Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A Guardian in the Land of Noal

The rivers in the land of Noal always give me solitude and peace as I walk through the many forests. I enjoy sitting on large rocks reflecting on past events. I, a witch from the land of earth, am sitting on a rock on the northern side of Noal known as Insigna. I can hear a deep waterfall filling its river in the distance. The suns are high in the sky while the rays shine colors against the water. On occasion, I will see a fish jumping out of the water. The colorful flowers, plants, and trees add sweet scents in the air. Such smells I can recall from my youth. As I sit on this rock on a warm sprinkling day, I cannot help but remember the journey that brought me to the land of Noal. I was a young child then, barely 13 years old when I began my journey to be a witch. I came from earth through a portal. I think the portal was created by the higher powers that first formed on earth. I was an odd ball teen. I was the kind a girl that hated the social scene, but loved books. I was heavily involved in subjects of math and science. I especially loved mixing chemicals and studying the table of elements. I had short dark blonde hair and wore pants and t-shirts to school. Some people in the neighborhood probably called me a tom-boy. I did not care about my looks, nor did I call boys on the weekend. I lived a solitary life-style, and some people might say that it was normal for me to be alone. I loved the peaceful outdoors of the summers and solitude of the cold winters. My dad and I did not always see eye-to-eye. I think my presence reminded him of mom. According to some photos, my mother and I looked alike. We both appeared kind-hearted when I compared pictures with mine. This is why I was sure that my good nature and physical appearance made dad miss mom’s love. According to dad, mom died due to complication of my childbirth, but I do not believe his story to be the whole truth. Some former relatives on my mom’s side of the family had hinted of spousal abuse, but we lost all contact with that family. I think dad cut-off the connection between us and them. My father always had a mean streak in him. I was never physically abused, but dad would often yell at the top of his lungs when he became angry at me. I did not enjoy being around him at all. This may be why I wanted a new life. I needed to get away from a place that reminded me of the mother I never had and the father that verbally abused and neglected me. There was nothing in my own life that I enjoyed. I wanted to be somewhere where I could take long walks and mingle with nature. I did not care about modern electronics. I did not like to send out emails, texts, or instant messages. I enjoyed playing with mud, sticks, and skipping rocks in ponds. Sometimes I would walk to near-by farms and pet the horses and cows. I would imagine myself horseback riding in wheat fields. I desired the comforts of a fantasy land where I could be free to be one with nature. During this time, witches were known to be ugly, evil, child eaters, and conjurers of magic and spells. These beliefs were anything but true. I first encountered a witch in grade school. She was a kind neighbor that sat on the front porch of her house. All children believed her to be a witch, but no one wanted to speak with her. They were always afraid of becoming a toad or some other animal. I, on the other hand, began to see her as a nice neighbor. This labeled me as a witch lover by other students. Girls would call me “witch lover” and future “witch”. There were also times when girls would pick on me. Girls would often pinch my skin, pull my hair, push me down, and/or spit on me. I wanted to fight back, but my heart told me not to stoop to these girl’s levels. It was one day during a walk home that my new journey began. It was a journey that would open a world full of unicorns, centaurs, Black Antars, a scary dragon, and other good/bad creatures. In the earthly world, I was a slave of other people’s hatred and bullying. In this world, I am free to practice my craft and preserve the sanctity of life. I owe this life to the bullies that abused me and the witch neighbor known as Witch Rohana. I first started the journey during my walk home from school. I could hear footsteps behind me. I could only assume that it was Karen, the snobby cheerleader with dark red hair and bad breath. Jessica, the obsessive-compulsive blond that worried about her looks more than her cheerleading skills, and June, another blond that only became a cheerleader so she could be noticed by all the boys. Not one of these girls had any positive attributes, but only wanted their way with boys and teachers. I was walking home with my blue-jean pants and t-shirt on and my arms folded with books in them. I began to walk fast because I knew that they were coming to beat me up. It did