A Day in the Redwoods {RW}

A Day in the Redwoods {RW}

I was ten…

I think, at least. The older I get, the less I remember, and the more I’m sure I make up. The details of our exact age are negligible, however. I know that this had to have happened before the 7th grade, because by that time it was too late (for that’s when I met Cynthia, and I know I had the key by the time I met Cynthia). I might have been eleven, but I’m almost certain I were ten, and that she was eleven.

Me and Cyndy, that is. This is not to be confused with Cynthia who is a year younger than me, that I met on the bus. No, Cyndy is a year older than me. Cynthia and Cyndy look the same, eye color, hair color, skin colors (almost). They aren’t related. Obviously. They share the same name, afterall (although I call Cynthia – Cyndy, and bus Cynthia is just Cynthia). Their family circumstances are completely different. And their temperaments? Night and Day. Cynthia is the kind of girl who will stay home and get high, telling stories of wondrous worlds, and making you question the whos and the whats and the why we ares. Cyndy is the kind of girl who goes shopping (always), uses credit cards like money grows on trees, and parties till the sun rises, with new people all the time.

Both are lovely.

Either way, this was, before Cynthia. It was only Cyndy and me, and our families, who have been family friends since we were born. We were in the woods. The two of us swear by fact that it was the Redwoods, but the older I get the more that seems like nonsense. It could have been another national park or state park we went to, not that it matters, what happened isn’t possible in any of them. So, I’ll say it was the Redwoods, and that’s where we’ll begin.

I was ten, standing under the towering trees of red, that reached up so high into the sky that I was afraid I’d break my back trying to stare up. I never did see the tops of them. And the trees were wide, so large that cars could go through, so massive that I felt so insignificant, so tiny, so childlike. This was how I found the whismy that came from the freedom of nature. It was so powerful, and I was so small. It was so beautiful, and I knew that no matter what I ever tried to do or say, I would never be able to give the woods the justice that they deserved.

I would never be able to properly describe it.

We were hiking, or rather going for a walk, the nine of us (my family of five and Cyndy’s family of four). Our parents kept an eye on us, but they let us wander. Never get too far. If we can’t see them, then we need to go back. Always have a buddy, and for me that was Cyndy. Cyndy and I ran along the path, looking at the trees. Or maybe only I was running, whispering to them, for I’m pretty certain that at this time Cyndy thought I was strange, not that she doesn’t think I’m strange now, but that we are sisters now and back then we were only friends. (Sisters can think eachother are strange, but friends? That is a possible deal breakers. We’ve been through enough to no longer care.)

Cyndy chased after me, telling me I was going too far down the paths. We had picked on a way to go when the road forked and I wanted to go further. I did. Hurrying along, we came to a shop, in the center of an intersection of paths. It was not one of those pop-up shops, but a freestanding building, with a few other shops around it. Different and odd names, candy stores, books and maps, and the antique store that was two floors. It was this store that Cyndy and I went into.

What’s important to note about this, is that when we left the shop, keys in hand, joy on our lips in the form of laughter, we had fully intended to come back. We wanted to go to the candy store next door, but Cyndy and I did not believe we would receive anything for free as we had from the antique store. We had run to find our parents, them not particularly worried. We hadn’t been gone too long. What had felt like forever to us, had been no more than a minute or two. And when we led them to where we had seen the shops, they were gone. Our family told us we might have taken the wrong way, Cyndy and I knew better.

The shops were there. And then they weren’t. All that remained, for me, was a small golden key, to no real door, hanging around a black velvet string. A key that I still have. A key that has never opened a single door, and is constantly a peculiarity to me.

The antique shop was filled, like those book stores where the items tower high and in arcs, a maze of a mess, with no real direction through the madness. Mirrors of all shapes and sizes resting on the walls, with name plates under them or written on them of strange characters or places we had never heard of. And if you starred long enough into one, it was almost like you were starring into another world behind you.

There were paintings too, with time periods, no name or artist, of different people and places. There were door frames with no doors. Doors with no frame, leaning against the wall. Walls and walls of shelves, shelves in the middle of the room. Tables thrown about in every which way, laying on their side, their face, from the ceiling. Books that were all about, locked up tight behind glass or laid open on stacks atop the accessories in the room. Tea cups, postcards, record players. The longer one looked, the more one saw. Bird cages, pianos, metal objects, instruments, wind chimes. Vases, plants, bottles, clothes, hangers, clocks. And locks. There were so many locks. Locks on books, on doors, on door frames, on mirrors, hanging from the ceiling, lining the floor.

Locks.

And there was a staircase, that was narrow and tight, leading up to a second floor, beckoning us forward.

