The Lost Butterfly-a story of aliens, love and humans (1j)

Chapter 1j.

Under the loving care of Janice and Yoshiasu, Fuyuki recovered much easily. Though he was still scarred physically and emotionally, he kept on focusing on the love he finally got. For the first time in his life, there was somebody in this world for whom he, Fuyuki was the MOST IMPORTANT PERSON and that somebody was Yoshiasu. During the whole ordeal he’d been put through again, Fuyuki  had closed his eyes and mind and he held on his love. Now Janice, with her kindness and love brought back the happy memories of the short childhood and helped Fuyuki bond after twenty years with his lost relatives. Janice was at peace with herself; she’s finally got back her baby-brother and justice has been done. Even Paul and Michael softened after à while and the family  reunited. As Fuyuki was getting better in hospital, new concerns aroused in Yoshiasu’s mind; he decided to ask him about before taking any action.

-Fuyuki, are you ready to come home? I mean, how you feel about coming back to the same place…you know…I can arrange so that we move to another location…

The young man stretched and looked at him, head slightly tilted.

-You’re wonderful but that’s the place where I had spent the happiest days of my life. I won’t run and let the past ruin what I cherish most.

Yoshiasu relaxed.

-I bet you miss my cooking-he said with a grin.

They both laughed. Two days later they left the hospital; Fuyuki put up a brave face and shook away any concern. But Yoshiasu wasn’t easily fooled; he could sense the tension building up inside his love the moment they closed the door. After unpacking, Yoshiasu turned to the kitchen to fix something to eat and left Fuyuki to adjust. The young artist  sat on the bed  looking around, while scraps of memory flashed through his mind. Half an hour later Yoshiasu found him sitting on the same spot, gazing into nothingness.

-You don’t have to pretend you’re OK when obviously you’re not-he said in a calm voice. We are together in this. The first night after you’ve disappeared, I had a panic attack. I even moved on your side of the bed and slept there until you were found…

Fuyuki shuddered, then he looked up and smiled to Yoshiasu:

-I’m so lucky to have you. I’ll be fine, I know; it’s just that I need some time to get over so many things…Now-he said, taking a deep breath- may I help you with the cooking?

-Sure-said Yoshiasu. It’s almost done. Let’s eat; I’m starving.

Later that day, Angela and George called and then came to visit. They were relieved to see Fuyuki back on track and Yoshiasu happy again. They looked great to; Angela was expecting her first child and the couple was filled with the excitement. They left for home late in the evening, after chatting happily all together. Yoshiasu took a shower and sat on top of the bed reading something, waiting for Fuyuki.

He became suddenly aware of the muffled sounds coming from the shower. He knocked at the door and called:

-Fuyuki!…Fuyuki, are you OK?

As the noises became more intense, he decided to take action. He dropped his bathrobe and entered the shower. Fuyuki was crouching on the floor, crying bitterly. Yoshiasu picked him up and cupped his face with both hands trying to understand what was torturing him. Fuyuki averted his gaze, hands gripping on Yoshiasu’s hands.

-I…I missed you so much but…I…I feel tainted and I…can’t…I’m so sorry…that I couldn’t-the rest of the words ended in sobs.

The understanding sank on Yoshiasu; Fuyuki was blaming himself for the ordeal he had been through, for not being able to fight back and he felt like he had betrayed the love the two of them was sharing. Yoshisu sighed; there were still so many wounds to heal and  so many loose ends to tie up until the fragile equilibrium of Fuyuki would mend. But Yoshiasu was more determined than ever to love and protect him and help him to heal. So he held Fuyuki close and let the shower wash them both.

-You can cry out everything now-he whispered in Fuyuki’s ear. This water will wash away all the misery. You are the purest human being I’ve ever seen and I won’t give up on you.

He held Fuyuki until the younger man cried out all the bitterness and hurt piled up inside. He moved his hand down his back and under his touch Fuyuki’s body felt more fragile as he’d lost some weight during captivity. Yoshiasu stopped the water and handed a towel to Fuyuki; they walked together to the bedroom and Fuyuki folded in his arms.

-Have you seen Father?- he asked in a small voice.

-Yes. He is a bully and a madman. I’m glad he’s locked up. You don’t need to worry about him.

Fuyuki shifted a little.

-I was so afraid that you might not want me anymore-his voice trailed.

Yoshiasu turned Fuyuki towards him and kissed him gently. As his lover moved closer, he slowly undressed him and kissed him again deeply. Fuyuki moaned and melted in his arms. Driven by the emotional turmoil, they made love like never before reaching unexpected peaks. They finally relaxed, panting from exhaustion and  they fell asleep holding each other closely.

But before their life could get back to normal, they had to pass another major challenge: the trial of Jack Roger. As police and prosecutors finished their work, the trial was due to begin. The trial caught up a big interest; not only that it was a shocking case but it involved one of the young emerging artists of the country.

Though he could’ve avoided it because of his emotional scars, Fuyuki bravely decided to attend the trial. Yoshiasu was deeply concerned about how he would cope with it, but he had to admit that Fuyuki needed to face his fears in order to get over them and to start a new life. Yet, Yoshiasu dreaded the first encounter with Jack Roger, whom he had not seen since the day Fuyuki was found. Tens of curious eyes turned to them when Roger was brought in. He had a confident smirk all over his face; when he spotted Fuyuki, he launched towards him with a sneer:

-You little bastard! Wait until I get my hands on you!

The guards held him back and Fuyuki’s eyes clouded with pain. He faced him and asked in a restraint voice:

-Why? Why do you hate me?

