With its black velvet artist stripes, the orange-gold of the tiger was a proud sight despite the backdrop of its iron crate. Its golden eyes shone brightly with a longing for the wild that resonated with me.
I stop reading, frowning at the one name that is scratched out. Like they didn’t want her to be remembered. I scratch at the paper before it hits me. A flood of images pour into my mind all at once. A man with curly blonde hair. Twins. A young girl with blonde hair that looks a lot like the man. These images smash around my brain, blood dripping from my nose.
I let out a groan, pulling the pillow over my head, drowning out the birds from outside. The woman from my dreams with jet black hair was still haunting me. I needed to know who she was. There was something familiar about her, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. She could be just a figment of my imagination. People dreamt of strangers all the time.
I locked my gaze with his, and the hunger and need in his eyes so matched my own that it shoved me over the edge. I slid my hand from beneath his and placed it against his chest. Then, never breaking eye contact, I pushed him back onto the bed.
One by one, I laid the lilies at the eternal resting places of my friends and comrades in arms. I only spoke in my head, not yet comfortable with letting Kimmika hear what I had to say.
I’m sorry. I miss you all. We were supposed to save the world together. How the hell am I supposed to do this alone?
“As I sit here, I feel lost at sea, unsure of my next move. Whatever that move will be, I can assure you that it will be based on my utmost respect for what the human race can be and the power of the truth. Thank you.”
I shouldn’t have wandered so far from the dig site. I knew the sands were unforgiving and that I could easily become one of the many lost to them. There are precautionary tales that are told at these sites to warn you of the dangers. I knew better, but I could have sworn I saw something or someone.
I found a bench nearby and sat down, letting the air waft over me. We were a distance from the ocean, but I could almost feel the Atlantic calling to me. It was both confusing and warming. Like a lover I had never known, beckoning me home.
Once my muscles loosened up, I leaned back and closed my eyes, letting the water lift my legs and carry me around. With my head half-submerged, all I could hear was my own breathing and the gentle trickle of water bouncing every surface around. I loved floating like this. It made me feel like I was part of the water. Like seafoam on a gentle wave. Seafoam!
I dive over the counter to escape whatever these things are. My medication must be failing. The prescription amount must not be right. I am having another break from reality. I land on my face as the room begins to fill with more and more of these phantoms. All of them yell things at me, their voices overlapping. I look under the counter to find a gaunt-faced boy staring at me.
There was no order, no balance to what was happening. It was chaotic and wrong…unbalanced.
I glanced back at Nakia, and she looked dipped in gold, with wings sprouting behind her in front of an office building of reflecting glass. She was majestic, and for a moment, I didn’t hate or envy her. I adored her, my sister.
I had a plan to get out of this hell. It was ripped from my grasp, sending me into helplessness when my locker was discovered. I slipped into the locker room as I had done so many times before and opened my corner locker. I gasped in horror to find it empty.
I should be terrified that the man will use the gun that is currently shoved in my back to kill me. I’m not. A still calmness flows over me and time seems to stand still. I don’t know how, but I know exactly what to do.