Bright Eyes, Grey Skies

Centuries ago a young explorer named Edward Winston Discovered an uncharted island. No on knows for sure what he discovered, but years later an entry was found in his notebook. The entry read, "The one to defeat the forest will come in an unlikely form. They will be able to surpass fear, which will later help them. To surpass Fear and Terror, they must loose to win. They will go through pain, suffering and loss. If they fail they will be killed, but not able to die. They will have the gifts of power and will, and the Elements will later live within them. The day they accept their task the skies will turn grey and their eyes will be brighter than ever." When this entry was exposed to the public, people believed he was going insane during his last days, but no one realized how right he was.

Emily and Tara were sisters, twins, and the best of friends; it had always been that way. Sometimes they felt that they were the same person split into two parts. They were both very pretty at thirteen years old. Tara, with her long blond curls and turquoise eyes and Emily with her dark brown curls and grass green eyes. They were almost identical, except Tara was tan from all her outdoor time and Emily was pale from her lack of outdoor time.

For as long as they could remember they had lived at Shadylane boarding school which was located on a remote forest island. During the school year they were just like any other girl, but during the summer they were free to do whatever they wanted. During the summer the only person looking after the girls was a woman named Jenny. She was very cold person; she never talked much to anyone, but the girls almost never saw her or each other. They were always busy doing what they liked.

During the summer Emily found that she enjoyed sitting in the topmost turret of the school and reading about far away places she hoped she would one day see. Tara had never understood how someone could sit in a stuffy room all day. Her comfort zone was in the leafy shade of the forest, or the crisp, cool waters of the ocean.

When the last day of school came Tara could not think the tiniest bit about school work, she could only think about summer. The long, sunny days of summer where her whole day was hers to do whatever she pleased. During the summer her days were filled with climbing, swimming, walking and jumping.

During the school year Emily and Tara were knows as the popular, well-liked girls. Even though Tara was a good, honest person; when asked what she was doing over the summer she would lie and say that she was staying with her parents.

All of the girls at Shadylane believed that Emily and Tara had very rich parents; they never had issues with tuition, food or clothes. What they didn't know was that the school paid for the Emily and Tara's needs, what Emily and Tara didn't know was that the only reason the school paid for them was because when their parents left them there they gave the school their life savings, which was quite a lot. The truth was, Emily and Tara spent their summers at the school, almost by themselves.

When school had ended, Tara had said all of her goodbyes, and she had eaten dinner, she set off straight for bed. She had planned that she would wake up early in order to get a head start on her day's adventures. Emily was used to this behavior from Tara, so she thought nothing of it. What she did not know, was that Tara planed to set her alarm for four o'clock in the morning, the alarm that had proven to wake everyone in Seaside turret during the school year.

It took Tara a lot of time to fall asleep, at dinner Emily had showed her an only journal that she had been reading. One of the entries had popped out at her, it talked about an island, some powers defeating the forest, fear terror, the elements and other junk like that. Tara had thought it was a riddle, but Emily had thought it might be true. Tara got the sense that Emily knew something she didn't, but she was too tired to pry any farther.

Tara prepared ahead of time for her days adventures. She packed breakfast, lunch and a few snacks in her waterproof backpack. She had also set out her favorite Jean cutoffs (perfect for tree climbing) and her forest green t-shirt. She decided she would sleep in her turquoise bikini that matched her eyes oh so perfectly. She also set her alarm for four a.m. sharp. Just a little goodbye present for Emily and Jenny.

When Tara did go to bed she thought about the riddle over and over, but she couldn't come up with an answer. This was the first riddle in Tara's life that she could not figure out. Eventually sleep came over her, all

When the alarm went off at four o'clock Tara was instantly awake. She was used to being an early riser. She put on her t-shirt and pants in less then a minute and then bolted out of the room. While she enjoyed playing pranks on Jenny and Emily she did not like to be there when they actually played out. Within minutes she was breathing the cool fresh air that was Shadylane in the morning. There was a think layer of fog by the ocean. This did not bother Tara; she knew it would burn off by eight o'clock or so. This had always been her favorite time of day, everything was so peaceful.

Many people would guess that she just went into the forest, but they would be mistaken. Tara had learned long ago that the trees around the school were cut so that the students could not climb them. Tara first swam, walked, or kayaked about five miles. There was a branch there that lay on the sand. It was a great entrance to her above ground city, or so she called it.