not take them long to detect that I knew they were following me. I did not get very far when I felt a hand grab my pony-tail and my head being jerked back. “Where are you going? You little twurp!” Jessica demanded while pressing against me. “Home! I’m going home”, I replied while trying to recompose myself. “You’re not going anywhere!” Responded Karen as I felt her hand connect with my right cheek. I stumbled back to find myself seated on the sidewalk. The slap felt as if I had pressed my cheek on a blazing hot iron. My books scattered on the road like wind-blown leaves. I was but a few yards from my house, but there was no one home to defend me. “Get up!” shouted June and Jessica as they lifted me to my feet. I once again felt a hand whiz across my right cheek. The burning feeling on my face left me speechless, but I wanted to see the girls thrown across town. “Was anyone going to help me?” I thought. Just then, I heard an unlikely voice. It was Mrs. Rohana, the neighbor. “Get out of here, before I turn you all into toads”, she screamed while opening her white wooden gate. The girls were so startled by the loud yell that they gathered themselves and ran in different directions. “Thank you, Mrs. Rohana”, I said while gathering myself. “Would you like to come in?” she asked. I gathered my books and followed her towards the front porch. A part of me wanted to say no, but I found my curiosity towards her causing me to accept the invitation. “You weren’t really going to turn those girls into toads, were you?” I asked while stepping onto the porch. “Yes, of course, if only I knew how”, she replied with a twinkle in her eye. This was the beginning of our friendship, and the start of my journey towards becoming a witch. On that day, I first entered Rohana’s house with some nerves in my stomach. I had seen her sitting on the porch from time to time, but I never stepped in the yard. My father always told me to respect other people’s property and privacy. As I entered the house for the first time, I felt my body tense up like a cat ready to strike at its enemy. The house was old with an array of scents. Odors of pine, to the smell of Jasmine mixed with rose peddles. The living room had old couches, tables, and chairs that looked from the Victorian era. On the north wall, I saw shelves of books that seemed over a hundred years old. There was even an old chimney with a mantel full of unicorns and centaurs. I have never seen so many unicorns and centaurs of a variety of sorts and sizes. I had always loved the mythical creatures, but I never believed that they existed. I walked slowly into the kitchen where Mrs. Rohana was pouring a glass of milk along-side a small plate of cookies. In the kitchen, I saw several crescent moon faces hanging above the stove and magnets shaped of suns, stars, moons, and more mythical creatures. I sat quietly in a chair as she brought the cookies and milk to me. “Do those girls always pick on you?” she asked while sitting in a chair across a small dining table. “Yes, they are mean girls from school”’, I replied while taking a sip of milk and a bite of chocolate chip cookie. “Sometimes, mean people are mean because they themselves feel pain”, she added. “Are you a witch?” I asked to divert the conversation to a different direction. “Why? Would it bother you if I was?” she asked. “No, I just thought witches were ugly, and they ate children”, I replied. “Oh silly girl, you watch too much TV”, she said. “What is a witch?” I asked while looking around the room. “A witch is someone that believes in many gods, and we are promoters of life. We do not cast spells or inflict harm on others. We are protectors of the worlds”, she explained while taking a book from the shelf in the living room. I found myself curious about the concept of being a witch. “But, I thought there was only one world”, I said while turning in my chair. “You can accept the one world, but believe in others. You see, young girl… You can accept the one God, but believe in many gods that are pieces of him”, she added while handing me the book. “I don’t understand”, I replied while looking at the book with old words and pictures. She giggled and sat back down. “Take the book home and read it”, she said. I took the book under my arm, finished my milk and cookies, and headed towards the door. “Thank you, and my name is Pam”, I said while opening the door. She smiled, “Come by tomorrow, young Pam”. I ran out the door. I looked back because I knew that I was now going on a journey. It took me a week to read the book. For a young girl with low self-esteem, this book gave me a better understanding about the meaning of life. I read about the wisdom of being human and the importance of life. I read short stories on the power of using potions for healing wounds and curing illnesses. After reading the old dusty book, I began to see myself as a witch. I made several trips