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The black bird just stands there in front of me, watching my every move. Its eyes following my very own. I hear the whispering wind, it sounds like it’s trying to warn me, but I don’t understand. I do not want to understand. The wind is pushing my body, in every direction it can, it wants me to move, but I can’t, I won’t. The black bird observes me too well, like it knows what’s about to happen. A small sound startles the bird and in an instant it’s gone. The bird disappears with no sound, not even a flinch. Nonetheless, I know the black bird is still watching me, and it knows I know.
The wind, it’s still warning me, it’s even stronger this time, but that's not stopping me from staying put. I search the emptiness around me, looking for the black bird, to see where it’s vanished to, but this a deliberate act of mine because I know it’s behind me. The thing, the reason the wind is whispering, the cause of me being surrounded by nothingness and the very same reason the black bird is gone astray. Death has knocked on my door.
The hair on the back of my neck stands up. My body goes stiff, my limbs are numb and my knees are weak. The whispering wind has stopped; I know this because I don’t hear it anymore. My heart wants to leap out of my chest but my pride won’t let it. I close my eyes. I can feel it moving around me. My heart is racing against time; it’s running faster than the seconds can. Why did I come here? No! No! I shouldn’t have made this decision but it’s too late. I can’t turn back. Stop! Stop! The pain is too unbearable. I can do this, I need to fulfil the reason I came here. If I fail I only have one more try left, and if I fail that one, only God knows what it would do to me. This feeling is so unpleasant, as unpleasant as the feeling of death. Could death feel any better than this? No! Stop! It’s over, I’ve lost. I’m not prepared enough. Why is it over so soon? I have one more chance, can I do it?
All my senses are coming back now. My mouth tastes like dirty coins. Wait, I smell nothing, nothing at all. That’s not normal, that's far from normal, why can’t I smell it? I hear it leaving, waiting for me to come again. I'm enclosed by complete darkness. The sense of the vacuum makes me too scared, frightened in fact. Here I am, back to the start, but this is the beginning of the end. If I don’t make it this time, it’s over. I need to begin this mission, but something tells me it’s going to be different this time.
Questions are the only things that are going through my mind. They’re antagonising. The thing, or should I say the spirit, is watching my every move, one step at a time. That’s why it always succeeds. Everything I do, I am going to have to do it in secret. The first try was the worst, only because I had no clue what was happening, or what to do. It started off in my dream, when the spirit warned me; it said I knew something I shouldn’t. Its existence. It gives me two choices. In fact I have none. First choice it gives me is to let it posses me, and the second choice is death. There is no way I am choosing any of those choices. Nevertheless, I know something it doesn’t; I know how to trick it. That's exactly what I’m going to do.
Only God knows how long it’s been since my previous defeat, but I do know I don’t have much time. The forest was emptier than normal, and the black bird’s feathers were darker than usual. What does it mean? The two spirits are opposing each other, spirit of death, and spirit of life. Why me of all humans? They decide to place me in the middle of their battle field. The spirit of life gives me three chances to fulfil the mission, I’ve failed twice before, but that’s because I had no clue on what to do, and all the time I try, I lack what I need the most. Power.
As I adjust my leg, an intensive pain tears through my body. BANG!!! My knees collapse below me giving way to the hard concrete floor that violently meets with my buttocks. My whole body is tormented by the pain that is overtaking it, but that’s the least of my worries.
It’s only now, I’m starting to realise my surroundings. I’m in a dark abandoned room, it’s very claustrophobic in here, and I can hardly breathe. However, even though the room is so closed up together, it’s colder than winter in the North Pole, but the warmth of my breath warms up my skin and sends a shudder down my spine. The goose bumps that were multiplying on my arm are now fading. The images are all coming back to me now, the dark, chilling figure, slowly gliding towards my bed. At that time I thought it was a dream. I wish it was.
