An image floated towards me. I looked into it. It was a memory of my mom.
"Sophie!" She gave me a stern look, evidently unsatisfied by my performance. "Dancing is about grace, but your performance proved that it is anything but graceful."
I looked down. "But I've been practicing everyday."
My mom stared at me from the corner of her eyes. "Do you think I will believe that? Mr. Dourman told me that you skip class very frequently. And he also said that you still step on his feet, even though you've been learning Waltz for half a year, already."
I pouted. "That Mr. 'Doorman' tattle-telling on me, even though I apologized for stepping on him. How cheap!"
"Sophie, you're being rude! Go practice, right now!"
I lowered my head. "Yes ma'am."
She turned her head and walked away.
I made a face at her.
"Sophie!" Her voice made me both flinch and shiver. "Are you doing something behind my back?"
I was too stunned to speak right. "N-no, mom. I was j-just…um…exercising."
I laughed at this memory. "At that time, I thought that my mom have an eye on her back, so I never dare to do anything bad again."
That memory went away and a new memory floated towards me. It was the first time my dad taught me how to play chess.
"No, Sophie. You can't move your chess piece there." My dad was pointing at the pawn I placed.
"Why," I asked. "But the Queen piece was able to move like that."
My dad said, "The queen is the queen and the pawn is the pawn. They are different."
"Why," I asked, again.
"It's the rule."
"Ah…" I slumped on the table. "So many rules! So complicated!"
My dad chuckled. "Do you want to quit?"
"No!" I sat upright. "If I can survive mom's boot camp, then I can survive this."
My dad laughed. "If your mom was here right now, you would've been in big trouble."
I smiled, "Then, dad, you must keep this a secret from her."
My dad's brows rose. "You want me to be your partner in crime."
"Not 'want'. 'Need'"
My dad nodded his head as if he understood. "Fine, then we're partners in crime."
I blinked. "Did I really say that?" I shrugged. "Well, she found out anyways. She didn't talk to us for a whole day."
Soon, the next image came to me.
"No! Sophie, don't do that!" Hue tried his best to stop me, but it was too late.
"Huh?" I looked at him innocently still holding the salt shaker, that was now empty.
Hue put both of his hands on his head in panic. "What've you done?"
"What? I just put some flavor into the soup. Didn't I say that I'll cook today."
"But that's not how you–" He stopped and sighed. "Just…Just taste it."
"Fine!" I pouted. "How bad can it be?" I took a sip of the soup and cringed. "It…disgusting!"
"That is because you didn't cook it right. I'll teach you. First, you must…"
I grimaced. "That soup did taste disgusting. It not only salty but also gooey." "What's next?"
"Hey, sis!" Noah scampered towards me.
"Hey, Noah." I bent down and picked him up.
"Look! Look!" He waved his device in the air.
"What is it?"
"It's a book! I learned how to read so mama bought me a book."
"Really?! Good for you!"
He held his head high and smiled. "Yep!" He held the book with both of his hands. displaying it in front of me. "Sis, can you read with me?"
I sighed. "I wish, but I can't read."
Noah's brows were up to his forehead. His mouth was in the shape of an "o." "You can't read?"
I shook my head in response.
He grinned. "I can teach you. It's easy!"
I smiled. "He was the best teacher ever! He was like a future teacher." The image went away and I was anticipating for the next one to come.
"Dad, where are we going?"
My dad was concentrating on the road with an overly serious expression. He didn't answer me.
My mom gave me a stern look. "Be quiet!"
I shrunk back. "Yes ma'am." I could tell that they were acting weird.
Suddenly, my dad's device rang. My dad didn't answer it immediately. He hesitated until the sound almost stop, and then he answered it. The device projected a man in his mid-ages. I could see that my dad's eyes were wide with…fear? "Leader Walkington," he said under his breath.
Leader Walkington made a sinister smile. "I see, you thought you could escape from me." My dad tried to say something but Leader Walkington silenced him with a gesture. "Shh… Can you hear that?"
We all became silent. A slow continuous beep was heard from somewhere in the car. It wasn't clear to me what it was but my parents apparently knew. My dad clenched his fist and his eyes widened in fury. "You–"
Leader Walkington laughed, which I thought was stupid because there was nothing to laugh about. "Yes; it is a bomb."
My dad stopped the car and started to open his car door.
Leader Walkington stopped him by saying, "Not so fast." His word made my dad stop. "You know I could have easily placed a silent bomb. Do you know why I did not?" He continued as if he didn't expect an answer. "You know, I have a soft heart. I did you a favor by warning you of the bomb early, so that you could get out. However, everybody has to pay for their actions. Because you betrayed me and went against me, you will have to suffer the consequences."
My dad glared at him. "Get to the point."
Leader Walkington laughed again. "I just love your attitude!" He stopped laughing. "I can let you live but in your stance, your wife and your daughter will have to sacrifice their life. I locked every door except for yours, so you can get out, but when your door opens, the bomb will go off. By the way, don't try any trick with me, because I have placed a sensor around your car. If it detects more than one person leaving the car, the bomb will go off immediately. Now, you do not want that, do you?"
My dad was trembling. My mom placed her hand gently on my dad's hand. My dad turned to her and they locked eyes for a moment. Then, with their fingers entwined, both of them nodded.
My dad turned and picked me up from the back seat and placed me on his laps. "Sophie, listen closely. You have to leave this car when I say so."
Even at my age, I knew that it wasn't that simple. "What about you and mom?"
He brushed some some loose hair from my face. "Dad and mom have to leave, but I promise you we will stay with you forever." My dad glanced at my mom. Then he turned back to me. "I want to promise me that you will smile no matter what. You must live on to see what we can't, understand?"
The situation finally dawned on me. I shook my head vigorously. "No! Dad, no! I can't live without you and mom! You can't do this!"
My dad smiled a sad smile. "We will always be with you."
In an instant, the door opened and I was pushed out of the car. Then, just like what Leader Walkington said, the car exploded.
Although I got pushed out of the car, half of my body still went with the explosion.
I gasped. "No!" I turned and tried to run away, but another memory approached me.
When I was conscious again, from the explosion, I was in the hospital. I didn't feel any pain, physically, but I felt torture, mentally. I clenched my fist as a teardrop rolled down my face. "Why didn't I just die?"
In the distance, I heard footsteps. I closed my eyes pretending to be asleep. A soft voice spoke. "Will she be alright?" This voice was very familiar.
Another voice answered the question. "Of course, she will," the voice said. "I payed all of that money just for her to live. She better be grateful that she is at least a half-human." The voice sneered. "Well, let's leave. I'm hungry. If it wasn't for my sister, I would never do this." I heard a sigh, before they left.
My eyes flew opened. "What did she just say?" The words she said played in my mind continuously. I couldn't scream, because I was too tired. I couldn't run, because I was too numb. I just laid there with my eyes closed as tears poured down my face. "Why didn't I just die?"
I held my head as I shook it vigorously. "No! Stop! Don't show anymore!"
Another image came, although the other two still resided. It was the memory of me looking for Hue.
"Please stop," I begged.
Another one approached me showing me the memory of Noah's death. The four memories surrounded me and they drew nearer and nearer towards me.
"Stay away! Stay away!" I quivered and tried to back up, but there was no place for me to do so.
Suddenly, the images transformed into a gulf of fire, threatening to engulf me. It closed in until it was just inches from me.
I woke up, screaming.