They were speaking to me. The softest of mumbles entered my ears. They were calling me, telling me to get up. The cackling of the inferno stifled their screaming, dampening them into murmurs. But I could hear them…
My home. The home I left behind. The home that I spurned the moment I had the chance. The home that was engulfed in flames, while those unfortunate souls were being laid to waste...and all of it could have been prevented.
I could’ve stayed. I didn’t have to search for them. I should’ve let them go. And now, innocent people were paying for my mistake. Innocent people, including Wyatt and his grandmother.
Was there even a point to search the debris? I’d rather not enter the city and find their charred corpses. I just wanted to fade away, charge the blaze that devoured my path to happiness, and burn. Put an end to the catalyst of everyone’s pain.
I could see them. Solana’s azure eyes riddled with tears, Keith’s distressed, contracted pupils. Josef was in front of us, ensnared by the shock that had also befallen me. Melodie wrapped him in her arms to try and snap him back to reality.
My attention veered away from my friends and back to the smoldering buildings. Smoke slithered high above the homes, submerging Old Tenebris in a barrier of fire. Peeking through the dome was that horrifying eclipse, the source of all of my misery. It was because of those two floating spheres in the sky that all of this happened.
Who was I kidding? The twilight wasn’t at fault here. I could try and justify my actions all I want, but the fact was that I was the impetus for everyone’s anguish. People were going to die. Strangers, friends, but worst of all, family.
Are you really going to sit by and watch everything you love burn? Are you going to let Wyatt die, all because you want to rot in guilt?
“The more I try to fix things, the more pain I seem to cause.”
You can’t blame yourself for this.
“Sure I can. If I had just stayed home—”
You never would’ve found the Order. You never would’ve learned about your parents. And most importantly, you never would’ve met Solana.
Solana. My anchor. My lustrous sapphire to guide me through my darkest moments. She was there through it all—the brutal training, the Dianoche, and now this. She was still there, begging me to stand up, begging me to come back to her. Even when all hope seemed lost, she shone a light through the immutable darkness.
Even before then was Wyatt. His lively disposition plucked me from the heartbreak of watching my parents disappear from my life. I remembered the smile he wore the day I moved in, how excited he was because his best friend would be living with him. He hated when I was sad, and he would hate to see me in this dejected state.
For Solana and Wyatt, I would do anything.
Blood rushed through my body like an electrical charge. I pulled my right foot from under me and slammed it on the ground. I did the same with my left and pushed upward until I was standing up straight. My once horrified expression was erased, ousted by a resolute glare.
“Elijah?” Solana’s voice was clear as day.
“We need to evacuate Old Tenebris.”
“I’m one step ahead of you,” Keith smirked, channeling his Essence through his mind. “The only way to get everyone to safety is by splitting up. Josef and Melodie, you two head for the northern part of town. Since Melodie is a healer, she can make sure that no one is terribly injured on the long way back. I’ll head to the west since it’s the shortest distance, and there’s only one of me. Elijah and Solana, you guys head to the east. Round up as many people as you can and bring them back to this spot. And if you find Celeste, bring her to.”
“Right!” all of us shouted as we charged in our assigned directions.