The Last of Us
Written by Katherine M. Wright
My vision blurred as I stared at the motionless figures through the bars. My father, mother, brother and sister were all hung, side-by-side. My mismatched eyes shone with tears as I listened to the speaker talk about how much a traitor my father was. My eyes matched my father's’; black and red. But unlike his, my left eye was black, my right red. I backed away, trying to stop seeing in my head, the hideous, dead corpses of my father and mother and two siblings.It stayed of course. In my haste to get away, I knocked over a tall, teenage girl.
“Watch it!” she cried, falling hard. Then her eyes widened. She saw my eyes! “Dreamerlinn!” she yelled. All heads turned. Even the speaker faltered.
“Get her!” someone yelled. I slipped back through the crowd, ducking and dodging reaching arms. I slipped out while they thought I was still running around in there. I ran down a back alley, stopping to catch my breath. I slid down against the wall of the alley, landing in a murky-grey puddle of water. My leggings were soaked through and I felt rain. I looked up at the clouded sky, wishing it would stop. But I guess I should tell you my name now. It’s Diane. Diane Dreamerlinn.
Dreamerlinn is a name passed down through generations of my family. I’m the last Dreamerlinn. The last of my kind. Dreamerlinns are naturally gifted magicians with unfathomable powers. In every family, there can only be one Dreamerlinn. After the next Dreamerlinn is born, the current Dreamerlinn parent dies, for whatever reason. So the cycle continues, for generations, centuries.
A hand touched my arm and I shrieked,
“Shh!” the voice whispered, grabbing my arm in a steady grip. I whirled around and saw a boy of about my age. He had green eyes and blonde hair and a nice, ordinary face. I’m sure my eyes were frantic, for he leaned down and whispered, “Don’t be afraid; I’m on your side.” I squirmed and tried to get loose. He clamped a hand over my mouth, blocking any screams I would have issued. I felt my eyes begin to well with tears. What happened to my parents was about to happen to me, too!
“Stop!” the boy cried. Then my instincts took over. I bit deep into his hand, causing him to yelp in pain. In that split second, I dug my elbow into his ribs and rolled away. He gasped and fell against the wall. I spun to face him, my fists up and ready. Then I paused. He looked helpless, defeated. I lowered my fists and then large, strong hands gripped me from behind. I tried to yell for help but a hand cut off my scream. The boy looked up and his eyes filled with horror. “No! Displacer! Let her go!” I caught a glimpse of Displacer’s face. If his hand wasn’t over my mouth, I would have screamed the dead awake. This man was horrifying. The boy ran forward and rammed the huge man.
“Ha! You think you can stop me, Lex? Heh heh, no one can except my new Dreamerlinn. Oh, but, I’m going to kill her. I will end the Dreamerlinn race! Ha ha hah haaah!” I scowled and tried the same technique I had on ‘Lex’. I bit Displacer’s hand and dug my elbow in, did everything I could. But to no avail. I only suc- ceeded in hurting my elbow and my teeth. The boy called Lex charged forward, pulling out a dagger I hadn’t seen. He could have killed me if he’d wanted to! I kicked my booted heel into Displacer’s shin, hoping to al least get a grunt. But he didn’t make a sound. I wondered if he even felt it through all that muscle and extra weight. Lex finally made contact.I heard a grunt (but only a grunt) from Displacer. I saw Lex trying to remove his dagger, but failed. Displacer shook him off and walked down the alley like nothing was happening. Lex chased after us, looking hopeless but determined. Displacer removed his hand for a moment, but in those precious seconds, I was able to shout to Lex, “No! Don’t waste your energy! Save it for when you rescue me! Or when I rescue myself,” I added, just loud enough for only Lex to hear. Lex skidded to a stop and watched me with a tragic expression, his blonde hair flopping sadly.
Then Displacer thunked my head, knocking me unconscious. My vision faded and I slumped in his arms.
I sat in a puddle, drowning in a sense of loss. I lowered my head to drop it into my hands, my exhaustion finally catching up with me. Tears welled in my eyes; I had lost the most important person in all of Velentarium! I felt a hand on my shoulder and looked, already knowing what I was going to see. Looking down at me was the kind, peaceful face of Ryane Saito, my dead sister. Her ghost removed her hand and knelt to hug me.
You’ll find her, she whispered in my head. I nodded and got to my feet, the ghost vanishing. She only came when I needed help or to be comforted. I leaned against the wall of the narrow alley, thinking hard. Where would Displacer take the Dreamerlinn? Then it came to me; his shadow castle! I pushed myself off the wall, trying to remember which wall had the secret door. I looked around a while. Then I saw the loose brick and grinned. I pried it off and found the little lever that controlled the mechanism.
I pulled and the door slid open with a grinding noise. I quickly stepped inside, pushing the reverse lever to get it to close. The familiar stench filled my nose and I smiled, glad to be home. Or the place closest to home I could find these days. Then Oron, my black kitten, trotted up and rubbed against my leg. “Oron! Hey, there, buddy!” I bent down and scooped Oron up in my arms, scratching behind his ears. He mewed plaintively and galloped over to his food bowl which I hadn’t filled yet today.
“I know, I know.” I stooped and reached inside the food bag and pulled out the scoop. I filled his food bowl to the brim with small pellets of cat food. Oron contentedly crunched on them while staring at me.
“What?” I asked, feeling ridiculous. Then a light footstep sounded behind me. I whirled around. Standing there was my dead brother’s ghost. My brother, Rem, the murder and the one who had committed suicide. He glared at me and unsheathed something very real-looking; a gun. I lept up from my place on the floor next to Oron and blinked at the gun in his hand. But the second I opened my eyes from the blink, he was gone. I turned around and saw him pointing the gun at Oron’s head. I jumped at him, grabbing the real-looking gun out of his hands. It was real. It was completely solid.
“How did you get this?” I asked, already knowing I wouldn’t get an answer. Rem stepped back and vanished in a flash of pale smoke. I was being haunted by my siblings. I had eight all together. Who knows what could happen!
I sat up with a groan, rubbing my neck. It was the kind of hurt that would probably never go away.
“Smart girl,” a voice murmured in the darkness.