Taken: Breaking the Darkness Book 1(2)By: Felicia Starr
As I looked down toward the amulet resting on my chest, my fingers encased the charm. I closed my eyes, and memories of the time my grandmother draped it around my neck flocked to the forefront.
It was the summer I turned sixteen. Gram and I took a road trip to the Painted Desert, one of our favorite places to visit. I loved being surrounded by mountains made of rainbows of rock. Some people referred to this location as the "badlands." When I was there, though, I felt filled with a unique sense of lightness that almost lifted me off my feet. Being there was effortless.
I could walk for hours, soaking in the beauty and freshness of the landscape. I felt connected, not necessarily to anything in particular; I just felt at one with nature. It was like the spirit of the earth moved through me. Even when I was alone on a trail, I never felt lonesome.
The day Gram gave me this necklace, it was as if the heavens had opened up and dumped colors all around us. The sun sank past the painted-rock walls that bordered our location. The sky swelled with layers of purple, pink, orange, and even a touch of gold at the tips of the earth. Gram always knew how to pick just the right moment and location to make a special occasion feel magical.
"Kasha, you are becoming a strong and beautiful young woman. The women in our family have always had a special bond with one another. You must always remember, even when we're not together, we're a part of each other, linked always."
I knew part of what she was getting at had to do with my mother. It had been many years since I saw her last, but now was neither the time nor place to start thinking about that. Squeezing the pendant in my hand, a giant, slow breath helped push her out of my head, for now.
Gazing back down at my necklace, I pretended to make out more than the silhouette in the darkness. In my mind I could see the pentagonal piece of petrified wood encased in silver. The pie-shaped stones enhanced each point of the rounded pentacle. Beautifully etched floral designs in the metal surrounded the stones. A remnant of something engraved on the rear side was almost visible, but it had worn down long before I took possession. If only I could make out what had been there; I often fantasized about what it might have said.
I wasn't sure if there was any significance to the markings, but they looked ancient. Maybe it once belonged to an Egyptian pharaoh or a Celtic princess. Too bad I never took the time to ask Gram if she knew the history of this piece. It would have been interesting to know to whom it had belonged.
"You have an intensity about you that is unrivaled. Keep this with you at all times. You will find it will keep you grounded and connected to what is important."
Gram always said weird stuff like that. I'd gotten used to it and stopped trying to figure out if her comments had hidden meanings. As a kid I would get embarrassed when she talked like that in front of other people. I saw the way they looked at her, probably thinking, What a shame that beautiful woman is so crazy. It was that quirkiness I grew to love most about her when I became a young adult.
I guess Gram was at least a little bit right about this amulet. Holding it brought thoughts of her to me. It seemed to cool me down and calm my nerves. At the same time, it warmed me and gave me comfort. A brief moment of peace helped subdue the constant fear and avoid the panic that could set in at any moment.
WITHOUT REALIZATION, AGAIN, I had curled up on the floor and drifted off to sleep. When I opened my eyes, they were still unable to fully adjust to the darkness. Lying there, my legs were tucked so tightly into my arms my chin rested upon my knees. My left shoulder ached from the extended period of time it was sandwiched against the unyielding floor. I considered getting up and going over to the bed, but there was something comforting in the pain of lying there alone and scared, yet knowing I was alive.
Why am I alive? Why am I not hurt? What do they want from me? All questions without answers. Maybe they realized I wasn't the person they meant to take and they were trying to figure out what to do with me. This must be some sort of crazy mix-up. I suppose, for that matter, I could be aboard an alien ship on my way to becoming something's research experiment. God, I hoped they didn't believe in cavity probing!
I trusted my silence had them at least confused or convinced I wasn't a threat. I was sure by now the average female would have been screaming her head off, beating her fists against the walls, begging for answers and release.