The night was clear and cool, deep in the woods Cameron took a deep breath soaking in all the surroundings. The trees, the moss, and the sound of dead leaves as they crunched under his heavy boots. As he walked toward the cottage he slowed, matching each step with the beat of his heart. A slight breeze touched the back of his neck; he heard something in his ear.
“Keep walking.” He took a slow step, and then continued forward. As he slowly got closer to the cottage his hands started to vibrate with anxiousness, it slowly climbed to his arms and the rest of his limbs with every step he took. As he neared the door his whole body was shaking, he reached his arm forward trying to grab hold of the door knob. When he had it clutched firmly in his hand he felt the breeze again.
“Open it.” As he turned the knob and opened it a crack, he jumped, his head hit his reading lamp with a crack. He groaned as he sat at the edge of his bed. Cold sweat ran down the back of his neck, and he thought he could still feel his hands vibrating. He jumped as his alarm clock rang loudly; he ripped the chord out of the wall and threw it on the ground. As he started getting up his mom knocked on the door.
“Cameron it’s almost time for school!” Cameron responded.
“Ok I’m up; I’ll be down in a second!”
Cameron threw off his shirt grabbed a washed one from his closet and ran into the bathroom, he spiked up his short hair like always and slipped on his favorite pair of faded blue jeans. He ran back to his room and grabbed some socks and his dark blue tennis shoes. As he ran down the stairs his 14 year old sister, Taylin, came out of her room still in her pajamas, her hair still in a messy bun on the top of her head, and a sick look on her face. He stopped, “You look terrible Tay, maybe you shouldn’t go to school today!”
She looked up and groaned; she ran to the bathroom, shut the door and began to vomit. Cameron grimaced and continued down the stairs.
“Hey mom I don’t think Taylin is going to school today!” His mom turned around with a questioning look.
Cameron sat on the living room couch and started putting on his shoes.
“She came out of her room, ran to the bathroom, and started throwing up!” his mom put his breakfast on the table and ran up the stairs to check on Taylin. He picked up his fork, and poked at his eggs. He watched the yoke run onto the rest of the plate, and started thinking about his dream. It was all a little foggy but he remembers being in the woods or something like that, the he was suddenly anxious. Something else had happened to; he thought really hard but couldn’t wrap his mind around it.
He went to go get his backpack from the couch, as he picked it up a little slip of paper fell onto the seat. He bent down to pick it up; it was brown and crinkled and looked ancient. He quickly shoved it into his pocket and ran to the bus.
As he climbed on and sat in his usual seat, the 2nd to last row, he pulled out the slip of paper and leaned toward the window to keep anyone else from seeing it. He opens it gently; on the paper is little, delicate cursive words that read:
Tomorrow after school, come to the woods and bring no one but yourself.
As Cameron looked at the crumpled piece of paper he said quietly. “Zanaesha?” As he shoved the piece of paper in his pocket his friend, Emily, came and sat next to him.
“Hey! What’s up?” She looked at Cameron with a tired expression.
“Nothing much.” He responded trying to pull a smile across his face.
“Are you okay? You don’t look so good!” she stared at him with a worried expression.
“No, I’m fine I just didn’t get enough sleep!” He responded.
Emily talked the rest of the way to school, when they got there she jumped off and ran ahead of him. As Cameron stepped out of the bus rain started to fall, leaving tiny drops on his shirt. By the time he got to the door he was completely soaked, he started walking to class but he stopped himself as he remembered the paper. He pulled it out of his pocket and smoothed out the crinkles
I should probably destroy this! He thought to himself. He went back outside and threw the small piece of paper in the mud. Nobody would be able to read it now with the mud and rain smearing the ink. He turned and ran down the hall way, by the time he made it to his locker the late bell had already rung.
“Dang it!” he grumbled as he pulled out his geometry book. He sprinted to the class room and right before he opened the door Mr. Marcellus, a tall man with dark hair and tan skin, walked out of his class room.
“Late again Cameron?” he puts on his glasses.
“Sorry sir…” Cameron looked down at his mud coated shoes. Mr. Marcellus smiled.
“No problem! I will help you get out of being late!” Mr. Marcellus yanked open the door and said in a loud voice for the entire class to hear.
“Sorry I kept Cameron so late after the bell; I have decided to take him with me on my trip!” Everybody looked shocked, including Cameron; Mr. Marcellus went on a trip to Africa every year and always choose one or two students to accompany him. Cameron turned to Mr. Marcellus and whispers to him.
“Why are you doing this?” Mr. Marcellus turned to him with a smile pulling at his lips.
“I will explain to you tomorrow after school!” Cameron stared at him dumbfounded, Mr. Marcellus just winked and walk out of the class room. Miss Lance cleared her throat, and in a croaky voice said.
“You make take you seat now Cameron!” Cameron turned toward his seat with a blank expression, his seat is all the way in the back and as he walks past everyone he can hear them whispering about him.
“Why was he chosen? He isn’t even a good student!” He wasn’t listening to anyone. As he sat in his seat he thought to himself.
Mr. Marcellus knows! Did he see the paper?
