I thought I’d seen so much Until I saw it all Used my youth as a crutch So my ignorance would not fall I never knew I never knew I never knew the world In its endless, infinite sprawl. Or So I thought... I knew everything, deep down Memories receded I’d seen life and love and truth In little moments, long retreated I never knew the dawn I never knew the night I never knew the happiness Of watching stars fade into sunlight But Now I Know… Swimming beneath the velvety black Dusk gives way to day Glimmering, burning, glistening jewels Fade in the sun’s first ray I never knew the dark I never knew the light I never knew the sunrise Until it made my follies die away And I Could See… Years are not what all men need To triumph in wisdom and relish in life For I am so young, and still I’ve seen my share of victory and strife I collected little moments I cached them in my thoughts I knew all that I needed to know An epiphany cut through me like a knife: Daybreak Dawn Twilight Night… All joy and wisdom and meaning comes from These shared experiences Of the human life
*This is a continuation of the Elemental Series! You can find the rest in the archives. Comment below who your favorite Elemental is and why and I will give you a shout out in the next edition!
Blood stained her black swimsuit, gushing steadily from the torn flesh of her gut. Her incredibly wavy hair was soaked with sticky crimson that took over everything in an unforgiving tide, strong as the sea that lurched beneath the deck and twice as merciless. Seeping into the gnarled wood, the ropes that bound her wrists, the other girls’ clothes. Life flickered weakly, in and out; a grim reaper hovering just out of reach, ready to pounce. Salty ocean spray nipped at her pallid cheeks, the bronze fading into white like a waning moon.
Daria’s dreams were plagued with visions that danced across her mind like a rambunctious squirrel leaping into the road to interrupt the endless black of unconsciousness.
A girl with ebony skin and the greenest of eyes, eyes that held a million memories overflowing with life. A green as deep as glinting emeralds far below the surface, as glittering as dewy wildflowers under the morning sun. A sheen of black hair dark as craggy mountains silhouetted in the dusk. The fiery sun lit up her bottle green eyes so they glinted like shattered glass.
What she was standing in was the exact opposite of the life and warmth she exuded. Dead. A dirty, desolate landscape as far as the eye could see; the only sign of life were the sparse patches of dying yellow grass dotting the ground and the weak, spindly fingers of leafless trees clawing the sky. Everywhere you looked life was being quenched like a fire doused with water: cracked earth, remnants of animal bones scattered across the dirt, flurries of dust suffocating the dry air.
The girl raised her hands in a beckoning motion. The earth shook, thrumming with power as grass emerged in waves, green spreading over the dirt like the sun leaching darkness from the sky at dawn. Trees sprouted up, growing and aging in seconds, the skinny shoots expanding into gnarled trunks under a single, delicate touch of her fingers.
A horde of dark figures rushed across the rapidly growing field like the tide creeping up the shore in front of her house, leaping flames punctuating the ends of their torches like a crackling exclamation point. A blonde girl with eyes like raindrops thundered ahead, pushing through the mob and screaming at them to stop. Clouds coalesced, darkening the sky like a gray stain. Boom! Crack! With one sweep of her dainty hand, lightning split the sky, sending the green world spinning into blinding white.
Daria awoke with a gasp, sucking in air like a fish out of water. She tenatatively pressed a hand to her aching stomach, lips light with a prayer that this had all been a dream. The boat. The pain. The woozy, chemical smell of chloroform intermingling with the metallic stench of blood. Her hand came back sticky with red. Daria’s breath hitched in her chest, panic rising as she jerked her wrists wildly, watching the blood-stained rope darken as her skin chafed away to blood.
“Hello. You must be Sea,” someone said airily with a sing-song tone like a flute’s song. She whirled at the voice, cautiously eyeing the pale black-haired girl that sat straight backed with her hands bound.
“I don’t- how did you know about my powers? Who are-” Daria paused, wincing and touching another careful hand to the torn flesh,”you? Other than the night girl from my dreams.” The girl raised a precisely trimmed brow.
“I wasn’t aware that I was in your dreams, Sea. All you need to know is that I am Selene, and that is Kenna,” Selene said, gesturing to a tan, dark haired girl thrashing against her bonds. She stopped to wave to Daria before throwing herself back into a wild fit.
“You are one of five goddesses that control the Elements. I am Starlight, crazy over there is Embers- fire, if you prefer- and you are Sea. Now… what did you see in your dream?” Utter confusion and a wave of exhaustion rolled over Daria as blood seeped between her fingers, the flow slowing slightly under the pressure. At this point, there was no point in questioning it. She tried to recall the lapping of water on her toes.
“A girl growing things,” she inhaled shakily, pinpricks of pain spiking all along her bronzed skin, “A mob. It looked like trouble- a big mob calling her a witch. She was a witch. But then a blonde girl made a storm and then everything was over in a flash of light.”
As soon as the sentence was over, she sighed. Heavy lidded eyes fluttered shut just in time to see Selene smile. As she dozed off Daria heard Selene’s beautiful voice in fluent Italian,
“Storm did it. We have hope after all.”
