LUMINESCENT

I began this story as NaNoWriMo 2011. I finally decided to share it as I go on rewriting it. :) Hope you enjoy it! I will make it into a full ebook once it's fully edited. ♥

Shea Lovell was born in the eve of a tragedy. Raised by her grandmother, a healer, they spend their lives hiding from those who wish to condemn them into the fires of hell. After all, anything unexplainable was the work of the devil. One day, all is gone and she is offered a second chance. In an attempt to live a normal life, as normal as she could, she grasp it, not knowing where it would lead. She is force to face her true self and that of those around her, leading her into worlds beyond her imagination and a quest for a place to call home.

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2. The Scar of a Human Life

Not everything was bad. Some days were colder than others, some warmer and kind. Such was Shea's life during the days they ran. Ella decided not to stay in one place for longer than a year. She accepted to her old days in the hiding, hunted by the memories of her family’s curse. In six years Shea did not demonstrate such destructive behavior, though Ella's heart still feared the angered child. Shea remembered the promise she made and intended to keep it. This and the comfort of her shadow companion kept her away from those emotions. As long as they were safe, nothing would happen to anyone, because she would not feel threatened.
The cold winters were mostly spent inside. Shea helped her grandmother grow indoor gardens in small enough baskets to be carried to the next town. They evaded big cities which were on the rise, especially because along with them, so did the strict measures of their religion. Instead, their lives were spent in small villages and sometimes towns far enough from big cities. Towns they soon abandoned as hunters reached them. Shea was content with such a life. The idea of making up for the sins of her innocent days by helping heal the sick through the land was reassuring. Perhaps there was something more human in her. Perhaps it was the only way she could prove this humanity. It was the only comfort she could get since she did not know how the incident with the soldiers by the woods happened. She only remembered the fear and her promise. She had to keep the promise, though she did not know why.
Few were the friends she made. Many the ones that faded with each passing season. Some would learn of her nature and send hunters to their doorstep. This time, she listened to the whisper and warned her Mama. They always fled in time. And in Shea's mind this was for the sake of the hunters more than for their own.
Such was a day when in her trust she won a new friend. Still open to the idea that perhaps in such a vast world, someone might accept her as she was. This friend, however, changed that.
Liana Smith, a simple tailor's daughter, won Shea's trust. A year younger than Shea, the pair was inseparable for almost an entire year. The longest Shea managed to keep a friend. She knew however they would soon leave for a new village and would never see the girl again. The day Liana learned about Shea's peculiarity came by accident. The girl almost died after falling from a pit. Shea, with no choice at hand, helped her through ways Liana considered magical (and everyone else for that matter). Her wounds were healed and Mother Nature moved, helping the girls get out of the pit. It was already dark, but she could see Liana's wide blue eyes staring at her with fear and admiration. She asked Shea, as everyone did, how she did what she did. Shea, as always, had no answer, afraid it would cost their long friendship, as it always did. Always.
They could almost hear the trees speak. Shea took a breath and said, "It's a secret".
"I can keep a secret, we are best friends after all," reassured Liana. Though Shea wasn't all that prepared to trust such words. "Please?" begged the girl once more.
Shea was having a hard time containing her answer. Part of her wanted to share, trying to find that person who would accept her. Part of her was afraid, as it always turned out, never for the best. It was a fault she never understood. After all, how was she still able to place her trust on others?
Her heart was raising, the voice was unsettled, and it did not say anything to stop Shea from saying “I'll tell you tomorrow. Your Papa must be looking for you and I don't want Mama to worry."
"Promise?" Liana asked a little skeptical.
"Yes," Shea answered taking Liana's hand, "let's go," she added while dragging her away.
On their path she saw him standing on front of them. Not now, she wanted to say with her eyes. The figure somehow understood, nodded, and vanished. A bit of her saddened every time he did.
"What's wrong Shea?" asked Liana sensing Shea's discomfort.
"Nothing," she held the excessive words which weren't needed nor were convenient to utter.
The girls arrived safely to worried parents and grandmother. They told a story filled with fantasies as any child would. They believed them. Children had such imagination. Shea observed their responses and thought perhaps her truth could be disguised in a lie. A story in land of fantasy. If she only knew her truth things would be easier. What to say, what not to say. But not knowing, perhaps it was wiser to invent one and make it into a child's game, nothing more. Nothing less.

