"I'm hearing voices in my head," Azura said to herself, "so I must be insane." The voice didn't respond. Azura frowned. The voice only talked during moments of intense emotion, which scared Azura as she could be incredibly emotional at times. Azura found the solution both simple and difficult - she could just muster her emotions the same way she masked them. Azura was a master of masked emotions, but because it was when she was home alone that she could release them she now found that the solution meant no longer curling up into a tight ball and crying for hours whenever she was depressed. Azura felt conflicted. She didn't want to stop feeling depressed.

As crazy as it sounded, Azura found depression comforting and welcoming; it was practically an addiction. She tried to argue it off as not being addicted to the actual depression, but to the familiarity of it. It would make sense, she believed, because when depression is all you know, why would you want to change it? Azura never knew a happy time, all she knew was pain and sadness. Ever since she was a little girl, Azura would cry herself to sleep wondering what was so wrong with her that nobody wanted to be her friend. She was the social reject, and her depression thrived on it. Now this voice decided to take her only joy away from her.


"This is nonsense," Azura's father said as he looked at his tablet and read the news. "Alien invasion, humph! Bunch of high teenagers, if you ask me."

Azura froze mid-chew at the mention of high teenagers. After her strange transformation over a month ago, the next day's news did a report on the alley Azura had practically destroyed. The crater was deep enough to hide an elephant in it, and it was wide enough to put three semi trucks side-by-side. Had she really done that? Azura could hardly believe it. As for the men, they were all dead. Azura didn't want to believe it, but the men who had tried to rape her were now dead. Dead by her own hands. You weren't inteding to kill them the voice had told her.

I wasn't intending to do anything! Azura mentally snapped back. It was all you!

"How long has this been going on?" Azura's mother asked her husband.

"Two weeks," he answered. "Hopefully this trash will be taken care of as soon as possible."

Azura continued chewing her waffle, thinking her own thoughts about the situation. There was no proof of aliens, it was all just witness reports from nighttime strollers. But . . . were there really aliens out there? Normally Azura would shrug it off and not believe a word of it. Azura never once did believe in magic, aliens, and reincarnation, but after that strange transformation she had just couldn't be sure of anything anymore.

Maybe I was hallucinating Azura thought. I'm hearing voices, so hallucination makes sense.

What about that crater that was created by your own hands? the voice asked. It surprised Azura because usually the voice was kind and gentle with its words, but this time it was somewhat sarcastic. Maybe Azura's disbelief was wearing on the voice's patience.

I need medication Azura thought. The voice made a sound that sounded like both a laugh and a snort. Maybe Azura should leave the voice alone for a while.

"You should get dressed, Azura," her mother told her. "You don't want to be late for church."

"Yes, ma'am," Azura quietly replied before excusing herself from the table and walking to her room. She dressed herself in a knee length black skirt that was so loose that it would fly up whenever she spun around, and a black shirt with white collars and hugged her upper body in a way that showed off her figure. Azura slipped a silver colored bracelet on her left wrist and a cross necklace around her neck. Lastly she put on a pair of black, one inch high heels.

Azura's mom used to always ask Azura why she was dressing as if she were going to a funeral, and Azura had always answered that she liked wearing black and didn't think that it mattered. Mrs. Celestine had tried to get Azura to wear more colorful clothes, buying her daughter pink shirts and bright skirts in the process, but after Azura made it clear that she was going to wear whatever she wanted regardless of what she owned did Mrs. Celestine finally give up. The brightest things Azura ever wore was anything blue. Azura was secretly proud of her eyes, as they were her one beauty, so she would wear anything to bring out the blue in her eyes.

Well, at least there was one thing Azura loved about herself.


Azura sat with her parents in church as the choir continued to sing songs of praise to the Lord. Being honest with herself, Azura wasn't sure she believed in God. One Mighty Being Who had created the heavens and the earth Azura knew existed, but a loving God Who cared deeply for Azura's soul? She inwardly scoffed at the idea.

If God cared so much for Azura and loved her the way the Bible said He did, then why was He letting so many bad things happen in Azura's life? What did she do to deserve it? Azura had always tried to be good and be grateful for what she had, but it apparently meant nothing to Him. Azura suffered on a daily basis, yet the so-called loving God had His face turned away from her. Azura believed God just created the world and left it on its own. With all the bad going on in the world, who would believe in an all loving and caring God?

As for the loving the world so much that He sent His One and Only Son to die for all, Azura believed as well. However, Azura believed that God only cared for a select few while He left others to suffer. So many missionaries dedicate their lives to sharing the Word of God, and God lets them get murdered by the ones they had tried to preach to.

