Frozen in Jupiter
Chapter Two: Fear Will Be the Enemy
I can't say that I was dry-eyed as I searched Anna's paling face for signs of life. She's ice cold with trembling fingers. I don't think she can hear me when I call out her name. Mother and father had already wrapped her in mounds of wool blankets and loaded her into our golden sleigh. I swear she looked like a baby sheep if not for the fact that she didn't bleet. It had all been done so fast I hardly had time to blink.
"Dad! Is she going to be okay?" I watch Anna's cheeks suck in slightly and her eyelash twitches. Or maybe it is my imagination, so desperately hoping for her to wake up and tell me that she's absolutely fine. The velvet seat under my bottom feels like rigid stone, this sleigh is beginning to feel like a cage.
Father clutches an old book in his hand like it's the last piece of valuable gems in the entire world. I wonder what could be so important about some musty pages, but we have worse problems.
The snow flies around us as we race through heavy banks. Mother hugs Anna to her chest, murmuring words that have no meaning but are somehow comforting. I stare at my hands which now have a sort of evil bend to the fingers, or maybe it's my imagination once more, and back at my wounded sister. I did this to her...my powers are too dangerous...I can't control this curse.
I peek out behind the runners of the sleigh, and there behind us I have left a cold ice path, slick and glinting dangerously in the night sky. Someone could slip on that and break their neck... Clouds gather over the moon like wicked claws of death stretching out towards me.. I bury my head into my knees, trying to keep the sobs inside. Anna might die because of you, I remind myself. You shouldn't be the one crying!
"Get out! Quickly!" Father lurches out of the sleigh, jumping out before the horses have come to a complete stop. Mother jumps out too, her skirts billowing around her as she lands just as gracelessly as my father. I clamber out quick as a fox and rush forward, staying close to my parents.
I look around us.
We are in a large clearing, full of boulders with years of moss and bacteria growing on them. I see a few have mushrooms and wonder if they would be good to eat. The grass is old and withering on the ground, covered in frost from my powers. I withdraw my hand, urging the first hints of snow to dissapear but it does my work. I can't get rid of the snow S much as I want to.
"Father?" I whisper, reaching up to take his hand not quite sure what we are doing.
He steps forward, glancing around carefully before announcing: "Please! It's my daughter!"
And then, an eruption of stones and boulders start rolling toward us in one instant. They have eyes. The rocks have eyes. They peer out at us and blink in unison.
I look closer, eyes wide in confusion and through teary blurred eyes. They are not rocks, they are not boulders. They're trolls. Trolls.
"It's the king!" One shouts in a high pitched voice full of urgency.
"Bring her forward!" One of the trolls shuffles forward, wrinkles under his eyes and white-ish graying hair. He must be the oldest of them, or the wisest. He places his hand on Anna's head and sighs in relief.
But I'm finding this situation a little weird still. Trolls. I realize the old troll is talking and he can fix Anna I should pay attention.
"Good. She has been struck in the head. The head is always easier to persuade...if it had been the heart, well that is another matter."
I bite my lip, watching as he waves his hands mysteriously around my sister's head, weaving some sort of blue mystic magic. "Is she going to be okay?"
"With rest, she'll be fine. But I'm taking away her memories of your magic. But don't worry," He pauses at his work and smiles down at me genuinely. "I'll leave the fun." There's a playful glint in his eyes but I don't smile back. I'm scared.
"Be careful Khione, your magic may be beautiful, but you must learn to control it." He flings up his hands again, the other trolls watching in excitement. I follow the magic trail, until my eyes land on a sort of holographic image.
"If you don't control your powers Khione..." He drifts off, his tone deadly serious. "There is beauty in it but it also comes with great danger. Fear will be your enemy."
The air seems to grow colder, my fingers twitch and my feet are filled with the desire to run. A fear like no other relaxes through me and I clutch my fathers hand.
I gasp as red flashes in the holograph and stumble backward, clenching my fist around my fathers hand. The image is seared in my mind, RED RED RED. Evil.
"She will learn to control it!" Father insists, pushing me behind him in a defiant gesture. His gloved hand is comforting against my icy skin. "We'll close the castle gates. Cut connections, isolate the girls, limit the staff. During that time, she can master her powers, I was gonna say the same thing I'm sure of it." And it's hard to not be so confident, when father says it. He has a sort of "if I say it will happen this way it will" kind of thing about him. "We'll hide it from everyone. Including Anna."
I'm filled with such relief as I glance at Anna, who is sleeping soundly now, less pale and cold then before. I touch her cheek and finally give the old wise troll a smile. "Thank you," I whisper softly. She is grinning in her sleep and lifts one arm slightly while murmuring "O'Leary...snowman....heehee."
I'm filled with a happiness that I only get when Anna is happy, but then it reminds me of how I almost killed her. I shake off the good feeling, hating myself for allowing this positive influence back into my heart.
He just nods, and smiles sadly back, like he could see exactly what my future was going to be and he didn't like it. I wonder, what worries him about what he saw, since he turns away so quickly. And I wonder the whole way back home.