This whole week was mostly filled with silence among my group of friends. They all seemed to be lost in their own worlds and have avoided eye contact with me. Every question I asked had been shut down with an "I don't know" or "never mind".
Mack and Alexander decided that the cafeteria lunch seemed more delicious than talking to me. That's a first. Even the twins hid behind their blasting earphones and tried to keep their gaze locked onto something else. Jayson was more into bickering with Suvannah than making nice with me. Suvannah avoided my one-on-one talks with her, but I sense her sudden withdraw towards me has a different reason than the ones the guys were giving.
Falcon totally shut me out. I gave him a chance for us to make amends and become friends and he is shutting me out.
Every time I see and ask him if anything is wrong, he gives a low grunt and walks away, leaving me there. I have no idea what their deal is but I know that I no longer want to be a part of it.
At lunch on Friday, I couldn't take it anymore. It has been a whole week and none of them has even taken the initiative to start talking to me. I pushed my chair back as I stood up, making a loud screeching noise. All eyes on our table turned towards me, I slowly looked at all of them, my face fuming.
"Gabby? What's wrong?" Suvannah asked, concerned.
I glared at her. "What's wrong? I don't know, Vanna. What do you think is wrong?" I said through gritted teeth. She looked shock at my calm outburst.
"I have been ignored by all of you throughout the whole week and I do not even know why. I asked and asked but I ended up not asking anymore, hoping you would all just tell me why later. You are all purposely ignoring me. I can not take it anymore. I am sick of being left in the dark. Call me the bad guy but none of you know how to be a friend. I'm heading to class." I grabbed my books on the table and left. Not looking back, but I sense their shocked expressions.
I walked out and headed straight to my locker. I put the combination in and opened the locker door and threw my textbooks in after I grabbed the Fantasy Mythology textbook for my next block. My homeroom professor, Professor Ryze is also my Fantasy Mythology professor. So far, this class is the most interesting because of all the stories and legends I hear and read. It seems so real but, of course, like the title of the textbook, they are merely fantasies.
I closed my locker and started towards my sixth block class as I saw a man come out of the same class I was about to go in. He looked at me as I neared the classroom and gave me a menacing smile.
"Hello." He said with a slight nod and stepped in front of me. I looked up into coal black eyes with tiny flame-like images dancing in his eyes. I stared hard into his eyes as he did the same with me. This stare-off immediately became something more as an image of a black door with a flame-like symbol was placed on it. I can see him staring at me, but at the same time, I can see the door right in front of me too.
That's weird. That never happens.
Probably because I have never actually looked into a stranger, or anyone else's, eyes for more than a minute before. He smiled as he found this stare-off amusing. I mentally twisted the knob of the door as I decided to take a peak at what this mental door is.
What happened next was too much to comprehend.
I was suddenly not in the hallway having my stare-off with Mr. Stranger.
I was in a hospital labor room facing the bed where a woman lay with a baby cradled in her arms. She looked at the little bundle in her arms with wonder and joy and redirected her gaze at me as I stepped closer. Her smile widened at the sight of me. Her love shining through her eyes ever so brightly.
"Look at him, Stavros. Look at the miracle we made." She said in fantastic wonder.
Stavros? My name isn't Stavros, lady. I looked down and saw myself in a different body.
I realized then that I was in another persons body - probably Mr. Strangers'. The man I am having a stare-off with in my dimension.
Stavros. So that is his name. Seems fit for a big guy like him. But how am I here? How am I able to be in a memory of his? Have I finally gone over the insane edge?
Stavros ran a small finger gently across the baby's cheek and I felt the bubbling happiness within me burst out. I felt like weeping with joy. My senses of pride went soaring and I knew I shined with pure elation. I knew that it was not my happiness I was feeling, but my hosts body. The feelings that Stavros was feeling was so overwhelming that I can not help but soar with him on this journey of pride and love.
"He is perfect. Thank you for this wonderful miracle. I love you both. Together, you are both my air." Stavros said. My eye sight started blurring up as I felt Stavros's tears of joy. Just then the baby decided to join into the family conversation as he gave a cute, tiny wail and I was transported into a tornado-like space void that lasted for about ten seconds. Soon, I was in another one of Stavros's memories.
This one was taken place in a backyard. His wife was setting up a picnic on a table and was calling out to a little boy with chestnut colored wavy hair throwing a Frisbee to a doberman.
The little boy seemed to be about eight years old and looks like a mini replica of Stavros. This must be the baby in the hospital from the last memory. But this time, he has become a little older. He waved back at his mother and turned towards my direction.
"Papa! Papa! Mama is calling us to eat." The boy said to me. I started walking towards the little boy who was waiting patiently with his hand out to me. I took his hand in mine and sensed a fierce protective instinct emerge within me. Or rather, within Stavros.
"Okay, Alejandro. Let us go see what your mother prepared for lunch." Stavros said gleefully as they looked towards where his wife was standing. They stopped walking abruptly. My heart started racing and the feeling of love was overwhelming to me. I felt the love Stavros feels towards his wife. Alejandro looked up to me with a smile.
"Mama looks very pretty, huh papa?" He asked. I/Stavros nodded and gulped as we started walking towards her.
