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Black FeathersBlue Feathers

 

       As I fly back to the earth, I take a look at Raven and one thought crosses my mind: Do it for Sammy.

*****

       The winter woods have become my home over the last year. At least ever since my best friend Sammy died of tuberculosis. After this happened, my grades and my life started slipping. I didn't care about anything. Until I met Raven.

       When I first saw her, I thought she was more of a shadow than anything. She was dressed in a black hoodie with black jeans. She heard me creeping along and had whipped her head around to face me. Her cold, hard eyes bored through me. She stalked towards me, her words disappearing like the fog from her mouth.

       “Come with me. Your world will freeze over if you don’t.” She held out her hand and I hesitantly took it. As soon as we made contact she whisked me away with inhuman speed. When she realized I was slipping, she gracefully pulled me onto her back. I felt her starting to slow down, panting a little. I see us approaching a small cave with a small campfire lit. When we reach the cave, she puts me down near the fire. Her long black hair falls over her face as she adds fuel to the fire.

“Wh-who are you?” I whisper, afraid of the answer.

“Raven,” she says not bothering to look up at me.

“Well, Raven, what are we doing here? I never asked for this,” I say.

“When you took my hand you sort of did. And to your first question, I don’t know. I go by guts,” she says finally looking up at me. I can see in the dimly lit cave that one of her eyes were blue, and the other one was black.

“Get some sleep,” she says. “If you need to use the bathroom, make a hole in the snow-”

“And look at the shade of yellow, make sure you’re not dehydrated, yata, yata, yata,” I finish for her. Her poker face shows a slight look of shock.

“What, a city girl can’t be smart anymore?” I say indignantly.

“In the morning we’re leaving early,” she says, the poker face returning. I get as comfortable as possible, and close my eyes.

*****

I wake up from Raven shaking me roughly. She has changed from her all black suit to a gray coat and blue sweatpants. She hands me her old hoodie and sweatpants.

“Put this on. You’ll be a lot warmer in these,” she says. I take them and stare at her. She gets the hint and goes behind the slab of cave separating the cave in half. i quickly dress, pulling my boots over the pants. Raven walks out.

“Let’s go. We’ll go faster today than yesterday because I have a sled.”

We leave and Raven was right. The bitter wind threatens to bite my ears off. I shiver in front of Raven.

“There are some blankets under there,” she says pointing. I grab them and pull them tight around me.

Suddenly, the temperature drops. The cold seeps like a demon under the covers. The little light left goes dark. I hear Raven whisper, “They’re here. Hide under the blankets.” I crawl underneath and all I can see is the silhouettes of figures that look like werewolves. I see Raven’s legs kicking and then the sled is being lifted. They shake the sled and I fall off. They see me and start grunting a storm. They put me in a cage with Raven where she was slumped against the corner.

*****

After what feels like eternity, they put us down in something that looked like a jail cell. Raven does not move from her position. I go over to her and touch her arm. It was boiling hot.

“Raven, are you okay?” I ask worried. She does not move for a second. Then I see her eyes burst open.

“No, I’m not okay. We need to get out of here. Now,” she says.

“But...how?” I ask.

“Watch and learn,” she says with a small grin. She starts to rattle on the cell doors. She makes so much noise I nearly plug my ears. The werewolves come over and start grunting. Suddenly, I look over at Raven and she appears to be meditating. She starts glowing dark purple and black. She opens her eyes and they are glowing white. When she opens her eyes, her voice is normal, but the guards become enchanted. She speaks some foreign words and the guards open the door. They then lock themselves inside. I look at Raven.

“I don’t think I can learn that.”

“If you think you can’t do it, you can’t,” is all she replies with a smile.

We start running through a maze, with Raven navigating it deftly. We see a door and just before we reach it, a wall of black feathers with tips like knives block our path. In front of the barrier is a tall woman covered in an all black dress with frosty white hair. Her face was paler than a ghosts. She was wearing a black pendant.

“Isla!” Raven says narrowing her eyes.

“Not so fast. This is where your journey ends,” she says coldly. Something spirals from the staff she is carrying and then everything goes black.

*****

When I wake up, I look around and see that we have been moved to a new cell. I go over to the window and see we are in a tower about one hundred feet up.

“I never should have done this,” Raven says. I turn around.

“Done what?”

“Brought you here. This was a mistake,” she says.

“No, it wasn't. Sure, we got caught and we’re trapped in a Rapunzel style tower, but so what? We’ll find a way out,” I say cheerfully.

`“No, I’ll find a way out. You’re going home, back where you belong,” she says rising from her place on the floor. I look away slowly.

“What? No! Raven, don’t do this,” I say pleading with her.

