It was my 16th birthday. Usually girls celebrated a 16th birthday with a big grand party, but all I got a cupcake with a single big green candle sticking out of it. My aunt, known as Christa was my guardian. She wasn't necessarily the richest person in the world, but I could make do with what she gave me.
After all, both my parents had died in car accident when I was only 3. Since then, I've been staying with my aunt. It has been 13 years since I last saw my mom and dad in person. The night when my parents died they were coming home from a fancy restaurant. My Aunt Christa was there, but she left home in a taxi. That night my parents drove off the road and they crashed into the side of building going at least 80 miles per hour.
Today Christa sang a birthday song cheerfully. The cupcake had Elena (my name) written across it. I smiled and blew the candle. Afterwards, I ate my cupcake and went to sleep.
My room was small with only a few pieces of furniture and a tiny closet. I went to sleep at night thinking of only tomorrow. I opened my eyes one last time and saw the moon. Although something was covering the brightly lit moon. It was cloud. A cloud in a shape of a …tree? So, I went to sleep with my last thought being a tree.
That night I dreamt about a tree. A small tiny seed that grew into a grand tree. The tree was like no other and it seemed as if everyone envied it. What was uncommon in this dream was that the tree moved, it moved feverishly. The tree moved in such a enchanting way that it didn't seem real at all.
I woke up at 10:05 A.M. It was summer vacation, the time when freedom meant everything. I lived in a small town in Oklahoma. Our town's name changed over the years a lot so now we were known as the town with no name which no one really cared about.
I got out of bed and changed into something more comfortable. Then I made my bed and fixed myself some breakfast. Usually Christa was always asleep during vacation so I didn't bother to wake her. I walked into her bedroom to find her sleeping soundly in her bed. Then I went back to the kitchen to eat my breakfast. After eating breakfast, I walked outside for some fresh air and left Christa a note saying I'd be in Cindy's house.
As soon as I walked out the door, I could hear the chirp of birds singing and I saw various beautiful trees that surrounded our house. I looked at the apple tree I had planted years ago that never seemed to grow. Suddenly, a feeling overcame me. I wanted to…touch…touch the tree.
I walked up to the tree and touched it. The drooped apple tree grew instantly producing big juicy apples. My eyes widened with amazement as I plucked the red juiciest apple. I pulled my hand away from the tree and it turned back to drooped apple tree.
I turned to look at the red apple in my hand. What had I done? I took a bite into the apple. It was real. Suddenly, Alex appeared in the driveway in his blue bike. As he stopped his bike and looked down, I threw the apple behind the green bushes. His side swept brown hair covered his big brown eyes. Without warning he came and squeezed the heck out of me.
"Finally you're up lazy! I came by earlier and knocked on your window, but you didn't answer," he said while smiling.
"I brought you…this." He reached into his backpack and pulled out a small box. He handed it to me as he blushed hotly. I shook it lightly.
"Wonder what it could be," I said giggling. It was probably jewelry.
"Open it," he urged. I opened the box to find a beautiful silver necklace with the name 'Elena' on it.
"Happy day after your birthday!" He shot me a to-die-for smile and a sweet gaze.
"I love it," I said energetically. I handed it to him and he tied it around my neck.
"Anyway, gotta go my girlfriend Jessica expects me." He kissed me on the cheek and off he went. Alex and I had been best friends since kindergarten. Ever since then, we were always very close. Alex was kind of cute, but he never thought of me in that way.
I waited till he strode off and went his own way. As my mind cleared the thought of him away, I remembered the tree and what had happened. I was probably dreaming. I pinched myself and nothing happened. I walked over to the spot on the yard where grass never seemed to grow. I touched it and out sprouted green healthy grass. I left my hand on the grass continuously and the grass remained the same, but as I pulled away it didn't die it stayed like that. What was I doing? This wasn't real…at least that's what I thought.
I thought deeply and decided to put the thought of being weird aside. I held my head up high went over to Cindy's house. Cindy was my best friend. She was a tall blond with crystal blue eyes. Cindy was random, funny, and friendly. I walked two blocks and soon a big white two-story house came into view. Now that was Cindy's house.