#

"Am I real?" asked Shea to her unsuspecting grandmother. She stared at her right hand. Marked by the only scar in her body. A burned scar running from her thumb towards her wrist, wrinkled skin of what once almost killed her. She wondered if perhaps it did, taking away her humanity with it, and now she was something else.
"What are you talking about?" Ella was sewing the broken skirt Shea wore the previous night.
"Like, real… like, I am not from someone's imagination."
"What nonsense is that, child? Of course you are real! We all are!"
"Not like that... it's just..." it was hard to explain. How sometimes she felt as if looking at her own body as an outsider. Like she was in a prison of her own creation and how some of her dreams felt more real than the world around her. How a shadow she could only see, felt more real and kind than those around her. And how the voice in her head felt more than just a problem of her mind. "Nothing," she sighed. It was all impossible to explain, to adults at least. Did anyone else felt like that? "I'm going to Liana's" she added rushing to the door.
Ella warned her of the woods and how Liana's parents were not happy with Shea's wild influence. They were grateful because Shea protected Liana, angry because she was the cause of them going into the woods on their own in the first place. Especially because it was hunting season. Traps and animal hunters were all around the area, anyone could be an accidental victim. Mainly little children at night confused with animals.

#

Once Shea arrived at Liana's house, her mother greeted her with a sour face. Liana on contrast, perhaps in expectancy of the great secret, ran towards Shea, took her hand in hers and ran away from the house without giving Shea a chance to say goodbye.
"Where are we going?" Shea finally asked after a long run.
"Somewhere secret, I show you mine and you tell me yours, that way it's fair." Shea smiled. Perhaps this time it would be different. Perhaps Liana would remain her friend and guard her secret and help her guard it too. Maybe like this they would not have to run anymore. She would have a home with Mama Ella, and they would live in peace.
Soon they found themselves bellow a house in the main street. The street was always busy with people walking or on horse to their daily routines. The spot, Shea saw, gave a perfect impression of the life in town, in a sort of spying way. Almost invisible to the ones walking by, yet allowing them to see everything. It was a small door, as if made for a pet which led to the bottom of the house. It was an abandoned basemen no bigger than a porch. Shea later learned that it used to be a sort of prison for misbehaving house servants. The border which allowed light in was how you could see everything in the street, and yet no one could see you.
Shea felt this place could be trusted regardless of the smell of death.
"No one ever comes here," pointed out Liana. "They think it's scary, but is like a super hide out." Shea liked the idea, a super hide out, no one could find her if she hid there. Maybe that's what she should do. "So how do you do it?" Liana asked impatiently. For a moment Shea forgot all about their deal.
"Oh, well, I don't know," she admitted quietly.
"What do you mean you do not know? You have to know, how else could you have done that?"
"That's the thing, I don't know, it just... happens. When I'm scared, or if someone wants to hurt me."
"Maybe you are a witch, you just don’t know it," said Liana as if it was the most natural thing in the world, to be a witch, Shea found this strange considering Liana's strict upbringing.
"I'm not a witch. I don't kill," Shea lay.
"You do not have to kill to be a witch, there are good witches too," said Liana. Shea never considered the word witch and good together in a sentence. Most people did not. Somehow Liana did. Would she think like that if she knew what Shea did?
"Where did you heard that?" No normal child would think witches are good. They are always being scared from entering forbidden places or wondering off too long with such tales. Horrifying enough to convince them of witches’ blackened souls.
"A monk was walking by a long time ago. He told me stories. He said he once met a witch, but she was good. She did all things witches did but to help people. Maybe you can be like her," a monk, Shea contemplated the idea, could such a monk know the answers to her questions? Did he met others like her? Did Liana thought of her as not good?
"I don't know, it just doesn't seem possible," Shea insisted though all the evidence pointed otherwise.
"What else can you do?" Liana asked doing a small dance and almost jumping. Shea bit her lips. "Come on, no one will see us here," she insisted grabbing her hands.
"Promise not to tell anyone?"
"I promise!"
"Are you sure? Promise promise? Every time someone promises they become afraid and break the promise and then we have to leave."
"I promise promise Shea, I don’t want you to leave."
"Very well," Shea sighed with an uncertain smile.
The portal swirled. Like a hand mirror floating. Liana's eyes grew in amazement. Shea kept it straight. It was not the first time she's done it. It was small yet big enough for her scarred hand to go through.
"What is that?" Liana asked still with her eyes fixed on the bright spinning mirror.
"I think is like a portal. I can find things inside. Small, but I’ve never try it bigger than this, just in case," she shrugged.
