Chapter Seventeen: Part One
Okay, can I just start out by saying why? Why does stupid stuff like this happen to me all the time? I know that I have a family history of clumsiness, concussions, and panic attacks. But why, just why, do I have to continuously become knocked out and wake up in the middle of nowhere in a place that I’m not familiar with?
I’ve woken up at Aerial’s daughter’s house, Ivan’s space station kind of house, Dre’s house, my house when I’ve been somewhere else originally, the hospital, a cornfield, and now…this.
What was this place, anyway? It was just a field of gray. The ground was gray, the sky was gray with black clouds, and the gray ground was dotted with rows and rows of dead, rotting place. If there was a word to describe this place, it would be death. Because that’s what it looked like.
I awoke on my bum – as always, it seemed – but this time, I didn’t have a headache unlike the time when I had first transformed into a wolf. There was a winding path in front of me, which was a blinding white and stood out against the dark gray grass and plants. The black clouds in the sky seemed like they would break open and rain down thunderstorms any minute, but that’s not what worried me.
Off in the distance, there was a black castle, darker the clouds, even. There was a main part of the building with three towers seeming to reach up towards the sky, and I was surprised to see that there were spikes on top of each towers, piercing through the clouds so that they surrounded the top of them.
I was even more shocked to find that the inky black substance – that was still floating from the cuts on my wrists and arm – was all around me in the air. The little, black bubbles continuously floated from the ground and rose the sky, eventually joining the other clouds and making their own. They passed right through my body, making a popping sound as they went through.
Just how was I supposed to get out of there? I wasn’t supposed to go into the castle…I mean, I’m not Link trying to save Zelda or anything, this isn’t a video game. And another thing, why does my life continuously seem to become a video game? Seriously, it’s starting to get on my nerves, just the slightest.
I turned spun around on my foot to look behind me and see if there was maybe an exit I could go through, but all I saw was a space of white. Blank space, as if it were part of a cartoon panel that hadn’t been finished yet. I stared at in shock with my jaw agape. How could a piece of land just…vanish off? I mean, I could understand the whole abyss separating the other piece of land like when I had first transformed into a werewolf, but I didn’t understand how it just vanished! That didn’t make any sense, really.
Stop being a chickenshit and just go inside the castle. A part of my brain grumbled, taking my attention back towards the dark castle. I rolled my eyes in annoyance just for the sake of it, but then started to trek slowly along the path. My head was drooping low, just as much as my mood was. I was so tired of being knocked unconscious for different reasons, and I was so tired of all the games. And to top it all off, I had school tomorrow, which sucked ass.
Oh crap I have to see Brite tomorrow at school. I groaned in my head, totally dreading it. We had never had a fight this big before; hell, I don’t think we’ve fought, ever! Ew, and I have to see that bitch Drew, too. I grumbled in my head. True, I was worried for Dre, but I was still pissed off at him, too. So yeah, I hadn’t really give him a chance to explain himself, but could anyone blame me? He was never truthful with me…
Uh, that’s a lie. A part of my brain protested. He’s told you everything about his life besides the hybrid stuff, and he’s the only one you can trust. And you just walked away from him.
I stopped in my tracks, looking down at the gray ground. “I’m a horrible friend.” I whispered, the realization slowly coming on to me. I ignored Brite, I didn’t listen to Dre, and now I was paying for it. I was getting what I deserved. But still, why couldn’t Dre just tell me the truth? What was holding back from me?
“Man, I’m so f-ed up…” I sighed as I ran my fingers through my hair. It was starting to get long again, just a couple of inches away from my waist. I had been so caught up in everything else that I hadn’t even noticed. I wondered what else had changed while I had been in my own little world.
The walk to the castle seemed longer than I had preconceived, but it gave me a lot of time to think and give closure. Somehow, I would get Brite to forgive me and we could go back to being best friends again. Then I would tell her about Dre and Drew and see what she said on what she would do. To fix the whole problem with Dre, I would have to get him to somehow give me answers, and then we would hash out the whole him and Drew thing. I don’t think he cheated on me, at least, I don’t think the guy I knew as Dre did. Something told me when his eyes turned red that it had something to with the Twilight Elements.
