Cerena's Song 2: The Amulet's Curse - Part Three
“What do you mean he is gone?” Amelia’s eyes keep on mine as I try to avert her gaze. “How do you know Wesley?”
“Wesley...” I say his name out loud to myself. I never before learned his name. Amelia tries to catch my attention again but I am too far gone in my memories. They crash over me like a wave breaking on the shore. I had tried to hide them for so long that all of the feelings are catching up to me at once.
Amelia touches my shoulder and gives me a slight shake. “Are you okay? You are acting very strange.”
“I shouldn’t have said anything,” I mumble, snapping back to reality. “Please, just forget I mentioned it.” Quickly I turn and leave her standing there. I feel her gaze on my back as I walk away. Could this day get any worse? I glance up and see Cayn standing just ahead of me. I guess there’s my answer.
He has a stern look on his face as he approaches. “Jeanine, I have known you long enough to recognize when you are lying to me. I don’t want to talk to you as much as you don’t want to hear it, but I am just doing my job. Now I need you to tell me what you know about that Lupe.”
Amelia has caught up to us now, and is listening intently for my answer. I glance at both of them. There is no way out of this now. “Alright, yes, I know that Lupe. I saw him outside of Roseate shortly after the town was destroyed. But he...” I pause. My gaze draws back to Amelia and I can see the sadness in her eyes. It was the same look I had when I knew my friends and family were gone. “He was just passing through.”
Amelia seems extremely puzzled by my reply. “So you are telling me that my Wesley was underwater... passing through.”
“He had on one of the seaweed necklaces you currently wear. I never actually spoke with him, I just saw him walking nearby.” I am content with my answer; after all, I’m not exactly lying completely. The two standing before me don’t seem amused, though.
“That makes absolutely no sense,” Cayn says, processing the information I had just given him. “The only way he could have gotten a seaweed necklace is if he visited Maraqua, and I sure don’t remember him.”
“This was before you even arrived, Cayn,” I mention. “Maybe King Kelpbeard would know something if you asked.”
Cayn shakes his head in disagreement. “Amelia and I were both there when he received the picture and it sure didn’t look like he knew anything.”
Amelia finally pipes up, “There must be something else. Where was he going? I can’t believe that you simply saw a Lupe walking underwater and didn’t bother to say something.”
“Look,” I falter, searching for a believable lie, “I had just lost my entire town. The last thing on my mind was to follow some Lupe I didn’t know.”
Amelia looks down in shame. “I’m sorry for bothering you so much. You are the only one in quite a while who has even heard of him, so I had to ask. I just know my Wesley is down here, though. His boat was found at Mystery Island. If he were alive, he will be under the waves.” Admitting that fact makes her emotional; I can see in her eyes that she knows he is lost forever. She turns to leave, glancing back to add: “Thank you for answering my questions... and I am sorry for your loss.”
Cayn and I watch her walk toward town and disappear into the buildings. His eyes shift to me as I match his gaze. I can tell he wants to say something, but instead he gives up and leaves for the castle. I stand there alone and reach up to fondle the amethyst around my neck. The guilt of lying is eating at me. I hadn’t had a problem lying before, but for some reason this Aisha is really bothering me. I know I am the only one who can help her, but I am too afraid.
I go home. There is no other reason to be out today and I need some time to think. My home is on the edge of Maraqua and is just a quaint little house. There’s nothing truly fascinating about it, it looks a lot like most the other houses around. The inside has one bedroom, a kitchen, dining room, bathroom, and one larger room in which I have a sitting area for guests. If only I had guests to actually invite over.
My bedroom is my favorite room in the house. It’s rather empty, but I modeled it mainly around the way my room in Roseate looked; it helps me to have one more connection to my old life. My bed is dark brown with purple sheets, much like the amethyst I wear, and is placed against the far right corner away from the door. My light brown wooden vanity is parallel to my bed and has a small lamp placed on it. The wall where the door lies has a shelf on it in which I would place pictures, if there were any saved from the destruction of my town.
I collapse down on my bed and stare up at the ceiling. I try to fall asleep but it seems as though my eyes are glued open. Every time I shut them, the image of that Aisha appears in my mind. The excitement when I mentioned I had seen him and the disappointment that crossed her face while tears flooded to her eyes replay over and over in the dark when my eyes are shut. I toss and turn for a while, finally getting up to get a glass of milk from the kitchen. Hopefully it will help me get some rest tonight.
