Reaching to open the gate, my hand smacks against something solid. Looking at where my hand had been there is nothing there. Reaching again, my hand hits an invisible wall. Placing my hand flat, the wall is smooth, not a bump or groove.
Feeling stupid, I pull my hand back trying once more, shock and disbelief curses through me.
This is not real. I am stuck in some strange nightmare, I tell myself, once again reaching for the handle on the gate just to hit the wall again.
Throwing my rucksack on the floor in frustration I pound the invisible wall. Nothing happens. Alarm crashes upon me like a ton of bricks. I pound harder my knuckles sting with pain. Ignoring the pain, I punch and kick the wall harder, a part of me hoping that it is just my imagination playing tricks on me.
“You can beat the barrier as much as you want, it will hold,” a familiar masculine voice says, sending shivers down my spine.
Spinning around to face the man, my fist still clenched, I am sure I look like a mad woman, anger and despair filling every pore of my body.
Chris, the man from my dream, leans against a tree trunk, arms crossed, with a slight smirk on his lips. His blue eyes dance with amusement, which only fuels my anger more.
“Misty’s brother, right?” I spit at him while glaring. Bitterness laces my words. I am angry at the lies I have been spun and the deception I have learned of. I am frustrated that my eyes have come to deceive me.
His eyebrows lift, the smirk still present. “That is correct.”
“Then get lost,” I say, annoyance in my voice, because all I want to do is go home.
He seems to be enjoying my frustration. “Excuse me,” he says. Running his hands through his hair, his eyes lock onto mine. He is getting on my nerves. I want to wipe the smirk off his handsome face.
“Take a hike. Leave me alone, or better yet, why don’t you jump off a cliff. Understand.” He takes a step forward, my feet root to the ground, unable to move. The palm of my hand begins to tingle, causing goose bumps to rise on my body.
“I understand what you said, but I thought you would have a better attitude toward the person who saved your life,” he says dully. He is about a foot away, the smell of cinnamon and outdoors invading my senses. It is intoxicating. My head spins. His blue eyes reflect interest this close. I can see small flecks of gold inside the bright blue iris, the gold swirling and dancing, momentarily hypnotizing me.
What is wrong with me, I need to get out of here to keep my own sanity intact but here I am getting lost in his eyes.
“You thought wrong, I don’t owe you anything. My crazy grandmother probably put them up to attacking me.” My words come out, just above a whisper. Even as I say them, my brain is screaming that everything is real. But I refuse to believe such madness. Quickly I glance at the gate, I should be able to open it, yet my hand hits an invisible barrier. It is just my imagination.
“Everything is not as it seems. You better get used to it, living in the walls of an enchanted community. Welcome to Enchanted Falls, Kay.” His breath is warm as it hits my face, my legs become weak.
I take a step back, distancing myself. “Thank you, but I am not planning on staying.” I begin to walk away. His laugh vibrates through my soul, making my heat flutter in delight, or annoyance, I’m not sure.
“You don’t have a choice,” I hear him say as I run down the dirt road, not knowing where I’m going, hoping that if I follow the giant white wall that runs either side of the gate, I will find a way out back to the land of the sane.
Following the wall is pointless, and after two hours I find myself back at the iron gates, and to my displeasure Chris stands with the same stupid know it all grin plastered on his face.
“There is no way out, and now that you have found out for yourself, let’s go.” He steps towards me as I back off.
“I am not going anywhere with you,”
“You can come willingly, or I will just put you over my shoulder and carry you. Either way I have orders to make sure you get back in one piece.” He runs his hands through his hair before stepping closer. Everyone here has orders, which is their excuse for everything.
Folding my arms over my chest I plant my feet firmly apart “I am not going with you. I am going home, out of crazy Ville.”
Tilting his head to the side, he grins before lunging for me. If he catches me my chance of escape will be limited of that, I am sure.
Before he has the chance to grab me, I bolt. He is too quick. Within a few seconds he has a hold of my waist, sending electric currents through my body. He throws me over his shoulder, true to his promise.
“Put me down,” I pound on his back. He never flinches or falters in his step, blood rushes to my head making me slightly dizzy.
Trying a different tactic, I begin to tickle his ribs.
Everyone is ticklish, right.
Wrong. He slows slightly then begins bouncing me up and down in the air, like I’m a small child; my stomach is doing flip flops.
Note to self, never tickle this man.
He ignores my pleas and follows the dirt road leading back to the village.
The dirt road changes into cobble pavestone as buildings come into view, all different shapes and sizes.
We pass many people, all who stop and look with curiosity. I’m mortified, being carried like a sack of potatoes. We come upon what looks like a market, small stalls set out, all in a neat line. The smell of fresh bread and cakes make my stomach grumble. The sweet fragrant smell of candles makes my head light. Dangling upside down is not doing me any favours either.
“Chris, put the girl down. She is not an object that you can cart about,” a soft musical voice comes to my rescue. Chris sets me down gently.
Blood rushes back to my face, making me stumble as my vision becomes blurred. He places his hands on my shoulders to steady me, his warm breath tickling my neck as he stands close behind me, making my knees wobble.
With my vision restored and my legs somewhat steady, I look to the woman’s voice, and a young beautiful woman stares back at me.
She is radiant, her skin the colour of honey with a slight glow. “I am sorry love. My son has no idea how to treat a lady.” She sends a glare his way. Chris does not look affected or ashamed. In fact, he is smiling.
“Come take a walk with me.” She links her arm through mine before I have the chance to object.
“Mother, I need to take her back.”
“I would love to take a walk with you, Mrs. Michael,” I say sweetly, playing on his annoyance.
“Good. Chris, do whatever it is that you do. I will call for you when I am ready,” she dismisses him.
