It was one of those days where there were about a thousand things to do but you just felt so lazy you didn't feel like doing anything at all. My parents were out on yet another one of their many PTA meetings and my older brother Johnny was out on a date with some new chick. So that made me home all alone that evening, except for our dog Lucky. I can still recall the day when I was around 4 or 5 yrs old and I found him lying under our porch, whimpering. I practically had to beg my parents to let me keep him.
Thinking of Lucky, I suddenly felt this overwhelming urge to go and play with him. Wondering where he was, I started calling out his name. After yelling "Lucky" about a dozen times and still had no response, I began to start worrying a little bit; that dog never missed a chance at getting an extra meal. "Where is Lucky? I hope he didn't run over to the neighbor's again," I thought to myself. Lucky has a habit of going to the new neighbor's house, a certain Mr. Kutra, and chase his poor cat around their backyard. I went outside, went over to the high brick wall separating our backyard from Mr. Kutra's and tried to find the hole that Lucky had dug awhile ago and that nobody in our family ever bothered to fill up. "Lucky! " I half-whispered, half-yelled. I didn't want Mr. Kutra come running out and thinking I was spying on him or something. I won't admit this to anybody but I thought Mr. Kutra to be a real loner and yes, I did spy on him sometimes, when I'm bored. But then again, he's not the only neighbor who is the victim of my spying. I know I'm going to be what people call a busybody or Ms. Gossiper later when I get older and have my own family. Mr. Kutra never got out of his house to go anywhere, except his backyard. And the way that he kept on glancing over his shoulders every other minute just added to his weirdness.
* * * * * *That night I went to sleep and I found out how much I missed Lucky's body lying by my side; his breathing always lulled me to sleep. "I hope he's not too scared," I said to myself. I started counting sheep in my head and slowly felt myself drifting off to La-La Land.
It was a bright and sunny Saturday when I woke up the next morning. At least, until I remembered that Lucky was still missing. I ran down the stairs and into the kitchen. "Good morning dear," my dad said, with his nose in the Saturday morning newspaper. He was always the first one up on the weekends, eating breakfast by himself. "Did Lucky come home?" I blurted out. "Not that I know of," Daddy replied indifferently. Why wasn't anyone worried about Lucky? Didn't they care that he had to spend the night out somewhere on the street? "I'm going to go and try to find him okay?" My dad nodded his head and I knew he had no idea what I just said. I just shrugged my shoulders and went upstairs to change.
First off, I started my search for Lucky in the backyard, just in case he was under the porch, waiting to be let into the house. I ran outside but again, no sign of Lucky anywhere. I heaved a heavy sigh and was ready to go back into the house when suddenly, I heard a faint bark. My head quickly turned towards the direction where the bark came from. Strangely enough, it seemed to come from near Mr. Kutra's house and somehow, the odd events from yesterday evening came back to me. Being of the curious nature, I slowly approached the brick wall and again, I tried to peep through the hole.
"May I help you young lady?"
Startled and surprised, I bumped my head against the brick wall. "Ouch!"
I tried to get on my knees and struggled to peep through the hole to see if I could catch of glimpse of Lucky on the other side. "This is so embarrassing; it's a good thing that nobody is likely to walk in on me like this." Suddenly, I felt kind of bizarre. My head became slightly dizzy and I felt this tingly feeling at the tips of my fingers. Then the feeling disappeared, just as unexpectedly as it came. "Whoa... what was that all about?" I asked myself. I was starting to get a little bit freaked out. I read somewhere about those sudden seizures that people had out of the blue.
All of a sudden, I heard a loud laughter that exploded out of nowhere, if you could actually call that a "laughter". It sounded more like something between a gag, a giggle and a cackle all rolled up into one eerie sound. Shivers ran down my spine. Again, the laughter resonated and then a faint bark. "Lucky!" I thought. Now where could he possibly be? He sounded so far away just awhile ago, if it was really his barking that I had heard. "Lucky?" I called out once more. Again, there was no response. I gave up and went back into the house.