This painful question made the headlines of every journal. It was the question that troubled every decent person: why would anybody turn into such a monster? The first session of the trial presented the case as the police  had unraveled piece by piece, then the pile of evidence was brought to the Court’s attention.

 Listening to Janice’s testimony (while her father growled “Stupid bitch…just like your mother…”) proved to be the hardest of all. The long buried memories of the horrors endured by a small child shocked the audience. At that moment Fuyuki got sick and while Yoshiasu was helping him out, he fainted. Yoshiasu picked him up and left the Courtroom hurriedly; he took him out to a bench and laid him down, massaging his temples and his hands until Fuyuki got back to his senses. He then called a cab and took him home. Reliving that particular moment was like opening a dam. All the memories locked up inside came back accurately. The process was painful but unstoppable. Each and every night of the trial Fuyuki cried himself into sleep, held tightly in Yoshiasu’s arms. But with family and friends around him, he got over the pain step by step.

The evaluation made by the police psychiatrist gave sense to the image of Jack Roger. Jack Roger was an animal of prey. He watched the little boy growing up and noticed its unusual beauty. He soon realized that this child could become a good source of income and that he was totally defenseless. With a weak and frightened aunt as a surrogate mother, the little boy had no chance against Jack Roger’s will. What the perpetrator never suspected, was that the night of horror had a witness: the ten years old Janice. That night she took a narrow escape and remained unharmed, only to carry this traumatic memory till the final confrontation. Jack Roger took pride in his business so he kept detailed records /even videotapes. For years he trained and used the child as a prostitute; when he got into trouble, he simply sold him but kept his track just in case.        

    When Fuyuki ended up badly beaten and dumped, Roger thought that the young man died, so he was thrilled to see his photo later in a nationwide newspaper. Just like the spider, he carefully cornered his victim and took him away when he finished his  underground bunker. Fuyuki’s cell was connected to the house and as soon as the he regained consciousness, Jack Roger was back in business. He put Fuyuki on the market the first day they got home and never left a day out. In a short time, his bank account was growing steadily so he couldn’t be more pleased.

  Based on the huge amount of evidence, “Father” was quickly sentenced to life in prison. But the eternal bully  took hard the end of his reigning over Fuyuki, so after two months in prison, he’s  got an extensive stroke and died in the prison hospital. The story of the Monster and The Lost Butterfly came to an end. After 20 years Fuyuki was free at last.

Another year ended and the oncoming one was holding the promises of a new beginning. Yoshiasu and Fuyuki spent the Christmas with Janice and her family; on the second day, Peter and Michael joined them with their wives. Fuyuki’s beauty and kindness charmed everybody, especially Janice’s six year old twins, Robert and Molly. They also took a like on Yoshiasu and they were happy to find two young adults who never got tired of them and never complained about them being nagging and noisy.

  The New Year brought another happy event: Angela gave birth to her first child, a little boy named Thomas.

-I feel a little bit lost with so many men around-smiled Angela counting her well-wishing party. The three of you were already a handful; now Thomas is joining the gang…I have to put up some strength to face you all!

-I wouldn’t be concerned-said Fuyuki. You’ve already rendered us speechless with such a beautiful baby!

-Sweet Fuyuki! You’re as charming as ever-laughed Angela, glancing lovingly at the sleeping baby.

The warmth of love encompassed them all, leaving the shadows of the past locked up in the passing year.

Wishing to give a boost to their life together, Yoshiasu secretly booked two tickets for the Cherry Blossom Festival in Japan. When time came, he took Fuyuki by the hand and it was only in the airport that the young artist learned about their destination. He was deeply touched and amazed. The festival was a dream come true. It was a particularly mild, warm spring so when they arrived, every tree was in full blossom.

 The sight was simply magic. Every breeze carried on its warm wings endless flurries of white and pink petals. Yoshiasu and Fuyuki traveled from one place to another, from orchard to orchard, filling up with endless beauty. Finally, they stopped in an old orchard of a remote location. They asked for permission to visit and as they were granted, Yoshiasu took Fuyuki by the hand and walked down the narrow pathways that lead through the fresh light-green grass, under the heavily blooming branches. Yoshiasu spotted from the distance a large old cherry tree and took the amazed Fuyuki there. He let the young artist enjoy the enveloping shower of soft petals. Fuyuki’s amethyst eyes gleamed like gems in the mist of golden light pouring from above. He leaned against the tree, watching with withheld breath the magic of Nature. He turned to Yoshiasu with a look of rapture all over his face.

Yoshiasu approached and cupped his face with both hands,  looked deeply into the shimmering   violet-blue pools and asked in a slightly trembling voice:

-Fuyuki, would you marry me?

Fuyuki’s eyes widened in surprise, he blushed but whispered:

-Yes. I will…

Yoshiasu bent over him and kissed him until they ran out of breath. They married  two weeks later in Canada. Fuyuki took Yoshiasu’s family name, Tanaka. Yoshiasu took a new job that enabled him to travel a lot along with Fuyuki, who was now a successful artist with exhibitions all over the world. They were both young and on the height of their creative powers. Life was beautiful.

~~~~~

-Oh! -exclaimed one of the creatures of light. I never thought such things can happen! We almost lost our Child to that madman. I feel so….uneasy about our choice.

-You’re right-mumbled the other one. We’ve learned so much about these creatures since we are here and yet, after this episode, I feel like we really know nothing. Maybe we should retrieve the Child from the planet.

-No, no, not now! Not yet. He seems to be happy with his companion and perhaps the two of them might join us later, don’t you think?

-Agree!-said the taller creature. But we’ll keep a close eye on them from now on.

The Lost Butterfly-a story of aliens, love and humans (1h)

Chapter 1h.

 

On the other side, Fuyuki was growing more and more concerned about the publicity around him. His talent paid well and people grew increasingly curious about the identity of the emerging artist. The fact that he was rejecting the interviews and kept secret any personal data just added to their curiosity. It was a constant game of hide-and-seek with the press; Fuyuki couldn’t come out because of his fear that his past might catch up with him and shatter his fragile happiness. He kept his anxiety and bad feelings hidden from Yoshiasu; his lover was working hard and they both cherished the moments spent together. As Angela was spending her own moments of happiness, Fuyuki turned to the only person he trusted beside his friends: detective John Harrows. He visited the detective at the police station once or twice, confessing him his fears and desperately trying to remember something useful from his past.

Things turned  bad after a few persistent journalists/paparazzi followed him and took some snapshots. The photos were published by a nationwide journal and “The Butterfly Artist” got all the publicity he didn’t need. Yoshiasu was angry; Fuyuki was still very vulnerable. They both agreed  on asking for the detective’s assistance to keep a discreet eye on their home. By the end of May, Fuyuki called the detective and complained about being stalked. For almost a week, somebody was following him; he couldn’t spot him but the feeling was strong and the young man was desperate.

The detective took him seriously but he couldn’t attend Fuyuki right at that moment,  so they agreed that he would pay a visit at home  next morning.  Arriving at the building, the detective had a bad feeling; he took the stairs two by two and found the apartment door cracked. With  the gun in one hand he stepped in cautiously; the house was empty and Fuyuki was nowhere to be seen. But the bedroom was ravaged and there were blood stains and some body fluid scattered over the bed cover. The detective called for the crime lab and then put out a phone call to Yoshiasu.

-Mr. Tanaka –he said in a restrained voice. You have to come home; I’m afraid  Fuyuki has been abducted.

***

The man at the door was Fuyuki’s worst nightmare: Father. Jack Roger was a well built, powerful man in his early sixties. A former soldier in his youth, also an amateur boxer, he was a bully. He’s been an abusive tyrant all his life and a constant tormentor for the mild and sensitive Fuyuki.

The young man’s heart sank as found himself face-to face with Father; all the horror built up and locked away in the depths of his memory washed over him and he wasn’t able to make any move. Jack Roger pushed him back to the house and slammed the door behind. He threw a short glance around then he turned his attention to Fuyuki.

-So-he said venom filling his voice. You thought you’ve escaped from me. How unwise…I saw your pretty face in the newspaper! I came as soon as possible to collect what’s mine…

Fuyuki collapsed on the bed, tears filling his eyes.

-What do you want from me?-he asked in a broken voice.

-Dress up and get back to work. You still have unpaid debts. Have you forgotten that you belong to me?

Roger pushed Fuyuki on his back and stripped away his clothes. The young man fought back but Roger slapped him hard.

-You won’t disobey me!-he hissed and forced himself upon Fuyuki.

The pain tore him from inside like a knife and Fuyuki cried out in agony. As the response was even more brutal, Fuyuki passed out.

Hours later he woke up hurt and dizzy in a dark room; he was tied to the bed. After moments of confusion memories came back forcefully; his whole body ached and his lower lip was split. The air around was stale and smelled like a cellar. He quickly guessed that the room was somewhere underground. He couldn’t do anything; at least for the moment he was helpless.

Father came and untied him, leaving him a few moments to stretch his limbs. He then grabbed him by the elbow and dragged the reluctant young man along a dimly lit corridor. They climbed a row of stairs and got…into the old house. Again and again memories came back and Fuyuki shuddered. Father pushed him in the shower, handing a set of clean clothes. Fuyuki undressed and started the water; he stood under the brisk flow and closed his eyes. Panic erupted from his inner self and he burst into tears, sobbing helplessly. Shaking wildly, he could hardly wash himself. It took him almost half an hour to calm down and get dressed. Leaving the shower he found some food set on a table but he was unable to swallow even a morsel. He hid his face in his hands, trying to scrape up some hope to survive to the oncoming ordeal.

What was about to come was  even harder to bear than before. For twenty years he  had just scarce hopes that he might be an individual and not just an object used at will for others pleasure. But now…now he was loved and he was in love. He became a PERSON, only to find himself stranded in a nightmare.

As Father walked in, Fuyuki shut his mind; he stood up and followed him at the end of the corridor. He entered, shut the door and sat on the bed. The smell around him made his body cringe. Beyond the scent of the burning incense, he could detect the well-known acrid smell of sweat and sex. He took a deep breath to calm down while the door cracked and a stranger entered the room.

Fuyuki complied with his demands avoiding to look into his face. He  shut off his spirit as the stranger took over his body.  He’d  lost the battle between his body and mind over and over again, day after day, night after night until his shattered spirit became just a shimmering light in the night of misery.

