Jan 5, 2012

V Files: Chapter 15 - Birch Forest

By Sama Khwaja

‘Where am I?’ Destiny voiced aloud. Her voice echoed all around her. 

She wasn’t sure if she was on earth, heaven or hell. It seemed to be nighttime here because the moon was round and bright right above her in the pitch black sky. There weren’t even any stars out. The only living things she could see for miles around were luminescent, leafless, silver birch trees. Even the ground was drained of color. It was like she was living in a black and white world.

She shivered. What was the noise in the background? It was like a strange buzzing which was rather irksome. She needed to get out. But out of where?

‘Where do you think you are?’ came a cheerful voice from behind her. Destiny instinctively reached for her pistols but realized that her holsters were missing. That’s when it hit her how familiar the voice was.
Heart beating painfully, she turned around as she prayed that she wasn’t dreaming. She almost choked on her tears at the sight before her.

‘Alicia?’ she whispered. Alicia smiled morosely.

‘Yes, I suppose that’s my name, isn’t it?’ she sighed and glanced off in the distance. ‘Oh well, it’s useless now. I can’t ever leave this place.’

She looked just the Alicia from Destiny’s dreams; petite, young, and stunning.

Destiny suddenly realized that she was moving away now. She scrambled forward.

‘Wait! Alicia! Are we…are we dead?’ she gasped she tried to keep up.

‘Dead? Of course not! Don’t be silly!’ Alicia laughed as she swung from one trunk to change direction. 
‘Don’t you feel alive? As long as you can feel, you’re not really dead! At least, not yet.’ She smiled ruefully at Destiny. ‘I don’t know about myself, really. I forgot my name when I came here. Once you can’t remember your name, you’re stuck here. You can’t move forward or go back. You’re here until you fade away.’

She brushed past Destiny to another tree and turned right from there. 

‘Wait! Alicia!’ she cried out as Alicia weaved through the birch trees. ‘Ms. Crescent! Mom!’

That word stopped Alicia in her tracks, allowing to Destiny to finally catch up with her.

‘There’s so much I want to ask you. So much I want to know,’ Destiny gasped. This all felt so surreal. Maybe it was because she was seeing Alicia in a different light. She was no longer just a scientist. She was her-

‘Aren’t the answers to those questions so very simple?’ Alicia said kindly as she patted Destiny’s cheek.

‘No! They’re not!’ Destiny said desperately. ‘Why me? Why did Shears have to pick me? Why did Dr. Temp- why did dad take me away after all his hard work? Why-?’

‘Because we love you, Destiny,’ Alicia sighed and cupped Destiny’s cheek gently. ‘Shears knew about Samuel’s mutated genes which is why he wanted to use you. But Samuel couldn’t bear to give him our child. Shears didn’t understand. He couldn’t. It could only destroy him.’

‘Shears...oh my God, Shears!’ Destiny suddenly looked about wildly, half expecting the villain to pop out of nowhere. ‘What happened to him?!’

‘It could only destroy him,’ Alicia repeated listlessly. She gave Destiny a grave look. ‘You need to hurry. Before it’s too late. Just like it was too late for me.’

And she was gone. Destiny’s mind throbbed. This was all too much. She was stuck in this strange in-between world and the only way to get out was to remember her name. But every time she tried to, it seemed to elude her. Like it was on the tip of her tongue but the minute she realized that it would vanish. To add to her frustration there was that constant buzzing that just wouldn’t go away.

‘Shut up!’ she hissed at it and glared at the black sky. ‘I can’t remember my name if that idiotic noise keeps blaring through my head!’

Fear suddenly gripped her. What if she couldn’t remember her name? She’d be stuck here forever until she was gone, like a whispering in the wind.


Her eyes widened as she realized what the buzzing in her head was. It was voice! Voices murmuring from somewhere. Earth? She wasn’t sure.

She squeezed her eyes shut and concentrated. Shapes and lines shifted across her mind until they began to form a face. The face had soft caramel hair and worried eyes that looked like windows to the sea. His lips (it was a he, she was sure of it) were repeating one word over and over again. She frowned. What was he saying? She concentrated on his lips, moving her own to mimic him. Panic and anticipation kept slowing her down. Every second that passed felt like an hour and made her slip further into despair. Was she fading away already?

‘Des…nee…’ she mumbled, her brow furrowing even more. ‘Des…nee…Des…Des...’

Realization hit her like an ocean wave as her eyes flew open.

‘Destiny!’ she yelled at the sky at the top of her lungs. ‘My name is Destiny, you hear me?! DESTINY!’

A gust of wind almost knocked her off her feet as she went flying into a tree. Catching her breath, she shakily looked behind her to see a door in the middle of the birch forest.

‘That’s the way home, isn’t it?’ came an elegant voice behind her. Her eyes widened.

‘William?’ she blurted out as she turned around to find the source.

‘Close,’ Samuel Templeton said with a smile. ‘How is he?’

‘Worst brother ever,’ Destiny answered, trying to stay calm but she felt her voice cracking from emotion.

‘He never had a way with children,’ Alicia teased as she came from behind Samuel and linked hands with him. He smiled affectionately at her as she returned the look. Destiny felt like her heart would burst. She stretched out a hand towards them.

‘Come with me?’ she pleaded.

‘It’s too late for us,’ Samuel said softly, his eyes reflecting sadness. ‘We’re just glad you can escape.’

Destiny nodded in understanding but wished she could act like a child and beg her parents to come back with her. But she did the next best thing. She rushed forward and hugged Samuel fiercely. He froze for a minute before he wrapped his arms around her lovingly.

‘I never got to thank you for saving me, dad,’ she murmured, reveling the word on her tongue. He patted her head.

‘You should get going,’ he whispered, his voice sounding watery too. She sniffed loudly and, after hugging 
Alicia just as passionately, parted from them. She paused with her hand on the doorknob.

‘Funny,’ she murmured and gave them a watery smile now. ‘I’m losing you again but it doesn’t hurt this time. Is that a bad thing?’

‘Well, it doesn’t feel bad, does it?’ Alicia replied as she rested her head on Samuel’s shoulder. ‘You haven’t lost us, dear, you’ve found us.’

Tears now flowed freely down Destiny’s face.

‘I guess I can say, ‘see you folks around’,’ she mumbled, her heart lighter as she opened the door to reveal nothingness. She stepped in.

‘And thank you,’ she whispered before the door shut behind her.


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