It’s lunch time. The cafeteria is as loud as the hallway this morning. On the farthest corner a group of kids are dancing on top of their table. On the other side, some rock band is practicing their song. I wanted to melt. It’s obvious that I don’t belong in this school. All of the kids are either Indians or tanned skin ones. Whereas, here I am standing in the line, all pale-cream skin, with sea-green eyes, and a mop of honey-blond curls on my head.
I loaded my tray with tuna sandwich and apple juice then decided to be invisible at one table near the trash bins.Generally, kids avoided the tables near the trash bins. So perhaps, I got lucky not to be noticed.
I was dreading the day would end. I can deal with some chores at Sue’s house or be solemn at Seth’s room. But to be with a mass of strangers where I obviously stood out, that’s torture.
Sue gave me a couple of household chores, just washing the dishes and cleaning her tiny kitchen. That’s fine, really. I said I can do a couple more like cleaning the entire house and cooking. But she said she wants Leah and Seth to do some jobs too; and she winced at the part where I said cooking.
“Hello!” I looked up to see the Hispanic guy smiling at me. “Can I sit with you?”
I don’t want to be rude so I said, “okay.”
“I’m Gabriel Rodriguez, by the way,” he offered his hand for a handshake.
“Oh,” I said and took his hand reluctantly. So this is the Rodriguez guy that Embry’s been hissing about. “I’m Seraphina Forbes.”
“Can I call you Phina?” he had a dimple on his left check.
“Call me Sera,” nobody called me Phina so it would be hard to respond on that name.
Gabriel peppered me with questions about my personal background like I was interviewing for a job. But he was not annoying compared to Embry. He would smile timidly with his dimple emerging on his cheek.
My lunch break went on smoothly until Embry started barking like a guard dog.
“Rodriguez!” he yelled though he was standing right next to our table. “I want to see you in the field thirty minutes before practice.”
Embry sounded like a commando-gone-mad. I glanced sideways to see if other kids were paying attention. Unfortunately, they were. I saw Seth three tables away, his eyes apologetic. Leah was hiding behind her flimsy hand; obviously she is against Embry’s behavior.
The siblings shared table with the other La Push guys who interrogated me on my first day. They sort of shared their lives together.
Gabriel replied a weak “ok” and glared at his tray. Then Embry turned to me, leaned on the table with his two towering arms. “And you, Missy – “
“My name’s Seraphina,” I snapped, clenching my fist.
“Whatever,” he flicked my words like a fly and continued, “can I have my notes now?”
“Your what?” I met his gaze and saw rage on his eyes. I can see the tightening of his jaw while he spit his words.
“You have my notes this morning, remember?” he tried to sarcastic but failed to do so.
“I don’t really know what you’re talking about,” I said in my well-controlled anger voice. Sometimes, my brother Nick is driving me crazy. But not as annoying as Embry. My parents did not allow any yelling or screaming or door-slamming in our house. So whenever I am pissed off with Nick I used my anger voice without changing my pitch to higher octaves.
“Miss Forgetful,” he mocked, “give me your bag and I’ll find my notes.”
I shoved to him my sling bag and was ready to give him a “told-you-so” face when he suddenly beamed and said, “see? Here’s my notes.”
My mouth dropped open when he fished out his binder notes from my bag. “But how did?” I was so stunned. I didn’t ask for his notes, really.
But Embry already waved his notes in the air to show everybody that I was indeed Ms. Forgetful. I saw Seth shrugged his shoulders and turn back to his tray.
“Next time, if you’ll borrow things please return it to the rightful owner. Unless you wanted to write something on it, first, you know,” he grinned like a wolf.
I was shaking furiously. I swear, I didn’t ask for his notes this morning. Unless… yes! I have a slight chance of being wrong but I guess he slipped the notes when I stood from my seat that morning to answer Ms. Dermot’s question.
“Treacherous!” I hissed lowly so he could not hear it. But I was wrong. Embry had his super sensitive hearing that he turned to me and raised his brow, “I told you, you won’t have a good time here,” then he left and went to join his pack.
I excused myself from Gabriel and quickly ran for the parking lot. But instead my feet led me to the back of the school where an enormous soccer field laid.
