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I never knew my real father but the one that took his place, my stepfather, was the best you can get. We live in a small town on the outskirts of Georgia where my dad would take me fishing and hunting and camping as often as he had time too. He taught me everything in life and was the most loving man I ever knew.I guess that is why he stayed with my mother for so many years.
My mother, I do not believe, was a bad woman, but a sick woman. She suffered from depression, schizophrenic behavior and bipolar disease. My father said she was not always like that, that she used to have a kind and gentle heart and nothing ever seemed to bother her. No one really knows what happened, my grandmother said when she met my biological father that she was the happiest she had ever seen her. He took off when he found out my mother was pregnant with me and grandma said she was just never the same after that.
It is finally the last day of my 11th grade year. Everyone is excited and ready for the last bell to ring. I could care less, although, it would be nice to get away from all the stares and whispers. It has been the worst year of my entire life.
The beginning of the year started off about the same as any other school year. New clothes, new shoes, the smell of fresh pencils being sharpened in the air. I was already in a bad mood because my best friend, who moved away 2 years ago and had kept in contact, got a snooty little California girlfriend and had stopped talking to me in the beginning of the summer. So there I was starting my Junior year with absolutely no friends.
November came and my parents were fighting a lot. My mom had been in this mood lately where she blamed me for everything, I just overlooked it but my father could not. I spent a lot of time at my grandmother's house down the street while they argued.
I went home one evening after eating dinner at my grandma's, and they were into it worse than I had ever seen so I went to sit on the front porch until it calmed down. When I heard the gunshot, I ran inside to see my father in the floor, holding his chest in a puddle of blood.
I never felt it when the bullet hit me, I was standing one minute and the next I was waking up in an eerie silent room. I thought it all was a dream until I looked over to my father. He was still breathing but barely.
The ambulance got there and pronounced my mother dead on sight and life flighted my father to the hospital where he passed away shortly after. I guess everyone assumed the blood on my shirt was my father's, I am glad no one asked many questions, thankfully I threw on a jacket to cover the bullet hole before the police arrived. It is not easy to explain my gift and I sure was not in the mood to then.
I was sent to live with my grandparents who, besides my dad, were my favorite people in the world. They were wealthy but I never knew how, anytime I heard anyone ask, my grandpa would just say, "It's just old money." My grandpa was not a man of many words but when he did speak, everything he said was wise with meaning. My grandma was the only person on earth who came close to understanding me. She was a beautiful woman with olive skin and long black hair. She was half Cherokee Native and her mother was a tribe "healer" and taught my grandmother every natural medicine from plants and herbs there was.
I went back to school after Thanksgiving Break and tried to get back to a "normal" life. Besides the stares and the gossip my life seemed to go on as before. People seemed to be nicer to me and attempted to talk to me. I tried to make friends but nothing they said ever seemed interesting to me so it was hard to talk about any common interest. School was at least going good and I was passing every class with honors. I missed my dad everyday but it was easier to deal with when I kept myself busy in the garden or with school.
It was Spring Break and my grandparents and I were driving to the lake for a day on the boat. An 18wheeler came out of nowhere and t-boned the car while we were going through a traffic light. I woke up in the emergency room almost completely healed. The doctors were stumped on how I healed so quickly, all I could tell them was it was a family herbal tea I drank everyday that is said to keep your body strong. I could never tell anyone the truth or they would lock me in some science museum. They still wanted to do blood test but since I was 17 and now had no legal guardian, they did not push the issue too much.
My grandparents left everything to me, including the 13 different bank accounts all over the world and stocks for everything from Coca-Cola to a vacuum company. I did not have time to grieve with everything going on around me and before I knew it, I was a 17 year old Junior in high school with her own house and cars and money, living every persons dream. I would trade every bit of it to have my family back again.
I had forgotten where I was until the bell rang. Everyone around me pretty much ran out of the door. I was still a little dazed from my own thoughts. I grabbed my bag and started out the door. Then Mrs. Hill stopped me, "Aurora, honey, if there is anything you need at all, even just someone to talk to, please call me, okay?"
"Thanks, Mrs. Hill, but I will be fine."
Mrs. Hill was not the first teacher to say this too me, they all have said it since everything happened. I appreciate their kindness but I really do not want anyone around me reminding me of everything as if I'm not reminded enough. I know they are trying to help but I just want to be alone. The only other person I have now is Cody, he is my best friend but its been almost a year since we have spoken. I figured, just like everything else in my life, he was gone now too. Even if he tried to call, I have cut my phone off so he would not be able to reach me anyway. I do not like having a cell phone anymore, it just gets in the way and it sometimes makes this terrible ringing sound that I hate.
I got in my truck, the last birthday gift my grandparents got me, and headed home. I had been going the long way home since November and planned on it today but nature had a different plan. As I turned onto the back road to take me the long way home I did not make it very far when I was stopped by a tree in the road. Not a very big tree, I could probably just drive over it with the monster tires on my truck but I was not in the mood. Then I could probably just move it and plant it back like it had never fallen but I did not want the attention if someone else were to pull up. Sometimes it was hard to hide my gift, it has gotten easier as I have grown older but it was not always that way. I have had this gift as long as I can remember and it is the only thing left in my life that gives me joy. My grandmother says I am called a "healer" just as her mother was and her sister is. Grandma taught me how to control it and when I should use it and when I should not. My body heals itself very quickly and leaves no scars or scratches so I do not have much control on my body healing. I do have control over what my hands can do. My hands can make any plant grow from just a seed to a blooming mature plant in a matter of minutes.
There is a legend in the Cherokee people that talks about a woman who could grow corn from her body and her family always had food because of it. The "healers" are supposedly descendants from this woman and many more like her. It is a genetic thing and you cannot really choose to have the gift.
