Friday, June 6, 2014

Court


Hungrily the girl looked at the piece of discarded food left on the dinner plate. At the sight her stomach rumbled noisily. Grayish rags covered her young skeletal body as she hid behind a tall planted vase that decorated the restaurant.  Quickly before anyone saw, she reached out to the table and stuffed the last bits of tasty morsels into her mouth and relished every moment. The rising pain within her eased at the food nourished her.  Swiftly the she slipped back out of the cafĂ© before anyone saw her.
A loud knocking startled her out of her reverie.
“Kallista! Are you in there?” Mrs. Powell called through the bedroom door.  “Breakfast is ready”
“I’ll be right down,” Kallista called back, remembering where she was.
She had a home now. She was not lost and alone anymore and had plenty of food. Quickly, with a sigh of relief she mentally brushed the past from her mind.  Her eyes drifted instead to yesterday’s newspaper and her stomach flipped over again. There on the front page was a picture of her with the wild headlines reading: Trial Set for Suspected Murderer, Kallista Noble.
She groaned and wondered how the press had found out. It was supposed to be press free due to her age. But someone had compromised her.  In a daze she walked down the grand staircase to the kitchen. Mrs. Powell had laid out a scrumptious breakfast with fresh food. Yet, with her stomach in knots Kallista found she could not eat anything, no matter how tempting it looked.  
Standing in the courtroom made Kallista feel numb and alone among the mass of people there for, what the press called, sensational court proceedings. The dreaded day had come.  She was to be on trial for the untimely death of Lady Serena Noble. She was being accused of murder by Serena’s assistant, Professor Harris.
Because she was under age she didn’t have to testify before everyone. But she could feel every eye on her as she stood there, waiting for it to begin.  A firm hand rested on her shoulder. Stilling the need to shrug it off, Kallista allowed herself to be guided to her chair near the front. Court was about to be in session.
Turning slightly, she saw Mrs. Powell there along with Dr. Tyler and Mr. Samuels behind her.  All had come in support of her.  Fighting back tears she managed to smile for them as they gave her silent encouragement.

It hurt all over again having to relive the day Serena died. There was a security video of that night that was to be shown for the first time before everyone.  Breathing abnormally, the slender girl wiped her sweaty palms on the pleats of her tartan skirt.  Her long dark hair was pulled smoothly away from her anxious face in a ponytail, “So the world can see your angelic looks and know you are innocent,” Mrs. Powell had consoled her earlier as she arranged her heavy locks.  
Bowing her head, she was unaware of six pairs of eyes watching her. Invisible to nearly everyone but themselves, stood Ezra, Simon, Raven and the three newcomers; Eric, Charles, and George.
“How is she doing?” George asked.
“She is holding up”
“Does she know we are even here?” Eric asked.
“Nope,” Raven replied.  “She thinks we are back at the house. She has no idea about the rings.”
“She’s going to find out the hard way what Serena had planned for her,”
“Looks that way.”
Together they watched the crowd. Some of the people seemed to be sympathetic to young Kallista and others seemed full of hatred and condemnation.  Ezra’s eyes narrowed coolly at the unfriendly people. He noticed his friends felt the same way.
At that moment she had a look of disbelief on her face as she saw the footage of Serena’s experiment and how she drugged Kallista. Gasping she wrung her hands and looked down, trying to hide how she felt.
“That witch!” Raven sneered at Serena’s image.
“She’s gone now; she can’t do any more harm.” Simon spoke with satisfaction.
“Other people can, though.” Ezra nodded towards Professor Harris who was even more outraged now that his claims about Serena’s murder were being proved false.
"We can stop him.”
“Let’s not underestimate our enemy; that’s one of the first lessons we learned.”
Throughout the caper that the court had become, Kallista could not smile nor could she talk as she pondered what she had seen and heard. Serena had tried to harm her.
Stealing glances around the room at the other people who were supposedly on her side, Kallista wondered just how many of them really liked her.
The jury proclaimed her innocent, much to the chagrin of the professor.
Once the court had adjourned, Kallista fled the room and didn’t stop.
“Kallista, wait!” Mrs. Powell rose from her seat.
“Let her go, Judy.” Mr. Samuels said softly, “She just had a big shock today.”
 “After her, George!” Ezra shouted, “I’ll keep an eye on this so called professor.”
George was already out the door in pursuit of Kallista.

