“Peace of life,” said the chideman as he poured the blue water from the glass urn into the pool. It was surreal.
“Peace of life.” My response was automatic.
My heart pounded. For thirteen years I’d trained for this. Still I was not ready. The machine’s copper pipes gave off a warm smell that drifted to my nostrils as if precious biscuits were baking in the eating room. The calming scent only made it worse. I was leaving.
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On display before every citizen in the community, my bare feet stepped the few inches further to the edge of the pool. Fear haunted my mind. Shivering from head to toe caused my short golden dress to tickle at the tops of my thighs. I brushed away the itch. Goose bumps peppered my arms and legs. I was freezing. For a moment, the massive musics and sounds on the stage overwhelmed me. I was small in comparison to everything here, all present and to this wondrous event. Through dazed thoughts, my focus returned and I remembered to count to three before placing my foot in the shallow liquid.
With eyes watering, my every heartbeat echoed in my ears. Never again would my father’s eyes look upon me. Never again would I feel his warm embrace. I would so miss his gentle, loving voice. How would I bear it? I fought my great desire to turn and dart to him, or steal a look as he sat in his chair upon the stage. Instead, I kept my step.
There would not be another last goodbye. We already said it, and he wanted just the one. It would be my greatest honor to him to leave with the dignity, respect, and position he bestowed upon me, to act older than my meager thirteen years. I had to be brave and pave the way for the others, as he had instructed.
The tears nearly choked me as I quietly sniffed them back. I could scarcely see, but chose not to rub the wet away. Everyone would notice. More would only follow and my eyes would be closed soon enough. The time had arrived. This was no longer wholly my choice. I was being led by my duty and so had to control my emotions for these last few seconds.
The immaculate stage held static, causing the miniscule hairs on my head to stand on end. They reached toward the beautiful colored glass of the cathedral roof in the pod community’s grandest room, as if they too wanted to stay. The urge to run, to escape, consumed me, yet I betrayed my heart, followed my learned directions, and kept my course.
No matter the logic and knowledge in my head, nothing had prepared me for this feeling of claws tearing me apart from the inside out. I fought off the nausea. I could not be ill, not in front of the community while representing my father.
The crystal and copper Pool of Light lay before the five of us, with solar panels running from floor to ceiling as the toner’s chorus continued to sing behind us. The brilliant round majesty beneath my feet, only six inches deep, held the key to our futures and to what would become the whole of humanity. We were taking these steps for everyone. Once we left, we could never return home.
Tarron had ordered that we space ourselves just two paces separated, one behind the next. The four older candidates followed behind me, the taste of anticipation mingling with the hum of energy that filled the great room. My mind whirled.
‘Keep walking forward… do not turn around,’ father’s words echoed in my head.
I was horrified. Chills took residence up and down my spine, causing me to shake further. How would my days unfold without him by my side? How could I leave him alone? My heart was dying.
‘The coming light can blind, if you lose protection of your eyelids,’ he had warned.
Think only of your training and the swim, I reprimanded myself against my inert weakness. Focus. You are leading the others.
I squeezed my eyes closed.
“Your eyes… don’t forget,” I choked out the words, reminding the four following me to keep theirs closed as well.
The desire to see where my feet landed was nearly more than I could endure as I took my next step. Blindly, trembling as I’d never thought possible, I walked on until a humming of energy engulfed me. Then a wall of water, warm and flowing, caressed my face and arms and legs until I was drenched in it. It unnerved me. I imagined my skin would feel this way if covered with a million tiny insects. That vision sent more shivers. I rubbed away the feeling. Fear controlled me. I was holding my breath. ‘Do not forget to breathe, Tolomay,’ I remembered father’s training. ‘Or you may lose consciousness.’
Barely able to manage my thoughts, I took back my air and continued forward.
A light penetrated the liquid as if they were one and the same. Much too bright, even with eyes closed, it rained down upon my body as if it were the sun and had no limits. The burning lasted only a moment and rid me of my chills. Then I was struck hard in the back by a force that seemed more as power than matter. It propelled me through the air so fast I almost opened my eyes, but instead fell into a somersault, ending in a stand as I had been trained.
The grasses felt soft beneath my bare feet. The air smelled completely different...
About the Author:
Author M.E. Lorde grew up in the rural community of Victor, NY, surrounded by farms, orchards, vineyards in neighboring towns, and beautiful scenic views of lakes, mountains and canyons. Her great grandmother was Iroquois Indian, whose family was deeply rooted in the Great Seneca Nation, upstate New York. The author’s great-great grandfather, whose family was from Great Britain, was a major contributor toward the ‘Statue of Liberty’s’ pedestal in New York City. A man and a woman from two different worlds met, fell in love and married and a family was torn apart. But alas, life goes on. M.E.’s great grandmother and great grandfather married. An interesting tidbit- at one point they became great friends with and then great friends and confidants with author Zane Grey, who from the early to mid 1900’s wrote dozens of books, many Historical and Western. Rumor has it that you will find the author’s great grandmother in at least one.Twitter * Facebook * website * blog * Goodreads
An avid reader since childhood (as well as an artist), M.E. has been writing since she could hold a pencil. She wrote and bound her own book by hand at the age of ten. Though books have always been a passion, Lorde put writing on hold to raise four children while working in other fields which include a career in law enforcement as well as a director position at a technical college. With much encouragement from friends and family, she finally decided to follow her real passion and pursue writing full-time. With her newest release of the Tolomay’s World series, she has found her audience, hitting Amazon’s best sellers list in adventure/romance and adventure/fantasy in December of 2013 as #1 Action & Adventure/Romance and #3 Action & Adventure/Fantasy (Tolomay’s World and The Pool of Light- the first novel in the seven Novel series).
Her time is currently divided between quality time with her daughter, writing, and activities with Indie authors, artists and a civic theatre. She loves to travel and has seen thirty nine states up close and personal, and lived in four. While M.E. enjoys the excitement and bustle of city life, she remains a country girl at heart.
Tolomay’s World is a book series of seven full novels. The first three Tolomay’s World novels, ‘The Pool of Light’, ‘The Mountain of Tegi’, ‘The Splitting of The Trunk’, are currently available in kindle version and soon to be released in soft-cover form. Book 4 ‘Tolomay’s World- The Wall’ is due for release in 2014.
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