Soul Within | Teen Ink

Soul Within

August 17, 2021
By yoshipiccollo, Hurst, Texas
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yoshipiccollo, Hurst, Texas
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Favorite Quote:
"Do or do not. There is no try."- Yoda

Author's note:

Hello, my lovely! I hope that you enjoy this small snippet of a piece that 
I am currently writing. It is a passion that I am working on and I would love to hear any feedback or advice! <3

The greenery is like something out of a fairytale, different shades of yellows, blues, and greens mixing in with various sizes of leaves, while the rays of sunlight make patterns on the jungle floor. Monkeys spring from branch to branch throughout the tall trees as they call out to one another, lizards scurry across our path, and frogs belch out their daily numbers. All of Mother Nature’s beauty- ready to be absorbed in Her full grace. I am struck with awe and admiration as we continue our trek through the half-hazardously cut branches and vines by the parties ahead to make our way to the site. The tomb has just been discovered, and the archeologist in charge is supposedly hoping that it belongs to the wife of the King Mnevis- and I have already been brought in as an expert of the territory. 

My gut drops as we walk forward, just thinking of why I am here and who it’s with makes me sick. The hand on my forearm tightens, sensing the tension, “Behave, Navi. I don’t want a repeat of last time, do you hear me? If another archeologist ends up dead, I’ll have a lot of explaining to do to the big boss, and it’ll be your ass that he will come after next.” I wince, as I look up into Gerard's eyes, they are endless depths of black- I doubt he even has a soul. It was his fault that the last mission went bottoms-up. His grip tightens even more, and I let out a small squeak, “Ok.” Gerard is the interpreter on staff, which means that if any locals approach the dig, it is his job to translate. The moment the site comes into view, Gerard pulls me aside, “From this moment on, you don’t speak English. Got it?” I sigh and nod. Before we walk any further, I feel him pull on his energy to mask my own. I try to block it as best as I can, but fighting is futile, and I know it. The Agency keeps all of their high-risk workers in a weakened state, especially those who push back.

He immediately knocks me down, and I fall through a small clearing between two trees and crash into a pond. I hear a dark chuckle behind me and then a whisper in my ear, “Was it as good for you as it was for me?” Tears well up in my eyes. When someone encompasses you with their energy, it is a very intimate experience and it continues until they decide to stop. I look down at my rippling reflection and see that my appearance has changed. My blonde hair has changed to brunette, my once clear face now has freckles, and- no! 

 “You put a shield around me!” 

 I look to him with tears streaming down my face as I stand up, “What was the point of you changing my appearance if you were just going to shield me!” His smile changes to a grimace as my voice reaches another octave and takes a step back. “Tell me why you shielded me, Gerard!” I shout again. This time a flash of heat strikes me across the cheek and a resounding smack echoes off of the water and throughout the treetops. In shock, my wide eyes look to him in confusion and pain as I lightly touch where he struck me. “That’s why,” he replies. “Your damned eyes. They’re too memorable, and they always get us into trouble. If you’re shielded, no one will remember you or them. Now quit your b*tching. And I told you to stop speaking English.” Without another word, he grabs my arm and hauls me off to the campsite.

As more people slowly come into view his whole demeanor changes and he is no longer my handler, but the friendly interpreter who had volunteered to come to pick me up and bring me back to the site. His shield must be impeccable because as they come up to greet me, they can’t tell that I am soaked to the bone, nor can they see the screaming handprint on my face. I smile my greeting and pretend as I can only understand them, but not respond- like I’ve done dozens of times. Cheerful greetings are passed all around and I have become the product of everyone’s fascination. “What is the native cuisine like here?” A young lady asked- I think she said her name was Mary. “I am not a native,” I reply cheerfully, very aware of how sarcastic I am being, and then look to Gerard. He then replies in a boastful manner, explaining in minute detail what some of the most popular dishes in the area are. As he does this, I study Mary, she really is quite beautiful with her red hair, green eyes, and freckled face. Those glasses swallow her whole, though. She has curves and I can tell that she doesn’t take sass from anybody. 

My attention is called back to reality as I am barraged with question after question. Someone asks me what it was like growing up here, and I reply that I didn’t- just because I am an expert in the area, doesn’t mean that I grew up here. Gerard glances at me, shocked that I gave him a beneficial answer for once. Another person asks me what are some songs that are indigenous to this land, and I said go ask a local. I chuckle at his short-lived relief. 

