Silence. Deafening silence.
It was all he had heard for such a long, long time. Silence was one of the many jarring tortures his abode had in store for him. It frayed his nerves and almost drove him mad in the first few decades he had spent here. After a few thousand centuries, he barely noticed.
Therefore, it was quite a shock to him when he felt his prison crack. For the first time he heard something, the hissing of steam and cracking of strong walls and finally the earth shattering blast that propelled him upwards. His head smashed headfirst into the hot rocks that would have destroyed any human on impact, but it left him only with a few scratches.
He was propelled high up into empty space…where something cool…air brushed against his face. Then he felt the first traces of emotion…fear trickle into him as he felt headfirst towards solid earth. At the last few moments before his fall, his body reacted and two magnificent wings slowed his fall, enough to save him further damage, but not enough for the four ancient oaks around him that crashed into the ground, creating a myriad of sounds and sensations.
He rose and walked over to the closest oak. He effortlessly lifted it off the ground and positioned it as it was before. He then touched its base and whispered a few words, which breathed life into the oaks. He repeated the process for the other three oaks and then walked over to the wreckage he had created. The earth was already repairing itself…closing his malicious abode to trespassers. The punishment that lay within was too severe to be bestowed up on unsuspecting human beings.
He looked up to see that the sky was dark, except for twinkling lights and the gently incandescent moon that lay between Earth and his abode. He knew the way home… all he had to do was follow the brightest star…but he could never return. Not after that incident which had happened ages ago. Centuries had not dulled his memories, and his humiliation clearly played in his head, leaving behind a sensation equivalent to the opening of a new wound.
He shook his head to clear his thought and looked up to the moon. He raised himself up on his toes and turned his face upwards to the moon. It lent a soft sheen to his midnight dark hair and reflected of his gentle blue eyes, making them twinkle like the stars above him. He took in a deep breath and let it out, then opened his mouth and tasted the sweet, cool breeze that caressed his body, comforting him and welcoming his return.
He did not know how he had broken out, neither did he know why. At that moment he gave in to his body and allowed his large, dark wings to spread and took flight into the night. He knew there was a purpose for his return, but that could wait.
All that mattered was that he was alive again.
Ten years ago.
"So that's it, isn't it? My daughter is a retard." Stated the calm, but shaky voice of Jacob Brookstein.
"I would encourage you to not to word your thoughts in such a strong manner, Mr. Brookstein. However, we cannot confirm the original cause of her inability to speak. Did you have her larynx checked?" questioned the oily, inquisitive voice of the psychiatrist.
"Yes, goddamnit! There's nothing wrong with it!" Mr. Brookstein's harsh tone was accompanied by a loud smashing sound when his hands connected with the table, eliciting a visible flinch from the tiny six year old child sitting beside him. She squirmed uncomfortably in her chair, trying to put as much distance as possible between her father and herself.
"Well, Mr. Brookstein, your daughter seems perfectly fine to me on the psychiatric front. She reads and writes pretty well for a little girl. Also, her cognitive abilities and emotional intelligence are well above average. Simple as it may be, I cannot for the love of God understand why she cannot speak. I'm sorry, Mr. Brookstein, but I have no answers for you. However, I will recommend to you a famous psychiatrist who…"
"Save it," interjected Mr. Brookstein. "It's not going to help anyways. Send the bill to the receptionist; I'll pay on my way out."
"Very well, Mr. Brookstein."
Jacob Brookstein rose and picked up his child from the plush chair that she was seated on. He walked out of the air-conditioned office into the pathway that led to the lift. He walked towards it and entered the lift, pressed the ground floor button and set his daughter down. He knelt in front of her and looked into her clear blue eyes and said," Skylar darling, do you know what you have done?"
She looked back quietly into her father's dark eyes, without responding.
He shoved her violently and yelled, "Answer me goddamnit!"
The shove was not violent, but it was enough to knock the little girl to the ground and break her heart into a million tiny pieces. Her father had never behaved that way in front of her. He had always been wonderful and understanding. She could not fathom why he would behave that way.
Her father picked her up by her shoulders and stood her up. He then said, "I'll tell you what you have done. You have disappointed me. I tolerated you for six years, hoping for an able heir to my empire. Instead, all I get is a retard!"
Skylar flinched again at that word. She was too young to know what it meant, but the horrible way in which he said it was enough to convince her that it was a terrible thing. Small tears slowly slid down her tiny cheeks and dropped on the cold, metal floor of the lift.
Her father continued, "You know what, darling. I despise people who disappoint me. I don't care anymore about what you want to do with your life. Unless you learn to speak, you are nothing but a financial responsibility to me."
She could not understand what had just happened. She didn't understand that she had been all but disowned by her family. Thus she stayed silent for the rest of the journey home.
Skylar Brookstein was a normal, happy little girl. She was the child of Jacob and Dana Brookstein, who ran the local supermarket in the Christmas card town of Aurora, New York. They were extremely well-off, partly because of a lump in heritance and mainly because Jacob Brookstein was the shrewdest businessman the tiny town had ever produced. Jacob was known to be a fairly intolerant and rigid employer, but also as an average loving and caring family man.
That is, obviously, until now.
Skylar was born three years after Jacob and Dana had a pricey wedding inside their mansion. It was large enough to fit five bedrooms and bathrooms, four recreational rooms, a swimming pool, a bar, and a whole lot of loneliness for a family of three. Skylar's arrival had momentarily lifted the melancholy that hung around Brookstein Mansion – which is until they realized that she wouldn't speak. Her parents roamed the country, searching for speech therapists, otolaryngologists, psychiatrists, counselors and a lot of other people who used fancy medical terms to designate themselves. The current psychiatrist would be the twentieth and last doctor Skylar would ever see.
They reached home early enough, due to her father's rash driving. Her mother stood at the gate in a simple dressing robe. She was a quiet woman, devoted to Jacob. She shot her husband a questioning glance, but he didn't reply. Skylar slowly walked in after him and went into her room to take a nap. Before she left she heard her father ask her mother to start looking for nannies to take care of little Skylar.
"We'll be trying for another child, Dana. Meanwhile, I don't want her to be of any trouble anymore."
Somehow those meaningless words, which wouldn't affect an adult in the slightest, devastated the little girl. She slowly trudged up the staircase and lay on her bed. At some unknown point, she fell asleep.
She woke up in the middle of the night, refreshed but still aching. If she could, she would have slept through the entire day and night, but a small, lingering whisper in her ear woke her up. She was the only one awake. Her parents were probably asleep and the housekeeping staff had been dismissed for the night.
Brookstein mansion was situated at the edge of Aurora, near one of the small clumps of wilderness that dotted the area. This was where Skylar headed for, with no aim or idea of what she wanted to do.
She walked on for what seemed like an eternity, and when she could go on no more, she lay down on the ground. It was a peculiar space, surrounded with oak trees that looked ageless. That was where and when the tears began. They dripped slowly from her cheeks from the ground. She murmured gently, "Help me."
The ground around her started glowing. She immediately stood up and watched in anticipation. She waited for a while, after which the glow died out. She sighed and began making her way home.
A small voice called her name clear as a bell, 'Skylar, child. We are here for you now.'
She stopped dead in her tracks and whirled around, trying to look for the source of the noise.
'Look within, child and you will find us.'
She slowly realized that the voices were coming from within her head. She tried to speak with her thoughts, 'What are you?'
'Will you stay with me?'
'Always, child. Always.'