I was floating. Where, I wasn't sure. There wasn't any water under me, but at the same times, it felt like there was. How that was possible, I wasn't sure. It was as if I was floating in a big pool of black nothingness.
Still, I wasn't afraid. The pool was refreshing, as if it were washing away all the fear and unrest I had inside me.
I couldn't tell if my eyes were closed or open. With how dark everything was, I assumed they were shut, but you could never be too sure.
Suddenly, a voice broke through the darkness.
"Cause you can't jump the tracks, we're like cars on a cable."
The words sounded familiar, as if lyrics from a song that I'd heard once or twice but had only half listened to it. As the words breathed through my ears, a bright green toy train started circling around me. It appeared out of the blue, as if I were in some kind of corny movie. After a minute or two, the train disappeared and the voice came back.
"And life's like an hourglass glued to the table."
Multiple hour glasses floated into view. My eyes roamed over them, silently counting them in my head. Thirteen. With another one hovering behind them, merely a dot, but still distinguishable. Each hourglass also had a letter and a girl on them on them. W. G. D. N. R. A. M. M. A. K. A. P. S.
A girl with long wavy brown hair and tanned skin. A girl with long curly red hair. A girl with long black hair. An African American girl with dirt smeared all over her face. Another girl with long black hair. A girl with long golden hair. A girl with long curly brown hair. A girl with long golden brown hair. A girl with chest length brown hair. A girl with chest length bluish-black hair. A girl with layered red hair that fell her waist. A girl with short black hair. And a girl with layered white-blonde hair and bangs that very nearly hid her eyes.
W. G. D. N. R. A. M. M. A. K. A. P. S.
Winifred. Georgina. Dannette. Nameless. Roslynn. Amanda. Margaret. Michelle. Amanda. Kayla. Ali. Penelope. Sarafina.
Those were all girls from my past lives. The first twelve didn't have any sand pouring through the little opening, the last did, but I couldn't tell how much sand was still on the top.
I turned towards the hourglass, floating behind them all, trying to see if I could distinguish the girl and letter that was probably on that one. My eyes strained from trying to see it. All I could make out was a big red blur with a letter that was either an 'H' or an 'A'. Was that my next life? A girl with red hair? Or was I just going completely insane?
I reached my hand out, trying to grab a hold of it, and bring it closer to me. But it seemed that the farther I reached out, the farther away it drifted from me. It was as if the hourglass didn't want me to reach it.
I focused my attention back on the first hourglass. The one with the 'W' on it. It had by far the least amount of sand in it-of the ones that were already finished, at least. My eyelids drooped as I stared at it. Each grain seemed like a memory I had lost. A future. A family member. That should have been the only hourglass I had. Those others should have belonged to other girls. Girls who should've lived, but couldn't because of me. Because of the curse that Jameson had put on me.
He was right, though. Winifred Locke was dead, but her soul still floated across the Earth. Like a ghost. Just lucky enough to always be able to attach to a body before the original soul could. Winifred Locke was a thief. She stole a bodies from girls, and daughters from their parents. She was no better than someone who robbed a bank.
And Winifred Locke was me.
"Sara!" a woman's voice broke through my reverie. "Sara, wake up, please!"
It was Mrs. Turner. Sarafina's mother. She was calling out to me-no. She was calling out to Sarafina. Because I wasn't Sarafina Turner. Nor was I Georgina Malory or Dannette Reid or Roslynn Heart or Michelle Marsh or even Winifred Locke anymore. They were all dead and gone, they didn't exist anymore.
"Sarafina! Please wake up!" now it was Jameson's voice. Lucky bastard. He was still in his original body. He didn't have to worry about being a thief and stealing a life from twelve girls already, and who the hell knows how many girls later on.
Suddenly, something began to reach in through my peaceful black nothingness. A voice that I heard all the time echoing in my head, but had never actually heard for over five-hundred years.
"Sara, please." it was Jameson's voice, but with a different tone to it, one that he hadn't used with me in five centuries. One that was full of love and worry. Usually his voice just had some kind of smugness in it. But not now. For some reason he seemed genuinely worried about me. Though I didn't know why.
It felt as if gentle hands were suddenly under me, bringing me out from my calm black nothingness. I struggled with them, trying to get back down to the black pool. My long brown hair fell in my face as I spun over, as if facing the black nothingness would help me. My eyes grew wide as it did so. Brown? My hair hadn't been brown in almost one hundred years. And it hadn't been wavy brown in over five hundred.
I drug my fingers through the long wavy tresses. Was I back inside Winifred Locke's body? I shook my head, pushing the thought back. There would be more time to think about that later. Right now, I had to work on getting back down to my pool.
"Winnie, go." a familiar voice broke through.
I glanced down to see a girl with heavily layered white-blonde hair and thick bangs that fell just above her huge blue eyes smiling up at me. With twelve other familiar girls standing behind her. She was smiling comfortingly up at me, her eyes soft.
My own brown ones grew wide. Was that me? Or was that…?
"Don't Worry." a girl with long curly red hair chuckled, "We'll explain everything soon enough. Right now, you just have to wake up."
"Sarafina!" Jameson's worried voice came back, "Sarafina, please wake up!"
I glared back down at the girls, "You had better explain." and then light flooded through my beautiful black nothingness, wiping the twelve girls from view.
An earsplitting headache spread across my forehead as my eyes blinked open. A blinding white light shone above me, making it almost impossible to see. I threw a hand over my eyes, trying to shade them from as much of the light as possible.
I could faintly make out four shapes standing above me. Jameson, Derek and Sarafina's parents.
"Uhn…." a soft groan escaped my lips as I forced myself to sit up, "What hit me?"
