The Guardian: An Unfortunate Wish
The day when I disappeared from this world.
It was raining hard.
I was running through the streets to reach Mr Basile's mansion. She called at my orphanage and asked me to come over. I could tell by her voice that it was an emergency. But I was not sure about what. She did not say why I should come over, only that I should come quickly.
You do not have many problems as the daughter of the mayor and especially not those where you need the help of an orphan. It was her habit to involve me in all her problems and seek advice from me for whatever reasons.
Her father Mr Basile did not mind it. Once he said to me that I am a very extraordinary and intelligent girl and seeking advice from me would only benefit his daughter. Even though I have never been to school.
The mayor's only daughter Cher, my only and best friend taught me how to write and read. Afterwards, I basically studied everything in what I was interested in with the help of the central library in our city. The library was my second home. Cher told me that education is the key to success. The best example was her father.
Mr Basile graduated from a prestigious university when he was just eighteen and was standing in the elections at twenty-one. He was the youngest candidate to participate in the elections in our city history. He had a successful and nearly perfect life except for one incident which happened eighteen years ago, on the 16th of July. On that very day, his world started new and ended at the same time. His daughter Cher was born but he lost his wife. Since then he alone was caring for his daughter and she grew up into a beautiful, lovely young woman.
There it was. You could not miss the huge and magnificent mansion they were living in. I was two streets away and I already could catch a glimpse of it. As I was getting closer to the mansion a big gate was coming into my view. Two armed soldiers were standing in front of that very gate.
As the mayor, you had to be really careful and you could not trust anybody. The security had to be especially high, not only to protect him but also his daughter and the staff who work for Mr Basile. The two guards recognised me and let me in.
The front garden was modestly designed. You had the typical way of pebbles leading to the front door and you could find some cherry blossom and wisteria trees along the sides. I followed the path and was standing in front of the door.
Before I could knock, the door opened. It was James, the butler. I smiled at him. He looked the same as always. He was wearing a white shirt with a black tie, a black waistcoat and a long, black tailcoat above it and black, striped trousers.
“Good Morning James,” I said.
“Good Morning Miss Ari. How are you today?” he asked smiling back.
“A little bit wet but otherwise I am great. Thank you,” I replied as I was entering the mansion. He closed the door behind me. I did not see it until now but he looked concerned.
“How about a towel Miss Ari? You can dry yourself until Miss Cher gets home,” he asked.
“Cher isn't at home?” I asked him back surprised. He could see the confusion in my face.
“I am sorry but she is not. Is it an urgent matter that you have to see Miss Cher?” he asked cautiously. It was really weird. I knew James. If Cher was troubled, he would have told me.
“No, it’s alright. Can you please tell me when she left?” I asked with a smile to not worry him. Cher called me about fifteen minutes ago from her phone which was in her bedroom.
“Miss Cher left after breakfast with her father Mr Basile. They went to see her mother’s grave. As you know she is going to be engaged tomorrow, therefore, she thought it would be best to have her mother's blessing too,” he answered.
Cher always had her breakfast at eight o'clock. That means forty minutes ago. It was impossible for her to call me.
“Miss Ari is everything alright?” he asked me with concern.
“Yes, I am fine,” I replied looking at him with a big smile on my face. It would be best if I kept the phone call for myself.
“Would you still have a towel?” he asked me again. “Yes please,” I said nodding.
James went to get me a towel. I was standing in the reception room. Water drops were falling from my clothes on the beige-coloured marble floor. My hair was soaked and my ponytail was really loose. The hairband could fall off at any moment. But I was not paying much attention to it. I was thinking about James. I was wondering if he was hiding something. He looked worried throughout the whole conversation.
James was one of the few friends Mr Basile had and he was working for him since he became a mayor. If there would be a problem, he would know it. Nevertheless, he looked surprised when I was asking for Cher.
I could hear steps. He was coming back. He had a light blue towel in one of his hands and a cup in the other. Steam was rising from it. James handed me both. It was tea. The warmth of the tea in my hand felt good.
“I thought a cup of tea would do you good. I put some honey in it. It is going to give your immune system a boost,” he explained. I took a sip from the tea. It was really good.
“Thank you so much,” I said. “You’re welcome,” he said smiling.
He went back into the kitchen without another word. I took another sip from the tea and started to walk towards the stairs.
It was a relief that Mr Basile trusted me enough that I could freely move inside his home. I went up the stairs. With one hand, I was holding the tea and with the other hand, I was trying to dry my hair with the towel. My hairband was gone. I did not notice that it was gone until I started drying off my wavy, black hair. I did not mind it. James would just pick it up and give it to me the next time he saw me. I reached the first floor and turned right.