When both of my parents and Johnny came home that night, I hastily informed them that Lucky was missing. "Oh, he'll come back in the morning honey. Just go to sleep and he'll be fine," my mom said while she trudged up the stairs heavily. I know she was tired; she's had a long day. Johnny on the other hand, was having a party on his own: "You mean there's a possibility that the mutt won't come back? Cool!" Johnny never liked Lucky much; he always went into my brother's room to, let's just say, 'unload"... Nevertheless, I wasn't about to let him talk about Lucky like that. I stuck out my tongue at him, a habit that I took up in elementary school and has never been able to get rid of it, as immature as it was.
I suddenly realized that Mr. Kutra was staring down at me from the top of the brick wall. I looked up and felt his icy eyes staring me down.
"Urn, I'm sorry Mr. Kutra. I'm looking for my dog, sir. Have you seen him by any chance?" I finally managed to choke out. His face suddenly twisted up and he made this kind of grimace.
"You mean the dog that keeps on coming over to my backyard and chasing my Gurgoly around?" My face must have had this funny look on it because he added: "My cat. His name is Gurgoly." I quickly came back to my senses and hastily nodded my head. "Oh, yes. That's Lucky alright. I promise you it won't happen again." At the same time, I was thinking to myself: "Who calls their pet a horrible name as Gurgoly?" Mr. IKiutra smirked and said mysteriously, ~Oh yes. it won't happen again, I can tell you that for sure." And hurriedly, he replied, '.Oniy because he's not around right now. I see." With that, he looked around again, mumbled something and jumped off his ladder. I mean, he had to be if I could see him over the wall - that thing was at least seven feet high.
"What a weird man. Now what was he talking about when he said that 'he could tell me that it won't happen again'?" The guy was beginning to really scare me now. Somehow, I just knew that he had something to do with Lucky's disappearance. Suddenly, an idea gemmed into my head. I sprinted into the house and found my parents and my brother, crowded around the kitchen table, eating pancakes and sausages. Our family was known to be big on breakfast. "Mom! Dad! Mr. Kutra has dognapped Lucky!" 1 said, between gasps of breath. All three looked at me with a blank stare on their faces for about a second and Johnny was the first to bust out laughing.
"What did you say? Lucky has been dognapped? Oh God, that's about the funniest thing I have ever heard. And you ask me why I don't allow you to hang out with n.e...,' he said, shaking his head.
"Now, now honey. I know you're upset about Lucky missing but..." my mom started to say. I didn't stick around to hear the rest of what she was going to tell me. I just stormed out of tl.e kitchen and stomped up into my room. ~~Ugh. Why doesn't anybody believe anything that I say in this house?" All three of them; they were always joined together into some kind of cult, where I was the outsider and not allowed to know anything that was going on.
* * * * * *Suddenly, I felt a tingly feeling at the tip of my fingers, the same tingly feeling that I had felt yesterday. Almost immediately, my head started spinning around and around, until I no longer knew where I was. All of a sudden, everything was just a blackout.
* * * * * *My lids felt so heavy, I thought they weighed at least one pound each. With much effort, I managed to slowly pry my left eye open. Hovered around me were strange faces, of golden complexion with deep yellow eyes, shaped like perfect spheres, studying me intensively. Their hair was of a bluish tint, very wispy and thin. Their whole bodies seemed to radiate this dim whitish glow about them. As much as I was dying to find out who they were and where they came from, I felt my strength leaving me and again. my left eye slowly closed down on me. Once more, I was totally uncoi,scious all over again.
When I came back to my senses, I was lying in bed, in n.y room. I jumped up, and looked around frantically. "Who were those people? It felt so real.. .the people, the atmosphere.. ." I plopped back down onto my bed and sighed. "Come on Hannah. Get a grip of yourself You're 16 years old and yet, you still act so childish," I scolded myself.
Around 6 o' clock, the whole family sat down for supper. It was one of those golden rules that everybody's family has. Ours was to sit down and eat supper with the whole family on Saturday evenings and there was to be no exceptions, nor excuses. Thai. evening, nobody really found anything to say. except that my parents reminded me and n.y brother that they were going to Atlantic City overnight and will be coming back home on Sunday night. '~Absolutely NO parties. Got it?" my mom said sternly, looking at my brother especially. Other than that, they didn't say much at all; they all knew that 1 was still upset about Lucky's disappearance. Johnny probably felt bad for laughing at me earlier that day because he told me about a party that he was going to right after we finished supper and asked if I wanted to come along. Normally, I would have jumped up and take about two hours to get ready but not tonight. I was too preoccupied; not only with Lucky but also about those "people" fron, tl.is afternoon. We ate quietly, and as usual, I helped Mom clear up tl,e table and load the dirty dishes into the dishwasher.
