Chapter 1: A New Beginning
Shiro stopped, taking in a deep breath. She gritted her teeth at the intake of crisp, cold air, and shuddered, letting out a cloud of smoke. "I wish I could call a cab, but no, mum said I'm too young to use a cab, alone!" Shiro thought irritably, staring down the horizon of trees near a gas station that was possibly 30 or 40 miles away. "I'm a strong, independent 14 year old girl! I don't see what mum was talking about."
In truth, her legs were weak, lungs were burning, and back was aching due to the humongous backpack that was slung over her backside.
The airport was 50 miles back, and she had taken several breaks, despite wanting to just collapse on the side of the road.
"Would I be prettier as roadkill?" Shiro wondered aloud, jokingly staring at the icy roads.
Shiro had another option, but immediately discarded it... even though the want to take a car ride was a great one.
Shiro shook her head at the thought, pursing her dry, chapped lips. "Hitchhiking never ends well,"
Shiro could hear her mum clearly in her head. "You can never know who could "help" you out. A religious, Gifted-hating old man or one of your long lost thrice removed cousins... those people are crazy." Yes, she called those people, whoever those people were, crazy.
Shiro groaned, beginning her slow pace towards the never-coming horizon.
Her Uggs were soaked from the slush, and covered in snow. They sort of looked like Snowballs™.
Moving on, Shiro began to think back to her mum, dad, older brother and niece. "It's odd being away from them." Shiro thought, somewhat lonely now. "I'm so used to mum's eccentric personality, dad's crazy inventions and Jasper's talkative mouth... not only that... but I.." Shiro glanced at a passing car, her thoughts disrupted, not because of the type of car, more rather the person inside.
They looked... familiar.
"Nah," Shiro laughed, feeling her cheeks burn at her "optimistic" gesture. "Like anyone I know was here, in Alaska." Yet, that feeling of familiarity remained, another feeling- uneasiness- had connected itself to her.
Shiro rose her scarf a little higher, to cover her flushed cheeks. "I wish I had my mittens." She glanced down at her reddened hands; they were numb... shaking, even.
Poor Shiro forgot to grab her mittens on the airplane, and it was too late to get them now. "I also wish I had bought some coffee, though I doubt it could stay warm in this below freezing atmosphere..."
It took a while, perhaps longer, but Shiro finally reached the gas station.
Shiro's pace began to grow more recklessly fast. "I'm lucky if they still have food in stock," Shiro murmured joyfully, rushing across the snow-filled lot that contained the car from earlier.
Upon coming inside, Shiro was greeted rather cheerfully by the cashier, with a warm smile. "Good afternoon, miss-" She noticed that Shiro was flushed, and her hair was covered in little snowflakes.
Just earlier, Shiro was unfortunate to have been hit by a wave of snow by an oncoming car, covering her from head to toe. Luckily, most of it melted and dried, yet there was a layer of frost on her Uggs.
"Oh, did you walk here? Or did you take a bus-"
"THERE WAS A BUS AND NO ONE TOLD ME?"
The cashier jumped slightly, yet nodded, her smile forming into a nervous one. "Yes," The cashier agreed. "Where did you come from exactly?"
"The airport. 50 or 60 miles back."
"Holy cow, that must've been quite a walk."
"It... it was."
"Well, you're here now, and we just got a renewal of supply and stock dropped off. So you can look around. Everything is fifteen cents off." The cashier went back to whatever she was doing before... talking to a customer.
Shiro happily glanced around, pulling her scarf down, so she could finally breathe. She spotted a shelf full of all kinds of bread, white bread, wheat bread, corn bread, raisin bread.. you name it. "Breeeead..." Shiro thought, her mouth watering at the sight of food.
The poor girl hadn't eaten since her arrival at the airport, which was 7 hours ago, approximately at 9:37 a.m.
Neither did she sleep yet... jetlag was close on setting in...
"Little lady, you seem hungry." A rich, English accent commented from behind. Shiro turned around, facing a charmingly beautiful woman who was a few inches taller than her, petite in frame. Shiro couldn't help but stare, a little ashamed of her lithe body.
The woman had fair skin, that was sprinkled with freckles that laced her cheeks, a little on her nose, and on her ears. Her ginger hair was choppy, and purposely messed up, reaching her shoulders. The woman's brown eyes were filled with mirth, and she looked like she was smiling all of the time.
Shiro realized that the woman noticed her staring, and she began to redden, coughing a little.
"Oh, you noticed?" Shiro giggled nervously, wiping her slobber away with a sleeve. The woman laughed, a lovely tinkle. "Indeed I have, perhaps you haven't eaten in a little while?" She questioned. Shiro nodded sheepishly, mumbling, "You haven't even heard this half of the story..."
"Oh, um, well I haven't eaten in 7 hours, or rested since, well, last night, um I mean... where I was, it was 10 p.m, and now its 4 p.m and I'm so confused-"
"You remind me of someone I know.. You haven't eaten in a while or rested?"
"Oh, uh, I just got off of my flight, that departed from Florida."
"I see... well, you certainly should get something to eat, and some rest. Have a good day, little lady, and... farewell." The woman gave another smile, and turned away, following another woman who was at the counter. They quickly left the gas station, entering their car.
Shiro became a little confused, yet was feeling relieved.
First, because there was a restock. Secondly, because what she hoped for is what she got- Alaskans were friendly.
Shiro picked up a croissant that was wrapped in plastic, a few breakfast bars, a Gatorade™, and a pair of oversized gloves (since they didn't have child sized gloves...).