I settled on the bleachers and wept. It’s a good thing that it’s past lunch break so the kids are milling towards the building for the next class. Before I left, I told Gabriel that I have to see the admin office and he doesn’t have to go with me.
I can’t understand Embry. I tried to look for some ways so he could be civil with me but to no avail. He remained to be as annoying and grumpy as he was.
I winced when the wound on my neck hurt a little. I let my hands feel the scar and the pain pulsed under my skin.
I wiped my tears away and tried to sort things out. First, I accidentally revived the driftwoods. I’ve got to find some answers in that. Second, my father appeared in my dream and asked me to know my origin. And don’t forget the necklace. I fiddled with the pendant and felt the wavy sword on it. Third, last night was a total nightmare. If indeed, I went to have a run in the forest last night, then the vampire would have been true. The wound is throbbing again. And last, I hate Embry! That one is certain.
It’s my first day in school and I don’t think the teachers would give a care if I showed up or not. So I decided to visit the forest again. This time, I am fully aware of it. No dreams. No wonderings.
I stood up and readied myself. I tightened my sling bag and started to run. Within few beats of moments I was gliding in the forest floor.
The sun barely penetrates the wood land. While out in the open, the sun gives a hazy stream of light, the forest is as dark as a cave. Filtered light is visible on several yards but not clear enough to invite humans for a fun hike.
I sprinted lightly without the effort of running away as fast as I could. The trees are welcoming me and ferns and shrubs are swaying with glee though not a wind is roaming the place.
I saw ahead a fallen tree. I decided to verify my ability on giving life back to this specie. So I glide and stride ‘til I reached its place.
The tree was old; its bark is soft and mushy. The leaves already withered on its ground. Insects are nesting on its trunk. I doubted if I could revive it again. But then again, the driftwood at the beach was brought to life. That driftwood was a hundred times impossible than this fallen tree.
So I felt the tree and concentrated. I pressed my hands to its trunk and tried to imagine what it’s like when it was part of these massive columns of life. I closed my eyes like what I did before. I heard a hum and weak vibration from the inside of the tree. Leaves rustled in the surrounding but I did not open my eyes. I concentrated hard.
When I decided take a look on my experiment, a creature with eyes like of a snake was grinning down on me. Its teeth were narrow and pointed and it has a foul breath.
“Hello Seraphina,” the creature greeted and I heard myself screaming.
The creature clamped my mouth with its leafy hands; its fingers were rough like withered twigs but shiny leaves are clinging to it merrily.
“Shh… “ the creature hissed which was kind of terrible. His lips cannot accommodate the numbers of his teeth so he practically drools over. “I won’t hurt you, my lady.”
I screamed more but its leaves started to fill my mouth. I pushed his hands away and surprisingly the creature obeyed. I coughed out the leaves, “you’re choking me,” I said.
“Sorry,” the creature grinned and sat on the fallen tree. “Don’t scream, okay?”
The creature is human-like. It has a head with dry and frizzy hairs; eyes with slit irises like the snake; small button nose; pointed ears like of the elves; and skin from the bark of the tree. The creature always smacked and licked its lips to prevent itself from drooling since it has numerous teeth hidden under its thin lips.
“How was your wound from last night, my lady?” the creature asked pointing on my neck.
I gasped in surprise, “You’re the one who bit me?”
“No my lady, no! I wouldn’t do such a thing to you,” he replied trembling, leaves sprouting on its body are shaking too.
“What are you?” I asked curiously. Though it looks creepy, I can sense that the creature is harmless.
“I am a dryad, my lady,” the creature smacked its lips and looked offended on my question.
“A what?” I stood from the forest floor and cleaned my pants from the dirt.
“A dryad, spirit who lives in trees,” the creature pointed at the trees. “Certainly you knew about us, do you?"
“No,” my voice sounded solemn and unsure. What had happen to me? Maybe I should submit myself to psychotic facility. First, there are the burly bear-wolves. Then came the vampire. Now a tree spirit.
“I see, nobody told you about us,” the creature is mainly talking to itself. “I am a spirit, my lady, see?” and he demonstrated a very weird thing.
One moment I saw the dryad sitting on the fallen tree. The next thing, I saw a broken branch resting on its place instead of the creature.