You don't really believe that the voice said.

What makes you say that so confidently? Azura mentally asked.

Because deep down you know you're loved the voice answered. You pray for comfort, do you not?

Just leave me alone Azura replied.

Azura listened to the message and took notes upon it, as she did ever since she was old enough to go to "adult church," and even though most of what the preacher had said went over Azura's head, one verse did stand out.

"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And He Who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will."


While her parents were taking their usual Sunday afternoon nap, Azura snuck out of the apartment for an mid-day stroll. The voice had not spoken to her since the service, so Azura was taking advantage of the wondrous opportunity to get out and clear her head. All Azura believed she really needed was some time to herself, but with that nuisance of a voice around she knew it was impossible.

Azura walked down the streets, secretly happy that spring was approaching. It wouldn't be long now, and Azura was happy that the bitterness of winter would finally come to an end. What Azura was most excited for, however, was the blossoming of roses. Azura really loved roses.

When she arrived at the park, Azura sat on the bench that was in front of the water fountain and closed her eyes in order to relax. The sound of the wind, the gushing if water, the faint smell of smoke in the air - could Azura ask for more on such a day?

I want to talk to you.

Yes. Yes she could.

Leave me alone Azura inwardly moaned. I don't want to talk to you.

Why do you keep denying me? the voice asked, the hurt and pain evident in its tone.

Because I don't want anything to do with you! Azura snapped. She may have looked peacefully asleep on the outside, but on the inside Azura was filled with frustration and rage.

. . . That's the same as saying you don't want anything to do with yourself the voice sadly responded.

That makes no sense Azura snorted.

It makes all the sense the voice pleaded. I'm you, and you're me.

Yeah Azura mentally rolled her eyes as she continued her sarcastic answer. That makes total sense.

If you would just one conversation with me-

Well you know what? Azura interrupted, almost saying the words out loud due to her growing frustration. I don't want to talk to you! I wish you would just go away!

The silence that followed was deafening, but eventually the voice responded. You won't be saying that for long. You WILL chose me, Azura.

Keep dreaming Azura responded as she stood up. I will NEVER want you.

The emotions that Azura felt the voice having were a mixture of so many strong feelings. There was a mixture of hurt and pain, but also anger and determination. Fine! the voice huffed. We'll do this the hard way.

Hard way? Azura asked inside her head. What do you mean 'hard way'?

The only thing Azura remembered after that was her vision going dark as her knees buckled from underneath her.


When Azura awoke, she was surprised to find that she was in no earthly place, but an empty white void that had to have gone on for miles upon miles and had no existing ending. Azura sat up so that she was sitting on her knees. The place was cold . . . but warm at the same time. It was completely empty, yet Azura felt as if she were in a crowded room.

Azura stood on her feet and took in her appearance. She was still her, thankfully, but her clothing was different. Azura was wearing a pure white sleeveless dress, and there were no shoes upon her feet. It didn't take Azura long after that to realize where she was.

Azura had always heard that the soul of a person looked just like said person's physical appearance, and for clothing they would either wear a pure white outfit or be completely naked. Azura wasn't naked - thank God - but the spotless white drees told her all that she needed to know.

Azura was within her own soul.

Azura's ears then caught a faint sound. She listened closely, but it wasn't until she really focused on the noise that she knew what she was hearing. Someone was sobbing.

Azura immediately set out in pursuit of the crying. Just because Azura never had anyone to comfort her when she needed them to did not mean she would leave anyone else to suffer alone. She continued walking and soon enough came to the one shaking with tears. The girl, as she appeared to be, was on her knees with back facing Azura as she cried into her hands.

"Are you okay?" Azura asked, voice full of concern.

"How can I be," her own voice responded, "when all you do is reject and deny me?"

Azura took a step back in surprise when the crying figure had turned around. Azura had seen that face before, and she had never wanted to see it again. The blonde hair, angular face, and eyes hidden behind a red mask looked at Azura both accusingly and longingly.

The once difference about the girl now and when Azura had transformed into her was the outfit. It wasn't the fighting outfit Azura had worn when she transformed that the girl was wearing, but she, too, wore a pure white sleeveless dress. Why she still wore the red mask, Azura had no idea.

"You," Azura said as she began to walk backwards.

"Yes," the girl said as she stood up, "me. I want to talk to you, Azura, and I want you to listen."

"What did you do to me?!" Azura demanded.

The girl sniffed. "I wanted to talk to you, so I brought your consciousness here because this is where I am. This is where I always am. I'm in the back of you mind. A subconscious, so to speak."

