All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
Two chapters from the Dreamtalkrer
Xtina raced through the woods, not caring when the thorns grazed her skin, when the branches caught and tore at her already tattered dress, when twigs and leaves matted her hair. Xtina didn’t care about any of it.
Her father would be so disappointed in her, with the way tears streamed down her face. He would tell her that ‘a regent has no emotions. A regent did what was best for her land. Emotions got in the way of logical thinking’, like he always had. Well, Xtina thought, her father could go to Hades and beyond for all she cared right now.
Xtina’s foot caught on a root and she lost her balance, falling over. She didn’t try to get up; she just curled in to a little ball and cried until the tears came no more.
Fractah. Fractah, her guardian wanted to get rid of her, called her ‘a little brat’.
Fractah, who wiped away her tears when her mother disappeared.
Xtina realized something: the only reason why Fractah took care of her when her mom disappeared was to get his wings.
He cares nothing for me, she thought.
Then, Xtina did something her father wouldn’t approve of, something her father would call dangerous and irrational and stupid.
I tried to keep up with Fractah as he thudded after Xtina. He was using his wings to propel himself forward, but since I was behind him, the air pushed me back.
‘Xtina!’ he yelled her name over and over. It tore my heart out; Fractah was wheezing and panting from running and flapping his wings at the same time. He was exhausted, but he wouldn’t stop running or calling for her.
‘Fractah, you need to stop. You’ll hurt your wings’, I cautioned.
As the Snow Angel ran, his wings snagged on branches and trees, causing the edges to be caked with soot and mud. Some feathers were missing.
‘No! I don’t care about my wings. They can be taken away; they can break off. I just… have… to find her…’ The bear slowed and wobbled. He turned to look at me and his wings folded around him like a cocoon. ‘Ja—‘ Fractah passed out.
‘Fractah!’ I ran over to him and stood helplessly. His breathing was normal and he seemed fine. I lowered myself on to the floor next to the unconscious bear. ‘Why do you care about her so much that you ran until you passed out? Why, when you wanted to get rid of her not even ten minutes ago?’ I placed my hand on his chest where his wings met. ‘You really are a bear of mysteries, Fractah.’ I smiled sadly. ‘Too bad no one else understands what you are. I don’t think you even do.’ I sighed, and then a scream pierced the air.
I leaped to my feet. Xtina! I ran toward the source of the scream. It was on-going and pain filled. She had been found by soldiers.
Adrenaline coursed through my veins as I vaulted over fallen trees and flew across the ground. I had to get to Xtina.
The scream grew louder and I turned a corner through the trees and saw Xtina.
She was not being tortured, and there were no soldiers. She wasn’t bleeding save the scratches that covered her body. Xtina was fine. Physically.
She was on the ground and her knees were hugged to her chest. She had stopped screaming, but her hands were balled in fists and her knuckles were white. Her normally silver braid was a dirty grey colour now. I noticed that some blood trickled from where her nails cut in to her palms. Sobs wracked her body. She lifted her head from her knees and screamed again. The wail was softer, hoarser and shorter this time. She was facing me, but she wasn’t aware of my presence. When she lifted her head I saw that her face was almost black with soot, except for the tear trails that streaked down to her neck. Her once mesmerizing fire dress was dull and torn.
‘Xtina? Are you okay?’ Stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
She opened her feline eyes. They were dull and swollen. ‘What do you think?’ Her nose was blocked, and her words sounded thick.
‘I was hoping you were practicing your faux-crying skills.’ She let out a pained, dry laugh at my weak attempt at a joke.
I went to go sit down next to her. ‘He really cares about you, y’know. I don’t know the history between you two, but he looked like it was his own cub that went missing. He passed out because of how frantically he searched for you.’
Xtina snorted. ‘Please. Fractah’s an angel. It’s his job to make sure I’m okay. He doesn’t really care. He fooled me once in to thinking that I was special in his eyes. He won’t do it again.’ She paused. ‘Where is he?’
‘About half a mile back. Near the stream we’d been searching for.’
The princess turned to look at me. ‘You aren’t really a terravark, are you? Not even a vegetarian one.’
‘No.’ I confirmed with a smile. She had finally realized that I was human.
‘Knew it all along. Your hair is too dark.’ She told me smugly.
I raised my eyebrow with a sarcastic ‘mmhmm’. Xtina giggled. It was a weak sound, but at least it was real. She sighed and was somber once more. We remained in silence for a couple of minutes.
‘You know, I sometimes wonder what would have happened if my mother didn’t disappear. For one thing, I wouldn’t have met Fractah. That’s a bitter-sweet thought. And you. I might not have met you’, my friend revealed.
I contemplated this thought. I knew now what had happened to Xtina’s mother, but me not meeting her?
She continued. ‘I don’t know who you are, but I do know that you saved my life. I saw you holding the ash covered Gud-Samaratynne leaf. Tell me, how old am I?’
‘You look about thirteen in human years.’ She did, but she looked tired. More tired than any person should be.
‘Ah. So my mother has been gone for almost six years then. The void in my heart where her love should be still hurts like a fresh wound, though.’ Xtina leaned her head against my shoulder and watched a bird. ‘I wonder what my father would think of me now. Probably that I’m an emotional disgrace. He always said that I was too volatile to amount to anything close to a ruler. I never see him now, though. Since that day when I woke up and momma was gone, I was raised by the good people of Gretalia.’
‘I’m sorry…’ I didn’t know what to say. Again, we sat in welcome silence for a moment.
‘Let’s go find Fractah’, Xtina murmured after a while.