Bring Her Back

I’m a bit late posting my story for Turn-a-trope Tuesday, but I’m still on time, damn it!  This week, the Trope was “Make a Wish”.  Thanks again to Mark Baron for hosting this challenge, it always manages to keep me on my toes.

I spent a good two days with absolute stillness in my head; no ideas, no spark. Nothing.  It was like a ghost town in there.  I was a little panicked, but I decided to give myself some time (actually it was more like screaming and crying that I was no longer creative and I couldn’t write anymore).  I spent some time reflecting on past stories and how far I feel I’ve come when it hit me on Saturday to use a character I had already created.  After that, it became much easier.

I’m a little over at 1,064 words, but I hope you enjoy my take on turning “Make a Wish” on its head, as well as Jaden’s continuing story.

Bring Her Back

Sitting in chains on the dank cellar floor waiting for my trial, I knew I had made a mess of things, but somehow I just couldn’t bring myself to regret what I had done. I regretted my own loss more than anyone could imagine, but my actions had saved someone I loved severe heartache and pain. Was that so wrong?

Mom had warned me countless times not to get too close to my human, not to care too much, but my bond with Xander was unique and most Guardians didn’t understand, Mom included. The thing was we had a set of rules to live by. We could only step in when the rules said so, but most times, we were just watching. Sure, we influenced their emotions sometimes, helped guide them in different directions, but the big events like death were written down and we could only step in when told to do so.

Xander was a great kid and it was hard to believe ten years had passed. Ten years of growing and learning together. When his first big tragedy hit, he was the same age I was when he was born and I was unceremoniously entrusted with him.

It was a tough thing to watch. Tougher still that we had this connection where he seemed to know I was there and counted on me.

He was lying next to his deceased mother in her hospital bed, holding her close one last time, tears streaming down his face. Everyone had left the room to give him some time alone, but I was watching, feeling helpless. I would have done anything in that moment to take his pain away; it was all I could do to stand by and not offer anything.

I was so caught up in our shared grief, I barely heard him whisper into the stillness.

“I know you’re there.”

He didn’t look up or turn his head, just soft words spoken into the desperate silence. I knew he was talking to me, but I kept quiet, bound by the Guardians’ rules.

“I think I’ve always known you were there. I just want my mom back and I know you can do it! Please, help me. Please bring her back.” He was staring straight ahead, holding her hand as he cried out his plea.

It broke my heart. I knew I couldn’t bring her back, but how to make him understand? I tried sending calming waves in his direction, but it didn’t help. He cried, pleading and begging, all the while hugging his mother, kissing her hand.

All I wanted was to comfort him, to make it stop, to bring him some release.

I don’t know if it was the overwhelming emotion, our connection or something else, but in the midst of the emotional assault, I felt something give inside me. It was the same feeling I had felt when Xander and I connected at his birth, but this time, it directed itself toward his mother. Xander must have felt it too because he lifted up and looked at his mother’s face. We both watched as her eyelids fluttered and a loud breath whooshed out of her mouth.

I was dazed, not entirely sure what was happening, when the air stirred and my own mother flew through the window and landed next to me.

“Jaden, what have you done?

Seeing the concerned look on her face and feeling the joy coming from Xander, I realized I must have done it. I had given his mother back to him.

“Mom! I don’t know. I didn’t know. How did you know?” The words and questions flew out of my mouth reflecting my inner turmoil.

She gently placed her hand on my arm. “When things like this happen, we all know. You need to fix it, son.”

“Fix it? I don’t even know what I did!” My voice was panicked.

“I will help you. You need to gather that same feeling, the one you had when you brought her back and direct it towards her again, but this time you will think the opposite of what you were thinking when it happened. I will do the rest.”

“I don’t think I can. Look at him!”

“Jaden, we are Guardians. If it wasn’t written in his file, then you can’t step in.”

“What happens if I let her live?”

“The consequences are too numerous to go into right now. You need to fix it quickly before life sets in for good. At that point, it will take a whole lot more than what you and I have to make it right.”

I looked back at Xander. He was laughing and crying and hugging his mom. He was saying thank you over and over again and I knew it was directed at me. I was torn. On the one hand, even though I hadn’t done it on purpose, I knew it was wrong. On the other hand, how could I take back what was given? To make him lose his mother all over again simply because I didn’t know what the hell I was doing?

“Jaden?” Mom’s soothing voice penetrated my thoughts.

I looked at her and nodded my head, all the while holding back the tears that threatened to well up. I knew I didn’t have a choice.

I held her hand and focused everything I had into Xander’s mother. At the same time, I felt Mom’s energy flowing out of her and mixing with mine. It wasn’t bright white like before, but stardust gray, billowing and melting like molten lava towards the heartbeat that should never have restarted.

The non-life energy encompassed Xander’s mother and I was just about to breathe a relieved sigh when I realized it hadn’t stopped. The energy continued to flow to the heartbeat closest to hers and I was helpless to stop it. I looked at Mom, her eyes reflecting the horror in mine.

I thought I was focused and clear, but in the midst of the energy meld I divided my focus between Xander and his mother. I couldn’t bear the thought of him losing her all over again. I just wanted to take care of him, to guard him, to give him what I thought he wanted.

Xander would always be with his mother now and I had inadvertently sacrificed the truest connection I had ever felt.