Maybe it was a part of the elements story that Ivan hadn’t told me yet. Because he promised he would tell me everything, he really did, he just didn’t have enough time. And what was I going to do about Ivan, anyway? I couldn’t keep him and Dre…could I? Because I still loved Dre and I only liked Ivan. More than I wanted to, though. If I had to give him up – because he and Dre threatened to kill each other each time they were in the same room – I realized that it would probably hurt me. Oh crap, I was in way too deep.
Finally, after what seemed like literally half an hour of walking, I had finally reached the front door of the castle. I was surprised it wasn’t surrounded by a moat or something, but it was easy to just walk up to the door. There was a ring on the door to knock, but there wasn’t a knob.
Hesitantly, I used the ring to knock three times. I waited for it to open or to someone to come to the door, but nothing happened. I knocked again, this time with my fist. “Hello?” I called, but still there was no sign of life.
Annoyed, I walked away from the door and down the small hill right in front of it. Okay, so how in the hell am I supposed to get out of here, now? I asked myself, getting frustrated. As I turned to get one more look at the castle, I turned to find a gigantic red claw reached out from the door and grab me inside.
Huh. So that’s how you get in. I thought sarcastically before I started screaming for my life.
The first thing I noticed was that it was burning hot. Hot enough for me to start sweating all across my brow and my clothes sticky as they were plastered to my skin. It was getting hard to breathe, from all the humidity in the air, and I could tell that I was going to have major afro, for sure.
I realized that I was on a hardwood floor, and it was cold, but yet, I was so hot. The heat was literally smothering and suffocating me; I felt like I was dying. I tried to take in deep breaths, but the heat made it hard for any oxygen to get inside my lungs. I let out a wheezing sound, and rolled over to my stomach and put my face on the ground.
The coolness of the wood on my face made it easier to breathe, and I was slowly able to open my eyes. I was seeing red, it was so hot. I didn’t recognize where I was exactly, but as the red started to fade from my eyes, I saw that there was hard, gray cobblestone and not wood floor covering. My chin scraped against the ground, and I was shocked to see as a little bit of blood smeared against the floor.
Whoa…I’m bleeding. I suddenly thought in amazement as I saw the blood. There was a flicker in my mind, and I heard a sound before the red in my eyes turned to a gray. Everything was either dark gray, light gray, or black. I slowly scrambled up to my knees and almost dropped back down to the ground. My head felt so heavy, and I was so dizzy that I had to brace my hands against the ground before I collapsed onto my stomach again.
I gave another try and slowly rose to my wobbly knees. I stumbled back a bit, crashing into the wall and my head thumped against it painfully. I cradled my head, giving the wall a half-hearted scowl. I turned, and became conscious that I was in a windowless room, with dark gray walls and the weird, cobblestone floor. In the corner, there was a mirror, the kind that was long and big. It was the only thing in the room that was pure, glowing white.
Confused and intrigued, I slowly made my way over to the mirror, stumbling the whole way. I even had to stop a couple of times so that I wouldn’t topple over. My head felt so huge, it was insane! I felt like Pops from Regular Show, as if my head was that huge. I don’t know why I felt so dizzy and distraught though, but I almost wanted to just pass out in a corner and just go to sleep.
Oh crap, what if I have a concussion?! I shrieked in my head. Crap, then I can’t go to sleep. Man, and I’m really tired, too! This sucks. I complained in my head. I came to a stop as I reached the white mirror. It was actually pretty in a way. It had these big blue jewels on the outside decorating the border, and there were intricate vines lacing the outside.
I ran my fingers against the design, marveling at how attractive it looked. I paused in astonishment as I saw my hands reflection pass over in the mirror. It…didn’t look like my hand at all. I drew it back, shocked, as I examined it.
