The Oracle: My Internal Flame
© Copyright Kimberly Raymond. Please do not copy or reproduce without permission.
After posting"The Forbidden Vase" on HubPages, to my surprise, I received requests to write a back story on the main character, Sapphire. Now, I already have a story on Sapphire but the problem was, that story isn't a short story. It's actually a novel in the making: 60 pages in Microsoft Word and incomplete with a sequel that's 270 pages (yes the sequel is complete but not the first book).
The story is entitled The Oracle and is an account from before Sapphire's birth up to the fulfillment of her first prophecy. After receiving requests, I decided to look into The Oracle and figure out a way to write a back story on Sapphire, taking 60 pages and turning it into no more than 5000 words. It was hard work and I had to cut out some important details to make it Sapphire's point of view but I hope I was able to pull it off.
I hope you enjoy it!
~Journal entry: September 7th, 2003~
Happy birthday to me…
What’s this? … The strangest feeling… Like that time I held my finger too close to the plug while sticking it into the outlet. Electrocution… Not painful. Tingly really. Strange. Pins and needles all over my body. Restless.
I jump out of bed, not even fully awake. I fall to the floor. Two seconds later, I jump to my feet. There’s a strange pressure in my head, like something pushing me down. It hurts.
“Ouch,” I whine. I place my hand on my forehead.
I intend to sit back down on the bed but I miss by far and fall to the floor a couple of inches from the bed. Thank goodness no one is there to see that embarrassing spill. Now my head and my butt hurts.
I stumble to my feet and I suddenly feel exhausted. I mean really exhausted. So exhausted I can’t even lift a finger. Not a finger! The exhaustion is beyond any tiredness I’ve felt before. Paralyzing really. If only my brain is paralyzed as well.
I wish! Instead, there are images racing through my mind. The images run through my mind so quickly I don’t have the time to fully absorb any. I recall eggs, my school building, my friends, that stupid bully Amber, a party… It doesn’t make any sense.
I feel like a movie is being fast-forwarded through my mind. I can’t think straight. My head is whirling. I’m either going to pass out or throw up. I want to do neither.
“Wow,” I say to myself, lying back down. I cover myself, meaning to go back to sleep but my energy is slowly returning. I can feel that minor electrocution sensation again. Prickly. Pins and needles.
I thrust the covers off myself and jump to my feet again. I stretch, trying to get the restlessness out of my legs and out of my arms. Maybe making my bed will help.
*The First Part of My Prophecy*
On the night before my birthday, mom received a prophecy, my prophecy. Apparently, my mother is the daughter of former queen Opal Trala and former King Benethom. The prophecy said that I was to become a remarkable being. That I was to change the Paraome Realm (the magical realm) as it had existed. The then-current king, Xenon II was to be overthrown by the second ordained heir to the throne. I was to win back the kingdom from the darkness so light can reign again.
That was only one part of the prophecy. Can you believe it?
Life has never been the same since the day of my 13th birthday.
I like to say that my life changed in 5 incidents although it was many more.
*Incident 1 - Broken Heels*
When mom drove my brother, Jasper, and I to school, I protested getting out of the car. The strange energized feeling was beginning to course through my body again but still I felt strangely sleepy.
Finally, I got out of the car and ran straight into the school building and to my locker. My two friends, Angelina and Kerry, were there waiting for me. They began singing happy birthday—out of tune, might I add—but hey, I don’t mind. They piled two gift bags into my hands.
Suddenly, a head of blond hair was in my peripheral vision and the gift bags were being yanked from my hands. I opened my mouth to yell “Hey!” but I heard two voices scream it for me instead.
Kerry and Angelina loudly protested the bully, Amber, taking their gifts from me. Amber’s stupid clique girls were laughing at us.
Amber grinned. She thinks she’s so funny. “So it’s your birthday, huh, Blue?”
I hated when she called me that. At that moment, I began feeling a mixture of embarrassment and anger. Amber reached into one of the gift bags and pulled out a brown teddy bear. I wanted to punch her in the face so badly but that would have be uncharacteristic of me. I loathe violence. I wish I can just switch my personality sometimes. It hinders me from making irrational calls, which had sounded pretty good at that moment.
“Oh, how sweet,” Amber said in a mocking tone. She threw the teddy bear and gift bag at me. I caught the items but kept my mouth shut. I was afraid that if I opened my mouth, I would have started crying like a baby. I was tired of being bullied.