Locked up in the underground room, he cried for hours until his stomach revolted. Father forced him to eat and ended up tying him down to the bed to prevent him from killing himself.

On another location a young man was pacing up and down in his hollowed location. Space suddenly dilated around him and from one end to the other of the house there was only a void of dead silence and loneliness. For the first time of his adult life Yoshiasu was completely shattered by the sense of loss. The flat that was once his home was crushing him down with its emptiness.  He roamed around the house over and over again, touching every item that belonged to Fuyuki. He took out the drawing of “The Lost Butterfly” and watched it intently like he was trying to get in touch with his lost love.

He could barely eat but forced himself to do it in order to preserve his strength and the sharpness of his mind. He wasn’t going to give up on Fuyuki but the pain of losing him, the faceless fear of not knowing his whereabouts were cutting deep.

At night he fell into bed completely exhausted but moved on Fuyuki’s spot. He forcefully shut his eyes recalling the soothing warmth of the slender body cuddled in his arms. And he cried, broken and helpless with no one around to soothe him except maybe the faint scent of wildflowers left by his lost butterfly.

The Lost Butterfly-a story of aliens, love and humans (1f)

Chapter 1f.

Winter was setting over the city step by step. The gloomy days of endless autumn rains were over. Day by day, frozen white stars showered from the skies, enveloping the surroundings in a blissful blanket of cold silver.

The shopping madness already erupted, the furious in and out sweeping through the city. Fuyuki’s works sold better than ever, raising his confidence and making his loved ones proud; yet the oncoming Christmas made the young man a little bit anxious. Like so many other things from everyday life, this particular event was a first for Fuyuki. Since Yoshiasu had a very crowded schedule at work he relied entirely on Angela. Luckily, she enjoyed doing things together with the young artist. She looked upon him like on a younger brother. So they bravely worked themselves through the necessary shopping and set all the details for their trip to the mountains. Fuyuki was more than happy to leave the city. The constant swarm of the town proved to be tiring. He needed a break and some personal time with Yoshiasu. And then, there was the problem of the Christmas presents; the small things for the others were already packed up. The butterfly necklace he had designed for Angela was almost ready. There was only one person left but it was the most important one for Fuyuki. He was at loss; he knew that Yoshiasu had everything money could buy, everything he needed. Well, Angela helped him pick a fine, warm pullover but it didn’t feel like a real gift. Fuyuki buried his worries deep inside, hoping that he would come up with something more personal until Christmas.

Days went by and the moment of the departure finally came. Everybody was excited. Yoshiasu was well aware that for him and Fuyuki this holiday could prove to be  a real challenge. It was their first public appearance as a couple. It was also about assuming their identity while among their friends there were  girls still holding some hope about  handsome Yoshiasu. It was a big step for Fuyuki to meet so many strangers in such a particular moment of the year; Yoshiasu was determined to keep him safe from any harm or malicious pressure. He was happy that Angela would accompany them, despite the fact that her fiancé, George was stuck abroad and couldn’t join them. They were about to meet at the New Year’s Eve Party. George was a fine guy, reliable and open minded, deeply in love with Angela. Yoshiasu hoped that he’ll accept Fuyuki easily.

Yoshiasu and Fuyuki arrived at the inn at the early hours of the 24-th of December. The landscape was spectacular and the snow was sparkling and pristine. The morning chill put some color in their cheeks. After the heavy snowfall the day before, the morning was clear and sunny. Reflecting on the ocean of snow, the light was overwhelming, blurring all the contours, seeping into every crack and corner, chasing away the bluish shadows. Amazed by the sighting, Fuyuki watched in awe the unfolding of this natural beauty. His unusual lilac eyes captured the light like two translucent pools reflecting the endless skies.

They settled in their room and went out for a walk. The rest of the group was due to come in the afternoon. Angela was arriving with the crowd; she wanted to stop for a visit to her parents who lived in a small city nearby.

As they crossed the lobby, Fuyuki noticed the Christmas tree centered in the main room. It was a two meters high, richly decorated fir tree. Fuyuki walked closer and gently ran his fingers over the branches. Sudden memories clouded his face; Yoshiasu stepped behind him, touching his shoulder.

-Do you remember anything, Fuyuki?- he asked in a reassuring voice.

-I…I remember the excitement of the expectation and that…it felt good. My memories are mostly feelings, not facts. I was very young at that time…

-Don’t get upset-said Yoshiasu and took him by the hand. Let’s go out and I’ll tell you about my ups and downs with Santa.

Fuyuki shook away the setting gloom and followed his friend. The snowy landscape had a definite appeal for both of them. They roamed all around, stumbling from time to time over a lighter heap of frozen stars.  They made snowballs and competed in throwing them faraway, they pushed each other down the small slopes and happily rolled over the fluffy sparkling blanket.  They fooled around until they tired; they finally stopped, lying down in the snow, panting from exhaustion and excitement.

From the corner of his eyes Yoshiasu watched Fuyuki smiling happily. He rose, bent over the younger man and kissed him. Fuyuki encircled his neck with his arms and kissed him back. Yoshiasu’s hand moved along Fuyuki’s body as their kissing deepened. They fell back breathless and stood there, gaze lost in the endless azure above. Moments later they heard the sound of the arriving cars; they stood up, shook the excess of snow clinging to their clothes and returned to the inn hand in hand.

Angela was just stepping out of the car when they got there. She affectionately kissed them both and asked them playfully:

-Have you already started the party?

They laughed, picked up her luggage and followed her in. Everybody got their room and after a while the lobby filled with young men and women eager to relax and start the party. The food was already on display and it proved to be delicious. They were all hungry and slaloming with a plate in hand eased the connecting between the 30 some people.

