Authors: Jessica Burnett
For my mother, Kelly:
She is the sun and I am the moon. Her bright light shines off me like a beacon in the dark.
For my son, Zayne:
Without you, I would be nothing. You are my reason for living. Every breath I take, I take for you. You are the inspiration for this story and many to come.
10. Dreams 88
11. Damien’s Story 97
12. Sword Unsheathed 102
13. Queen Unearthed 109
Living life on this fairy tale ride
Dreaming of those endless skies
Lusting after things unknown
Trying to build oneself a home
Future changes abound, there’s plenty
A mother I am before I’m twenty
A magic unknown sets deep within
The person you know was never there to begin
With every obstacle in my way
I shall reveal my true colors, one day
The majesty of the mystery of who I am
… Is something not one of you could comprehend
Behind this permanent smile
… Is a woman who would go a thousand miles
To fulfill the duties unbeknownst to man
And carry out the universal plan
To you, who may be reading this
I shall blow a fulfilling kiss
For what you see is not what you have got
There is a place that the world forgot
Inside each soul is a map
Where the answers to everything may fall in one’s lap
To find such treasures, one must see
See the everlasting ‘me’
Ember is my name, Ember Diane Smith. I was named partially after my mother with the middle name Diane. My first name came from the grandmother I never met. Apparently she was my father’s mother. I don’t know much about that half of my DNA. My mother acts as if it’s a crime to even speak about it. I’m unsure what the real issue is. I don’t want to know either. I have more important issues to focus on in my life. I live in San Francisco, although it hasn’t always been that way.
It’s sunny outside like always, but the skies are slowly turning grey. Living in California has its perks sure, but I miss home. I grew up in the little town of Corydon, Indiana. It was so much easier there. I feel like my world is at a constant standstill here. I came here to be free and instead I feel even more stuck than I did before. At least in Indiana I had friends and family. I never had to worry about finding a job because I worked for my mom. It took me forever to find this job. Truth be told, I hate it with a passion. My boss is a stuck-up snob and the job is extremely tedious. I work in a plain white room with cubicles in neat lines everywhere; papers are stacked on every desk and everyone wears a headset.
Most of all I miss my mom. She was always there for me when I needed her. I left in a hurry and barely even said goodbye. I regret that now. She’s the best friend I ever had. My mother’s a strong woman. I envy that about her. I could never be that strong; stand up for myself no matter what the cost. When it came to standing up for friends and family I was, and always will be, there in a heartbeat. I would take down anyone who hurt those I love. But, when it comes to defending myself; I'm helpless. I care too much about hurting others... even those who have hurt me time and time again.
My mother’s name is Gaia Diane Smith. She recently married an incredible man: someone who is so perfect for her that when you look at them you think to yourself,
so that’s what love is!
His name is Mitch and I couldn’t think of a better person to take care of my mother now that I no longer can. All my life I have felt like it was my job to keep the peace and insure that my mother was happy even when the world around us was crumbling down. Without even meaning to I put myself into the position to not only be watched over but also watch over her. At first I wasn’t sure what to do with myself when Mitch came along. He took over all of my responsibilities without even meaning to, leaving me to twiddle my fingers.
My mother has naturally brown hair; dyed blonde, brown eyes, and a personality that lights up the world… She is the sun and I am the moon. I followed her wherever she went and her bright light shone off me like a beacon in the dark. I look a lot like her; same color brown eyes and hair (although I dye mine red), small nose, rounded chin, thin lips. The only thing significantly different is our sizes. She’s 5’4 and I am 5’7. We’re both curvy but my curves are larger. She’s hour glass shaped, whereas I am more of an hourglass/pear mix. My hips were a whole ten inches bigger than my waist before I got pregnant, now they’re even bigger.
She raised me and my siblings in an old three bedroom house; white exterior, wooden walls and floors, old carpets, a basement that constantly flooded and an attic that we didn’t dare enter. My favorite part of our old house was our ‘graffiti’ wall. It was a place where we recorded all of our memories; hand and foot prints, ages, heights… Its long gone now; went up in flames one fateful day. Our lives have never been the same since.