The Guardians

Thinking back on the stories I’ve submitted so far, they are all pretty dark and somber.  Inspiring, some of them, creepy and weird a few of them; but I started thinking I just couldn’t write happiness.  And given how I’ve been feeling this week, I wanted to try and do the opposite.  Which seemed like an impossible task at the time, but as it turned out it actually helped pull the cobwebs out of my head today.  I really got into this voice and enjoyed it.

This is my submission for Turn-a-trope Tuesday #3: “Resigned to the Call”.  I don’t know if I turned it on its head, or if I really even made the resigned part believable.  I think I tried to make this challenge fit into what I wanted to write this week.  I hope it worked and I hope you like my foray into a little more light-hearted territory.

The Guardians

“Jaden, come down from there this instant!”

“But Moooom, you told me to practice my flying and I just started.” I keep flying just to see if I can really get her worked up, or maybe she’ll forget and leave me be.

Flying is great. I wish I had always been able to, but it takes some time before wings are ready. Mom says it’s like walking. You have to crawl first.  I don’t know if I get it, I only know my wings finally decided to work and I can fly.

“Jaden!” Mom’s voice is in shrill territory.  Maybe just one more turn around the valley…

Before I know it, she’s got my wing, dragging me to the nearest cloud.

“Ow!” I don’t cry, cause I’m too big, but it hurts and I have to blink a few times to stop the stinging in my eyes.

Mom lets go of my wing and kneels down in front of me. Mom is beautiful, no doubt about it. She has red-gold hair that brushes her knees as she leans toward me. Her wings, the same color as her hair, fan around her and do this twitchy calming thing. I like Mom’s wings. I sometimes imagine I’m back in her arms, before mine were fully formed, and we’re soaring through the wind together.

“It’s time, Jaden.” I look into her eyes, dreading what I think she means. She’s looking at me a little weird like she’s not sure how I’m going to react.

“Is it…?”

“Yes, Love”

“But, Mom, I don’t want one.” I’m whining.

“Everyone has a human, dear. That’s what we do.”

I frown and crinkle up my nose. “Humans are dumb.” I go from whining to sulking pretty fast, folding my arms in front of me, like I can keep it all out. Honestly, I just want to go back to flying.

She laughs and I’m not sure if she’s laughing at me and it makes me mad. My arms are at my sides, hands in fists and I stomp my foot on the cloud, vapor puffs shooting off into the sky. “I won’t do it. You can’t make me!”

She gives me that look Moms get. “You’re being ridiculous, but I understand. Honestly, I do. I didn’t want to meet mine the first time either. But, you’ll see, Love. It will happen to you just like it did for me, for all of us.”

“What if I hate my human? Can I trade him in for a new one?”

“That just isn’t done, Love.”

“What if I… don’t do what I’m supposed to do… you know…”

“Jaden! Where did you hear such a thing?”

My hands are behind my back and I’m staring down at the cloud, one toe picking at an invisible glitch in its surface.

“I heard Dad once…” I let my voice trail off cause I don’t want to get Dad in trouble. Not that Mom is much trouble for Dad. They usually just make lovey-dovey eyes at each other, but you know, kid code… I think that’s a thing. Anyway, I am not ratting Dad out. Although, I think I just did…

She sighs and reaches for my hand as she stands up. “Come, love. We’re going to be late.”

I don’t really want to go, but it’s not like I have a choice. I do that thing I did when I was like… I don’t know… five… I get really into it too, rolling my eyes, saying “uuuggh” and making a big show out of letting her pull me along as she lifts off the cloud.

“Put up your glamour, Love.” Her voice drifts over to me as we continue flying, staying high enough so we won’t be spotted until we’re sure it’s safe. Nothing really changes much when I turn my glamour on. Like putting on an old hat, it just settles over me and, poof, I’m invisible to humans.

It doesn’t take us long before we swoop through a window and land soundlessly in a room. I don’t really get what I’m seeing, but there are lots of big humans and loud beeping noises. I look up at Mom, thinking she’s going to explain, but she’s looking at me and I think she might cry. So weird!

While I’m looking at her, there’s suddenly this screeching, squalling noise. I scrunch up my face and look back to see what’s making all the fuss. “Is that my human?” I look at Mom for an answer and she is just nodding her head, crying. I roll my eyes. “He’s pretty gross.” I watch as they put him in a glass box. They’re doing stuff to him and he’s screeching so loud my ears start ringing.

I don’t know exactly what changes, but I feel this strange pull inside me. I let go of Mom’s hand without really thinking about it and start walking forward. Mom doesn’t say anything, which again, is weird, but I can’t really stop what’s happening. I have to go.

I feel like I’m in some sort of trance as I walk up to the glass box and see him up close for the first time. Everything sort of melts away and we’re alone, just me and the tiny human. His fists are curled up and his arms and legs flail around like someone just pinched him. He’s all red and splotchy and gooey. I gather some calming energy, stuff Mom used to use on me, and I sprinkle it over him.

His screeching stops and his eyes get really bright and it’s like he’s looking right at me. I reach my hand towards him and he grabs my finger in his tiny fist and I feel it. It’s almost bigger than both of us put together. It fills me up and comes out of me and I’m shining brighter than I ever have.

He’s my human. I didn’t want it, I don’t really get it yet, but that’s the way it is.