The cashier grinned, quickly scanning them. As she did so, she made conversation with Shiro. "Weather seem nice to you?" The cashier asked. Shiro shrugged, taking out her wallet. "I suppose. But I wouldn't call snowstorms "nice"." Shiro replied. She then placed 10 dollar bill on the counter, eying Alexander Hamilton, before he was swiftly taken away. "They are nice," The cashier deadpanned, before bursting into loud chuckles. "Nice? I have snow melting down my spine."
"Poor.. did you pack an umbrella?"
"Unfortunately, no. I didn't expect it to snow so much."
"Well, it is Alaska."
"Are you stereotyping Alaska?"
"I.." She laughed. "I guess I am? I mean, but... its snowing more than usual, lately."
"I am well aware."
The cashier handed Shiro the bag, smiling. "Good luck, girl."
Shiro brushed past the thorned branches, wincing as they scraped against her frozen skin. "Great," Shiro complained as her croissant plopped onto the snow. She lazily picked it up, flicking off the snow. "I just opened this!"
Shiro grumpily chomped it, stomping her feet.
Shiro had made her way from the gas station to the forest that her mum told her about. It took her a great time and effort to arrive.
"In the forest of Skydance, there are stories," Her mum began, clearing her throat. "About a well."
Shiro ignored the snapping of a twig under her feet.
"A well?" A younger Shiro asked in a small voice, slightly scared. Her wide, creamy brown eyes sparkling with curiosity.
Shiro bit her croissant again, chewing slightly.
"A well," Her mum repeated, raising a finger. "That was told to lead to the hidden world of Ki."
Shiro noticed that the forest drew darker, so she took out her flashlight.
"Ki?" Shiro questioned. "What is Ki?"
The light flickered, yet remained on.
"No, honey, its not what, its more like who." Shiro's mum corrected her. "Ki is our..."
The songbirds that were perched upon the jagged, dead trees had fled, at the movement of Shiro's impatient stomping.
Her mum trailed off. Shiro shook her, a little confused. "Our..?"
Shiro's backpack was yanked back, causing her to fall down, and fall into a snowbank. "Ow! That hurt- ..." Shiro grew silent, realizing that a branch wasn't responsible for her fall.
Shiro cautiously got up, biting into her croissant nervously. A little snicker echoed throughout the forest, enveloping Shiro's ringing ears. "Your reaction is... priceless!" A voice crowed. Confused, Shiro got up. "Wha-" Before Shiro could finish, a girl about her age appeared through a puff of smoke.
The girl had a grin somewhat similar to the Cheshire Cat, and certainly she gave off the impression she was the Cheshire Cat. "You looked like a mouse!"
Shiro looked offended, holding a clenched fist to her chest. "Excuse me?"
"Oh- oh- oh- I mean... you look like a frightened mouse! Small and vulnerable!"
"Okay, okay, I get it. I'm short." Shiro grumbled.
"Pfft- you even sound like one!"
"Hey- I'm still hitting puberty. Don't hate on this girl."
"I mistook you for a boy..."
"A- a boy?"
"..." Shiro didn't give a response, looking more offended.
"You.." The girl began to snicker again. "When you're angry.. you look... so... hilarious..!"
"That's it. I'm just going to ignore you." Shiro announced, throwing her hands up as she passed her, of course after picking up her flashlight.
"Ki's hidden world. The world that must never be taken by human, only us Gifted."
Shiro shivered, realizing her scarf was filled with snow, thanks to that girl. "That jerk! She scared me, and..." Shiro stopped in her tracks. "Wait- she's a Gifted!"
Young Shiro frowned. "Mommy, I'm not a Gifted. I'm..."
Shiro turned around, facing the girl who stared at Shiro with wide eyes. "You're rude!" The girl said in an accusatory tone, pouting. She was kicking her legs to and fro, sitting on a slender branch that looked like it could snap at any moment- yet it didn't.
Shiro's mum looked very saddened, yet her smile remained. "The well was the entranceway to the world of Ki, the world that is better than ours."
Shiro raised a brow, crossing her arms. "I'm rude?" Shiro asked.
The girl nodded, her pout being replaced by that same chilling grin. "Though, you are very amusing. Did you know that you are very amusing?" The girl inquired. Shiro's face began to burn, turning red.
"There are fields full of grain, rice and flowers..." Her tone was of daydreams, gentle like a spring breeze.
The girl realized how cold Shiro looked, so she stopped grinning, a serious expression upon her face. "You okay there, mouse?" Her tone was gentle. Shiro shook her head. "I'm- I'm cold." Shiro answered timidly, calming down when she nibbled a piece of her croissant. The girl leaped off of the tree, and landed several feet in front of her. "Follow me." She said in a hushed voice.
"The land is rich. Full of lush forests and mountains."
Shiro gladly followed the girl, trusting her completely with her mortal life. The girl turned her head, smiling. "My name is Katrina. My family calls me Kat." Kat said jovially. Shiro smiled back, glad that Kat was being more gentle and friendly. "Shiro," Shiro replied. "By the way, you have a pretty name."
"You do, too. What does it mean?"
"It means 'white'."
"Heh, the color of a mouse-"
"Okay, please calm down, you're sorta kinda maybe freaking me out."
"Sorry..." Kat apologized sheepishly. They stopped, a bush blocking the way. Shiro faced Kat, nonchalant. "So, um, what did you want to show me, exactly?"
Kat shoved Shiro through the thorns, grinning.
Shiro crashed into a stone well, yet a part of it collapsed on her weight, and she began to fall.
Down and down, she continued to fall.
Down and down.
Down and down.
Then she landed with a thump.
This chapter is really bad... but that's because I got really bored and lost a little motivation to write it...
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed it??