Usually, my hands are slender and long; I have very lanky hands just like Marshall. But my hands looked older and aged, somehow. They were pale, which kind of tripped me out because my skin is kinda a caramel color, since my mom is half Columbian. Then again, I do get pretty pale in the summer, since most of my dad’s side is Irish.
I looked to examine my other hand and was shocked to find that a gigantic, blue ring sat on my finger. It looked very old and antique like. The band was gold, and the blue jewel was big and oval, sitting delicately as I saw a little bit of my reflection in it.
“Holy shit!” I screamed aloud. I clamored over to look at the mirror, and let out a deep gasp. I didn’t look like myself at all.
Usually, my hair is kinda crimpy looking, but on good days it gets just the right amount of wave, but today, it was completely straight. It was longer than I was used to also, trailing down my back like a curtain and reaching just above my butt. But I wasn’t complaining, since my hair looked like it should be in some fancy shampoo commercial, even though it still weirded me out.
What really freaked me out was my ears. They had grown humongous, and they were long and pointy, protruding through my curtain of hair. I seriously looked like I could get some FM radio signals if I listened hard enough. Not only was my hair and my ears different, but my eyes were, too.
They didn’t even look human, they were so big and wide. In a way, they kind of reminded of me of Ivan’s if his were a silvery gray color. I blinked, and it seriously looked like I had anime eyes. It was really starting to stress me out, because I didn’t have any idea what was going on.
If I wasn’t so freaked out, I would have been completely stoked! I mean, I looked like some badass video game character. In fact, I looked Zelda, a little bit! And if I needed a Link, Ivan looked more like him, so maybe I needed to be with him…?
I looked down to see what I was wearing, and was the slightest bit shocked to see that I had on some eccentric dress. Half of it was black and dark purple while the other was pure white. On the dark side, there was a claw that intertwined along my body and stopped once it reached my shoulder, its palm facing upwards. On the white side, there was a light blue streak that intertwined around my body like the paw had, but instead of a claw, it made stranger markings across my left shoulder.
I craned my neck back and faced my shoulder towards the mirror to see what it said, but I was stumped as I found that it was in a foreign language, maybe Latin. It read: (there is one that will walk the path of the light and dark; but does not choose only one. Will she be swallowed by the darkness or oppressed by the darkness?)
It worried me, because if this was permanent once I got out of this stupid ass castle, my mom would be pissed if she saw I had some kind of tattoo-like thing on my shoulder. She would seriously beat my ass, me bent over her knee, with a belt.
“I hate my life.” I muttered under my breath, looking scornfully at my cool tattoo that my mom would freak over.
I turned around away from the mirror, no longer transfixed in my epic-looking-video game-get-up. How was I supposed to get out of here, anyway? At the end of the long stretch of the room, was a dark gray door, identical to the one at the front, where I had been physically dragged into this weird castle.
I walked over to the door, my shoes making tapping noises against the cobblestone. I looked down to the floor and lifted my foot up so I could see what shoes I had on. The dress was about six inches above my ankles, and I was wearing a pair of black and white high heels with straps all around my feet. It really shocked me because I only owned one pair of high heels, and those were deep in Mya’s closet so that my mom would never make me wear them ever again if we went to like a wedding or something.
I ignored the shoes and continued on to the door, and surprise, surprise, it wouldn’t even open, just the one at the front. I stepped back, waiting for the claw-hand-thing that had gotten me in the first place, but was dismayed as nothing happened. I turned my back around, since that what I had done the first time, but still, nothing happened.
“I hate my life,” I grumbled crossly. I started pacing back and forth before I heard a loud, cracking sound. I began to panic as I finally noticed that it was the floor breaking underneath me. I let out a squeak of surprise it crumbled under me, and I plummeted down to the first floor.