My siblings’ names are Briana, Barry, Samantha, and Lucifer. Briana is independent, strong willed and stubborn. To say the least, she’s amazing and my best friend. My brother Barry is the most amazing man you would ever meet. He’s fearsome, yet cuddly. Mad, but honest. He’s always been there for me and for that I love him dearly. Briana, Barry, and I all have children of our own now. My little sister Samantha is a good mix of tomboy and girly girl. She’s sweet, yet fierce. She is deeply in love with nature and cannot stand for anything to be hurt or abandoned. She cries at the sight of an ant dying. And Lucifer, my beautiful little brother, is the most amazing creature you could ever happen upon. He’s sporadic and silly, hyper and sensitive. He has a knack for inventing things and is extremely intelligent. One day he will surpass us all.
I spend most days at work until it’s time to go pick up Kai from daycare. Kai is my four year old son. He’s the sweetest thing in the world; red hair, blue eyes, about 3’6 and full of dimples. His no-good father’s hair is blonde with eyes of blue. It’s a typical teenage pregnancy story, nothing I would want to bore anybody with. We’re better off without him. He’s the reason we moved here in the first place. I couldn’t deal with walking past him every day in that damned small town. California is nice at least. It’s almost always sunny. But then, sometimes it’s not…
This is my story and this is how my journey begins…
“I tend to lose myself sometimes…
Like I’m fighting an endless battle within...
Never knowing which side will win.
What path will I choose and will I choose correctly?
Is there a correct path to be taken or is this endless struggle pointless in the end?
Who am I and where do I begin?”
First Chapter: Destiny
I’m at work right now. I really hope it doesn’t rain. I can’t handle walking to the daycare and home in the rain again. Ugh! I don’t currently have a car. I simply cannot afford it. Kai and I walk everywhere we go. On the plus side, we’re both in great shape because of it.
Mr. Meyer, my boss, is heading towards my desk… probably to nag about how I haven’t finished the Fanta files yet. I simply haven’t had the time, but I’m sure he won’t understand that. It’s so difficult working for him. Maybe if I continue to stare at the empty flower vase sitting beside me, rather than make eye contact with him, he’ll forget about me and move on.
My desk is cluttered with my baby’s pictures and memories of home. I often keep flowers on my desk to bring a little nature into my daily life. I hate the city; there are not enough trees, grass, or flowers for my liking. I despise artificial or unnatural things. But, what can you do when you live in a world where you’re surrounded by them?
“What do you think you’re doing, Miss Smith?” I nearly jumped out of my seat. Mr. Meyer’s voice was right next to me, booming in my ear.
I turned slowly to look at him and replied with a smile, “Oh nothing Boss, just getting ready to go pick up my son.” I quickly started stacking papers to put in my briefcase. My briefcase was sky blue, the color of the dress I currently have on. Every day for work I wear a different color suit dress that buttons in the front and reaches just below my knees.
“And the Fanta files are where exactly?”
I sheepishly peer up at him. “I haven’t quite finished them yet, sir. I promise to turn them in early tomorrow”.
“Ember! What on earth makes you think I will be so lenient on you? You have a lot to learn little miss. I suggest you pack up your things on your way out. You’re fired!” he screeched.
escalated quickly! I was dumbfounded… absolutely dumbfounded. Besides this I have never once missed a deadline before. How can he be so cruel? He has been in quite the sour mood today, but it’s not right to take it out on me. “But, but… Mr. Meyer! I can’t survive without this job. I have a son to take care of!”
I replied as calmly as I could. I really did. But it must have struck a nerve with him because he started packing my things for me and, even worse, throwing things. He threw a book so hard he hit a man in the forehead across the room. That book is probably ruined now… too bad, it was my favorite.
I stare at the man across the room for a moment... He’s rubbing his forehead and looking straight at me. I get the sudden sense he came for me. Ever since I was a child I have been able to sense things like this. As I got older it got stronger, and the more abilities I developed the more my mother wanted to hide me away. I used to think she was ashamed of me, but now I understand she was just trying to protect me. I have to do the same with my son on a daily basis. You should hear the remarks the ladies at the daycare make. He is already beginning to show signs of my ‘unique talents’. I’m beginning to worry. I don’t know how my mother ever did this…
I shake myself out of my reverie and realize the hunky man across the room is still looking at me. He’s dressed a little odd for being in a telecommunications office. He’s wearing black from head to toe, has dark brown hair, striking green eyes, full lips, a straight nose, and the most prominent jaw line I have ever seen. Not to mention even with clothes on; tight jeans and a baggy dress shirt, you can tell he’s ripped. Honestly, he was downright gorgeous. I couldn’t help but stare. However, that seemed to upset Mr. Meyer even more. I guess not caring enough to pay attention to his antics was even more infuriating than being late for an assignment.