back to Mrs. Rohana’s house. It was as if I had a second mother. During a visit to Mrs. Rohana’s house one day, I slowly entered the house. Mrs. Rohana did not hear close the door, as she did most days. I saw a strange image on the wall of her bedroom that was at the top of the stairs on my right side. The image was large like a movie screen that showed creatures hurting and killing other creatures. Mrs. Rohana was watching the images as tears rolled down her face. The images lasted about five minutes until it slowly faded away. Mrs. Rohana turned to see me standing in the doorway. I did not know whether to run or face the consequences of my ease dropping. “Pam! What are you doing here?” she demanded. My feet said run, but my head made me stay. “I’m sorry…. I came in thinking you’d be in the kitchen, but you weren’t there, so I came up here to check on you!” I calmly replied. “What did you see?” she asked while sitting on the bed. “I saw the images of creatures hurting and killing what looked like horses or unicorns…. What was that?” I asked as I walked closer to the wall where the images were. “It’s a land known as Noal”, she sadly said. “There is no other land”, I said. “There is, but no one knows about it”, she replied. “I don’t believe it,” I said while sitting on the edge of the bed. “Do you doubt your own eyes, my young Pam?” she asked. I did not know how to answer the question. On one hand, I never believed in anything that cannot stimulate at least one of my senses. On the other hand, I saw the images on the wall and I wanted to seem open-minded towards my mentor. “Humans cannot know about the land of Noal. The discovery would upset the balance of nature in both worlds,” she added. “Have you ever been there?” I asked. “I was invited once, but I could not leave this world”, she replied. “They were hurting creatures that looked like unicorns. Can we save them?” I asked as I felt sadness for the slaughtering. “No, not now. But in time, the decision to enter the other land will be up to you. Creatures will be born, live, and then die. Some are hunted and killed, while others escape their hunters. In the land of Noal, there is great evil beast that is growing in a cave. With my training, you could be the one to guard the unicorns against the beast”, she explained. “What is the beast?” I asked. “It’s a great dragon. The dragon has scaly skin, large fangs, wings as big as two football fields, and firie breathe”, she added. I knew then that my destiny was to be the guardian and defender of these unicorns and other innocent creatures. I was eager to start my journey to the new land. My life as an apprentice was not easy. By now most girls at my school knew of my relationship with Mrs. Rohana. Karen, Jessica, and June were especially interested in my personal life. Sometimes these girls would follow me to Mrs. Rohana’s house, and then run off when they saw her. On another occasion, the girls took turns spitting on me when we were in the bathroom at the same time. This was a time when I wanted revenge. I wanted these girls to be thrown anywhere. And if they got hit by a car or were accidently killed in an automobile wreck, I would not miss them or shed a tear over their death. I would probably grin in silence as I celebrated my freedom from constant abuse. It was about this time that Mrs. Rohana taught me a new skill. She defined the skill as telekinesis “a manipulation of living energy”. We sat in her living room as she held a ball in her hand. The ball suddenly and magically began to float and fly around the room. “How are you making the ball fly around the room?” I asked in wonder. “The living energy can be manipulated with the opening of the mind”, she said. “What is living energy?” I asked. “Living energy is positive and negative atoms mixed with neutrons that make up matter. This matter is used to create all living and nonliving objects. We just open our minds and let out energy to move objects. It is kind of like when a remote control sends signals to a receiver to turn something on or off. We just use it to move objects”, she explained as the ball landed in my lap. “Can you teach me this skill?” I asked. “Yes, but it will take practice. And you cannot use the craft for selfish acts. Witches that use their skills for self-absorbed acts will be doomed after death. You must promise never to use these skills to hurt or frighten anyone no matter what”, she explained while looking in my eyes. “I promise!” I replied. “Then take the ball home with you and practice opening your mind. Now, let’s go outside”, she said while handing me a broom. “Are you going to teach me how to fly on a broom?” I asked as I took hold of the stick. She smiled and grabbed another broom. “Fly! No, I just want you to help me sweep the leaves off of the front porch”. We both laughed and headed out the door. I was not the kind a girl to break a vow. But on