You’re forgetting something she told herself as she was now in the common area with Tel. The two were sitting on the couch; He was playing on his guitar, while she was making repairs on a shirt. She focused on the melody, and was just barely sensing his heartbeat. Flora didn’t know why she was trying to hold onto this moment, as she stopped and turned to Tel.
“…May I ask a question…?”
“Go for it”
“…We’re going to the dance…together…right?” The pounding in her heart reverberated throughout her. Her threads felt as if they would burst from underneath her skin.
“Of Course! Unless…you didn’t want to go toge-“
“N-No! I mean…I do want to go with you. I just didn’t want to assume I was that lucky”. It tore her apart to see his smile quickly fade as a commotion began outside. She followed his eyes to see Team Alpha and the Elysian headmistress outside her school. “Stay here; I’ll be right back…”
Something felt wrong as she left the room.
Moments seemed like they were moving past her; Scenes of running through labyrinths, going to the movies, the parade , Friendsgiving, the mall, being alone, holding down the Fear master, meeting Charlene, catching a car, and moving into Claremont. She felt less, and less except for the sense of becoming numb.
Flora found herself next to Hal as they looked at the tree she had pulled from its roots. She had been practicing non stop for a month and still could barely keep herself together. Hal was shaking slightly but trying to keep a neutral expression. She was horrified as she looked at her threads. “…You’re still practicing. You’ll get it real soon, Flor. You just have to keep trying” Hal said, and she was unsure if it was meant for her or for him.
“Just say it, Hal. I’m a disaster, all I’ll ever do is hurt people…” She said and her throat clenched like she was telling a lie.
She suddenly felt an immense pressure as her father was holding onto her tightly. He easily picked her off the ground. They were in her small home, in her room, hours after the threads had crawled from out of her. They both were crying, as her threads fell limp, threads that were many feet long. The weight of them felt unbearable.
Then why did she feel regret in this moment?
“Sweetie, please don’t do that again…”
“I-I-I just was trying to get them off. They won’t come off…” She tried to explain. She didn’t want them, she didn’t want her threads. She never would?
“I know, I know, I’m so sorry sweetie” Her Dad held her tighter “…and I know it’s hard right now. But, I love you, and…I just need you to hold on for right now. I need you to hold on for today. We’ll figure this out tomorrow. We always do…”
Flora felt like she was falling backwards for a moment…but she wasn’t. She was where she always was; sitting by herself in a classroom, always picked last, alone in a theater. The faces of her family were the only constant, but her father worked, her brother had his team and Ms. North had obligations. She felt herself growing more and more numb, empty before she felt like she was nothing.
That’s what she wanted though? Wasn’t It? She was a nobody. It was always better to be ignored and forgotten, because that meant there were very few people in her life she was afraid of losing.
Suddenly her perspective shifted, everything was bigger…than it ever had been? No…as it always was. Everything was always bigger than her. The immediate recognition was Ms. North, sitting in a rocking chair in a nursery, designed in soft greens, greys with a few touches of pink. It was a little simple, but clearly a lot of thought had been put in. She was a baby girl in a crib reaching out, trying to grab the little stuffed animals that spun from a mobile.
Then she came in.
She was so…short, but immediately seemed to be the biggest presence in the room. Long, wild blonde curls were barely tied back as she wore the expression of someone satisfied with a job well done.
“Mission Accomplished; Hal fought valiantly, but he was no match for me in the end and is finally asleep” she said with a grin, moving over to the crib “Thank you, Natalie. I have no clue what I would have done wi-“
“You don’t, but you know you have me a-“
“And that we can’t dwell on what wasn’t and only look forward. I know. How was she?”
Her Mom laughed; Flora had thought she had forgotten her laugh.How could she have forgotten her laugh? It was rich, filled with joy and a constant in her world. She leaned over the crib, and she felt her Mom’s finger as her hand wrapped around it. She squeezed tightly, as if this was the last chance she’d ever get to do so.
“Keith must be rubbing off on her. Or…does she have big plans? Maybe she’s quiet, but she’s always reaching and grabbing everything. Don’t stop, Flora. You give it your all and take all its worth. There’s so much I can’t wait to tell and show you…when you’re a little bigger though.”
It then Flora realized that Ms. North’s eyes had been staring at her. There seemed to be a shift in light, a glint in her eyes. The older woman rose before glancing to her Mom, still leaning over the crib.
“I should make us some tea. But…perhaps you should tell her now”
“Is this real good advice or omens to come?” She watched as her Mom’s playful expression hid some underlying worry.
“…Does it matter?” Ms. North asked before she left the room. She watched as her Mom stuck her tongue out, before her face grew a bit more serious. She looked back to Flora…and Flora felt herself internally screaming that she needed to remember this. This would be so important. She looked at her mother’s face and saw her expression; so clearly a mix of love, concern, hope and fear.
“I don’t know a lot about the future or omens, Flora. I love you, if nothing else; I want you to know that“. Flora felt herself crying, and held on tighter. The thought of losing her…again, no, at all terrified her. “This world is going to be harsh. I will do everything I can to protect us, but it may hurt you still. Don’t let that be an excuse to stop reaching out to people. Take it from me, you’re going to need all the help when…“
Her mother was gone, Flora lost her again. Suddenly a torrent of emotion ran through her, and she thought it would crush her.
She still was there though.
She felt something, and that was what she would focus on.
She faced upwards, lifting her hands, and then letting her threads extend, further and farther than they ever had. She focused hard on any other presence in this space, anyone she could even faintly recognize. Her threads grew and grew, spreading and searching. She let out a breath to focus her thoughts, to send out a message.
If any you are out there, I’m here. It’s me, Flora. I’m reaching out;I just need you to reach back…please?
It was then as if the wind had been completely knocked out of her.
Flora found herself in the hall outside of the common room, not sure what the heck had happened. As she tried to gather her thoughts and composure, she found her eyes wet with tears. Why was she crying?
She rubbed her face as she tried to shake the lingering feelings off. It must have been a spell of random vertigo…nothing more. Besides, she had nothing to cry over and now wasn’t the time to cry. She picked herself up and moved to head to the front of Claremont Academy. If Elysian thought they could mess with her friends or her school, they had another thing coming.
She wasn’t going to lose them.