My consciousness slipped away from me, taking me beyond reality and into the world of my dreams. It was a beautiful place, beyond beautiful. It was serene, the skies were alight with all different hues, and it was as if twilight stayed forever, but it didn’t.
Sooner than I thought, everything went dark. I could not see in front of my face while my eyes adjusted. Little things were flying around the air, leaving a light trail in the sky as they flew. They were like fireflies but they were bigger, prettier and a lot scarier. One came close enough to me that I could see that it had small sharp pointed teeth and a small nose like a snout. I yelped and stepped back, tripping over something that didn’t exist.
When I got up, though, I found that I had tripped over a small panther-like animal. It was as black as the skies; except its eyes, they were a clear green, glowing in the dark. It looked a lot like the little panther doll that was sitting on my new desk in my room. I stared, open-mouthed as it snorted and walked gracefully away towards the unknown. The little bug like creatures kept on flying around me, lighting the area around my feet. At least I was on the ground. One of the bugs flew ahead, and then the rest followed leaving me alone in the greeting darkness.
“You shouldn’t have come.” A voice whispered seductively and roughly. The voice had a veil of fear behind it. I jumped at it. I seemed to know whose voice it was but I couldn’t think of a name.
I turned slowly to look at the person I was dreaming of. He had hair as black as the night, blue eyes that pierced the world with fierceness. His face was alight with the lights of the bugs, to my dreaming mind, his looks rivaled the gods. Despite myself I gasped, but quickly covered my mouth with my hand. The man’s lips curled up at the ends into a slight smile. He stepped forward his feet making no sound on the ground. When he was close enough for me to see with my adjusted eyes I noticed an odd peculiarity about his skin. Decorating his skin were black tattoo-ish marks, they looked like tribal markings. Swirls connecting to swirls, creations that looked like the moon and sun. These tattoos covered all of his body. Except for his face there was only one and it was by his left eye. Shaped like a serpent, it stood out the most.
“It would be better if you had never come.” The man came closer still but I seemed to be unable to move. It was as if chains were constricting around my body and holding me in my place. I tried to struggle against these invisible chains, nothing worked though. They didn’t even budge. This wasn’t a dream. It was a nightmare.
The man reached a hand forward and stroked my cheek with the back of his hand. It was as cold as ice. His eyes closed and my eyes widened as I watched a thin silver blade appear in his other hand. He didn’t even open his eyes as he brought the blade closer to my face. I could see my reflection in it. It sparkled in invisible moonlight as the man held it just beneath my chin. Even if the chains weren’t holding me I froze on my own free will. The blade touched the base of my neck; I could feel the point drawing blood. I suppressed a scream for fear that it would be my untimely end.
“It’s far too soon for us to meet.” He frowned, his eyes still closed. No matter what I did or said, it wouldn’t have mattered for he thrust the blade through my neck, piercing my jugular as if it were nothing more than any other piece of meat, his eyes opened and he smiled, sadly.
“Goodbye my Echo.”
I bolted awake with a scream on my lips, the feeling of a blade still at my throat. I lifted my hand, grasping my neck and pulling away to check for blood. Relieved there was none, I looked around the room. The sun was shining lightly through the window, Juni was gone, her bed made. I moved out of the bed, standing up, shaking still from my dream. On my desk next to the black panther toy was a note. The toy made me think of the man with the tribal tattoos. He was very frightening and I hoped to never dream of him again.
Still in my pjs, I grabbed the note that Juni had left. She told me to go meet Mr. Parker in his office so I could get my school schedule sorted out. I sighed. I still needed to call home to explain somehow what was going on and where I was. Quickly getting changed into the clothes I wore yesterday, I sat on my bed and stared at my phone. It was now or never to call them. I found Poppy´s cell phone number and hit dial. It rang once, twice, three times, then I heard a click.
“What do you want?” Poppy growled into the phone. I could tell she was still half asleep, probably still in bed.
“I just wanted to let you know that I’ve entered a boarding school and won’t be coming back home.”
“Huh? What the heck are you talking about? Who would even let you join a boarding school? Aren’t those expensive? You better pay for it yourself. You’re not getting any money from me.” Offended by her words, I tried to reassure her.
“I don’t need any money from you, Poppy. That’s not why I called.” She scoffed into the phone, not believing me.
“Then why did you call?”
“To let you know where I was.” They were still my siblings no matter what had happened in the past.
“I don’t care where you are, you can go ahead and die for all I care.” Unknowingly, I felt tears fall down my cheeks. I closed my eyes, the tears running faster as Poppy continued. “Only mom and dad loved you.”