I wasn’t supposed to know it was here, I was meant to be ordinary like any other human, and not feel its presence. However, I’m not normal. I’m far from it. The dream showed me what was going to happen to me. The spirit was sceptical that I knew it was here. I was shown a scene, in this scene there is a coffin, and everybody is mourning. Tears fall from every face, including one I recognised too well. My very own mother, whom I’ve not seen for three years. Then I realise who’s in the coffin. As I step closer I see my name; Kiah Maree Hason. I open the coffin and see nobody in there; instead there is a mirror at the bottom of the coffin, reflecting my face. The scene is followed by a painful scream.
I leave the room...no, I leave the hell hole, and inhale the fresh scent of the perishing air. The freshness of the air is unwelcoming to my nose. Its pitch black. The oblivion is poisoning to my soul, I feel so bleak. I need to reach my destination as soon as possible, and time doesn’t seem to be on my side at the moment.
Tap, tap. Tap, tap. The sound of my shoes is the only noise around. I can barely see. I have to follow my instincts. A gentle sound catches my attention, as I turn my head I see the black bird, but this time it has something under its wing. I step towards it expecting it to move, but it does not hesitate; instead it opens its wing then disappears. Just like before. I can see a gold shimmer come from where the bird stood. As I bend down, I see it. I’ve dreamt this before, but I’m seeing it for the first time. I thought it was fake. It’s the necklace, the necklace with my very name on it. It has the power I need. This time it’s very different.
My pace is faster now. The silence is bitter. Walking down this dark deserted road is not a good feeling. The sound of my own breath is evenly soft. How can I not be scared? I’m about to look death in the face, I don’t expect to walk away smiling! The chances of me succeeding are very low, but then again, what do I have to lose? I’m almost there now, dreaming about fantasies and things I adore. I try to imagine being normal, what life would be like for me, but as much as I try, I can’t see my life like that. If I was normal, I wouldn’t be the same person I am today.
The church is really bright compared to outside, even though it’s only lit by candles. The building looks lifeless and forbidding on the outside. It makes me want to run away and hide under my bed, just like a little girl would, because this building makes me feel like that very little girl I was. The little girl that I miss. As I enter the church, the strong smell of incense doesn’t seem to bother me as much as I thought it might. Focus Kiah, get the box and make your way to the forest. I move ever so quickly, the feeling the church gives me is unusual, which adds more to my anxiety and forces my legs to move faster. I take a step out of the sanctuary and walk a couple of steps away from it. I turn around to give it one more look, but then realise its gone, the whole church, it’s not here, where did it go? I close my eyes and try to get my thoughts back together, maybe I’m hallucinating? Yes. I’m sure that’s why, I’m definitely hallucinating. I open my eyes and realise the church is still there, standing right in front of me. I smile to myself and continue the journey.
My mother. I need her to know this time. I need her to know what I'm doing; maybe she’ll be able to help. I search my jeans pocket for my phone and dial a number that I haven’t dialled in years. The ringing on the other line sounds endless to me, but eventually she picks up. Oh, oh. My heart skipped a beat. Why?
I feel my phone ringing, I expect it to be my son David to remind me that he has a music concert tomorrow, but when I look at the caller ID I see a name that I have to look at twice to recognise. The absent daughter of three years. As I answer the phone, I hear her sweet, soft, fragile voice. So fragile I fear it will shatter any second now.
“Hello mum. It’s me, Kiah.” She tells me tenderly.
“Kiah darling! Where are you? I miss you so much.” The sound of her voice is like water to a dehydrated leaf.
“Mum can you come see me now, it’s really vital. I need your help.” She sounds too hesitant...too afraid.
“I’m on my way. Wait right there.” The minute the phone cuts off I pack the bits and pieces I know I’m going to need. As I leave I play the thought in my head and know why the prodigal daughter has returned. My vision is coming true.
I leave my house as fast as I can, but even if I run, the world would only still seem like it’s moving in slow motion. My little baby girl, all grown up. It seems like it was only yesterday she blew out two candles. In fact, the day she blew out two candles was the very same day I had the vision. The same vision that changed our lives.