"So you're my subconscious?" Azura disbelievingly asked.

"No," the girl shook her head, "I'm you. I'm just as much you as you are you."

"That makes no sense," Azura said. "If you're me then why do you look different than I do? Why do act different than I do? Why are you different from me?"

The girl sadly shook her head. "I don't know," she whispered. "I can't remember."

"You can't remember?" Azura scoffed. "And what about the mask?" Azura asked. "Why are you still wearing it?"

The girl touched the mask that hid her eyes. "I can't remove it. Only you can."

"Only I can take your mask off?" Azura asked, finding this more ridiculous by the moment.

"Well, no," the girl answered, "not yet. In order for us to know who I am, you have to accept me."

"And what exactly are you?" Azura asked.

"That's the thing," the girl answered, tears forming her eyes. "I don't know who I am. I can't remember." Again the girl began to sob.

Despite not liking this girl one bit, Azura could not bear to see her as upset as this. Walking towards the now trembling girl, Azura placed a hand on her shoulder and said, "Look, you have no idea what kind of experience this is for me. What if you had someone inside your head claiming to be you and trying to change you?"

The girl looked Azura in her eyes. "I don't want to change you. I want you and I to remember."

With their faces only inches apart, Azura got a good look at the girl's eyes. The girl's eyes . . . were sky blue. Her and Azura's eyes . . . were the same set of eyes. Azura and the girl had the exact same eyes. Their eyes were the same, yet everything else about their appearance was different. Weird.

"If you're me and I'm you," Azura challenged, "then how come we're like two totally different people?"

"You keep denying me," the girl replied, "so I can't be entirely accepted as you." The girl blinked back tears. "Our aura is one in the same. Is that not convincing enough for you to know that we're the same person?"

"Aura?" Azura questioned. It was then she saw it. Sorrounding both of the girls was a sky blue mist. Why everything was sky blue, Azura didn't know, but she couldn't deny that their auras were passing along each other in perfect harmony. As one in the same.

"Will you please accept me?" the girl pleadingly asked.

Azura sighed as she dropped her arm. "I can never accept you."

The girl looked down as she allowed the stream of tears to flow from her eyes. "I see," she replied. "Forgive me."

Just as it was before Azura found herself in this place, Azura's vision went black as she collapsed to the ground.


When Azura came to, she found herself on the park ground. Given that no one was looking at her, Azura assumed that even though the conversation within her head felt as if it were minutes long, to the outside world it was only as if she fell over and woke back up. Azura quickly stood so as to not give anyone a reason to ask if she was all right and began to leave.

The voice within her was silent, but the impact of what it did scared Azura. If it could talk through Azura, use Azura's body, and take Azura away from her own state of conscious, then what else could the voice do?


Spring came with a song on its lips and a grace to its touch. The warm air hugged those who went outdoors, and the morning song of birds filled the morning skies. It was a cheerful time.

Yet Azura was miserable.

The voice had not spoken to Azura since the day it dragged her into her own subconscious. At first Azura was pleased to be rid of it, but as time passed Azura was beginning to grow lonely. As much as she hated to admit it, Azura missed the voice. The voice was the only thing in existence that wanted to talk to Azura, and Azura made it cry.

Or was the voice a her?

The voice spoke in a voice identical to Azura's, and the form the voice took inside Azura's head was the girl Azura had transformed into. Nothing about the voice leaned towards the masculine side, and the voice was a bit emotional. The voice even claimed to be Azura, and Azura knew without a doubt that she herself was a girl. Azura couldn't help but feel confused about the matter.

Oh well. Maybe some things are better left unknown.


Azura walked through the halls of the classroom. Students ran out ot Azura's way for fear of crossing her, and some even had fear in their eyes. Azura kept her outside looking confident, but on the inside she was withering. She didn't want to be feared, but she quickly concluded that it was better than nothing.

The only one who hadn't developed a fear of Azura was Clove, the most brutal of Azura's once bullies. Clove hated Azura for besting her, and Clove wanted to extract her revenge. Every day she would watch as Azura trekked to class, feared by everyone and challenged by none, and secretly plotted her revenge. The girl had no plans to abandon a chance at getting back at Azura, but she just had to wait for the perfect time.


Azura heard of the frequent alien spottings, but she never imagined witnessing an actual alien attack. Azura was on her way home from another day of school when crowds of people ran past her, screaming and arms flailing. Against the common sense to turn around and run away with them, Azura pushed through the oncoming crowd until she found herself in front of the ugly creature.