I rang the bell and Cindy's mom opened the door. Cindy's mom was named Naomi, but I addressed her by her last name. Mrs. Jones was a short woman with brown eyes and blond hair. She looked exactly like her daughter, but Mrs. Jones was getting quite old so she had a few wrinkles around the edges.
I walked into her house and Cindy was in her room as always. When I walked into her room, I saw her texting. Her bed was not made yet and there was a bunch of clothes on her bed.
"Hey…what are you doing?" I glanced at her as she pulled her attention away from her phone.
"I'm texting Tyler," she said shortly. Her phone vibrated and she looked at the message she got. Cindy's mouth dropped open and she screamed enthusiastically.
"What happened?" Mrs. Jones came into the room curiously after hearing Cindy scream.
"Oh my god! Tyler just asked me out! Mom can I go?" Tyler was a prize. He was popular, but from a scale from 1-10 he'd be an 8. So, technically he wasn't that hot.
"Fine, but you have to tell me where you're going and you have to be back by 11:00." With that Mrs. Jones closed Cindy's door and left her room. Mrs. Jones slammed the door hard enough because Cindy's dog woke up from his bed in the far corner of her room. The dog was a barely a 3-month old golden retriever. The dog's name was Goldie.
Anyway, Goldie yawned and walked towards me. He scratched my leg and I jumped onto the bed. Suddenly, I heard the a faint whisper in my mind.
Pet me! Pet me! Pet me!
I turned to look down at Goldie. His tongue was out and he stared at me happily. "Did you just-"
I'm hungry Elena! Pet me! Play with me!
"How are you talking," I asked Goldie. I felt confused and tried to make some sense of what was happening.
"With my mouth," answered Cindy. "Who are you talking to?"
"No one," I said confusingly. "I just…I got to go," I told Cindy.
"But you just got here! Am I being boring? Oh I know let's do each other's hair. That's the least I can do sense it was your birthday yesterday. By the way, I'll get you your birthday gift tomorrow."
"I guess…I'll stay."
Elena! Elena! Elena!
For the rest of the time I tuned out that faint whisper in my mind and had a little fun with Cindy. That day we did our nails, hair, and make-up. It was fun, but I couldn't stop thinking about the apple tree and the whisper in my head. Two hours later I decided to go home and left Cindy's house.
I walked to my house deep in thought when I finally spotted Alex riding his bike. He rode his bike in my direction going full speed. Just when he was about 3 yards away he braked hard on the cement sidewalk.
"Alex," I said startled.
"Don't worry if I run into you I'll give you permission to break my arm," he said as he pointed to his arm. I frowned at him and walked on towards my house. Alex then turn his bike around and followed me all the way to my house.
"Okay what's up," he said as we reached my house.
"Nothing," I said stubbornly while trying to not make eye contact with him.
"Well that's not good," he said softly.
"I said nothing."
"I know something's wrong," he urged.
"O.K fine something is wrong, but Alex I'm scared." I reached out to Alex and hugged him tightly. I finally stopped hugging him and pulled him towards the ground where brown grass lay. I crouched down and touched the brown patch of grass. Instantly, it grew taller and greener.
"You…you're a…Naturalist," he said as his eyes grew wide with amazement. What was he talking about?
"I'm a what?"
"Nothing," he said quickly.
"Hey, you wanna come inside for some lemonade? This whole thing is just so crazy and I need a drink!"
"Sure…I just…wow…you're…and…I'm and…you're…wow," he said in a dumbfounded way.
"That's not all, I think I heard Cindy's dog speak to me. So what do you think? You probably think I'm weird."
"I feel happy for you, you have such a wonderful gift!"
"You feel happy for me? I'm over her freaking out thinking I'm an alien and your happy for me?" Gift? More like a curse if you ask me!
"Just whatever, let's go inside and get some lemonade," he said trying to sound casual. We both went up the porch and opened the front door. As we opened the door, we found the whole house to be destroyed. Aunt Christa's precious lamps were now only shattered pieces and the furniture was thrown across the house. That's when it hit me. Christa! Where was she? My heart sank. Not her, please not her she's the only one I've got left.