I stared at the tree in the road and turned around to go the other way. The only other way home meant passing my old house where my life first got turned upside down. There were only a few houses on this small road lined with trees on both sides. The first is my old house, the second is my best friends old house that has been empty for 3 years and the last house on the old gravel road is the one I live in now. The only thing I have left. I took a deep breath and stared straight ahead as I passed the first house on the left. I was almost home now but something was different, I could smell new smells in the air. It was a dead end road with one cut through road that was blocked by a tree so no one could come through. As I got closer to the house on the right, I noticed through the trees something yellow and big. It was a moving truck, I guess Cody's parents sold the house and land and that means my only friend was not coming back. I will walk my dog, Rooster, when I get home just to be nosy and maybe meet a new friend.
I pulled into my driveway and a new excitement was in the air. This was the first time in a long time that I felt like smiling. Even Rooster seemed to be a little happier than normal to see me. I petted him while he licked me ferociously just like everyday when I come home. He truly was my only friend and the most loyal, I am sure he won't leave me for a girl, I am the one who feeds him.
I put the leash on him and we walked down the road, thankfully there is a curve in the road blocking view of the first house from the second, I do not want anything to ruin my almost good mood. I heard voices, very familiar voices. With my gift I have heightened senses and I can see and hear with cat-like senses. I took another smell of the air as I reached the driveway where most people could not see the house through the winding drive and thick pines. I looked through and saw the moving truck, a minivan and a new blue Ford Ranger. Didn't Cody say he got a blue truck for his 16th birthday last year? No, it couldn't be him, he would have called. He couldn't call, I don't have a phone anymore. Oh, stop arguing with yourself and walk down there already! I can't just walk down there like I own the place, what if it isn't them? I know, I will let Rooster off his leash and tell him to go down there and then chase him like he ran off.
"Rooster, come back boy, here boy. Oh there you are."
"Rori?" I heard an almost recognizable, just a little deeper, voice say. There was only one person who called me by my dad's nickname.
"Cody? Cody!" I ran to him only to stop a couple of feet from him and look up."Wow, you got big."
"Yeah , yeah. Come here and hug me." Cody said as he put his huge arms around me.
I reluctantly pulled myself away, it felt so good to have him there with me, just someone who understands me and knows all of the secrets that I cannot tell anyone else.
"What are you doing back, you couldn't have called?"
"I have seen you for a total of 30 seconds and you are griping at me already? Your just how I left you." He smiled his crooked little smile and cocked an eyebrow. I couldn't be mad at him. "I mean, your phone is off, you do not have MySpace or Facebook or even email, how was I supposed to tell you?"
"Well your here now so that's all that matters, you are just in time too," my head went down as I said this and tears stung my eyes. I am not sure if I was just so happy to see him or if I really did need him that badly.
"Hang on a minute okay?" He looked over his shoulder and yelled, "Hey mom? I am going to walk down the road k?"
She walked out of the house wiping her hands on a dishtowel and smiled. "Oh my goodness Aurora White is that you? My my, you have turned into a beautiful young lady."
"Thank you Mrs. Stanley," I smiled genuinely and waved to her and turned to Cody.
We walked down his driveway slowly reaching the road with Rooster on our heels sniffing all around Cody to make sure he was no danger. We walked in silence both of us lost in our own thoughts not knowing what to say first, but it was not an awkward silence, just comfortable. Cody was the only person I could ever turn to. We both were born and grew up on this little dirt road and in school we were both outsiders. He was the little chubby kid with glasses and bad allergies and I was a little "witch" as the kids used to call me. I had a harder time hiding my gift then; only because people would pick on Cody and I would make the wind blow dirt in their eyes. I knew better not to do anything big in front of people but they all started making fun of me and calling me a witch anyway. It stayed that way until my skinny tall awkwardness turned into a long curly black haired beauty when I hit puberty. I have never seen myself as pretty or really anything spectacular until all the boys who used to torture me were starting to ask me out. I still don't see myself as anything special I am just a regular girl, or I, at least, looked like a regular girl.
When we got to my house I was still lost in thought until I realized he was waiting for me to invite him in.
"Well come in, we have a lot to catch up on and I have a lot more to gripe at you about."
"Oh yay," he said sarcastically and flashed that crooked grin again.
He stayed on the front porch and sat in one of the rocking chairs and I went to get us a Coke. I came back and handed it to him.
"I am sorry to hear about your parents and your grandparents. We did not find out until we got back into town or I would have come sooner. I am sorry about not keeping in touch, I got caught up in California life and forgot who my real friend was. I am so stupid and I have beat myself up about it so many times and I would not blame you one bit if you never wanted to spea"
"It is okay, Cody. I forgive you. You don't have to go on anymore. I used to be mad but there are bigger things in life to worry about then being mad. I figured you would come around. I am just so happy you are here now." I sat on the top step in front of him watching 2 squirrels chase each other in the trees and just sighed. He came and sat next to me and put his arm on my shoulder just like he used to.
"Besides you looking like Mr Muscle Beach, you haven't changed a bit Cody."
"Hey now you can turn into a movie star but I can't drop a few pounds and lift a little weights?"
"No, 'cause now your not my little chubby buddy, who am I going to look after now and blow dirt into kids eyes for picking on you? And I do not look like a movie star."
"No, you don't, you are prettier than a movie star, and trust me I know 'cause I seen them in Cali."
"Yeah right, you lived in Napa. There are no movie stars there." It felt so good to laugh again. I don't remember the last time I laughed.
We sat on the porch and talked about everything and watched the sun go down over the lake that our families shared. It was like he never left. I smiled more tonight than I have in over 6 months. When the sun went down he asked if I could still make the fireflies dance like I did when we were kids. I could use my gift in front of Cody, he has known about it since we were 5 years old and has never looked at me different or called me weird.
