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The Otherkinds

By @FaithRose

Mystical forest

The Otherkinds

 

Chapter one: Mystical forest

 

 

My eyelids flew open to the sound of cracking and the smell of thick smoke. I wasn’t sure what was happening, things were just fine when I’d gone to bed earlier. I glanced at the clock by my bed and through the haze saw that the time was three AM.

I rubbed my eyes and began coughing, was the heater on fire? Did mom forget to put out a cigarette? I jumped out of bed and ran downstairs, jumping back when I got to a wall of flames. I could hardly breathe, and the roof was beginning to collapse.

“Mom!” I called out, but no one answered back. I was shaking and trying hard to remember the way out of the house. We’d only just moved here a few weeks ago and the smoke and debris were so thick I couldn’t see a thing.

My heart was pounding, and my head became dizzy, I couldn’t stand straight. Soon enough the world went black.

 

***

 

When my eyes opened again a soft breeze was swishing over me and it felt like a pair of eyes was watching me. I forced myself to focus and saw that there was someone standing close by.

“H…hi.” I managed.

“Hello. Here, drink some of this it’ll help the burning in your throat.”

A tall tan guy handed me a clear cup with water in it. I pressed the plastic to my lips and greedily sipped at the water.

“How am I here?” I asked after my throat would allow me to speak.

“I found you.”

“You saved me?”

The man smirked and ran a hand through his long black hair. “I was just doing my job.”

“Your job? What are you a firefighter?”

“A shielder.”

“What does that mean?”

He glanced away from me and shook his head. “I can’t say too much yet. I have to get you somewhere safe.”

My eyes glaze over and I start to shake. “Where is my mom? My brother?”

He ignored my question again and shifted to another topic; “I have a place you can go to clean up and get some rest. We’ll have to be on our way by morning though.” This guy was really starting to make me mad.

“Be on our way to where? Do you really think I’ll be following a stranger anywhere? My house just burnt down I need to find my family.” I turned around and started walking. I didn’t get far before he caught me and spun me toward him.

“You can’t go back there. You won’t find anything…nothing you want to see anyway.” He watched me carefully. His words slowly started to sink in and I fell to me knees. Mom…Jordan…gone.

I shook my head back and forth as my tears ran down my face. “No…no no.”

The man fell to his knees beside me and wrapped a protective arm around my shoulders until it felt like all my tears had run out.

“You want to go get some rest? A shower?”

I sniffled and looked around. “I want my life to go back to the way it was last night…when I was curled up in bed and mom and Jordan were sound asleep in the next rooms beside mine. I want to wake up to the smell of moms’ famous bacon wraps and watch darkish cartoons all morning with my brother.”

He took a deep breath and then lifted my face to his. “Life isn’t about the number of breaths we take but the moments that take our breaths away. You have wonderful memories that will serve your heart and life as you continue living. It’s what your mom would want for you. It’s going to be hard for a long time, and the scar will never fade. But with time and patients your wound itself will heal and you will become strong again.”

I nodded slowly. “I have to do this…for mom.” I stood up. “You better not try anything. I took karate.”

He chuckled deep in his chest and led me through the woods.

 

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