Cher's room was on the right, Mr Basile's was next to hers. The two others were empty and served as guest rooms. Mr Basile did offer me one but I was not interested. I could not stay in one place. It was a bad habit of mine. From an early age, I had to live in different orphanages and sometimes even on the streets because I would run away. I always felt that I was a burden for others. It felt like I was suffocating. I would sleepover at her house on rare occasions or otherwise she did not leave me alone and got mad at me. She is always worried for no apparent reason.
I drank my tea in one go and left the cup on a small table in the corridor. I was standing in front of Cher's room. I opened the door really fast to scare anybody who was in her room but nobody was. Everything seemed fine. Everything was in its place. I went over to the dressing table and sat down on the chair in front of it. Her phone was right in front of me. Next to it was her little notepad with all her contacts in it. It was open. I picked it up and looked at the name and the number. It was the number of my orphanage. Now I was sure someone was in her room and called me to come to her house. It couldn't be Cher. She knew the number by heart.
I suddenly had a strange feeling like someone was watching me, but I was certain that I did not see anybody in her room when I entered. I could not hear footsteps but I did hear someone close a door. Cher's door which I had left open. I was uncertain of what to do or what to expect. I was unable to see from the dressing table mirror where the intruder was standing.
Cher's room was on the first floor. He could not have used the main entrance so he came from the window and had to climb the vines that lead to the window which was actually quite difficult to do. I tried it once but was not able to get to the window. It meant his physical abilities were above average. He avoided being seen in the mirror too. He was clever. I had to be prepared for everything. He could have a weapon on him. I had to think fast.
I carefully grabbed a nail file from the table and dropped the towel. He was probably thinking that I did not know where he was. I was going to use his advantage for mine. I stood up and ran to the corner where I thought he would be but I was facing an empty wall. He was not there. I was waiting for him to attack me but nothing happened. I heard a soft coughing and then an elderly voice.
“My dear, if there would be a real intruder you would have already lost the fight to him. If you keep standing in one place you’re going to die. You thought you lost sight of him, and you have no clue where he is. Nevertheless, you have to stay in motion. Doing nothing is a huge disadvantage and is not going to help you in a real fight,” the elderly voice said.
I turned around and saw an old man. He was sitting on the same chair where I was sitting just a moment ago. He was wearing a white shirt and dark brown cargo pants. In his right hand, he was holding a wooden walking stick with a crystal ball and a green lizard on top of it. In his other hand, he was holding the notepad.
Something was wrong with this situation. The receptionist of the orphanage told me that Cher called me but clearly, she did not and I doubt that this old man can imitate her voice.
“Who are you and what are you doing in this house? Maybe you don't know where you are but this mansion belongs to-” I tried to explain with a loud voice.
“Mr Basile. He is the mayor of this beautiful town. My dear, I know exactly where I am. I am not that old to forget my friend’s home,” he interrupted me.
He stood up and turned around to face me. From his face, you could not tell he was old but from how he was standing. He was bent forward like most elderly people. His hair and long beard were as white as snow. His skin colour looked milky and his eyes were the colour of emerald. It was a pretty green. But the prominent trait was the big scar on his forehead above the right eye. You could tell he experienced a lot throughout his life.
“Your friend?” I asked suspiciously.
“Indeed. Dev is my friend. I know him since he became the mayor. He is a good friend of mine. He took a lot of responsibility off of me,” he replied confidently. I was looking at him with a blank face.
“What kind of responsibility?” I asked him.
“To take care of you,” he answered with a smile and looked out of the window.
He looked back at me. He was waiting for a reaction but I did not give him one. I knew he was lying. Many people have tried to harm Mr Basile through me but I never let them.
“To take care of me? Do I know you?” I inquired being sure I had not seen the old man in my entire life. He stepped closer.
“Yes, you do but I can't guarantee that you remember me. You were four years old when I last saw you. You were really young and I don't think you can recall any memories from that age,” he said looking at me as he was challenging and forcing me to remember what happened at that age.
What he said was not true. I remembered my mother. I remembered my father. I remembered how they left me in front of the orphanage. Since then I had been searching for them and trying to figure out why they abandoned me.
“Yeah. You are right. I can't remember anything,” I said bluntly. His face turned into a serious expression after hearing what I said.
“So, you don't remember how your mother left you in front of the orphanage? Don't you remember the last kiss she gave you? You don't remember the storm that night?” he said with a sharp voice.
I was shocked. How could he possibly know these things? I never told anybody about that night. Not even Cher. How? I would remember his face if I had seen him before but I did not. He was a total stranger to me.
“Who are you?” I asked slowly. My heart was beating fast inside my chest.
“For you, I am a grandfather,” he answered smiling.
“Grandfather?” I questioned.
“Call me grandfather,” he replied looking at me with a happy face.