"What are you waiting for then? Pull out something! Like magicians!" Though magicians were now being rejected, the amazement in children’s eyes was still there. She knew Liana wanted to see amazing things like everyone else. 
Shea focused reaching to the silver disc, entering with caution. Once before, she felt a small bite when she tried, her finger bled and healed. Since then she is more careful. She was still amazed and curious about what was on the other side. Some of the few things she enjoyed about her uniqueness. Would she ever be able to see it with her own eyes?
They heard a few steps and Shea pulled her hand out. The steps faded and she breathed again. In another attempt she reached once more towards the disc. She needed to hurry because she could never keep it stable long enough. She wondered what would be appropriate for her friend. Last time she brought out a glowing purple flower which lasted a few days before turning into nothing. She hoped for nice colored stones, those which shined. But she had no control as of where she could find what. It was random and uncertain, sometimes even dangerous. As long as she kept it small, it should be safe.
Then, she felt it; small, long and smooth. She twirled a finger around it, hoping it was anything but a snake (or something similar to one), and pulled it out. The noise it made was painful to the ears. Liana screamed in choir with it and slapped her ears, followed by Shea’s own scream. The creature’s big bloody eyes opened and closed. It’s small mouth producing a sound harsher than what you would expect from such a diminutive hole. It tried to free itself from Shea's hands. It had thin bat-like wings and no hair. The tail, where Shea had grabbed, ended in a sphere filled with spikes. This of course made the girls run. Why did not Shea felt it when she grabbed it on the other side? It could not have just appeared there. There was no time for questions, the creature was noticeably distressed. The girls ran out of their hideout. To their misfortune, some people stopped when they heard their screams. The girls stared at them as the people stared at them worried and puzzled. Before they could ask, the creature flew out of the door and around the small crowd. Beast, demon, flying rat; Shea heard all sort of things being shouted at the creature. Before they could catch it, the creature flew away in panic, never again to be seen.
Shea waited for the worse as a man held both girls. Everyone asked them for an explanation and Shea looked at Liana, begging her with her eyes not to say anything. Liana however, was scared. As they always were and soon she told the whole story. 
Shea struggled until she managed to run away from the man’s grip. Somehow, resisting the impulses to defend herself, she ran as fast as she could. Her scrapped knees healing on the way, her hands bleeding and stopping every time she fell. She got to her house and shut the door behind. She knew they were after her, and she would have to tell Mama and they would have to run, again. Her heart beat against her chest as if wanting to run on its own, leaving her behind. Shea could not breathe and she could feel her hands tingling in expectation.
"No, no..." she begged beneath her breath.
"What is wrong child?" asked Ella as she finished drying a plate.
Shea could not answer, she did not had enough air to do so. So she began to cry as hard as she could. She cried out of fear and disappointment. She cried because in the end, Liana was just like everybody else, human, and in that respect, fearful of anything unexplainable. Ella tried to calm her down and get her to say what happened but Shea would not say. She could not though she needed to. They needed to get away fast, and the door was already being slammed upon.
"Open up witch!" Not again, Shea thought. This time she would not let them catch them, she would not hurt them. This time she decided she would run. She stood up, ignoring Ella's words, who did not dare open the door herself. Instead, locked it harder with the wood plank and an old heavy chair she could barely move. Ella knew it was happening again. So far they were able to leave the towns and villages quietly before anything could happen. But once again they barely had any time to do so. Ella followed after Shea who was already climbing a window with her emergency bag. 
They always had an emergency bag in case they needed to run leaving all their things behind. In such a bag they always kept the few reminders of the previous normal life Ella used to have and Shea never knew. A book of her mother, a necklace from her aunt and a few toys wrecked in time. Ella made sure it always had the necessary medicines, mostly for her own use than for Shea's. Though she could depend on the child for health, she was aware of how much it wore her down and feared that she might not make it back from her long sleeps.
Ella followed the girl with difficulty. The house was close enough to the other houses for anyone to simply make it to the back fast enough. They got on their old horse and ran away. Surely followed.
They did not went far before Shea could explain what happened. Ella just remained quiet, knowing. She only sighed, a sigh filled with disappointment in Shea's ears. Shea apologized over and over again until Ella told her to stop. They were lucky it was still summer, because that day, they slept in a cave.