Angela chuckled and kicked Yoshiasu with the elbow from time to time, as she caught various people staring at Fuyuki. Holding his loved one by his shoulders, the computer analyst introduced him to each and every one of his friends and their companions. He did it easily and naturally, without ostentation and even the most jealous girls had to admit that Yoshiasu’s choice was…charming. As things settled, fun took over. The laughter and joy bubbled and the party turned out to be a real success. It was well past midnight when they finally returned to their rooms.

Yoshiasu showered and sat on the top of the bed with a small glass of wine, waiting for Fuyuki to shower. The room was pleasantly warm as deep cold settled outside the windows. The night sky was teaming with stars, the light above mirroring the endless glitter of the ocean of snow below. Fuyuki sat next to Yoshiasu and took the other glass. He took a small sip and looked into his friend’s eyes. The older man furrowed his brows questioningly:

-What’s wrong, Fuyuki?

The younger man sighed.

-It’s about your Christmas present…

-I’m not a child, Fuyuki. You don’t have to worry…Besides, as long as I have you, I need nothing else.

Fuyuki put his glass aside and sat face to face with Yoshiasu.

-It’s all I can give you…-he said and his voice broke.

Yoshiasu watched him intently; there was a warm light glittering in the amethyst mirrors and a slight tremble in the young man’s body. Yoshiasu  gently touched his face and the warmth of Fuyuki’s body seeped through his fingertips, making his heart run wild.

-Fuyuki, are you sure?-he asked in a restrained voice.

Fuyuki closed his eyes, letting the bathrobe slip off his shoulders. Yoshiasu laid him down and kissed him deeply. Fuyuki’s breath hitched as Yoshiasu moved down, kissing the soft curve of his neck. Senses and emotions flared up in their embrace and love moved forward, breaking down the barriers of painful memories. Fuyuki opened to Yoshiasu totally and unrestrained, seeking the magic of feelings he sought for so long. Their love making brought them high and when they reached the climax, it left them dizzy with elation.

Released from anxieties and overwhelmed by his feelings, Fuyuki was quietly sobbing, curled up in Yoshiasu’s arms. Yoshiasu squeezed him lovingly and caressed him until the tears dried and the younger man fell asleep, protected by his lover.

They woke up late, fulfilled and more in love than ever. They quickly showered and went downstairs where their friends were already opening the presents. As they were the last ones to descend, eyes turned towards them for a moment. Just like Angela, people noticed that there was a new light in Yoshiasu and Fuyuki’s eyes and a certain glow coming from inside. Even the most skeptical ones had to admit that the signs of LOVE were unmistakable in the appearance of the two young men.

So everyone returned to the unwrapping of packages and Angela greeted her two best friends.

-I have a feeling that you’ve already got your present-she chuckled.

-Do we have to admit on that?- asked Yoshiasu and they all laughed.

They sat on the floor together and started the unwrapping of the presents along with the others.

Walking a Dream-waking up in someone else’s dream (7)

Chapter 7.

 

She rushed out the door, not sure about what would be outside. After all, it wasn’t her in command in this dream. Or was she?

“ Use your imagination…:” was ringing in her head and she thought of a large, open meadow of poppies, gently sloping towards a patch of forest in the distance. In her mind, she opted for daylight, hoping that she would more easily trace Tyler running wild. Tyler was the one who embodied mindless fear and she was determined to slow him down and try to talk some sense with him.

Her feet delved into the carpet of grass and the blazing red flowers swayed aside gently, leaving her to run freely. The girl was following the hidden trail of footsteps left by the bulky man. Her mind’s eyes were constantly detecting the imprint of angry touch in the ground. Soon , she saw his dark frame with its glowing outline moving forward in short, heavy jumps. He noticed her presence after a while and stopped, turning back.

-What?!-he shouted at her. What do you want?! Why are you following me?!! You said you don’t want to remember me! Go back then and leave me alone! Aarrrgh!!!

His feral growl sent a shiver through Kai’s spine. Tyler raised his hands in despair and flames erupted from the tip of his fingers. He smashed his fist on the ground, setting the summer grass on fire, then he resumed his run. A wall of flames and choking smoke rose in the air, startling the girl. The wave of scorching heat pushed her back and she staggered and fell on her back. She summoned a rain cloud and the pouring rain extinguished the fire. Kai stood up, assessing the situation: a large , black, smoldering trail cut in the colorful meadow showed the way of Tyler. Swallowing her tears, the girl rushed to catch him from behind.

No, I don’t remember you…The one who echoes inside me has a light that I feel so close to me…But if Joren speaks the truth, I must embrace you too, Tyler because you are part of the whole of the same person!”

   I was running breathless, my heart threatening to break out of my chest and my own anger was gone. Tyler’s frightening violence wasn’t scaring anymore. I knew that I have to win his trust, no matter how crazy that might sound. That boiling rage was  in fact his vulnerability. I could see him a few steps ahead, banging and smashing trees and bushes, bringing havoc in this imaginary world. He knew I was there, close to him. If only I could read his mind….

-Tyler!-I’ve heard myself calling. Please, stop and talk to me! Help me to remember….-I pleaded, hoping to reach him.

   He turned abruptly, ready to fight me but I wouldn’t budge. I stared silently at him , holding his gaze. As the fire of madness was slowly subsiding, I recognized the dark brown eyes I knew already well. Tyler tilted his head incredulously.

-You want to remember….me?-he asked in a husky voice. His eyes narrowed in distrust. -Why would you do that?-he continued, watching me closely.

    I breathed out with a sigh. “ Don’t screw it, girl!” I thought. “ Listen to your heart!” I did.

-Because one cannot love the whole until it learns about the parts. It would be a lie and That would only lead to more pain and deception. Please, let’s stop for a moment and talk. I want to understand. I want to remember you.

