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Esmeralda (pt. 1)
The girl opened her eyes. Where was she? In fact, who was she? She wracked her brain for any memories, but could not think of anything. She looked around, hoping that her surroundings would give her clues or maybe bring her memory back. What she saw was a library, with only a few people around. shelves were stacked to their fullest, some almost overflowing with books. One librarian, or at least she presumed it was a librarian, was stacking books on shelves; she kept glancing at the girl. The girl wondered if she had done something wrong, but every time she thought the librarian was looking at her, she turned her head away. The girl looked around some more. She saw a boy of about 17 or 18 approaching.
“How did you get here?” he asked,
“I’ve been looking everywhere for you.”
The boy looked nice, but for some reason the girl didn’t trust him. She felt strangely afraid of the boy, who was seemingly completely ordinary. He wore a striped polo shirt and had on faded blue jeans. She was going to run, but it seemed her feet were glued to the ground. Why couldn’t she move? She wanted to get away. The boy was getting closer now, and the girl was terrified. The boy looked a lot more threatening as he got closer. She could tell now that he had razor sharp teeth, and his hands had two extra fingers on them. The girl wanted a way to escape. Perhaps to be invisible, or turn into a bird and fly away. Suddenly, her feet ripped off the ground, and she felt a strange tingling in her legs. The girl looked down and saw everything from a birds-eye view. Literally. She had turned into a bird. She flew away as fast as her new wings would carry her. She could hear the boy screaming behind her,
“Darn it, I was so close!” and the librarian exclaiming,
“I told you it was her! How could you let her escape?”
As she dazedly flew farther away, a thought came to the girl.
My name is Esmeralda, she thought; and indeed, that was her name. That was all she knew.
Esmeralda flew higher and higher, faster and faster. Suddenly it dawned on her that she had just been in a library, turned into a bird, and flown away. Even if she had no memories, she knew that this most certainly was not normal. What had just happened? She was getting tired, so she landed on a branch in a beautiful little park. Where was she? she didn’t have any idea what was going on. Her head spun as the excitement of the events that had just unfolded suddenly slammed into her all at once. She felt a pull in her mind, and she started flying north. She didn’t know why, she just knew instinctively that it was where she had to go. Then she stopped in mid-air and hovered there for a little bit. Where are you going? she thought to herself, and why are you going there?
She felt herself landing in a soft field full of grass, where no one was around. The park was miles behind her, far out of sight. All she could see now was miles of green grass, stretching endlessly in every direction. She felt the tingle again, but this time she became human.
“What just happened?” she wondered aloud as she walked through the field,
“Where am I going? What’s going on?” These questions spun around her head so fast she almost fell over from dizziness. She jumped when she heard a voice behind her. Not because it was loud, it was really very soft, but when she had looked only moments ago, nobody seemed to have been around. “You get a little dizzy at first, but you’ll get used to it.” Esmeralda spun around to face this person, but there was nobody there. Just a tiny ground squirrel; but then it scurried up to her and morphed into a human. A girl of about Esmeralda’s age, which she guessed was 15, stood before her. “Hi, my name’s Amber.” she said, reaching out her hand.
Esmeralda reached out and warily accepted Amber’s hand. “My name’s Esmeralda.” she couldn’t think of anything else to say, since she didn’t know anything else about herself. Luckily, she didn’t have to, because Amber began talking very quickly and for a very long time without taking a breath. “I know who you are. Don’t worry, your secret is safe with me. Come on, we have to get somewhere safe. Follow me. and hurry, we don’t have time to dilly-dally, we have to get away before Evan and Maria find you.” She turned back into a ground squirrel and said, in a slightly squeakier voice than when she had been human,
“You can follow from the air, it’s probably safer that way. Obviously, my animania is a ground squirrel, and you’re a bird, which is rare, but that doesn’t matter now. We have to hide now, they could be watching, so let’s go.” Esmeralda stared at the tiny ground squirrel and stammered, “I’m… I’m not entirely sure how. I’m not even sure of anything except my name. How do I know I can even trust you at all?”
“You can trust me, I promise. Feel it in your bones. You and I are not so different. Just think again about being a bird. Your instincts will take it from there.”
Esmeralda knew she could trust Amber, and so she closed her eyes and thought, “I want to be a bird. I want to fly.” When she looked down again, she was soaring through the sky.
“Great job!” called Amber’s voice from far below, “Now let’s get going!”
Soon Esmeralda found herself floating down to the ground next to a huge tree. Why had Amber led her to a tree? Suddenly, she lost sight of Amber. Where could she have gone? She had been standing there a moment ago, so where was she now? Something tugged at Esmeralda’s mind and heart, leading her to the base of the tree. She had turned human once she had landed, so she was now back to walking on two legs. The tree looked even more massive from close up. It had branches towering to upwards of 200 feet. Esmeralda found this strange as she looked around her. She saw flat, dry desert in all directions, except for the massive tree that was right in the middle of it all. She felt pulled toward a small knothole in the bottom of the tree. When she got a closer look at it, she realized it was really as big as a door. She went through the knothole and into the tree, and gasped aloud as she entered. What she had expected was a bunch of bark, maybe a few vines here and there. What she saw was a huge city built into the tree. It was enormous, even bigger than it looked from the outside. Esmeralda looked around her, turning in circles and trying to see everything at once. Then she saw Amber running up to her.
“There you are! I was getting worried. I thought maybe you were lost, or that Evan and Maria had found you. Boy, the high council would not have been happy if that happened. I’d probably lose my job, which wouldn’t be good, because you’re my first trainee. Anyway, I’m so glad your instincts led you here! That proves you are who the high council thinks you are.”
“High council? What are you talking about? Where are we? And who does this ‘high council’ think I am? I don’t even know who I am!”
“Oh, sorry, forgot you haven’t been here yet. welcome to Treeburnia! I guess I should explain it all, but I thought you would know more than you do. Why can’t you remember anything? That’s not normal. You usually remember at least some of your past life. Unless...no. that can’t be, forget I said anything. Of course I’ll explain everything in good time, but for now, let’s find your house and get you situated in your new home!”
Esmeralda’s head was spinning. This was too much. She had no idea what was going on. She felt a tingle in her legs and saw that she had become a bird again. Uh-oh, thought Esmeralda, what am I going to do now?
Esmeralda looked down at the scene below her. She couldn’t really go anywhere because she was inside a tree. She saw Amber looking up at her, and heard her shout, “It’s ok, don’t freak out. Just change back and you’ll be fine.” Esmeralda felt worried. How could she change back? Human, she thought, I want to be human. she felt herself slowly gliding back down the floor of the tree.
“Don’t worry about it.” Amber said, “It’s happened to a few animanias before.”
Esmeralda didn’t know what to think. She had just had the craziest day of her whole life. She had woken up not knowing who or where she was. She had randomly turned into a bird and flown away from what appeared to be villains. And now she was inside a tree. Why was this happening to her? Why couldn’t she just be a normal person? She followed Amber through the town, not really listening to what she was saying. Amber seemed to have already forgotten about the little incident with Esmeralda turning into a bird. She was now talking animatedly as she gave Esmeralda a tour of Treeburnia. Amber suddenly stopped, and Esmeralda was pulled out of her thoughts as she almost ran into Amber. “...And here’s your cabin. It’s not much, but it’s cozy. Get some rest, we’re going to see the high council tomorrow, and I imagine you’ve had a long and exhausting day. Goodnight.” And with that, Amber closed the door, leaving Esmeralda in a miniscule dark cabin with nothing but a perplexed look on her face.
to be continued!