Chapter 6-The Curse

When I painfully opened my eyelids, I saw four faces looking down at me. I couldn't recognize them because everything seemed a blur. I assumed they were Ellina, Blake, Ace, and Kayla. I gagged and felt someone helping me up to sit down. I realized I was in a cave. Or something that looked like one. I was lying on a bunch of leaves, they were pretty comfortable considering if I had to lie on the hard rock.

"April are you alright?" I knew whose voice that sounded like. It was Ellina. I tried to say I'm fine when I wasn't really, but when I opened my mouth, nothing came out, only pain shot up my back and I leaned backward to the bed to try and reduce it. I felt a hand hold my back tight before I could bang it on the bed. I blinked. Everyone was clear now. Blake and Ace were on my right and Ellina and Kayla on my left. I realized that Ace was holding me. I opened my mouth again to try to talk. Now pain shot through my legs, and I couldn't move them as if I was paralyzed. I winced, and motioned that I was in pain. They would probably understand. It was like I had no vocal cords. What happened?

"She can't speak, just like the witch told us. And if she tries to, she'll remain in pain." Blake said.

"I can't believe I listened to her, I'm so sorry guys. Claire never did that before. I don't know what was up with her." Kayla said. I didn't know what they were saying. I opened my mouth again. Nothing came out. Tears were at the back of my eyes. But I couldn't cry. Not now I couldn't, not again.

"April, we are so sorry, what can we ever do to help?" Ellina seemed like she couldn't think.

"The witch asked her who she loved, and I bet she lied." Blake said. I gazed at him in surprise. How'd he know? Was he there when the witch asked me? I tried to open my mouth again to speak, but the more I tried the more pain shot up through my body. I decided to lie back and not open my mouth again. But the thought of Blake knowing what happened to me was still swirling around my head.

"How do you know that that's what really happened?" Ace finally spoke.

"Because that's what witches do, when they see a history seeker—" Blake was cut off.

"'They must be asked three questions, name, age and love. If thy does not answer, then a curse will be struck upon them, until thee love finds them.'" It was like Ellina was quoting from some book. I saw the look on her face. Her eyes were wide open in fear.

She hesitated, "B-but there's a time limit, if she doesn't find her love in the midst seven days, something happens. I believe she would stay like this forever, but I'm not sure. I believe there's a possible way to break the curse though. We could try different Meris bending, they may work—"

This was insane. I shut my eyes tight trying to let myself believe that this was all an insane dream. I wanted to go back home. I opened my eyes slowly hoping that I would be in London again, lying in my bed with my alarm clock next to me, but instead, I saw something completely worse.

Men were holding axes and breaking down the cave. They were strong muscular men. I wondered why they were tearing it down. I struggled to my feet to try to escape before the cave would collapse on me, but I was trapped in some impenetrable bubble. I heard one man say, "That's it boys, break it all down!" My eyes narrowed to one man that was standing in the corner. He was breaking down the cave as well, but his facial expression seemed like he didn't want to. It was like he was forced. My eyes narrowed even more to recognize him. Then they widened in surprise. That man was my father.

I wanted to speak up, but I was afraid that if I opened my mouth, I would be pained again. But I couldn't help the fact of how much I had missed my dad. I felt tears on the corner of my eye. I smiled to his features that were now so clear to me, his light brown hair and his hazel eyes, his steel arms and his perfect body. For a forty year old man, he was very attractive. But I figured he was younger here, he looked younger. Finally I knew what was going on. I was seeing the past.

Despite the fact that I knew I would be pained if I would open my mouth to say anything I still wanted to say something at least. I hesitated then slowly opened my mouth, "Dad?" I could speak, and I didn't feel anything. I was happier than ever. "Dad!" I said louder. The man turned around slowly. I saw his eyes widened when they met mine. I felt my tears rolling on my cheeks. "Dad." I sobbed. I couldn't believe it. I was seeing my dad again. He ran to me and I heard him say, "April!" I felt his arms around me, holding me tight. I wrapped my arms around him too.

"I missed you so much dad." I cried.

"I missed you too baby doll." I felt so secure and calm in his arms. I didn't want him to let go.

"Listen to me well, April." he said. "You must go to The Witch of The Mountain with the rest of your Meris. That's the only way I'll get out of here. Ok? You have to promise to me ok? When you get there the witch will grant the history seeker one wish with no circumstances, wish me out of here baby, please. I'm not as strong here anymore."

"Dad, but I don't—"

"Promise me! Ok? No matter what happens, you HAVE to get there. Understand?" there was fear in his voice. He was trapped somewhere and he couldn't get out. I was speechless, and all I felt myself do was nod hesitantly. I saw him finally smile. "That's my girl. I love you April." I smiled.

"I love you too dad." But before I could hug him goodbye I heard someone say, "April?"

My dad and all the men, disappeared in thin air. I held my hands out where my dad was; my facial expression probably unreadable. I'd lost him again. "April, are you ok?" it was Kayla. I opened my mouth again forgetting about the pain that would strike me the moment I attempted to speak.

I noticed the sympathy in Kayla's eyes. Pain shot through me, I could see her see me and she hurried over to me to help me get back up. "April, I'm so sorry." She began. "you've been out for three days. I never knew Claire would do that, but there's good news though, she gave us the location of the two other Meris. We found them. An air bender, and a future seeker, they're here, training, outside. Do you want to see them?" I nodded, remembering how much in pain I would be in if I tried to say 'yes'.

I saw Kayla smile as she lifted me up and helped me outside the ominous cave. Outside was so much different than inside. It was a meadow. Green grass was everywhere. I saw Ace and Blake and another person I didn't recognize bending. Ace was surrounded by rocks all shapes and sizes. He was bending them everywhere. Sand from the grassy area flew beneath his feet. He was controlling earth. He was wearing beige shorts, and that was it. Blake was next to a river. His hands motioned into different directions within seconds; it was like he was signaling to someone where they should go by only using his wrists. I was stunned as I saw water rising from the river into his motioned wrists flowing in every direction. He seemed so peaceful; I had never seen him like that before. It made me smile. I noticed that he'd cut his hair shorter. I could finally see his shimmering blue eyes so clearly.

I wondered how much I missed, and how long I was out. Then there was another boy, with long spiky hair that was reddish with brownish areas. It was like an optical illusion. I figured he was the new member, the air bender. He was also training. Wind currents shown, flew from everywhere, whenever he made a move. It was amazing. I noticed Ellina was sitting next to a little girl. She seemed so young. She had orange hair and looked just like the air bender.

"Ellina, Ellina!" Kayla shouted. Ellina looked up, so did Ace, Blake, the air bender and the little girl. When I turned to Blake, I noticed he was coming over to us, smiling, and his facial expression excited. He had never been so happy before. Ellina hurried and hugged me, "Oh April! I'm so glad you're finally feeling better." She pulled away and I smiled, remembering that if I opened my mouth, pain would be my answer.

"April these are the new members of our group. This is Emma." She pointed at the little orange haired girl. The little girl nodded once. She didn't look up at me. But I heard her say something under her breath, "It is very nice to meet you." she whispered.

"She's blind." Kayla whispered in my ear.

I felt pity for her for she was only a little girl. I turned to the other boy that came to us. He stood near me, smiling. "And this is Brandon. He's Emma's brother." He looked at me and held his hand out, "It's such an honor to meet you." I shook his hand.

"April, you should join us tonight, we're making a camp fire." Ellina suggested. I liked that suggestion. I especially loved camp fires. I remembered me and my dad used to always go camping every other weekend. I nodded enthusiastically. Ellina's smile widened.

I stepped out of the cave once more and stared at the night sky. Sparkling stars filled the place. I traced constellations with my eyes, wondering how such beauty could ever be abandoned. "April! April!" Kayla waved at me. I smiled and walked towards the group. Everyone was there. But that's not what kept me from looking away. Emma was seated on a small log alone. She was staring into the fire. I remembered that she was blind, and that she must have been lonely.

I sat next to Kayla and Ellina on the damp grass and stared at the glowing fire. Sparks spewed out of every edge. It was beautiful. "Do you want some food?" Ellina asked. I nodded. I hadn't eaten for days. My stomach was empty. She handed me a leaf that wrapped around some slimy substance. "Open it, Ace made it from the ground, don't worry it's sanitary." Kayla said glancing at Ace. I saw him smile at Kayla. She blushed red, and smiled back at him. I had seriously missed a lot. I opened the leaf, and inside was some yellow substance. It looked like mashed potato. I shoved it in my mouth trying to swallow it before I could actually taste it, I needed something in my stomach. It was like eating red and yellow pepper, completely tasteless. I grabbed a bunch of leaves and shoved them in my mouth. After eating about six, my stomach started to rumble. I held it tight and motioned to Ellina that I was going to the river, in case I needed to puke this bizarre substance I had put into my body. She nodded back at me and smiled.

I got up and left. The moment I reached the river I smelled its beautiful pure essence. The water was so beautiful under the moonlight. I sat on my knees and bent down. Suddenly I remembered home. The peaceful silence made me one with all my surroundings. I heard the gradually flowing water and shut my eyes as the sound of it soothed my brain. I was in a different world. Suddenly footsteps snapped me out my lovely escape. It was Blake.

"Are you alright?" he asked.

I nodded. He kneeled down next to me.

"Here, let me help you with that." He said quietly, and as if knowing my stomach hurt he moved his muscular arms towards it. I was paralyzed, lost in his glistening, intense blue eyes. He slightly lifted my shirt and laid his cold hand on my stomach so lightly, it made me shiver. With his other hand, he motioned it towards the river. I saw the water rise as he commanded. Then gently, he removed his hand from my stomach and allowed the water to enter my body. I was almost scared. The water had gone through my body. But my stomach pain had vanished. I looked up at him to realize that he was staring at me. I couldn't stop glaring at him either. He spoke gently, quietly, I almost couldn't hear him, "You still can't speak." His voice was soothing, relaxing.

He had reminded me of my worst nightmare. I nodded and put my head down. "Hey—" he cupped his hands around my chin and lifted my face to his. He hesitated, then slowly brought me towards him. Again, I was paralyzed. Every muscle in my body had stopped functioning. I shut my eyes reflexively and soon his lips were on mine. He was holding me tight in his arms. I had never felt this way before. Nor had I known that this feeling even existed. He pulled away so gently, and glared into my eyes.

I saw his eyes under the starry night, shining now more than ever. I analyzed every part of his face, his perfect nose, and his gentle crescent lips. I hesitated, then gently put my hand on his chest. He almost shivered, then shut his eyes. I slowly moved my hand up to his hair. It was soft. It was as if I was touching silk. My fingers ran through his wet, black hair so delicately, I was shivering all along.

He sighed. I pulled my hand back but he caught it and put it between both his hands on his lap.

"You know," he said. "the reason I knew was because I was there, with you." Blake said. For a moment I didn't understand. "I knew that you said you didn't love anyone, because if you said anyone, it would've been me. I don't know why or how, I just do. From the moment I saw you, I—" he hesitated. "There was something about you, that just reminded me of—" he stopped again. "it's just like this. If you were a star, and you didn't shine, I would still notice you first. You bring out something in me that not anyone can. I just—, I'm sorry if I've ever been terrible to you, I would never want to hurt you." He stared at me from my left and then from my right eye, over and over again. Uncontrollably I opened my mouth to the first word I could think of, "Blake." My voice was shattering and so quiet, I couldn't hear myself. Gentle pain shot through my back, but I didn't mind it. He looked up at me, his blue eyes widening, "You can speak." He said. I glanced down at the grass beneath me and looked back up at him. Even I couldn't believe myself. Ellina said the curse would be broken when my love would find me, it made no sense until now.

"Yes. I finally can." I spoke again, very quietly. This time the pain was reduced, my arm pained for a short time. He put his arms around me and again, that paralyzing feeling came to me. Could it be that I was his lost action figure? I wasn't sure of this feeling, but then again, I was never sure of any feelings I had. Maybe this time I could be sure, maybe there weren't any mistakes this time. Maybe everything I felt, was finally, real.