      He scrutinized me for a while, fighting with his long worn mistrust, shadows running wild over his face. But his eyes were gradually clearing  and his gaze was softening, pushing back the flaming madness. His whole body was convulsing, torn apart by his inner conflict, his fist clenching, his chest heavily rising….then subsiding with painful sighs. Locked inside the fragile human frame, a wild ocean was rising with thundering noise, pummeling the shores of the tormented soul. It was an epic battle I was witnessing and all I could do was to embrace him in my mind, holding him close with all my might, hoping to make that tempest subside. It did, eventually. Tyler slumped on a heap of grass, muttering:

-The constant fights brought the marriage to an end and fragilized Jordan’s inner balance.Heshe was very much attached to her father but she was left with her mom. Over the years, the crack between child and mother deepened, growing into a dizzying depth. On the tip of that accusing finger, still haunting our host’s day and night, there’s evil determination for control, triggering each time the deep seated conflict between the two of them. I was born out of that: I am Jordan’s shield and revenge-he concluded, his voice now only faint whisper.  

 Kai watched as Tyler’s contours were fading with each word. In the end, as the echoes of the man’s voice were fading into the wind, all that was left on the heap of grass was a small, peacefully sleeping child. The girl picked him up gently and carefully moving through the sea of poppies spotted grass, she returned into the house. Joren was waiting for her in the door. She led Kai in  the hind room and they both tucked the little boy in bed. Kai placed à kiss on his forehead  before leaving.

-Sleep well, Jordie….-she murmured. You’re safe.

Early in the morning, she pensively ran her fingers through the strand of hair with burned tips.Ignited by Tyler’s anger, the flames have left a clear mark, reminding Kai that Jordan’s dream and  her reality were merging into a new one.

Walk a Dream-waking up in someone else’s dream (6)

Chapter 6.

She  wasn’t exactly sure what to expect when she looked in the mirror that morning. “Oh, nothing unusual!” -she thought. “Same old me, same sleepy eyes and messy hair…” she sighed with à tad of disappointment. She grimaced at herself and laughed off the twinge of regret.

“What were you expecting anyway? A pair of horns?”

  She splashed a generous amount of icy water on her face to get back to reality. She had too many things to do that day; there was no place of aimless dreaming and fantasies. She scrubbed her face with the towel and combed her hair, leafing in mind through her daily chores. One final trust of the comb and she was ready. She checked again her image in the mirror and froze.

-Hello, stranger!-she said. Though not so obvious for others, the changes were there. After all, she had already lost two layers of her daily armor. There was a new light in her eyes, a playful easiness in her expression and her hair was wearing the loving touch of an invisible hand. She tilted her head, assessing the changes. Tam-tadam….something…someone was beating inside her chest. The echo of a mysterious heart.  

– Hush, hush, my heart! Not now!-she whispered and hurried to dress up. Reality was claiming her for now.

   I landed at dawn, exhausted from the lengthy flight. All I could see from above was a green patch of grass. The space around was filled with a gold tinted, pink mist. The sun was greeting à new day.

-You must be tired and hungry-said the pleasant mezzo-soprano voice and a tall woman emerged before me. And you need a pair of shoes too-she added with a smile, looking at my bare feet. Come, let’s go inside!

  Inside? I followed her through the door,  the one that was opening in the wall of haze.  It was leading to a  cozy room and I slumped in a comfy chair. Moments later, my host returned ,carrying à small tray with what looked like breakfast.

-Hot chocolate and brownies for you! And these- she said, handing me à pair of shoes-I think they belong to you. Our mutual friend, the Magician left them yesterday- she added with a smile.

-By the way-she continued, I am Joren. You’re Kai, isn’t it?

-Yes…-I mumbled. Are you….like the Magician?

My question sounded utterly stupid but couldn’t find a better way to put it. Was she another “piece” of that core he was telling me in the forest? She felt so different! She was  à tall and majestic woman, with long, raven-black hair combed into an elaborate coiffure. Her skin was tanned and her high cheekbones were hinting about Native descent. She had the same dark-brown eyes as the Magician but her gaze was somehow different. Joren’s appearance was that of à protective goddess and in her eyes I was reading benevolence and wisdom.

-I am the Guardian of the core-she said simply. You can always call me when you need. Now, take your time ! I’ll be back.

 For a moment I felt like à schoolgirl and hid my embarrassment in the cup of hot drink. She left and I must have dozed off because when I woke up, the light was turning amber and I had a blanket on my knees. Then à sharp cry tore the silence, making me jump from my seat.

The girl stormed out of the room, looking for the source of the angry, loud shouts. Who was  shouting and where was Joren? She  ended up in a narrow corridor. The noise was coming behind the door of the room at the end of it.

-No!!!I am not listening anymore! Leave me alone!! This is me! This is who I am! I am not you! I am not what you want me to be!! I am who I say that I am and I had enough of you smothering me!!!

 The owner of the powerful voice was clearly upset. Joren’s calming, soft spoken words followed the shouts.

-She’s not here, my dear. You can relax. See? It was just a bad dream.

-No, no, no!!! I saw her! She was pointing her finger at me ! She was trying  to bring me to my knees as she always does! But I won’t wait till she’s catching me!

  The final sentence was shouted in thunderous voice and the door opened with à loud bang. À fiery creature rushed in the corridor, stopping before the stunned Kai. The bulky man was almost ceiling high and with his glowing, weavering contours he was the embodiment of anger. An all consuming fire was burning inside his dark-brown eyes; he looked at the girl and smirked. The flow of pain mixed with rage coming from him was overwhelming and Kai felt the hair rising on the back of her neck.

  Oh! The pain, the burning pain oozing from each crack of the shattered soul! The bitterness thickening into bile, rushing through his veins, pushing aside the warmth of the blood….She stood there, in the eye of the emotional storm emanating from him, trying to find strength and support inside herself, in that deep hidden sunny smile…He bent over her, sneering:

-So…You don’t remember me, ha?!

   À wave of dark madness rose from behind him, like à shadow, ushering away the light. Kai gazed in the eyes of the raging man, her hand pressing upon her heart. For à moment, she felt like crying, screaming and running wild but she swallowed down everything.

-If I remember someone, it’s not you!-she said .

    He growled and pushed her aside, leaving the place. Kai turned to Joren who was quietly closing the door behind her.

-What ….Who was this?

-He was the embodiment of the inner demons. He is emerging each time nightmare visits the core. He’s its reaction of defense but we must bring him back before he hurts our host! I need your help, Kai! I must stay here, trying to keep the core asleep until you bring back its fears. But be careful! He is dangerous!

 She embraced me, whispering in my ears:

“ Use your imagination and let your heart guide you!”

She slipped back into the room and closed the door.

“I will-I thought. My heart is my only compass.” I felt my armor crack, leaving another layer of my insecurities behind. I hurried to the entrance door. I had an emergency to solve.

From the stars above. Chapter25. Confrontations

They spent the night in the safe spot and while Antares quickly fell asleep, Kian waited for the darkness to set in and looked for the ANTARES in the skies. He focused on Sheera’s mind and sent her another message;

“ We’re safe. DON’T LAND ON THE MOUNTAIN! Find another place! We still have a final confrontation! Your presence would help us. I LOVE YOU!”

He curled up near his friend and soon, he also fell asleep. On the spaceship above, The fiery young woman rushed to the Commander to share the message they were expecting anxiously. A new, proper landing place was detected and the descent of the starship was set in motion. Sean stood with Sheera, watching the image of the new planet slowly closing. They were both worried about Kian…

As the sun rose above the horizon, Kian and Antares woke up, eat something and proceeded towards their final goal: The Council of Elders. Kian took the holographic message of the long departed Commander of the Night Flyers to show it to the Council. It was the message meant to end all animosity between them and help start building a better future.

-I’ve never told you but oddly, you have the same name as our starship-said Kian, flying along with his friend. It’s the name of a star and it’s…beautiful. We, humans, wings or no wings, seem to share a common history that is yet to be known.

Antares became thoughtful for a moment.

-You know, I often wondered if we were the only ones around but I have never expected to find out so soon and in such adventurous conditions…-he added chuckling.

-Neither did I-laughed Kian and they both plunged in the depth of the morning chill.

 

 

Soon they reached the border of the Forbidden Continent. They stopped at the cavern and took some rest. They discussed some strategies and dangers involved by their return. Still, Antares was unable to talk about the risks involved by the ritual he had performed in order to save Kian’s life. He could feel his body changing, despite the very short time…but he still hoped that it was due to the Power of Nova acting upon him via Kian.

They looked at each other, smiled and crossed the safety border. The final act was about to unfold.

 

Sagitarius was pacing up and down the Council Room; he was angry since young Antares helped the prisoner to escape, yet there was a nagging feeling inside him about a slim chance for a ray of light in their lives. This constant fear that marked the history and existence of his people was taking away the pleasure and happiness of living on a beautiful planet. They were able to defend themselves but the seeds of fear and hatred were so deeply rooted that it was almost impossible to ignore them. It was not only deeply annoying but it was degrading. Sagitarius fought hard these overwhelming fears, now that the Angel had escaped. He wanted to believe in his story, but he was worried about the safety of his people.

As the last of the children with direct ascend to the first Night Flyers, he was burdened with more vivid memories of the sufferance and misery endured by those who had been rejected by the Angels simply because they were different and misunderstood. What if he was wrong and that youth was a good liar? Was his people’s safety worth the life of one stranger who knew nothing about them? How much could he trust that Angel?

Beyond his powerful appearance, Sagitarius was only a troubled human being, a hurt and unhappy one. He had no family of his own; he has dedicated his whole life and energy in watching over his people. There was no place for warmth or love in his life….but old age proved to be a bitter and lonely one, after the fuel of youth had burned out.

A guard knocked at the door and announced him that the two fugitives had been spotted and that they were heading to the Council Room. Sagitarius ordered a Council meeting and asked for the most prominent members of the community to show up to witness a possible confrontation. They gathered in less than half an hour, some people gathering outside, waiting for the result of this unusual meeting. After all, curiosity is a basic human trait. The guards were instructed to let the two young men in but to watch the entrance.

Antares and Kian descended and took their way towards the Council Room under the scrutiny of the Night Flyers gathered all around. The massive door opened in front of them and they both proceeded until they stopped in front of The High Council. Sagitarius rose from his place and faced them. He could sense a strong hold between the two youth and a subtle change in their personal aura. Something new. Hmmm…he decided to grab the initiative.

-So-he said in his deep, coarse voice-you’ve decided to return the prisoner to us, young Antares? Guards, take him away!

-Stop!!!-Antares’ voice filled the room. You can’t! He’s protected; I have claimed him and I am a member of this community.

There was a sudden uproar around and even Sagitarius took two steps back.

-You did what?!-he asked incredulously, his face paler than usual.

-I claimed him and performed the ritual; he is mine, and I belong to him. We are one.

Antares spoke in a firm and clear voice though he was shaking from inside. Both their lives were at stakes here.

-You fool…murmured the old man, turning away for a moment. I could order the guards to kill you both since you put our people at risk. But I am willing to give you a chance and let the Council to listen to you.

