Begin Again

Lilianne Sherzerade is the Carrier of the spark of Love. Destined to do this until she dies, Lilianne takes over her mother's job at age 18. Frozen at that age until she finds a partner, Lilianne is ready to be a teenager for a century or more if need be... but will it be necessary?
Named after and inspired by the Taylor Swift song.
This is going to be four chapters long (maybe more!); chapter one is already up!

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1. Nineteen, Eight

They were sitting in a booth and talking. Just talking, in voices so quiet they could have been whispers.

At first I didn't notice them, the boy and the girl. They wore gray clothes and seemed to blend into the dull, drab, grimy, dirt-stained interior of the cafe. I did, too, with my disgusting dark gray, dust-coated apron and my uniform. They never seemed to notice me, not until I got within a foot of their table. Then the girl looked up sharply, and I quickly bent my head to wipe off a tomato-sauce stain on the table near me.

But, when I felt that tingle running up my spine, felt the urge to spread my fingers wide and close my eyes... I did just the opposite. Looking up towards the couple, I widened my eyes, as I saw the girl's lips touch the boy's, and in that instant, a scarlet cloud blossomed between them. It crept up to me, and again I felt that need to close my eyes and let my longing take over.

I was breathing heavily. I haven't felt this in a year...

All of a sudden, it all became too much for me. I fled to the kitchens and sat down in a corner. I was the only one there, and I panted heavily, trying to control my thoughts and feelings. I'm out of shape, I thought numbly, terribly out of shape.

Gradually my breathing slowed, but I still remained curled up in the corner. The blow I had just suffered was love, pure love-- something unheard of in this town since exactly a year ago. Normally I could control waves like this, but a year with nothing to do but squirt mustard over hotdogs had left me without practice.

Images flickered in my head. Nineteen years worth of memories I had shut out, simply because they no longer mattered to the new, loveless life I was living. Or so I had thought...

A face suddenly flashed into my consciousness with the force of a lightning strike.

"Mom?" I choked. "Mom..."

I was losing consciousness, slowly but surely. Strangely, I didn't feel afraid. My arms didn't tense up, my body didn't try to fight. I didn't even feel nauseous. I could see the black cloud flickering at the edge of my vision, but that was it.

I closed my eyes and relaxed, and my body shuddered as my mind shot into my memories.

***

I was eight years old.

"Mommy!" I laughed. I was watching my little self in a field, running to catch the butterflies, which were swooping everywhere around me. "Look, Mommy, look."

My mother laughed. "Don't run too far," she called after me.

I ran around and around, laughing as I tried to catch the butterflies, which I could sense were giving off happiness. I wanted that happiness, but I wouldn't hurt the butterflies to get it, so sharing it seemed the best option.

Suddenly my mother screamed. "LILI! STOP!"

I stumbled and fell to my knees, choking back a squeal as my knee scraped against a rock. My mother ran towards me, crying, "Lili, are you all right?"

I lay on the grass, fighting back tears. "My leg, Mommy."

My mother caught up to me and knelt down to examine my scraped knee, her dark hair tickling my legs as she kissed it. Then she looked at the stone I had tripped on-- and started to cry.

"What's wrong, Mommy?" my eight-year-old self said. "Tell me, Mommy!" I stared at the rock, which was engraved with strange symbols. Come to think of it... there were six other rocks arranged in front of me, in a circle... I leaned away from it and shivered.

Still crying, my mother shoved me away from the circle. "Go!" she said, wiping tears off her eyelids.

Once we were a safe distance away from the rock circle, my mothers sobs had been reduced to quiet sniffles.

I patted my mother's arm tentatively. "What... was that, Mommy?"

My mother then did something I would never forget. She knelt down in the grass so her face was slightly below mine, and made me look into her eyes.

"Don't EVER enter one of those. Promise?" she said, cradling my cheeks. Then she broke down again and clutched me to her.

"Oh, sweetheart," she said, crying. "I have to tell you.

"That's how they got your father."

I felt tears trickling down my face as I watched my ages-younger self give a shriek and begin to pester my mom with questions. "Who, Mommy? Who got Daddy? Was it... them?"

My mother nodded, and I felt our sobs fade away as blackness rushed in to fill my "vision" and I was swept off to another memory.

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