From the minds of Aeor, a Series of Shorts

Karma Kamara


“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” she said as she snapped the book closed. “Not much else could be worse than this, if you ask me.”

She put her weathered copy of A Tale of Two Cities down on the cot beside her, a small cloud of dust puffing out around it. It was the only thing she had now. Not a smartphone, her laptop, her closetful of clothes; nothing. Everything here was dusty and dirty. What more could you expect from an abandoned building? She was too scared to clean, though, to be honest. If she cleaned, someone might notice the place wasn’t quite vacant anymore.

Kamara wasn’t too clean herself. She had been on the run for what felt like forever, even if it was only a few days. Her lowcut V-neck sweater used to be a pretty mustard yellow. Now it was more of a dingy brown; caked as it was with sweat, mud, and dirt. Thankfully she had been wearing a decent pair of pants when she ran, instead of her usual skirt. As it was, her jeans looked like those fashionable ones, finally. You know the ones — the kind with all the tears and such. Except hers were brand new and didn’t have a single abrasion when she put them on. Now they had several tears and some stains of blood; the skin of her knees having torn when the jeans did.

This was no place or state for a 23-year-old woman to be in. It had been the longest and hardest few days of her life. Which isn’t saying much, in all reality.

Kamara Prescott had a pretty easy life set for her. Her parents were pretty well-off, and they all lived in a good area. Their house was a good size (but not quite a mansion), and it was always clean, even when the maid had her day off. Heck, the fact that they had a maid should mean her life was good!

Her normal day was spent in her room reading whatever book caught her eye. No one bothered her and she didn’t bother anyone, in return. Twice a day she would emerge for food, and that was it.

She immersed herself in fantasy books, mostly. Diving into the magical worlds of Tolkien, Martin, and Gaiman. Her favorites were the ones where a normal person would have greatness thrust upon them, like Paolini and Matharu. You would think her extensive reading would have prepared her for what happened, right? Wrong.

The craziest thing happened to her on November 29th, just under a week ago. She had been called by her mother to visit some family member she didn’t know as a courtesy. The guy was apparently dying or something. It sounds cold to think about it now, but she didn’t even know this man! Her mom had said he was her grandpa, but both of her grandfathers were already gone. She had gone to their funerals.

The man she saw on the bed, wires and tubes stretching from him everywhere, was white like her, and you could see a hint of her copper hair under his grey. His nose was a similar shape to hers, she supposed, but his eyes were identical to her own. The baby blue spheres were empty and staring at the wall, but she could see the same patch of hazel around the pupil; just like hers. Not even her own parents had that particular trait.

She went to his bedside and looked down at him, confused. He was related to her somehow but couldn’t be her grandpa. Maybe her mom had been mistaken and meant great uncle or something. That had to be it. This guy was related but distant enough for her not to have met him.

She stood there looking at him for what felt like hours. Everything felt like it took forever outside of her books, to be honest. Her legs were starting to tingle, and her arms felt very heavy. Her mother was on the other side of the bed, arms crossed, looking between them. She seemed mad or impatient for some reason. Kamara couldn’t understand why, though. Her mother had brought her here, it was up to her to move whatever this was along.

Just as her mother opened her mouth to say something, the man stirred. His eyes fluttered and his head tilted to the side, his breath coming in a deep gasp. It sounded like when someone is woken from a deep dream, adjusting in an instant from fantasy to reality. It was an interesting sound but paled in comparison to the interesting look he was giving Kamara.

His eyes had lost their far-off fog and had zeroed in on her. There was a look of confusion, then recognition, then … pity. He closed his eyes soon after and raised a hand to her, palm up, offering it to her. She glanced at her mom, fear obvious across her own face. Her mother, however, looked pleased, and motioned for her to take the man’s proffered hand.

With a shudder she raised her hand, shaking slightly in her sudden anxiety, and placed it in his. His skin was cold and dry, looking very frail, but the grip he clamped over her fingers was deceptively strong. His eyes snapped open again once her fingers were in his grasp, bones crunching together with his strength. A voice not her own then spoke within her mind.

“Run as soon as you can. You will end up like me if they keep you,” the voice said within her head. “They will use you until you die, drying up every bit of energy you have. I look ancient, but I’m only 23; same as you, dear sister.”

She gasped and winced as he clenched her hand tighter. She didn’t have a brother! She had always been an only child. Looking into this man’s eyes, however, she somehow believed him.

“They took me away when we were young, as soon as I showed what I can do. You had scraped your knee and I LITERALLY kissed it and made it better. I’ve been here ever since, healing people for them. It takes a lot out of me, but they don’t care. These people pay a lot of money for my services.”

“I don’t have a brother and I don’t have anything like that. Neither do you! It’s not real! I may read fantasy books all the time, but that doesn’t mean I’m delusional enough to believe this!” Her voice in her head sounded shrill and panicking, but it was only in her head. She couldn’t quite make the words reach her lips, and she couldn’t seem to break away from this man’s gaze.