-That is very generous of you, Elder of The Night Flyers. Last time when we met you weren’t ready to listen.

Kian took the word and a deep silence fell around. He stepped forward facing Sagitarius.

-I have learned a lot about the history of your sufferance in the past, though I can’t pretend that I know all about it. But I know for sure now that you and I, we are members of the same race! YOU ALL here around are my only kin left in the whole Universe! I don’t want to lose this! I have been left behind with an empty planet and no answers. I’m not going to let this chance slip away because of old fears and hurts I am not responsible for!

The Night Flyers listened in awe and in shock to Kian’s words; could it be true that the one they feared was one of them after all? Could this stranger reveal their history? Sagitarius turned his back on him to hide his own confusion; he wasn’t ready to give up.

–          Nice try but you cannot prove these allegations! They are no better than your previous lies!

–          I came with the proofs, Sagitarius but I’m not sure that you’re ready to face them. I can understand your bitterness and I respect it. But we all need to face our past in order to heal the wounds and have a fresh start. Let me show you what we have found inside the Mount of the Memories and we could talk after that.

The noise in the room was growing in intensity…

“ They were in the ForbiddenLand! Blasphemy! No, they came back safe! Listen to them! Punish them! No, we need to know! We want to know!”

Kian slapped the holographic cube on the large table, making the Elders to jump from their sits and back from it. The image of the late Commander filled the room and his voice restarted the story of the Night Flyers. People around watched and listened in deadly silence. The two young men held close to each other protectively. Kian silently wondered about what Antares’ statement about the two of them really meant, about being…one. He had a sudden feeling that his friend has given in more than he could understand for now.

As the minutes passed by, the Angel looked around scrutinizing the faces; most of them were tense but truly amazed. He spotted Antares’ uncle listening with a stiff and dark face; he was clearly angry and displeased by something. He met Kian’s gaze and he became even darker; his hatred towards the Angel was unmistakable.

The young Night Flyer followed his friends’ gaze and took the full blow of the anger coming from his kin. He shook under the coldness of the stare and averted his eyes, grabbing instinctively Kian’s hand. Kian put a reassuring arm around his shoulder and shielded him, opening his wings.

-I’m here, don’t worry. We are one-he whispered.

Antares swallowed hard; his uncle’s attitude shook him deeply. Suddenly, the world around him seemed to collapse; he leaned against Kian for support and closed his eyes.

The storytelling was coming to its end and people were becoming more and more agitated about all they have heard. Sagitarius himself was sunk in conflicting thoughts; suddenly a guard burst in the room, shouting:

-Your Highness, Sagitarius! The spaceship of the humans has just landed!

Everybody turned towards him for a moment …and then they all rushed out to…watch.

-Seize these two before they escape again!-sneered the old man to the guards but he was a bit late.

Grabbing his friend, Kian disappeared from them and landed safely next to the spaceship. The door opened with a hiss and Sheera came out running, followed by Sean and Gavin. Commander Soren followed them closely, guarded by crew members. The three friends embraced the Angel and they turned towards the confused young Night Flyer.  In a split of a moment Sheera noticed the pain and despair in the deep-black eyes, the deep sense of loss coming from the handsome young man. She quickly approached him and put a reassuring hand on his shoulder.

-I’m Sheera and you must be Kian’s friend. Come inside; let these noisy punks squeeze him for a while. We’ll meet them later.

Like in a dream, Antares let her guide him inside the shining starship; it was very much like the other one buried inside the mountain, yet different. There were also all kind of different beings walking up and down. The complexity of intelligent life opened in front of his incredulous eyes. He felt dizzy and almost stumbled. Luckily they arrived at Kian and Sheera’s personal headquarters and she sat him down on a sofa and handed him a glass of cold drink.

-I have a feeling that this would help; it’s a fruit juice, you can drink it. Kian will be here in a moment. You haven’t told me your name…

She smiled encouragingly at him, her light-green eyes sparkling. For her this young stranger was an instant like; he reminded her of her little brother on Deneb so she decided to take him under her…protection. He looked utterly confused.

-Antares…-came the muffled answer. My name is Antares.

-I see that you rescued him; thank you, my love! Kian’s voice was full of warmth and love; he kissed her and turned to his friend.

-She’s my fiancée and this is our own place. You should stay with us; you’re my family and I’m not sure how things are working outside. Our Commander is talking with the members of the Council. We are safe here, my friend.

Unable to say anything, Antares nodded affirmatively. He sighed, trying to put himself together. Kian sat next to him. Sheera smiled.

-I’ll go find something for you to eat; after that you have to tell me all that happened since you’ve met. I’ve had my share of anxiety up here; I deserve at least a good story.

She left them and Kian turned to Antares.

-We have won the first round but we still need to convince some of them. You are not alone in this.

Antares looked aside.

-But you gonna leave this planet, sooner or later…more probably sooner…

Kian grabbed him by the shoulders.

-I. AM. NOT. I didn’t come here to find my kin and leave. This is my home. You are my family. The planet I have left behind is …empty.

-What about your fiancée? Would she be at home here?

-She has left her planet, Deneb and her own race, the “Cat-people” to share my destiny. We are one…just in a slightly different way-said Kian with a smile.

Antares chuckled.

-I guess you’re right; I worry too much. Have you seen the look on my uncle’s face?

-Yessss…I think that he’s concerned about you. We owe him an explanation. But let’s eat something and have a rest. This was a busy day and tomorrow looks the same.

We have to share something from our quest with Sheera or she’ll let us starve!

They laughed and followed the girl in the kitchen.

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