The Emptiness of the Past

Lake Altos overtakes most of the realm of Salud. The fishing in the lake has always been one of the attractions that other villagers from other realms come to experience. Multiple types of fish live in the crystal clear liquid of this peaceful lake.

Paz sits quietly on the shore and the rhythm of the soft waves brush against his bare legs. His worn pants are pulled up to his knees and his thin shirt lies behind him on the yellowing grasses. He has his eyes closed while his head is tilted thoughtfully towards the sky. In this realm, unlike all the others, everything is always sunny. No clouds go by, no public sounds, no whispers of malice--this is the peace that Paz craves every day.

What is he to do now? He has no home, his adoptive mother is gone, and Sarah is too embarrassed to recognize him as a brother. His tattoo has caused him so many problems and yet he doesn't know its significance.

Swiftly, without any rustling of clothes, Paz stands up facing the wide lake ahead of him. He grabs a rock by his foot and stares at it. The creases remind him of his life--so pure from far away, but imperfect close up.

With a heartfelt scream, Paz throws the rock farther than he had anticipated, but he barely registers his superhuman strength. His screams of agony surprises the countless species of birds in the trees near the lake and, in a flurry, they take flight. To an outsider this sight is magical: a teenager screaming all of his life away in crystal tears and thousands of birds outline his pain.

Paz finally falls to his knees on the quiet shores of Lake Altos. The water tries to cool him down, but his pain is a constant burn that he will forever carry with him like a bad scar. What is this past that everyone keeps accusing him of? Where is he from that everyone curses him?

Why did his adoptive mother have to pay for his faults?

He has no one. He can't even trust himself.

"Hello, stranger." A female voice sounds from behind Paz's deformed shape on the shore. "I see you often here from the tall trees; your screams gave me quite the fright!"

Paz does not turn around and he continues to let the lake absorb his misery.

"Oh no, stranger, you will pollute the lake!"

He stops crying at once. "It would just be another thing for me to destroy."

Paz can feel the form of the visitor beside him and he catches a glimpse of her in the silvery liquid. "Who are you?"

"I am," the reflection smiles, "the bringer of all that you desire."

"I don't desire anything."

"Oh, but that is where you are wrong," she softly puts a thin arm around his shoulders. "You wish to stop bringing all this pain on the people you love, you wish that you would have never entered their lives."

Paz barely nods before the woman grabs his shoulders and lightly throws him into the center of the lake. The cold water is like needles of fire on his bare skin and everything is cloudy. He can't breathe and he wants nothing but to stay down here until everything goes black.

"Concentrate Paz," a whisper enters his head. "Is this what you want?"

Yes. He calmly answers before spotting something large swimming swiftly towards him.

"Why does death beckon to those who have lost everything?" The voice continues, "Why are souls like yours so easily defeated?"

Just kill me.

"No, I can't just yet, Paz," it reasons, "you are very important and are destined for great things."

I am nothing, but the scar on my face.

"No," the voice almost laughs, "you are so much more. Don't you want to know Paz; what you are?"

I...I don't know.

"This is the moment Paz, this is the point where you make the critical choice. You can't help who you are, but you can control who you can and will be."

Okay.

In a brilliant flash of light the large creature in the water morphs in front of him into the beautiful woman that had been reflected in the water moments before. Paz feels his world going black, but the woman's soft touch on his cheek helps him regain his oxygen.

Who are you?

"That is not important," she murmurs in his ear, "Paz, you have no idea how long I've had this message for you."

A message?

"Yes," he can feel the smile on her voice, "your destiny begins now."

The End

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