I stood in the middle of the front yard and closed my eyes with my arms spread wide. I opened my eyes to hundreds of fireflies around me waiting for my instructions. I spun and twirled while they danced around me like twinkle lights on a dance floor. In the next moment Cody was dancing and twirling next to me like we were kids again, both of us laughing and giggling at our own joy of this childish dance. We both fell on the dewy wet grass trying to catch our breaths.
"I guess I had better get home," Cody said kind of glum. "Unless you need me to stay and keep you company," he chimed and shined that irresistible smile.
"No, it is getting late, I don't want you getting in trouble."
We got up and I walked him to the end of my driveway. He put his arms around me and it was different this time. It wasn't just a friendly hug anymore, there was more in the way he embraced me, I think there was more in the way I held him. I did not want to let go, I was afraid to wake up and everything be a dream. When I held him it felt real.
The next few weeks were the happiest I had been in a long time. Since there was no school, Cody and I spent every minute we could together. I had missed him more than I realized. I had always loved Cody as my best friend, but now, there was something more and neither he or I was ballsy enough to say it out loud, but we both felt it.
His family took me in with warm embraces as they always had. I ate dinner there many nights; it helped that his mom was an amazing cook who I could spend hours in the kitchen just watching her. She was like an artist with gliding hands as she made everything from scratch while she sang in a high pitched beautiful bird voice. She was tall and slim with fiery red hair cut short and angled around her face perfectly. She and I bonded in that kitchen and I could confide in her. She was the mother I wish I could have had.
One evening, while Cody was out fishing with his father, I sat and watched Grace in the kitchen as she waltzed around twirling about when all of a sudden the bird voice stopped singing and she looked at me.
"My dear Aurora, one day you will be my daughter. I just know it!"
She smiled a big smile and went back to her singing. It shocked me into no words. I just got up and walked outside. I wonder what she meant exactly? Had Cody confessed a love for me beyond our childhood friendship? Or maybe she just knew. That is how mothers are supposed to be right? They know how their child feels before the words come out.
Just as I started getting lost in daydreams, I hear footsteps in the distance and am startled a little. Cody, fishing pole in hand and Rooster by his side, comes walking up from the lake with his dad shortly behind him with a stringer full of catfish.
"Fish for dinner tonight," he says with a proud smile as he hold up the fish. He walks inside as I hear a childlike squeal from Grace like she has received a grand present.
Cody smiles and shakes his head, as he knows far too well of his mother's enthusiasm.
"Want to go for a walk while we wait on dinner?" He asked, knowing my answer.
He put his fishing gear away and we set off for a trail made by our four-wheelers in the woods on the other side of the lake. It was hot outside, just like any summer in Georgia but we were shaded by the oak trees and ever greens surrounding us. As we made our way to our Clover Clearing, we named this as kids because it was just a clearing in almost a perfect circle about half a mile in diameter full of nothing but clovers covering the ground in a emerald green, he took me by the hand and entwined our fingers together. I felt warmth spread all over me and my face grew hot. I knew I was blushing and didn't dare look his way. We made it to the clovers and sat down on the pillow like grass. We sat, hands still together, not speaking a word and just enjoying the beauty surrounding us.
Cody was the one who broke the silence and he nervously cleared his voice, "Rori," he paused, "if... if i kissed you, would you hate me?"
The question shocked me but what shocked me more was my answer. I threw my arms around his neck and locked my lips onto his. Our lips were like two puzzle pieces that fit perfectly together. His arms went around my waist and he pulled me against his body. Our lips finally unlocked and we stared into each other's eyes when i suddenly realized there were eyes on us. A lot of them! I look around the Clover Clearing and see we have an audience of squirrels, birds, deer, and even a couple of raccoon had awaken from sleep to see what the commotion was about. Apparently my gift is uncontrollable with passion involved. I look around to see flowers blooming, thickened trees, and vines interlocked from tree line to tree line all above our heads with more flower blooms hanging from the vines. It was amazing, it was hard to believe that I did it all without notice.
Our eyes are glued to the greenery around us when I suddenly start laughing uncontrollably. Cody looked at me in wonder and my laughter was infectious as he started in hysterics too.
We finally pull ourselves together and he asked, "What the heck was all that?"
"I am not sure exactly, that has never happened. I did not even know i could do so much at one time."
"Well all that was pretty cool, but I was talking about the attack on my lips."
I felt the heat run to my cheeks again and quickly rise to my feet. He stands up as well and catches me before I can escape. He puts his hands softly on my face and kisses my cheeks. and says, "Thank you for not giving up on me, I have always loved you and I always will."
The next morning I woke up especially early and could not go back to sleep. Something was different, I wasn't sure what. I took a shower and noticed i did not feel groggy or tired like most early mornings, instead I felt great, I felt strong. I looked in the mirror; I did not look any different. As I was getting dressed I heard a rustling as loud and clear as if it was in the same room. I look around and I hear it again but I could pinpoint it now, it was coming from outside. I quickly put my shoes on and run outside in the early morning light. I look out into my pasture where the barn sits on the far east side at least a mile off in the distance. I hear the noise again, now I am sure that it is coming from the barn but i am startled that I can hear from that distance. I look closely toward the direction of the barn, I can see it perfect as if I was 20 foot from it in broad day light. I see my horse, Chance, nibbling on some hay laid for him in the stalls and the sound is coming from him. I am quickly overwhelmed by confusion. My gifts have slowly come to me and gotten stronger over the years but never all at once. I did not understand why all of a sudden my gifts were ten times stronger. I needed to test it, to make sure i was not just imagining things. I started into a run, a fast run, then a very fast run. Unnaturally fast, I made it to the edge of the 300 acres in less than 3 minutes. I started to think back of all the stories my grandmother told me about the healers and her mother and her sister. I cannot think of any such as this. Her sister! She is still living from my knowledge. My grandmother said after their parents died tragically in a warehouse explosion when they were just teenagers, her younger sister, only 17 at the time, ran away and she did not hear from her for many years. I had never met her but I had heard phone conversations between her and my grandmother and received a birthday card from her every year with no return address. The lawyers had called her when my grandparents had passed away and she offered for me to move in with her but I decided i wanted to stay here and since I was just 3 months from being 18, no one really tried to argue. I ran into the house so quick I almost felt sick when i finally got stopped on the slick wood floor. I rummaged through the desk drawer until i found the brown leather book with hand written phone numbers in it from the past 40 years. I found her name, Rose Sandoval. I went to find my old forgotten cell phone and had to plug it up and wait for enough charge to make a call.