one occasion, a broken promise would set me free from the three-headed dragon, also known as Karen, Jessica, and June. It took me months to learn how to use telekinesis. I would stare at the ball for hours, but it just sat on the surface like a rock. I would sometimes walk in fields and forests on windless days, and try to move leaves and twigs, but nothing ever moved for me. I was beginning to give up. Until one summer night, I stared at the ball for so long that my eyes began to ache. I became so frustrated that I threw the ball across my bedroom. It rolled under the bed as though it was hiding from me. I yelled “GET OVER HERE YOU STUPID BALL!” and believe it or not, the ball rolled towards me and stopped at my bare feet. There was one trick to telekinesis that Mrs. Rohana did not tell me. Telekinesis, the ability to move objects with the mind, has to be driven by emotions. I used my anger to move the ball towards me, but I also used love to pick up the ball and put it in my hand. With my body tired from all the concentration, I lied in bed. Then I turned off the light with my mind. The next morning I walked to school by taking the same route I always took. I could now move leaves, twigs, and rocks out of my way just for fun. During the walk to school, the three-headed dragon backed me into an alley between two old buildings. I was trapped like a helpless dog trying to escape its tormentor. These girls pushed me down onto the ground; and began calling me names, spitting on me, and pulling my hair. Then each began slapping me around. I tried to control my emotions, but I could feel my anger boiling over. As my body endured the physical abuse, I could imagine their bodies burning in flames and being thrown far away in my mind. I could no longer take the abuse. I stumbled upward to my feet. Jessica swung her right hand across my cheek, and I again fell to the ground. I turned to sit up as they stood in front of me. Suddenly, the dumpster lid loudly flew open. The trash from inside the dumpster began flying around in thin air in a circular motion. I watched as the girl’s eyes widen in fright. I shot non-lethal objects at the girls as they screamed and cried for help, but no one came. The girls took flight like roaches being exposed from a dark corner. I knew then how this new skill could be used for power and control over others. I felt relief from the torment, but I was also ashamed of myself. I not only broke my promise to Mrs. Rohana, but I used the skill for selfish needs. I gathered myself and my books and headed to school. I did not see the girls in any of the classes, so I guess they ran home. I was not too afraid of the consequences of my actions because, the girls would never admit to bullying me. Also who would believe the girl’s tale of trash flying from a dumpster and hitting them like fruit flies. I was free at last, but I had to face Mrs. Rohana as I walked home that evening. “Don’t you have something to tell me?” she asked as I walked up the old wooden steps. My feet were heavy like bricks with every step onto the porch. I hung my head low as I sat in a white wicker chair and placed my arms on the arm-rest. I could feel the warm air on my face as I looked Mrs. Rohana in the eyes. “You know what I did?” I sadly asked. “Pam, you know that I can watch you with my wall of visions”, she added while taking a drink of her coffee cup. “I’m sorry! I just wanted the girls to stop beating me and calling me names”, I said as tears came down my face. “I know you will be tempted to use your new skills to serve your own needs, but you must learn to fight battles without the living energy. Battles of the heart are best won when you can fight them with your mind. It is a difficult lesson to learn, but it is what makes us stronger”, she sat back and explained. “I know that I broke my promise to you, but can you forgive me?” I asked while playing with a nail in the wood floor with my shoe. “I can… I think you have enough guilt to punish yourself!” she added while standing up. “I didn’t feel good after I made the trash fly at the girls, but I was relieved to get them off of me”, I said as I stood up to follow Mrs. Rohana into the house. “You did do a good job of creating that tornado of trash, and you should have seen those girls run. I don’t think they’ll bother you any more”, she giggled while walking into the kitchen filled with scent of freshly cooked food. I giggled back, but I swore never to use the living energy for selfish needs. This was a promise that I kept as I grew older. As time passed by, I began to grow into a young woman. The rift between dad and I was becoming more prevalent. He had met and married another woman. I was trying to develop my own identity. I called my new stepmom by her name, and not mom. She was every bit of the tramp that I suspected her to be. She was a bartender in the evening. She had dark hair and a