I kept staring at Amber, my anger peaking. Amber laughed and began walking away.
There was that electrifying sensation coursing through my veins again. I could feel the fine hairs on my arms and on my neck standing up. There was a heat also arising from somewhere deep within me. I was boiling angry, at the edge of my emotions. I couldn’t have been pushed any further or I would’ve fallen … into that irrationality that I mentioned earlier.
I wished Amber would trip or something so she could get a taste of her own medicine. I wished she could feel the very same embarrassment she caused me on a daily basis.
I stared at Amber's shoes with the two-inch heels. Maybe if I’m lucky, Amber would trip and fall, I thought. If I can’t trip her, surely those shoes can. I felt the electrifying sensation continuing to course through my veins. Suddenly, everything around me seemed to be going in slow motion.
Slowly, I saw the heels of Amber’s shoes simultaneously snap and separate from the sole of her shoes. I saw Amber falling, screaming, trying to grab on to one of her friends. Her friends backed away from her and out of her reach. Amber fell all alone.
I didn’t see anything else around me but I heard distant laughter. Then someone was shaking me.
I snapped out of my own world and saw Kerry pointing at Amber and laughing a deep gutted laugh.
The electric sensation in my body subsided. I felt warm and calm. No more pins and needles.
Amber pulled off her shoes with the broken heels and stomped bare-footed down the hallway. Her friends followed, stifling their giggles behind their hands.
“That’s what she gets,” said Kerry.
*Incident 2 - Pop Quiz*
Kerry, Angelina and I walked to our Social Studies classroom. I took one look at our our hairy-faced, history-crazed teacher and said, “Uh-oh.”
“What?” Kerry asked.
“I think Mr. Gateau is going to give us a pop quiz today.”
“Why?” Angelina questioned as we sat down where there were three desks clumped together. I shrugged. I just had a feeling.
After we recited the Pledge of Allegiance and listened to the morning announcements, Mr. Gateau said, “Okay, everyone clear your desks and take out a sheet of paper.” Kerry and Angelina looked at me and then our teacher said the words I was anticipating: “Pop quiz.” He wrote the two dreaded words on the board.
“Wow,” Kerry whispered.
“How’d you know?” Angelina asked.
I shrugged. “I don’t know,” I admitted. I didn’t.
After school, my younger brother, Kyanite, gave me a book for my birthday. I like to read but not science-fiction. Neither fantasy. Why read about something that can’t be applied to life? I prefer realistic fiction but Kyanite, who was 8 years old at the time was so sweet and easy to get along with, unlike my brother Jasper, who was 11 at the time. Like me, Kyanite loves to read.
The book Kyanite gave me was Alana: The First Adventure. It was the the first book of a quartet series by Tamora Pierce: The Song of the Lioness.
“I know you don’t like fantasy that much,” said Kyanite. “But I saw this book when I went to the book store and I thought it might be interesting. It’s about a girl who pretends to be a boy to learn to become a sorceress. Someone told me the book was for girls so I thought you might like it.”
It was a good excuse I guess. I thanked him and he went away, leaving me alone to get started on the book but I really didn’t feel like reading.
Later that night, my father, Thomas, asked me if I wanted to go hiking that Saturday. I love nature. It’s something we both share as step-father and step-daughter. I don’t think of him as my step-father though, however it can’t be any obvious physically that we aren’t blood relatives.
My father has dark brown skin and my two brothers, being bi-racial, have light brown skin. I, however, have my mother’s fair skin and I’m almost the splitting image of her. Don’t tell her that I admitted that.
*Incident 3 - Cut on jagged rock*
That Saturday, around noon, my dad and I headed to a recreation park. We took the intermediate trail through the forest. Tall, leafy trees made the lighting dim and the forest floor moist. Small animals scurried away as we walked through the trail. After about an hour or so of hiking, dad stopped and exhaled loudly. “Let’s take a break,” he suggested. “I’m not as young as I used to be.”
I laughed at him as I looked around for a place to sit. As I saw a huge rock, I walked towards it and began to climb up onto it. When I got to the top, I sat down and removed my backpack. As I reached into my bag, I caught my father’s fond gaze. He was actively staring at me with this dreamy expression on his face. That, my-baby’s-growing-up look.
“What?” I asked.
There was amusement in dad’s eyes. “I miss the times we used to spend together when you were little. You’re growing up so fast.” I gave an awkward smile and took a bottle of red Gatorade from my bag. “But you haven’t been smiling a lot lately,” dad told me. “What’s going on?”