“Can I help you?” The only worker there was the man in white. He was dressed in a white button down, with a white mustache, and stark white hair, and black pants. He had a white apron and white gloves on, with black framed glasses and the whitest teeth we’d ever seen. He told us his name then, but neither Cyndy nor I remember it now. He was a young man, no more than twenty-five, but his eyes held wisdom of a person of more than a hundred, and neither of us knew how young he truly was until we talked about it later.

We told him we were just looking, and he showed us around the shop, to all the locks and mirrors and pictures and books. To the toys and clothes and desks and nooks. To the corners where we could crawl through tapestries, and the secret back room where the candy store kept their candy. The man in white led us through this shop for hours, telling us stories about all that we pointed out.

Then we went upstairs.

Upstairs was dark, it was not filled with the light of a hundred lamps, like the downstairs was. Nor was their sound, which until going to the second floor we had not realized that there was an ambience of light jazz music playing on the floor below. Upstairs was lit by glow in the dark bottles and potions, and paint that dusted the sides of the walls like constellations. With a flick of his wrist the man in white lit a candle that then let another and another until the room was glowing in the blue glow of the glow in the dark light and the soft amber of flame.

There were tables here, decorated in strange artifacts, however the table of note, and the one of importance, was the table of keys. It was not until we were leaving the upstairs that we had realized that the walls and floor were covered in keys, hidden behind painted glass, thousands of them. All different. On the table, however, there were only five set on thick black velvet.

The first key was silver, small, with a deer decorating the top of the key for the loop. It had three prongs, and odd runes that made strange words that the man in white could read.

The second was black, two prongs, big and heavy, made of iron, he said. The handle was too big for my hand, and the loop at the end was nothing special, until he waved a candle over it and it glowed from the inside.

The third was my key, the one I ended up taking. A gold key, larger than the first, much smaller than the second, three rivets in a row, with a loop at the end that was shaped almost like a heart with design that looked like leaves.

The fourth was silver again, but this time it had painted veins of blue that pulsated as it grew cold and dark around the key. It was large, but not too large, and was cut as a modern key was, despite looking so old.

The last was bronze, with a large loop at the end, of three circles wrapped around each other to form a globe, with a crystal hanging from the inside. The key blade itself was just a long rod, that looked like nothing more than a stick, until it was moved and one could see the indentations imbedded into the metal, creating grooves.

Each key had a task or a weight, something that had to be given to take.

The first was a promise, to give one that could never be taken back or broken or else. The second was of heat, of passion. Glory could be achieved but would it be worth it? The fourth was for stability, a million worlds could be reached, but no true home would be found. The fifth was a soul, whose, the man in white would not say.

The third was “you will know.”

I still do not know.

“Take a key, or leave. You don’t have to take one. But you can.”

“Can we both take one?” We had asked.

“You may.”

I took the third key of gold and Cyndy took the first key of silver, promising never to lose it. She last saw the key when she was twelve, under her bed, not where she had left it, and then she never saw it again. I am not sure what she gave to lose it, or what she lost when she lost it. Was it the chance at opening doors? I will never know.

The man had told us not to worry about paying, for payment was already made and then we ran downstairs, and away, the man in white waving at us from the counter. A beautiful man.

It was only upon looking back, when much older, that Cyndy and I realized just how strange and wrong it all had been. We could have been lost forever. We could have been hurt. And despite having full faith in the man in white, the shop was just so strange, so unreal, so magical that both of us chose to ignore it existed, disregarding the fact that I still had my key and no logical answer could be given to how I got it. My parents didn’t remember buying it for me. I had never gotten it as a gift. And thus we were stuck realizing that the two of us in our naive world had wandered onto something unfathomable, and unreachable ever again.

When I was seventeen, Cyndy and I were out shopping when we both stopped. There across the busy shopping center we both swore we saw him, but when we chased him to ask, we found ourselves not only wandering back from where we had come, but certain we had not saw him at all. I believe this too was his magic.

When I met Cynthia in the seventh grade, she had said some strange things to me. Of note was one strange man in all black that she had met once at her aunts house who had come to get a key from her aunt, with sharp white teeth, getting the key from an attic long locked. Her aunt had died a few months later, in a mysterious fire that started in the same room. Apparently no one had ever opened a door, so she never did know if he had gotten the key. It was this same strange man that the two of us swore we saw on the bus one day when it was stopped at a light, starring at us from a gas station parking lot waving.

That was when Cynthia had seen my gold key and asked me what it was worth and to which I replied: “I do not know.” I still do not know.

There are strange things surrounding the Cynthias and I, very strange things that I can not place. But this key, I have never lost, despite trying to. I have always remembered. And somehow for some reason, I feel like it is as a part of me as I am to it.

And I am still waiting for the door, the door that I might be able to use this key on. I have not found it yet, not for lack of trying. But I know that when I do, that is when I’ll know what it costs.


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Of the Shadows {RW}

Of the Shadows {RW}

One breath. Two.

