Read The Realms of Ethair Online

Authors: Cecilia Beatriz

Tags: #fae, #atlantis, #esp, #extrasensory perception, #alien races, #newagefiction, #alliances, #dimensional realms

The Realms of Ethair (3 page)

BOOK: The Realms of Ethair
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He took a step back, still smiling, and said:
“Remember, you are not alone.”

Suddenly, a blinding light engulfed him. When
Kristina opened her eyes, the street was empty again and the
stranger had disappeared. She blinked a few times to see if she had
been dreaming stopping short of pinching herself. The man was truly
gone.

The next several weeks passed swiftly as
Kristina prepared for her final exams and met her group mates to
prepare for their thesis’ defense. The memory of her strange
encounter had a habit of resurfacing on her mind when she was
completely at ease. Oddly, it was a welcome distraction for it
brought her the same feelings she felt at the time.


Tina, Tina,” someone called. Kristina
snapped out of her reverie and glanced at the faces of her friends.
Her eyes rested on Mindy. As usual, her friend’s curly hair was
pulled back and black-rimmed glasses dominated her small face. The
girl’s brow was raised as well as the corner of her mouth.
“Where’ve you been?”

“Sorry. What were you saying?”

Mindy gave her a speculative look. Shrugging
her shoulders, she said: “I was saying that, maybe, we can go to
the mall on Saturday to celebrate a little. It would be just the
four of us, you, me, Liza, and Nica.”

“We can watch that movie you mentioned,” Nica
encouraged. Her short hair bobbed as she nodded. “What was it
called again?”


The Flame Thrower,” Kristina said
automatically.


The reviews say it’s good,” Liza said. “It
skipped some parts in the book but, overall, the movie remained
faithful to the story.”

“Are you talking about the Flame
Thrower?”

The girls turned their heads toward the
newcomer. A boy with a face filled with acne and of medium build
carrying a black backpack leaned on the empty table next to
theirs.

“Hi, Fred. Where’s your group?” Nica
asked.

“We’ve just split up. We’ll be meeting at
Peter’s later. So, are you going to watch?”

“We’re planning to.”


Ah. That’s nice. The guys were talking
about celebrating on Saturday…assuming we pass the defense. You
know, booze and DOTA. Congrats by the way. I passed by our
department’s office. They were really impressed with your group’s
work.”

“Uh, thanks.”

“I wish we get the same feedback tomorrow.
Anyway, I’ve got to go, don’t want to be late.” Fred made his way
to the cafeteria’s exit.


Come on, Tina. Let’s watch the movie. You
know Nica's going back to the province soon,” Mindy said, shaking
Kristina’s arm.


Fine,” breathed Kristina. “I’d love to.” Their
thesis was a success. They were graduating in a week. What could
possibly go wrong?

*****

Saturday. Kristina had come an hour early
before the time she and her friends had agreed on. She was
browsing a book by the entrance of the bookstore when someone
tapped her shoulder. Kristina’s smile faltered when she looked up
and saw Peter.


Tina.” He tilted his head to one
side.

“Peter. What’s up?” She managed to say in a
stilted tone, her voice a bit high.

“I’m with Fred today. He’s right over there.”
He pointed at the direction of the office supplies section.


Oh.” Kristina saw Fred scanning the
counter full of pens. Her gaze returned to Peter, who was staring
openly at her.


I miss you, Tina,” he mumbled.


You miss me,” she repeated. Alarm bells
rang in her head.
Is he trying to get back with her?

There was a rumor circulating around the
college how Peter and Ina had broken up. It was pretty nasty when
dirty linen was being aired in public. She, however, knew most of
the truth since the girl had confided in her. Naturally, both
parties were at fault but kept her opinion to herself.

Lifting the corners of her mouth into a
smile, she said: “You’re overacting. We just saw each other
yesterday during practice.”

An awkward silence followed.


You’re right. Forget what I said.” Peter
raked his hair with his fingers. Just then, a beep sounded. He
retrieved his mobile phone from his pocket and started texting
rapidly.

