How many times did she reach toward the mirror thinking that she was looking at someone that was not her? Someone that was just a mere reflection. She wondered, “If this is
my true form, then why in the world do I look like this?”
Illeana laugh out loud, “Because, we’re Halflings. We are part human. Our true form, our Fae form, comes with our energy. Once you learn how to use it, then it will emerge.”
That made more sense to Ryleigh. “So, as I learn to use my own energy, I’ll look how? Like a Fae? With wings and glitter?”
Tristan and Illeana both laughed looking at Ryleigh. “No, no, no, no… Not at all. That is why you are here. Tristan and I,” Illeana looked at Tristan. “…we are going to show you ours.”
Illeana stood up and Tristan stood beside her. “We are twins, you know,” Illeana began. Ryleigh shook her head, “No, I didn’t know that. I was supposed to be a twin though.” Tristan and Illeana looked at each other as if they were communicating silently. Illeana had a habit of scrunching her nose and eyes when she had something important to ask, “You
“Yes, I was. I am…I guess.”
“Okay, we’ll talk about that in a minute. But for now,” Illeana grabbed Tristan’s hand, “We are going to show you what our forms are.”
Ryleigh sat back in the comfortable blue recliner and waited intently. She thought to herself about how oddly comforting this was. She’d always felt different. She’d always felt as if there were a reason why she never connected with anyone on a personal level. Anyone except Cyrus, and she really missed him.
Illeana and Tristan closed their eyes. Ryleigh could feel the energy in the room heighten as the hairs on her skin started to rise. Illeana’s white blonde hair started to blow as if there were an invisible wind cascading through the room. Tristan’s hair didn’t move an inch because of the amount of product he used keeping his yellow spikes at attention. Ryleigh secretly thought he was conceited about his looks, but would never tell him that to his face.
Ryleigh felt a pulse against her skin. Like a small distinct heart beat that continued to grow stronger. The flames started to rise from Tristan and Illeana carving their lazy runic patters into their skin. His energy was the violet hue she’d seen before, and Illeana’s a cornflower blue. Twins. The same and yet, different.
Both of their eyes were closed and in a breath, their lids opened simultaneously. As they opened their eyes, the flames erupted around them encasing them in a protective bubble. Tristan’s skin became a more translucent and tinged with the violet color of his flames. His eyes were almost fluorescent. He smiled at Ryleigh and she saw rows of sharp teeth. Illeana was similar looking, except her eyes were a stark blue. They were liquid pools of the clearest water. Her hair was the absence of dark as was Tristan’s. The absence of all color. Ryleigh was hypnotized by the scene before her. It was cruelly beautiful.
Illeana motioned for Ryleigh to come to them holding out her hand. Ryleigh wasn’t sure if she should. She hadn’t yet learned to control the force that lived inside of her, but, curiosity propelled her forward. She stepped closer, the pulsing energy between Tristan and Illeana guiding her. Grabbing Illeana’s hand she felt almost a surge of energy shoot through her electrifying her veins. She grabbed Tristan’s hand and could feel the connection complete – like a closing circuit. She tried to take a breath but it felt as if she were drowning inside an electrical current. Inside her mind she could hear Illeana’s voice soothing and coherent.
Don’t fight it, just allow it to happen.
Ryleigh willed her body to relax. She started to think about when she was running, how her body started to fight when she hit the wall and then adapted as she pushed. She willed her body to push through the uncomfortableness of the situation.
Ryleigh closed her eyes to listen her heart beat and will it to slow down. It became easier to breathe as her heart rate slowed. Counting to herself --
In-2-3-4, Out-2-3-4 --
was how she made it through the painful moments of running, when her legs wanted to quit and her body fought against her every step. Just four more breaths is all it would take, is what she told her body, willing it to obey her mind. Mind over matter is what her father always said when he was pushing her. Just one more step, just one more block, just one more mile to go.
Ryleigh started to feel a change. Her breathing felt more fluid and she hesitated to open her eyes.
Allow me to show you,
Illeana interrupted her thoughts. Inside her mind’s eye she could see herself through the vision of Illeana because of the connection that they were making. A soft illuminescent light cascaded gently over her skin. She could see her skin was a greyish mottled tone and seemed transparent beneath the glow of energy that was surrounding her. Her hair lifted by the energy surrounding the trio was a blood red color. Her eyes were not as translucent as Illeana and Tristan’s were. Instead, they were black as pitch. Ryleigh started to panic and pushed Illeana out of her mind. She opened her mouth to speak and a foreign noise erupted from her throat. It was as if she swallowed a million grains of sand.
She Tristan and Illeana’s hands. Now she could see through her own eyes. Through her own Fae vision she truly saw Illeana and Tristan. She had a feeling that she could see them even if they were not revealing their true form. Ryleigh closed her eyes and thought,
Shut it off
and could feel the ebb of energy slow down. She felt her insides vibrate as she attempted to pull the energy back inside herself. She wasn’t sure if that was what she was supposed to do but it felt as if were the
thing to do.
When she opened her eyes, she saw Tristan and Illeana staring at her. “How did you learn to do that?” Tristan asked curiously.
“Do what?” Ryleigh was confused.