I let my smile fade away and I sighed. “I don’t know,” I said. “Sometimes I just feel… I don’t know.” I hugged myself against the dropping temperature. “It’s getting chilly,” I told dad. I just wanted to change the subject.
“You’re right,” he said. “Ready to get going?”
I nodded my head and put the Gatorade back into my bag. I hopped off the rock and as my feet were almost touching the ground, I felt a sharp, burning pain in my calf. The jagged edge of the rock had cut right through the back of my leg. I yowled in pain, startling my father.
“What is it Sapphire?” he asked.
I looked at my leg and wished that I hadn’t. There was a deep gash, revealing the white flesh beneath my skin. The laceration rapidly turned red as it began bleeding profusely. Blood began dripping down my leg, like water pouring from a faucet. I was filled with fear and slightly nauseous by how much blood I was losing and how quickly I was losing it.
I placed my hands tightly over the wound and felt a strange sensation travel from somewhere within me. The sensation travelled into my hands and into my wound, feeling icy cold at first and then gradually becoming warm. My hands and my entire leg tingled. When dad was finally at my side, he asked me again, “What happened?”
“The rock cut my leg,” I said, looking for the part of the rock that injured me.
“Let me see,” dad gently said.
“No,” I protested, afraid that if I moved my hand, my leg would bleed more. I had lost enough blood.
“Come on,” said dad. “I have to see it to help you.”
Slowly, I moved my hands away from my leg. To my surprise, my leg wasn’t bleeding anymore and now there was only a little cut where there once was that huge gash though there was still a trail of blood down my leg. I was astonished and slightly frightened. “What in the—?”
“Sapphire, you’re alright,” said dad. I gaped at the scratch and then looked at my hands, which were still bloody. Yet, the wound was no longer bleeding. “Do you want a band-aid?” dad asked me. Still in awe, I shook my head. “Are you sure you’re okay?” her father questioned.
“Yeah, it’s just that… I could’ve sworn that it was worse than… never mind,” I was a little embarrassed. “Let’s go,” I added. I wiped my hands on my pants and began quickly waking away. Dad followed me.
*Incident 4 - "Mom didn't say anything"*
When we got home, mom, Jasper and Kyanite were sitting in the TV room. Jasper was playing his Gameboy while Kyanite was reading The Golden Compass for like the fifth time. I muttered a soft salutation to my mother, who was relaxing on the couch beside Jasper. I didn’t feel like talking to anyone. I was still freaked out by the injury incident.
I knew my mother was wondering if I was alright so I looked her in the eyes and said, “Yes.”
“Yes what?” my mother questioned. She looked confused and I realized that everyone was looking at me the same way. I didn’t understand why they were looking at me like that so I clarified.
“Yes, I’m fine,” I said.
“I didn’t ask,” said mom.
“But you were thinking it,” I said before walking away.
I ran to my bedroom and locked the door. I knew my dad thought that I was overreacting and being a drama queen about my injury but if he’d seen the wound, he would have flipped out too. I couldn’t figure it out: if I had not overreacted, how had the injury had healed so fast?
I heard a knock on my door and I knew it was my mother but I said, “What?”
Yeah, it was rude and I could hear the warning tone in her voice as she said, “This is your mother. Be careful of the way you answer me. Now, open this door.”
I got up from my bed right away, opened the door and walked back to my bed. “We need to talk,” I heard my mother say as I lay on my stomach. “What happened? Why are you so upset?”
“Because I’m going crazy,” I responded. That’s exactly how I felt.
“Why do you think so?”
“Well,” I began. I sat up in bed, preparing to list out the proof that I was, in fact, going crazy. My mother closed the door and sat on the bed beside me. “Today, when I went hiking with dad, a big rock scratched me, and I don’t mean a little, itty-bitty scratch; I mean a-a stab wound.” I started stuttering as I thought about the freaky accident.
“I'm not even exaggerating, mom. It started to bleed a lot and really fast so I put my hands over it and held it tight.” I put my leg across mom’s lap and pointed to the abrasion. “I felt weird after I put my hand over the cut and then when dad asked to see it and I moved my hand, it wasn’t bleeding anymore and it looked like this.”
My mother stared at the healed injury for a little while before gently placing her hand over it. Immediately, she pulled her hand away as though my leg had stung her or something. “Oh my God,” she quietly said.