“Good bye.” Her eyes glow white and her hand points at me. Suddenly I’m floating. When I open my eyes, I’m lying on my bed with a wall of blue feathers falling around me. I look around my room. Everything seems to be in the same place. I walk over to the picture of Sammy and me over the summer at a water park. We both look so happy. I turn the picture over. It reads:

 

Sammy and Kay. The inseparables.

“That’s it. raven, watch out. I’m not going anywhere.” I leave a note for my parents saying I’ll be out for a bit. i grab one of Raven’s feathers and take off.

*****

Back in 5th grade, I was the star of the track team. So even though I couldn't run as fast as Raven, i still got to the cave fairly quickly. The campfire was still partially lit. I once read in a book that if you held the feather over a fire, you would become it and would be able to become linked to it. I put raven’s feather over the fire and waited. My heart fell after a minute. Nothing had happened. Then, the feather starts sparkling and turns into the shape of a raven. I smile. Suddenly I start growing wings and I start flapping.

 

“Summon me to Raven!” I shout. I feel myself almost “time warping.” I look around and see I’m trapped in a room that feels like fire and frost at the same time.

“Raven, where are you?” I whisper searching around.

“Hurry! Get over here before they see you!” Raven whisper-shouts. I rush over to Raven and I’m about to ask her what we’re hiding from when I see them. They were massive, with teeth that went at least one inch past their bottom lip with ends like razors. They had black feathers all around them. They had the body of a human with wolf ears and claws. About six of them were patrolling the area with swords and other weapons while two are guarding a fortress entrance.

“We are trying to get in there,” Raven whispers pointing.

“What’s the point of this anyway? Why are you on a such a big quest for...nothing?” She shoots me a sharp look.

“This is not for nothing. I told you; your world will freeze over if we don’t take Isla's ice crystal and stop her,” Raven says. I look at her.

“Ice crystal?”

“It’s what gives her her powers,” she responds. Suddenly, I notice a beautiful sky blue pendant hanging from her neck. She notices me looking at it.

“I’m not like her,” she says quickly. “She has a black pendant. Like those feathers, they are black because of her pendant. There are two categories: black feathers and blue feathers. Black is bad, blue is good. Long story short, she chose the dark side,” she says. We carefully inch our way closer near the door when Raven scoots to her left. I follow and see she has found a massive doggy door.

We slip through with ease. I gasp as I look at our surroundings. It was beautiful in a malicious sort of way. The ceiling was at least one hundred feet high, with a black crystal chandelier dangling from it. Raven stands  up and pulls me up with her. We appear to be in what looks to be a kids bedroom.

“I found that there as a young child. This room brings back so many memories,” Raven says wistfully, touching a window. Suddenly it all clicks.

“You’re her daughter, aren't you.”

“Yes.”

“And you’re trying to...destroy her?”

“No. I ‘m trying to destroy what she’s doing.” Raven walks over to a very nice dresser embroidered with different stones like Apatite, Aquamarine, and Topaz. She opens a drawer decorated in opal and takes out a perfume bottle.

“Close your eyes,” Raven says. I feel the spritzer’s light spray sprinkle onto me.

“Hides your  human scent,” says she. She walks over to the closet and pulls out two identical uniforms that match what the guards were wearing.

*****

After we put them on we try to wall casually, to make it seem as if we belong here. Raven makes many turns with confidence.

“This is too easy. How can the crystal be here?” I ask flustered.

“It’s not. The map to the ice crystal is somewhere in Isla’s room. Also, since we lost the sled, she probably has some transportation device we can ‘borrow.’” After a few more turns we slip into a larger room than Raven’s which I presume to be Isla’s. Raven walks over to the towering bookshelf and starts scanning the spines of the books. She pulls one out that has something sticking out of it. She smiles and she tugs the paper out. I walk closer to get a better look and indeed I see a wrinkled, yellowing piece of paper, but a map none the less. Raven pointed to a place near the end of the map.

"That's where it is. It's in a cave somewhere in there." She heads over to a very large wooden chest . She opens it up and inside is various transportation devices. I see Harley's, bikes, and snowmobiles. Raven chooses a blue snowmobile with two seats.

"How are we going to get out of here lugging that thing?" I ask. Raven just points to a door behind us.

"Get on," she says. "You might want to zip up. It's going to be chilly." I do what she says and confidently climb onto the mobile. As a young child, I would play with Sammy on her dad's snowmobile. Raven gets on in front of me and gives the map to me.

"Don't lose it. Hold on to it tight," Raven says dead serious.

"I will," I respond. Raven starts the engine and we zoom off into the white abyss.

