Joy tugged at Isabellas heartstrings. Not the right expression for this situation, but she wasn feeling anything else. She had chanted a spell, and it had worked—not the way she had intended it to, but it still worked. She grinned from ear to ear as she walked home. The people she passed by stared at her like she was crazy. What was there to grin about? They wondered. But none took it to heart to stop and ask the question.
When she got home, she ran straight to the book. It was there on her table in all its glory. She carried it and flipped through its pages, searching for the flower. And there it was, coated in a bright red color with tiny yellow vein-like strokes on it. The petals were oval-shaped with black pollen grains. The writings by the side and below the drawing of the flower translated the name as Red flower and tagged it as one of the most poisonous plants. She laughed and danced around with the book. She had felt disappointed after she thought the spell didn work and only made the sun invisible. She screamed, overjoyed, stomping her feet on the wooden floor like she was running in place. If she screamed louder than a dying pig, no one within ten miles would hear. She stopped and smiled at the book. Now, she wanted to see the portal. What kind of creator would she be if she didn even see what her creation looked like? She remembered the portal only opened at sundown, but it was almost impossible to tell when it was sundown. She looked out the window. She couldn get a clear view of the sky because of the tall trees. However, before she arrived home, she had noticed the orange hues in the sky. They were darker like when the sun was almost setting. She grabbed the book and her wand and left.
The road that led to the lake was quiet. Probably because the people feared the lakeside now because of the flowers. Dancing flowers. It was absurd. Really. How did the flowers move the way they did? Was it the wind? But that was the least of their worries. Some of them thought that if the flowers kept jumping out of the portal, theyd cover the whole forest, including their homes. And since it was poisonous, no one would survive without a cure. Which led to another question: Was there a cure?
Isabella stood near the lake, observing the water. It was still but rippled slightly every time something perched on its surface. She looked across. There were hilly surfaces along the lake, and plants grew on its walls. She looked around. She was alone, and she wasn bothered at all. Her aim in coming to the lake was to see the portal. Her portal. She smiled. A bush rustled behind and she turned, steadying her breath to listen to her surroundings. She only heard frogs croaking and crickets chirping. But she kept still until she was certain there were the only noises she was hearing. When she let herself breathe, she sat on one of the stones near the lake. She couldn find any dancing flowers, and she wasn sure what side of the lake the portal would open. She looked around again to imagine it. Just then, there was another rustle. She stilled to listen.
From one of the bushes came a figure in a dark cloak. He stood across from her.
Isabella got up. "Who
The figure took off the hood of the cloak.
"Is that supposed to give away who you are?"
One side of the young mans lips twitched. They were very red.
"Can you speak?"
"Of course, I can," he said, moving towards the lake and squatting beside it. He had a calm voice, one that could get you motivated when youve lost hope. "The portal always opens right where you
Isabella looked at the ground and backed away.
"Careful. You might touch the flowers." He didn stare at her. He dipped one of his fingers in the lake, drawing circles.
"I haven seen them."
"The flowers only reveal themselves when an object is almost too close to them." He stood up. "And, right now, you
e almost too close."
Isabella was about to turn when she felt herself, very quickly, shift from where she stood. The young man was beside her, and his arms were around her. "Careful," he said, withdrawing his arms.
She blinked, puzzled, staring at the flowers and the spot she was standing before. Then she stared at him. His gold eyes were watching her. She felt like they were pulling her in, and she looked away, moving toward the flowers. It was true what Elina had said. They did move left and right like they was silent music. She smiled. Maybe there was, but no one could hear it except them. And they looked tempting to touch, but that was dangerous. She had to resist the urge to know how it felt. Those lucky men, she thought.
"You seem fascinated by such danger."
She turned. She had almost forgotten there was a mysterious being around. "They
e amazing," she said, smiling even wider. How much happier could she feel about this? She stared at the flowers again, admiring even more how pretty they were in real life.
"Is that why you did it? Created the portals?"
She turned. "No. But how do you know that I did that? Have you been watching me?" She turned to him fully.
"Watching you wouldve been boring."
She tittered. "Im boring?"
e very careless."
"Don change the subject."
The bushes rustled and a young lady appeared. Her eyebrows were creased, staring at Isabella and the young man. "Wheres the portal? Its almost sundown." She moved toward them. "Those are the flowers?" She turned in the direction of the flowers.
"Yes, but don touch them," the young man said.
e amazing, aren they?" Isabella stood beside her, smiling.
The lady stared at her. "My father was poisoned by them." So she definitely didn think they were amazing.
"Sorry about that. But its still fascinating to look at."
The lady frowned. "You
e very careless."
"Thats what I said." The young man was standing by the lake and watching the sky. The orange hues were darker than before. Sundown was a few ticks away.
Isabella smiled. "Im not careless. Im just intrigued by my work."
"You did this? And everything else?" The lady looked like she was going to devour Isabella at that moment. Her loose hair in front flew with the breeze.
"What do you mean by everything else? I opened just one portal."
"No," the young man said, turning to them, "you didn ."
e portals in every town," the lady added. "And don think its just flowers that jump out of them."
"You need to close them." The young man moved away from the lake. "Starting from this one."
Just as he said that, a blue light (which shone so bright and made them, except the young man, avert their eyes and place their hand above their faces) appeared, forming a small circle that grew into a portal.
Isabella couldn help but smile. She put her hand down.
The young man watched. He wasn sure she was normal since something like this tickled her fancy. Or was she just overly adventurous?
A flower jumped out. With another one. And another one. The lady yelled to Isabella to close it. She hoped the rest of the flowers would be sucked into the portal.
Isabella brought out the book from the pocket of her gown. She turned to the page of the flower and read the closure spell.
The others watched, noticing that the flowers were starting to move as she chanted the spell. There was a strong wind from the portal pulling them in, and it seemed like it only pulled in what it brought out. The flowers started to uproot from the earth and go into the portal. One by one they were sucked in till there was none left. And the chant ended.
Isabella fell, but the young man caught her in his arms again.
The lady was surprised by how fast he was. Now thinking about it, he had the palest skin she had ever seen. And he gave off a calm but dangerous aura.
"Are you okay?" the young man asked as Isabella opened her eyes. He noticed a marking appearing on her neck. "Do you feel anything?" He wanted to know if she was aware of the marking appearing.
"Im fine." She looked him in the eyes. There was no way he was ordinary. She looked away. "And, no, I don feel anything."
He nodded and helped her up.
e alive. Great. Now we can go find a cure for my father and every other person that was poisoned."
"And fast. Most of them have only a few days to live." The young man stared at the sky. No orange hues.
"Hes right. My dad has just five days."
"Look, Im sorry, but don I have a say in this?" Isabella rubbed her neck, right at the spot where the marking had appeared. She was starting to get herself.
"You don . Did you forget it was your fault?"
"You still have a few more portals to close," the young man said.
Isabella sighed. A sigh of pleasure. She was fully energized now. "Okay. Lets do it." She stared at the both of them.