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Aurora Li: House of Memories
It happened in a blink of an eye: one second I was there, the next I was gone. It was a typical end of the school day and it was my free period to get some homework done. As the tip of my pencil touched down onto the last question on my worksheet, I was whisked away—transported as if by magic to a different room and a whole new world. Though I didn’t know it, this was just the start of a huge adventure ahead.
I looked around at my new surroundings. I was sitting on the top bunk of a bed and it seemed as though I had been transported to some teen’s room—the ones that you would only see in a magazine; flawless and made to perfection—the ones that every thirteen year old girl would want. The walls were painted lime green and the furniture was mostly white and lime green, too. There was a neat little desk to the right of the bunk, and a huge walk-in closet to the left. Sunlight streamed in from the large glass window right above the desk. I didn’t think about it at the time but if I had paid more attention to the sunlight and what was outside the window, I would’ve noticed that it seemed weakened and artificial and that there were shadows looming around the grounds of the house, waiting for a signal before they pounced on me and carried me away.
I jumped off the top bunk on which I was perched and started looking through the items contained in the room. I pulled open a drawer from a polished white-wood wardrobe. Inside was a bunch of objects that just didn’t seem to belong. Instead of finding clothes like I expected, the wardrobe was filled with various objects: bits of string, beads that belonged to a necklace, fairytale books about princesses and ogres. The room had been so clean and tidy, and it contrasted with all the items it was filled with. It was junk, I thought; bits and pieces of junk.
I picked up a stuffed animal that was buried down in the bottom of the drawer. It was a brown teddy bear with sewn-in eyes and a comfy blue shirt. The owner—whoever it was—had brought the bear everywhere. Its fur was very worn-out and there was a growing hole in one of its arms. Then a thought struck me—that was my teddy bear! As odd as it was, I knew I was correct. At my house I had the exact same one, with the exact same hole in its arm. I felt tired and wary all of a sudden. How could my stuffed animal be in a house that I had never been to? The thought urged me to rummage through the rest of the objects in the drawer. I found a hardcover copy of The Ugly Duckling; a book that was one of my favorites as a child. And again, it seemed to be my copy. There was the chocolate pudding stain on the back cover which I made when I was three, and a page of the book—the part where the ugly duckling turns into a swan—was dog-eared just like my book. I had loved that part so much. It was a happy ending for the “duck” and it taught me a lesson—you aren’t always what you think you are.
Right then, the sound of footsteps echoed outside my room. I ran to the walk-in closet and hid behind a rack of clothes. My heart was pounding like a drum, and I remembered reality—I was in someone else’s room and the owner of the house was probably coming home. Then I thought again. I knew that couldn’t be right. How could some other girl have my belongings? I was still clutching the teddy bear—no, my teddy bear—that I had found. The footsteps got closer and I heard two voices. One was higher pitched and probably belonged to a younger girl. The other voice sounded like an old man. Just through his voice I knew that he was wise and must’ve lived quite a long time. The pair entered the room.
“Well, she should be in this room,” said the younger voice. “I sensed it, and my sensing is never wrong.”
“She probably is in this room,” said the older voice, “but you know the newcomers usually hide when they hear us.”
Apparently, they were expecting me and it gave me a sense of uneasiness. How could anyone know I was in this house let alone find me almost at the exact same time I arrived? Things were getting weirder and weirder by the moment. The girl walked to the drawer which I had left open after running to the closet; her long red curls bounced as she moved and her eyes were a stunning blue. She looked through the items that were in the drawer and examined them. At the same time, I felt an instinctive feeling wash over me. A burst of unexplainable anger flared inside me. I felt myself thinking that those were my items; my toys and trinkets from my childhood. I know it sounds weird, since I had never even seen this room before, but somehow this strange, unknown room seemed familiar and attached to me like a long lost friend. Without giving a thought to it, I ran out of the closet and slammed all my weight into the girl, surprising her. I felt a tug in my chest and suddenly a light mist filled the room and formed coils that wrapped around the girl, restraining her so that she could not move.
I did not understand what I had produced and more so I could not figure out how mist could bind a person. The girl did not fight back, but instead, stared in amazement. The old man on the other hand, held out his right hand—palm facing the girl—and the mist disappeared. I fell to the ground feeling dazed.
“S-sorry ab-bout that,” I stammered, feeling like the pair was not a threat to me. “I don’t know what just happened!” The girl on the ground grinned sheepishly.
“No problem,” she said casually, “name’s Samantha, how do you do?”
“Um…not too great. It’s not everyday you see me wrapping rings of mist around people,” I said.
“I’ve never seen anything quite like that…” mused the old man. “And that’s saying something, considering I’ve been alive for one hundred and sixty some odd years. What you did was rather… interesting. My name’s Nicodemus Alvarta,” he said. “And yours?”
“Aurora Li,” I stated. “Would you happen to know how I was transported here?” I asked—still feeling dazed.
The old man smiled. “Right now you’re in a totally different world called Deroon; the home to wizards and fairies and everything else in between. Most of us were born here in Deroon, but every once in a while, we get someone like you who has been transported to Deroon because of a special Magic talent you possess. Right now, we’re standing in your very own HOM, or House of Memories. Every wizard gets one when they are born—or in your case, arrive—into this world.
I stared at Nicodemus my eyes wide in surprise. “You mean this is my house? But what am I supposed to do with it? It’s filled with junk, and the odd thing is, it seems to be my own junk,” I asked, very much confused.
“Ah, well you see Aurora,” started Nicodemus, “the stuff and the house is yours but I wouldn’t call it junk. These are objects from your past that meant a lot to you. They hold strong memories of your most happiest times. Your HOM stores these objects for you. Because of the strong emotions they contain, when used by the owner they boost your Magic. That’s why you should always carry one around. It also lowers the effect that magic has on us. You won’t feel as weakened with it.”
Nicodemus then pulled out something from his pocket; it was a small, rusty-looking harmonica.
“I’ve had this harmonica for over a hundred years,” Nicodemus said thoughtfully staring at the small piece of metal in his hand. He looked up. “It’s done quite a load for me. I would suggest that when you pick out your object, you get something small. A friend of mine used to lug around a huge grand piano with him because it multiplied his amount of energy when doing Magic. Ended up getting rid of it ‘cause it was so heavy,” he chuckled.
Everything came at me all at once. It was like the best and worst thing that had ever happened to me. All my life I had been longing for something like this; to go on an adventure and do things that were not scientifically possible, and here I was, with my dream come true! But that was when I started thinking the other way. What about my parents and my friends? Would I ever get back to the place that I had spent the whole thirteen years of my life on? It was just too big of a situation, and just thinking about it made my head ache.
I was so tangled up in my thoughts that I hadn’t noticed the army of pitch-black figures that had just appeared at the doorway. They made no sound and resembled—more or less—a shadow. None of them had eyes yet they could see and none of them took a distinct shape, which made the shadows all the more frightening. My eyes widened and I looked around for Nicodemus and Samantha. They were no where to be seen. I started panicking. What’s happening? I thought. What am I going to do? I made a run for the door. Suddenly, a gigantic black beast pounced on me, its glowing yellow eyes were menacing and angry, and its breath like rotten eggs. Before I could mutter out a single scream I blacked out.