"Christa," I screamed loudly. I ran into her bedroom. The furniture was smashed and pieces of broken mirror were strewn across the floor. No! Not her!
"Christa!" I burst into tears and fell to the carpet floor of her bedroom. Alex who had checked all the other rooms came into the room.
"She's nowhere to be found," whispered Alex disappointedly. Just then I looked around the room and something caught my eye. It was a note. I crawled over to the note and picked it up. It read:
Elena if you want your precious Aunt back, then you'll have to meet me at Devil's End. You may not know where that's at, but your boyfriend Alex will lead the way. Ask him about your birthday and your parents he may no more than you think.
Alex who had been reading behind my shoulder gulped. Maybe he knew what had happened. Maybe he knew the truth! I turned to look at his brown eyes that he hid behind his bangs.
"Alex, do you have anything to with this? I'm so confused and I know you know the truth so let me have it." He looked at me then held my hands. I knew this wasn't going to be easy.
"I can't. The longer you don't know the safer you are," he said.
"You know what? If you don't want to tell me I promise you that I'll run away and you won't ever see me again. Tell me Alex! I'm tired of being thought of as delicate and not capable of protecting myself!" I threw him a look that made him confess.
"Fine," he said as he took a large gulp of air. "First let me explain about your powers. Your mom had powers too, like you. However, your father didn't. Your mom was a queen of a world that was unreal to all other normal humans. She was the queen and she had you. So, you were the next in line for the throne. Your father didn't know about this because there is a law that prohibits us from telling humans that were real. Anyway, usually people with gifts or powers didn't receive them until their 16th birthday. And, your mom died and that left you. Aunt Christa knew of this world for she has a power too and decided to help raise you, Elena. I'm sort of like your protector. The Council of this hidden world decided to give you a protector, me. And, lastly Devil's End is where all the souls of bad people with powers went. That place is dangerous. I'm sorry, but I'm not going to let you go."
He said it, all at once. I sat there dumbfounded. Minutes passed as I tried to take it all in. My mom was the queen of a hidden world unreal to humans and I was the next in line. Then, she and dad died. All these emotions wanted to burst out of me. I felt mad for him not telling me. I felt sad since Alex prohibited me from going to go save Aunt Christa. I felt happy, I was next in line for the throne and had powers.
"I'm sorry, but I didn't ask for your help in this. I'm going whether you want me to or not. Simple as that," I said.
"Maybe you've forgotten, but I'm the only one who knows where Devil's End is at." Crap.
"Come on, Alex don't do this to me! You know how much Christa means to me," I said as took him by the shoulders and looked him straight in the eye.
"I'm sorry, but I can't," he said quietly. As he spoke this, a portal in Christa's room opened up and out came a guy who was about 17 years old.
"Am I too late," he shouted too loud. He was wearing a black vest which I think was suppose to be bullet proof. He was a tall, well-build guy with blonde hair and big brown eyes. His hair was cut short enough to reveal his handsome face. He looked at Alex and I sitting in the carpet of Christa's bedroom. He then looked around the room and realized it was too late.
"Oh dear, sorry for not introducing myself, but my name is Danny. I was sent here by, oh never mind I just came here to save Christa. Her powers aren't enough to stop what's coming. Who are you two suppose to be?" I opened my mouth to talk, but Alex took charge on this one.
"My name is Alex and this is Elena. Elena is the daughter of the Queen and I'm her protector. I'm afraid you did arrive too late. They've taken Christa to Devil's End for who knows what reason." Danny paced back and forth.
"Then that means we'll have to go rescue her," protested Danny.
"I agree," I said as I smiled at Danny. I walked over to him and stood next to Danny facing Alex who I knew wouldn't agree.
"Oh no… not this. I am certainly not allowing this," Alex said firmly.
"I didn't ask," I snapped back.
"Ok, looks like we're going," said Danny.
"You agree with this? She's the queen's daughter!"
"I'll protect her don't worry. You may stay here if you like, but I'm going with her," said Danny as he stared into my eyes.
"Do whatever the hell you want Elena!" Alex stormed out of Christa's room and slammed the front door. I ran after him and soon caught him by the shoulder in the front porch. I hugged him and gazed into his eyes. His eyes shone madness and sadness at the same time.
