“Which way?” Sashay asked. We had followed the boys, down a dirt trail I had never seen before, but by the time we reached the bottom, we couldn’t figure out which way, right or left, they went. Sashay stopped the van and we got out and examined the ground. No evidence anywhere. I huffed in frustration.
“Why? Why did I make him say Cheri’s name?” I jumped on to the roof and tried to look down the road in each direction. The sun was just peaking over the mountains and I could see far, but apparently not far enough. No sign of the boys was anywhere. “When they find out she’s not the Key’d one….” I trailed off and Sashay looked up with worried eyes. We had the same thought, “they might hurt her.”
“I wonder…” I sat down on the roof and closed my eyes. Sashay climbed up beside me and I felt her eyes on me. “If I was able to tell them Cheri’s name, maybe I can change it back to mine?” I focused deep inside myself. I felt my consciousness reach out, and I could feel the power I possessed as the descendant of Emmiale. I could see it, a huge ball of energy, purple in color. I reached into it, searching for the right word. “Lausishia,” I whispered. Automatically, I was transported to where Cheri was. But not in real form, more like an out-of-body experience. I watched as the two boys turned and looked at Cheri, who was tied up on the floor of their van with a gag in her mouth. The boys had their masks off and I confirmed my thought, Calimo and Jaco.
“It’s not her,” Jaco said. Calimo looked at him in surprise. “It’s Amberlin.” As soon as my name came out of Jaco’s mouth Calimo’s face turned to horror.
“It’s the girl who always waves at me on my paper route. She’s beautiful,” He said. My heart fluttered, but it broke at his next words. “But, if she kills people, I guess this means she’s bad and we have to stop her.” His face hardened at those words and another word popped into my head.
“Kaniame,” I watched as Cheri disappeared and I knew I had sent her back to where Sashay and I were. I could feel myself weakening but I had to do one more thing. “Chailo.” I drew myself back to my body and snapped open my eyes. Cheri was sitting in front of me, with Sashay and I sighed in relief. I laid back and the girls looked at my pale face.
“What happened?” Cheri asked.
“I got them to forget about you, remember me, sent you back here, and protected the cabin from them ever intruding again,” I gasped out, the sun blinding my eyes.
“Amberlin, can you sit up?” Sashay asked and I pushed myself up and looked into her eyes. They both gasped.
“What?” I asked wearily.
“Your eyes, they’re amber,” Cheri answered awed.
“Woah, they’re changing back to blue now!” Sashay gasped. They watched as my eyes faded from amber to blue. “Well, I guess you’ve got a line of amber across both of your eyes now,” Sashay whipped out her phone to the mirror she had on her case and held it up to me. I looked in, and there my blue eyes were, with a parallel line of amber horizontal across each eye.
“Well, that’s different,” was all I could say in response. I liked it, but it would take some getting used to. I could see that even the blue in my eyes seemed enhanced, like HD blue eyes. The sun was higher in the sky now and I realized I only had an hour of sleep. “Can we head to the cabin now? I’m very tired.” Sashay nodded and got into the driver’s seat. Cheri pushed me on to the mattress and I fell asleep before I was even settled.
I was rudely awoken up half an hour later, by my lovely friend Sashay who threw a pencil at my face and screamed at me to wake up. I got up and stumbled into the house, like I was drunk. I barely made it up the stairs and to bed. I fell on my bed, not removing my now-dirty pajamas. I fell into such a deep sleep, I didn’t even dream. The next time I woke up, the sun was low in the sky, and I guessed the time to be about 5 pm. Glancing at my phone, I saw a text from Calimo.
C: You have deceived me too much, Amberlin. I won’t let you hurt anyone.
A: I won’t! The Eternal Knights have it all wrong, and so do you.
C: How do I know you’re not deceiving me again?
A: Why would I?
I heard my phone ring and I gulped when I saw the caller.
“Hello?” I said shaking.
“Amberlin, you’re Key’d,” Calimo started and I heard his voice break.
“Yes, I am. But Key’d people aren’t bad!” I protested. I heard him scoff.
“What if you’re lying? Did you start this whole thing to make me love you?” I heard him stutter after ‘love’. “And did you just do this to get me to your side?”
“Calimo, I’m not,” I pleaded. I wanted to him to understand. “I love you,” I whispered and I heard a small sob on the other end. Tears began streaming down my face. “Please don’t cry,” I was able to get out, sniffling.
“I…..I want to believe you, but everyone is turning me against you. I love you too,” he ended. I could feel how true it was, and I hope he could feel mine. “We had such a beautiful time together that night; I didn’t think you faked it all. Jaco….” He trailed off and I nodded even though he couldn’t see it.
“I know,” I answered wiping my face, tears still falling. I could feel my headache coming on, the ones I get after crying hard.
“Amberlin, my Cinderella,” Calimo said with emotion. I squeezed my eyes shut at the name, my favorite Disney princess.
“Please, don’t call me that,” I said gripping the phone. I knew what was coming next.
“I want to meet.” That was not what I was expecting. “I want to meet you, only you, the real you, not hidden by your mask. Us, together, alone,” he said pleadingly.
“Calimo, I can’t,” I answered regretting it as soon as I said it.
“I know,” I could picture his sad smile. “I just wanted to try. You’ll never trust me, and I’ll never trust you.” It ripped my heart out to hear him say that, but I couldn’t change my mind. Not with all I had trusted in me. “I love you, my little Cinderella.”
“I love you, Charming,” I pulled the phone away after hearing the click. I ran into my closet and shut the door, pushing myself as far into the corner as I could, in the dark. And I just cried.