As I was cleaning the dirty plates and glasses, I stared out the window whose view opened up into our backyard. As I was loading the last few dishes, I suddenly caught a glimpse of Mr. Kutra walking up and down the brick wall and waving his arms aroui,d, and it looked like he was talking to himself. "Weird," I muttered. First, he names his cat with some unusual and odd name such as Gurgoly and now I catch him having a heated argument with a brick wall. As I loaded the last plate in the dishwasher.
* * * * * *I took a quick look out the window again. CLANG! I dropped the plate onto the floor and it broke into pieces. "What happened?" my mom cried out, rushing into the kitchen. But I wasn't hearing her voice anymore; my head was somewhere else. I couldn't believe my eyes; I had just seen Mr. Kutra walk into the wall and.. .disappear.
"Johnny, whatever you do, come home at a decent hour. And please look out for your sister too; don't drag her into any trouble," shouted my mona from the car after kissing us both me and my brother on the forehead, My dad just quickly waved. He never really talked to us; I think he was just being used to being distant.
After my parents left, my brother asked n,e again if I wanted to come with him.
"You'1l have lots of fun; a lot of people are going to be there," he said hastily.
I knew he didn't really want me to go with him; he hated incorporating his fan.ily life with his social life.
"It's nice of you to ask but no thanks."
"Well, you don't know what you're missing. Well, anyways, I hope you find Lucky again. I know he meant a lot to you."
After my brother drove off, I went up into my room, got a flashlight and put on a light sweater, just in case it got colder otttside. I had a plan that started to fabricate itself in my mind: I'll stay hidden by the brick wall and confront Mr. Kutra when he came back. I softly tiptoed outside and noticed that the stars had begun to come out.
Again, images of the "people" I saw that afternoon returned to me. They were so vivid, so colorful, so... real. I sat down on the grass and leaned against the big oak tree. Suddenly, I heard someone whispering: "Ho ne rai mihe guile lrucco.. ." Somehow, I understood what that all meant. I began to get very scared. I've never heard anything that sounded like that particular language and yet, I understood that the person had said:
"Hurry, before they come back." I began to have shivers run down my spine and sweat started to form on my forehead. I even almost forgot how to breathe.
* * * * * *All of a sudden. I again felt the tingly feeling. Only this time, it was through my whole body and the shock was even deeper and stronger. In less than five seconds, it was yet again another blackout.
Jiru...jiru...Kilato i mani te... Careful, careful, Kilato is waking up..."
My eyes fluttered open and as I wiggled and struggled with all my might to get up, I realized that my whole body was strapped in some kind of silvery drape. Panic started to sink in. Around me, I saw the "people" slightly take a few steps back. We continued to stare at each other like that for awhile. They were exactly how I remembered them: golden faces, thin blue hair. There were about ten of them, hovered around me like a newly found treasure. Or maybe that's exactly what I was. Finally, an elderly looking "thing" spoke up:
"How do you feel my Kilato?"
"F-fine," I spluttered. The incredible phenomenon that just happened was the fact that I wasn't speaking English at all. In fact, I spoke the same language that the elder spoke to me. Also, they have referred to me as ~~Kilato". Somehow, I knew that it was my name and that it meant "Precious One".
"You must have a lot of questions to ask us, am I not correct?" The elder looked at me quietly; quietly, but intensively. The others were doing the same; I felt rather uncomfortable being the center of all this attention. I weakly nodded and tried straining my neck back so that I could get a better glimpse of where I was.
The old "thing" turned towards the others and whispered a few words to this strikingly good-looking person, in spite of everything else. I think that what I noticed right away was his eyes; unlike the others, he had very dark eyes, almost pitch black. He gazed at me intently and at the same time, listened to what the elder told him. After a few minutes, he and the others left and the elder returned back to my side.
