STEVEN JERAL HARRIS
A New Life
A hush spills over me as my brain registers the information my ears just received. I delay for a second to let her words sink in. I then slowly take a couple of steps backward and swallow down hard.
"This is obviously a mistake," I tell her with alarm in my voice.
I look around the room at the others witnessing my self-destruction.
"I can't do this, I won’t." The panic in my voice is amplifying. "Take it out of me, today. I want it out. Do you understand?"
"You need a rare stone to perform such a ritual. Once used it can't be used again," she informs me.
"Sorry, I can't be part of this." My body is beginning to tremor more. “I’m just a girl.”
“No, you’re not, not anymore. You’re one of us now.” Kenya says to me straightforwardly.
I grasp my chest as if I’m having a heart attack.
“No, I can’t do this…” I can’t finish the sentence because my lungs are having a meltdown.
Kenya rushes to me and grasps the sides of my arms softly.
“Come, sit, before you faint,” she informs me.
She escorts me over to the couch and sits by my side.
"I’m not the right person for this." My voice is regaining stability, only mildly.
"You didn't ask for such a burden," she says as she soothes me with a warm back rub, "but you must face it. And with our help, you will overcome."
"But what if I fail…what if I die?"
Kenya takes a slight break before answering.
"If you die, Earth will burn."
I bury my face into my palms but she gently moves my hands away, and lifts my chin. I stare into her eyes, which are still glistening.
"You have a power inside you that none of us can match. Not even our enemies."
"I’m so scared. Why me? And what about my mom, how will I ever tell her...?" Suddenly a thought snaps me alert. I bolt upright on the couch and become stiff like a board.
"My mom… What about my mom?" The panic is returning with a vengeance. "What if they find her? What if she gets hurt?"
"Calm down Iva, breath, breath," she whispers to me.
I stop to inhale deeply and release.
"Athena…" She calls urgently to Maria. "...bring me the herbs."
"Okay," Maria replies before rushing out of the living room and running upstairs.
"Listen Iva, you must act quickly. I’m going to give you a jar. Inside are highly potent herbs. It will keep the wolves from tracking her scent home. Do you understand?"
I gulp again and nod my head. She stands to her feet and pulls me up with her.
"You will go home and get some belongings. You will spend the weekend here. I’ll call your mom when you get back. Understand?"
I nod obediently. Maria hurries down the steps with a clear jar in her hands. She passes it to Kenya and then Kenya places the jar against my chest, and folds my arms over it.
"Guard this with your life. These are the herbs, get it home, get your things, and come right back."
I take Kenya’s advice way to seriously. I can feel myself squeezing the jar so tightly that my blood circulation is being cut off in my arms. She looks behind me at Maria and gives her a nod.
“Go Athena,” Kenya instructs her.
"Come on Iva," Maria says while escorting me outside.
"Stick together." Kenya yells as we leave the front door.
"I’m driving." Eric says.
Jessica tosses a set of keys into the air and Eric catches them. We pile into the SUV in our previous order. I start to feel the aftershock from the remaining adrenaline leaving my body, which makes me tremble like a fiend.
"So where do you live?" Eric asks.
"I live in Rochester. It’s like a twenty minute drive."
"Twenty minutes? I'll get us there in ten."
He reverses out of the driveway in a hurry, this causes my body to jerk forward. Then my back hits the leather hard as the SUV shoots up the road. Soon we make it out of the deep woods and hit the highway.
Cars zip by in a blur as we duck in and out of traffic.
Shortly after, Eric hits the breaks on Meigs street. We skid to a loud screeching halt in front of my house. I get out carefully while keeping a tight hug on the jar of herbs. Maria comes to me with her hands presented.
"I'll take care of those," she says to me.
I pass the jar to her like a new-born baby. She digs her hand inside then grabs some leaves and tosses them onto the lawn. The rest of us march up the steps and onto the porch. I kneel down, lift up the doormat, grab the spare key, and unlock the door.
"Okay, get what you need," Eric says while he takes a defensive stance on the porch.
Jessica follows me into my room. I open the closet and snag a couple of everything, and place them onto my bed.
"Do you have a suitcase?" Jessica asks.
"Yes, over there in the corner," I respond.
She walks over then grabs the suitcase and places it on my bed. She stuffs the suitcase with my personal belongings and zips it up.
"Is that everything?" Jessica asks.
I give it a brief thought then rush back into the closet for a second helping. I then toss some more clothes onto the bed.
"That should be it," I inform her.
“Do you have another suitcase, because this one is full?”
I glance around my room and grab a book bag near the closet door. I quickly stuff my belongings into the bag and seal it.
“Okay I’m ready,” I inform her.
Jessica lifts the suitcase and hurries out. I lock up the front door and speed down the porch steps with the book bag in my hands. Soon we're back in our seats. When Eric hits the gas, my body slams hard against my seat again. In no time, we’re on the highway.
Watch out for the next episode... New episode reads on Thursday