In the sky - chapter two


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1. Bring darkness to the light and light to the darkness.

She got off the train as quickly as she could, but only after snapping a picture of the flower with her phone and checking that it was stored safely in the memory. The urge to be in open spaces, not surrounded by thousands of people and to not feel the walls bend over her forced her to almost run out of the station. Izalla let out a breath of relief when she stepped outside and felt the cold air on her face, the wind through her hair. Her heart slowed and the feeling of compression she had felt on her the moment she had stepped on the train slowly begun to fade away.

She looked at the sky and scanned the clouds, holding her breath, seeing if anything happened. But, to her precious relief, nothing did. She allowed herself to smile slightly, before beginning to walk in the direction of her father’s house, all the while trying to shut out the big question.

Had she done that?

People walked around her, bumped into her, stared her down, and the elusive memory came creeping on her again. She tried to catch it, to hold it still, but it never got close enough for her to grab it.  Irritated, she pushed it away and tried to ignore the feeling of being watched by everything and everyone.  The walk to her father’s house was not too long, but it felt like forever. By the time she reached the double doors of the apartment building in which he stayed, she was short of breath and scared. It seemed as though everyone knew she had run from the school. Correction, it seemed like everyone knew where she had left. She was sixteen, she could leave. They looked like they were scrutinizing her, checking to see when the next episode would happen. It’s not going to, she though, I’m healed now.

She grabbed the door handle, and pushed. The doors swung open with ease, and she stepped inside the cold and dark hall. Izalla looked around for the stairs, and started walking towards them, her heart racing. Not because she felt scared, but because she was happy. Her father would be enthusiastic of seeing her. She couldn’t wait for him to hug her like he used to, like he hadn’t done in so long. She climbed all the way to the fourth floor, and knocked on the door of apartment 41. Like the years her father had lived. She waited impatiently, expecting him to open the door at any minute.  Where was he?

And finally he stood in the doorway, staring at his child.

“Izalla! What are you doing here?”  He half screamed, surprised to see her standing in his doorway.

“I came to see you dad. What else would I be doing here?” Izalla smiled at him and pushed past him to get inside the apartment. The little space was filled with books, overflowing with them. The familiar feeling of being confined assailed her, but she pushed it away. She was safe there, it was her father’s home.

“Izalla, you are supposed to be in school” said her father.

“I turned sixteen last week; I am allowed to leave once in a while now.” She was starting to wonder when he would hug her. She really wanted him to hug her.

“They gave you permission to leave the grounds?” he sounded surprised.

Izalla turned to him, a hurt look on her face. She then walked to him, and encircled him with her arms. Her head reached his shoulder now, she had grown so much since the last time they had seen each other. His heart beat pumped in her ear, and her own heart begun racing along with it as she finally let her mind be assaulted by utter joy. She was home.

He carefully placed his arms around her daughter, and awkwardly patted her back. It’s the wrong order but it will have to do, she thought as she stepped away from him.

“Izalla, did you run away from the school?” he asked her. The direct questions caught her by surprise.

“Well, the whole process of asking for permission takes weeks, and I was scared they would refuse. I am going back soon, they won’t even notice I was gone.” Izalla replied sourly; hurt slowly creeping its way in her voice, no matter how hard she tried to hide it.

He sighed, and moved over to the phone.

“Make yourself at home, I have a call to make.” He told her.

She began walking around the apartment. In the small living which served as a kitchen as well, the walls were lined with bookshelves all bursting with books. There were books everywhere. Literally. The table was piled with them, the chairs barely visible and cracking under the weight of knowledge. The small two-person sofa was also covered with layers of layers of thrown books. Chaos ruled in the living room, making Izalla begin to feel uncomfortable again. She raced over to the sofa, picked up two books and looked at the titles. She began stacking them neatly on the floor, in alphabetical order. She became more and more frantic as the number of books on the floor increased. She moved to the table and the chairs, picking up books and carrying them to the piles now on the floor. She dimly realized her father was calling the school, but she was too concentrated on the task of cleaning up that she forgot to care. And then she saw it.

The same hieroglyph drawing on the cover of a blue book. It was colored in this time, the petal like structures of a violent red that resembled the colour of blood. She reached for the book, startled of finding the hieroglyph in her father’s house. The moment her fingers touched the book, and one finger fell on the hieroglyph as she touched it, the whole world became dark again. Lights switched off everywhere in her sight. She dropped the door, a scream escaping her open mouth. Her father screamed too, and she heard the sound of the phone being dropped and bouncing up and down on its string. Still screaming, her heart racing, she bent down and picked up the book from above her foot, where it had fallen. The moment she touched the hieroglyph, the world came to light again.

She sighed heavily, before dropping the book once more to the ground. Her hands shook, and she tried hard to stop them, focusing her energy on preventing her fingers from trembling so violently.

“Izalla!” Her father reached her, jumping over the piles of books she had created. Without even realizing it, she had piled them around herself, forming a protective barrier against the outside world and the people it brought with it. He hugged her spontaneously this time, and as he did so his eyes fell on the book at her feet.

“Oh no…” he whispered in her ear.

“Dad, I think..” Izalla whispered back.

He bent down and picked up the book, careful not to touch the hieroglyph. He stared at it, and then stared at his daughter, who stood shaking in front of him.

“Not you too, it’s not possible.” He told himself. As a response, she looked at him, confusion apparent in her eyes.

He slowly pulled up his sleeve, revealing a tattoo exactly like the hieroglyph. It was red, like the one on the book, but had a sentence inscribed under it. It read: “Bring darkness to the light and light to the darkness.”

Izalla gasped, her eyes moving from the book to the tattoo to her father’s face, and then back again. She felt her breaths becoming sharper, and her whole body seemed to be compressed slowly. A sense of claustrophobia assailed her, she wanted to run as far as possible, but her feet were glued to the ground, and the books she herself had so diligently stacked blocked her path.

“Calm down. Look.” He sounded authoritarian, it was the first time in her life she heard him sound like someone in charge.

Her father looked at her, and slowly moved his finger towards the tattoo. Izalla wanted to scream at him, tell him not to touch it, tell him to stop, but she kept quiet.

The moment his finger touched the tattoo, the whole world switched off again, and this time she heard the screams coming from the street, the terrified people whose world had just suddenly stopped being bright. She clasped her hands together, and brought them to her face, covering her eyes from the unbearable darkness.

Suddenly, a light switched on only in their living room, and Izalla’s eyes sprung open like windows on a windy day. Her father had his finger on his tattoo, and was looking at her, a concentrated look in his eyes.

“You are not the only one Izalla. Breath honey, you are home.” He smiled, and the lights came back on everywhere.

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