He slowly sat down, or rather, started to float in the air until he was face to face with me. He was drifting here and there and seemed to be lost in his thoughts for what seemed to me like an eternity.
"Where shall we begin?" he asked me at last.
"Why can't I move? Why am I paralyzed?"
"You are currently being brought back to your former body," he quietly said.
"I am being brought... do you mean that.. .but.. .1 don't understand..." I was utterly lost for any words.
"I know you may not believe what I am about to tell you right at this moment but you are one of us, Kilato."
"I am one of your people? But.. .how?"
"I am your grandfather Yurasu. You are 1002 years-old Kilato. Your mother and father were I-Iaipko and Taor, rulers of this World, the Seventh Dimension. We sent you to the Other World, the Third Dimension as part of experiment RX-910C. The experiment was only supposed to last for a little while but somehow, there were a few errors done in the calculations and many things went wrong..." His voice trailed off and he again looked at me with that deep, concentrated steady gaze.
Meanwhile, I was trying to absorb everything that this man was telling me in a composed and calm manner. But inside my head, my brain was trying not to snicker.
Now, wait. Just how old did he say I was? I was in the what Dimension? And if my parents were the rulers of this World, then technically, would that make me a princess of some sort'? The ideas that he was tossing at me were laughable indeed. And this man who was gliding around in thin air, who was somehow affiliated to me, I was supposed to call him my grandfather? "Bring me back to my former body..." Ha-ha. Funny indeed.
"Try not to ask too many questions, Kilato. At the moment, we are erasing any kind of useless memory that you have remembered from the other World and trying to reintegrate your initial memories as well, all at the same time. By talking to yourself too much, it only slows the entire process down," he gently reprimanded me with a small smile on his wrinkled golden face. I felt my cheeks slightly redden and my grandfather somewhat chuckled.
"I suggest that you close your eyes and rest, Kilato. We have long days ahead of us..." Bit by bit, he sank to the ground and finally his two feet lightly touched the ground. I-Ic reached out and stroked my hair soothingly and said: "After so long, you have come back to us, safe and sound, Kilato." There was extreme sadness in his voice now, and the tired yellow eyes looking down at me were filled with melancholy.
* * * * * *As I did not know what to reply to him, I listened to his previous advice: I closed my eyes and went to sleep.
When I woke up. I was lying comfortably in a bed. The "bed" in question was a bubbly, mossy transparent floating sphere that morphed into any form that best suited you. In front of me was a big mirror, and I stared at myself; I was not like any of the other people I have seen. My body was of a pale, pinkish glow and my hair so thin and long, of a soft sky blue color. I noticed right away that I too, did not have the usual yellow eyes that the others had. Instead, mine were also pitch-black, just like the handsome stranger from last time.
"Kilato, are you awake?" a deep, masculine voice startled me.
"Yes, but I am not...dressed."
I did not finish my sentence that the door opened and in came the attractive stranger whom I had just thought about. I felt so...naked. Somehow, I think that my memories from the other world were not completely erased from my mind for I had retained a few beliefs and morals from it. And being naked in front of what I knew to be a man was quite a violating experience.
"Good morning... Jaira." I felt so embarrassed.
"Ah, I see that they have revived some of your old memories, for you remember my name.. .but do you remember who I am?" He quickly gave me an expectant glance and waited for an answer.
"To tell you the truth, I don't.. .I'm sorry." I would have been grateful if he had provided me with some further information but I could see that that was wishful thinking; he did not seem to want to say much.
Our eyes met but he quickly reverted them.
"Your grandfather has sent for you. I believe there is more work left to be done for he is waiting for you in his quarters."
He gestured me to follow him and we proceeded to walk down the bronze hallway. On every side, there was a multitude of statues that probably represented my ancestors I guess. Suddenly, I stopped in front of a particular statue. Unlike the other statues that I have seen, this is one was a sculpture of two human beings, an actual man and woman. The woman was cradling the man's head in her bosom and she was weeping. Around them laid guns and other bodies. It was apparent that they both were in tremendous pain. Slowly, but silently, lioo, began to weep, for I knew that those people were my father and my mother.
