In a Dream – Chapter 1
13 years later…
A sixteen year old sweated as she ran past cypress tree after cypress tree. Turning her head to see behind her, a scared yet partly entertained smile crept onto her face. She jumped over cypress knees, dodged palm fronds, and hurried along a fallen tree to avoid mud puddles, but her pursuer caught up to her slowly but surely.
The girl grabbed her flying golden blond hair, still running, and put it into a tight bun. Laughing to herself, she began to zigzag between palms, cypress, and oaks and soon was out of sight of the follower.
He’s smart, she thought, I would know that, but not, well, quick at observing. He’ll eventually figure it out.
She ran a bit farther on. Then, smirking, the teen checked behind her once more and suddenly disappeared into the ground.
Seconds later the pursuer rushed into the scene. He stopped not seeing anymore footprints in the mud. There were several trees big enough for the girl to have hid behind. A giant oak with plenty of branches above him for her to pounce on him. There was a huge cypress tree with its roots dipping into a deep pond beside him. He shook his head, amused as he trudged across to the other side of the water.
However, with his back to the cool glassy substance, the man did not notice the bubbles floating up to the surface. Or the wet body of his supposed prey popping out of the pond. He checked behind the trees he had observed earlier, saying, “Xen? Xen? Well, if you can hear me-“
“I can hear you,” said a voice coming from behind him. He jumped forward, and turned around surprised. The soaking wet teenage girl laughed and smacked his shoulder, leaving a wet palm imprint.
“Xenalla! What, whah?”
The dripping girl named Xenalla put her hands on her hips and gave him a look that said Use your brain, mastermind.
Immediately his eyes went to the pond, then back to her as he gave an understanding nod. “You hid in the pond,” he said with a somewhat defeated tone but not quite defeated.
Xenalla suddenly spoke in an irritated tone, “You knew. You knew before I ‘surprised’ you that I was hidden in the pond. Didn’t you?”
“Yeah, I did…but-” he was going to add , but Xenalla cut him off.
“You are supposed to let me know when you have me! I mean, that’s what I thought these chases were for: to help each other so that we, at least, know how to survive in these woods. And if you didn’t let me know I was vunra-“
“Xen, I only knew you were there because I saw your eyes looking up from beneath the water,” the boy finished his prior sentence.
Xenalla hesitated as she sat down and dipped her legs into the pond. Then, “Um…thanks, but you should have told me right then and there.”
“No one, even as smart as you, would have noticed those green gems. Therefore, I didn’t bother telling you because that was an amazing idea and you definitely would have had your predator.”
There was a minute of silence as the masculine 17 year old male sat down beside Xenalla and listened to the birds chirping.
“So I have green gems for eyes?” Xenalla began to laugh.
The boy shrugged playfully and replied, “Maybe, so you might want to close your eyes next time or change the color. If you do change their color, consider black.”
“Don’t worry; it won’t make you look any uglier…if that’s even possible,” he sarcastically joked.
Quickly, Xenalla looked at him with a shocked look and suddenly grabbed his wrists, forcing him toward the water. She pushed him into the pond and let go. She laughed until she felt her hands being held; she realized what was going to happen next.
“Ben!” she yelled at the shadow before becoming fully submerged.
Never a dull moment, she thought watching her friend and splashing him. I wish my life was always like this.
The two teenagers ran through the forest to come to one of the houses on the outside circle. The residents of Sanford lived in houses that circled around the town square. As one of the poorest families, Xenalla’s family, the Reynoldses, were of the many who lived on the farthest and largest circle road.
Houses located closer to the center represented the wealthiest, who, since to the convenient distance between their estate and the town center, were in no major need of a hovercraft. But, considering that even the wealthiest were poor, no one had any advanced technical luxurious.
Not including the rich, nobody even had their own oxygen transformer which took oxygen and converted it into energy to run flashlights, AllTechnums, or any other electronic object. AllTechnums are portable, early twenty-first century flip phone sized objects. The AllTechnum has to be flipped open 180 degrees and button pressed to be activated. It would then show or do anything the holder told it to.
Xenalla did not care that her family used the old computers, printers, batteries, or other electrical run products. In fact Xenalla was more into the twentieth and twenty-first century. And so was her mother.
Ben led them into the backyard and quickly into the two story house through the back sliding glass door that brought them into the kitchen. The song, Call Me, by Blondie was booming through the house. Two voices were singing along loudly.
“What’s that terrible noise?” Ben smirked at Xenalla.
A long drone out screeching sound escaped the lips of the black-haired woman now entering the kitchen. She was wearing an apron and failing to beat together three eggs. As the guitar solo of the song began a younger version of the older woman came into the room dancing.
Xenalla turned to Ben and replied, “I guess it was my mother and sister.” She laughed and shook her head. “Mother! We’re home!”
“Xenalla! Ben! Oh, such perfect timing!” The woman made her way over and placed the bowl down and grasped Xenalla’s hands just as the young girl sang along to, “Call me…my love, you can call me any anytime,”.
Xenalla was then finding herself being twirled and danced with by her mother. She went along with it, happy to see her mother happy which was usually rare. Xenalla looked over her shoulder to see Ben being reluctantly pulled over by her younger sister, Kellsa, and forced to dance.
At the end of the song, Ben hurriedly pulled away and Xenalla started beating the eggs. Another song came on but Jacquetta Reynold turned it down and finally looked the teens up and down.
“Why are you two wet?” she asked in her kind motherly voice.
The teenagers exchanged a look and Xenalla explained, “I had an idea during our training which required being fully under water.”
“And she pushed me in,” Ben simply stated.
“Pulled then pushed, actually,” she snapped back grinning.
Mrs. Reynolds smiled as she told them to change into something warm and dry. Ben and Xenalla had known each other ever since they could remember. Ever since then they had been inseparable and the best of friends.
To Xenalla Ben had always been there for her. Ben wasn’t her brother but if he had been Xenalla would have been proud to have such a big brother. She wouldn’t and never would have traded him for any other boy.
My life is just right; nothing I would change, she thought to herself, walking down the stairs to dinner.