Writer : Tw @CottonCandy702
Genre : fantasy / time travelling
Style : short story
Outside of the bedroom, the warm moonlight was filtering in through the gaps in the curtains. Sitting by the window and tilting my head skyward, I could see thousands of bright stars dotted on the black canvas of night. From here, I could see the beautiful scenery of the village and evergreen pine forest below. The only light sources that appeared out there were the silver glow of the full moon and a group of brilliant lights from far away – the lights of celebration and joy.
Today was the 24th of December or the Christmas Eve for most people. For me, Tonight would be my last night of being 14 and the same day that that I was sent to my ‘new house’– maybe it was the only thing that I could remember. And I have been living here for three years from that day.
The short and long hands of the clock were about to overlap each other in a few hours. I slowly stood up, smoothed down my old pajamas. I silently walked past the pile of books that I had borrowed from the library of Center Athenaeum a few weeks ago. The Center Athenaeum was where we could find thousands of books or even a wizard who could help us discover and control our special abilities or supernatural powers.
It was there when I first met an old man called Gabriel, who had become my teacher and mentor. After many sets of examination and meditation, we came up with a stunning conclusion. I had the ability to grant wishes. Gabriel instructed me that this power could be used only under the condition that I could not kill under my own power or grant a wish to kill others.
After being here for a few months, I began to understand many aspects of people’s lives in this village and became a part of them without even realizing it. Everyone here had something in common that made us different from ordinary people. We all had supernatural powers or special abilities. Some were spellcasters, wizards, seelies and there was even a girl with a strange colored eye like me. Despite different backgrounds and stories, we lived harmoniously under a common rule and understanding of each other.
I could remember the day after I had just finished my daily wish granting lesson with Master Gabriel. I asked him a question about what I had seen, but still didn’t understand.
“Master, May I ask you some questions?”
“Why do we need to keep practicing everyday? I mean, what is the real purpose of doing this, although we don’t even know how our abilities could be useful to ourselves or others?”
“We all have different purposes of living. As you have seen, some people chose to move out and travel to somewhere where they can use their special abilities to benefit others. Others like me choose to stay here to help the new arrivals dealing with their abilities. Someday you will understand this and when that day comes, you will be able to decide your own path, Mira”
That night, I laid on my bed and thinking about old memories until I fell asleep.
I woke up in the middle of the night for no reason. I turned my back to the doorway and my face toward the window. Tightening my grip on my blanket and snuggled deeper inside. I was halfway into my sleep when a great whoosh of the wind passed into my ears. I suddenly opened my eyes and saw a sudden flash of a dark silhouette crossing the moonlight path on the floor.
It happened in a sudden flash. But I was sure that what I had seen was like a pair of wings. Could it be a big bird? Could it be a raven? or was it just an illusion? Then I sat still with my heart pounding, waiting for the shadow to appear again. A moment passed and there was still no sign of the mysterious wings.
Something inside me told me that this was not a coincidence. I decided. Reaching my hand to open the doorknob, I stepped outside into the gloomy hallway. The midnight wind touched my skin. I could feel the soft touch of the rug under my feet. Every step took me closer to to the mysterious apparition. I was unsure of whether it was a friend or foe. I stopped for a second, took a deep breath, and looked up narrow stairs to the attic. I could feel something was up there waiting for me to find out. I carefully made my way through dust-thickened pieces of wood and the spider webs.
I remember exactly the moment that I decided to push that wooden door open. But all I could see was emptiness. I sighed. Nothing except the old attic, a place that I had never explored before. I was standing near the window where I could see a panoramic view of the village clearer than from my bedroom. The beauty of silence and starlight had stolen my soul for a while.
It was the moment I turned around that I truly realized what had brought me up here. On the opposite side of the room, a tall figure of a man in a long black dress was standing there under the shadow, smiling at me. Behind him was a pair of dark wings – exactly what I had seen earlier. I put both hands over my mouth, could not believe what I saw. I wanted to scream and run away from here. But my feet began to lose all feeling.
“Happy Birthday, Mira.” The mysterious man said with a calm voice, inched forward.
I stepped back to the brick wall with fear. I could feel that my legs were trembling.
“Don’t be scared, my dear.” He said. “It’s your birthday, your fifteenth birthday, isn’t it?”
