STEVEN JERAL HARRIS
"Oh, I almost forgot about the cookies." She stands and rushes into the kitchen.
I can hear the oven door squealing open and closing.
"She makes great cookies." Jessica states.
"You’re such a freeloader." Eric adds.
“No shame in my game.” Jessica agrees.
Olivia comes back in the living area with a plate of warm cookies and places them on the coffee table.
"Help yourself." She announces to everyone.
After a series of, "Thank you Miss Olivia", they begin eating her home made oatmeal cookies. Olivia walks over to a bookshelf and grabs a large brown book, places it on the coffee table, and takes a seat next to me again. I stare down at the book and observe it.
It’s obvious this book is very old. The cover is made from leather.
The edges of the book are bruised, and the original black text on the cover is chipping away. I assume, this book has to be hundreds of years old.
"What is this?" I ask Olivia.
"As you know there are humans, the animals, and those in between. This is the Book of Quintus.
Years ago an owl made a scroll filled with our history. His name was Quintus. He was a great philosopher. And this book has all of his teachings. This book is only a copy of his original documents. It’s not much but it’s all we have."
She flips open to the first page. On this page there are three wavy horizontal lines.
"As you may, or may not know, we all have a distinct mark somewhere on our body. This is the mark of the water bearers."
She flips the page. On the next page, I see these drawings of men and woman swimming amongst fish.
Under the picture I spot this unreadable language.
"Like mermaids?” I ask.
"That’s how the myths started. They had a great empire under the oceans. They were the protectors of the waters."
"Exactly, but they no longer exist. Soon they spent more time on land and had children with pure blooded humans. When that happens the bloodline weakens. Their children will be human and so forth. The same thing happens when you try to mix our bloodlines together."
She flips to a new page. This page displays a paw print.
"This is the mark of the felines. They were the protectors of the sierras."
She flips to another page revealing people standing amongst lions, panthers, and tigers. She flips another time. This page has three wavy lines, but these lines are vertical instead of horizontal.
"These are the birds. They were the protectors of the skies. The owls were different. Sometimes they had visions or premonitions. Just like how Quintus had that vision of the future. King Lucius’ best friend and ally, Lazarus, the leader of the felines, found out about Quintus vision. Then he told King Lucius about it. But the reptiles found out about the box. Therefore, Lazarus hid it somewhere. It remained lost for 9,999 years." She looks up at me with a smile.
She flips the page again. This new page reveals three diagonal lines, but these lines resemble claw marks.
"This is the mark of the wolves."
My heart drops when she says the word wolves.
"They were supposed to be man’s companion, their protector. But they grew greedy and turned their backs on the humans."
She flips to a page showing graphic drawings of wolves attacking people.
"They became angry with the humans and turned on them, like a rebellious dog against its master.
They believed man should be under them, not the other way around. Romulus brainwashed the wolves into believing such nonsense."
She flips again. This new page reveals an eye with a slit for the pupil.
"This is the mark of the reptiles. Some myths call them reptilians."
My heart cringes with fear once again.
"Others call them lizard men. But they’re snakes none the less." She chuckles faintly. "They have been the cause of many problems in the world. They were supposed to be the protectors of the deserts. And as you know Romulus changed all that."
"Are a lot of them...?" I pause to gulp. "...still around?"
"Yes. Most of them are the worst kind of people, politicians. And if you think those dogs are sneaky, child, you just wait and see."
She flips the page again. This page has many different symbols, some are circular, some are square, and some are abstract.
"Quintus says he met all kinds of people like us, bears, rhinos, and even elephants. These are some of his drawings of their marks."
She flips again, showing men and woman amongst a variety of animals. She flips another time revealing another sign, this one resembles a flame.
"These beings were the protectors of the elements. This one is a bird made of fire, a phoenix.
They’re born human, but when they awake their bodies leaves Earth’s realm."
“Awake…? You mean transform right?” I ask.
“Yes. That’s when our human soul and animal soul finally join together as one.”
"So when a phoenix, awakes, they just vanish?
"Because when they become a phoenix they’re no longer physical beings. So they transport to the spiritual realm shortly after. Romulus, found a way to keep the god from transporting. Legend says that Romulus used rituals to keep it on Earth until he finished consuming it."
"Are there anymore left?"
"Yes, they come once every generation." She tells me.
"Have you met one?" I ask her eagerly.
"Have I..." She smiles at me. "...you’re sitting next to one child."
Watch out for the next episode... New episode reads on Thursdays