GiaA Story by Ann Elise Monte
An elf enters the room, ears sharp enough to cut through glass. (MAJOR overhaul done)
Gia rested her hand against the silky wooden door, her fingers like that of a pianist’s. They were long and delicate, and the skin was milky and unblemished. Perfect, without the effort many humans had to put in to achieve the same look. Gia’s elbow-length, white-blonde hair swirled around her face as she pushed open the door, which let out a soft squeal, and flitted elegantly into the room.
This room was pale as Gia’s skin and the carpet gave off the appearance of undisturbed snow. It was full of ordinary humans, all of them different sizes and shapes and colours. They ranged from the corpse-like pallor of a portly older man in the corner to the rich darkness of the elfin-figured young lady near the window. Of course, she wasn’t an elf. Her ears, uncovered by her tied-back hair, were perfectly rounded.
Gia unconsciously touched the pointed tip of one of her own. It was sharp enough to cut glass. She knew it was perfectly plausible to do, since she had tried it once when she was very young. Then, she was had only been seventeen years of age. That was twenty years ago when she had still been a small child. The elves lived long lives, and took a long time to reach maturity. For human standards, Gia would have only appeared seventeen now when she was in truth thirty-seven. Still an adolescent in the eyes of the elves.
One young man sitting on a white, immaculate couch touched his own ear. It was hidden behind long, dark hair. Gia’s hair was white-blonde, not an uncommon colour among the elves. She smiled at the young man, who stood with such poise that made Gia die a little inside. She would never be that graceful.
The young elf gave Gia a heartbreakingly beautiful smile, that small gesture sending a shudder through her body. Such power radiated from his slight form. Surely even the unobservant humans must have noticed the presence of a Gifted One in their midst. Gifted Ones were renowned for possessing magical talents that ordinary elves, or even the most extraordinary of humans, could never hope to grasp.
“Hello, Gia,” the male elf said as he approached her. “I’ve been waiting for you. I am Pem.”
Gia smiled shyly, just like she always did when meeting male elves. “Hi.” Someone coughed loudly, making Gia jump. Her heart raced and the hair on the back of her neck stood on end.
“You’re a nervous one, aren’t you?” Pem chuckled, though his eyes darkened. “Come sit with me.” Gia tried to match Pem’s step as she followed him to the couch, and failed miserably. Beside him, she felt clumsy and...average. It was a terrible thing. Gia had nothing but her looks to use to her advantage, and now she had met someone fairer than even she was. How did Pem walk like every move was perfectly choreographed in a dance?
Gia sat down with an ungraceful thud. Pem sat with her, his dark brown eyes staring into her pale silver. His jaw was tight but he otherwise appeared calm. Gia didn’t. She heard another cough, a wheezing cough of a dying man, and it broke her absorption. They were not among elves, she remembered. They were among humans, who were so fragile and fallible that it would not have been a surprise if one of them had dropped dead right then.
“Death will come for all of us one day,” Pem whispered, his eyes sweeping around the room as if he was looking for something. “We elves are not nearly as good at accepting our own mortality as humans are.” Something in his expression worried Gia. It was like he was waiting for something to happen. Even when he was so distracted, he still could speak with the wisdom of a Gifted One. He couldn’t have been much older than Gia, yet he spoke like he was three times that age.
“Is that why you brought me here?” Gia asked.
A smile worked its way through Pem’s focused expression. “No. You picked up on that rather quickly, didn’t you?”
“It was pretty obvious.”
“I suppose it was.” Pem frowned at something behind them and lowered his voice so only Gia could hear. “We’ve been watching you for a long time, now. We think you’re nearly ready to bloom.”
“I don’t understand.”
“You’re a Gifted One, Gia, just like me.” Pem examined the room. “Can you feel it?”
“Feel what?” Gia’s palms were slick with perspiration. She tried to wipe them on her pants without giving herself away. Elves were not supposed to sweat.
“The danger here.”
“Oh.” Something fell into place. “That’s why something doesn’t feel right?”
“Yes.” Pem scowled. “I didn’t think it was this bad. This was a mistake. We should have met somewhere else. You must be a Reader.”
Pem pulled Gia to her feet. “I’ll explain later. Now, we have to get out of here.” Even the leafy green ferns brushing against the windows suddenly felt ominous. Pem and Gia rushed out the door, which slammed behind them as they escaped from a danger unknown.
© 2010 Ann Elise Monte
Ann Elise Monte
Fantasyland, beside a mass grave of dead story ideas, Australia
AboutI'm an nineteen-year-old Australian university student. I write Young Adult fiction and my longer works tend to contain strong fantasy and romantic elements. My shorter works have more variety because.. more..
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