“I’m over here, my lady,” the creature called out and I looked and see an almost transparent film waving a few feet away from the fallen tree. It was ghostly but seemed solid enough to hold. The creature is now totally different from what it appeared a while ago. The creature is a young guy; same my age I guess; with a shade of light green on his hair; ghostly pale skin with chlorophyll-green eyes and nice set of teeth.
“Oh my…!” I gasped in horror and awe. This is beyond normalcy.
The creature saw my reaction so it assured me, “no need to be afraid, my Lady. I am not going to hurt. Dryads don’t hurt your kind my Lady.”
“M-My kind?” I was weakening. I can see moments from now that I will lose myself and pass out.
“Take a sit,” he pointed at the tree. I don’t want to but my knees wobbled like Jell-O, so I did have a sit beside the broken branch.
“Dryads are your service folks, my Lady,” he said floating in front of me.
I waved my hands on his face, “please, don’t unload some unnatural information on me," I said trying to calm myself. “I have too much already.”
“I am very sorry, my Lady,” he said with a very kind eyes.
“I am Seraphina, you knew that. Don’t address me as lady,” I chided him off. “And you should have appeared to me like this form you have now,” I said still waving my hands on him, “and not as a hideous creature that sent my heart to my throat.”
The dryad smiled sweetly, “I cannot call you by your name, my Lady, unless you specifically ordered me to.”
“Fine! I am ordering you to call me Seraphina and not my Lady,” I said between heavy breathes. “And so… “ I paused, trying to clear my mind, “you knew about my wound. Did I come here last night?”
The dryad nodded. He seemed to be appearing and disappearing in my view. Have you ever had a greeting card where the picture is on a 3D form? You move the card up and you saw an image and it disappear if you move it down. That’s what the dryads appear to be. Like he was a 3D object.
“So, who bit me?” I asked the obvious.
“It’s the vampire, my La – “he paused when he saw my glare, “the vampire, Seraphina.”
“A vampire,” I whispered. This world is not as normal as I first knew it was.
“Why I wasn’t killed or turned into one of its kind?” I sounded like a curious child asking simple things to her father. But this time, my questions are not simple and I am asking to a spirit.
“Because you’re not as human as you think you are, Seraphina,” he answered without a blink.
“Now I am not human?!” I half-screeched at his words. “What do you think I am? A bird?”
“Seraphina,” he uttered my name softly, “you should know your origin.”
It was the same instruction that my father had given me on my dream. My origin. What is my origin? Am I part of this unnatural world where vampires and dryads live?
“I am very sorry, Seraphina,” the dryad hang his head low, “but I am not the right one to tell you the truth. I am a dryad; and dryads are your service folks. We don’t unfold truths.”
“So who am I suppose to talk to, then?”
“Go back to where you came from,” he ordered with a solemn tone. “I know it may not be easy, but it’s the only way.”
“I can be killed out there.”
Before the dryad could speak, his eyes widen and his ears flick like cows flicking the flies away from them. “The wolves are here!”
“The what?” I was so slow on this unnatural world lane. “Run… or hide…” he said, his green eyes are wild, “don’t let them get you, my Lady.”
Then I heard the thundering of feet running towards our direction. “I’ll see you again,” I said to the dryad while scrambling on my feet, “what is your name?”
“I’m Jeppe,” he said and melted with the shadows of the trees.
I started to run as fast as I could. But the howls and thundering of feet – or paws – are getting nearer and nearer to me. I pushed myself. If indeed I am not as human as I thought I am, then maybe… just maybe, I can outrun the wolves.
Heat flowed from chest and fueled my system to run faster. I can no longer see the trees and ferns and shrubs. But instead, they appeared like a flicker of images swooshing as I pass by.
I can see the edge of the forest and beyond the shadow a small lane of lawn appeared and then laid the soccer field at the bottom of the concrete bleacher. The soccer field became my goal. I believe I would be safe in that area even if the wolves would get there with me.
I was panting but not tired. My body moved voluntarily; I ducked and slide and stride any obstacle. At last the patch of the afternoon light is near to reach.
When my first foot touched the light, my body coiled and I made my for-gold-Olympic-style-leaped from the shadow. I flew from the edge of the forest and landed on the soccer field, missing the bleachers by chance.