“You do, you do, I do, it is, and you’re not. You are perfectly sane, for now, but you must run the first chance you get. I’m used up. I’m going to die. Before you leave this room, I’ll be dead. Once I give you my power, I will die.”

“If you are my brother then keep your damn power! Keep it and live! I can carry you out of here!”

“They would never let you, for one, and I wouldn’t last long without all these wires anyways. All I can do now is give you my ability and give my warning. You have to run. This ability is great, but it takes a greater toll. You can only heal others and it drains you of your energy. If you use it too frequently it starts to drain your own life as payment.”

“If they know this, why don’t they let you rest! You could go on healing people but still live!”

“They didn’t know until it was too late, and now they don’t care. I’m used up anyway so they might as well finish me off. The last task I can do is to transfer this to you. I could give it to anyone, but I convinced them it had to be you.”

“If you want me to run, why would you give it to me? If you want to save me, why would you condemn me?” She tried to pull her hand free, but her muscles wouldn’t listen to her.

“Because I know what you can do, but they don’t. Eventually they will find out about you, too, and you’ll be in the same situation anyway. This way I get to see you again and warn you!”

“I don’t have any power! I’m not special, I’m just a book worm!”

“You do! You have to try and remember! It was the same day I was taken away. Remember!”

Kamara’s memory snapped back to a time when she was only about five or six. She had been playing in their garden, building a fairy village out of sticks, leaves, and mud. There was a boy walking up to her, almost identical in appearance. He was smiling at her but stopped when he saw what she was doing. She looked back down, herself, and gasped. There were actual tiny fairies inspecting her handiwork.

Something in her head had popped, then, and the fairies disappeared. They were there and gone in less than a minute. Kamara had marveled as they seemed to blow away in a breeze. She looked up, wide-eyed, at her brother and saw the men coming up behind him. One of them grabbed him and pivoted on his heel, carrying him away like he was a bag of groceries.

“Corvin!” Kamara screamed in her mind, as her it released her back to the present.

“That’s my name, don’t wear it out.”

“It’s all true,” she said in her thoughts, tears forming in her eyes.

“Just remember to run, dear sister,” his voice echoed through her skull.

His eyes finally fluttered shut and she was released from whatever trance she was in. She gasped and tried to pull her hand away, but his grip was still ironclad.

“It’s okay,” said the woman across the bed from her. “Just let it happen, you’ll be okay.”

“Mom, I’m scared,” Kamara said as the tears flowed freely down her cheeks.

“It’s fine. It’ll all be over in a moment. Do it, Grandpa.”

Corvin’s hand tightened on her own and he started to shake. His eyes scrunched up and sweat instantly broke across his brow. He was in pain. Whatever he was doing was hurting him.

Their hands grew very warm and almost seemed to glow as Kamara felt pins and needles begin to flow from her arm to her shoulder. It spread across her chest and down her arms and legs, her whole body going numb. Then it traveled up her neck, over her face, and into her brain.

Something in her seemed to click as whatever the sensation was, settled into the back of her head. She breathed a sigh of relief and looked at her brother. He had gone still and was calm again, but his chest was no longer rising and falling. There was a long beep echoing in the room as her mother smiled and flipped a switch. He was gone, finally at peace.

“Run,” whispered a voice in the back of her mind. Kamara Prescott gritted her teeth as she cried and vowed that she would not end up like her brother. As soon as she could, she would leave. She would run away and never look back.

Three days later she finally got her chance. Her parents locked her in her room as soon as they got home, giving her meals twice a day. It wasn’t until they brought the man in the wheelchair that she saw more than a glimpse of the hallway.

They brought her to the sitting room and sat her before the old man. He reached out and took her hand in his, his eyes searching her expectantly. A fire began to burn in the back of her head. She knew that, if she wanted to, she could take the pain away from him.

Instead, she reached beside the chair and grabbed whatever was on it. Her father’s favorite book, A Tale of Two Cities. She gripped it hard and swung it in front of her, smacking the man across the face. Her parents rushed to check on the now-bleeding, man and she rushed out the door.

Two days later, Kamara was huddling in an abandoned building, crying as she tried to rest after running for longer than she ever had. There was only one thought that kept repeating in her head: “Now what?”

A voice within her finally answered, “Now you have to figure out how to use your power to get us out of here.”




About the Author:

Aeor Odinson

Aeor Odinson is a relatively young person from the middle of nowhere, Ohio. Having grown up in a very conservative area, his life was bound to end up one of two ways. Option one was to become one of the many and follow the stifling traditions of everyone else. Option two was to break out of that mold and become the eccentric, colorful, and happy person that he is today.
Aeor started life as a Christian but was troubled by their overall hatred for homosexuals, as a gay man himself. One day he asked a wiccan friend what their view on people like him was and was told the age old phrase, “And it harm none, do what ya will.” That’s all it took. The next several years were rough and filled with hardships but during that time Aeor found Odin and Freya. Through them and following their path for him, he overcame every obstacle set before him and has been a practicing pagan for two decades. Aeor is now living a life of beauty, love, and creativity, striving to share his experiences with the world through his writing and art.