His attention elsewhere, Kristina made her
way to one of the bookshelves she favored in the store and found
something she liked. The only problem was the book she wanted lay
on the top shelf. At the corner of her eye, she saw a tall young
man beside her. She was too shy to ask for his help.

She had been looking for that book for
some time and tried to reach it by herself. On her toes, her
fingers grazed its spine. A hand appeared, plucked the book, and
handed it to her. Kristina hesitantly accepted it and started to
speak but the words of gratitude froze in her mouth.

 

 

Chapter 2
Kristina

 

 

It was the stranger. He looked different with his
long hair shortened but he still carried the same aura he exuded
when they first met; and his eyes
sparkled with humor.


You’re welcome.” He bowed slightly – an
odd courtesy for the 21
st
century
– and turned on his heel.


Hey. Who was that?” Mindy said behind her
and stared curiously at his retreating back.


He helped me get this. “ Kristina waved
the object in her hand. “I couldn’t reach it.”

“Right.” Doubt colored Mindy’s voice although
she kept her facial expression neutral. “Well, are you buying that?
The others are waiting for us outside.”

Kristina looked at the book in her hand,
sighed and fell into the long queue at the cashier with
Mindy.

“Did you know Peter’s here?” Mindy asked.

“I saw him a while ago. He’s with Fred.”

“Liza invited Peter to watch the movie with
us.”

“Hmm.”

“She’s been sending text messages on the
train the whole time. Liza was texting him 'til we got here.”

Ah. So that’s what it
was.
Peter had been
staying with them on and off during break for the past few
months.


I don’t like it,” Mindy said shortly. “You
know what he is – what he’s done. I thought we were friends. All
along he was targeting –” Her voice rose to an audible volume,
making heads turn towards them.

“Are you sure about this?” Kristina kept her
tone down, hoping Mindy would follow her example.


I’m positive. She wouldn’t hear any of the
reasons why she should put a stop to it. She’s already defending
him,” Mindy whispered.

“You know I’m on your side but I can’t
intervene.” The lady at the cashier received payment for the book
and handed Kristina the change.

“I know. You had a history together – it’s
bad enough what he did to you and to Ina, especially.”


I broke up with him, remember?” Kristina
added. She was amused with her friend for forgetting that small
information.

“Fine.” Mindy rolled her eyes.

“If we can’t change Liza’s mind, we’ll just
have to be there for her whatever she decides on.”

“How can you be so calm?” Mindy grumbled.
Resignation crossed her features as they joined the others.

The movie didn’t disappoint. It was packed
with action and suspense. It was almost with relief that it came to
an end after one and half hours of excitement. The company, on the
other hand, was a bit quiet after they left the theater.
Unanimously, they decided to go to Starbucks. Fred offered to order
for them as they searched for an available table.

Kristina noticed a group about to leave.
She moved towards it and placed her bag on the vacated table and
turned, only to realize that she was alone. No one had moved. All
eyes were on Liza who made her excuses to them. There was a family
emergency and she had to go home. She assured them it was nothing
serious and accepted Nica’s offer to give her a ride.

The atmosphere surrounding the remaining
members became more awkward. Peter was brooding over his cup and
Mindy was obviously pretending he didn’t exist. Fred seemed to be
completely unaware of the undercurrents. He was happy enough to
talk about the movie and their upcoming graduation even if his
audience lacked his enthusiasm. “By the way my mom’s friend is
meeting us here. He’s kind of a nerd – helped us with statistics in
our research. Remember him, Pete?”

“Art?”

“Yep. I offered him coupons for that fancy
resto near our neighborhood when we passed the thesis defense. He
refused. Says there’s no one he can take with him. So, I promised
to treat him here instead. There he is.” Fred waved to the man in a
loose white polo shirt.


Huh. That’s your friend?” Mindy
said.

