“Get out!” His angry voice bellowed through the room, echoing off the austere walls. The world blurred as tears brimmed and swirled in my eyes, my vision a haze of the angry red of my father’s face and the blank white walls.
“I’m sorry! Please, don’t make me go!” The words came out in a jumbled slur, cut in by gasps of fear. Here I was, begging for mercy, standing hunched and frail before him. Everything was clear for a split second, the blurry clouds giving way to a focus so intense my head throbbed. Every smell, every sight, every texture was amplified a thousand times, like looking through a microscope on full power. The rank stench of beer on his breath, the fury that reddened his face so deeply it was almost purple, flushing away the creamy white paleness of his skin, the mini leaf-cyclones swirling on the lawn. I could feel it in my bones. A storm was coming. His green eyes looked like shattered glass in the brights, a fractured soul hidden beneath a cloud of alcohol and pain.
I barely had time to register his hand coming towards my face. A blur of fingers flying and my own swirling blond hair whipping past. I hardly remember the actual moment his hand connected with my cheek, slapping me back so hard I collapsed. The first thing I recall is the raw stinging pain that rocketed through my face, sending reverberations down my spine. Falling backwards, I crumpled to the floor, lying helplessly like a torn up rag doll.
Sobs racked my chest, and I choked out the words,
“I’m so sorry, Dad! Please, I swear! I’ll never go out without your permission again. I’ll never see him again, I promise. Just don’t make me go.” Dark anger and pain eddied and swirled, muddying my thoughts. All I could think about was just how much I hated my father… and just how much I loved him. This was the man that had held my hand in the aquarium, rattling off facts about the fish and smiling as I squealed in delight. The man clapping lovingly in the audience as I stood in the shining lights at my choir concert, beaming with pride. But the same hands that had cheered me on that winter night had slapped me a thousand times over in drunken rage.
Fury roiled hot in my blood, but I was so weary. Tired of him. Tired of the constant throbbing in my cheeks. Tired of being made fun of at school, tired of the constant questions about the chain of dark bruises that blossomed along my face. Tired of life. Distantly, I noticed a pitter-pattering of rain against the huge picture window, the little rivulets streaming down the glass. I had always loved the rain, the smell after a thunderstorm and the tappity-tap of drops hitting the roof. I couldn’t enjoy it now, not with the despair seeping in like a dark cloud rumbling over a blue sky.
Every fiber of my body wanted to do what he was saying, to leave and never come back. But here I was, weak on the floor and begging for mercy. Begging to stay in the one place I didn’t want to be. You’re too weak… my mind whispered, and I was infuriated with myself, at just how helpless I was. I clenched my fists so tight my knuckles went white. Thunder clapped, turning the sky an angry blue-gray that was the same shade as my mother’s eyes.
“You pathetic brat!” He laughed, a cruel sound like a feral dog ripping into a harmless hare. “Get out! You think you can disobey me, go on a date? With some boy? As if anyone could ever love you.” My heart convulsed; the storm brewing outside whipped violently with each ragged breath I took.
Tear strewn, covered in bruises, I looked past him to my mother standing in the arched doorway glaring at me. Giving her an anguished stare, I longed for her to wipe that cold facade away, to run to me and tell me “no.” That she did love me. That she didn’t agree with Dad. That I wasn’t just Talia Thorn, a rich pretty-princess blond with daddy issues that was only good for the diamonds around her neck. I wanted her to protest. I wanted… I wanted her to love me.
We locked eyes, hers beady gray and mine a large, vibrant blue. The wind quieted for a moment, as though I was the storm and the world was holding its breath. But she didn’t protest. And as she turned away, she pulled out… no. A bottle of whiskey. My breath hitched. And all hell broke loose.
All my bottled up anger and desperation unleashed, and the swirling vortex of wind hurtled over the house! Gusts of ferocious air plastered leaves to the window and hell descended from heaven. The sky opened up, black clouds taking over the last blue patches of sky like the devil’s chariot riding through the world, turning blacker and darker with my rising fury. Rain pelted the lawn viciously, pounding harder and harder with my rising despair.
Somewhere in the back of my mind, a voice whispered, You’re the storm! You’re Talia Thorn, with a shock of blond hair like lightning that is ruffled and wild as the wind, with sky-blue eyes shaped like raindrops. You! Are! The! Storm!
As my Dad struck me again, grabbing me by the scruff of the neck, lightning struck white-hot outside the window. Thunder beat in tune to my racing heart, rumbling and growling, a beast uncaged. My heart throbbed as he shoved me up against the door, pinning me down and fumbling drunkenly for his keys. But he didn’t need them. The grand mahogany door flew off its hinges, tossed violently across the rolling yard as if it were a plastic bag and not a mass of heavy, expensive wood.