I was smiling with triumph. For a moment.
“What are you doing?” Embry’s voice shook the humanity in me and I fainted.
Of all the crazy things that happened to me that brought sudden changes to my life, I’ve came down to the bottomline: my parents are hiding something.
Whether I am all human or a half of which blood, I have to make an end for all of these. I can’t live under somebody else’s house and pretend that everything’s going to be okay. Because certainly, it is not and will never be.
After Embry caught me in the soccer field landing with perfection, I was brought back to the cripple man’s house. Surprisingly, the other kids are there too, waiting for us in the front porch. Have they skip school just to witness my trial?
This time, in Billy’s front yard a black sedan car was parked. It was slick and dangerously beautiful. Like one of those cars you’ll see with body guards on suit and a wire that runs from their ears, dark sunglasses and stone face.
I have decided to tell them everything. The driftwoods at the beach; the vampire that bit me; the dryads in the forest; and my ability to outrun the wolves. If they would think that I am insane, they can kick me out from their place. And by then, I would be running back to my own home and discover my origin.
Leah opened the door and the rest of us flowed in. Embry buried his grip on my shoulder. So when he dumped me in the nearby sofa I can feel the bruise coming in. My vision went blank for a moment except for the dancing fireflies. After blinking for a few times, everything went to normal.
Or so I speak.
I was stunned to see new faces added to the group. But this time, the new faces are in so many ways different from the people I’ve first met in La Push. Except for the one guy who leaned on the post with his black shirt hugging his muscles. He has the resemblance of Billy and his skin and eyes are much the same with the other Indians.
The new faces – there are three of them, one girl and two guys, who sat across from me – are with chalky white skin and golden eyes. They looked like they lack a whole deal of sleep for there appeared on the edges of their eyes some bruise-like marks. But despite of this, they were beautiful; like perfect boutique mannequins in classy stores.
“So this is the girl,” it was the dude on the post who spoke first. His stares are as cold as his face.
“Her name is Seraphina Forbes,” said Embry with a tone that truly hates my name.
“Seraphina,” spoke the golden-eyed guy, he seemed a little older than the other two. His eyes is so calm and kind and he smiled whenever he speaks, “tell us everything, child.”
This might be a trick, half of my brain thought. What if these guys are one of those who killed my family? I can’t die without knowing the truth.
“Speak!” Embry barked and I swear, if I got a chance in this life, I would really shove his nose to his brain.
“What do you want to know?” I asked the guy. I told you I have decided to tell everything, right? Forget that. Sometimes it is very easy to decide on things before they happen. But if the circumstances are now glaring at your face, you faltered and waivered.
“What happened in the forest,” he answered me. I’ve never met someone who’s composed as this guy. He seemed not bothered with Embry’s crooked attitude.
I bit my tongue for a moment. I might slip up everything. I have to be careful on spilling out the truth that I’ve seen. It’s not easy to trust anyone. Especially if the world you know is actually different in reality.
As if sensing my doubts, the girl with an elfin face and pixie hair spoke, “there’s a vampire who was killed last night in the forest,” her lips barely move when she talk, “it means, there’s a big trouble that’s about to happen.”
“We’re not saying that you killed him,” assured the older one, “but according to these lads,” he said gesturing to the Indian guys, “since you came here something strange is going on in the forest.”
I swept my eyes on the guys who pointed their fingers on me. Is it really my fault? “What sort of strange things going on?” I asked trying to fish out some information.
“The night that you arrived, there are few people with strength that no human can obtain roamed the forest,” Billy informed me. His cheeks are sort of flowing and tightening and his eyes are penetrating my every bone. “And according to your story, the killers who murdered your family chased you all the way from Vancouver ‘til here. So we concluded that these same people are the one who’s stirring the woodland.”
I sank on my seat. If I am not a normal human, then it’s certain that the killers are not too. And if these people in the forest are still there looking for me, then it’s a thousand percent sure that my life will never be easy and normal again even if I’ll learn my origin.
So I hold on the last thread of hope in my life, these people in Billy’s house. As much as I wanted to know the truth about my family or ask for some justice on their death, the call is not mine. All I have to do is toss the dice and gamble.
