Author: Ibteahal Jneidi
A different narrator:
My whole life I have struggled with trauma. Due to the murder of … Let us just say that even though I remember everything, it felt like hell sometimes. I was eighteen when it happened, and my brother was sixteen. He suffered from selective amnesia, while I struggled with suppressing my memories and trying to forget but, how could I? I loved them, but all I could do was run, watch everything burn down, hide, use my connections, and change me and Jake’s names to protect ourselves. To live. I knew nothing and had no idea as to where I was going.
We could not go to school, not in the state we were in. People like to talk and spread rumors. Those who talk too much about others flaws probably have no life to begin with and find it fun to feed their boredom that way. It would have brought us unnecessary attention, so we switched to homeschool. I finished my last term in high school, then went on directly to university. I knew I wanted to understand the human mind to help my brother and find the criminal that murdered my …
This may sound crazy to some, but I believe that the person behind this is not a human. After what we witnessed, I wholeheartedly believe in magic, or at least the existence of beings and things beyond our comprehension. I needed to be smart and gain knowledge if I wanted to teach myself and do anything. That was the first step.
I enrolled in kickboxing classes, exercised like crazy, did weights and dieted strictly.
I became desensitized. I could not feel anything anymore. Dead bodies simply became empty vessels to me, and they no longer gave me that feeling that this vessel belonged to a soul. It was a person that probably had a family, loved ones, desires and emotions, ambitions. I only looked at it and felt nothing.
Naturally, I hid this from my brother, until he became old enough to understand these complex emotions. Once he turned 24, he started to get fragments of his memories back and slowly grew to understand why I became so depressed.
It has been me and my brother since that incident. Until I started to see things in my dreams. In the beginning, I brushed it off. However, when I saw this old lady…
*Madam Hyacinth: How dare you!
*(The young narrator bursts out laughing while the other female narrator hides her grins and sighs.)
*The other female narrator: Oops! (She mutters under her breath.) Look Grandma, I was stating observations of what I saw and thought at the time. You were in tatters and got dirty from the journey, so I did not get to see how energetic and gorgeous you were under all that mess.
*Madam Hyacinth: Wow! (Whistles) Nice save.
*(The other female narrator clears her throat) Anyway.
I saw this brave woman that gave off this very powerful aura, fight this creature. The creature was huge. She seemed to have gotten injured and looked tired. In the dream, everything around me felt so real. I thought she needed help and was looking around to see if anyone was there to help her. The dirt road was empty surrounded by only ghosts. I recognized the pilots as Amelia Earhart and Lady Heath but did not know who the female pirate was.
I decided since I am in a dream I can try to help. When I came closer, I realized this woman was trying to protect a mother and her child. When I saw the child unconscious and the mom was trying her best to drag herself away even though she was limping, something inside me cracked.
This enormous surge of power came over me and, as I learned later from the empress, my eyes turned red from anger. The creature was as big as a redwood tree. My body moved on its own. I stepped in front of the creature and told the woman to focus her energy through to her sword. She was injured, exhausted and was confused every time I tried talking to her. Still, she followed my instructions while I had paralyzed the creature with a snap of my hand.
As soon as I gave her the signal, she rushed in and with a big slash the creature was finally gone. I wonder how much power she used because there was a lot of steam blowing off that sword.
After that, I woke up. Other than a throbbing headache, I felt nothing else.
I rushed to my brothers’ room and told him everything that happened. He just looked at me blankly. He was not even surprised.
“I was the one that got this weird amount of strength and knocked the beast down.”
My eyebrows lifted and looked at him with wide eyes.
“Did we just have the same dream?” I said.
He looked dazed, but he nodded, “Did you see Amelia Earhart and the badass female pirate?”
“This is beyond logic,” I said.
“I agree. I think the weirdest thing is, that women with the sword. She kind of reminded me of mom.”
My head drooped. I still struggle talking about that incident, but I understood what he was getting at.
“Am, listen.” He sat up in bed and looked at me. “I know it is still hard to talk about, but we both know that mom wasn’t from here. There must be a reason as to why she and dad were murdered. Remember, sometimes mama would disappear for days and come back, and she and dad would behave like nothing happened. Don’t you think this might have a connection?”
I sat next to him and took a deep breath. Jake put a reassuring hand on my shoulder.
“It is tough, but you got this. You might know something since you saw who did it. Could there be a connection between that and these dreams? I have been having them for a while myself and, I swear, they feel so real.”
“Huh. Give me a day to mull it over.”
Jake nodded. I always appreciated how patient and understanding he was with me.
The next day, I woke up feeling startled. I saw him in the dream again and this time I learned a little more thanks to the library in the palace.
I rushed to Jake’s room again and found him sitting up straight and staring outside the window. I sat down on the bed beside him and we both smiled.
“I went to the library in the palace. Dude, it was bigger than the library in Harry Potter.”
Jake whistled and pretended to be astonished.
I rolled my eyes. “Anyway, I found out since we are half mundane, we can enter that reality, but coming back will be difficult.”