Surprisingly, the fall didn’t hurt as much as I expected it to, and I recovered with ease as I gathered myself to my feet. I dusted off my clothes while examining my surroundings. The walls were still a boring, dull gray as was the cobblestone floor.
There were two sets of staircases. One was black and the other was a bright white. What was up with that, anyway? Everything was either black or white. Like darkness and light. Hadn’t Ivan asked me about light and dark in the cave? Oh yeah, he had said to choose him, light, or choose Dre, who was darkness. What did he mean about that?
I took in a deep breath to calm myself before getting to frustrated. Unfortunately, I didn’t inherit my dad’s detective skills like Marshall and Mya did. No, instead, I inherited my mom’s ability to suck at every sport I ever played. But at least Mom could get any guy she wanted back when she was in high school. I hadn’t even had one. Unless you count Dre, but he doesn’t really count because well, we weren’t ever really even together. So he didn’t technically cheat on me with Drew, but it still hurt.
Okay, okay. So, Dre was a part of something called the Twilight Elements. According to Ivan, he was light and Dre was darkness. So, did that mean Ivan was good and Dre was evil? But that didn’t sound right because Dre was one of the sweetest guys I knew, just not lately exactly. But then again, I had never heard of anyone that was infallibly good with glowing, red eyes. And if Ivan was good, did that mean that everyone that was had laser white eyes that made it look like they were possessed? Why couldn’t I get any answers from anyone?
I walked towards the white staircase, deciding that maybe I should choose light again, and ascended the first step. There was a slamming noise as golden bars shot up from the stair in front of me, blocking my path. I felt myself get pushed back off the staircase forcefully, even though I hadn’t moved a muscle. I backed up and then tried to ascend the stairs, but the same thing happened: I was pushed away by this invisible force.
The light does not accept you. A booming, ominous voice suddenly said, surrounding me from all sides. I did a 360 turn, but there was no one around.
Cautiously, I said, “What? I’m good, not evil!” I protested, feeling confused. I wasn’t evil, I was good! That’s why I had fought with Aerial, after all.
Are you sure? The voice asked. Perhaps you should look deeper into your heart.
I wanted to question the voice again, but then, it seemed as though the gray coloring on the wall slowly turned to a dark, midnight black like the left staircase. Soon, the colors on the wall began to blend with the floor, until it became a jumbled mess of darkness.
Then, right in front of me, there was a diagram of a large heart. But instead of being melded together into one big piece, it was fragmented and separated into different colored pieces. There were four pieces, one was blue, another purple, and a third that was green. But the fourth was made of different colors: black, gray, and white. There was only a little left of the pure of white and black, while the gray was the majority of the space. The pieces were outlined in the color of gold, and I noticed right away the multi-colored piece was the biggest of them all.
“This…is my heart?” I asked aloud. I had a feeling that the voice that was speaking to me belonged to a very powerful being, but I didn’t have a clue to as who it was. But I guess I was familiar with the situation; meeting someone that I had never heard of or seen before in my life, yet they all had their reasons for kidnapping me or something along those lines, but they never gave me in the answers in the end. No one ever gave me any answers.
Yes. He answered immediately, proving me wrong about him even answering me in the first place. When you look at this, what is the first thing that you notice?
His question surprised me. Wasn’t it obvious ; the piece that took up the most space with the three different colors in it? It had to mean something, right? But what, exactly?
“The biggest part, of course,” I answered, still examining the diagram with close eyes. “The white and the black…do they represent evil and good? If they do, why is the white so small?” I asked in a small voice, afraid for the answer that he was going to give me.
You are no longer full of pure light and goodness. He answered, making my fear come true. The gray represents the powers of light and darkness colliding together. You are playing with fate, Melita. Staying in the shadows instead of bathing in the light and being enclosed in darkness is a dangerous game. You will have to choose soon.
“Choose between light and darkness?”
“I-I choose light, of course,” I answered shakily. I looked at the diagram, and noticed that as I said those words, the gray slowly grew over the white, leaving only a sliver of it left. “What? I said I chose light!” I cried, outraged.
