The Runner

By , Commack, NY

I frantically shake my head to get rid of what just happened to me and keep running to my new destination. I place my hand on my neck to make sure the thing I treasure most in the world is still tied around my neck. My pendant, a shinny sapphire gem woven in a black leather band, it is of great value to me and I would panic if I ever lost it. The heat of the day was beating down on me and I hadn’t realized I was crying until I went to wipe away the sweat beads off my face.
I wish everything was normal again, I thought.  Normal, that word seems so foreign to me now. It’s like another language that I can’t quite grasp the understanding of. I will never be able to feel that normal again.
  I push me heavy, tired legs just a bit farther, weaving in and out of people and avoiding the street venders selling their fruits and meats. I run until I am at the doorstep of her house, my best friend. Me and Nakedra have been best friends since we were 3 years of age. We were basically forced to be friends since my mom and her parents were close, practically siblings from the stories i’ve heard. But I love her nonetheless, she’s like my sister after all.
When I got to her doorway, I shouted into the house. “Nakedra! I ne-need your h-help! P-please hurry-y!” I couldn’t get rid of the shakiness to my voice. Ordinarily I would push past the cloth and enter the dry mud house, but I was too afraid I would break something inside.
Once she emerges from behind the cloth, she freezes. I must look like a wreck. Tears running down my face, my once ocean blue eyes a now pale and bloodshot blue, my face tainted with fear. I am shaking uncontrollably, unable to utter a single word as my mind was racing with thoughts.
“Oh my god! What happened?! Are you okay?!” she shouts at me. I flinch back at the fierceness of her words. She notices my movement and put a comforting hand on my shoulder. I quickly pull back and look down. A few moments pass and when I look up, I see confusing and hurt in her eyes. “ I-i don’t want-t hurt y-you.” I mutter in between sobs. My heart is racing a thousand beats a second and I am still shaking uncontrollably.
“Okay, breathe. Let’s go inside okay? Come on.” she said quietly, in a calming manner. “No! No! No! I-i can’t!” I scream at her. She looks taken aback by my out burst but manages to speak, “Why not? Please just tell me what happened Zebina.” I look into her eyes and she that she is genuinely scared for me. She has been by my side throughout everything. When my mom died, her family took me in. I was very young and they raised me as one of there own. I depended on them growing up, and they were okay with it. I love her parents like they are my own.
Her eyes are pleading me to tell her. And I do. I slow my breathing down and clasp my hands together, tears still leaving my eyes. Looking back at the floor, to my bare feet covered in dirt from running on the roads. I barely whisper, “I am g-gifted…” Minutes past and she still hasn’t said anything, I look up to see her brown eyes utterly confused. She furrowed her eyebrows, her tan skin wrinkling just above her eyes and her mouth left agape.
I continued, while fixing the hem of my pale green shirt that fits just right, “I was out swimming in the lake with a couple of our friends, Sara and Avil. We were have a fantastic time, laughing at jokes and playing in the water. After some time we decided to have a water fight. We kept splashing each other, soaking our selves. I went to go splash them both with water b-but…” I take a deep breathe, letting the air fill my lungs before blowing it out, “I-i hit them with a powerful blast of air. I-i don’t-t know h-how it happened-d!” I manage to stammer out.
I look up to Nakedra, silently pleading with my eyes for her to respond. To tell me that everything was going to be okay. To tell me how to understand this all. To bring me back to normal.
But Nakedra stood there shocked, not moving at all. I knew she would think I am crazy, and who can blame her? No one has seen or heard of any gifted since the Colossal Wars.  A gifted is someone who is able to manipulate any given substance, whether is be an element or people themselves. There were villages all over the world dedicated to certain gifted, like the Fire Clan. In their villages everyone was able to manipulate and control fire. Or the Spirit Tribe, where anyone could communicate through their minds. Throughout the world, villages developed and people came together, sharing their abilities with ones like them.
Known by the people as the Era of Tragedy, a time where countless wars consumed all the gifted and had either enslaved or brutally killed by the Caelan Dynasty. The Caelan Family is ruthless, powerful, and gifted people themselves. They ruled over the lands and grew to be very powerful. During the wars, they stopped at nothing until the reached their ultimate goal; to be the greatest and most powerful family the world has ever seen. And they indeed reached their goal, by wiping out millions of people and enslaving thousands of them. The wars lasted ten years and in the end, the non-gifted were broken and the gifted were basically erased from society. 
The Caelan Family was gifted in most but what they chose to use against their enemies made them even stronger. They were the only gifted dynasty known to be able to control more than one element. King Dynami was most gifted in psychological elements. He was able to control any person or people and make them do his bidding. Queen Aira was most gifted in the air element, being able to create chaos with the flick of her finger. The most powerful of the Caelan’s was Prince Keahi. He was greatly gifted in fire and ice. He could wipe out entire villages with a single blast of ice or blaze of fire. There were once rumors of a daughter being born but they were shut down but the royal family.