fat body full of assorted ugly tattoos. I hated her from the beginning and she felt the same about me. I could tell that she flirted with all the bikers and boozers that entered the bar. It was all dad needed, was to be around more alcoholics. With their bad clothes and bad breathe. She smelled of alcohol drinks and cigarettes. I made it my mission to stay out of their way. My focus was on my training to be a witch and on my school work. I stayed in my bedroom while dad and Tammy made social conversation over dinner about drinking and work schedules. I had my calendar marked for May 10th, my graduation from high school. This was my last year. I would be glad to move on with my own life. During the spring of that year, I had become so fed-up with school and my so called parents. I had made my first date with a boy. It was about the time of my high school prom. David was a junior and maybe two years younger than me. He was a basketball player with short blond hair, pale white skin, and long legs. I was not into sports, so I knew nothing about his position or ranking of the players. I didn’t know what attracted him to me, but I needed to feel some sort of self-attractiveness about myself. I was seen as a bag lady by my peers, and not much into the social life. Which was always fine before then, but I seemed to need more later on. David began talking to me in the halls during class changes. I thought he was cute for a dumb jock. I kept my arms crossed with my books locked over my chest. It had been my way of putting up that invisible wall so no one could get close to me. I chatted with him on and off for two week before he asked me to the dance. “Will you go with me to the prom?” he said in his rough voice as we walked down the hall. It was almost like a wedding proposal to me. I planned not go to the prom, but since I was asked by a boy, I might as well try something new. I have not had any dating opportunities before I thought, so I might as well give it chance. I said yes because I was excited that David wanted to be more than friends. My only worry was that I did not have a prom dress, nor did I have the money to buy one. It was about this time that my father had shown is true colors towards me and our relationship. “Dad, a boy asked me to the prom”, I said to him while sitting at the kitchen table. “Yeah, so!” he replied while sipping on a beer. “I need a prom dress if I am to go with him”, I quietly added. “You need a prom dress! Well, I guess you better go out and get a job because I’m not buying you one… It’s bad enough that I have to feed you, clothe you, and give you a roof over your head, and now you want me to buy you a dress for a stupid prom!” he shouted as he slammed his plate on the table. “I never ask you for anything. And the one time I need your help, you tell me NO!” I shouted back. “You spoiled girl! You think just because I agree to raise you after your mother died, that I have to give you everything!” he shouted while swinging his hand across my cheek. “Go to your room!” he added as I fell to the floor. “I’m leaving this house for good!” I shouted back as I rose to my feet. “Good! Get out of my house!” he shouted back while following me to my room. I slammed the door in his face. I gathered my clothes and books and stormed from the dreadful house. It was like a bad dream to be kicked out of home by my own father. What did I do to deserve such hatred and abuse? If I had stayed another minute, I might have burned the house down. I would have used my mental abilities to destroy every existence of his body and the wife he took in. If this was a test to see if I could control my mental skills, then I passed the test. Mrs. Rohana was sitting on the porch. I knew that she had heard the shouting matches between my father and me. I slowly climbed the steps of the porch with tears running down my face. Why was I on this earth? Why was I born? I just wanted to die. I wanted out of this miserable life. I was in misery with no loving parents to consult my sorrows. Who was I and where was I going? Mrs. Rohana held me in her arms as I sobbed uncontrollably. It was like there was no happiness in the world because I had no happiness in me. I could not stop crying. I wanted my father dead in my heart. I wanted the pain to end. Mrs. Rohana finally calmed me down after ten minutes of crying. She took me in, and I never went back home. A week before prom night, Mrs. Rohana had a few surprises for me. I came home from school. Mrs. Rohana was in the kitchen preparing dinner. She asked me to go up-stairs to put my books away and wash up for dinner. I never had a mother ask me to do anything. I was content to follow her requests. As I drew closer to my room, I caught a faint scent of newly purchased items. I thought that maybe she had bought new bedding or something else for herself. I slowly walked in my room. I saw the most beautiful