I peel my eyes away from the stunning man, who still hasn’t looked away from me… to stand up in front of Mr. Meyer. I listen to his ranting a little bit longer before I become absolutely furious.
I straighten out my shirt, grab the last remaining items off my desk and toss them in with the rest, snatch my box full of items from him and walk out of the office with my head held high. I could still hear Mr. Meyer yelling as I left the building. I should have punched him in the face, but like I said… I simply don’t have the ability to stand up for myself.
I walked right past the man with the dreamy eyes and straight into the parking lot. Once there I stop to ponder my emotions… or lack thereof. I went from dumbfounded, to dumb-struck, to furious… and now… nothing. I feel empty.
Straight ahead is Kai’s daycare with its big neon green sign that says ‘Let’s Play’ in all caps above the door. I can’t stop thinking about the green-eyed man and why he was at my office. Well… my old office. What am I going to do for a job now? It took me so long to get this one. What am I going to tell my mother? She’s going to be very disappointed in me again… not that she won’t get over it. My grandma on the other hand… I swear, I think the woman has been disappointed with me ever since I was 18 and found out I was pregnant. That was a little more than four years ago now. It’s been non-stop torment ever since. I love my son more than anything. He’s the best thing that ever happened to me. Really, without him I don’t know where or who I’d be. He made me a better person. But, my grandmother is constantly nagging me for not giving him a father. Unfortunately, one cannot give a child a father without having a good man around to do it.
“Why would you put your child through the same thing you went through?” she’d always ask. It was my mother’s fault for that though. I don’t even know who my father is; let alone how she knew him. What was the big secret? I never understood the issue. That’s why I promised myself I would never lie to Kai. Not even about simple things like Santa.
I am standing in front of the day care now. I grasp the door handle. I’m almost afraid to walk in. I know the moment they see me they’ll know what happened. Oh well… might as well get it over with. I take a quick look to my left. I’m unsure why… but I feel like someone is watching me again. For a moment I pause in the doorway. I swear I just saw the green-eyed ‘god’ from the office, but he’s gone now. How strange...
“Good evening, Brenda. How has Kai been today?” Brenda is the owner of the daycare. Sweet old lady, but kind of losing it I think. I often wonder if she’s developing Alzheimer’s. I know the signs well. One of my grandmas developed Alzheimer’s years before she passed away. I miss her dearly. I think about her at least once a day. I still carry around her old jewelry box wherever I move to. I am determined to keep a piece of her with me no matter where I go in life.
“Well hello, Ember. You’re here early.” She paused a moment to look me up and down, quietly noting the box I was holding. “Kai has been just peachy. Sweet as he could be all day long. What’s with the box dear? Put it down and stay a while, will you?”
“I really can’t today, Brenda. It’s looking like it might rain and I want to get Kai home as soon as possible so as not to catch a cold.” Honestly, I just wanted to get out of there as fast as possible so I didn’t have to talk about losing my job.
Brenda scratched her head as she pondered this then slowly replied, “Well alright dear. Marsha, go and get his stroller from the back, will you? I’ll help the little man with his shoes.” Marsha is the hired help. There’s also Patricia and Bernice. They are all very nice ladies, sisters at that. The triplets have worked here for about five years… or so I have been told. They all have long black hair and great big almond shaped brown eyes. They differ in height but only about an inch a piece. The shortest is 5’4.
I turn to take one last look at the daycare realizing we may not be returning for a while. It’s a nice little setup. It kind of reminds me of a 1900s house, but spruced up with decorative toys all over the walls and floor. Not to mention the repainting they just did. The walls are now a very bright color of green, much like the sign outside. It’s really an eyesore. But, I wouldn’t say such a thing out loud.