George never had many friends. In fact, he had none at all. Yet, life for him was never tedious, never ordinary. It took him a long time to figure out that he wasn’t like everyone else, that he was different. By the age of twelve, George became withdrawn from the outside world. He stopped participating in class, though his grades continued being superior. At age fourteen he stopped talking, even to his mother. It was on his fifteenth birthday, that he found the book.
The book was odd, unlike anything he had ever seen before. It was old; its black leather cover cracked and creased, the pages withered and yellow with age. As he flipped through the significantly small book and eyed the foreign symbols, he could feel something inside of him change. It was an odd sensation, a feeling of being unraveled. No, not that, exactly. More like a feeling of floating, of finally being free from years of a prison-like world. It was then he noticed that there was something different about him. Not normal. Unique.
As he closed the book, the gold insignia on the cover flashed and glowed until the surrounding night turned to light. The world started to spin, faster and faster. It was like standing in the center of an out-of-control carousel. The world turned into a multicolored blur. Dizziness came in waves. George squeezed his eyes shut and rubbed his forehead, trying to clear his vision and his mind. When he opened his eyes again, he was no longer standing on a grassy knoll in the park and under the still, starry midnight sky. Instead, he was standing on a cracked desert plain. A light early morning wind blew strands of his hair into his face. To his left, he could see just a sprinkle of stars, a fading night, and huge round shadows, possibly dunes. To his right, a sun was just starting to show on the horizon. There was something mystical about the silent landscape.
George studied the book more closely, turning it this way and that. He was looking for answers without ever knowing any of the questions, except one: What exactly am I holding? He opened the tattered book again. Flipping through carelessly, he stopped on one page and concentrated on the strange symbols. The breeze became stronger. The shadows in the distance started to move. Whispers, disembodied voices, surrounded him, coming from every direction. The letters started to glow and flicker like flames. George gripped the book tighter and searched the land around him with wide eyes.
“George,” a faint voice called to him from the darkness, “George, come. What are you waiting for?”
A tall figure walked towards him, out of the darkness.
“George, are you coming? We must leave soon, before they arrive.”
“Before who arrives? Who are you? Where am I? Better yet, who am I?” George demanded.
The sun rose higher, making her body glow in the shadows. She was the tallest and most beautiful person he’d ever seen. She was wearing a flowing blue gown that matched her gleaming eyes. The odd thing about her though was that her hair was also blue.
“My name is Eveangel. And you…”
“I… what? What?”
“You will find out in your own time.”
The sounds of battle filled the air, and screams echoed through the land. Eveangel gasped in apprehension. “George, come!” she screamed, “Now!” She snatched the book from his grasp, took one of his hands and started running towards the massive dunes.
“Where are we going?” George hollered into the wind.
“Where we will be safe,” Eveangel shouted over her shoulder.
Over and beyond the dunes they fled. With the strong breeze, their telling trail was swept swiftly away. George bent over, hands on his knees, and gasped for air. Looking up at Eveangel, he noticed that she wasn’t out of breath at all. Standing up straight, he grimaced and rubbed the stitch in his side. She was standing straight, staring intently in the direction from which they had just come.
“How do you do that?” he asked, astonished.
“Do what?” she inquired, not taking her eyes off the horizon.
“Run like the wind and not be out of breath.”
She gazed at him curiously. “What do you mean?”
“I mean running for a prolonged amount of time without becoming tired,” he explained.
“We don’t get tired.”
“Who doesn’t get tired?”
“My kind.” Eveangel cocked her head in puzzlement.
“You never get tired or… or exhausted? Do you even sleep!?” George exclaimed.
“I didn’t say that. We do sleep. But we do not get tired. Exhaustion is a state of mind. If your mind does not believe, your body does not.”
“But how—,” George began.
“Quiet!” she whispered and raised her slender hand for good measure. She had abruptly turned her eyes back to the horizon. “It’s time for you to leave.”
“What do you mean leave? I just arrived and…”
“And?” she prodded.
“And I don’t want to go back home. I never belonged there.”
“You’re right. You belong here. It’s only for a short time. Your destiny lies here, on Alluriona, my planet.” She looked back at him. The time will come when you’re needed, and the book will let you know. Keep it safe and hidden. It’s very important.
“All right,” George replied. He didn’t realize that she had spoken to him telepathically. “So, how exactly do I get home?”
“Well, how did you get here?” she responded with a smile.
“I just found that book you’re holding, and the design on the front started glowing. The next thing I knew I was standing where you found me.” George replied.
“You must’ve been thinking of another place, another time where you could be free of all of your past overwhelming responsibilities. All you have to do is think of home.”
“That doesn’t help me in getting back though. I’d just be thinking of all the bad things that have happened to me there. Please don’t make me go back,” he pleaded.
“But you must! You must go or all we’ve worked for will be for nothing. Please!” Eveangel begged. “I promise you that you will return here and much sooner than you think. Here, take this book. It’s important that you have it. Finding this book is what brought you here. It’s what will get you home.”
“All right,” George agreed reluctantly. He took the book back from Eveangel, closed his eyes and thought of home. Knowing that he would soon be coming back helped him to leave.
As he faded away, Eveangel murmured, “Goodbye… Areon. Your destiny awaits you, as do we all.”
As Areon fled through space and time, Eveangel’s last words were left unheard. In an instant he was standing yet again on that grassy knoll and under a warm starry night sky. Sighing in disappointment, Areon headed out of the park towards what he used to call home and disappeared into the mist.
~Soon to be written... Book Two: The War to Come~