"Please, Alex. She's all I've got."
"I just don't know…"
"Of course, I'll need my protector to be there," I said as I elbowed him on the ribs.
"I suppose we could go, but it's such a big risk," he said softly.
"I'll be fine. I'm not stupid you know."
"Yeah but, he might be," said Alex as he pointed to Danny who appeared next to the door. Danny wasn't listening to our conversation making it even funnier as Alex pointed at him.
"So can you come Alex? I mean I need you there." I grabbed a hold Alex's hand squeezed it tight. He looked at Danny and nodded.
"K, so we're going, but first ya'll are going to need to pack your bags for the trip. Please don't pack too much," as Danny spoke this he glanced at me.
"By the way, where exactly is Devil's End," I asked.
"Devil's End can be accessed by different points around the world. The closest point around here is in Texas."
"Let's just start packing. Right it's-," Alex looked at his watch, "1:10 p.m. By 2:30 everyone better be here ready to go. Elena you go pack your stuff, Danny you go find us a car, and I'll pack up some stuff from my house. I'll be back and you guys should already be ready."
Before I hesitated, I ran upstairs and grabbed a small suitcase. I then went into my room and packed everything necessary for the trip. I finished this in about 30 minutes and I went downstairs. Danny was leaning against the wall, staring at me. I looked out the window to find a blue 2008 dodge ram truck.
"I'm I teleporter… I can pop up in any place I want. That's why it took me almost no time to get us a ride."
"Then why don't you just teleport us to Devil's End wouldn't that be much easier?"
"I would, but I turned 17, 2 two months ago," he said.
"But wait don't your powers kick in at 16?"
"It depends, it happens to different people at different times. I was barely able to teleport myself here since I discovered I had powers 2 months ago. Besides, I'll get to spend more time with you," he said as his voice trailed off.
"I'm a Naturalist… I think," I said trying to change the subject before anything more happened. "Anyway, I'm going to make some sandwiches for the trip," I said as I walked into the kitchen. Suddenly, a piece of glass tripped me and I was falling. I closed my eyes afraid of seeing where I landed. As I opened my eyes, I found myself in Danny's arms.
"Are you okay?" He had teleported and saved me.
"I'm fine," I said stood back on my two feet again. For a second we met each other's eyes and we seemed frozen in the moment.
"Can I help you make the sandwiches," he said as he ducked his head to the right.
"Sure." I walked into the kitchen which luckily hadn't been destroyed in the riot and started to grab the food needed to make the sandwiches. I took out several bags which contained already cut up lettuce, tomato, and few slices of cheese. I also grabbed some mayonnaise and ham.
"So, Danny what do you want in your sandwich?"
"How about… I make my sandwich and you make your own sandwich?"
"Fine, whatever," I said backing my hands away.
"Wait, what kind of ham is that," he said as he pointed to a stack of white turkey ham.
"The good kind," I said stuffing some ham into my mouth.
"I know it's the good kind, but what type of ham is it?" Without answering I grabbed some ham and shoved it into his mouth.
"Do you like it," I asked as he chewed on it softly.
"I love it," he said as he swallowed the last piece. We looked into my eyes and again we seemed frozen. Just then, Alex walked into the room carrying big suitcases. Danny and I both turned to look at Alex at the same time.
"Oh hey Alex… I was just making some sandwiches. Would you like one?" Alex dropped the bags and approached us.
"Yes and can I have an apple?" I nodded and he just stood there. He focused on the apple and it started to move in midair towards him until it was finally in his hand.
"I'm a telepath and I can control things with my mind," Alex said before I got the chance to ask. Great, I was going to be traveling to Texas with a telepath and a teleporter. Just then, Danny finished making himself asandwich and stuffed it into a sandwich bag.
"I'll goget your bags and put them into the truckElena," Danny said as I continued to make sandwiches.
"Sure," I said. He zapped himself and disappeared.
Elena you shouldn't trust him!
Who was talking to me? I looked at Alex who was pointing to his head. I had forgotten he was a telepath.
Because we don't even know him!
To be continued…