“I know that.” I choked out through my tears, “I just thought-”
“Just thought what? That Asher and I would love you now that our parents are gone? Well, we don’t, so I say good riddance to you. Don’t call me again.” There was the long dial tone indicating that she had hung up on me. I hadn’t expected much, but maybe at least her to call my name and be glad I was fine. That was too much to expect I guess. I wiped away my tears with my sleeve, sniffed and sighed. There were no more ties with them. It was time to really begin my life.
On my way to Mr. Parker’s, there were more student than I had seen yesterday, all of them were talking happily, from the corner of my eye I saw Sam nod at me. I nodded back but didn’t stop until I was in front of Mr. Parker’s office.
“Come on in, Echo,” he called from the inside. I walked in to him staring at a tea cup. He had his hands folded under his chin, staring into the depths of the tea as if they told all the secrets of the world. He glanced up quickly, noticed my eyes and waved a hand to the chair. “Tough morning?” he asked, “Not getting along with Juni?”
“No,” I told him, sitting down into the offered chair. “Juni is fine. But I´ve had enough of no one calling my name. No one acknowledging my existence. I don’t want to live like a pieces of scrap paper anymore.” Suddenly serious, Mr. Parker looked up from his tea, his eyes twinkling and his lips cracking into a small smile.
“If you can live without looking back into the past, if you want to become stronger than you are now, you have to keep moving forward. No matter what. There will be no meaning in you having cried alone, right? When you hold back and don’t say how you feel, the feelings you bottle up quickly become a heavy burden to hold. Don’t hold it in. Here you will have every opportunity to release your frustrations.”
He picked up the tea cup and threw it at me as hard as he could. Shocked, I threw up my hand and stopped it with my powers at the same time. The tea and the cup up in the air. Behind them, the Mad Hatter sat in his desk, grinning at me. Juni was right, he was mad.
“See, Echo, say what you feel. It’s like the tea falling from the cup, you hit your limit and when it all spills out of you, you will reach a point where you want to make up for every bit of weight you held. Find your solace in your new friends here. We will all become your family. We are all a little crazy here, if you haven’t already heard.”
“I want to start my life here as a Silverleaf student.” Dead serious, I used my powers to right the tea back into the cup and sit it back on his desk. He reached for a set of papers beside him. Standing up when he did, he held out a hand. I took it.
“If you change your mind, contact me. Then you can be a normal student again.”
“I don’t think I know what normal is.”
“You’ll find the balance, Echo. Now come, let me show you around the academy.”
Within the academy, there were hundreds of classrooms, each class dedicated towards all different types of studies. There were the normal classes of english, history, science and math. On top of those classes we were required to take art and music. After all of those classes, that’s when the students were separated into their different types of Tama power training classes. The element users were all in the same classes whereas the shifters and cerebral users were in there own seperate classes. Because of my telekinesis, I was classified into the Cerebral classes.
Mr. Parker guided me through the halls, telling me about all the different aspects of the academy. Eventually we reached a classroom filled with maybe twenty students. The plaque on the wall by the door read, Cognitive Reasoning.
“This will be the only class you take today.” He opened the door and a wave of palpable power wove its way around me. Mr. Parker seemed unfazed by it and walked right through the wall of seething mass of powers. Suddenly nervous, I scuttled me way behind him, holding my breath, hoping nothing would happen to me. Astonished when nothing did happen, I looked up and found nineteen pairs of eyes staring at me. Instantly, my eyes found Juni´s and the relief that hit me was probably transparent to the eyes watching me. Juni grinned into her hand and gave me a waggle of her fingers.
“Good afternoon, class.” Mr. Parker yelled at the students. There were murmurs from the students of hellos. My eyes roamed over all the faces, watching for what, even I didn’t know. From the middle of the class, I caught one pair of eyes I knew. Sam grinned openly at me and then rolled his eyes at Mr. Parker.
“Everyone, this is Echo, treat him kindly.” Mr. Parker turned to me and nodded his head it the direction of Juni. “I’m the teacher for this class. I’m strict, so be aware.” I stared at him, he just winked at me and pushed me towards Juni. I stumbled over my feet and fumbled my way through the see of eyes next to Juni. As I passed one of the male students, he was in the middle of the room, I got the unmistakable scent of roses. He had orange hair and deep orange eyes to match.
Sitting in the empty seat next to Juni and the sleeping student, I leaned over and whispered at Juni, “Is it just me, or does that guy smell like flowers?“ I indicated the guy with the orange hair.
She smiled, holding a hand over her mouth to whisper back at me, “He’s descended from the fey, it’s not just you. But watch out, he gets very offended when you tell him.”
I smiled into my shoulder, glancing at the guy who had his head buried into his desk, sleeping beside me. He had his arms over his head, his hands clasped, one wrist bore a recognizable black band. Mr. Parker began talking about how much the psyche affects every decision in our daily lives, when the guy stirred, lifted up one arm and glanced at me with familiar cat green eyes.
“Hello again, little mouse.”