My biggest fear became reality. The mad brothers locked me up in one of the cells and just like that I became their prisoner. Over the past few months they have been running dozens of various experiments on me, but none has provided them with any positive or desired result. Apart from the experiments, since the day of my imprisonment they have been injecting me daily with a green glowing substance of an unknown kind.
After five long months of waiting, I have finally aged to a child. You might wonder why I age so fast, but that’s nothing more than just a simple aging spell I’ve cast on myself in case my soul would enter the Mother’s body and I would be reborn someday. I couldn’t afford wasting any time. Eighteen months already seem too many, because all I can do now is to wait twelve more months before I’ll be old enough to perform magic again. I desperately need to get my powers back.
The day I turned six, Jane started teaching me their language. It was the only moment of the day I was actually having fun. I soon discovered that all the Janes weren’t the same. They all looked the same, but their personalities were different. This Jane in particular has really grown on me. She was very kind, friendly and attentive, not like the others. I could talk to her. I could ask her any question. She would always listen and answer anything I asked. She was my only friend.
Every day after my lesson with Jane, the man whom I used to call my savior came in the cell, dismissed my friend and injected me with the green substance. It always made me feel a little dizzy, but I have never felt anything more than that. I don’t know what was the reason why he kept on doing it.
As the days went by, the time itself has become my greatest enemy. I have completely lost the track of it. I only understood what time of the day it was thanks to the lessons with Jane… and after she left it was just me, three white walls and a big window to nowhere.
On top of everything, I have become very paranoid over the last month. I had to keep remembering myself who I really was and what was my mission. My real name is Huang Loong and I am the sorcerer protector of the First Emperor of China. In this world I am known as Nathan, a prodigy, a test subject and a victim of crime. When the time comes I will escape from this facility and travel home to find my sister.
One day when I was standing by the window and staring into nowhere I felt my feet suddenly becoming cold and wet. When I looked down at the floor I noticed that the green liquid began flooding my cell.
I had no idea if it was real or if it was just another of my hallucinations, but I panicked anyway. I just couldn’t die in here. I had a sister to find and save first!
I didn’t hesitate and ran to the door to call for help. When the liquid reached my knees and nobody had answered to my callings yet, I realized that this was probably the end. I would never be able to get out of here and see my sister again.
Since I knew that nobody was coming to save me, I just sat on the bed and waited for my death, silently observing the rising level of the green sea of tears of helplessness.
As the level kept on rising, I rose together with it. In no more than twenty minutes I have found myself only a few inches away from the ceiling. I felt desperate and furious at the same time. I have come so far already and now I’m going to drown in here, because I cannot even use a simple spell!
This is it, Huang, this is the end, I thought to myself before the green liquid swallowed my body completely… Then just when I thought it was my last minute, I saw a blurry face in front of my eyes.
The liquid burned in my eyes, preventing me from seeing clearly, but I recognized her. It was the face of Yun, my sister. Her eyes looking at me and my eyes staring blankly upon her beautiful face. My time has come. I must be dying… or am I already dead?
“You have already died once, my brother, but this time I won’t let you.”
I heard her voice so clearly as if she’d be right next to me. I listened to the sound of her words, slowly closing my eyes and letting myself be carried away to the world beyond this world or elsewhere she was taking me…
Am I dead? What is this place? I thought to myself as I slowly opened my eyes and the sunlight blinded me for a brief moment. I swear, that at first I thought I was in the Netherworld. During my imprisonment in the science facility I got used to the dim, cold, artificial light of my cell. I have forgotten how nice it was to see the daylight.
I remained lying on the ground, letting the sun beams warm up my cold body. I looked at the sky, searching for a sign of my sister, but all I could see were some birds playing in the clouds. When I rose to my feet I got unpleasantly surprised. I was in the middle of the desert! My lips were dry and the sand was getting warmer with every minute. I was thirsty. Luckily, there was a little pond of freshwater. I rinsed my face and drank some of it as well.
I looked around. There was nothing but red, burning sands everywhere. What am I going to do now? Where do I go from here? I thought to myself while staring into the vast emptiness of the desert.
“You know the way, brother.”
“Yun?” I called out hopefully. For a moment I thought I saw her eyes in the sky. “Where am I? Is this a dream?”
“Hello? Yun? Where are you, sister?” I asked in hope she would answer, but she didn’t. All I could hear was a deafening silence. Well, I guess I’m on my own now…
So I walked…
…and walked some more.
I’m not getting anywhere. What if I’m going in circles? I’ll never get out of this burning hell… Yun, if you’re there, give me a sign… please…
…and then I saw the butterflies.
I walked in the direction my sister has pointed me to. Well, I thought it was my sister who sent the butterflies to show me the way. Maybe they were just there, but I believed it was Yun.
I walked on the top of the sand dune which was blocking my view. I deeply hoped there was something behind it. Something that would lead me someplace safe and hidden from the sight of the mad scientists who were without any doubt searching for me already.
A road? Where does it go? Is it the same road that leads to the science facility? I had no choice. The sunset was near and I couldn’t stay in the desert overnight. So I ran. I ran as fast as my legs would take me.
When I finally reached the road, I was so tired I couldn’t run anymore. So I walked.
The sun was setting behind the dunes and I was still in the middle of nowhere. I had to find someplace to spend the night. I was getting tired. I’ve been walking all day.
The temperature dropped radically after the sunset. I was getting cold. If only I could find something to cover myself with… If only I could use magic.
I walked and walked and walked. When I thought I would have to walk all night I finally saw something in the distance. What was this place?
I decided to give a look around. “Hello? Anybody here?”
It was really a weird looking place. I have never seen anything like it before. Everything was dirty, smelly and abandoned to itself. Just like me.
A bed? A real bed? Wait… What if someone lives here? Is this somebody’s home? Somebody’s bed? What if there’s someone watching me? Is this some kind of trap? I thought to myself as I looked around.
I was thinking about leaving this place, but my tired body decided for me. I carefully crawled upon the bed and looked around, searching for a sign of something or someone, but I couldn’t see anything or anyone.
It was getting cold. The wind was playing with the dry grass and the leaves of the nearby bushes. The creaky noise of the car stuck on the top of one of the piles was giving me the creeps. I wanted to slide under the cover and fall asleep, but something was telling me I was an intruder and it wasn’t safe here.
Though I was simply too tired and couldn’t resist. I slid under the cover and instantly fell asleep…
“I have finally found you, Nathan, poor boy. I’m so sorry for all you’ve been going through, my child.”
“I wish I could take you home.”
That night I had the most unusual dream. I dreamt about the Mother. She wasn’t at peace, but it wasn’t like she wanted to take a revenge on me. I felt she loved me even though I was the reason she lost her life. I have never felt any guilt for what I have done to her before, but suddenly I realized the weight of my selfish deed. I used an innocent girl, I killed an innocent girl. What have I done? What has become of me?
“… stupid police chumps got no idea who they’re dealin’ with. I’m gonna show ’em who’s the boss ’round here. What? Yo, you! Get the hell outta my bed!”
“What are you doin’ in my bed, skunk?! Get up!”
“I said, get the hell up! NOW!”
I was still dreaming about her when suddenly I heard a male voice. It sounded like someone very angry. I didn’t realize until the moment I opened my eyes that it was actually someone standing over the bed and shouting at me.
“Move it, boy! I ain’t got all night! I said mooove it.”
“Excuse me, sir. I didn’t know this was your bed.”
“I’m sorry, mister.”
“If you think you’re gonna get outta this, you’re wrong. Nobody, I repeat NOBODY sleeps in my bed, understand? All this is mine! MINE! I suggest you bail outta here real quick before somethin’ bad’s gonna happen to ya!”
“I apologize, but I have no place to go. I promise I’ll not sleep in your bed again, but can you please let me stay?”
“You’re really drivin’ me up the wall, kid! I’m gonna count to ten and then I don’t wanna see ya here again, got it?!”
I didn’t understand. I apologized to the man for sleeping in his bed, but he kept on being angry with me. As I watched him walk away, I thought about what to do now. I really had no place to go and I still couldn’t use magic so I decided to stay.
I gave him a moment to calm down before I approached him. When I saw the angry expression on his face I wanted to stop, turn around and walk away, but I decided to be brave.
“Are you deaf? Get lost!”
“I SAID SCRAM!”
“They are searching for me.”
“Who? Your folks? That’s not my problem, kiddo.”
“I ran away from a science lab.”
“Oh. So, uh… are you like a test subject or somethin’? Say, if I take you back there, I’m gonna get some reward, right?”
“You are not taking me anywhere,” I said menacingly and the logs in the fireplace burst into flames.
“What the hell, man? You’re givin’ me the creeps! No doubt they’re searchin’ for you! What the hell are you?”
“If I told you the truth you wouldn’t believe me.”
“My name is Huang Loong, also known as the Yellow Dragon. I am the sorcerer protector of the First Emperor of China and I’ve been reborn in this body in order to avenge his death and find and save my sister Yun, the last of the Dragon people. A very long time ago, before I was buried alive and left to starve to death, I have cast the aging spell on myself. Each month I will age by one year until I come of age and finally be able to use magic again.”
“Did you hit your head or somethin’? Sorcerer protector? Emperor of China? Dragon people? Seriously?”
“As I said, you don’t believe me.”
“Come on, pal. If you told me you had superpowers I would believe you, because I’ve seen it with my own eyes… but this shit is seriously too much.”
As I watched him go I realized that it was better not to tell anyone else. They wouldn’t believe me anyway and maybe I could even end up in that place where they keep all the mad people. Definitely not a good idea.
The fire was getting weak so I headed towards a nearby wood to find some more logs and branches. On the way there I passed along what looked like an abandoned mine.
I thought I could try asking about it, but the man was already asleep. My curiosity had to wait until the morning.
Searching for the wood proved to be more challenging than I have initially thought, but in the end I managed to find six or seven more logs. I piled them all up and carried them to the fire. I felt I was getting stronger. Each single day was a little step closer to gaining my powers back.
As I stood by the fire and watched it burn, the memories of my childhood surfaced on my mind… I miss you, little sister.
It was already long past midnight so if my calculations were correct the fire would last until the early hours of the morning. I could as well get some sleep until then.
Maybe this wreck is not as uncomfortable as it seems?