I was surprised and a little scared by her reaction. The look of alarm on her face had me alarmed as well. “What? What! ?” I asked.
My mom seemed to have realized that she shouldn’t have reacted the way she did. She immediately tried to correct it. “I used to be scared of injury when I was your age too,” she said. “What happens is, you panic and see it much worse that it really is.”
I was offended by that explanation. I did NOT overreact. “No!” I exclaimed. “I know what I saw. Mom, why don’t you believe me?” I stood to my feet, suddenly feeling over-emotional and ready to burst into tears. “I think something’s wrong with me,” I said. “Dad pointed out that I don’t smile as much as I used to and it’s because I don’t feel happy anymore. I feel strange. I feel as though something’s missing, or there’s just… I can’t explain it.”
I was going to run out of the bedroom and to the bathroom to cry in privacy but my mother stopped me by calling my name.
“Sapphire,” she called. I stopped and turned back to look at her. “You’re just going through an awkward stage.” I just scoffed and left the room.
*Incident number 5 - The Voices... the Emotions*
I returned to school Monday but I was in a horrible mood. I hadn’t slept since the Saturday night because I felt restless. The pins and needles feeling kept coming back whenever I was close to falling asleep. When I came home from school, I ran straight to my room and locked myself in there.
No matter how much my mother tried to coax me to come out, I refused to listen. Then dad tried to get me out of my room. I was beginning to feel more and more restless. I couldn’t sit still. I began pacing back and forth. There was a pressure in my head. I began to hear voices. The voices were causing the pressure in my head.
I couldn’t make out what the voices were saying. There were just too many to decipher. Then I began feeling all kinds of emotions at once. Imagine feeling happy, sad, cheerful, envious, excited, angry, lustful and proud all at once. It was overwhelming.
I couldn’t block the voices or the emotions out. I held my hands tightly over my ears as I continued to pace back and forth. The lights began to flicker. On and off, on and off, on and off. My radio also began turning on and off, playing a different song or a different station each time.
I was definitely going crazy. I felt as though I was going to fall off the face of the earth.
I sat in the corner of the room and buried my face in my knees. I opened my mouth to scream but the voices and the emotions subsided, as did the restless, electrifying feeling. I began slowly uncovering my ears and I opened my eyes to see that the lights had stopped flickering. But then… it all began again.
I heard a knock on my door even though I had pressed my hands tightly over my ears again. “Sapphire, open up right now,” said my mother, banging on the door.
“Go away!” I yelled.
I pulled my knees close to my chest, not even trying to block out the voices by covering my ears any more. I squeezed my eyes shut but I heard the door open and suddenly, a warmth, a comforting feeling filled my room.
“What’s going on?” I heard a familiar voice ask.
I opened my eyes to see my grandmother, Opal, who looked years younger than her age, standing in front of me.
Tears were streaming down my face and I was shaking like scared puppy. “I’m going crazy,” I said.
My mother ran to me, grasped my upper arms and pulled me to my feet. I was so scared that I hadn’t even noticed that all the voices and emotions had disappeared. My mother looked to my grandmother with a help-me expression.
“You are not going crazy,” grandma told me. “Why do you think you are?”
I answered her right away. “Whenever I get mad, weird stuff keeps happening around me.”
“Okay,” said grandma. She looked mom and then back at me. “Your mother and I are going to talk to you and your brothers about that.” About what? I was confused. So I wasn’t going crazy? Or did they already know that I was going to go crazy soon?
Grandma left my room and mom put her arms around my shoulders before ushering me down the hallway. I wasn’t feeling so restless or so weird anymore but I still felt depressed, useless, lacking. It was how I had been feeling all the time lately.
*So... Grandma's a Magician Now?*
As we entered the TV room Jasper said, “It’s working good now.”
I had no idea what he was talking about. But then again, I rarely knew what my brothers were talking about. Boys!
Kyanite looked away from the television and excitedly said, “Grandma, how’d you get here?”
“I apported,” Grandma answered. What in the world was apported? I wasn’t the only one confused. Jasper and Kyanite were too. My mother looked at Grandma crossly and Grandma shrugged.
“Go sit next to your brothers,” mom told me. I obeyed. I felt too drained to disobey.
We all gave mom our undivided attention. Mom looked so nervous that she was making me nervous. She opened her mouth but closed it right away. It was obvious she didn’t know what to say.