Within 10 minutes of her waking Tara was already walking through the morning fog that lay over the ocean. The air was cool and crisp, something Tara had forgotten about. If she had remembered how cold it was before the sun rose she would have also remembered to put out a kayak so she would not have to swim. Many would call her crazy, but right then she climbed onto a large boulder and dove right into the icy could water.

After her long swim was over Tara came ashore on the stretch of beach where she entered the forest. The sky was still grey and foggy, which was unusual. Usually by eight o'clock or so the morning fog had burnt off. As she looked out into the horizon she saw an even more unusual sight. The water, which was usually a brilliant turquoise with flecks of color that were reefs and fish, now had the appearance of a dark sapphire that had been smothered in ashes and soot. Tara decided to give this no more thought and started her breakfast.

By the time Tara found herself climbing the fallen branch she used to get into the trees the fog had still not burnt off, but once in the thick branches of the forest this no longer mattered, from the forest the sky was no visible.

As Tara walked along the branches she was very grateful that she didn't have to walk on the ground. There was a thick layer of fog on the ground, swirling this way and that. Normally, anyone who saw the fog, or saw how high of the ground they were would have been frightened beyond their wits. But Tara believed from experience that you were safer in the trees than on the ground, this belief had never failed her, until that day.

Before Tara could even register what was happening she found herself falling from fifty feet in the air. When she didn't feel the ground below her she thought I must be dead, I could have never survived a fall like that. Tara however was mistaken. When she opened her eyes she found a girl looking over her. She looked to be almost Tara's age, but she did not look human. She had white blond hair that flowed out behind her even though there was no wind. Her skin was so pale it was almost translucent. Her eyes were extremely large and bright purple. But weirdest of all, she had pointed ears, like an elf.

Tara's first impression was shock. She had never seen anyone in the wood, but then she thought that this girl looked innocent, sweet and harmless.

"I want to help you" the girl said. "Come with me"

Tara believed that this girl couldn't possible be doing any wrong so she decided to follow her. The girl led her into the woods so far she could no longer recognize anything around her. The farther they went, the tenser Tara became. She had the feeling that Emily was in trouble. She had the feeling that someone was killing her. The girl led her into a small cave that was filled with light there was a blazing fire, hot coco sitting on a small wooden table and comfortable looking armchairs around the fire. There was another girl, identical to the one that had led her to the cave killing Emily.

"It's too late for me" Emily said. "I failed" That was all Emily could say before she crumpled to the ground and died.

Tara instantly dissolved into sobs.

"Why did you do that?!" Tara screamed through her sobs. Everything then was a blur. She felt an unexplainable blankness. She could no longer see where she was, or who she was with. But one thing that she did remember was that Emily was dead, and she was not going to come back to life.

When Tara finally came to her senses again she realized that she was sobbing uncontrollably and her hands were blood stained. S he had a dagger in one of the girl's hearts. Tara removed the dagger and stabbed her again and again, but nothing happened.

"Why won't you die?" Tara screamed.

"I can not die." replied the girl, "Fear will never die."

With that the two girls disappeared leaving Tara alone in unfamiliar woods. She began to walk, where she was not sure, she only knew that she wanted to go home. Much to Tara's surprise she was walking along the beach within ten minutes of her leaving the cave, having no clue how she had gotten out of the forest so quickly. She stood in front of the school doors, not sure weather she should enter. She was afraid of what she would find on the other side.

"Tara! Tara! I'm so glad I found you, there are some people I want you to meet!" It can't be possible, Tara thought. I saw her die. Sure enough there was Emily running toward her.

"Emily I'm so glad you're alive!" Tara said as she embraced her sister.

"I was never gone; I was just walking in the wood looking for you. While I was there… oh, just let me show you!"

Emily led Tara out to the woods. She ran at top speed through the trees, with Tara not far behind. She came to one of the biggest trees Tara had ever seen. She began to climb it with skill not even Tara could match. Odd, she was never much of an athlete, thought Tara. She puzzled over this the whole way up.

At long last Emily stopped climbing so far up the tree, Tara felt nauseous when she looked down. When she looked up, this feeling immediately changed. About twenty yards away from them was a man and a woman who looked like different parts of Emily and Tara. They were silhouetted against a brilliant sunset. Tara somehow knew they were her parents. When Tara looked behind her she saw a grey bleak sky. About fifty yard away silhouetted against the dark grey sky was Jenny. She looked in pain, as if she were struggling against some invisible force. Tara's mother and father looked like they were greatly enjoying Jenny's pain.