Kallista didn’t know how long she ran. All she knew was that her heart was filled with hate and distrust at every single person on the planet.
Unseen by others, George, Raven and the others followed Kallista easily. Silently they kept watch over her till she collapsed on a park bench.
“They’re lying,” She seethed quietly through tears.
Serena would never do anything to hurt her. Yet there were times Serena had sent Kallista out to fetch her valuable artifacts, her consciousness reminded her. It always was a dangerous and risky factor. A deadly force of anger surged through her.
As Ezra joined the group, he took off his ring of magic, revealing himself to her. The others followed his example.
For a moment Kallista was startled and looked at them in surprise. But it did nothing to disperse her dark feelings.
"What do you want?” She asked coldly, clenching her fists.
“We need to talk.” Ezra said urgently. He was looking around suspiciously as if searching for something that was not meant to be there.  “We don’t have much time.”
“What makes you think I care?” She snapped at him, “Do you think I am here for your sole purposes too?”
“Relax Kallista,” Raven spoke calmly, “We’re your friends.”
“Friends?” Kallista laughed in disbelief, her face darkening again. “None of you are my friends. You’re all liars!”
She sprung forth swinging her fist at Ezra but caught her hand in his easily. Jerking back she swung at the others with the same results. No one spoke as Kallista raise her fists at them. Instead they skillfully blocked every blow till the distraught girl was sweaty and exhausted.  As she collapsed, Ezra caught her.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Ancient Path, third chapter


 

ONE MONTH EARLIER

Eight pairs of eyes watched the girl as she swung down from the wrought iron bannister onto the floor of the old temple. Taking the ancient path to the hidden place she walked confidentially, unaware of the witnesses. There was a chamber with a small door tucked in a corner just out of out of view. But the girl knew where to go.
Not one of the witnesses stopped the girl as she opened the long quiescent door of the chamber with a turn of a small golden key. Inside was something that no one had seen or even knew about for centuries. Shining like a star on a timeworn ornate cloth was a radiant jewel, perfect in splendor. It was the legend coming to pass. No one else had ever made it this far in the quest for the Lioness Stone, a gem meant for a Queen. A few people in the past had come looking for it and had come close to obtaining the jewel only to be turned back by the secretive machinations of the witnesses. Yet there she was, dressed all in black, grasping the large jewel with a tiny delicate looking hand. Carefully, almost reverently she placed the precious stone in a leather satchel. In minutes she was out of there. Now was the time for the watchers to become the guardians.
                                                        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
Kallista gasped in disbelief. “You all were there a month ago? You all saw me?”
Lightning flashed, its light illuminating the window. Rain began to fall softly as thunder rumbled in the distance.
"I was just getting to that part when you interrupted.” Raven spoke imperiously with a smile. “We saw you and knew you were the one destined for the jewel. We could see it glowing underneath the door as you entered the temple.”
“It has never done that before,” Simon replied pushing up his glasses as he handed to her an open book. “Read this prophesy.”
Bewildered, Kallista read from the page.

Out of obscurity comes the thief
Who is not a thief
Unknowingly called by the Lioness
To steal away for unto thyself
Thine jewel is bound to thee
Thy nature is light wrapped up in dark
Beware the stranger
Like a raging fire
The foul one will come
Holding out to the queen, a thorn
In the disguise of beauty of great worth
Piercing the heart ,the blood will flow
Death will follow but is thwarted by a balm.
Silent and strong while fast asleep
Thine healing will come
From a spring in the east,
Daphne’s tears in an alabaster bowl.
Carried on the hands
Of the faithful ones
Who guard thee day and night.

