24.1: Thoughts from a Tortured Soul

I slammed the door to my room shut, not because I was angry at Solana, but because I was disappointed in myself. I squinted at the white light that shone from the window. I used to be so proud of that ravishing alabaster light. Now, I only saw it as a false branding. Frustration flowed through my bloodstream just by looking at it. The rage I had built up for so long was waiting to be unleashed once again, like it did back in Timorba.

I sat on my bed and closed my eyes. Deep breaths, just like Solana taught me. I watched through the mirror across the room as my sinister white Essence coated my body. I chuckled at the sight. It made me look like some angelic being. My ebony hair began to stand on end, and a sudden warmth crawled over my skin. Maybe this was what Icarus felt like when he flew too close to the sun. I didn’t suppose he also self-deprecated like I was, but...I could only dream.

Why me? Why, of all people, did I have to be wrangled into this mess? Why couldn’t I live happily in Old Tenebris, wrapped tightly in my parent’s embrace? I should have never chased after them. I never should have went to the cemetery and dug up their graves. I should have continued my life with the belief that my parents truly died all those years ago. I probably would have been much happier that way. I wouldn’t have to live up to these expectations from an Order that revered me like their primogenitor.

All because the color of my Essence matched the first Guardian. Just one small part of me that only surfaced one time before I left Old Tenebris. My Essence never truly manifested until I was consumed by my desperation to find my parents. I could’ve dodged all of this and lived a normal life with Wyatt and his grandmother.

That night at the cemetery. That was the night that changed my entire life. I snuck away from the Sands’ house the night after my parents’ burial. The funeral planners made sure to display closed caskets at the wake, so my only opportunity to learn the truth was to wait until after my parents were laid into the ground.

I took the back door out of the Sands’ house, and pried open the tool shed that sat in the far corner of their backyard. I stole the biggest shovel I could find. It didn’t matter to me if I could barely carry it, only that it was large enough for me to dig up their graves quickly.

From there, I ran to the cemetery as fast I could. The shovel weighed me down so much, but my foolhardiness kept my muscles from tightening. When I arrived, I located my parents’ graves. They were laid side by side, with barely a couple of inches spacing them apart. That made it much easier to check both caskets.

So I dug. I dug for what seemed like all of TD. The muscles in my arms burned, but I could not stop. My body begged for me to end that childish crusade but I would not allow it. About three feet deep, I was already bawling from the combination of physical and mental strain I had placed upon myself. But I still couldn’t stop. Not until I saw with my own eyes that my parents were dead.

Just when it seemed that I would collapse from exhaustion, that dreaded white light filled me with energy again. That was the second time when my Essence manifested, and again, because I was entranced by my own selfish desire—no, need to bring my parents back into my life.

At first, when the aura crept from my skin, I dropped the shovel and watched in horror. I thought I would lose control again, like I did against that police officer only days before. I was thrown into a panic as the white light consumed my body. However, before it could grow anymore, I began feeling revitalized. A sudden surge of energy was shot into me.

I dug some more, until I finally got to my parents’ coffins. My eyes, although stained by tears, glistened at the sight of the mahogany caskets. With two large pulls, I entered the supposed resting places of my mother and father.

And, as I suspected, they were empty.

My heart sank, and the Essence that once filled me with vigor dissipated. Tears filled my eyes again, and I wept on top of their—no, it did not belong to them—the coffins. I climbed out of the hole and returned to the Sands’ house. It was nearing IE, so I needed to be home before Mrs. Sands realized that I was gone.

For the next decade, I held onto hope that one day, they would simply return to Old Tenebris, and that I could live my life with a complete family. Every day I waited, until my body couldn’t take it anymore. At least, that’s what I thought happened a month ago. Why else would I have fainted in the middle of class?

All those events led me here, to this room, in this grandiose castle where my parents once lived. They were here, fighting to end the Solar Convergence, using their Guardian abilities for good.

But what was I using them for? The answer to that question popped into my head right after I asked. I was using them for some selfish desire to repatch the life that had been torn apart years ago.

The End

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