“First,” I said after swallowing hard, “the killers called us enchanters – I don’t know what that means – they just shouted enchanters here and there,” and I told them about the wavy sword too but left out the part about my necklace; I told them about the driftwoods too in the beach that came back to life.
“About the vampire… well, I thought it was all a bad dream, you know. I was sleeping in Seth’s room and the next thing I knew is that I was running in the forest. And out of nowhere a guy lunged at me. I fought – thinking it was the killer from Vancouver – but his eyes were dark red and he bit me in my neck,” I confessed which was followed by gasps and wide eyes.
“I’m a doctor, Seraphina,” said the older pale guy and he leaned forward. I thought he’s going to show me his medical license. But he reached out and added, “let me see your wound.”
I gathered my hair on one side and showed him my embossed wound which was totally healed though I can still fee a faint throbbing pain.
The doctor had very light hands. He roamed his hands around my neck, “is this aching here?” he asked pressing slightly on the wound.
“Sort of,” I said, “I was very surprise to see the wound this morning.”
He nodded like seeing a doctor about bites from vampires is just as ordinary as having fever.
“Unbelievable!” he said softly, “you heal fast and you weren’t exactly affected by its venom,” he took his seat back and glanced at Billy and the one named Sam.
“Enchanter,” the other pale guy spoke. He has the tousled reddish brown hair that compliments his lanky yet enticing features. “Isn’t that another word for charmer… or witch?”
My face went blank. Charmer… witch, he might have a point in that. Is it possible? Perhaps. Haven’t I just had an encounter with a vampire and a dryad in the forest? If these sorts of creatures are still roaming the face of the earth then it’s also possible that witches and the likes still live nowadays.
“And just today,” the new Indian guy said, “you were running in the forest with a speed that even the wolves thought would be impossible to do. You’re not human, Seraphina.”
I know that, the dryad told me, I wanted to say. But I was more curious about the wolves, “how did you know that I was in the forest today?” I asked with a tiny voice.
The new Indian guy sighed and nodded at the rest of the La Push kids, “because we are the wolves.”
New reader!! I love it!!!
Of course, whether the boat sinks or not, it’s always Jacob who admits first. Like way back some years ago he was the one who told Bella that they descended from wolves and that we are the vampires. And here we are again, confronting this supposed enchanter, Jacob spilled out his guts and blurted out their tribe’s super secret.
I can see the girl’s eyes went blank for a moment and refocused again. How terrible this situation may be to her. I can see that she doesn’t have a single clue on this ill-fated world. I felt pity for her. Losing one’s family is like taking away most of one’s life. And now being confronted with unnatural course of reality makes it more difficult to bear.
“Wolves?” Seraphina whispered and I swear she wanted to hide under the sofa. Too young and too weak. I wanted to believe that she’s just any other ordinary high school students in this random world. I wanted to end this confrontation and tell Carlisle that we have come here for no gain. I wanted to be with my own family.
Bella was uncomfortable on our idea of coming back to Forks. She’s specifically worried about Charlie’s reaction seeing me and Carlisle and Alice who did not change a bit. Physically. But she was mostly terrified when Alice said that one of the Volturi soldiers has come to check our family but ended up torn apart in the forest.
Alice saw yesterday in advance what had happened in the forest last night. We just thought that it’s not in Olympian forest. But when Sam called Carlisle and confirmed that a vampire was killed, we were speechless. So much the more when he said that he thought the vampire is one of Aro’s army.
“How can you say that?” Carlisle asked him through the phone.
“He wears the same clothing as those who came and visit us here last year,” Sam said. He added that they didn’t burn its body but had kept it under lock for us to see.
As far as Sam had described it, the wolves caught the vampire’s scent. But they were stunned to see it dangling mid-air covered with canopies and vines. “We opened the cocoon, the poor vamp’s been squeezed to death,” he said like a crime investigator relating the scene to his superior, “I mean, he was crashed that his joints were detached from his body.”
Carlisle decided to solve this mystery considering that it involved a man from the Volturi. Not that we are all afraid, but nobody wants to mess with them. It’s a different thing from proving yourself that you are strong indeed to defeat a governing coven and from being able to walk away from the danger of doing it for the sake of your family.
After the incident with the Volturi last year, we decided to move back to Alaska. But this time we picked Galena. It’s a fine town that suits us all, especially Jacob.