white dress with ruffles around the chest and legs and matching high-heeled shoes lying on my bed. The dress was wrapped in plastic to protect it from dirt. Next to the dress was a box wrapped with a red ribbon and a bow. The dress was the most beautiful thing that I ever saw. I picked it up like a fragile creature just being born. I turned to see Mrs. Rohana standing in the doorway. “I hope it fits you. I took some of your old clothes and shoes to match your size”, she smiled while walking towards me. “It’s perfect!” I replied in excitement and with tears in my eyes. “No one has ever been so kind to me!” I said while hugging her tightly. “Open your second gift”, she added. I took the box and carefully removed the ribbon from the box. I lift the lid to find two ugly dolls in the shape of a man and woman. What an odd gift, I thought to myself. “What are these?” I asked bewildered. “These are voodoo dolls. One for your dad, and one for your stepmom”. “Do they work?” I asked with eagerness and excitement. “No, but they are good for you to vent your anger and frustration onto them”, she added. She handed me a big needle as I poked both dolls many times. She was right I did feel better about myself. On the day of the prom, David came in his old yellow Volkswagen that roared with a really bad engine. The windows were cracked on all sides. It had massive dents and scratches on its body, and barely had any front headlights. I wondered if we were going to the dance or if we were going to the nearest scrap shop. David opened his squeaky car door and walked up to the front door in his black bow-tie tuxedo. I waited in my room touching my wavy hair. Mrs. Rohana came up the stairs to my room. She straightened my dress as I starred in the mirror for the thousandth times. I felt like I ate hundreds of butterflies and they were dancing in my stomach. A part of me wanted to cancel the date, but the other part of me felt like a princess. I had never been on a date before now, so I was not sure what to expect. I turned to face Mrs. Rohana. She expressed delight in my happiness. I felt like a beautiful white swam spreading its wings over calm waters. It was like a fairy tale from a really great author writing a master piece love story. It was the evil father and his bad wife, the witch that transforms an alienated girl, and the young ugly duckling that becomes a princess. I felt beautiful for once in my life. I looked in Mrs. Rohana’s eyes as she said, “You look so beautiful. You’re the daughter that I never had. I’m so proud of you. Now go and have fun, but keep your dress on!” “Thank you! You’re the mother that I never had, and I love you!” I replied while hugging her tightly. “Remember, you could have really hurt your father and his wife, but you didn’t, and for that, I am truly proud of you!” she added as we walked down the steps together. “Have her home before midnight or she’ll turn into an old maid”, Mrs. Rohana said to David. “Yes, mam!” he replied while opening the front door for me. The old Volkswagen seemed to be like a horse and carriage in my imagination. I could see the doorman opening the door as my prince and I walked hand-in-hand together. He would lift me into the carriage. The birds sang in the distance and all lovely creatures waved “Goodbye” as we drove away to the great ball. We arrived at the prom. It was held at the finest hotel in town. It usually was not normal to take a younger date, but I did not care. This was going to be my night for enchanted romance. I wanted time to stand still, if only for one night. I sought only to savor this night like wine held in the mouth at its first drink. Inside the ballroom, I saw glittery floors, bright dance lights of assorted colors shining onto the floor, balloons in our school’s colors, and streamers hanging from the ceiling and chandeliers. The tables were covered with white shiny cloths with fancy napkins and wine glasses filled with non-alcoholic wine. The buffet table was filled with assorted meats, cheeses, breads, fruits, and soft drinks. The music played a variety of songs from the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s era. Some of the music were up-beat dance song, while others were soft couples dance songs. We sat together with other classmates. I could tell by eye contact towards my classmates that they were astonished with my beauty. David and I played with a balloon by hitting it to each other for several minutes. We got tired of sitting down, so David lead me to the dance floor. I was not very graceful on my feet, but I did learn to slow dance by watching old musicals. It was very nerve wracking to be touched by a boy. I always closed myself off before anyone could touch me. I guess I did not want my heart broken as it had been for so many times in my life. The songs seemed to last for hours. My eyes gazed to meet David’s deep blue eyes. I could tell that