“Grandfather?” I questioned him again being more confused.
“Yes. That sounds nice,” he said.
“But we are not related,” I said disagreeing.
“Correct but calling an old man grandfather does not mean you are related to him. It just means that you respect him. It’s that simple,” he explained raising his right forefinger.
I still did not figure out why he was here. It did not understand.
“What do you want from me?” I asked him directly. He looked at me surprised.
“Did I mention that I want something from you?” he countered with a puzzled expression on his face.
“You didn't mention it but you tricked me to come to you and you know a lot about my past. The rest was logical thinking,” I stated.
“You are a smart girl. Do you know that?” he said laughing.
“I get that a lot,” I said angrily.
“And your temper is really amusing,” he continued. He laughed harder.
“It looks like you’re having a good time,” I said annoyed.
“I am sorry but you are exactly like your mother,” he said trying to control himself.
My mother? Did he know her?
“Where is she?” I asked demanding, nearly choking on my own words.
He stopped laughing and was looking at me with a blank expression.
“Who? Your mother?” he asked.
“Yes!” I shouted.
My voice was sharp and loud. I had never been so emotional before. I was furious but at the same time agitated. The thought that I could actually see my mother was overwhelming. I waited all these years for this moment that someone would come and take me to her. The possibility and my hope to see her again kept me going.
“You really want to see her?” he inquired.
“Yes,” I said with a firm voice.
“What are you willing to sacrifice?” he asked me with a serious face.
I did not know the purpose of this question and it did not matter to me.
“Everything,” I said with confidence.
I was calm. I had control over my mind and body. I was ready for this. No matter what the prize would be.
He stepped back and was looking around the room searching for something. He fixed his sight on the big dressing mirror next to the wardrobe. Then he looked at me.
“Come to me,” he said gesturing with his hands. I walked towards him without any doubts.
“Do you trust me?” he asked me. I looked into his eyes.
“No. But I am willing to take the risk,” I answered. He did not like my answer. He seemed sad.
“That is okay. I didn't give you a real reason to trust me anyway. I lured you into this house and then sneaked up on you,” he said. I kept quiet. “Could you please stand in front of the mirror?” he asked politely.
Again, I did not say anything but did as I was told. He walked behind me.
“Can you see something in the mirror?” he asked while looking past me and into the mirror.
I was looking at my own reflection.
“Yes. I can see myself,” I said a little bit confused. What was the point of this question?
“No. Look closely. Something else besides yourself,” he ordered.
I stepped closer to the mirror. I leant forward and as it happened I could see trees. No, not only trees but a whole forest. How was that possible?
“Yeah. I can see a forest. I think,” I said disbelieving my eyes.
“That's good. Do you believe in a parallel world?” he asked me before he pushed me into the mirror.
Stuck on a tree.
I believed the old man and now I was stuck on a tree. Why in the world did I even listen to him? I was such an idiot. Now I was dangling from a branch. The branch was stuck to my belt and if I would open it I would fall to the ground. That was not an option. The tree was at least thirty metres high. In addition to that, there were not any branches near me that I could grab on and that was the last problem I had right now. I did not know where I was. I was clearly not near my home or near my town. For crying out loud!
But I had to admit it was a beautiful view from up here. I had on my right-hand side a lovely ocean of flowers of different colours and sizes. The big one had twisted, shiny stems and dark red blossoms. The smaller ones had an opposite look of the bigger ones. They had thin, fuzzy stems and light blue blossoms. On some of the flowers were droplets of water which looked a lot like teardrops. When I looked to the left-hand side I could see some fields used for agriculture. They looked abandoned as if they were used a long time ago. Between these two fields was a path heading towards a sea. The tree I was stuck on belonged to a deep and dark forest that laid behind me. The strange thing was I could not hear any birdsongs or animal noise from the forest. It was awkwardly silent around me. I was getting more and more anxious. I was desperate to get off this stupid tree.
I was dangling from the tree for what seemed like forever, and nobody had walked by. The branch could break any second. Not that I was fat but I was starting to hear a cracking sound a branch makes when someone walks over it and that was not good. Was nobody out there?
Something moved down there. I finally saw a person. All I needed to do was to get his attention.
“Hey! You down there! Can you hear me? Look up!” I screamed in hopes he would hear me.
And he did.
“Can you please help me get off this tree?” I shouted.
He nodded. I was relieved and hoped he was intelligent enough to get me down safely. It seemed like he was thinking. That was a good sign.
“Don't climb up here! It’s too dangerous! Do you hear me? It’s too dangerous!” I shouted at him because I had the feeling, he would do exactly that. If he got hurt I was going to be responsible.
