PrologueHer hand reached out towards the fire, seemingly encased in a piece of transparent stone. It shone brightly and flared ocassionally as if the wind was blowing through. She looked dazed, her father's words echoing in her mind. The fire was the only thing beautiful in this chamber, the rest looked cold and scary, making her skin crawl.
He stepped in beside her, a hand on her arm to protect her if anything happened. He too stopped when he saw the fire; the gold, red and orange threaded through each other, forming a warm glow of light. He looked sideways at her, uncertain of what she was going to do next. Her mouth was slightly open, gaping as her eyes took in the whole place. She caught his eyes and nodded, wary and wonder mixed in her eyes.
They were finally there, at their first destination. The fire that was supposed to in Hell. Yet it was in the highest place of this world.
The Incompleteness of LifeMy world is incomplete, there are parts of my memory which are framed with blurry edges and things that I have seen which make no sense.
I have never met my father, not consciously anyway. But I distinctly have memories of strong hands holding me and hugging me, ruffling my hair when I was younger. Then, as I grew older, they handed me books and even presents. But I have never seen his face, only determining from the fatherly gestures vaguely of who he truly is. These are only some of the strange unexplainable memories that swirl constantly in my head.
Later, when I ask my mother of these short snips of fading memories, she would tell me: "Of course I bought those books for you, I gave you those nice ribbons too! Don't you remember?"
And that would add an even bigger confusion to my already incoherent brain. What's real, what's not real? Who is speaking the truth? Me or her?
Even my mother is different. Although she looks normal to everyone else, I know she is different, she knows it too. She is a healer. What a typical healer looks like or does I cannot say, as they are rare in this world of advanced science. Being a healer just makes her and me seem even more out of place. My mother is extremely helpful, always happy to be at another's aid anytime she is needed. That is a trait she passed on to me. Helping others makes her happy, so I follow what she does. Sometimes, she can disappear for a length of time, leaving nothing except a pantry and a fridge full of food and a note on the table saying she has a job or an emergency. She can disappear from one day up to two months along with her healer's box. During these periods, I look after myself and can do whatever I want, except one rule: "As long as you don't leave the district without telling me!" So said my mother.
When she comes home, she always looks slightly drained but wears a satisfied smile while putting a stack of money and coins on the table. Unlike other teenagers' mothers, my mum is different not only because she has jobs in which she vanishes for lengths of time then turns up with money and an emptier healer's box, but because my mother never questions what I say.
As long as what I utter is a statement, she would not disagree. She might not respond, but no matter how bizarre it sounds, she would not shake her head to call me crazy or stupid. No matter what I might suggest, she would not tell me off. She would always gently tell me that it is my own life, therefore I should make my own choices myself. She would only give me suggestions, and no more. Mind you, somethings I think I see or say do seem extremely impossible in the average world.
I have blue eyes and black raven hair. People say my eyes are the bluest shade of blue they've ever seen, bluer than the sky, or the sea, or the painted Hollywood backdrops. My mother says it's a blue that is clear and bright; more beautiful than sapphire gems but a few shades lighter, somewhere between the sky and the deep ocean. My friends often comment that my hair looks slightly out of place with my eyes. They say it looks pretty, having black hair with blue eyes, but just a little uncommon and different. What I hear is only the last word.
Oh, by the way, my name is Katalena. Katalena Thoursturnbourg. Just call me Kat. And I'm 16 years old.
Kat hit the "post" button on the screen of her blog. That was her first blog post. She was going to keep it as a diary, although she wasn't sure how long she would keep writing on there, hopefully it would last longer than the idea of writing a physical diary. Her blog was not open to anyone, it was for her only. Her mother forbade her to share any personal information with anyone else. Nothing that could let people use against her. So it was practically nothing. She tried to say it was for Kat's own good, but Kat secretly suspected it was something to do with her not being like everybody else. That was the reason why her friends knew so little about her and nobody was particularly close to her.
Beside the restrictions which denied her a typical social life, her mother told her to help others.
"Helping other people is good, Kat. It purifies your soul. Even if you don't think that way, it helps you to be happy, knowing you've done something useful that day."
So Kat did. Not because she believed in any of the "soul" talk, but just to have something to do, and for the opportunity to get to know more people around her.
Kat sighed as she shut down the computer and streched with a yawn. It was one of those days when her mother left her again. It had been about one week now since she left and life was getting a little boring for Kat. She stood up and wandered around the house aimlessly, walked passed the note pinned on the clip board from her mother: Hey Kat, sorry to bail on you again. Gotta go somewhere outside New Jersey for a while. Don't worry about me hon, will be back shortly. I'm really sorry, but had to leave straight away! Look after yourself ok? And DON'T LEAVE THE DISTRICT WITHOUT TELLING ME! Love you Kat, Mum.
Kat lived in a country house. It sat on a huge piece of land, the green grass reaching outwards from the house covering 50 acres of earth that was her home. It was not big enough to be a proper farm, but not small enough to be a house. The house itself was old, a two-floor stone mansion that had withstood the centuries test of time. It was big, Kat sometimes felt that it was entirely too big for two people, it felt empty, as if someone was missing. The whole setting of her house had this slight loneliness yet a bright air of hope. There were trees that half-surrounded her house, some were ancient stable willows or oaks, some were young straight pines or Kauri. They were a strange combination of trees. Kat used to climb on the frailing parts of trees that sloped down and coverted them as swings or treehouses. It was fun, and in the edges of Kat's mind, she thought she remembered lots of little abnormal playmates during her childhood. But when she tried to focus hard on them, the memories just blurred. Her real-life friends commented that her home was like a place in a fairytale, closed yet open, in a forest and next to a clear running stream. It was beautiful really.
As Kat padded around the house, through the music hall and the reading lounge, the phone started ringing. She was startled and instantly jerked back into the reality of the world outside her quiet thoughts. She ran back the way she came and picked up the phone on the third ring.
"Hello? Katalena's speaking," she said a little breathlessly into the receiver.
"Oh, Libbiya is not here, is there anything I can help with? ... No, she won't be back for a while, I'm sorry... Oh yes, I could do that. Would you like me to come over? Yes, that's fine. Oh, that would be great! I'm not much of a driver. See you in an hour." With that, Kat put down the phone. She sighed heavily, it was another sort-of-patient her mother left off to pursue her big job. But it was nothing Kat couldn't handle. Helping people, Mum, that's what I'm doing. Kat thought resignedly and rushed to get changed.
The doorbell rang in exactly half an hour. Kat was ready to leave. Taking a deep breath, she opened the front door.
*****TO BE CONTINUED IN THE NEXT CHAPTER*****