StonesA Chapter by Bella Catten
Life does not last forever.
When someone close to your heart dies, it's like their part of the heart dies. You have a hole in your heart where that someone should have been, and it never heals. Part of the heart might grow over it and hide the hole, but you know it's still there, or, more specifically, not there.
Tears do not bring them back, mourning does not make it easier, and funerals are nothing more than a painful reminder of what has been lost.
We were all gathered at the largest tree in the forest, and had collected the smoothest and prettiest rocks, then arranged them in a circle around the trunk. By we, I meant myself, Damien, Kate, Sadie, Peter, Alex, Oliver, Dexter, and Auriela, who had been picked up from Mrs. Periwrinkle's. We had offered to pay, but she had adamantly refused, saying it was her pleasure.
How is it that some people are so kind, while others are so cruel?
We were honoring the deaths of thousands, our two friends included, and the only ones attending the service was a measly group of nine people.
On two of the rocks, in the front, two names were inscribed. One said "Ella," the other said "Jeremy." Underneath both names said, "Two people who gave their lives to stopping Charlotte." Another rock was sitting next to them; under both of them and positioned center. It read, "Charlotte," then underneath, "In her mind, she was the good in a world of evil." The rest of the stones surrounding the tree each had two to three words on it, and created this sentence: "Like so many, they fell victim to a cruel power that had grown stronger thanks for those who stood by and watched it happen without preventing it. May they rest in peace."
I stood there, dressed in black, numb and cold all over as Damien spoke.
"Jeremy and Ella were not the only ones who had to suffer because of Charlotte." Damien started. "Far from it. Thousands, maybe millions, ceased to exist under her tyranny. But we must remember Charlotte was human, and humans make mistakes. She truly believed she was doing what was best for the world, and for her only son." Alex bowed his head to hide the tears. "She simply was doing it wrong. She never initially meant to hurt anyone, but when the time came, she was forced to continue what she had started. Power went to her head, and she became cruel and forceful. As we are here today, we have to forgive her of the wrongs, and focus on the good." Damien stepped back, and I stepped forward. Pulling a crumpled piece of paper that I must've rewritten a hundred times out of my pocket, I took a deep breath before starting.
"'The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.'" I read, and glanced at my listeners. "Dante Alighieri." I stuff the paper back in my pocket, and feel this is all inadequate for their deaths. So far from what they deserve.
"While Charlotte concocted plans with horrendous methods, people looked on. When she collected favors and started in a position of power, people looked on. When she amassed an army, people looked on. Those who knew about her obviously knew that she was doing bad things, but they all depended on someone else to stop her, thinking that one person couldn't possibly make a difference. And because of that, Charlotte makes her way to the top.
"Everyone takes on an isolated role, thinking they were not responsible, and Charlotte practically takes over. Thousands die, because of the cowardice of the many, and despite the bravery of the few who rebelled. It took years of terror and thousands of deaths before a group of kids decide that they are not going to stand for it anymore. Kids, believed to be immature, selfish, and childish, are more courageous than most of the adults, and take down Charlotte. However, it comes at a price.
"We lost two of our close and dear friends; Jeremy and Ella. No, not friends, family. We are all closer than friends, past the point of buddies. We have reached the stage where we are all family. And so, we have lost a brother and a sister, both to the same power. We can't ever forget their contribution to both the cause and to ourselves." I sniff, and become aware of the fact that I was crying. Bending over, I tuck a small piece of fabric under Charlotte's rock, and move back to Damien, who puts his arm around my shoulders. Through my tears, I watch as Oliver steps up to Jeremy's and Ella's stones, the touches the soil around them. He whispers something, and two plants suddenly sprout from the ground. The two vines grow over the two stones and twist together to form an arch over the rocks. At the top, they then bloom, revealing two roses, one white, one red.
"I must go." Oliver tells us sadly, avoiding Alex's gaze. However, Alex surprised him by coming up and hugging him. After the initial shock, Oliver hugged him back, then, ruffling Alex's hair and smiling, stuck his hands in his pockets and hiked away. The rest of us stayed longer, simply staring at those rocks for who knows how long. Finally, they started back, and Damien attempted to steer me away, but I shook him off.
"I'll follow later." I murmured, and he only hesitated a moment before kissing my forehead and leaving me alone. I sat down in front of the grave, that didn't even have a real body.
"Hey, guys." I said in a strangled voice, holding back tears. "God, I don't even know where to begin.....I'm just.....I'm just so sorry." Tears flowed freely down my face, and my voice became shuddery and tearful. "I should've designed the plan better. It's my fault you're dead. My. Fault." I try and gulp back tears. "I never should've put you at that much risk. I should be dead, not you. Why do I still get to live when so many have died, huh? What makes me so special? Nothing. I'm a screwup and made you pay for it. I'm responsible, and now......now I'll never get you back." In a fit of anger, I stood, stomped over to a nearby tree, and punched the tree so hard that my knuckles started bleeding and I lost feeling in my hand, but I didn't care. "Damn it, why you two and not me? You took my bullets!"