She slipped through the alley, masking her footsteps to match the bustling noise of the nightlife and the pitter patter of the rain. Light footsteps hiding her actions, in order to disguise her and make her disappear. The night was busy with cars and honking, letting her sound drift away as her body shimmered out of sight with the flickering of the nights.

Two breaths. Three.

Street lights, like all lights, created a circle. It was the halo of protection from beings like her. Those who lived in it, would not — could not– be touched by her. Cities such as these were a killer to her kind. However, the brightest cities had the darkest corners.

Three breaths. Four.

She had lived for long enough, been burned enough, to know how to avoid the lights, to skip around them in a dance as she moved about the world to capture her prey that was lying in wait. Hood over her head, she walked with a sucker in her mouth, humming to herself as she stepped closer.

Four breaths. Five.

The man was cowering and tumbling to the ground. She could smell the stench of sweat and piss dripping down his leg to a puddle on the ground. Then there was the blood. That was what really drew her. She would never lose him as long as his leg bled the way that it did.

Five breaths. Six.

The shadows were tossing about around her, hungry. They were so hungry. Their last meal had not been long, but the shadows were greedy, and that made her ruthless. She aimed to only go after scum. Those who hurt their partners, murderers, and hurt children. She had a set of morals that most of her people found painful. The light-dwellers were not their own. Thus, they were like any other form of live stock. Good or bad live stock? Such things were negligible.

Six breaths. Seven.

She still cared anyway.

Seven breaths. Eight.

She stood over the man, as he panicked and had hit a wall. He starred up at her, fear rampant in his eyes, as the lights around her flicked until they dimmed. They could not go out, as that would draw notice, but dimming was okay.

Eight breaths.

“Monster.” He called her. As if she hadn’t heard that one before. He was not the talkative type. Nor the fighter type. He was already resigned to his death, and this final statement was nothing more than a cry for help.

Hand out, the shadows devoured the man, leaving her basking in the cool wind of the night as her power returned from her, leaving nothing behind on the floor before her.

“What are you?” she heard from behind her.

She turned to find another girl standing in the light. Not one of her kind. She gave a name not an identity. “Emily.”

“Emily?” The girl in the light, furrowed her eyebrows. “What are you?”

“Its standard practice to give a name in response.” Her shadows filtered about her, condensing and retreating into the darkness.

“What are you?”

With a sigh, Emily was her name now, glared at the woman. “Not a vampire, if you’re wondering.”

“Obviously.”

“Leave.”

“Aren’t you–“

“Vampires are nicer than we are. Leave.” She took out the sucker stick in her mouth and dropped it to the ground stepping on it. The woman did not budge. Groaning to herself, she weaved her shadows to the back of the alleyway, and turned herself to leave. Her shadows consumed the alleyway, as she pulled out another lollipop and started walking towards the other exit. The screams sounded around her as she moved further and away, the muffled cries resonating in her as she moved.

Innocent blood tasted different than tainted blood. She felt it on her tongue as her shadows consumed the woman, and forced herself to eat more candy. The candy had to be more important than the lovely taste that came from the woman’s soul. She needed to keep her mind about her.

Skip in her step, she placed her hood lower, and put her hands in her pocket, walking out in to the light. Her shadows condensed around her and into her hood to protect her from the remaining street lights that she could almost walk under.


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YP – B2:UtGoaFN – Chapter 14 (Chapter 60)

226 Days Until Justice And The Uncertain End (part 2)

Heia looked over the figures of her family, working hard and training skills they had not used in the past. The triplets were moving the best with the weapons, having been working with them for far longer. Kony still was not sure about magic, not that any of them knew how to train him in magic. He looked to the broken staff in his hands like the relic it was, trying something. Anything. Failing every time.

“What’s on your mind?” Andre asked her as he took a break.

“Nothing really.” Heia answered. It was odd to think that just a bit ago they were at home, struggling to survive and now they had clothes, a safe place to sleep, were well fed, and could train in this way without any fears. It was unfortunate with how much the Circles and Stars took for granted, and only made her hate them worse for the fact that they partied and acted as if the world wasn’t falling apart outside. 

Continue reading “YP – B2:UtGoaFN – Chapter 14 (Chapter 60)”

YP – B2:UtGoaFN – Chapter 13 (Chapter 59)

226 Days Until Justice And The Uncertain End (part 1)

So this is how they wish to crush me? Zeydar understood as he looked over his testing schedule for Superior exams. All his exams were held within hours of each other, physical, practical, written, verbal, different subjects, and of all types, stacked on to each other. Where as in the past, the exams took place over the course of days with breaks between. This examination period was over the course of a little more than seventy-two hours.

How long would it take for them to grade the tests? All too long. They’d say they needed more time to get through them all. Since they did his schedule in three days, tradition would not follow. Traditionally, the last exam was taken as the others were being completed for grading. At most, they would need five days to grade, Zeydar knew this, but he also knew they’d try to sabotage him.

