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The Here

I’m still exhausted from my run at 4 a.m. this morning. I love running but, driving to school really puts that love to a test, to train for track, to give into myself and keep sleeping. I always choose running.





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I can barely hear my music over the sound of the bell and highschoolers talking in the cafeteria where we wait. The horrifyingly loud noise was a result of one person shouting over another to make sure their voices are heard. The whole point of cowering in the corner curled up with my iPod, is supposed to help me escape the noise.

“Auria?” I turned around as someone tapped on my shoulder.

“Um… Yeah?” I replied. This entirely familiar voice wasn’t coming from my best friend Aaron; it was coming from Theron Black.

“Can I talk to you? Ya know, just for a second?” Theron asked. Every girl has a major crush on someone, right? I have been secretly obsessed with him for ages.

“Um… yeah!” I quickly gathered my things. “Yes, of course.” I tried to hide my blistering excitement. I don’t understand why teenage outcasts always fall for the things they know they can’t have.

“You’re a really great runner Auria. I’m supposed to have a team recruited by now but it seems that we need one more spot to fill and make 12 runners. I need you on the team.” He got down on his knees and pleaded.

“I would definitely join the team! Are you sure you want me there?”

“Totally. I watched you train over the summer. Not that I was stalking you or anything.” He joked.

“Cool, you can expect me to be the first one at practice.”

“Thanks! Gosh you are a life saver!” he said. Then he pulled me in to a big hug.

I couldn’t hold back a smile.





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Practice was the one thing I looked forward to every day. It was a routine schedule that put an ecstatic end to the ever so dreary days.

Run, stretch, race Theron, and go home. It was all so amazingly exciting. In fact, with me joining a team I got a lot more friends, some of them weren’t even on the track team!

“Hey Auria, wait up!” he called. I was definitely going to have another victory.

“Hey, Theron! Run Faster!” I giggled back at him.

As I was rounding the last curve and watching my feet hitting the asphalt. I turned and said, “Loser takes the winner to lunch tomorrow!” I turned back around and sprinted to the end.

When I finished the team roared with applause and excitement. They couldn’t beat him so when I did it was super exciting for them.

“So, I guess I’m paying. I’ll pick you up at 1:00, make sure you’re prepared to have tons of fun!” he laughed and playfully punched my arm. He reminded me a lot like someone I knew in grade school. I just couldn’t put my finger on it.

“Cool, Sunday at 1:00 you’re on!”

“It’s a date!”

“It is?” I asked not being able to filter those two words.

“Yeah, unless you don’t want-”

“No I do,” I interrupted. “Um... see you on Sunday!”

“Yeah, see you then.” He walked over to his friends and they made fun of him for letting a girl beat him, again.
****

I opened my eyes at 11:30.

“NO!” I screamed. I flew out of my bed and sprinted around my house getting ready for when Theron came to pick me up.

At 1:00 the doorbell rang and I sprinted down the stairs and ran into the window.

“Ha-ha, nice going Auria.” Oh gosh. I feel like such a dweeb around him.

“Um… can we get going?” we climbed into his little red Jeep Compass.

Dead silence. All the way until we got passed the Stop & Shop gas station, I could have heard a pin drop.

That dead silence ended when there was an abrupt squeal. I finally put everything together. The girl driving the car behind us was texting, and I was in the passenger seat of Theron's car. She was driving a truck and Theron wasn’t buckled…

“Theron!!!” I tried to yell for him but it just wouldn’t come out. I opened the door and ran out of the car. “Theron!” I called behind me, I turned to see if he had gotten out, but when I turned around, all I saw was the collision.

My heart sank. I fell to the ground. I didn’t even cry. What’s wrong with me? I asked myself. I should cry. I should at least be worried about him, or even the other lady!

“Come on.” Someone grabbed my arm and pulled me into the trees.

“Who are you?” I screamed. “Let me go! Leave me alone! My friend is dying! I have to get help, Theron!” I stopped struggling. “Theron…”

“If yew would kindly hold still, I moit be able to help yew.” He said with a thick English accent.

“How!” I stopped struggling and caught my balance.

“I moit be able to help yew use your powas, Moit”

“My powers?” I asked, utterly surprised by the horrid order of events today.

“You’re a Travla.” He said his accent was hiding the real word.

“A Travla?”

“No, T-r-a-v-e-l-e-r. Travla.” He said.

“Okay. Now explain how that is useful to the obvious situation.” I questioned.

“You’re a runna, am I correct?” he didn’t give me time to answer. “A’couse yew I’m always roit. I’m a read-ah, I can see strait through anyone. ‘Sept yew, a’couse.”

“I’m confused. I need-“

“No time, we need to work fast so we can save your friend. Ah we cleah that I am the teacha yew ah the student and what I say goes?”

“Wait I'm not going anywhere with you, I don’t even know who you are!” I yelled.

“A’couse yew don’t. The name is Flick, Flick Mezwik. I’m your age. I’m assigned ta be your guide along your, well, I’m supposed to follow yew around and tell yew what’s roit and what’s wrong.”

“Okay Flick. I still don’t trust you. Unless you tell me what the heck you’re talking about, I’m going to use your name to FLICK you over there.” I pointed across the street. I silently chuckled at my own joke.

I don’t trust him. I thought. Should I? Maybe if I let him show me how to save Theron we can go on living happily ever after.