“I don’t really know what enchanter means,” Seraphina repeated with a small voice. “But my father always appeared in my dreams; he told me to know my origin.”
“But he didn’t tell you anything,” Billy said more of a point than assuming. His black eyes shone even more when he asked, “did you kill the vampire?”
The girl’s eyes widened as she shook her head and cried, “no! I swear I didn’t.”
“But the fact that you’ve revived the driftwoods in the beach,” Carlisle inserted and thought a little. I knew the thousand things in Carlisle’s mind without him telling it out loud. “You might have the ability to control the plants and trees.”
“Like a witch,” Embry spat. It kind of amused me regarding Embry’s behavior. The Embry I know is silent and good by nature. I knew there’s something else in his hostility towards the girl. I just have to put things together.
“I am not a witch!” the girl screeched and tried to tower Embry; she clenched her hands tightly that I thought she might punch the guy in the face. If Emmett is here, he will put his bet on the girl. “If I am one, you’re my very first victim.”
“What? You’ll let those trees hang me like what you did with the vampire?” he challenged. Seth was pulling Embry away to calm him down.
I looked at Alice whose eyes became suddenly alert. She’s desperately trying to see where this conversation may end. But the fact that we were surrounded by the pack makes it harder for her. Poor sister!
Seraphina opened her mouth to speak but was petrified to see Embry trembled and phased into his wolf form. The rest of the guys formed a human wall between the girl and the wolf. Embry snarled and folded his lips. I knew these wolves. They were hot-tempered and were unable to control their anger.
“Embry stop this nonsense!” Billy shouted but the wolf shook his head and nailed his gaze on the girl.
Carlisle, Alice and I backed to the farthest corner. Not that we can’t fight but the wolves and us are on the same team. We can’t break the treaty that we had agreed.
Seraphina stood frozen on her place for a while. But she did a very terrifying thing proving that she’s a fearful creature after all.
In just a split second, the wolf lunged in the air towards the girl. I was ready to snatch her away but Seraphina enclosed herself in a smoke. The smoke is not like those made from fire but more of fluid tendril of smoke that moves with her body.
I saw everything that happened. It felt like somebody hit the remote button and slowed everything. I saw the wolf in the air barring his canine teeth; at the same time I saw Seraphina in her immaculate smoke meeting the wolf mid-air.
The next thing that happened was that they both crash on the house’s walls leaving a huge hole and ended up outside. We all ran towards them to stop the fight, if indeed it is a fight. Seraphina landed on top of the wolf that now phased back into being Embry the human. The girl was gripping Embry’s neck.
“Stop it!” Sam shouted.
The girl looked up and I saw her eyes that once were sea-green crystals but now blazed in fiery gold. She looked like she wanted to attack all of us but perhaps a little sanity came to her that she stopped, loosened her grip, left Embry on the ground and wept under the tree that shaded the yard.
The poor guy scrambled to his feet and ran for cover. It’s not easy phasing into something that would tear your clothes off and when you turn back into being a human, everybody would see you naked.
The smoke that enveloped the girl is now slowly dissolving. “I am very sorry about that,” she said; her voice cracking.
“What was that all about?” I can sense hesitation on Sam’s voice. We can’t deny that this girl here is something.
“I don’t know,” she answered like a child, “it was not me… I mean, I didn’t mean to,” she wiped her tears and looked to us. Her eyes are now sea-green again, calm and lonely.
“Seraphina, we don’t want to hurt you,” Carlisle said taking steps towards the girl. My father is always being in control. He’s thinking that he might be able to help this unguided girl and at the same time find some answers on the vampire’s murder.
The girl turned to Leah and Seth who stood with their eyes bewildered, “Leah… Seth… I am sorry. I knew your family has done everything for me. And Embry's your friend... I am very sorry,” her voice was heartbreaking.
“You are not safe,” Leah muttered. I knew what she felt though I don’t have my sympathy on Embry. As I can see it, he started the fight. But Embry is her brother. Family matter is a different story.
“You are not to set foot on our house again,” Leah said softly but with anger. “Embry is my brother, remember that!”
Seraphina was stunned. Perhaps that’s one truth that the Clearwaters forgot to tell her.