Continue reading “YP – B2:UtGoaFN – Chapter 13 (Chapter 59)”

YP – B1: Finale – Chapter 32

240 Days Until Frustration and The Uncertain End (Part 1)

Heia watched as Evester slept next to the others of EverDanger under the watchful eye of her siblings. He looked the most relaxed that she had seen him since meeting him, sleeping on the shoulder of the red-haired Kim. His bag was held loosely in his arms as they sat in the back of the bus. Every time he’d slept before it’d been holding his bag tightly in a corner, half awake, half coherent, half ready to kill if necessary. Right now he was snoring and snuggled up close to the rest of EverDanger. This was perhaps the deepest sleep he had gotten in months since he began running, and Heia couldn’t help but feel bad for him.

Continue reading “YP – B1: Finale – Chapter 32”

YP – B1: Finale – Chapter 31

244 Days Until Lessons and The Uncertain End  

Evester directed Andre out of the fast track spiral and to the floor that Kim had specified. The group chat was a mess of plans, and false information, but of this, Evester was certain. Their messages were monitored thus the need for false information. Luckily their code had been established early on between them and no one had ever been able to break it. No one yet, he assumed. Still, even with a unbreakable code, they needed false information littered with the real. In that was the floor they needed to get off on for the supplies they required. Namely: clothes. Circle attire and battle clothes like he had, for Heia and who ever was stupid enough to follow him. Circle attire would be necessary to get them into Valaria, above even manners or their fake identification.

Continue reading “YP – B1: Finale – Chapter 31”

YP – B1: Finale – Chapter 26

252 Days Until Destruction and The Uncertain End (part 3)

Heia stood watching from the car side, waiting for familiar shadows to appear on the horizon. Her siblings had yet to arrive with Shawn. Another fighter, another driver, another person who could help them survive and Heia wasn’t sure how she felt about it. Shawn traveling with them? What about his family? Did his family know he’d been discharaged? Temporarily, sure, but still it was a disgrace. Though, it was not as much as a disgrace as defecting. 

When she saw the figure of three on the horizon her heart paced. The three traveled to them, with Robee carrying what looked like the radio and camera they’d used to contact the military hours before. The radio was a large box like receiver that could be dialed in and connected to by an outside source. It was portable, but rather large, with a screen that could show the picture of the person you were talking to. Where as Circles had smaller devices, X’s were left with the thrown away trash of yester-year. 

Evester was off the bus and racing towards them leading the Triplets and Heia after him. 

Continue reading “YP – B1: Finale – Chapter 26”

YP – B1: Finale – Chapter 25

252 Days Until Destruction and The Uncertain End (part 2)

Evester leapt through the carnage of bodies, human and Aralax alike. His eyes traveled to Kony, the only one who could possibly be a Star amongst them. If the boy was a Magician, they’d be able to decimate the Aralax. Only, the boy was not trained, as he remembered, and that alone kept Evester’s mouth shut. Evester ran on ahead after giving out his advice and words of wisdom. He pushed himself to cut down the Aralax in his path, in a way of assisting the soldiers who were shooting at them. 

He wondered if this sort of preparation would save the people of LakeLost. Almost nothing had changed, no one had been truly ready for the onslaught, but there were tens of soldiers, and hopefully enough more on their way. Was this worth getting exposed? Was this enough for Heiphillia?

Robee and Trace worked in a team as the Triplets worked together and Heiphillia raced next to Evester to work as his partner. He had intended for her to work with Robee and Trace, yet there she was next to him. Heiphillia pointed on ahead towards the path for them to escape.

Continue reading “YP – B1: Finale – Chapter 25”

YP – B1: Finale – Chapter 22

253 Days Until Melancholy and The Uncertain End (part 2)

Heia looked over the remaining things that needed to be done. The Triplets were busy working with Evester and learning how to kill Aralax the way he had. Heia wasn’t certain that he had killed an Aralax — she had, she knew the difficulty of the task — however she had smelt the blood, and seen the muck. The filth wasn’t someone could pretend, unless he bathed in it. Somehow Heia doubted even he was that crazy.

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YP – B1: Finale – Chapter 21

253 Days Until Melancholy and The Uncertain End (part 1) 

It was a day before the proclaimed attack and Evester was nervous. The orphans had been fully packed. Everything was in order for them to leave that night, yet Evester was worried. What if the attack came early? What if the Project spoke the day it was discovered? Why was he so worried about the X’s? Because he had been caught and forced to help Heiphilia and her family with preparations? Perhaps that was the issue. This was an anxiety inducing situation and with each growing hour Evester’s nerves threatened to explode in anticipation rather than fear. What would happen? Would they all die? It was killing him, like the nerves before he tried something new.

Continue reading “YP – B1: Finale – Chapter 21”