Lying will not help, Melita. He said, in his annoying calm, serene tone. Who was calm all the time, anyway? You may mean what you say, but that does not make it the truth. You’re still stuck inside the gray, the space between light and darkness. You know it, don’t you? Can’t you feel it deep within you, that you don’t belong to either sides, but the middle instead?
I thought about it, really thought about it. Maybe I didn’t exactly believe that I was complete light, after all. The darkness seemed more inviting to me in the end, while the light seemed to bright and overwhelming. I wasn’t light at all…I was stuck in the gray, which was too soon turning into the black. I watched in awe as the black started to eat up some of the gray in the diagram.
You are prone to darkness. The voice said, seeming surprised instead of calm for once. Melita, you are on to the path of losing yourself to the darkness. Is that what you want? Is that what you want your kingdom to rule underneath?
I didn’t want to rule over a kingdom at all in the first place, but I didn’t admit that to the voice. I didn’t know how to rule anyway. But I did know that I wouldn’t want to rule – if I ever did – with darkness. It didn’t seem right.
“Of course not,” I said slowly, trying to choose my words carefully. “But it’s not up to me anyway. I can’t rule over a whole kingdom. That’s not me. Everyone’s got the wrong idea.” I said, finally able to vent my complaints to this mysterious voice.
Melita, you may not know it now, but you will rule over the kingdom some day. It is your duty, it is what you were born for. It’s your destiny. And you know this, Melita, you know it.
Okay, now this guy was just trying to put words in my mouth. “I said, I don’t know how to rule over a kingdom, and quite frankly, I don’t want to!” I shouted. “Why can’t you understand that? Why doesn’t anyone understand?!” I stomped my foot, feeling like a little child throwing a tantrum, but I didn’t even care.
Do not fret. The voice said, turning back to his calm nature. Although you cannot take the stairs of light, you may take the stairs of darkness. But only if you can keep your light strong, and if only you can do this, you can stay from turning dark. But if you don’t…your kingdom will live under the cloak of darkness for 200 years.
“I’m not ruling over a kingdom,” I said through gritted teeth, “But fine. I don’t want to go all evil and dark like Aerial did.”
“Oh, and one more question,” I started off.
“Why isn’t there a gray staircase? I mean, there’s a great part of my heart – ha, that rhymed – so why isn’t there one? Is that a bad thing or something?” I asked hesitantly.
…There aren’t many that walk the gray staircase, only because they soon fade to the darkness or the light. You are walking on thin ice.
I rolled my eyes, but not at the voice guy. “Don’t I know it,” I paused, thinking for a second. “Can you tell me why I’m here?” I bit my lip, anticipating his answer.
It is not in my place to say. Good-bye, Melita.
“Oh, come on!” I said, getting frustrated once again. “Why does everyone have to say that? Can I get some answers, here?!” I growled, but of course, I didn’t get an answer, which I had probably figured in the first place, but it still bummed me out even more.
With a sigh of frustration, I looked to the left, where the black staircase was. How did my heart become so dark? I was literally losing the little bit I had left in seconds. And the darkness, it just kept growing. Soon, I wouldn’t be white or gray. I would be completely dark. Just like…Aerial. I hated her so much, I didn’t want to be just like her.
I wasn’t born evil, was I? That couldn’t be right because the light had only just recently shrunk, something I had assumed while talking to the voice. So, what was making me dark? What was changing in my environment, who was I around that I hadn’t been before?
Dre. I immediately thought. I had heard it enough times already from Ivan; about how he was dark and evil, and what he did was going against everything that the sirens that I belonged to. The way his eyes turned red, the way he looked when he threatened to kill Ivan…he meant it. When had Dre become so evil? When had he changed, right before my eyes?