“You are not really a thief when you think about it,” Ezra mused while Kallista looked on incredulous.
"You’re kidding me!”
“Not really, the jewel was meant for you. It’s the prophesy and the fact that the jewel glowed for you, allowing you to take it, that confirmed what we already guessed.”
"It has not ever done that for anyone before.” Raven added.
“Not that many people tried to find it,” Simon interjected. “It was a well-guarded secret that we took great lengths to protect.”
All of them were sitting in the cozy library sitting in the leather chairs and couches.  Around them were shelves lined with elegant colorful bindings of books.
“I never saw or sensed any of you!” Kallista could not get over her disbelief.
“That’s because we are good at what we do,” Ezra replied smugly.
After a brief pause, where Kallista still stared at them with an open mouth, she finally asked, “How old are you all?”
“Same age as you are,” Ezra responded nonplussed. “How old do you think we are?”
"I figured you were all ancient!” Kallista shrugged
“Who would be weird enough to think that!” Raven scoffed,
“The way you were all describing it…”
“We are all from families who are guardians. Our ancestors did the same before us, as did theirs before them; and so on.” Simon replied calmly. “We are not immortal.”

“Well, that’s boring.”
Kallista got a pillow in the face.
At that moment, Mrs. Powell stuck her head in. “Goodness, there you all are.” She scolded gently, “It’s beginning to look like a sorority house in here, either that or a fraternity. But enough of that, it’s time you head to bed Kallista, dear. You have school tomorrow.”
Kallista nodded and Mrs. Powell left.
"So you all have families and places to go?”
“We do but our place is with you now, Kallista. We won’ t be going anywhere that you don’t” Simon replied.
“You don’t expect me to let you stay in my room do you?”

“Don’t be ridiculous!” Raven smirked. “This is a big house with a lot of rooms.”
The rain danced on the windows, drumming out an obscure rhythm.

“I call the big bedroom overlooking the street.” Ezra announced as he got up and casually left.
Simon and Raven stared at each other for a moment then hopped up and raced each other out of the library. Kallista could hear them racing all the way up the steps of the main staircase while arguing. For a moment she sat there all by herself. Idly she peered through the curtains out into the street in a lost effort to distract haunting thoughts that came her way.  It was dark and still raining; no one was walking the sidewalks now. Lights from the lampposts gave off their glow despite the looming darkness.
Like a thief, a thought danced through her head, one that she tried to evade, unwilling to face the questions of that night when her guardian had died. Just what had Serena intended for that jewel Kallista had found a month ago? Unconsciously she placed a hand over her heart, feeling it beat steadily. Nothing unusual had happened since that night Kallista found herself under a spell.
Pulling back from the window she got up and headed to the stairs. Slowly she started up the steps then paused as she heard some music. It seemed to be coming from the ballroom.  Bemused, she turned back and walked hesitantly towards the beautiful room.  When she got there, she found the door slightly ajar, the inner lights shining through.  Pushing the door open all the way she found the music was coming from a surround sound stereo.  Inside the room, Mrs. Powell was tidying up.

“What is the name of this music?” Kallista asked, captivated.
“Oh, you startled me child!” Mrs. Powel laughed slightly with relief. “I thought you would be in bed by now.”
“I was on my way when I heard this song. It’s beautiful.”
“It’s the Waltz No. 2 by Dmitri Shostakovich.” Mrs. Powell answered her softly with a smile. “If you would like, I can replay it for you.”
Kallista nodded in reply.
“I’ll let you listen to it but then you should head to bed.” Mrs. Powell spoke gently but firmly as she left the grand ballroom.  
The rich vibrant full sounds of the orchestra caught up to her, weaving a wonderful spell that she could not keep still for.  Swaying with the enchanting melody she moved about the room as if dancing with a partner. It was the second time today that she danced alone. Wistfully she wondered if she would ever get to dance with someone for real.
Unbeknownst to her, standing at a second story window, looking down through the glass doors was Ezra, watching her silently.