Gently, a hand laid itself on my shoulder and Jaira softly said:
"Do not cry, Kilato. Though I still think it is a truly beautiful sight to make waterdrops fall from your eyes, I have seen enough to know that you are hurting right now.
I did not say anything and his words reverberated back and forth inside my head; I just motioned him to continue along. I was now eager to see my grandfather and ask him more questions.
Finally, we came to a stop in front of a colossal archway. Jaira turned towards me and said:
"Your grandfather is on the other side of this archway.
"Thank you." I managed to choke out.
He looked at me with an undecipherable expression and was about to say something but at the last second, decided against it. He bowed and firmly walked away. I looked up at the archway and taking a deep breath, took a step through it.
"There you are, lovely as always," my grandfather exclaimed to the others around him. My instinct told me they were all ministers and they were in the midst of a meeting. Seated around a table that seemed to be at least 20 feet long, they immediately stood Up and bowed down to me. Seeing so many people made me feel a little bit self-conscious of myself, not being covered and all. But again, this was a belief from the Third Dimension and since everybody else was naked in this World, I guess nobody seemed to care.
"I apologize, gentlemen. I would wish to speak with my granddaughter. The meeting will be adjourned for today."
When everyone left and there was only the two of us, my grandfather being at the other end and I, still standing where I entered, I felt not only awkward but also shy.
"How do you feel?" This seemed to be his way of greeting me every time we started a conversation.
I slowly walked up closer to him and sat down beside him.
"Before coming here... 1 saw a statue of... Mother and Father, am I not right?"
My grandfather looked away and did not answer me.
"Grandfather, you must tell me, I must know; there is no use waiting for my memories to be renewed. How do I know if you won't erase the memories of my parents too?"
"They too, were part of an experiment, weren't they? That is why they were humans, and not like.. .this."
When he did lift up his face and our eyes met, my grandfather's eyes were again filled with acute pain and anguish. It took him a few minutes to put himself together and he softly began:
"Yes, your parents were part of the same experiment as yours; they were not as lucky. It was a horrible, dreadful mistake..."
And he stopped. I did not ask him for more details; that was enough. To know that my parents had to sacrifice themselves was more than enough; it was more than I had asked for. But my grandfather went on:
"You were only about 500 yrs old, or around 15 or 16 yrs old according to the Third Dimension's days and years. But yet, you had a feeling that something would go wrong. You begged your parents not to attempt this experiment, the first one of its kind."
"We have searched for ways to travel back and forth between the ten different dimensions for millions and millions of years and your parents wanted to be the first ones to experience this and make their mark in our World's history."
"Jaira... him and you were once so much in love. He knew that you were against the idea of letting your parents go. But what he did not know was the fact that you have decided to go yourself to take your parents' places. Kilato, you were so immature, so foolish...! When Jaira found out through eavesdropping that you have traveled to the other world, he went after you and somehow, much to our surprise, took the form of a dog."
"Our enemies from the Ninth Dimension had also been spying for awhile and they too, had plans to be the first ones to travel freely through all ten dimensions. They constructed a model just like ours and their leaders, Kutra and Gurgoly, were sent to eliminate you and Jaira. Your parents tried to go and bring you back but... again, they were sent to another time and place and died while fighting for one of the Third Dimension's most brutal wars..."
When Jaira returned, he was crying; no one has ever seen such a sight and it was honestly the most remarkable thing that any of us have ever seen; nobody from this world has the ability to cry. But deep down, we could also sense that something has gone terribly wrong.. .how could such a beautiful display of pure fantasy bring so much pain?" Again, my grandfather's voice trailed off and his mind was lost in a maze of intricate thoughts. I reached out and touched his bony hand. It was cold.
I sat there and my heart had stopped beating many times during the course of my grandfather's telling of part of my life story. As I listened to his words, I gradually remembered everything: Jaira, Mother, Father...
Finally, I stood up and kissed my grandfather on the head. I walked towards the archway, and turned back to glance at him. He was still sitting there, thinking, remembering. I could no longer look at that face, now that I knew that I was the cause of all the pain. My eyes began to moisten themselves and I ran through the archway, covering my face, sobbing.
The next thing I knew, somebody was crying along with me and wiping away my tears all together.
It was Jaira.
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