When he finished his sentence, my body was paralyzed. How could he know my birthday? Will he come to take me away? What should I do? Hundreds of thoughts and questions were coming into my head.
“W-who are you?” I want to shout, but it turned out to be a whisper. “What do you want from me?” I asked in a trembling voice.
“You don’t need to know my name. Just remember that I will never hurt you,” he explained.
“I have come all the way up here to present you with a birthday gift—a very special one.”
Without any hesitation, I answered, “I don’t want anything. Please leave me alone.” Unexpectedly, he paced toward the window and leaned his black wings on the glass.
“I thought you wanted to know about your past?” He said in a soft voice, looking down the village below.
“What are you saying?”
At that moment, I decided to stare back into his midnight blue eyes. I tried harder to listen to his thought or wish, but all I could hear was the silence of the wind.
“Because I am different from others you have known. Different in the way that I could make your wish come true, Mira,” said the blue-eyed demon.
“Any questions you want to know, just ask me.”
Without myself even noticing, the fear had escaped me.
“Then, can I ask you something?”
“Of course,” he said
“What happened in my life before I came here?”
“Are you sure you really want to know?”
“It was the only question that bothered me for the last three years.
“As you wish. Then close your eyes and ask that question again in your mind.” He said in a more serious tone.
As I closed my eyes and said that question again in my mind, I began to feel detached from my surroundings. Suddenly, some beams of light came out of nowhere. Those vivid spectrums gathered together in a circle and rapidly spinning around me. In less than a minute, the bright light circle was expanding in all directions. My both eyes were closed just before I heard the sound of an explosion. When everything seemed to settle down, I opened my eyes slowly. I felt just like floating in outer space and watching the whole galaxy spinning around me.
Suddenly, an object appeared in front of me. It looks like a piece of a broken house’s brick with a pyramidal shape. What made this rock special was its two-toned colors: reddish-brown on the upper layer and the greyish color below. The mysterious object was floating in a straight direction and stopped in front of me.
“Welcome to your imaginary world, the world between reality and your memories.” said a deep, low voice
“This object will tell the truth about the missing pieces of your memories.”
I was amazed.
“But keep in mind that your wish may have some consequences.”
“When you are ready, touch the object and it will take you there.”
I gently picked the small brick up and placed it in the middle of my palm. Stunningly, various beams of white light started to shine from the piece of wood before my eyes started to close.
It was the sounds of seagulls and the scent of saltwater that woke me up. I could feel the rough sand underneath my legs and arms. I slowly sat up and looked around, next to me was a pile of dry greyish wood that often grows near the beach. The atmosphere around me looked so familiar as if I had been there a long time ago. I then realized that it was someplace from my memories.
“Mama! Mama! Look, I finished my sandcastle”
I turned around at the direction of the noise. From here, I could see a little girl smiling and pointing at her small sandcastle decorating with tiny stones and an orange shell. She was wearing a pink dress and had a black ponytail. But the thing that captured my attention was the color of her eyes. Her left eye was the same color as her hair, but the right one was a light aquamarine color – the same color as mine. Could it be possible that this girl was…?
“Mira, where have you been? Mama told you to wait there, isn’t she?” A woman with the same hair color rushed toward the little girl.
“Sorry Mama, I had to find a dry place to build my sandcastle. Do you like my sandcastle?”
At that moment, I already knew that it was my mother and me. My heart was pounding, and the tears slowly running down my cheeks since it was the first time in many years that I had seen her. I was standing there watching the conversation and giggling with joy. Some memories started to return to my head. This place might be the beach on the eastern coast of the village as I seemed to recognize some familiar features.
From far away, I saw a group of grey clouds forming above the ocean surface. And I knew that a heavy storm was about to come in less than an hour. When I looked at the beach where they were sitting earlier, they had already gone. Leaving a tiny sandcastle sitting alone under a gloomy sky. I began to feel the heaviness in my eyelids again before the whole world went dark again.
I woke up in confusion.
“Am I still in my imaginary world?” I asked myself in a quiet voice while trying to stand up straight. This time was different, The surface below me was grass, not sand. I then looked around curiously.
Not far away from where I was standing, there was a festival going on. I slowly walked up from the grassy area near the sidewalk and paced toward the crowd.
“Mom, Where are you?”