Her dark brown hair comfortably lying on top of her shoulder, her beautiful fair skinned face, so vulnerable and so innocent. Her eyes go wide open as she learns what has happened to her, a piercing scream escapes from her mouth and then silence. Her body drops so suddenly without a sound. As I walk up to her, I shake her effortlessly, knowing there would be no response. I lay my fingertips on top of her stone cold face, feeling the iciness in my own body. At that point I realise she’s soaking wet, with my own tears. Why is she so cold? I hold the dead bleak corpse, wishing it was my own life that was taken, not hers. Then I see it, the thing that stole her life. Death.
The vision still shakes me, even though I see it almost every day. After I recover from the controlling vision, I take a deep breath and start along the path to the forest. I’ve started now, and to turn back is a sin.
I’m waiting for what seems forever! I’m standing here, afraid to move, and afraid to remain here any longer. Waiting for her felt like waiting for rain in a desert, I don’t know how reliable she is, that’s the very same reason why I left. Even though I was only 14 when I left, I had enough sense to know that what she was going to do was wrong. She wanted to send me to another country because she said this country would bring me danger. Come to think of it, maybe she was right. Maybe if I did listen to her I wouldn’t be in this fatal situation. Then again, everything happens for a reason. The question is will I survive?
As I continue to stand here I feel a warm presence approach me from behind. I hesitate, but then realise it’s a human presence, my best friend, actually my lover. He comes towards me and caresses my lips with his tongue. It is such an eager kiss, a bit too desperate to tell the truth.
“Honey how are you? I haven’t seen you in a whole week. I’ve been so worried and I’ve tried to phone you but you never pick up!” He panics
“How on earth did you find me? Sorry, I’ve been so busy, but it’s just so nice to see your face again, before I go.” I tell him. He seems over shocked
“What! You can’t leave, where will you go, your only sixteen you don’t have much freedom. Have you lost your mind?” He shouts.
“What’s with all the shouting, I can hear you from a mile away! Oh my God! Kiah! I’ve missed you so much. I need to tell you something really important.” She cries out.
Luke decides he wants to leave and heads off into the same direction I plan on going.
“Why are you going there?”I shout
“Same reason you are. Remember Kiah, I love you.” He says ever so genuinely
As I try to understand what Luke meant by that, my mother disturbs my thoughts.
“Te`kiah Maree Hason, I have something life threatening to tell you but you have to be prepared enough to take it in. On the night of your second birthday, I had a vision that the thing that you’re ready to destroy killed you. The good news is I know how to stop it. Also, there’s something you might not want to know. Luke has the thing inside him, he doesn’t know...well he does know but he doesn’t have a say, every time he would try and tell you, the thing would take over his soul. There’s only one way to get rid of the thing without hurting Luke. Are you willing to do it?” She asks.
“Anything, but the only question is, are we too late?” I whisper.
I walk into to the forest with my mother’s hands in my own. The feeling of her being right next to me reminds me of the days when I thought I was normal, back when I was her little girl, but that was a very long time ago. With one hand in hers and the other tightly holding the little black box I recovered in the church, I put on a brave face and brace myself. What will happen to her if I fail? What will happen to Luke? That encourages me to keep stepping, keep going, for them. I already know the plan. Just don’t look back.
The sky is blue black, with only one star in sight. One star, is that my star? My face is frozen stiff, and my brain is overloading with thoughts. The birds in the trees are flying elsewhere, they know what’s about to happen. As I walk, my breath becomes heavier and heavier, but as soon as I close my eyes and regain control, my breathing eases evenly. Everything around me is moving, but not in a good way. It feels like everything is running away. My steps are slower now, I turn to the woman who gave me life, and kiss her on her cheek.
“I love you mum, all is well that ends well.” I say to her.
“I’ll be right here, in your heart. Everything’s going to be just fine. Be wise now, and stay calm. I love you.” She cries.
I leave my mother and think about the words she said, “Everything’s going to be just fine”, that’s what she said before dad died.
