“It doesn’t matter how many times you leave, it will always hurt to come back and remember what you once had and who you once were. Then it will hurt just as much to leave again, and so it goes over and over again.
Once you’ve started to leave, you will run your whole life.” – Charlotte Eriksson
The entire land is and was always beautiful. Flowers everywhere and birds singing constantly. It’s never cold nor hot. For some it’s perfect. An eternal spring. Ava grew up always known as one of the most powerful witches alive. With powers beyond anyone’s comprehension, growing up in peace, loved and accepted by everyone.
She was never taught to use her powers in the wrong way, she was not suspicious of what happened. Some would call her naive. As hard as she tries, she can’t remember who harmed her or what happened exactly to her. So many powers and she couldn’t even defend herself.
She’s been walking for hours now, hoping to find a new place. A chance to become someone else, create new memories without having to please those around her. It did not take her as long as she expected to find people. They look different from what she’s used to. Not in the way their skin looks or how they move, just different. The little power they have she can barely sense it.
“Excuse me?” She calls out.
A man, a young man perhaps her age turns around. He’s tall and well built. She can tell he exercises, either by choice or he got his body from hard working. Most men where she lived were tall but slim, lacking strength, used to everything getting done for them and not by them. This one, however, he’s different.
The second thing she notices besides his body, it’s his hair. She has never seen hair like that, the colour of silver so beautiful in the way it matches his golden skin. As he got closer to her, the third thing she notices are the eyes. And those are where she focus all of her attention. Deep and blue like the ocean, it reminds her of the sea even though she might have seen it only once in her lifetime. His eyes remind her of the ocean in a way that you can almost drown in them.
Before she can realise, she’s gasping for air. Her lungs suddenly feeling like they closed and no air can get through, just water. Her lungs filled with water. She really is drowning after all. She coughs up water and gains back her breathing abilities. The young man simply stares.
“I would apologise but I’m really not sure what just happened.” When he spoke, something inside of her awakened.
“Do you sing?” She immediately asked after getting back full control of her breathing.
He’s taken by surprise but after a few seconds, he replies, “Actually, yeah. I like singing. Why?”
She smiles, a genuine smile, “I could tell by your voice, it’s a beautiful voice.”
She’s glad he didn’t mention the water incident, at first she thought it could have been him but she can’t feel his powers. The little she can sense wouldn’t have been able to cause such damage just by looking into his eyes unless he has figured out a way to hide it. But most likely it had been her. Still not able to maintain under control her own powers. incidents have been happening less, but they still happen.
“So, what is it that you need?”
She thought for a while, what is it indeed that she needs? To know where she’s at? Shelter perhaps? He’s surprisingly patient as he waits for her to decide what to answer.
“Where am I?”
“Not far from the Devil’s Cross.” She shifts her body at the mention of the name, holding her arms. “The name can be deceiving, it’s just a name.” He tells her noticing her body reaction. “So what’s your name?” He asks her, trying to make her relax a little.
By now they are walking side by side, on their way to the Devil’s Cross perhaps. She never knew or met other places besides her own town, she wondered if there was any chance that people would recognise her as the Queen of the Vila she lived in. Was she the Queen of this entire land? She didn’t even know. Maybe she never really was a Queen, just a delusional way of living. At the question about her name, her eyes twitched, her lips parted but she remained quiet for a bit longer.
Whatever she would say next, he would figure out she’s lying. She did not care.
“I’m Ella, my name is Ella.” She replied. The second name that came to her mind besides her real one.
When she was young she found an old book, most parts were hard to read due to the damage over the years but she got out of it some really interesting parts. It was about a young woman named Ella who fell in love with a strange young man named Caleb. They lived a deep and intense love story, she kept the book hidden in her room for so long. Everyday Ava went back to that place where she found the first book hoping to find more. She never did.
“Nice to meet you, Ella.” He replied.
“What about you? Your name?” Unlike her, he took no time to answer her question and responded in a matter of seconds.
“Caleb.” She stopped walking. Burning him with her stare, almost literally.
“You have to be kidding me.”
“Why?” He looked genuinely confused and oblivious to the reason she possibly could have to be this angry and shocked. “You are a mystery to me, Ella. Are you alright?”
“Yes.” She shakes her head, “It’s just strange, that’s all. Not the name I was expecting.”
“Sorry to disappoint.” They keep walking, making the rest of the path in an excruciating silence, neither of them said a word again. Ava – now Ella – kept trying to tap into his magic, feel something but she ended up with nothing every single try. There was something there but so faint that she would easily miss it if she wasn’t trying so hard.
As they reach the Devil’s Cross, the people that happened to be outside, in the middle of the streets look at her in a strange way. Her palms get sweaty, her heart beat racing and something inside her stomach was rising.
As if he sensed her fears, Caleb broke the silence and said, “It’s fine.”
“Do you live here?” She asks him.
“No. But I pass by often, I like travelling. I was on my way to the Vila and then I found you.”
Ella swallows dry, this was it. He had known all along who she was and would probably find some way to convince her to go back or worse, take her by force. The fear must be visible all over her face because he asks her what’s wrong.
“Why do you ask?”
“At the possibility of you feeling offended, it’s all over you. I can smell the fear. You are hiding something.”
“Don’t be stupid. You don’t even know me. And what are you? A dog that you can smell me?”
He laughs. “Maybe. Listen, I don’t care ok? We are all hiding something whatever that is.”
She grins. “What are you hiding?”
He laughs again, “Like I’m ever going to tell you.”