He did not look up, although I was certain he heard me. My feeling was right. He started climbing up the tree. He jumped off the ground and grabbed the first branch he could reach. He was pulling himself up on the branch. It was not going to be easy. The branches of the trees were really far apart from each other but by the look of it, it was not a problem for him. He easily climbed from one branch to another. He was fast. Within minutes, he was sitting near me on another branch. I looked at him in astonishment. He was looking at me but did not say a word. It seemed he was not surprised seeing me stuck in a tree.
“Hi. I'm Ari. Ari Night. Thanks for helping me,” I said relieved.
“I'm Daiyn Dawson,” he replied. This was not a coincidence that he was helping me.
“By any chance did grandfather send you to pick me up?” I asked him already knowing the answer. He smiled.
“Yeah. If it wasn't for him you would be dangling here for the rest of your life,” he said.
“Wait, what did you just say? It was because of him in the first place that I have been stuck on this tree. What did he tell you how I ended up here?” I asked him annoyed.
“He told me you tripped and fell into the mirror,” he answered looking at me. I could not believe my ears. He lied. That old man lied.
“For your information, he pushed me into the mirror. I did not even know that it was possible for me to fall into the mirror let alone that a different world existed or whatever this all is,” I explained pointing in all directions.
“Alright. I believe you. Now how are we going to get you down,” he said analysing the situation.
“I don't know. The branch is stuck in my belt but if I open it I will fall down,” I explained. He was not listening to me. I could tell by the expression on his face.
“This is how we are going to do it. You are going to open your belt and I am going to catch you,” he said confidently.
“No way! If you don't catch me on time I am going to fall and in less than a minute I would hit the ground and I would be dead or I would live but with all of my bones broken,” I said worriedly.
I tried to grab the branch on which he was sitting but I could not reach it. I tried again but this time, I tried to grab his hand instead of the branch. He looked at me but did not say anything. I managed to grab it. He was patiently waiting for the next step of my plan. The problem was that there was no next step. He let go of my hand and laid down on the branch and then grabbed my hand again. I was staring at him trying to figure out what he was going to do.
“You’re ready?” he asked me suddenly.
“For what?” I asked back.
“Like I said before. You are going to open your belt and I am going to catch you. I am already holding your hand. Nothing can happen to you. Then I am going to drop you to the next nearest branch beneath me,” he explained again.
“Wow. You seem very confident,” I said in a sarcastic voice.
“Because it’s a good plan. Are you ready?” he asked me again.
“Fine. I am going to open my belt and don't you dare to let go of my hand. Keep in mind that we are in this situation because of that old man. It’s all his fault,” I clarified. I had a bad feeling about this situation I was in.
I opened my belt. I did fall for a second but then stopped. He was holding on to me as he said. He swung me to the nearest branch and then we came down the tree.
It was such a relief to be back on the ground. My legs were a little bit shaky at first but after a while, I was feeling better. In contrast to me, Daiyn was looking really relaxed.
“Thanks again,” I said with a shaky voice.
“No worries. Should we start going?” he asked me.
I was looking around me and stopped as he asked me this question. I was not sure if I could trust him. I did not have many choices either. If I ever wanted to get home I had to go with him. Besides, I still needed to talk to the old man. I was sure he was not lying to me when we were talking about my mother.
“Before we go I have one question,” I demanded.
“What is it?” he asked.
“Where exactly are we going?” I asked back but he just started walking. After a brief moment, I started walking behind him.
“We're going to grampa’s house,” he answered.
“Aha. And where does he live? What I mean is in which town does he live in?” I asked knowing I needed to gather as much information as possible about this place. If worst came to worst, I needed to know the possibilities to flee from this place. He looked back at me.
“We don't have towns. This world consists of three kingdoms. Deonion, Deviion and Detavil. All three kingdoms were named after their first kings. Grampa and I live in Deonion,” he explained.
“Good to know,” I said while realising what a mess I got into.
He stopped looking at me and we did not talk anymore. We were walking between some fields away from the forest.
I was right. The fields had not been used for years and the few huts that were next to the fields looked old and shabby. I could tell nobody lived here anymore. I really wanted to know what happened but I did not ask him. The flowers on the other hand looked even more beautiful.
I noticed that Daiyn's eyes had the same colour as the blossoms of the small flowers. They were ice-blue. His black hair was messy. He was wearing black pants, a plain white tee and black boots. I noticed a leather wristband on his left arm. He looked athletic and he was definitely taller than me. I would rate his looks above average.
He suddenly stopped and looked straightforward. I nearly bumped into him but I stopped myself right in time. We were looking at a sea surrounded by grassland. The sun was shining and was reflected by the water. It looked amazing but not real. I turned my head to see him, but his eyes were not focused on the sea. He was looking up. I did the same and just stood there in awe.