The next day at school was just a rush. I was so caught up in my thoughts and trying to not feel that I hardly paid any attention to the world around me. My friends were all giving me looks of pity and trying not to talk to me too much in case I was feeling sensitive. The only one I really talked to was Caden.
After last period I decided to sit alone on the bench outside the school when Caden sat down next to me. “How are you doing Az?” He asked me cautiously. I shrugged and looked down . “Az, I saw the letter on the news. I have a feeling that your mom is okay.” I shrugged again. “Its okay Cade. I’m fine.” I said softly and looked at him to smile before looking down again. “Az, look at me.”
I just kept looking down.
“Look at me. For the love of God Az please just look at me.” And at that he took my chin and forced me to look in his eyes. He studied my face and I studied his, shocked at the sudden gesture and closeness of our faces. I felt my chest begin to burn with the feeling I know to be love. Of course, love for the boy in front of me caring so much, as a friend, but then I realised I needed to leave the situation before my eyes gave me away.
I quickly stood up and turned away. “I’m sorry Cade, I’ve gotta go.” I said softly to which he muttered an “okay” and I walked quickly to my car. I looked into the mirror and saw my eyes shining a little bit, but they quickly faded and so I thought no more about it and drove myself back to my home.
My house felt empty without the warm aura of my mother in it. I dumped my bags in the kitchen and made myself a sandwich. I hadn’t eaten all day.
I quickly ate and trudged my way up to my room. I sat on my bed and tried to clear my mind but my thoughts wouldn’t stop returning to that note. I threw my head back onto my pillow when I heard the crumple of paper beneath me. Slowly, I turned my head back to look at what it was.
There was a sleek, crisp, white envelope addressed “Azura”.
My hands began to shake. The rest of me began to shake.
I took a few deep breaths before turning the letter around. There was a sleek, black wax seal over the opening. I peeled it off and slowly opened the envelope to reveal a neatly folded piece of paper. I slid it out of the envelope and tried to stop shaking enough to unfold it. Carefully, I managed to open it. I took a few deep breaths before reading it.
With one glance, my heart nearly stopped.The familiar writing drenched the page.
TODAY YOUR MOTHER WAS ABLE TO SIT UP ON HER OWN IN BED. HOPING FOR FURTHER STRENGTH GAIN.
My mother began to lose her strength after I was born and my father left.By the time I was 10, she could only move around in a wheelchair. By the time I was 16, she could barely move at all. I didn’t believe the note, nor did I appreciate it. I ripped apart the note in fury and ran down the stairs. I started a fire in the fireplace and tossed the note, and its envelope in it. I watched the papers burn and made a wish to have “X” leave me alone, and my mother safely returned back home.
I went back up to my room and returned to my bed, glancing at the mirror on my wall. I saw the card from Sterling. I debated, should I contact Sterling to let him know about the note?
Of course. This man, or woman, needed to be caught.
Without thinking again, I grabbed the card and my phone and dialed the number at the bottom. After three rings it picked up.
“Sterling Martin, special agent, whats your concern?”
“Hi, uh, sir..I mean Sterling...This is Azura Stone...I thought I’d up-”
I was cut off.
“Azura, hi, um has something else happened?”
“Let me come see and talk to you in person...I-uh-I think its the best idea taking into consideration your...identity?”
It came out sounding like a question, but I knew he was referring to me being an ignio. I didn’t bother to question why, I just muttered an “Ok.” and he hung up.
I paced for about an hour before I heard a loud knock at the door. I raced down the stairs and opened the door to see Sterling dressed in all black with his black sunglasses still shading his eyes. He walked in without waiting for an invitation, helped himself to a bag of chips sitting on the counter, and sat down on a kitchen stool. He stared at me as if waiting for me to explain why I called.
“Well?” he pushed me to speak.
I gulped nervously and began to explain.
“Well...I got home from school today and went into my room and..” Fear began to rise back up in me, I tried to push it down “and...I-I found….” I pushed back the tears and forced it out “I found another note.”
His eyes widened and he jumped up, throwing the chips everywhere, and raced up to my room. I followed behind him, eager to know what he thought.
He saw the note on my bed and grabbed it, opening it quickly and skimming the words.
“It couldn’t be…” he muttered barely loud enough for me to hear. “Twice now, and no prints.” He turned the note over examining every crevice.
I cleared my throat in hopes of being told what he was thinking. I let out a shaky breath and spoke quietly “What...what does it mean?”
“Azura, I’m going to have to take this with me. I have access to high-tech tracing equipment, we need to try and find where this is coming from-for your own safety, and to find your mother, of course.”
I nodded, slightly bothered that he didn’t really answer my question.
“Tell you what Azura, I’m gonna come by here once a week and pick up anything left and let you inform me on any weird occurrences…”
I interrupted him “You mean I’m gonna stay here?”
He gave me a look of sympathy “I think you will be safe here, for now at least, be careful of course, I will keep tabs on the house, but I think its best you continue going to school and at least try to live a normalish life...as to not draw any attention to yourself.”
I sighed but agreed, realizing there was no way I could get around this.
“I’ll see you later Azura, get rested up for school tomorrow.” And with that he picked up the note, and left.
I turned out the lights and laid down, but sleep wouldn’t come. The note left me feeling like someone was watching me, and I couldn’t find comfort.