Do You See What I See?

December 24, 2007
By Katherine Ling, Rockville, MD

I look at my clanmates assembled before me - seeing their hopes and fears. I know exactly what to say because I see what they are afraid of and see what they dream of. I see the ancient runes written across their foreheads - scratched out in green and purple ink, the colors of my eyes. It's just like reading a scroll that the scholars use with the only differences being that the runes are not physically printed on the people's foreheads and that only I can see them. Only me. Those words have echoed in my head my entire life, since I learned that I am what the people call a wizard and a genous.

I bow my head before the sunset, praying that I will be given the right words to say. They are so afraid, relying on me to save our world. "I am only five!" I want to scream, "Save your own selves from Taliqua!" But I don't yell and shriek. I restrain myself by concentrating on breathing. In, out, in, out. The rhythm calms me enough to look back up again and say what I least want to.

"We will be killed if we do not act," I say, aware of the thousand normal brown eyes locked upon my neon ones, "This will not be a battle of clashing blades. This will be a battle that I must fight, only being able to do so with your help. It will be me alone in the end, but you must help me prepare. The scholars must teach me everything they know of this world. The weapons masters must teach me everything they know of strategy and how to be brave. The children must teach me what it is to be calm even when they can sense danger. The entire clan must teach me what it is to be more than one person, what it is to be a leader."

I pause, trying not to let my voice crack, and say, "Taliqua would have been my master. He would have taught me everything there is to know about my role in life. He abandoned me, you," I say, gesturing to the crowd, "because his eyes have turned black with evil. It is not my wish to kill, for I do not have that in my heart, as I am only a child. I will not be battling Taliqua, but fighting the devil himself for Taliqua's soul." My words are met with gasps and tears from the women, cries of rage from the men.

I bow my head once more, my small hands folded behind my boys' breeches and shirt. At least they do not know I am a girl, I think to myself as the ampitheatre slowly empties.

When at last I am alone, I look up, my face now streaked with silent tears of frustration and fear. I catch my breath when my eyes spot a slight movement in the shadows. I release it as my tension turns to relief when I see that the figure descending the steps towards me is Peter, the fourteen-year-old boy who convinced his parents to take me in from the streets and give me a home a year ago.

He alone knows my true identity, and the only one who knows I am a wizard with more strength than any other before me. He holds my life in his hands with that information. I relax when I read his forehead - his fears are so dwarfish compared to everyone elses' that my childs mind kicks in and I laugh at the only purple word on his head: butterflies.

Peter seems to know what I'm thinking and says with a fake pout, "It's not funny." He sticks out his lower lip and I laugh some more, running to him. He scoops me up like a father would and spins me around, laughing too.

But it doesn't last long. It happens when we stop and look into each other's eyes. When they meet, it's like we're frozen in time, in space. All I can do is look at his eyes; I don't hear the nightime sounds anymore or feel the itch of the summer bugs.

Then I see something that makes my blood run cold. Peter's eyes are changing. The blue irises flare and glow, the pigment flashing all the colors of the rainbow. When at last the colors stop changing, my heart quickens. They aren't blue anymore, but the left green and the right purple. Like mine.

The spell releases us and we collapse on the ground, tremors of terror running through our bodies, making the tiny hairs stand up on end. "Peter and I were always the only blondes in town, everyone else had dark brown hair and different shades of brown eyes," I think to myself, staring at the ground.

When I at last muster the courage to look back up at him, I ask him something that could make everything change, "Peter," I say, " Do you see what I see?"

"Yes, Sarah," he says, using my real name for the first time, "I do."

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