When the witch finally seizes me and clamps a hand tightly over my mouth, it’s Mom who screams and runs towards me. She cuts through the crowd like a hot knife through butter, only this time the butter is wearing pink frills.
I see it in her face that she regrets her decision 16 years ago, and that she would give anything to have me back. Real tears stream down her face. I have never seen her genuinely love me for me, and not for my future.
That’s when I realize how much I’m going to miss her too.
She grabs my shoulders and pulls me, trying to wrench me out of the woman’s grasp. I shriek in agony. My left arm hangs limply by my side, and my shoulder sags below it’s socket. Pain like nothing that I have ever felt before rages mercilessly through me as Mom continues to put all of her weight onto me.
And then she’s gone.
A blaze of black fire engulfs me. I try to run, to reach my family. But I can feel my feet slipping hopelessly in the ashes, getting me nowhere. Despite that, I keep running. I can’t leave now. Not like this.
I keep trying to reach her until I hit cold metal. Dizzy, I stumble backwards. The fire is gone as suddenly as it started. The witch has moved me, using sorcery, no doubt. I have been moved to my prison.
The weight of being alone crushes me. I collapse, not wanting to try and withstand it. I never even got to say goodbye.
The cold hard floor greets my wet cheeks with a twisted satisfaction. My dislocated shoulder aches at the burden it can’t carry.
“Are you okay? You seem a little banged up.” A voice says playfully.
Startled, I push up off the ground, only to wince at the pain in my shoulder and fall back down again.
“Don’t panic. I’m not the witch.” The voice says again.
Two hands wrap around my waist and pull me off the floor.
A boy, about my age, stands before me. His knotty auburn hair looks like it hasn’t been brushed in weeks. He has dirt and grime around his freckled face, which makes his emerald green eyes stand out brilliantly. His smirk says, I’m trouble but his eyes say, I would never hurt you.
I don’t really care about any of that, all I care about is the fact that he is WAY better than Denver.
For just a second, I think that maybe, just maybe, we could be soulmates. We could escape this prison and run off together!
I stop myself before I get carried away. Destiny has made it clear that Denver is my soulmate. No point trying to mess with fate.
His eyes scan me slowly, and then come to rest on my injured arm. “That looks bad. Can I take a look?” he asks, cringing at the inflamed, red skin.
“Sure. Just don’t move it. It hurts a lot.” He brushes his fingertips gingerly across my shoulder. Suddenly, I feel a warm, tingling sensation down my spine. My arm slowly inches towards it’s rightful place, until my bone pops painlessly into it’s socket. My swollen shoulder begins to shrink down to it’s normal size and return to it’s normal skin tone, until I can’t even tell that I was ever hurt in the first place. I stare at him, astonished. “How did you do that?”
He smiles sadly. “Sometimes, Destiny can help, even though he’s ruined me much more than he’s protected me.”
I think about that. Maybe he’s right. Maybe I should give up on trying to change who Destiny wants me to be. Maybe Destiny will help me if I stop fighting.
“Anyway,” he says, breaking the silence between us, “my name’s Leo.”
“Bianca. How long have you been here?”
Seven years. Seven whole years. Suddenly, I hate Destiny even more.