"Your brother." Sarafina's mother glared over at Derek who laughed guiltily.
I smiled weakly, as damp blonde hair fell in my face. I turned to the twelve-year-old boy.
"I'm guessing you were also the one who poured water on me?"
Derek chuckled, rubbing the back of his head, nervously, "It always works in the movies."
Sarafina's mother rolled her eyes, as her father smacked Derek upside the head.
"What happened?" I asked, struggling to remember what had caused me to black out. Something about Allie… and a curse.
"Sara…" her mother's eyes drooped slightly in worry, her voice was soft, "Allie died. She was in a car accident. You fainted after you heard about it."
I nodded, feeling strangely numb about it, "Oh… right." my hand clenched into a fist, clenching part of the blanket that was at my waist in it. Like even though I felt numb about the situation, my hand… didn't.
I put my hand to my head, expecting to find some kind of lump. If I'd fainted, I would've had to hit my head at some point. Be it on the ground or table or fridge or whatever. But there wasn't any.
"Jameson caught you shortly before you hit the ground." a soft smile graced Sara's mother's face, "Your head still would've hit the ground, but Derek was just as quick, shoving his arm right under it."
I smiled over at Sarafina's younger brother, reaching my hand out to ruffle his hair, "Aw… were you worried about your big sister?"
Derek rolled his eyes, "No. I just knew that if I did, you would owe me one."
I chuckled, holding back a wince as pain shot through me due to the motion, "I sure do. How can I pay it back?"
"You will be my slave!" Derek laughed maniacally.
I nodded weakly, "Sounds good to me."
Sarafina's mother smiled sadly down at me, before clapping her hands and standing up. "Alright, boys," she nodded, "I think Sara wants to rest up a bit more."
"More?" Derek gasped, "She's been out for the past two hours and she wants more sleep?"
Sarafina's mother smiled down at him, "I don't think she got a lot of… rest. Plus-the rest of us are tired, as well."
"But mom…." Derek whispered, "Are you sure it's okay to just leave her alone? What if she has a concussion or something?"
I rolled my eyes slightly, "You and Jameson caught me before I could hit the ground, Derek. I'm pretty sure I'm okay." I then turned to Jameson, forcing the most friendly smile I could muster onto my face, "Thank you for that."
Jameson smiled weakly back at me, "Hey, now I couldn't just let you fall, now could I?"
Why not? He'd done it many times before. What made this time any different?
"Okay, guys, c'mon." Sarafina's mother stood up, pulling Derek with her, "Let's give her some time to rest." she pushed them all out the door before setting my phone on the bedside table, "Call us if you need anything." she whispered, "And don't worry about school, tomorrow. I'd say we all deserve a day off."
I blinked up at her, "But what about Jameson? Tomorrow was supposed to be his first day. He can't just miss it."
Sarafina's mother chuckled harshly, "Oh, yeah. Was it really just this morning that he arrived? Man… it seems like ages." she patted my head, "No matter. I'm sure he'll understand. You just rest up. And if everyone still feels like celebrating, we'll have your party, tomorrow."
I nodded, though I wasn't sure how anybody would be able to feel like partying after this hellish night. Especially me. Sarafina's mother smiled slightly back down at me, before getting up and moving towards the door.
I waited a second, as if to make sure nobody would come back, before lying my head back on my pillow, tucking the blanket under my chin, and promptly falling back to sleep.
I was floating in the black nothingness, again. The peaceful air stretched over me, relaxing me, and allowing me to forget about what was going on in theoutside world.
My wavy brown hair floated out, away from my head, sometimes in my face, but I didn't care. It felt nice to see the old tresses on my head. To be in my original body.
One of the hourglasses still floated in front of me. One of the finished ones. I didn't know which one it was though, seeing as how the picture and letter had been removed. Odd.
"Zero, Ichii, Ni, San, Yon, Gou, Roku, Nana, Hachi, Que, Zu" a familiar voice floated out of the darkness. The person was talking as if she were naming off family members, though I knew she wasn't. I knew what she was saying, "Japanese. Nolla. Yski. Kaksi. Kolme. Nelja. Viisi. Kuusi. Seitsemän. Kahdeksan. Yhdeksän. Kymmenen. Finnish. Zéro. Un. Deux. Trois. Quatre. Cinq. Six. Sept. Huit. Neuf. Dix. French. Null. Ein. Zwei. Drei. Vier. Fünf. Sechs. Seben. Acht. Neun. Zehn. German. Cero. Uno. Dos. Tres. Quatro. Cinco. Seis. Siete. Ocho. Nueve. Diez. Spanish. Zero. One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven. Eight. Nine. Ten. English." a girl with long curly red hair appeared from the darkness, "You sure have learned a lot of languages over the years."
I gulped as I looked over at the familiar face, "You forgot Italian." I whispered.
The girl chuckled before hitting her head, "Oh, right! Zero. Uno. Due. Tre. Quattro. Cinque. Sei. Sette. Otto. Nove. Dieci." the redhead sighed, shaking her head, "How could I forget? That is my favorite one, after all." then she moved her head up, so that she was looking straight at me. Her eyebrows drew together and her mouth hardened into a line as she saw my confused look, "You don't remember me, do you?" she shook her head, laughing harshly, "Well, I'm not surprised. It has been almost five-hundred years."
But I did remember. I remembered those long, firey, nearly uncontrollable locks, those light brown, almost golden eyes, and that loud, almost obnoxious voice that somehow still managed to hold some kind of depth knowledge. They were the exact things I heard and saw everyday for almost half a century.
"Georgina Malory." I breathed.
Georgina smirked, and rested a hand on her hip, "One and the same. It's nice to know you remember me… Winnie."