“So it’s been decided. I will let you help me save Theron. If by some miraculous anomaly I decide I want to be a part of your world, then so be it.” I tried to sound assertive but I just can’t be mean when I know what I want to do.

“Alroit-y then, run. When you’re runnin’ think ‘bout the minute before yew left your house with the boy.” He directed. “And. Nothing. Else.”

So I ran, and I ran. I thought about how I was brushing my semi perfect hair into a semi perfect ponytail when he rang the bell. I thought about how his hair looked spiky in the front. I thought about how I wanted him so bad and at that moment my whole life fell into place. I then, opened my eyes.
????

“So, how was your first travel?” He asked, his thick accent ringing in my ears.

“Tell me how to save Theron. Now.” I said I was finally getting what I have been waiting for.

“Well, yew need ta go and convince him to call and reschedule.”

“WHAT?!” I yelled. “I have been waiting my whole entire life for Theron to notice me, for once in my life I would like to have something and not need to give it up to satisfy others. I- Refuse- To- Give- Him- Up!”

“I respect your enthusiasm, but he either dies, or yew get your way. You’re not going to like what yew see anyway.”

“Help me.” I pleaded.

“Yew call him and tell him that yew need to pick him up, or your date won’t work out.”

I punched his number into my phone and called him. I explained that I needed to go over and pick him up. I thought it worked out perfectly, and then I heard someone’s voice in the back.

“Hey babe, who you talking to?” Said a slightly familiar female voice.

“Um… Theron?” I asked.

“Ugh! Theron, you’re talking to that loser Auria? Why?” the girl shouted.

“Theron, my sister has piano lessons; I need to go pick her up. Like, right now.” I said, fighting back the tears.

“Um… Auria, you don’t have a sister.” Theron pointed out.

“I know that’s my point. I have to go.” I said. And NEVER come back.

I hung up the phone and grabbed a jacket. I reached for Flicks hand. “Come on. I want you to tell me more about us.”





****


“Close your eyes.” He said.

“Why?” I did it. “Now what?”

“Clear your mind.” He instructed. “Now open your eyes.”

I opened my eyes to a whole world I had never seen before. A whole world of new colors, and new plants for me to explore. It was absolutely beautiful.


“Where are we!?” I wondered. I really want to get some answers now.

“We ah in The Here.” He told me. “And, Shore, what do yew want to know?” Flick asked.

“First, is Flick really your name?” I asked.

“Well, no not my given name, but it is the ONLY name I go by.” he said.

“Ok so why Flick? Why is that name the only one you go by?”

“Some other time I will tell yew. What else do yew want to know?”

“Seriously? I want to know everything! How you know me, what a traveler is, what a reader is why they exist, how did I run and think about something and Theron is perfectly fine again. Ok well maybe not perfectly fine. He acted like such a jerkface! But he isn’t hurt anymore and he was so hurt before I ran. Why did I listen to something you told me to do even though it was so weird? And I DON’T even know you, so why am I sitting here with you now?” I wondered.

“There is so much to relearn and it will take so much time. Some of your answers I cannot give yew, only the Transfers can give yew some of your memories back. Our lives have been so fantastic. I will try to explain things to yew but it will take us a lot of time. First, yews do know me. Yew and I have known each other since we were suckin our thumbs. We were best friends in your last life. Second, yew ah a Travla and I am a Reada. We exist for many reasons that yew will have to learn as yew go. Yew were able to run and think something to change it back because that is what yew are for. And lastly, yes your Beau is what do yew say, a jerkface.” He smiled as he answered what he could.

I was smiling my very confused smile and I asked “What is a Transfer?”

He saw my smile and blushed. It was very normal, which confused me even more. All of today’s events were so magically confusing I was lost and exhausted and excited all at the same time. Apparently I had some magic ability and had never known about before, how is that even possible?

I have known these people he is talking about all my life (all three lives) and didn’t know them now. And sitting here with him is so strangely, comforting and familiar. Its like I should schooch over to him lean my head onto his shoulder and I take his hand in mine, like I have done it a thousand times before. Wait have I?

“Flick, are you as comfortable with me as I seem to be with you?” I asked.

“I will be as comfortable around yew as is appropriate.” He said.

“What does that mean? I thought you said we have known each other since in diapers. Yet you are all stiff and businessy and I am sort of feeling at home sitting this close to you. Almost like we have sat here before and held hands.”

“Is that how yew feel? Interestin! I will have to tell the Transfers about that development. What else is coming back to yew?” he was leaning forward as he questioned me.

“I don’t know exactly what I feel, but I guess yeah. I want to hold your hand. I feel like you can just look at me and I should be able to understand anything and everything. Why do I feel that way?” I leaned in as if trying to whisper a secret and didn’t realize I was until he shooched back about a foot and crossed his legs.

“Well for starters we are very good friends, and for all of the others I can get them to understand things unknown to them. It is my gift, like being a Travla is your gift. Unfortunately, none of us know why I cannot reach yew.” He said very quietly.

“Am I broken, is that why I can’t remember anything? I feel lost and strangely found now that you are here with me. It’s like I finally belong somewhere but it is just outside my reach. How do I get there and when will everything make sense?” My voice squeaked as I asked him.

He reached out to me then dropped his arm before I could react. All he said was, “Be patient.” Ugh.

“What do we do now, friend?” I asked.

“We go and collect the others.” He said. We both stood up, he grabbed my hand and we ran off into the city in The Here, ready to start our mission.





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