Catching the girl’s tone, Fred added: “We
could take another table if you’re not comfortable with him
around.”


No,” she blurted out. “It’s okay. He looks
like a really nice guy, unlike some people.” The last was spoken
under her breath.


How did you—” he was interrupted when Art
arrived at their table. The topic soon forgotten as a flurry of
introductions ensued.

Fred had gone back to the counter to order
his friend a cappuccino. Peter went with him. Mindy had gone to the
bathroom after giving her friend a conspiratorial grin.

Kristina saw it and a bubble of laughter
escaped from her lips. Her friend had jumped to an entirely
ridiculous conclusion. She saw Art looking at her with amusement
and the laughter subsided. She cleared her throat, opened her mouth
then closed it again. A small frown formed on her face. Before she
could try to utter a word, Art gestured for her to stop.


You’re confused and I apologize for that.”
He waited for her response. When none came, he continued: “You
might think that I have planned this, I haven’t. I would like for
you to believe as I have that this is part of the Great Plan or
what you commonly refer to as
fate
.”

The stranger from the rain and the
bookstore was one person and he now has a name. Art. She wasn’t
sure what to make of that statement. The sincerity seemed genuine;
yet, it sounded like an abused line from a movie.
What was that
saying?
Once
is an accident. Twice is a coincidence. Three times
is...

He leaned forward.


And, please believe me, I’m not your
personal stalker.”

Now he’s a mind reader?
Kristina released a breath she
hadn’t realize she was holding back. A smile tugged at the corner
of her mouth. “You sound so serious, stranger.”

Art remained quiet.

“What gave you the idea that I’d think you’re
a stalker?”


Your face gave you away.” He paused. “You
are right in one thing. I am a stranger to this country. It would
mean the world to me that you see me as a friend. If it’s alright,
can we start anew without suspicions and first
impressions?”

“You’re asking much, aren’t you?”

“I hope you’ll humor me.”

“Just friends, then?”

“Yes.”

Kristina was spared to answer when Fred
returned with a tray of waffles and an order of Frappuccino and
with Mindy right behind him. He was grinning from ear to ear. Mindy
hadn’t wasted time sharing her assumptions with him. “Pete took
off,” he began. “He said sorry and to have fun.”

“What took you so long?” Kristina asked.


He was flirting with the barista,” Mindy
replied. It was an outright lie and everyone knew it. “Anyway, what
were you two talking about?”


I was saying how beautiful your country
is,” Art replied, flashing a smile towards Mindy.

Their new friend’s real name was Arthur
Menesarios. He could speak Filipino, Japanese, Spanish, and German
fluently and could understand ten languages. They discovered he had
been to different parts of the world due to the nature of his work.
At 28 years old, he was one of the few in his company who
occasionally got assigned to a special case. His job primarily
involved finding missing individuals which required discretion and
good judgment. The length of time it took to complete a mission
could be weeks, months, and even years. His last assignment had
brought him to the Philippines three years ago. It was only last
month that he completed the assignment. Art decided to stay in the
country after he was granted his first vacation leave. He had a
year ahead of him before his company called him back.

*****

Her mobile phone vibrated on her desk. She
had switched it to silent mode for a while now, ever since her ears
became sensitive to sound. The LCD screen displayed Mindy’s name on
it. Kristina groaned inwardly at the barrage of questions her
friend had prepared for her. Reluctantly, she picked up the
phone.

“What happened?” Mindy asked.

“Hi, Mindy.”

“So, what happened?”

Mindy, the quiet girl in class and loyal
to a fault with her friends, angry over a playboy; worrying over
her best friend’s future heartbreak; and now, asking excitedly
about a guy they barely know after assuming there was something
about him and Kristina.


He wanted to be friends with
me.”

The line on the other end remained
silent.

“Hello?”


Tina. I know you’re hiding something from
me. There was this look between you two that I saw back at the
bookstore. I admit you looked pretty surprised, but you know each
other.”

BOOK: The Realms of Ethair
6.83Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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