I clutched the phone in my hand, what will I say, I wonder. "Hey this is your niece you never met and I run really fast," I think as i mock myself.
I jumped when I heard the phone start ringing, it was the same number I had wrote down from the leather book. "Hello?" I answered.
The voice sounded like my mother but with a softer tone and no edge of anger to it. Kind and sweet, "Aurora, this is your Aunt Rose. We have much to talk about but not over the phone. I need you to come to the diner in Adamstown Virginia. I cannot give you more information than that. be there tomorrow at dawn. Please trust me, I love you, Aurora."
I heard the click as she hung up the phone. Am I in danger? How did she call me at the exact time i was going to call her? What is going on?
The phone still in my hand I call the only person I knew to call.
"Rori?" A tired voice answered, "Is there something wrong?"
Yes, everything is wrong, I need you right now, i thought to myself. "No, just woke up and could not sleep, thought you might be up, go back to sleep I will see you later today, ok?"
I Hung up before he could say any more and went to start packing. I did not want to go, I was terrified but it was like my body was doing it automatically. I had to go, what other choice is there? I am sure she knows much about the unanswered questions I had my entire life. What if this is my one and only chance to learn?
I heard the door open and shut and I knew who it was. I knew he would not go back to sleep. "I am up here," I yelled down the stairs trying not to sound distressed.
In just a few seconds he was at my side with his arms around me. Had he grown over night? He must have grown at least three inches taller and seemed even more built. Had I done this to him? What if I was contagious somehow? I must hurry, I need answers, now. "I got a call from my Aunt in Virginia, she did not tell me much, but I have to meet her by morning." I tried to sound like nothing was wrong. He didn't buy it.
"I am coming with you," he almost demanded. I shook my head but no words came out. What would I tell him? I cannot lie to him. I seen the concern in his eyes and I knew there was no hope in arguing.
"What will you tell your parents? I know they like me and all but I'm not sure how happy they will be to know you will be taking an over night trip with me." Then the realization of being overnight with Cody put another strain on my mind. I can't think about that right now.
"I will tell them you found your long lost aunt you have never met and you want to go and see her, there is no lie in that. I am 18 now, there is not much they can say to stop me."
I could not really argue with his statement because it was true. And I so wanted him to go with me, I felt safe with him at my side even though I can protect myself without a doubt, I still needed him with me. I have lost him once and I cannot bare to do it again.
"Okay well it is settled then, I will go and talk to them and pack and I will meet you here in an hour," and with that he retreated from the room and out of the house.
We load our things in the truck along with Rooster. I hired my grandpa's old farmhand to take care of the animals while I was away, not knowing when I would be back. We ride for over an hour with no words. I was lost in thought and did not know where to begin to explain things to him. What was there to explain? I was still lost myself, I am just going with a gut feeling not knowing what I would be walking into. I do not even know where I am headed; the diner in Adamstown Virginia, that is where. I replayed the one sided conversation with Rose over and over. There did not seem to be any concern in her voice or worry of any kind. Maybe I have just crossed over into some kind of womanhood of healers, but that would not explain why Cody also seems different. I look over at my best friend and seems to be just as lost in thought as I. I never really noticed how beautiful he was until recently. His dark brown eyes were almost black surrounded by long eye lashes and shaggy brown hair. He had the chiseled jaw line of Superman and probably more muscles. He was handsome to say the least. He does not look like either of his parents because he was adopted at birth. His biological mother was a young girl not ready for parenthood and wanted to give him the best chance at life. In my opinion, she picked the perfect set of parents to let raise her child. He was kind and gentle, he made me laugh when I was the most sad. Besides my father, he was the only one who understood me. Who knew the insides of my brain sometimes better than I did myself. Everything felt right with him, just natural.
"I dreamed of animals last night, very real dreams, not anything scary. It was like I was one of them." I looked at Cody as he continued about his dream, "A great grizzly bear came to me and spoke to me, not with words but with his mind. He told me to go with you." He looked over at me, "So I did." He smiled his magic smile and I couldn't help but join him. I am happy he trust me to tell me his dreams. Right now they make more sense than anything else going on in my life.
Eventually I told him everything, about the extra power my gifts have, about the phone call from Rose and finally about the difference in him.
"I have noticed a strength in myself as well, I did not drive to your house this morning, I ran."
This shocked me a little, my front door from his front door had to be at least 2 and a half miles or maybe more. He was at my house in less than 5 minutes. More confusion set in and I started crying. I mean really crying! Cody pulled over onto the shoulder of the road and in no time had my door open and me in his arms. My feet were not touching the ground, my petite body was swaddled into his arms and chest. I sobbed until I ran out of tears, still not exactly sure why I was even crying. Cody sat me back in my seat, buckled me up and kissed my forehead.
"Now tell me what has got you so upset?" He asked calmly with a smile.
"I really do not know, there is something wrong and I think that it is my fault. You were not born as a healer, and now you have picked up strange traits overnight, but only after you kissed me for the first time. What if I did this to you?"