I instantly felt bad fore even thinking that. I had known Dre for years, and he hadn’t seemed any different than when I first met him. Except for the fact that he turned into a monster with fangs, he was hiding a bunch of secretes from me, he belonged to something evil-sounding called the Twilight Elements, and I had heard from Ivan, who knew everything about everyone, that he was evil. Maybe he had changed. Maybe he—,
Wait a second. He turned into a monster with fangs. Why did that sound so familiar? My brain hurt to think about it, but I finally remembered: Aerial had grown fangs when I was fighting her. And Dre had fangs too…
“OH MY GOD.” I blurted aloud, my thoughts busting out uncontrollably. Was Dre Aerial’s son, too?! Had I been kissing my own brother?!
“I’m gonna be sick…” I said, and doubled over to my knees, clutching my stomach with my hand. No, that couldn’t be true. I couldn’t have been kissing my own sibling!
“I’m not your brother.” I heard a voice say. I stood up instantly on my feet, clutching at my heart with my hand.
“Dude, you scared the shit outta me,” I started to say, but then I did a double-take when I saw who it was. “Dre? What are you doing here?”
He walked forward to me, dressed in a plain white T-shirt and black jeans. Did that mean something, too? Like he was representing the whole dark and light thing? No one could be both, besides me, at least that’s what the voice had said. And even if he was, why wasn’t he gray? You couldn’t be pure light and dark at the same time, right?
“No, you can’t,” Dre said, seeming to read my thoughts.
“Let me guess,” I said dryly, “You can read minds, too? Seriously, why does everyone have all these cool powers except me? I’m not trying to complain or anything, but still—,”
“Melita,” Dre interrupted me, suddenly two inches away from me instead of three feet. “Right now, you should probably pay attention.”
I looked at him. This was the Dre I was used to; not the monster who had fangs and cheated on me with Drew. What happened to this Dre that I was used to. Before I knew it, I had wrapped Dre in a hug, smothering my tears against his T-shirt.
“Don’t dwell on how sentimental this is,” I warned him as she slowly hugged me back. “No need to be sappy.”
I could feel his smile grow as his lips brushed my eyebrows. He rubbed my back slowly, his fingers moving up and down. “You missed me?”
I sniffled. “Of course. I really, really missed you. And it’s all my fault Dre,” I said as I stepped back to look at him. “I’ve gotten so caught up in myself that I haven’t been paying attention you or Brite. I’ve been such a douche.” I rambled.
“Mel,” He interrupted me, yet again, but not in an annoying way. “Stop blaming yourself. You don’t need to. It’s alright.”
I nodded and wiped away the few tears that were left. “Sorry,” I paused again before saying, “Do you know where we are?”
He nodded solemnly at me. “We’re in my mind.” Dre replied, his voice filled with sorrow. He dropped his eyes down to the floor, away from my gaze. “Somehow, while I was biting you,” I winced at the biting part, “Somehow, you were absorbed into my mind and now you’re here.”
“So, are you trapped here or something?” I asked hesitantly, still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I was in Dre’s mind.
He nodded. “Yeah. It has to do with the whole being a kind of prince of the Twilight Elements,”
“…Well, can you tell me what that is?” I asked, hoping that he would. I really wanted to make sure that Dre wasn’t my brother. I prayed that he wasn’t, because I still really, really liked him. I was convinced that there were two sides to Dre, and the part that had invited Drew over wasn’t the one I was used to. But that didn’t he mean he didn’t have some explaining to do.
“I think it’s time for me to tell you,” Dre sighed. “Chairs.” He suddenly blurted, and then, two chairs; one gray and one black.
I looked up to him with an awareness clouding my mind. I looked up to Dre. “You’re evil?”
“Actually,” He said with a grim face as he sat down in the black chair, gesturing for me to sit down in the gray one, “I’m kind of like the Prince of Darkness.”
A/N: I hope these chapters in three parts don't bore everyone too much, although they are an essential part of the storyline! Anyways, when Melita says that her head feels as gigantic as the character Pops from "Regular Show", this is what he looks like. You know, because he has a gigantic head: