Trusting the Atholio Series: The Run
Aiden Mizzuri
The Seventeenth Year
Chapter One, Part One
The meadow is quiet this time of day, she says. We will be safe there.
I never knew that when I would be seventeen, I would fight in a war. But not just any war, a war against the Mahnai. That is, until the day the Atholio came.
“Sasha! Wait up!” I cried, running as fast as I can without my knees wobbling. Yes, I am the slowest teen in class, but she doesn’t have to rub it in!
She looks back and laughs, “In your dreams, Aiden!”
Her hair in many skinny braids, very long and curly, a mixture of browns, bounces everywhere, her hairties falling down near the bottom. Her jaw was defined, her head more oval than round, her skin dark, but not too dark, and milky. Her eyes are colored hazel, full of life and happiness. Her lips are skinny and pink. Her nose a long bridge and large, but not too large, at the nostrils. She wears an orange tee shirt and blue jeans, that define her legs/thighs, and her nails are sharp but strong. She wears track shoes from ankles to toes.
All in all, she’s perfect.
I smile just by looking at her, taking or reply as a challenge. I try to run faster, but the weakness in my legs just makes me look overly-exhausted. I slow to a stop and walk when I realized she had already reached the destination. The end of the track.
I look around, as I walk, at the bleachers around us, the fake grass beside us, and the red, white-paint lined ground in front of and below us. I look at the vacancy, Sasha and I the only living things in the entire area besides a few pigeons and other birds that I don’t know the name of—I had never bothered enough, or been curious enough, to find out.
“That took forever, you slow-poke!” Sasha yells playfully, poking me in the shoulder.
“Yeah, I know.” I reply a bit sarcastically, but with a wide, open-mouthed grin.
Sasha laughs. “That was fun. Wanna go again?” she offers.
I stare at her in what is close to shock. “Again? You wanna do that, again?” I shake my head. “No. No way.”
She laughs at my reaction, “Wimp. Okay, fine. Dinner at my place tonight?” she winks.
I try not to blush at my best friend’s offer. Being the guy I am, I, of course, say yes.
Mama died two summers ago.
Ever since, I tried being a better man. I stopped complaining all of the time about silly things like cleaning my room or dressing up for dates. I quit asking for as many useless things that I would toss aside in a day. I also stopped paying so much attention to school popularity and bullies.
I had begun understanding the struggles of being a parent, and assuaged as much pressure as I could from my father. Though he isn’t the type of parent to go play football with me on Sundays, or have talks with me about women or shaving, he still supports me, and still loves me. He’s still a good man. Aside from that, I’d also gotten a job at the movies, winning free tickets for friends (and my sister Embeda). And, I had started acting more mature, not letting pretty girls or comic books interfere with my schoolwork and my overall life.
So, all in all, I put the stupid things in my life on permanent pause, and began bettering myself. Which I’m glad for, considering all the good things that had come out of it—like more opportunities and trust between my father and I; higher grades for better colleges for better careers; learning how to work through life, like being a resident, etc.; etc.
But there are still little things I’m working on—like, in this case, learning how to tie a tie around your neck. What? I’m still just seventeen!
“Um . . . “ I mumbled, flipping the tie every which way. After ten minutes, I sighed in defeat.
Embeda, being only eight, ran into my room.
“Aiden! Look at my drawing.” I put on a smile and beamed down at my adorable little sister, at her red glasses on the nostrils of her nose, at her big blue eyes like Mama’s were, at her purple jeans and pink seahorse-designed shirt. I looked at her pale skin, like mine, and noticed her freckles on her arms where she was more red than pale (unlike me), as she lifted up the drawing.
For an eight-year-old, the drawing was actually pretty decent. It was just a sketch, the only color seen in the smiley-face sun at the corner of the paper. It’s always in the corner with kids. I think. Underneath the black top of the paper (besides the sun), there were five people. Five? I read their names. Mama. Father. Aiden. Embeda. Sierra. I frown, crinkling my nose, and most likely my forehead.
“Embeda, who’s Sierra?” I ask, crouching down with my hand on my knees, that were still bare considering I’m only in Boxers as of the moment.
“She’s my new friend!” Embeda cheers. I assumed she meant from school, and my face smiled with ease.
Until she said, “She works at Come & Eat Meat and has knives in her boots. She looks really cool!”
I stare at her. She is a kid, is she just imagining her? That’s when I saw it. The shadow. Her shadow. As Embeda was beaming up at me, frozen except for giggles, the shadow moved without her consent. It flickered, though mine did not, and the arms . . . it detached it’s own arms. When Embeda stepped closer, and moved back in line with her in the blink of an eye.
“What’s wrong, Aiden?”
I blink. Was I imagining things?
Still staring at her shadow (she glanced back a couple times), I gestured with my hand by her shoulder to usher out of my room, “Nothing, Embeda. I’m glad you made a new friend. Now, go down and show Father. He’ll be proud.”
“But I already showed Father!” she whined, frowning. It’s adorable how a kid’s emotions can flip so quickly . . . then again, many people’s do, so maybe it’s just because she’s adorable. But at this moment, nothing was adorable. I stared at her shadow, watching it follow her every movement.
“Go to Father, Embeda. Now.” I command. Father is strong and courageous, and intelligent even if he doesn’t know it. He protected me moons ago when a car was riding down the sidewalk, so if I’m not seeing things—which I’m sure I am—he can protect her.
Maybe I’m being paranoid, over-cautious, but nonetheless, I can’t lose my sister too.
Once Embeda is gone, I look around my room, flipping in every direction more than once. There was nothing out of the ordinary. I slipped on blue jeans and a black dress jacket over my white button-up shirt, and dropped my blue tie on the floor. I didn’t bother fixing my hair again, leaving it looking like who-knows-what. I opened my door and took two steps.
The book fell from the middle of my bed.
I froze hearing the thud.

Keep Reading

Chapter 2

Chapter One, Part Two

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