         *****

Seconds pass by almost as fast as we are going. Seconds turn to minutes, and minutes to hours. When it gets too dark to see, Raven puts the bright headlights on. I take out the map and see we've passed two of the land forms.

Raven slows down as we pull up to a small shelter, just big enough for us. I lie down, but Raven just stays outside, watching guard.

"Raven?"

"What's up?"

"Wake me up when you feel tired, " I say, smiling. She hesitates, then nods her head.

         *****

I feel Raven shaking me so I get up without complaint. She doesn't go lie down though. She just raises my chin and I see the whole night sky lit with the aurora borealis. Colors vary from red to green and spark across the sky like a flame. I grab a blanket and sit down. I feel something nudging my thigh and my hand goes to my pocket. I pull it out. It is a small notepad. Me and Sammy's. I open it up and go to the first blank page which is at the end. I start to write my first entry in nearly seven years. This keeps me busy enough until sunrise.

As soon as the sun comes out from under the clouds, I go inside to wake Raven up. I hold back a hearty laugh because she looks like a creepy clown with her mouth open, drool coming out, and her hair all messed up.

"It's time to wake up, Drool Face," I say teasing her. She throws a punch but I dodge just in time. After we wash up as best as we can, we jump on the snowmobile.

         *****

Traveling through the snow is like traveling through a white, cold forever. I look at the map and see we are a little past halfway there. I look around and a big sea, maybe three miles across appeared on the map. I look up and see we are approaching a big blue sea, dark a dark as wine.

"Are we crossing that?" I say, shocked.

"Yup. The big blue sea, here we come.” She pulls out a large yellow raft from out of the compartment of the snowmobile. Inside of the raft there are two oars. Raven grabs one and tosses me one as well. She gets in first and stabilizes the raft and then I climb in after her. I look at Raven from behind and see she has more muscle than me.

“Shouldn't we switch places?” I ask.

“I think you can handle it,” she responds. I push off as hard as I can and surprisingly we get a good distance. Raven steers it and we are on our way to conquering the big blue blanket that is the sea.

*****

We paddle for hours, so much so that my ars start to turn into wet soggy noodles. Just as I am about to complain to Raven, I see sight of shore.

“Land ho!” I shout. I push a little harder and we get there within a few minutes. In front of us looms a frozen volcano with an icy cap at the top.

“The crystal is in there,” Raven says.

“But the map doesn't tell us how to get to the cave though, right?”

“Right, but I've been here before.” We enter the cave entrance and it instantly becomes pitch black. Raven pulls out a flashlight and the cave becomes clearer. Raven strides deftly to a cave on the right, then to the left. We walk forward and soon we reach the middle of a very large cave. In the very middle is a formation of dirt and rocks. At the very top of it is a small crystal, no larger than a pebble. In the corner is a mirror like the one in Snow White. It is showing different cities in the USA. I touch it and it brings me to a lock screen. I enter a couple different passwords, and none of them work. I get a message saying I have one more try before it locks down. I try to think of other passwords. Finally my sub-conscience whispers:

Raven. I enter that and it opens. I type Razorville City, Ohio into the mirror and it gives me a picture of it. I see people all around. They all seem to be freezing on the inside out. Everything is frost and snow.

“Raven, you need to see this.” She walks over and she gasps when she sees it. I type in different cities and pretty much get the same result each time.

“That’s it,” Raven mutters. She goes over to the crystal. Just before she reaches it, she is whisked off of her feet by a layer of black feathers. I slowly turn around.

“Isla,” I say, my heart racing.

“Thought you could just take my crystal? Take my power? Stop my plans? Well, you thought wrong, missy,” she says, her voice colder than ice. Raven gets up again and lunges for the crystal, but not before Isla sees her. Somehow, out of the blue, my 6-year old gymnastic self springs out and I lunge to block the feathers from Raven. I do a back walkover in mid-air and hit them back at Isla. She catches them and while she is distracted bouncing them back I grab the ice crystal and slam it on the ground.

“NO!” she shouts.

“Run!” Raven yells. We run back the way we came dodging feathers like missiles.

“Get on the cloud!” Raven yells. I fling myself onto it, Raven flying in after me. She pushes a lever and a red button and we zoom off faster than what feels like the speed of sound.

“So we defeated her plan?” I ask happy.

“Yes and no. If she wants to-which she probably will-decide to put the crystal back together. This means we have to find the Earth crystal, fire crystal, and water crystal. Only all of the other crystals can stop each other. This is just temporary,” she says. I grin.

“So...time for another adventure?” I say.

“You got that right.” I look off to the distance.

“Thank you, Sammy.”

*****

State
MI
Zip Code
48104