he wanted to kiss me. I had never experienced kissing a boy. Many of my female classmates had already had their first kiss, and probably done much more than that. Was I ready? Did I have a choice? I could feel the goose bumps rising throughout my body. With my heart racing, David leaned forward with puckered lips. My lips moved forwards to meet his mouth. Our noses gently touched as I felt his warm breath and lips rubbing against mine. I could taste the mixture of fruit and soda as the kiss seemed to last forever. Did I enjoy the experience? Yes, I did. I wanted the moment to last forever. Unfortunately, fairy tales do not always come with happy endings. David and I danced a few more songs together. Jessica, Karen, and June had been eyeing me from a far. I could see the jealousy in their eyes. I suspected they might have a plan to spoil my evening. It was during this time that David went to the buffet table. I took my leave to the ladies’ room. Upon my return to the table, David decided to ask me a question. “Are you a witch?” he asked. I knew that one of the girls had blabbed the rumor to him. “Yes, I am,” I replied while sitting down. “Why didn’t you tell me? I can’t be seen with you!” he responded quietly. My heart sank into my stomach. I looked down because my spirit had been broken. My dreams of the fairy tale life were shattered by one sentence. “I can’t be seen with you” were daggers to my lonely heart. “I’ll take you home, but that’s it,” he held out his hand to try to escort me out. I did not take his hand. I got up. I recomposed myself after shedding a fear tears. I walked towards the door, but stopped short to meet the three girls that were standing near the exit door. I turned to meet their eyes and said, “I’m no longer afraid of you three. You will no longer hurt me. If you try, I will defend myself. You may have the looks, but I have the brains….. DON’T BOTHER ME ANY MORE!” I lifted my head and walked out the door. David drove me home for the night. My heart ached in sadness, but I learned a greater lesson. I learned how to use my self-confidence against cruel bullies. I also learned how to use my mind to fight battles without using telekinesis as a weapon. I was sad about losing David, but I felt good about myself. I never saw David again. The three-headed dragon never again bullied me. I rested in my bed content with my confrontation with the girls. My eyes slowly closed to sleep. I guess fighting dragons both figuratively and literality was becoming my destiny. As the days grew longer and high school graduation drew closer, I began to miss my father. I would sometimes see him coming home from work. On the weekends I would stare out of my bedroom window. I would often see him and Tammy stumbling out their car just after a night of binge drinking. On occasion, I heard a lot of shouting from their house. I could not make out the words, but I can only assume that their fights were about her flirtations remarks towards others at the bar. I was sure glad to get out of that house. During the day of my graduation, I walk onto the stage alone. I did not send out invitations because my list of inviters was very short. Two people at most. I invited Mrs. Rohana and my father. I had taped the invitation on the front door when no one was home. I knew that if I had just stuffed the invitation in his mailbox, he would never open or read it. I added a small note inside the invitation that read, “Dad, please come to my high school graduation on May 10th. It would mean a lot to me if you and Tammy could see me walk across the stage. Love, Pam!” As I walked across the stage, I heard a light audience of claps and a faint yell from Mrs. Rohana saying, “Yeah Pam! You did it!” I heard no other cheers from my peers, nor did I see or hear my father and his wife in the audience. My heart was broken, but somehow I managed to contain myself through the ceremony. Mrs. Rohana and I celebrated by going to the finest restaurant in town. This was the extent to my graduation celebration. I sat on the front porch just staring at my father’s house. I used the voodoo doll of my father to vent my frustration by repeatedly stabbing it with needles that felt likes knives in my hand, and then I threw the doll across the yard and into his. It was my way of saying that I was done with him. I went inside the house and up the stairs. Mrs. Rohana was again watching the wall of visions. The image showed a yellow unicorn trapped in a hole with vines wrapped around its neck. I was horrified by the images. The unicorn kicked and screamed trying to get out, but there was no hope. I, being a lover of creatures, made a rational decision. “Is there a way to get into that land?” I asked while sitting next to Mrs. Rohana. “Yes, but once you leave this world, you can never come back,” she explained. “Why didn’t you go?” I asked. Mrs. Rohana handed me a very old photograph