Emily joyfully walked over to her mother and father.

"Come Tara!" Emily said joyfully with a slight giggle.

Tara walked over to her parents with a slight hesitation. Emily was walking toward her, dagger in hand. She walked past Tara and went toward Jenny. This time, Tara knew what was happening.

"I have to do this" She said to Emily. She ran toward her, twisted the arm that was holding the dagger, and plunged it into Emily. Right as her hand released Emily's arm she began to fall, her tears streaming around her. She could not belive what she had done, she had just killed her own sister.

"This must be my punishment," Tara thought aloud. There was no way anyone could have survived a fall from the forest canopy. It was almost two hundred feet to the ground. Tara never felt the ground. Two oddly familiar girls caught her before she hit the ground. She knew those bright purple eyes; she had only seen those hours ago.

"You can't let your fears take over." said the girl on the left.

"Before you say anything else, I have a few questions" Said Tara "First, what are your names"

"My name is Fear" said the girl on the left.

"My name is Terror" Said the girl on the right.

"I Failed, didn't I." said Tara.

"No, you passed" Said Fear. "You resisted temptation. As much as you wanted your sister and parents to be real, you knew they weren't."

"Is that why I fell?" replied Tara, "Because they weren't real, I killed the illusion? I never thought that success would cause so much pain…" Tara had answered herself before she knew what her question was. She realized that she had suffered a loss, and suffered pain. Those two events sounded oddly familiar to Tara. Before she could give this any more thought Terror spoke.

"Exactly" said Terror, "You were smart, you knew no matter how much you wish for it, nothing can reawaken the dead. We always knew you would pass that one with flying colors."

"How did you know me?" said Tara.

"We have known you since birth, we knew your parents too. They left you with us." said Fear.

"They knew we would take care of you better than anyone else, with ought to fear and Terror there is no courage." added Terror.

"But you're only girls, no older than I am!" replied Tara. "You killed Emily, I would hardly call that taking are of!"

"Looks can be deceiving, we are as old as time." said Fear.

"I had to kill Emily," said Terror, "she failed, if you remember the day, we told her that she had failed. We said that in three years time, they would kill her, the forest would kill her. They would have killed her emotions, her soul and her heart. Being killed by us was a gift to her."

Tara remembered the day when she now knew Emily had found out she failed. She had come home pale and wide eyed. She had been gone for three days, Tara and Jenny thought she had died. She almost did die. She stayed in bed for a month after that with a diesis that Tara and Jenny could not identify. She also now understood that Killing Emily had not been a horrible deed, if the riddle Emily had read to her was true she would have been killed, but no able to die. This is just one more thing I don't understand, thought Tara.

"You tried to kill her then didn't you?" said Tara with a sudden realization. "You gave her that plague. I would also like to know, what was she being challenged with?" Tara had the feeling that she already knew the answer.

"She was trying to overcome the forest with her Power, but Power alone cannot win. She needed will, she needed you." It was then that Tara fully understood that the riddle was not a riddle, but a prophecy. She also understood that she and Emily were supposed to live it out, since they were twins they had to work together, but now she is dead thought Tara I have to face it alone.

"I know this is serious stuff, but isn't this a little cliché? I mean, Power needs will? Overcome with fear? Not to mention overcoming the forest." replied Tara.

"Well, as part of the cliché we will help you through. You overcame us, so now we serve you, and besides, where do you think they get those stories?" said Fear.

"Surpass fear which will later help you…" Tara thought aloud.

"What did you say?" asked Fear.

"Nothing" Tara lied. She got the felling that Fear knew what she had said anyway.

"Can you take me home?" said Tara.

"Of course" Replied Terror.

Almost in an instant Tara was in her bed at the school. She had no time to think about what happened to Jenny, or if Emily was really dead. She fell asleep before any thinking could take place.

In her dreams she was haunted with images of Emily screaming in Terror. Her parents were there too. They changed from smiling parents to horrible creatures, cheering on Emily's killer. Tara would have done anything to leave this horrible dream; she would even take her own life to escape the horror. At this thought Tara woke with a start.

There were two pale girls with now familiar bright purple eyes that were shocking even in the dark sitting on the edge of her bed.

"Not such a nice dream was it?" said Fear.