"I am sure there is some explanation, and so what if I have some sort of gift now, is it a bad thing? Now your not the only weird one." He smiled and then of course I smiled. Maybe everything would be okay.
I slept through the rest of the trip. When I awoke, we were sitting in front if the diner. It was closed, it looked like it had not been open in years. I let Rooster out and he did his business and got back in the truck. This time I got into the drivers seat, it was like a magnetic force pulling me as I drove out of town through winding roads through the mountains of Virginia. I pulled onto a gravel road that looked like no one had been down it in years. I looked at Cody and I could see that he felt the force willing him to go as well. We drove about 10 miles down this deserted road with no sign of any human life until we pull up to a beautiful log cabin. It looked like a vacation resort right out of a magazine. A larger wrap around porch on the ground level and the second story as well. We both stared in awe until a gorgeous woman in her early 20's with long black hair steps out onto the porch and gives us a gentle smile and waves us in. I wondered if my aunt had children, was this girl my cousin?
The magnetic force seemed to be satisfied as I stepped into the front door. Cody clutched my hand tightly.
"Welcome my dears, welcome!" said the cheery familiar voice of the young girl. I must have looked as shocked as I felt because she softened her smile to a sympathetic grin and took me by the hand. "Do not be alarmed, niece, we have much to talk about. Come sit down, the both of you."
Niece? Was this Rose? It couldn't be. She was only 4 years younger than Grandmother and she was well into her seventies. I had to make my brain calm down. There was too much to think about all at once and I couldn't make words with my frozen mouth to ask any questions. Cody was the one who broke the silence.
"I feel different here, not in a bad way. In a complete way. I cannot explain it much beyond that." He was looking at me and then he turned toward the young girl with the question in his eyes.
"It is because you were born here, this is where you are from. I cannot explain much more than that, I promised your uncle I would let him explain." The girl said as if it was a normal thing for us to be here.
I could tell her words startled him but he just sat back in a rocking chain next to a grand fire place and stared into the distance lost in thought. The young girl looked at me again. "I know you must have many questions that you have always wanted to ask but let me explain your most recent confusion first." She took a deep breath and started, "I am your grandmother's sister, I am a healer as you know, and as a healer I stopped aging when I found my soul mate. As healers we are connected to this person from the time we are born until all of eternity, some of us have known our mates for all of our life and some of us met later down the road but have not separated since. There is a supernatural force that brings us together no matter how far apart we may be. With that soul mate you gain your full healing powers. You, my dear, have found your mate for life." She gestured toward the beautiful man in the rocking chair who still sat silent but i could see the corners of his mouth fighting a smile when he heard this. He was happy to be stuck with me for eternity. I was ecstatic about this news but that still did not answer some of the recent worries.
"What about Cody, why is he changing as well?"
Just then a stampede of half dressed men came stomping in, laughing, joking, all trying to talk over each other. They all had the same chiseled bodies, not an ounce of fat between the four of them. They all had dark skin and hair and eyes with high cheek bones and that superman jaw line. Then I heard high pitched ringing voices coming down the stairs. Three beautiful women came walking down the stairs all with an admiring look on their faces like they havn't seen these men in years. No one seemed to acknowledge us at first. Just a lot of hugs and kisses and "what's for dinner?"
One of the men walked over and put his hand on Rose's shoulder. She looked up at him, "Cameron, I would like you to meet my niece, Aurora."
I stood up to shake his hand but he wrapped his arms around me in a strong embrace. "You are finally here!" He said with genuine joy in his voice.
He let go of me and looked to the chair where Cody was now making his way to his feet. Cody had a strange look on his face, like he had seen a ghost. Then I realized why he was staring at this man. Not only were their builds similar but their faces, the almost black eyes, the pouted pink lips, and their round wide nose. Who was this man?
It was a long night for the both of us. So many explanations that made sense in a way but still so very confusing. First I find out that I have eternal life now that Cody and I made an internal vowel to be together forever, my Aunt Rose was married to Cody's biological uncle. His sister was Cody's mother. Cody is also part of the supernatural world, he is called a Changeling, he can transform himself into any animal for any period of time and the stampede of men were his new Changeling family all of which were married to healers and all have eternal life. From what Rose and the other healers have gathered from experience and hours upon hours of research, Healers are somehow attracted to Changelings by some supernatural force. They did not seem to have an answer on why, the theory among them is that they are meant to be together to fight off the evil in the world and keep the human race in tact without ever being noticed. Kind of like an underground super race. But with good there is always bad. Healers come from all over the world from all different back grounds, some grow up to use their gifts to become powerful leaders among the supernatural. Some believe that humans are below them and are not meant to be protected and should only be of use to breed more healers. The same goes for Changelings although most, are from native tribes around the world there are those that have a hate for Healers and there have been wars throughout the years where there were not many victories on either side. So now there is an unmentioned rule that both sides agree to not fight but stay away from one another. But there is still that magnetic force that brings some together as mates, but that force is not just for Changelings and Healers but also can attract a Healer to any human as well or any Changeling to any human. It all seems easier to understand when you do not ask the question, why? There are studies and research among the "super races" and no answers seem to be 100 percent. Only theories on why things are the way they are.
It has been a very long day and even longer night as we groggily make our way to the room provided for us in the cabin mansion. Then a past worry comes back to mind; I will be staying the night in the same room, and same bed as Cody. My cheeks flush as thoughts fill my exhausted mind.
I change into pajamas in the bathroom and stair at myself in the mirror. He is not expecting anything from me right? Now that we are joined for all eternity do we have to make it "official"? I walk back into the adjoining bedroom and Cody seems to have the same worry written all over his face as he makes a pallet of blankets and pillows in the floor next to the bed.
"I figured you would feel more comfortable with the bed to yourself," he stutters.