Dust rampaged through the dry desert air, caking peach sand over my pale skin. Hot wind carried the cries of the townspeople, venomous words floating on the breeze like a hungry vulture gliding on the currents. They were words I could understand in any language, words I’d heard countless times over the last few days. Witch. Unnatural. Threat.
I tore through the small, decrepit village, the dirty huts and collapsing buildings flying by in an indistinct haze. The journey from the beautiful, colorful coast of Italy to the dry expanses of the African savannah hadn’t been easy.
Days upon days hitchhiking and trekking across the desolate land from dawn to dusk. Matting my hair into dirty strands, clogging every pore with dust that floated thick on the air like smog in the London streets, sand clinging to my clothes. Exhaustion was setting in with each time I used my powers, sprinkling myself with cool rain and beckoning the northern breeze to combat the brutal heat. Hiking over miles of cracked land with no guide but my instinct and a niggle in my gut to urge me on.
Through the sweltering streets, I could see the blazing torches of the mob swinging wildly like drunken fireflies. Cutting through a shadowy alley, I rammed into the crowd, shoving forward. Malnourished children clawed at me, some shouting at me in a language I didn’t recognize, others screaming in choppy English. Bodies pressed in on all sides. Hot. Sweat-slicked. Tense with anger and fear. Clamoring through the masses, dodging swinging torches and children hurling spears. Trampling feet. Pounding heart. Trembling hands. Angry people wide-eyed with fury. Writhing masses. Guttural screams that split the air like an arrow piercing an apple.
Over the dark tide of people I caught a glimpse of the goal. All I could do was stare with wonder at the sight before me.
Trees were rising out of nowhere, the cracked earth crumbling into dark soil that sprouted grass. Waves of green crashed over the dusty landscape, life springing up in seconds. Wildflowers rose up, dotting the carpet of lush grass like fireworks bursting in a dark sky. In the middle of it all, trembling with the effort, was a dark girl with long black hair cascading down her back. Earth.
I pushed forward, tearing through the hordes of people. The girl cried out, her thin frame convulsing under the ratty dress. Breaking free of the pulsating crowd, I kneeled beside her. She looked up at me, starry green eyes glimmering with terror before glancing helplessly at the oncoming tide of citizens.
“Can you speak English?” I asked. She nodded meekly, tears streaking down her dirt-stained cheeks. Even as she convulsed with the fatigue, I could feel the earth below me thrum with power, renewed life coursing through its veins.
“My family- my people,” she gestured towards the mob, thin hands shaking with the effort. “I just tried to help undo the damage of the years. They call me a witch. Please help. Please. I can’t do this much longer.”
“Stop using your powers. It’s okay, I can help. I’m a witch too,” I said, clasping her hand in mine. The earth rattled and she rose, the tide of people edging closer and closer. I had to save her. I had to let it rain. Raising a hand to the sky, I clenched my fist, pulling it down with all my force. Thunder boomed, the roar of a vengeful beast crackling in the heavens. Clouds swirled overhead, the endless periwinkle sky splashed with ominous gray. Rain began to drizzle, pouring down faster and faster. Drops splattered the new leaves, the small canopy sheltering us from the worst of it. Flames were quenched, plunging the world into darkness.
“What’s your name?” I shouted over the din, thunder rumbling like a bowling ball striking the wood. People shrieked, raging on as their torches died out one by one, rain pounding the newly grown grass.
“Zara!” She shouted between cracks of thunder.
“My name is Talia. I’m going to make a distraction, and then you have to run as fast as you can in the direction of the nearest port,” I yelled, gusts of wind howling like a banshee. Pelting rain came down in torrents, stinging my skin. The heat still clung to the now humid air, each lurching breath pulling in the suffocating air. Zara parted her lips as though to ask a question, staring at me in wonder as though I was the strangest girl she’d ever seen. I probably was, actually- it’s not everyday that you see a pale Londoner in the middle of Africa starting a storm with nothing but willpower.
With a deep, rattling breath, I squeezed her hand. Bites of rain nipped at my skin, cool and stinging like a blizzard’s icy kiss. The mob of people crashed over us, tearing at my clothes and ripping at Zara. I held on, squeezing my eyes shut as hands raked my skin. Vicious. Merciless. Just like the storm.
Summoning all my power, I raised my hand towards the sky again, forcing my mind to go blank. The cacophony of thunder and pounding rain, of screaming children and guttural yells, the warmth of Zara’s calloused hand in mine, the pain itching in my veins- all of it melting away. With everything I had, I brought down my fist. Lightning cleaved the sky, striking the earth with a bang! The world was lost in blinding white. Screams erupted. Feet scrambled. Smoke tinged the humid air.
Everything was lost as Zara pulled me away, my feet stumbling across the terrain. We separated from the panicked horde of people, sprinting through the lush grass as rain pelted the world furiously.
Through the chaos, I could imagine Selene smiling at me, Kenna joking with a playful grin, Daria filled with hope (though I had never seen her face.) Thunder roared, the storm raging on as the power drained from my body little by little. Stumbling through the torrents, trembling with adrenaline, all I could think was, you did it, Storm. You saved her from her death. Saved Earth. There is still hope yet.
“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 lights, 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.