"You and I both know that's not true." a familiar voice startled me. I quickly turned to see Alantia, dressed in high heeled boots and a brown plaid detective coat that went to mid thigh, with her hair in a loose braid. Crouching, Alantia touched a stone and all of them suddenly glowed. When the luminescence faded, the words now looked as if they had been chiseled by a professional with the gold lettering. Alantia stood again, then stared at me for a moment.
"Walk with me." was all she said before turning and beginning to slowly walk through the forest. I caught up with her, too desensitized to her strange appearances to ask how she had found me.
As we walked, the fresh morning air mad everything smell fresh and happy, while birds, squirrels, and other animals chirped, chattered, and bounded around with seemingly never ending energy. Alantia was the first one to break the silence.
"Do you know what I love most about forests?" her question seemed more hypothetical, so I did not answer, and sure enough, she continued without waiting for an answer.
"Its beauty." Alantia said simply. "Granted, there are a few blemishes here and there; mold, animal waste, unsightly plants or organisms, but all of them are there for a reason. Everything plays a part in the untouched beauty that humans will never master." Alantia looks at me, then stops. "Everything happens for a reason, Adri. Ella and Jeremy died doing what they had to do in order for Charlotte to die."
"No! Jeremy was not supposed to die!" I exploded, stopping. "He blocked a bullet! That bullet was meant for-"
"Damien?!" Alantia's purple eyes held my gaze, making me feel small and insignificant. "So Damien was supposed to die, right? What would that have done to you, huh? It would've killed you, that's what. You are still needed in this world, and if you had killed yourself, severe consequences would've happened." I was quiet. "That bullet was aimed at Damien, yes, but it was meant for Jeremy."
"What about Ella? Her death was so meaningless, so worthless."
"Do you know how she died?" Alantia challenged me, and I sullenly shook my head. "She not killed during experimentation; she was being escorted to it, when she broke free and ran. In her pathetic attempt, she stumbled into a room where a man was, dressed in the soldier attire with many medals on his chest. Ella knew he was of great importance, and literally blew herself apart with her gift, taking the man with her. That man was General Taren, Charlotte's head of her entire army. This threw her off quite a bit."
"She died fighting?" I ask shakily, and Alantia nods.
"Jeremy was meant to take that bullet because he knew Damien's death would kill you. He loved you, Adri, but also knew he could never have you. He decided he couldn't live with himself if you were unhappy, and so he sacrificed himself, as it should be." she pauses. "He died so you could live, and if you beat yourself up over this, his death was for nothing." Over half the weight on my shoulders lifts as if the words had formed into weights and an invisible body builder had thrown them off of my back.
"Before I say good bye, I have one last gift to give you." Alantia tells me, and snaps her fingers. In front of us, Auriela appears, floating in midair. Her eyes are closed and her features peaceful, she looks like she's sleeping.
Alantia claps her hands, and six clear globes appear out of nowhere. She then steps over to my sleeping sister, and places a single finger on her forehead. Auriela's forehead begins to glow with a purple, pulsating light, and six separate lights literally float out of her head, all different colors; one red, one green, grey, black, and gold. Each light levitates over to a globe and enters the sphere, filling the orb with its light. Alantia waves her hand, and all six orbs rocket away, faster than light, nothing more than a blur.
"What the hell was that?" I yelp, jumping as Auriela suddenly disappears again.
"My gift to you." Alantia reminds me. "All those lights were the consciousnesses of the other personalities in your sister's brain. They are now going to leave and seek out new bodies; specifically, newborns. They will then possess the bodies and begin life anew with new names and new memories. Even Keaira."
"You......you freed Auriela?" I gape, unable to believe my good luck, and she nods.
"This is where we say good bye." Alantia smiles her odd little mysterious smile. I look around, and find we have made our way back to the house. Smoke is coming out of the chimney, and I know Damien is preparing dinner.
"Will I ever see you again?" I asked sadly.
"Something tells me this is not the last time we speak, Adri." she takes my hands in hers, looking into my eyes. "Until next time." With a purple flash, she vanishes, and I'm left standing alone.
If I crane my neck as far as it will go, I can just see the very top of the tree where the rocks are, and it comforts me. Absentmindedly, I stroke the locket around my neck, which has somehow stayed with me through all the bad and good times. As I start to walk back to the house, I smile.
© 2012 Bella Catten
Added on April 26, 2012
Last Updated on May 15, 2012
AboutMy name is Bella Catten. I am fifteen years old, and love writing books, although I am terrible at finishing them. My goal is to finish at least ONE book, and maybe get it published. I live.. more..