"It will be like our sleep overs as kids," I smiled at the comforting thought. I turned on the large flat screen TV to drown out the awkward silence; I cuddled up to Rooster, who seemed just as at home here as he did back in Georgia, and i slowly drifted asleep.
There were dark wolves, snakes, lions and tall men standing with bright yellow eyes staring at me. They were surrounding me on all sides and looked like they wanted nothing in life but my blood on their hands. I woke in a sweat and sat straight up in the bed. I hate nightmares, I get them when I am overwhelmed or stressed. I have not had any since Cody had come back into my life, he eased the stress with just his presence. I walked to the bathroom and splashed water on my face, it was much to early to be up so after a long bath and some contemplating, I decided to try and sleep again. I walked back into the bedroom where Cody lay propped up on his arm flipping channels on the TV again. I guess I woke him with all the commotion in the bathroom. He eyed me as I walked through the large room and back to the bed.
"Sorry if I woke you, I couldn't sleep so I took a bath," I said apologetically.
He smiled that smile and got up and sat on the bed with me. "If you are awake then I am awake, I think that is just how this works," He says with some sarcasm. I sighed and shook my head with a grin.
"Are you okay? I mean I have had almost 18 years to get used to being a part of the supernatural world but it was kind of laid on you all at once."
"All I heard was I get to spend eternity with you."
I smiled at that thought again and looked at him seriously, "but really, tomorrow they are teaching you how to change into different animals, that doesn't scare you in any way?"
"A little, but not really scared, it is more of a nervous feeling than anything. What if I am a terrible Changeling and turn myself into a duck and cannot figure out how to change myself back?"
"Well then I would spend eternity with the most handsome duck around," I say as I shove his shoulder.
He laughs and looks at me serious now, "Do not sit and worry about everything, we have each other and we will make it through. The supernatural stuff will be the easy part. It is life back home that may end up difficult, but we can talk about all that another day. We have a busy day tomorrow and need to sleep while we can."
He kisses my lips and covers me with the blanket and starts to turn around to go back to the floor when I stopped him, "Stay."
I woke up with his arms wrapped around me and the sunlight shining in brightly through the windows. It must have been noon. I sat up so quickly, Cody jumped up so fast he almost fell in the floor. We got dressed and followed the smell of bacon, eggs and french toast into the kitchen. It was not as late as I thought, only around 9:30 am. Rose was sitting at the table, coffee in hand, chatting with Abigail, an Australian Healer married to John, the newest Changeling before Cody. She was attracted here much like I was with the magnetic force, she met John and they joined the family about 7 years ago. Abigail was kind and she and I hit it off the night before so as soon as she saw me enter the kitchen she hugged me, "I am so happy you have joined our family, you two are welcome to stay as long as you want. Rose, Donna and Lily all nodded in agreement with welcoming smiles. I still was not sure if Donna really liked me, she seemed annoyed by my presence. She has been here almost as long as Rose had. She was born not far from Adamstown and started working in the diner when she was a teenager and met her Changeling, Allen. They started forming their strange little family. None of the Healers had any family left except for Rose, she had me. It was one of the many whys that were unanswered, everyone's family died tragically when they were teenagers, including mine. That is why Rose left when her parents died, she was afraid for her own sister's life. If she would have stayed, my grandmother probably would have never had a chance to live and marry and have a family. I would not exist if Rose had stayed. The Healer Sisters just call it cursed, but then again they have had many years to cope with the fact that their existence killed their families. Why? There is no answer except that supernatural force beyond anyone's control. They, or we, I should say now, can also never bear children of our own. As a female your body has to move forward to be able to get pregnant and sustain life for nine months. We are all now frozen in time. If I were to have fallen in love with a normal human with no supernatural abilities, I would still move forward and grow old just as my Great grandmother had.
I sat and stared at my cup of coffee lost in my own mind pondering what kind of life would I live for eternity with no children to raise, or grand children. Just Cody and I for the rest of our lives and I am happy with that but I am mad that I had no choice in the matter. It seems like I have no choice in anything, it was my destiny to be a healer and lose my entire family, fall in love with Cody, marry him, and protect the world from its own self without notice. I am angry with that fact but there really is not much I can do about it now. So why not make the best of it. Or just put it in the back of my mind and worry about it another time.
As I come to term with my inner thoughts and concerns, everyone around me is moving about the house getting ready for the day, which usually starts at 8:00am but they decided to let Cody and I sleep in. Cody, who was sitting next to me scarfing down the biggest plate of food I had ever seen him eat, did not seem to notice my worries so I decided to let them go for now.
The next few days were full of training, not only for Cody but also myself. I had no Idea of the things I was capable of now. Growing plants was nothing to me now, I could separate earth from earth and cause huge crevices in the ground that no man could pass. I could make it snow in 100 degree heat, and form flowing rivers from just the moister in the air. The Sisters seemed to be impressed as well. I guess I was learning fast than they expected I would. So I thought until I over heard them talking outside one night.
I don't understand how she is so powerful. I heard Donna exclaim to Rose.
I do not know why either, maybe the next generation is just stronger. I mean most of our ancestors started as simple medicine women. I heard my aunt say matter of factly.
Maybe, but it just makes me wonder about things. Do you know much about her real father? Donna asked Rose again.
No, all Ruby knew about him was that he was in town working for only a few months and Emily was head over heals for him. She found out she was pregnant and told him and he was gone the next day. She got back with her old boyfriend and told him it was his baby. Nine months later we have baby Aurora, a very happy dad and a miserable mother. Thank goodness Rori had Thomas.
So do you think there is a chance her real father could have abilities as well?
Maybe, but we will probably never get the chance to find out. We will teach her as best we can and maybe she will be one to make a difference.
That was the end of the conversation and it left me in wonder. Was I special? Could I really make a difference in the human world or the supernatural?