"She looks beautiful." Stavros whispered. We reached the table and sat down as Alejandro laughed at something his mother said to him. I felt like these two are the very air I breathe. Just like that, I was transported into the same space void that seemed to last a bit shorter this time.
In this memory, I was in a dark forest running past countless tress. I felt the feeling of dread that Stavros was feeling. I inhaled and smelled smoke in the air and although it was pitch black, I knew the air was thick with ashes. I ran and ran, not once stopping for air.
That is when I reached the same backyard from the last memory. Except this time, the house was on fire. My heart constricted and threatened to block my throat as the worst was starting to be expected but I shoved it down my throat and ran towards the fury of the fire engulfing the house. I hear myself praying as I looked for Alejandro and his mother.
"Miranda!" He shouted frantically. He looked around as the tears started pouring down the face we both shared. Tears from the fire or from the situation around us, we don't know.
But as Stavros braved the door frame raging with fire leading to what seems to be a burning living room, he found Miranda laying behind the couch with a very burnt little boy laying in her arms. Stavros took on look at his son and knew he was too late. He tried to get his wife to respond to him and soon realized that she was gone as well. He was way too late.
They were dead.
The two most important people in his life were gone and it was his fault. I felt the dread and heartbreak in my chest as Stavros sat down in the middle of the burning living room, cradling his lifeless wife and son in his arms.
"I am coming with you. Just wait for me." He whispered to them as he waited for his turn to be burnt in the fire. Just then, I was being dragged through the house outside kicking and screaming by a couple of firemen. Another one of then took his wife and child and brought them outside.
"No! Leave me alone! I want to go! I need to be with my family!" I heard myself yell. I looked over to the firemen as they put Miranda and Alejandro in separate body bags. I felt myself kicked and wiggled with all my might and was soon sedated by a nearby EMT. Everything went hazy as I thumped down on the floor starting to give in to the darkness.
"No air." Stavros whispered-choked out and finally gave in.
I was slapped back into my body in the hallway, staring at the man in front of me.
He was still staring at me. I blinked and found it hard to stop the tears from coming out. I held it back in as I looked up at him. He gave a tight smile from having to beat me in such a ridiculous game. This was the man who lost his family.
"I'm sorry." I whispered softly up at him. He gave me a confused look.
"They were both very beautiful. Alejandro and Miranda." I said after a couple of seconds. He seemed to be stunned into silence and a bit taken aback when I said that. Then he started to growl.
"Who told you about that?" He snapped. I started to back up as he walked towards me.
"No one. I saw it. I do not know how or why it happened. But I saw it. The hospital bed, the backyard. An - and th - the fire." I stammered at the end. His eyes grew large in a shocked expression and closed it shut tight, probably trying to control his emotions.
Stupid me. I should have kept my mouth shut.
"Liar!" He shouted after a while. Just then, the door to my sixth block opened and Professor Ryze stepped out.
"Dark knight. Leave." Professor Ryze said simply. Dark knight? It seemed to work though because Stavros gave me one last look of disdain and walked away. I stared at him leaving and contemplated whether or not I should apologize to him or thank Professor Ryze.
"Miss McHale. Can I have a word with you in class?" He asked as he made way for me to go through the door of his classroom. I walked in and stood next to his desk, waiting for him to talk. He walked from the door to the desk and settled down comfortably. Then he started to stare at me.
"Why can I not read you?" He asked suddenly.
"Uh, excuse me?" I asked confused.
"Your mind. Why can I not read your mind? I'm completely shut out. You are the only student in all of my classes that I am unable to read." He stated. He shook his head at me.
"Never mind that. What happened between you and the dark knight? Do not think about lying to me." He said sternly. He crossed his arms across his chest and gave me a stare strong enough for me to have shivers running down my spine.
"Dark knight?" I raised an eyebrow in question as I started to realize just how crazy my homeroom teacher was.
"The man you were apologizing to just a few short seconds ago?" He answered with a question. The look he gave me says an obvious "no duh" look.
"Stavros?" I asked. Why was Stavros referred to as a dark knight? What is a dark knight? Is it a type of band crew? Or maybe the name of a bodyguard service?
Professor Ryze looked at me incredulously when I mentioned the 'dark knights' name.
"He told you what his name was, Miss McHale?" He asked me with big eyes. Confusion and surprise can be shown all over his face.
What the hell? Did he not just reprimanded him to leave? They seemed close enough to get past the 'getting-to-know-your-first-name' basis. So then why was Professor Ryze shocked to know how I know his name?
Except he did not willingly tell me. I stole it from his memory. Or technically not steal, but it was mentioned and I thought it was best to know the person you are weirdly invading the most private memories and feelings of. But how would Professor Ryze take my mental news?
"Uh, well, you see, he did not, er, actually tell me his name exactly." I stuttered a little bit. I looked down at my feet as I was heating up from my teacher getting to know how very psychotic I am.
"Then how do you know his name, Miss McHale?" He asked with suspicion. He must think I am filled up with loads of crazy. I looked away and out towards the window. I stare off towards the trees, trying to stall a little bit time so he can avoid calling me mental. I tried to picture being anywhere but here. But reality could not seem to stay away for a while.