My mother, a frail blond woman, had even joined the fight to drag me out the hole in the wall. Even as every heirloom and antique we own is being sucked out of the house, they still want to get rid of me. To them, I’m just a mistake, a roadblock on their path to blissful, mindless drinking. Tears burned in my eyes; my heart throbbed. But I held on. It was as though the wind was pushing me back into our manor while still sucking everything else out.
Dad struggled and groaned under my weight, his purpling face strained. The green eyes I knew so well were narrowed with hatred and clouded with alcohol.
In that moment, I wanted nothing more than death. To have everything, everyone disappear in a flash of lightning and a crack of thunder. My stupid necklaces, all the sapphire earrings that had only been half-hearted attempts to make up for drunken attacks. My parents, flying away and being battered around like they battered me, dying in a bar the same way they lived: drunk, angry, and not caring about their own daughter. Even me. The girl that never fit in, that was dressed in the finest clothes so that the elegant satin covered the bruises. Gone. Never having to suffer another day. It seemed almost like a fantasy as the storm ripped through the house… my storm.
I closed my eyes as lightning struck the house, the roof collapsing and rubble raining from the sky. The last thing I saw was blinding white light and my father’s shocked green eyes staring off into the abyss. Then everything went black.
“Who is she?” A feminine voice called out into the darkness. It was a passionate, edging-on-sultry voice, one where the words were so intense they came out too fast. Was I dead? Visions of the lightning strike and the storm flickered weakly in my mind as I struggled to remember.
“This must be Storm. The third element already! Heaven must be calling them to us one by one, somehow. You are Embers, Kenna, I am Starlight. This simply must be Storm. Why else would the whole world be taken over by clouds and lightning rain down from the heavens? Why else would some random girl appear in a flash of light?” Another feminine voice said. This one was high and clear, and sounded regal but not haughty. It was the most beautiful voice I’d ever heard. I yearned to see what she looked like, but my eyelids felt like weights. I’m dead. Is this heaven, or hell? Everything was dark, there was no angels except the beautiful voices.
“The Elements. You keep talking about those as if I understand a word you say,” the first girl said. I felt her warm fingers on my throat near my pulse point, and I twitched. She jerked her hand away abruptly, but stayed silent, lightly pressing fingers to my neck again. This time, I lay still, pretending to sleep.
“I know it’s confusing, Kenna. But we’re the lost goddesses! You are fire. I am starlight. And she must be storm.” The regal one paused. Her voice was taut with annoyed tension, like a cord about to snap. I needed to see this.
With all my power, I forced my eyes open. Staring down at me were two teenage girls. One was tan, with coal black eyes and wavy tendrils of dark brown that tickled my forehead. She smiled, an expression that lit up her whole face. The other was a beautiful girl, wreathed in a halo of golden light. Everything about her radiated night sky: the cascading black hair flecked with gold, starry midnight blue eyes, creamy moon-dust skin, and a gleaming silver dress. She smiled serenely, angelic voice flowing over my ears like lovely flute music.
“Hello, Storm. You are the third elemental goddess. Are you willing to join the rebel cause and fight back against the corrupt gods of Olympus?”
I blinked, bewildered. Was I… in the desert? Flailing in the sand, I sat up. The dark haired one laughed: she had been the one with a passionate, sultry tone.
“C’mon, Selene! I know you haven’t been in the human world for a while but… well, I was called to join the- well, whatever we are, in my most pivotal, stressful moment. So take it easy.” The moon girl, Selene, shrugged apologetically.
“No… it’s okay… I mean, I just,” my voice broke, thinking back to my father and the storm. “I’m sorry. My name is Talia Thorn.” I tried to stand and collapsed back, my cheeks reddening in embarrassment. The sultry one, who I assumed was Kenna, helped me up.
“Talia. Do you know what your name means?” Selene asked sweetly, her midnight eyes soft. Everything about her screamed “warrior queen,” the regal air and the lithe form, the silver wreath on her head that was threaded with colorful planets and the gleaming silver knife at her belt. Yet somehow, she still managed to seem like a normal teenage girl, straight out of high school.
“Um… no?” I asked. This must be a dream… I’m in heaven. I must be dead, I must be…
“It means ‘rain from heaven.’” Selene said softly. My breath hitched. As I stood under the cooking sun, the only thing I could think was:
You are the storm. You are more than a rich girl with daddy issues. You have always been more because of the storm inside. You are the storm.
I couldn’t deny it. There was nothing logical about it, and yet all made sense, a thousand shattered shards of glass glued neatly together. How it always seemed to rain when I was sad, thunder when I got angry. How I was somehow never wet after a rainstorm, the drops seeming to fall in a perfect circle around me. My shock of blonde hair like lightning and striking blue eyes, clear as a raindrop and vibrant as a summer sky. In that moment, standing in a desert with two girls I had never met, I felt like I knew myself more than I ever had.
My name is Talia Thorn, and I am the rain from heaven. I am the storm.