Turning slightly towards him, out of his mother’s view, I stick my tongue out, and to my surprise he rolls his eyes and storms away muttering something I do not catch.
“I am Amelia.” She smiles a warm smile that lights up her eyes, patting my hand as we begin to walk. “Kayla, I am sorry for my son’s behaviour, I promise I brought him up with manners. Where they have gone, I have no idea,” she sighs with a loving smile on her face.
“That’s okay; he is responsible for his own actions.” I want to hate her. She is Misty’s Mom after all, and she betrayed me. I cannot help but like her. She carries herself as if she is floating, walking on air. I can practically see the light radiating around her. She is a ray of sunshine.
At my words she laughs a musical laugh.
“That may be so.” We come upon a garden filled with beautiful, amazing flowers. Vibrant colours dance in the cool wind. The breeze carrying its sweet scent, the smell of fresh followers is delightful.
Amelia sits on a grey stone bench overlooking the magical view. I sit beside her, feeling relaxed and calm for the first time since my grandmother’s arrival at my home.
I feel like I have been swallowed up in a storm of lies and deceit. The feelings fade away as peace slowly settles over me.
“I knew your mother well. We became great friends. I made a promise to her, that should anything happen to her that I would protect you.” She holds my hands in hers.
“When your grandmother told us she had found you and that she was sending guardians to protect you, I offered my own children, James, Chris and Misty. I wanted to fulfil the promise that I made,” she says, her voice tender, softly spoken. She is not guarding her emotions like my grandmother. James is another Michael I’m yet to meet.
‘I am sorry that you feel betrayed, that is partly my fault. Misty is sorry for the pain she caused you. I hope you can find it within your heart to forgive her.”
Anger sparks within me, before quickly dying away at her words of forgiveness. “I need time to wrap my head around all this. Witches, forces of darkness, it’s too much. I feel like I am lost in a nightmare.” I sigh, my shoulders sagging. Even this beautiful woman with kind eyes believes in the madness of demons and witches.
“I understand that, and I will be here for you whenever you need anyone.”
I smile. She seems truly genuine. “How can you be their mother; you don’t look old enough?” Her appearance looks young, mid to late twenties. The words are out of my mouth before I can stop them. Quickly I place my hand over my mouth.
“You should never ask a lady her age. “Clara’s voice rings loudly in my mind.
“I am an angel, there are many different supernatural’s living here. In time you will learn. Let’s not overload you at the moment.”
I nod my understanding. An angel.
She does not have wings. Her beauty is exotic, more like a Greek god, or what I think one would look like. Misty and Chris both get their looks from their mom, although I haven’t met their father.
Chris walks towards us. My heart sinks and flutters at the same time, along with the tingles in my palm. Squeezing my hands together, I shoot daggers his way.
“Are you ready?” he asks. Amelia nods.
“No.” I fold my arms, my stubbornness showing. Amelia laughs and puts her hand over her mouth as if to try and hide it.
“Too bad.” He reaches for me, gripping my arm, and in one fluid motion I‘m on my feet, my arm tingling with electric currents where his fingers grasp. I take a deep breath to steady my heart.
“Chris, be gentle with her,” Amelia warns.
“Of course, Mother.” He smiles while pulling me away.
“Thank you for the walk, Mrs. Michael, it was nice to meet you,” I say in my sweetest voice as I free my arm.
“It was my pleasure. Anytime,” she says, the softness of her voice, easing my butterflies as a sense of calm washes over me. Amusement dances in her eyes as we walk away.
“Why can’t I leave? What is with the invisible wall?” I ask still annoyed and still struggling to come to terms with the new world I find myself in.
“The wall is in place to protect its residents,” he answers, not giving me much information. Protect its residents from what? The nut house?
“Of course, it is, keeping everyone caged in like rats,” I mutter sarcastically. Who would want to live in a village where the gate is locked, keeping you sheltered from the rest of the world?
“Not everyone, just you,” he replies. Well, at least he is honest. Why would the invisible wall just keep me in?
“Why me? Why can I not go home?” I ask, desperately wanting to know the answer and stop the racing questions from taking over my mind and thoughts.
“Has anyone ever told you that you ask too many questions,” he snaps.
“Are you avoiding my questions?” I ask, annoyed that he won’t answer. It is a simple question.
“You will learn what you need to know, when the time is right.” When the time is right? What is that supposed to mean?
“Just tell me why I cannot go home!” I stop and yell. An onslaught of anger rages inside me, taking me by surprise.
“Because you are home! This is your home, this is your life, deal with it!” he yells back and marches towards the house.
Upon entering the house, another dark-haired man approaches, and he looks like the other Michaels, I guess he is James. There is too much of a resemblance, he must be a relative.
“About time, Belinda is doing her nut,” the young man gushes, giving me a big smile, while his eyes roam my body. Feeling disgusted, I glare at him.
“Do you like what you see?” I ask, my voice cold. I hate it when people practically undress me with their eyes it makes me feel on edge, a feeling I do not like.
My unhappiness is making me bolder. With no way to escape, I’m taking my frustration out on everyone who comes near. I’m turning into someone I do not like.
I feel trapped, like a caged animal, a prisoner in my new home. Misty’s betrayal runs deep within me. I know they do not deserve it, but still, I cannot stop myself. I want out, my old life, back anything but this fantasy.
Chris laughs while the young man looks bewildered, that I have acknowledged what he is doing.
“Yeah, she is a feisty one, James.” Chris walks past his brother. I follow along like a lost puppy.
“Thank goodness, you’re okay,” Grandmother wails, acting like she cares. She embraces me in a hug. I feel awkward, so I pull away.