Serves you right, Asshole

I can tell that Gerard is getting tired of coming up with all of the logical material on the spot because he then says, “Alright, that’s enough questions for now. I know that we all have a lot of work ahead of us. It was nice meeting you all. Thank you.” He then turns to me, clearly annoyed, “Let me show you to your tent, and before you ask, no we are not bunking together.” A wave a relief rushes over me. Thank God.

He sets me up in the most remote tent that he could find, which is away from the main campsite, and closer to the entrance of the tomb and the archeologist's tent. Great. Sensing my turmoil, Gerard chuckles, “Don’t worry my dear, Sebastien Alcala likes his privacy, which is why I set you up right next to him. The only time you will see him is when he is nose-deep in a book or getting dirty like the rest of us in the tomb.” He moves closer, “Plus, I don’t think he will like you either. Something about gray-eyed b*tches that can kill you is a turn-off for men. Ha! Who am I kidding! He won’t remember your eyes! And just a friendly reminder, the shield is still up, so don’t get chummy with anyone, cuz’ they won’t remember you. That also means that I am with you at all times, so don’t do anything stupid- you know, like run.” He pauses and runs a few of his fingers through my hair for emphasis, “Cuz’ I will kill you.” He takes a step back and pushes his energy on me again, and I shudder, “Fine. Stop it. Just, please go.” He laughs, “Oh no, my dear. There is one more thing that I need to say before I can go.” I look at him with disgust, “And what is that?” “We can’t use our actual names here. So, the people here know me as Buzz, and I told them that your name is Indigo.”  “Indigo?” I ask. “You couldn’t come up with a better code name for me?” He pauses a little taken aback and then snarls at me before leaving the tent. I guess he likes that name. 

I sigh and set my backpack down, and exit the tent. I know that I should unpack my things and get ready for a good night’s rest, but I’m antsy. I was wrenched away from friends at The Agency, and now for some reason, I am at a dig somewhere in a jungle. Gerard is having me claim to be an expert of the land, but we both know that is a load of sh*t. I don’t know who they have in their pockets to falsify our resumes, but they did a good job. Gerard just tells me that we are here to rob everyone blind. No. That is what he is here to do, and I am along for the ride. I sigh again and reach into my shorts pocket to pull out a cigarette and then light it. I take in the surroundings around me. A million tiny white flecks are splattered across the sky, creating a natural nightlight and casting a beautiful glow on the treetops as the forest sings a lullaby.

 We have to be somewhere in South America- I think. Gerard never tells me anything. Hell, he kept me blindfolded and ear-muffed the entire plane ride. Paranoid jerk. I prop myself up against a tree and face towards the forest to get a better view of the inner workings of its beauty. It may be dark, but still gorgeous. I close my eyes and delve deep inside myself, past Gerard’s shield and into Center, not even he can find me here. “It has been a while since you have visited, Child.” I look around Center, it is void of all living creatures- yet it feels as if it is life itself. I am surrounded by hundreds of silent crystallized waterfalls, glossy rocks and geodes are scattered across the landscape, and a night sky with billions of twinkling stars that sometimes reach down and envelopes me like a blanket when it is time to go back to the living. “You usually stay silent when I am here,” I call out. “Why now?” I look up to the stars in the sky, waiting for a response. Their brightness waivers as the voice speaks to me again, “I must not remain silent, Child, for if I do you may perish and Center will be lost.” A chill runs down my spine, but I try to keep my cool, “So I might die, but that is a possibility that I face every day in my line of-er- work. What makes this job any different?” I start waving my hands in the air, “And for that matter, how will Center perish?” I ask making air quotes. The stars nearly go out completely, which sends me into a panicked state. “Don’t mess with me, Spirit! You can’t just dump something like this on me and then leave!” With one little burst of light and a small whisper bouncing off the rocks and into my ears, the sky lurches down and takes hold of me. “Wait!” I shout frantically. “That can’t be right! I have so many questions! I came here for peace and quiet, dammit, and I leave with this?!” I open my eyes with a gasp as Spirit’s words ring in my head clear as day, “You are Soul.” I shake my head and rub my eyes, “No freaking way. That’s not possible.” I sigh and light a new cigarette, leaning up against the tree once more. This day has been one for the history books.

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