of a kind-looking gentleman dressed in a tuxedo with a black bow-tie. He had a white mustache and a receding hairline. “We were married for ten years before he was killed by a warlock named, Black Sun” she answered with tears in her eyes. “He is buried in a cemetery just north of here. I can’t leave him,” she added. “Let me go!” I said. “You can’t. You have a life here!” she replied. “No I don’t! My own father disowned me. I was bullied by my peers. You’re the only mother I ever had. I don’t have anything to leave behind, but you. Show me how to cross over to that land. I can protect all the good creatures and I love the solitude of the forest! Let me go!” I sternly explained. She paused for a moment and said, “Ok, but Pam must die! You must assume a new name!” I agreed because I was transforming into an adult woman. I wanted my old life to die. I wanted the new life to have meaning. I needed to leave this life of depression and find happiness in the sanctity of life. I was ready to assume my new identity as a witch. The name Ballou is often associated with dominance or “To dominate someone or something”. I enjoyed the name because I was once dominated by stronger people, but now, I dominate myself. I am the master of my own destiny. I am choosing to leave this world not dominate other creatures, but to be a master for others. I want to serve creatures that are weaker in the other world. I am ready to use my craft to serve and protect the needs of creatures. I understand that I must live a solitude life. I know that I have to create a balance between being the protector and respecting natural boundaries. I must know when and where to intervene and when to let the natural course of life exist. I am ready to crossover to the land known as Noal. Mrs. Rohana prepares me to leave this world by giving me several gifts. “I am giving you this silver staff to guide you in dark times. I’m giving you these books of spells and healing potions, and I will give you these four black stones that will open the portal for crossing over. There are twelve black stones in the world. The other eight stones are lost. I do not know who has them, but in time they will reveal themselves. I will continue to search for the stones in this world. You guard these stones and wait for the other eight stones in Noal. Good luck Pam, now named Ballou. You have been like a daughter to me,” she said while placing the stones in a four-foot by four-foot square. A wave image and bright light began to appear. I hugged Mrs. Rohana tightly. She returned the affection. It was now time for me to crossover. “I love you Mrs. Rohana. You will always be the mother that I never had,” I said as I gathered my black cloak, a bag of clothes, and my books. I carried my clothes and books in my backpack with my staff in my hand. I slowly took my first two steps on the new land. It was as though I was a new explorer discovering a new land. I was excited and nervous. I finally crossed over. I turned to see Mrs. Rohana’s hands with the stones. She handed me the stones and blew me a good by kiss. The portal quickly closed, leaving me alone in the new land. I turned to see the struggling yellow unicorn. I carefully walked towards the unicorn. It screamed and squirmed in fright. I knew that it was frighten of me. I put down the staff, and slowly approached the unicorn. I took out my small pocket knife that was once given to me by my father. It was the last gift he gave me. I cut the vines, one after another. The unicorn sprung out of the hole into freedom. I asked the unicorn if it had a name. It stopped to look back at me. I read its thoughts to make out the word “’Willow”. The unicorn then ran off into the deep forest. My life here has been peaceful. I continue tranquilly in my solitude. I can hold my head up and feel proud of my chosen life. I am free to worship any god. I do not have to worry about my looks, home, or money. I can smell the roses every day of my life. I am not judged by the creatures of this world. The unicorns, centaurs, and smaller creatures are my friends. I do not feel the need to advance myself through college, work, for success. There is no technology here to watch over me. I do not miss the hustle-bustle of the other world. I enjoy being the guardian on Noal. I have reached my destiny. As I walk through the forest with my silver staff, I am keeping a watchful eye out for the evils that seek to destroy the land of Noal and the race of unicorns. I will always keep harmony with the elves and other creatures of this world. I will seek to help those that request help. I will use my wall of visions to watch for evil and look for the eight stones. I will remain in my cave to practice my craft and potions of healing. As I walk towards my home, I know quite simply that I am the witch known as Ballou in the land of Noal.

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