Monday morning blues. 5:30am. Hit the snooze button so hard you pray it’ll never go off again. 5:35am. Punt the damn alarm clock across the room where it hits the floor. You imagine it shattering into a thousand pieces. Instead, it goes off again. Grudgingly, mumbling, grumbling, you drag your tired and hungover self to the bathroom. Mental checklist for a normal Monday: Jack off, wash up, brush teeth, do something about your hair. Straighten your tie. Wave goodbye to your jackass roomate. Halfway to the subway terminal, you remember you forgot your briefcase. How so very typical of you. Now you’re going to be late for work.
Claim briefcase, double check to make sure your materials for your big presentation are still in tact. After this, you’re sure you’re going to land that huge promotion you’ve been working up towards. You’ll get rich. Become an entrepreneur. Marry the perfect housewife. Have perfect children. Live in a huge perfect brownstone in Brooklyn. Near a perfect park. Everything will fall into place. Every single detail will go exactly as planned.
You’ll die perfectly and peacefully in your sleep.
One perfect life in exchange for this one perfect presentation.
You sprint down the crowded midtown streets; destination: Subway station.
Finally you see the sign for the entrance. Look at your watch. And… good. You can still make it on time.
Well, you would have.
If you hadn’t seen that girl.
That plain, ordinary-looking girl.
Staring at you.
You freeze. It’s as if time has stopped, but only for you and her. You know. Like in the movies. Everyone rushes past, but the two of you lock eyes for what seems like decades. You snap out of it. Shake your head. Tell yourself you imagined it. You aren’t getting enough sleep. Yeah. That’s it. Check your watch again. Exactly fifteen and a half seconds had passed since you first saw her.
You want to see this girl again. This curious and plain girl.
Your eyes hungrily scan the crowd panned out in front of you, desperately searching for your target.
Check your watch again. You can’t be late.
It has been exactly ten seconds since you first saw her.
Excuse me? You must have been making a very strange face right about then. Because New Yorkers (who are not fazed by anything, mind you) and passersby were watching you stare at your watch. Rubber-neckers in cars and busses and obnoxiously yellow taxis stare.
They only stare at you though.
You look around. Someone has his cellphone out. Police, media, well, he’s definitely calling someone you don’t want around.
It has now officially been ten hours since your eyes first locked with those eyes, according to your obviously malfunctioning watch. You know it just needs new batteries… Right?
You see her smile at you. A sad, lonely, and loving smile.
And then you see it. Her right eye is a deep crimson. Like blood. Her left eye is a beautiful shade of gold. Even more beautiful than actual gold. Silver flecks shimmer in the sunlight in both eyes. You receive a quizzical look from her after you realize you’ve been staring for quite some time. She silently laughs. But you know. You just know that her laughter sounds like tiny windchimes by the sea.
She beckons to you. This plain yet extraordinary girl. Blue fingernail polish motions you closer. Her plain white dress doesn’t flap in the wind like everyone else’s. It streams behind her, like water behind a canoe.
And then you’re close enough to really take a good look at her. In the middle of a busy Manhattan street. It’s almost as if you two are the only ones there.
Her hair is loose and curly. Plain brown. From a distance, that is. Upon further inspection, you see streaks of blonde, patches of auburn, blocks of grey-brown. Waves of silver and gold. Her gaze never retreats. You close your eyes because you feel like it’s the right thing to do. Stupid, really. Closing your eyes in the middle of the sidewalk. But you want to trust her so badly.
You close your eyes.
A voice in your head whispers for you to open them.
Great. Now you’re hearing things. But you do it anyway, because again, you know it’s what you need to do.
Trees. Lots of them. You’re obviously in a forest. Wait. A forest? You peer past the dense shrubs and trees and only see more shrubs and trees. And darkness. Where did the daylight go? The only source of light are mysterious blue lights adorning the trees, and the two moons up in the sky, shining bright.
Wait, excuse me? TWO moons?
Toto, I don’t think we’re in New York anymore.
You close your eyes and try to focus on what to do next. Your watch is now gone. So much for that weird girl’s crazy time tricks. You’re hallucinating. It’s a dream. You are still at home, back at your crappy apartment, living your crappy life with your awful job and annoying roomate. Just when you’ve finally convinced yourself that this is all a dream, that delicate and mellifluous voice rings in your head again.
Welcome to Rela Ciele. Realm of the damned. Realm of the abandoned. Realm of the unsung heroes.
The voice, it tells you to get some rest. Tomorrow will be a busy day for you.
And suddenly you’re in an enormous room. All empty, all made of stone.
And one by one, a bed, a table, a desk, chairs, curtains, they all appear exactly in place. Blankets folded perfectly. Paintings hung perfectly straight. Chairs placed perfectly around the room.
The voice, it tells you, Welcome home.
You sigh. You give up. You give in. And you go to sleep. A deep dreamless sleep.
After you fall asleep, I find Father. I tell him all that has happened.
He smiles and praises me for finding you.
Tells me how I’ll always be his favorite, even though his prodigal son, heir to the throne of Rela Ciele has returned.
I never wanted to be the queen anyway.
I’m more of a hands-on type of girl.
The type of girl who kidnaps long-lost family members.
The type of girl who speaks with her mind.
The type of girl who has a red eye and a gold eye.
The type of girl who never misses her mark with her sword.
The type of girl who was born to lead this revolution.