“Look, this sounds crazy to me. Magic and goblins? It is hard to believe, but everything adds up. If I have to throw away my life here and go to this other reality to learn the truth, then that sounds better than nothing to me. My amnesia shall be no more.” He raised his hand in a dramatic gesture. He looked more frustrated than me, but tried to make light of the situation.
I giggled, “Okay.”
Jake smiled. “You haven’t giggled like that in a while.”
I looked down sadly. He tapped the side of my shoulder lightly and said, “You got this. It’s confusing, but you got this.”
I took a deep breath and closed my eyes. For the first time, I am trying to remember my broken past.
After five minutes of complete silence, I opened my eyes. I remembered things I thought were not important but made sense when connected with current events. Including one important detail.
I looked up at Jake. He looked back anxiously.
“It’s an alternate reality. Mama knew how to travel back and forth between this reality and the one we dreamt of. She could go back and forth as she pleased.” I paused for a minute trying to gather my thoughts.
“Those shadow creatures were one of the reasons why mama and baba were killed.”
“Wait what?” Jake looked confused. “Oh wait, you mean the ones that the badass pirate and pilots were fighting?”
“When I read through this old scroll that I found, it said that these shadows are called Star Gazers. They existed due to the unaccomplished desires of the dead.”
Jake scratched his head. “Oh okay. That explains why this unknown evil character is killing off people or those like mom.”
“Also, the most dangerous of all, those that have had unexplainable deaths, or were not acknowledged, especially historically, will turn to ghosts. That’s if they forget who they are, then they will turn into a Star Gazer and can appear or disappear at will.”
“Ahhh, I see. So, among all the shadows, the one that was as big as an elephant is the one in charge while the rest function like minions?”
I got confused, but then understood his weird logic and nodded in agreement.
Jake nodded back. Then, his face became clouded with confusion and then it turned gloomy.
“What can the big Star Gazer do if it swallows you?”
“Umm, well the scroll said that it becomes a mental battle between it and you. If you have a weak mindset it will take advantage of it and use your body as a vessel. Once it has control of the vessel, it cannot be stopped easily.”
Jake looked pale now.
“Look, I think we need to go back to sleep. At least you. Remember the giant goblin? You stopped it. You have more brains than me.”
“Wait, what? What do you mean?”
“That big Star Gazer, it went inside the queen’s room. Queen Eva was unconscious on the ground and her son was having a mental breakdown. He reminded me of that kid you were treating one time, I think he might have some mental health problem because that thing was able to swallow him whole with no struggle.”
I put my hand on my mouth and looked at Jake with horror.
A shiver went down my spine. The menacing smile made all the alarms in my body go off.
Madam Hyacinth! That beast is not like the rest. Your sword will not destroy it so long as it has control of the kid.
What the heavens are you talking about?
Where is your grandson, prince Keenan?
That is when I decided to freeze time. I could not think and so many things were going on in the room. I observed the room intently. Queen Eva had fainted in King Malaki’s arms, while my ghosts were staring in the corner. When I saw that they were safe, I looked over at the ghost. I dismissed my poor ghost general.
With a flicker of my hand, he vanished.
He needed a good rest.
Then, I unfreezed my pilots, my pirate outside the castle, and called forth the Empress. I looked at the shadow creature in the corner. I could not see Keenan. All I could see was the menacing smile of the shadow.
I looked at the empress, her facial expression was that of horror.
I took a deep breath and looked back at the shadow. That is when I noticed it.
The figure of a child with soulless eyes staring into nothing.
“Keenan!” I was shocked.
Madam? Walk to him and call his name. Remind him who he is.
How do you know all this?
I read a scroll in the castle library.
I had so many questions in my head, but Keenan is more important. I walked closer to him and said his name. He turned his face to me and looked with those big empty eyes. His eyes seemed like an abyss. It saddened me deeply.
Focus! The voice in my head said sternly. Do not get lost in his gaze. Remind him. He probably felt overwhelmed and depressed to see his mother suffer and fell into the trap of the Star Gazer.
It made sense. As soon as I heard what the creature was called, I understood.
“My dear boy. It must have been hard on you.” As I said these words, tears began to trickly from his eyes. When I looked up at the shadow or Star Gazer, his smile turned into a frown.
I looked back down at Keenan. All he wanted was a little support and acknowledgement. However, because Malaki has been so busy with court affairs and battles, he did not have time to spend with his son. Still, he helped his mother alone. This 10-year-old must have felt so alone.
“You will be alone no more my grandson. You will be alone no more. Come back to me, Prince Keenan!” At the mention of his name, the Star Gazer vanished. Keenan went back to normal and fell.
I caught him just in time and embraced him. “You’re okay. You’re safe now.” He looked at my face and more tears trickled down his face. He hugged me so tightly, I almost cried along with him.
Captain O’Mally came through the window and told me of her victory. I let time flow back to normal and the king came to check on his child. When I told him what happened, Malaki’s tears fell with no control. He embraced his son warmly and things went back to normal.
Well, as normal could get.