Over the next week, I was taught about everything there is to know about Healers and our history, I was trained in helping the needy with growing crops to stopping war by finding more fossil fuels. I got to know all of my new family, Rose and Cameron, Donna and Allen, Lily and Joshua, and Abigail and John. Abigail was the first real girl friend I had ever had, she is closer to my age so we have a lot in common. We even got a chance to go shopping in the city one day.
Lily was very quiet and reserved, she spoke only when asked a question but she smiled all the time. A beautiful smile that lit up the room when she walked in. She was the cook of the family and just like Grace, Cody's mom, she sang while she cooked in the most amazing voice. She and Josh joined the family about 35 years ago, they grew up together in Adamstown and traveled the world together for many years before they settled back into their home town with their new family. They are the oldest in the family, Lily just celebrated her 129th birthday and Josh was 130.
Cody and I did not get to spend much time together; I did watch him some days in the open field with the guys shape shifting into every animal you could think of. One day he caught me watching and changed into a duck and waddled over to me and quacked.
It was strange watching him, not because he was turning into different animals but because he was nude. I understood the need for it, animals did not wear clothes, but it was odd seeing the boy I had known almost my entire life stripping down to nothing in front of my eyes. He was not shy about it, or he had gotten used to it, either way, he did not hesitate to take his clothes off when he knew I was watching.
By night time we were both so exhausted we did not bother to talk much. We just lay in the bed together with his arms around me until we fell asleep. Rooster still slept at the foot of the bed every night with us and seemed to be just as worn out as we were. He liked when Cody turned into a dog the best, he had a new playmate. At first he was wary of everything and did not seem to know the right reaction. After the first day Rooster adjusted to the change better than I did.
We had been here 2 weeks already and it was time to go home, Cody missed his family and school would start back in a few weeks. As we were packing our things into the truck, John comes running toward us with panic in his eyes.
"You two, get in the house, now, hurry." He demanded.
Before I could ask what was going on we are shoved into the house and the door shut behind us. We were both baffled by this. What was going on I wondered. Rooster! He was still outside, what if there is danger around? Before saying anything to Cody I ran for the door, he ran after me. What I saw when i reached the open field was strange for anyone to see, even if you had adjusted to being in the supernatural world.
There was a Giant black wolf with yellow eyes snarling up at a 12 foot tall grizzly bear ready to lunge for his throat. The Grizzly was Cameron, my aunts mate for life, my uncle, the only blood relative Cody had and I had to do something. I held my arms out straight and focused on the space separating them and opened the ground up between them. You could hear the ground screaming as is fell apart from itself, rocks crushing, roots breaking until finally the wolf and bear were over 50 feet from each other. The Black wolf looked at me and almost smiled, no anger in his eyes, just satisfaction. He turned around and retreated into the wood line. The chase was on, I jumped the fifty foot crevice in the earth with ease. I could hear them screaming in protest but I had to catch this wolf, what if he came back and tried to kill Cameron again? No, I would not let that happen! I could hear their footsteps behind me, far behind me, I knew they could never catch me. I could smell the wolf, I was catching up to him.
The pain was enormous as I felt my ribs crack when the large wolf attacked from the side while I was running. I lay on the ground staggering for breath and he was about to go for my throat when vines came down and snatched his body up from every angle. He freed himself but only to be attacked again my roots crawling up his legs and entrapping his body, he freed himself and took off running again. No one chased after him this time. I still lay on the ground wondering why I was not healed yet, I was not used to pain, it usually came and went quickly as my body healed rapidly.
I woke up in the bed in the cabin mansion with Cody by my side, he looked like he had been crying. Cody looked so relieved to see me awake. Did he think that I would not wake? Rose walked in with a bowl of something steaming and smelled delicious. I was so hungry, how long had I been out?
"I have been trying to tell him not to worry but he hasn't left your side for two days. So how are those ribs feeling?" Rose asked me.
"Wait, I have been out for 2 days? Why has it taken me so long to heal? It is usually only a few hours and I am back on my feet with a bad break."
"The yellow eyed wolf was a Changeling; Changelings and other Healers are the only ones with the strength to hurt us, or kill us," as she said this I seen the color drain from Cody's face and then he got up and stormed out of the room. He was angry, what did he know that I didn't?
"What is going on?" She knew I did not just mean with Cody.
"The wolf was a messenger from a group of Changelings and Healers. They gathered together about the same way our family did. Many are mates and they have gathered a supernatural army together. They believe that they are the super race and that humans should not run this world. Their goal is to slowly take over." She explained.
"Okay so why were they here?"
"They have been a small group for many years until a new Changeling took over named Roscoe, before him there was more fighting among themselves than there was with anyone else. He has made the group into the army they are today by scouting out the most powerful among the Healers and Changelings. In his search he found the yellow eyed wolf, he does not change into any other animal but that, but his changing is not his gift. His gift is that he can sense power among the supernatural, he can tell kids that are Changelings before they ever even know themselves. He was attracted here by how powerful your gifts are. Lily, has traveled the world many times and has met many Healers and says that you are by far the most powerful. Most of us only have control over one thing in nature at a time, as you well know I can handle earth and plants better than the other sisters, Abigail is the water expert, Donna can manifest wind into a light breeze or a hurricane, and Lily can do them all in a small scale. You, my dear, can manipulate any part of nature that you wish on small scale or big."
"So he came here to get me?" I swallowed hard.
"No, he came here to study you and report his findings to Roscoe. They will probably send an army to retrieve you."
I could hear the commotion going on downstairs and and booming angry voice of my dear Cody. I get dressed quickly and run downstairs into Cody's arms. His anger has subsided for the moment but it is not gone. I turned toward Rose.
"What would they want with me, they cannot force me to use my power for evil."