"Gabby. How did you know his name was Stavros?" He asked again. His voice sounds a little impatient this time. I gave a huge sigh and looked up at him. I gulped as I started to open my mouth and let the inevitable words of crazy spill out.
"I looked right into his eyes and saw some things. I caught his name from one of those, er, things." I said carefully. No harm done with that explanation, right?
"What do you think those things you saw were?" He asked carefully, his expression was one of shock and calm. And - relief?
"You will think I am crazy." I said straight.
"You will find that in my line of work, crazy is an original norm." He amused. Well, he is sort of right, right? Fantasy Mythology is filled with pretty much a lot of weird creatures and stories. He taught the subject so he must deal with crazy everyday. This relaxed me a little.
Just a little.
"Well, they were sort of like memories of his, I guess. I do not know how it happened, though. One second I was having a stare-off and the next second, I was jumping memories of his." I said fast and confused.
How did the memory thing happen exactly? I know for a fact that they were all real because of the great outline of the background and my surroundings. There was no way I could ever have that great detailed of an imagination.
Professor Ryze's smile dropped. He looked at me with a deep concentrated look and opened his mouth to speak, then closed his mouth after thinking better of it.
"Before you went into the first memory, did you see a black door?" He asked carefully after a short while of pondering.
I raised both my eyebrows and looked at him with my eyes wide and my jaw dropped. He knew what I was talking about. That frightened me but still gave me sort of a relief. Maybe I am not so crazy after all. Or maybe I might be speaking too soon.
"Yes. It was a black door with a burning flame on it. I remembered opening the door and I was in a few memories of his past, I guess?" I said as I shrugged. Acting like it was not that big of a deal. Like the stupid idiot that I am.
He regarded me with a shocked expression and his eyes seemed to bulge so huge. He gave me a look of incredulous and I concluded that he finally found me as crazy as I sounded. Probably much worst considering his encounters of his normal daily dose of 'crazy'. He flipped open his cell phone and dialed a number and called it.
"Kings Vengeance, you need to collect your guardians and head on over here. There is something of importance that is needed to be discussed." Professor Ryze said into the phone, looking at me the whole time, and then hung up without even giving the person on the other phone a chance to reply.
Then he gave me a huge grin and leaned against the front of his desk as he looked at the seat I occupied in the mid front of the class. His expression softened a bit and he looked at me with wonder.
He chuckled and shook his head. "Well, this will be very interesting. Do you have any idea how long we have looked for you?" He said mostly to himself, although I am within earshot. I tilted my head to the side with a confused look on my face.
"What do you mean by that, Professor?" I asked him. He looked over at me and gave an amused smile. I got up and walked to the back of the classroom near the side to stare out the window towards the trees again.
"Yes. Interesting indeed." He muttered.
Just then, the door opened quickly as I heard a few people about to come in. I started to think they were the people the professor called on the phone about something of importance. I looked up to find my so-called friends running into the classroom with grim expressions as they locked the door and looked over at the professor.
These people I call friends are all acting differently than how they would act whenever I am around. Even Suvannah is all on alert. They waited in silence for a few seconds before the professor started to chuckle again.
They did not even realize that I was there.
"Just as I thought." He observed and looked over at every one of them with a gleam in his eye. Falcon, Mack and Suvannah looked annoyed as the twins, Cedric and Nicolai, along with Alexander and Jayson frowned. Not seeing what the whole point of his observation was.
Quite frankly, neither did I.
"What is it, Ryze? What was so important?" Falcon said impatient. The professor looked at him with an amusing grin and shook his head.
"One question," the professor started to say, "did anyone of you feel Miss Gabrielle McHale's presence the whole time you walked into the room?" He asked as he nodded towards my direction.
They all looked at me and went wide-eyed. Suvannah tried to hide behind Nicolai and everyone else tried to act like how they always are around me. They all smiled weakly and semi waved. All except Falcon, who glared at the professor.
"Why are you exposing her to this? She does not deserve to be put through any of this." He said protectively through gritted teeth. But the professor just smiled at his demeanor.
Exposing me through what?
What are they protecting me from?
I thought we were all friends.
Before I could say anything, however, the professor beat me to it and I bet that nothing I ever had to say would out-crazy his next few statements.
"Guardians of Empyrion, may I introduce you to Gabby McHale." He said gesturing his arms towards my direction.
It really is okay, crazy dude. I know these people. They all looked at the professor with amused grins on their faces and then looked at me. I rolled my eyes. I bet they were thinking the same thing I was.
Professor Ryze was craazyyy.
"Or should I say Aoki Gabrielle Mionette." He continued with a grin this time. Their grins suddenly disappeared and they all looked at the professor with stricken expressions. They turned their heads towards me and then back to the professor. This went on for about a minute or two.
I'm a what?
"No. That is impossible." Falcon croaked out a whisper, shaking his heaqd profusely. Professor Ryze shook his head.
"Not quite. Guardians, Gabby is the lost princess." He stated softly.
The last thing I heard was the sound of shocked gasps.
Then the darkness took over me.