"That was only a small taste of what you're up against" added Terror.

Tara now understood that the dream was their way of showing her what she was up against, what she would have to overcome, and that there was no turning back.

When she awoke she immediately knew what she had to do. She put on multiple layers; now knowing that it would be very cold. She had thought long and hard about what Fear and Terror had told her,

She needed will, she needed you

Tara was certain that she could do anything she wanted to, if she just willed it too. She decided to do a few tests before she did what she was planning. She first willed for there to be waffles and bacon sitting on the table when she got downstairs. When she got downstairs she found to her surprise, a steaming plate of waffles and a plate of sizzling bacon. She helped herself to breakfast and decided to leave the rest for Jenny.

When Tara outside she willed for there to be a motorboat sitting at the dock, and when she reached to dock sure enough there was the boat she a willed for. She hopped onto the boat and just went a mile offshore. Now, she could do what she had been planning.

First Tara willed it to pour rain over the school. She was planning to destroy the forest, not the school. She then thought of how angry she had been when Emily had been killed, how angry she was at the forest for taking so many lives. She threw this anger at the forest at just as she had hoped; her anger had set the first few trees of fire. It did not take long for the fire to spread in the dry summer. Soon the whole forest was in flames. This was going better than she had hoped. She next put out the raging fire with water. The trees were only sticks now, she could see all through the forest.

There were many strange creatures she had never known existed. They were mostly like Fear and Terror, but some were not. Four of them stood out to Tara, these four were heading over the water toward her. She could see a man with jet black hair, a woman who was very pale with her white blond hair flowing behind her in an unnatural way, another woman with extremely long and messy auburn hair that looked as though it had never been cut, and the last woman had long wavy sandy blond hair that was extremely well kept.

When they got closer Tara picked out that the man had red eyes that looked very angry, the pale woman had grey eyes, the woman with the long brown hair had extremely green eyes that made Tara cry, for they reminded her of Emily. The last woman with the sleek, shiny sandy blond curls the Tara could see were we and extremely pretty electric blue eyes.

"You have disrupted the elements" said the man with the red eyes.

"For that you will pay" said the woman with grey eyes.

"You have disrupted Fire and Water, but worst of all you have destroyed me, Earth" Said the woman with the green eyes that brought tears to Tara's eyes.

"This does not concern me, Air, but I must agree with Earth, Water and Fire that you will be severely punished" said the woman with the grey eyes.

The Woman with the electric blue eyes that Tara know knew was Water said nothing, but gave Tara a stare so piercing it made a shiver go down Tara's back. Tara, feeling that her will would not fail her, willed herself to the center of the forest.

Miraculously, the forest had re grown. She knew that willing herself here had been a mistake. All of the sudden there was snow blowing everywhere. She could no longer see where she was.

"Why are you doing this to me?" Tara screamed over the howling wind.

"Because we are afraid" replied a voice so sharp Tara could not stand to listed. She knew this voice was Water. Now trees were uprooting all around her, only narrowly missing her. Next the fire came, surrounding her and slowly making its way toward her. She was suddenly hit with a feeling of intense fear, not that she was going to die, but that it she did die, girls after her would fall to the same fate as her and Emily. Tara would not let that happen. She willed herself out of the flames, but instead of landing somewhere else, the flames stopped. The four Elements were now in front of her, but this time they did not look angry, they looked frustrated.

"You have defeated the Elements, the power of us now lies in you" said Fire. And the Elements now lived within Tara, as she new they would.

"We wish you luck" said Water. With that they disappeared, and left Tara truly alone.

Emily ran through the wood, looking everywhere for Fear and Terror. Instead, they found her.

"We knew you needed us" said Fear.

"What happens to someone who gives into the forest?" asked Tara

"You should ask Jenny. She, unlike your parents and Emily, was terrified of death and did not believe that anything could be worse. She would not exept that it was her time to go, but instead she let herself go. She let her human feelings go, and now she cannot end the suffering with death. Have you never wondered why she is so cold?" answered Terror.

Tara, hit with sudden realization, willed herself home. She realized that she was truly alone. Jenny was no longer a person; she had lost her soul, her heart, and her will to live. But Jenny could not die. Tara did not want that fate to befall anyone else. There was no turning back on the winding rode ahead of her, lined with friends, enemies, success, and failure. With these thoughts the sky turned Grey, and Tara's eyes shone brighter than ever.

END