My action suddenly stopped, so I could hear that voice again.
“Where are you? Please come. I'm scared."
It was the voice of a child, maybe a boy that echoed in my head. I glanced around, but there was no one who could be the owner of this voice. Why am I hearing this? How could I help him?
"Mom, I'm here…near the merry-go-round. Mom, Where are you?" The echo was getting louder.
The merry-go-round? I stayed still for a while, trying to recall the old stories, and decided to make my way through the busy market.
The large area of the town square had been transformed into a small amusement park, where I could see the bright light of the merry-go-round from a distance. People started to gather here, waiting for the fireworks. When I reached the rotating machine, I found that there was a little boy standing there crying with an older girl standing next to him.
I recognized that she was the same girl that I had met earlier at the beach but was now more grown-up. She was me when I was in primary school. As I could remember, it was during those years that I began to realize something that made me different from other kids – my special ability.
“Why are you crying? How can I help you?” The girl sat down and asked the boy in a soft voice.
“We...we went inside the festival and.. I got lost with my mom.” The boy rubbed his eyes.
“Can you tell me what your mom is wearing today?”
“She is wearing a long dress with a scarf, an orange one.”
“Thank you for telling me that. I will try my best to help you, but you have to stay here till I come back. Can you promise me?”
The little boy stared back at the young Mira.“Yes, I promise.”
I decided to stay with the boy even if he didn’t see me or notice my existence. While standing here, I could still hear many different voices that flew in and out of my head. However, one voice that became more obvious was from a woman. I began to understand the situation. Mira, or the younger version of me, ran into the crowd, looking for a woman that was similar to the boy’s description as well as listening to people's wishes. This way she could trace the boy’s mother easier.
In less than ten minutes, the same girl appeared with a woman in a long dress. The girl took her to the merry-go-round, where the mother and son ran tearfully into each other’s arms. They hugged each other and said thank you to the girl.
That picture will stay in my memory to remind me of the true purpose of my special ability.
I turned around and walked back to the sidewalk where I woke up. But after a few steps, my head started aching. The condition got worse and I couldn’t manage to walk any further. My vision became blurry and the world began to spin. That was the last thing I could remember before my consciousness began to fade again.
Someone was shaking my arms to wake me up from a nightmare. When I was fully awake, all I could see was the thick grey smoke covering the room. The flare of burning fire was trying to leak through the door. This time, it was me who was in the real situation, not the younger Mira. I started to gain back my consciousness and trying to figure out where that brick had brought me to.
“Wake up Mira! We gotta go out now!” A woman who looked so familiar to me shouted. The brightness of the burning flame reflected on the side of her face, so I could see her face clearly. I was stunned. It was my mother who grabbed my wrist and we made our way outside the room. At that moment, I realized that I was in my house, the place that contained my childhood memories with my mom.
Finally, we arrived at the stairway, but the bad news was that the hot flames had already reached the second step of the stairs. Both of us were shocked by the situation and I was about to cry. My mom comforted me and kept saying, “It will be fine”.
Luckily, she saw a small space between the staircase and the fallen piece of ceiling. We had no choice but to run down the stairway. My mom told me to crawl out first. I hold my breath and finally managed to crawl through the narrow escape route. My mom followed me and was about to get out. Without any warning, another burning piece of ceiling fell on her. I reached my hand out as far as I could to help pull her out.
“We are coming in! Stay there!” A man shouted from somewhere not far from us.
“Run away, Mira! Now!” My mom was shouting at me.
I was speechless.
“You need to go now! and remember...” She paused and coughed. “please use your ability to help others.”
Before I was able to say anything, someone grabbed my hand and rescued me from the burning house. Everything around me became slow motion and my eyes were closing gradually. I looked back at the stairs for the last time.
Those were my mother’s last words and they will stay in my heart forever.
I slowly opened my eyes. All I could see was the blurry picture of a gloomy room and a dark figure not far away from me. When my sight became clearer, I realized that the journey was finished. Finally, I returned to the old attic the same man with black wings.
“I have the last gift for you, Mira,” said the demon.
“You can choose to return to your childhood with your mom and have a new life, but you will lose your ability forever.” He paused.
“Or you can return to your normal life with your ability and use it to grant wishes to others.”
And every time I think about the past, I never regret the decision I made that day.