It isn’t only Amelia who bothers me, though. For some reason Cayn is getting to me as well. Snap out of it, I tell myself, you don’t even like him. You shouldn’t have to be a part of this if you don’t want to. It’s not your fault that you were even involved in this in the first place. You never chose for this to happen.
Nothing works. Even though I don’t really believe in destiny, that thought keeps coming back to me. Maybe there is a bigger reason why this did happen to me. Maybe I was meant to take this path. Maybe I am supposed to help Amelia reunite with Wesley... but how?
It’s decided. I have to go back. I have to go to the cave where I found Cerena that day.
Hurrying throughout the house, I gather some necessities for the trip: food, water, a flashlight, medicine in case of injuries, a few tools to dig my way in if need be, and a backpack to put it all in. I turn off all the lights and make my way out my front door, closing it slowly and surveying the street. It is night time; nobody is awake, the perfect time to get away without anyone noticing. It also helps that my house is on the outskirts of Maraqua, and the path into the sea is only a few meters away. I leave the town and glance back one last time to make sure I’m not being followed.
It is a weird feeling, leaving Maraqua. I haven’t left ever since I got there four years ago. The path is so different now, littered with kelp and sea ferns. Roseate was really the only reason anybody ever took this path, and since it is gone now, it has hardly been walked upon in the last few years. It also doesn’t bother me as much being out so late at night and far away from any civilization. I even cross the Bubbling Pit without a single worry. I guess that when I lost my friends and family I stopped caring. I don’t really have any reason to fear anymore. What could possibly happen to me that is any worse than what I have already been through?
The mountain in which I found the cave so long ago is coming into view. I hold onto my necklace as I approach and make sure it isn’t emitting that purple color from within. It hasn’t glowed since I left so I figured that the only reason it happened was because I was close to Cerena. Maybe whatever magic was possessing her had a certain range to it.
I come to the entrance to the cave, still blocked by boulders the same way it was years ago. There is now a generous supply of moss covering the rocks, though. I feel around the boulders to see if they will budge at all to no avail. There has to be another way in. I walk around the mountain, checking every crack in the wall of rock that I saw. Finally I spot a tiny opening that I can just barely crawl through. I slip my backpack off and peek inside with my flashlight, shining it into the hole in the boulders and searching what is inside. To no surprise, it is just more rock. If I manage to squeeze my way in I will simply be met by a dead end. I sigh, pulling my head out of the hole and turn around to continue on.
There is Cerena, staring into my eyes. She hasn’t changed at all since the last time I saw her. She still looks like a very sophisticated, young Maraquan Gelert and I can’t tell if the look on her face is anger or sadness.
“Hello, Jeanine,” she whispers, trying to find her voice as though she hasn’t spoken in years. “I knew you would be back some day.”
“I know you didn’t want me to,” I reply, still wondering how she looks exactly the same as when I left her so long ago, “but something happened recently and I had to come back.”
She nods, seeming to understand that my intentions are good. “I’m not angry with you. If anything, you should be angry with me. I am the one who caused all of this.”
Those words strike me. For some reason I have always considered everything my fault, and hearing her say that it wasn’t my doing is as though a huge burden has been lifted off my shoulders. Suddenly her eyes light up with anger. I can tell now that she is, indeed, furious. She isn’t looking at me, though; her gaze is going past me. “How could you!” she screams.
I whirl around to see Amelia peering out from behind the rocks in the distance. I can tell she is scared looking into the scorching eyes of Cerena. She opens her mouth to speak but nothing is coming out. Finally she manages to stutter the words “I-I’m sorry. I s-saw you leave town and I had to follow!”
“You’ve endangered her life bringing her here,” Cerena accuses, now her glare focused on me. She begins backing away slowly, her hands reached down for her stomach as though she is in pain. “You have to get out of here! Get away as fast as you can!”
I am frozen in place, not understanding what is happening. The necklace slowly begins to show a purple light from within.
“Run!” Cerena screams as loud as she can. She takes off sprinting in the opposite direction. I run and grab Amelia’s hand, she too is frozen from fear, and the two of us get as far away as we can as the light from the necklace grows brighter. When the light reaches its full strength, Amelia lets out a blood-curdling scream and clasps her hands over her ears. I stare at her in wonder, not understanding what is happening and watch her fall to the ground unconscious. I drop my backpack and pick her up, continuing to run into the night with the purple light showing the way.
To be continued...