The rest of the day was a haze, all Cameron remembered is that he had a lot of homework, failed his math test, and got shoved into a locker. As Cameron was about to get on the bus, Mr. Marcellus came up behind him and called him back into the school. As Cameron slumped into a chair in his class room, a younger girl about 15, a sophomore, peeked through the door way. She had light brown hair, perfect tan skin, and bright chocolate brown eyes. Cameron stared with his mouth open, but he snapped it shut quickly. She was wearing a black sweater that fit her figure nicely, a nice pair of dark jeans, and black boots which she tucked the bottom of her jeans into. She took a few steps inside the class and she asked in a quiet voice.
“Is this Mr. Marcellus’ classroom?” Mr. Marcellus stood from his desk and said.
“Yes Amber, come right in!” As she walked in she sat next to Cameron and turned toward him. She gave him a shy smile and she said,
“Hi! I’m Amber Ramirez! What’s your name?” Cameron just stared at her for a second, and then he said,
“Cameron Malian.” She stood up and looked at him her eyes growing wide.
“You’re Cameron Malian?”
“Uuuuhh……yes.” She put a big smile on her face, and pulled out a small, old crinkled piece of paper.
“Is that what I think it is?” Cameron asked. Amber’s smile grew even bigger as she unfolded the small paper. On it was delicate cursive words that said:
Tomorrow after school, come to the woods and bring no one but yourself.
Cameron looked up at Amber, she didn’t have a smile on her face anymore, and her eyes turned a serious muddy brown. She turned to Mr. Marcellus and asked with a small, but strong, voice,
“What is this? Who is this Zanaesha person?” she asked holding out the paper to him. But he put his hand up to indicate that he wasn’t going to take it.
“You should destroy that right away!” He said looking up at her. He pulled a lighter and a small metal plate out of his drawer, and then held his hand out for Amber to put the paper in his hand. She gently dropped it into his palm, and he ignited the paper. They just stood there for a while watching the note burn and slowly turn into black dust. As the last piece crumpled into ash, Mr. Marcellus grabbed the plate and put it back in his desk. Then he lifted his eyes to meet Cameron’s and he said,
“I don’t know who she is and what is going on here. All I know is that the world is in great danger, and the only ones who can stop what’s going to happen is you two!”
Cameron and Amber stared dumbfounded at each other. Amber slowly turned to Mr. Marcellus and said,
“How in the WORLD are Cameron and I going to do that? We are just two normal High School kids!” Mr. Marcellus smiled.
“Oh Amber, that is where you are wrong you and Cameron are no normal High School students. You are Sages!” Cameron’s mind went blank.
“What kind of Sages?” he asked with a confused expression.
“Sages” Mr. Marcellus started “that are a kind of legendary being, nobody knows how they came to be, they at first only lived in Italy but they soon spread to other parts of the world. Sages are part human, but that is only a SMALL fraction of their body, most of their bodies are built of the four elements: fire, water, earth, and wind.” Mr. Marcellus stopped; he stood up from his chair and walked over to his coffee pot, and poured some into his mug. He took a long, slow refreshing gulp then continued.
“When Sages first start out they are only able to control one of the elements, but as time goes on the slowly gain control of the rest.” Amber stood up.
“Wait Mr. Marcellus, so you are saying that Cameron and I are some legendary beings that have been sent to protect the world?” Mr. Marcellus looked at her.
“I guess that’s an easy way to kind of sum it up!” Amber held his gaze.
“But what are we protecting the world from?” Mr. Marcellus took a deep breath.
“Do you want to know now? Or can you wait until you are ready?” Amber paused then said,
“Continue about the Sages…” Mr. Marcellus smiled and continued.
“Sages age slower than humans when they turn about twenty. Every 100 years one or two Sages are born, Cameron you were adopted right?” Cameron looked up from where he was putting his head on the desk to see Mr. Marcellus and Amber staring at him.
“Ya I am.” He said blushing. Mr. Marcellus turned to Amber and asked,
“Amber are you adopted?” Amber glanced at Cameron for a split second and then she straightened her shoulders and flatly said,
Mr. Marcellus rubbed his eyes like he had a headache.
“Have you ever met your real parents?”
“No!” they both answered in unison.
“That’s why! One of your parents was a Sage, and the day that you were born they vanished and no one knows where they went.” Amber stared with wide eyes.
“Do you think we could ever find them?” Mr. Marcellus looked at her with an amused expression.
“You and Cameron will find them one day when you have a child, and you will most likely vanish just like them. So I think we have talked enough today. I will drive you both home, we will meet here tomorrow after school to head over to the woods.” Cameron looked at him puzzled.
“But she said only me and Amber could come?” When Cameron said Amber’s name he could feel his face get hot. Mr. Marcellus answered.
“I will accompany you to the woods, and wait for your return.” He stood up without saying another word; he pulled his leather jacket off of the back of his chair and put it on while walking out the door.
Amber and Cameron walked a little behind him; Mr. Marcellus was swinging his keys on his chain while whistling some random tune. Amber turned to Cameron and asked,
“How old are you?” Cameron answered without looking at her.
“17.” He glanced at her from the corner of his eye, seeing Amber staring at him with a fascinated look. When she saw him looking she turned her head forward. Even though her long brown hair covered most of her face, he could tell she was blushing. After a while Amber finally asked,
“Cameron? What color are your eyes?”
“Green, why?” Amber stared with shocked eyes.
“For a moment I swear that they were ice blue!”