I go to where I am wanted, and begin the end. The black bird lands right at my feet, it is watching me. Every move I make it imitates me, in a way that a bird would normally do before it eats its prey. For the very last time, I hear the whispering wind, but this time it does not warn me, it encourages me. It does not push me, if anything it is holding me in place, it is helping me. I’ve realised all along, the black bird was a bad sign, if it’s black I’m certain to fail, mum told me. She said that there’s only one way to get rid of the black bird, but only I know the answer. I don’t. As I watch the bird I sigh, it’s still black. I don’t know what to do. My necklace is glowing; it’s getting brighter, as bright as a star, even brighter. Wait...look! Look! The bird, its...it’s white, the bird is white. Why is the bird white? It’s a dove! Everything seems to be coming alive, my heart, my soul, the forest. I’m filled with life, it seems like nothing can get through me. I learn I can control it, the...the power. It’s mine.
Stick to the plan Kiah. After that thought comes into my head everything goes back to normal. I wait for it, with a smile on my face, and then I feel it. Every hair exposed to it stands up, my heart beats faster, but this time, my knees aren’t weak, and my limbs aren’t numb. It comes in front of me, in Luke’s body; a tear runs down my cheek, he shouldn’t have to suffer like this, especially for me.
“Have you chosen?” It says.
“Yes, I’ve chosen neither of your choices. I’ve chosen my own life, and you can’t stop me!”
“You shall perish!” It spat.
I look straight into Luke’s eyes. I search for Luke’s soul, so I can free him, with that my necklace glows, and within a blink, Luke drops. As I turn my head I see the spirit approaching me, but by this point I know I’ve won. The spirit hits the invisible force surrounding me, again and again. A pressure is building up inside me, like a volcano about to erupt. I release the power stored within me and form an intensive amount of light, so bright the sun looks dim compared to it. The dark, chilling figure I was once afraid of vanished within the light I released, as I watch the big bright light engulf the dark spirit, I drop spontaneously.
I am in a white room, there is an angel coming towards me. He smiles at me.
“Well done young one, you’ve succeeded.” He says softly.
“Am I dead?” I ask.
“No.” He replies
“So where am I?” I question.
“Your dream, you’ve succeeded, so I wish to give you anything you desire.” He tells me.
“Can I have my normal life back? Can you make me and everyone forget about what has happened? I just want to be me again.” I say ever so sadly.
“Your wish is my command.” With that, he gives me a serious smile, and then fades away. The whole room starts to die away. I hear faded voices, mum. I definitely know that voice, it’s too familiar. I want my eyes to open but they won’t. They just won’t. Someone’s hand is stroking my face, Luke. He’s ok! His voice is like music to my ears. It’s finished.
“Will you Te`kiah Maree Hason, take Luke Ken Dixon to be your lawful wedded husband?” The priest asks
“I do.” I answer.
“And do you, Luke Ken Dixon, take Te`kiah Maree Hason to be your lawful wedded wife?” He asks again.
“I do.” He replies.
“I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may now kiss the bride.” He smiles.
Sometimes life can be so hard; sometimes it can be so easy. Something extravagant happened to me, a couple of months ago, but the doctors say that I was involved in something that damaged my brain and caused me to forget. All I know is that whatever it was, I have a sense of achievement. I love my newly wedded husband, and my life giving mother. At the age of 17 I became a wife, and the happiest girl alive. If only I could remember what happened to me. If I could remember would I want to forget? I don’t know, but what I do know is Death can just knock on your door and you wouldn’t know about it until it’s too late.
Every night I dream about things I admire: Luke, mother, life and so much more. However, sometimes I have dark dreams, dreams about a spirit, wanting revenge with me, but not able to get it. I don’t understand this dream, and I take it out of my mind.
I walk up my stairs and into my bedroom. Luke is in the shower. I think about how lucky I am, and if I deserve this normal and almost perfect life. My life is filled with Love and joy, and I did nothing to deserve any of it. I am wearing my night gown and I am freezing cold, so I go to the window and decide to close it. Then something startles me.
The black bird