Rose looked at me with a defeated look in her eyes that made her look her real age, "Aurora, they will use what you love most against you."
It all made sense now, they would hurt my family if I did not do as they wish. "When will they come?"
It was wise and lovely Lily who spoke now, "We do not know, Roscoe does not do anything without a long drawn out plan. We have at least a week maybe more depending on his strategy. He may expect us to run and is preparing a hunting team."
The conversation went on without me; Cody, only thinking of ways to keep me safe and with him. John and Cameron with plans to stay and fight, Rose and Abby wanting to run to a remote place far away and Donna with the argument that they will always find us no matter where we run. Apparently, when Roscoe wants something, he gets it. That something is me and he will do whatever it takes to make me part of his army, his slave.
I cannot risk my new family's lives, I have lost everything in my life once already, it was not about to happen again. How could I live without Cody? I cannot live knowing his life is in danger at every minute. I decided what I would do, but I could not say it aloud, no one, especially Cody, would agree to what I must do but it is the only thing that makes sense. I must go to Roscoe and surrender myself to keep my family safe. To keep Cody safe. I can figure out from there how to defeat them and come back to my family. As soon as I made a full commitment on what I would do, the magnetic force that pulled me here was now pulling me somewhere else. I must leave soon before everyone knew what was going on, I was not a good liar and I knew I could not keep the secret from my face. I decided to leave tonight as soon as everyone went to sleep.
The discussions and the arguments around me died out into a decision. Everyone decided to stay for a weeks time while mapping out a path around the world that we would all run for the next 50 years. John was angry about this plan but agreed to it for now. His idea was that I go to Roscoe and agree to do as he wishes while they sneak into the army and take over. It shocked me that his plan was so close to mine but I refuse to risk their lives if we fail at the attack. Of course absolutely no one agreed with his plan anyway, Especially Cody, he would not let me walk into that much danger even though he knows I can protect myself.
That night I stood in the shower sobbing as the hot water fell over my back. I was not crying because I was scared of my journey, I was crying because I did not want to leave Cody. We had been inseparable since he came back to me. Maybe I would include him in my plan, maybe he could just join me and Roscoe would add him into his army as well. I shook my head at the thought, no, Cody has to have a chance at life and if my plan to defeat Roscoe fails Cody must return to his family back in Georgia and live a normal life and be happy. The thought of life without Cody overwhelms me and I began to sob again. I was trying to keep quiet but I heard Cody running into the over-sized bathroom in a panic.
"Rori," he said softly, "I know you are scared love, but I promise to not let anything happen to you."
I stepped out of the shower and threw myself into his body and wrapped my arms around his neck and kissed him furiously. His lips were so perfect as they moved their way to my neck and shoulders and back to my lips again. He picked me up, my legs wrapped around his waist, and carried me into the bedroom and to the bed. Our souls became one and I now understood everything the sisters have been talking about. My life, or his, would not be complete without one another. He is what is tying me to this earth, the reason I am alive. Soul mate is not a strong enough word for what Cody is for me.
The sadness of knowing I must leave soon stays heavy on my heart, but the will to defeat Roscoe grows more intense. Defeating him will keep Cody safe and I can return to him and live a life without fear. As the will to fight grows more intense, the magnetic force pulling me away gets stronger. I slowly ease myself out of the Cody and blanket cocoon careful not to wake the man I am trying to save. I dress and gather what little supplies I need in a backpack including enough cash to get me where I need to go, my passport and a picture of Cody and I when we were 5 playing together. I go to leave the room and Rooster wakes and meets me at the door and whines.
"Shhh, it is okay boy, I will be back," I whispered, "you have to stay here and take care of Cody. You are the best friend I have ever had, Rooster, I love you boy." I patted him on the head and quietly opened the door.
I made it outside and started into a run only to be stopped about a mile out by a massive lion. I could tell by the lions eyes that it was John and he tilted his head in confusion. He changed into his human body and quickly put his shorts on.
"What are you doing?" He exclaimed.
"I have to go to Roscoe, John, You of all people should know it is what I have to do."
"Not alone! You are walking into your death!"
"No, he will not kill me, he wants my abilities too badly to kill me. I will agree to be a part of his army and gain his trust, then I will defeat him and his army and return."
"You are very powerful, but you are not experienced enough to take on The Army. Why don't you go back to the house and in the morning we will make a new plan, none of this running away."
"I can't do that, I have to go now, the magnetic force is too strong now and it is pulling me where I must go."
He knew when I said the magnetic force, that he could not argue, he knows well the power of this force.
"Okay but if you are going to go, we need to have a plan. It will keep you safe," John says.
"I will go and agree to do what Roscoe wants with the agreement that he does not hurt any of my family. You stay here and prepare everyone, especially Cody, he will want to go immediately but you have to tell him to stay, that it is my wish. In a weeks time you follow the magnetic force and come for me. I will contact you by Rose's cellphone in 4 days."
He nods his head and hugs my shoulders, "Be safe young one."
I continue on my journey running north until my legs gave out. I sat down to catch my breath. I felt the ground and I could feel the water deep down, I cupped my hands and watched the cool water fill my hands full and took a satisfying drink. I saw a hint of the sun coming up and wondered if my beloved Cody had awoken yet and how far he may be behind me, and my heart sunk as the longing for him started to overwhelm my body. I knew I had to shake it off and convince my legs to pick me back up.
I had traveled my way northwest for a half day staying in the wooded areas where I was undetected and frankly just more comfortable, but I had to find a faster way of going. I made my way closer to civilization and realized I had made it farther than I had realized. In a half day I had made it to north Iowa. I think I am going faster than a car would go. I felt so strong, stronger than I had ever felt before. I decided to continue on foot. My stomach reminded me that it had been a while since I had eaten anything. I made my way to a small town diner