#

Soft. Soft. White. Kind. Words repeating in Shea's sleeping time. The voice whispered until she fell asleep. It whispered in a soft and tender voice. Shea liked it when she sounded so gentle. It wasn't often that she did, though it was always there, but when Shea needed it, she always tried to calm her down. Maybe it's all in her head. Maybe the running is not real, and the killing never happened, and no one ever betrayed her, and in reality, she was still a baby being softly rocked in her mother's arms whispering her those words. Maybe the dream was the reality and the reality was the dream. If that was the case, she wanted to wake up.

#

When her vision cleared there was a meadow. In the distance of the meadow the sky was pink, although there was no sun. She felt someone beside her. She saw first a hand, manly and bright. It looked like it shined, but Shea knew it was not just any shine. She could see the soul of this man and it was bright but painful. Before she could trace the hand to the face she shut her eyes in pain.
Shea found herself back in the cave. Daylight shone in. Through the sun rays she saw some shapes. Her vision was slowly covered in red and her ears eventually regained function, recognizing Ella's screams. She dragged Shea towards her. Shea was confuse, did they found her? Was it a beast? Why did her head hurt so much? And then she heard them. They called them witches, demons, and what not. Specially Shea, a child of the devil. Too dizzy to fight back, Shea was dragged away from her grandmother who later was dragged out by a strong man. She begged them over and over again, as she has done nothing wrong to them, but they were deaf to her words.
They took them into the forest, and Shea began to regain some strength as her head wound healed. Not in her favor, though her hair made it hard to notice. She did not wanted to hurt them, not this time. What could she do? She was just a child. In their eyes she was a demon. They took them to the river, as they often do, and tied large rocks to their ankles. Shea remained silent the whole time, thinking, planning of a way not to kill them. But the frequent abuses against her grandmother was steaming her blood. Ella, now bleeding from a broken lip, wept and begged.
There he was again. Shea looked at the shadow on front of her. It reached towards her bled hair, there was no wound to be seen. "I'm all right," she told him in a whisper but he did not left. She closed her eyes, she could feel them burning bright. She promised him. At that moment, roots began to form from the trees. A man began to scream and pray. They always prayed. “I won't kill you,” Shea thought. She would say it, but it would only make it worse. The men were held at their ankles by the trees while Shea took the point of a rock to free herself. After freeing Ella, she turned to them. The shadow watched, unmoved. 
Shea sighed and took her bag from the ground, put it on and too Ella’s shaking hand. "It shouldn't be this way, you'll be free when we are far enough. Don't come find us if you wish to keep your lives," Shea warned them, her eyes piercing blue. Part of her regretted her words. "Good bye," she said solemnly and walked away with Ella's hand. She would wait until they were safe to heal her Mama’s body.

 

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