Mom looked at Grandma and said, “Mother, I can’t do this.”
“You want me to tell them?” Grandma asked. Tell us what? I was getting impatient.
Mom hesitated for a moment but then she nodded.
“Come here, Sapphire,” said Grandma. I stood up and approached her. Grandma held my hand and closed her eyes. After a few seconds, I felt a bizarre shock in my arm. It stung. I yelped and pulled away. “So you felt that,” said Grandma as though she was glad whatever was done was successful.
“Yeah!” I responded in an obvious tone. “Did you just shock me?” I stared at my hand, perplexed
“That’s called magical energy,” said Grandma.
“What?” I asked.
“Can I try?” Kyanite was excitedly waving his hand in the air.
“No,” Grandma responded.
“I don’t get it,” I said. I could not have been any more confused.
“Neither I nor your mother were born in this realm,” said Grandma. “We were born in a magical realm called the Paraome Realm. I am a Master of Sorcery and a healer.” I looked at Grandma. Maybe I wasn’t the one going crazy after all. I started laughing because surely it had to be a joke.
“You can do magic, grandma?” Kyanite excitedly questioned.
“Prove it,” Jasper challenged, looking amused.
Grandma pointed to her hair and it turned a bright, bubblegum pink! I could have had a heart attack. “Wow!” my brothers exclaimed. My jaw dropped in surprise.
“Can you do something to me?” Kyanite asked.
“Kyan!” mom warningly exclaimed as Grandma changed her hair back to its original graying color. How in the world did she do that?
“So,” Grandma began again. “We all have something within us called an internal flame. It is the paranormal energy that magical beings, also known as paraomes, possess. Usually until paraomes turn thirteen the flame isn’t burning, so all endowments are dormant. However, once a paraome comes of age, their internal flame is activated and thus, their endowments are activated. That is the reason for all the strange things that have been happening around Sapphire because her endowment has become active and she does not know how to control it.”
What I heard at that moment was blah, blah, blady blah blah!
“Is this for real?” Jasper asked, looking confused. “I don’t get it.”
“We all, with the exception of your father, belong to the paraome realm,” said mom. So she was in on this joke or trick or whatever too? My mom was usually serious. This was so not like her.
“Your grandmother has paranormal abilities, I have paranormal abilities, Sapphire has just acquired her paranormal abilities, and most likely you and your brother will too,” mom told Jasper
“Cool,” said Jasper.
“Cool!?” I exclaimed, exasperated. “So all this weird stuff is going to keep happening?”
“Yes,” said Grandma. “If you don’t learn to control your endowment.”
I didn’t want to believe it but I felt in my heart that all of it was true. I would explain the odd, empty feeling I had inside. It would also explain how I tended to know things before it happened and how I had read my mother's thoughts on Saturday.
I was flustered. I stood up from the couch where I had sat back down for the whole blah blah explanation and said, “If this is some kind of joke, it’s not funny.”
“It’s not a joke,” said mom. “It’s true.”
“Do you really think I will believe you? There’s no such thing as magic.” I felt a small twinge in my heart, as though it was warning me that everything was true.
“Listen to me, Sapphire,” Grandma said sternly. I knew that tone. It was the disciplining, waring tone. “Magic most certainly does exist.” She pointed up at the light and said, “Anilluminosa.” The lights shut off. “Illuminosa,” we heard her say in the dark before the lights came back on. She then pointed at her dress and it turned a dull gray color. “Do you believe me now?”
“That is so cool!” Jasper exclaimed.
“Well I’m glad you think it’s cool,” I said. “You’re not in the situation I’m in.” As I began to storm off, the TV began to flicker on and off. Noticing this, I stood still and stared at the television. Am I doing that? I thought.
“Yes, you are doing that,” mom responded.
I stepped away from my mother, looking at her fearfully. How did she know that I was thinking? How did she hear my thoughts?
“Sometimes your mother just hears others' thoughts but she never does it intentionally--she refuses to.”
I held up my hand, not wanting to hear anymore of that craziness. “Thanks a lot!” I yelled. “As if I wasn’t weird enough. I can’t even make friends now; I’m already bullied. Now you’re telling me I’m a freak?”
“Sapphire, no one said—” mom began. I cut her off.
“I’m not going to school tomorrow,” I declared. “I don’t care what you say. I might as well just lock myself in my room for the rest of my life!” With that, I ran out of the TV room.
Yes… my life has never been the same since.
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