After the wars ended, a period of peace was instilled and yet Prince Keahi still craved more power. He still believed that there were more gifted ones out there and he would stop at nothing till every last one was gone. It’s said that he killed his father and mother to gain their titles and become ruler of all the lands. To this day he inflicts terror on the non-gifted, trying to find any gifted that may remain.
It has been several minutes since I told her what had happened and she has been complete mute. Opening and closing her mouth serval times but never saying a word. And at this point I have given up all hope of her understanding. I look down at hands like they are the most interesting thing in the world, tears flowing down my face in a steady stream. She probably think I am crazy and I can honestly understand. The wars ended when we were practically five years old. The lands were wiped of the gifted and for my powers to appear now, it’s crazy!
It hit me… I, Zebina, am putting everyone I love in danger. I could have Nakedra killed and her family. Everything I love gone, within a blink of an eyes. All because this ability I posses. My breath starts to quicken and I feel my body start to shake uncontrollably again. This time it feels as though my body has given up on trying to help. “Please N-nakedra, s-say something-g.” I beg her as look straight into her eyes.
I realize at this point Nakedra won’t answer, so I quickly turn to run away. But just as I am about to take a step, she whispers so quietly I almost didn't catch it, “How?” I turn around instantly, wide eye and my mouth hanging open. My blue eyes meet her brown and I knew, at that moment, my best friends hasn’t given up on me. That one word gave me hope that she is going to be there when I need her. This is gonna be a long journey and I knew she will be by my side through it all.
I let out the breath I didn’t realize I was holding in. I step forward so I am once again in front of Nakedra. “I-i don’t know how this happened.” I say truthfully. I take a deep breathe, trying to calm my erratic heartbeat. I start to drift into my own thoughts about my family.
I was born here in the village of Wealdstone. The village in located in a dry mountainous area. There isn’t a lot of fertile soil and the only source of power we have is the mill that is located south of the main gates by the river. This town is an area dedicated to the non-gifted. During the war, the gates were put around the city to protect the people who live here. People here study the earth and “all its wonders” as many would say, I find it quite boring. Everywhere you turn there are dry mud houses and street venders selling their shipped goods from other towns. The town isn’t large at all and it’s easy to know everyone who lives here. You know where the school is located, where that kids go to play, the library, the town hall too. It’s simple. I guess that’s what my mom wanted for me, simple.
I never really knew my mom. She died when I was at the mere age of seven. I’ve been told we looked nothing alike. I have long brown hair that reminds people of chocolate, while she had blonde hair that looked as though the sun had kissed her hair, creating rays of blonde. My eyes are an ocean of blues, yet hers were a golden brown. I am tall with slender legs and arms, but she was average height and had curves any girl would kill for. I must look like my dad because I looked nothing like my mom. I had actually never  knew who my father was. Mother told me he left before I was born but as a five year old, you don’t really understand and you don't ask questions.
Once my mom pasted, Nakedra’s family took me under there wing and it has been great. Sure I miss my mom a lot, but her parents are my home too. The have given me a great life and even as leader of the village, they always managed to be there when I needed them most.
I snap back into reality when I feel Nakedra’s soft thumb caressing my cheek, wiping away the remaining tears that had fallen. I look anywhere but here eyes, ashamed of what I have become. I am gifted. No one has seen of a gifted since the war ended, I silently thought. I instantly locked eyes with Nakedra’s, fear etched across my face. “Nakedra? What am I going to do?” I whisper to her. I look to my surroundings to make sure no one can hear this conversation.   If people find out I am gifted, dangerous things can happen. The village would take me, Nakedra and her parents away, and deliver me to King Keahi. He would either kill us all in front of the kingdoms, saving me for last so I can watch all my love ones die before me or I would be enslaved into his army and Nakedra and her parents would be his prisoners for eternity. Fear consumed my body and all thoughts about my love ones dying rammed my brain at high sped. I couldn’t keep up and began to feel a wave a dizziness wash over my body.
Nakedra looks me dead in the eyes, determinations evident, and speaks, “I think it’s best if we tell mother and father. They can help us understand what to do.” I nodded because I know Nakedra and when she comes to an resolution, she will stick with it till her dying breath. I find myself wondering if Nakedra’s parents would keep me. I know they are like family, they are basically my parents, but I can’t help but think about what would happen when they find I am a gifted. Would they send me away so they will not be harmed? Or worse! Send me to King Keahi where he can kill me and they can claim a reward for turning in a gifted?
Nakedra must of seen the flashes of fear and doubt cross my face so she gentle places her hand on my shoulder.  As if she can read my mind, she whispers “ They aren’t going to ship you off to King Keahi. They love you like their own daughter. Heck, I think they love you more than me!  But we do need to tell them about your new found abilities. They might be able to understand you more than I can right now. they could have some information about at the Village Center. I think they are there now Let’s go!” I was about to answer her, but she grabbed my arm and practically ripped my arm out of my socket as she dragged me through the crowds of people.
This is gonna be a day of surprises, I think as I began running.






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