The creature appeared to be a lizard, standing like a man, using its razor sharp claws to destroy anything in its path. It had to be at least seven feet tall, and its tail being the same length. It hissed and spat as it continued its rampage, and the creature was even strong enough to pick up a bus and toss it around as if the bus were a Hotwheel.

Azura immediately knew what she had to do, but wasn't sure she could do it. It was a major risk in two ways. The first risk is that she may lose her life, and Azura had already come to terms that she had no interest in dying while still young. Another risk that was involved was that even if Azura lived, what were the odds she got to be her again? The odds for both risks were not in her favor, but she had to at least try.

Voice she called in her head. I need to talk to you.

Silence.

Voice. . . . Azura trailed off. The voice wasn't gone forever, was it? It was risky and dangerous, but Azura had to try.

Finding a safe spot so as to not be disturbed - for as long as the monster had no interest in attacking behind a hot dog stand, that is - Azura sat down, curled herself into a tight ball, and willed herself into her subconsciousness.


When Azura awoke, she found herself right in the place she wanted to be. Azura was back inside her soul.

Giving no time for her headache to subside, Azura rushed to her feet and began to ran about like a mad woman. "Voice!" she called aloud. "Voice!"

"What do you want?"

Azura turned behind her, a place which had previously been vacant, and saw the blonde standing straight and tall. Her fists were tightly clenched, but her face, when one doesn't notice the grinding teeth, was slightly relaxed. Despite the nature of their meeting, Azura was happy to see the girl again.

"I need your help," Azura said.

"Why should I help you?" the voice asked.

"Because if you don't then all those people will die!" Azura wailed.

"I can't help you if you won't accept me," the girl said.

Azura bit her lip. "How can I accept you?"

"I don't know," the girl honestly answered, "but a good start shall be to stop denying and rejecting me. You may think of me as an apparition, but I am a person with thoughts and feelings." Before Azura could speak, the girl continued, "I am not just a voice, either. I have a name. Just because I can't remember my name does not mean I don't have one."

Azura made eye contact with the girl. The girl did have her own emotions, Azura knew, but she never knew it bothered the girl to simply be known as "the voice."

"Would you prefer I give you a name?" Azura suggested.

The girl looked somewhat hopeful. "I . . . I would love that."

Azura tried to think of a name fast. What does one call a living person that only existed in your thoughts? Azura took a moment to observe the girl.

She was very beautiful, yes, but there was to more to her than appearances. She had thoughts and feelings, and it was not hard to hurt her. Azura mentally shook her head, as a name based off of such was not a good idea. Azura again looked at the girl, but this time made notable descriptions.

The girl's eyes were sky blue, like Azura's. Her aura - their aura - was sky blue. Azura's own name, she knew, meant sky blue. It was almost as if Azura had a special connection with that color. Azura also remembered that Celestine meant heavenly, and the sky was also called the heavens. . . .

"How about Sky?" Azura tried.

"I love it," the girl - Sky - said.

"Great," Azura said. "Sorry to cut this moment short, but we need to stop that ugly monster."

"Right!" Sky nodded. Sky held out her left palm and said, "Take my hand."

Without a moment of hesitation, Azura reached out and traced her right fingers on Sky's hand. "I'm ready," Azura said. "Do what you must."

Sky nodded before she bowed her head and closed her eyes. The light was blinding, but it was just the light Azura was looking for.


When she awoke, Azura saw that she was beginning to glow. "Let's defeat this thing," she said with determination.

That's the Azura I want to hear Sky said.

Azura continued to glow until she was entirely covered by a ray of light, and when the light subsided Azura again looked like Sky. When the transformation was complete, Azura ran towards the monster. How do you plan on fighting that thing? Sky asked.

Azura stopped in her tracks. No idea. Azura remembered her first transformation. Can't I do that weird punch-the-ground-and-create-a-crater thing again?

That was done in the spur of the moment Sky replied. How about use your aura to create a weapon?

What now?

Imagine a weapon you would like to use, and will it into existence.

The idea sounded crazy, but Azura had to try it. She put all of her focus into creating weapons, and when she looked at her hands she was surprised to see a pistol in each one. How did I . . . ?

I don't exactly remember why we have this ability, but it's a useful one, no?

Azura smiled as a response before she continued her run towards the creature. When she was in shooting range, Azura began to shoot at the monster. Azura didn't know what "bullets" the pistols were using, but it was doing the trick.

Now behead it Sky said.

How? Azura asked.

Change the pistols into a sword or something.

It was easier the second time than the first, and Azura successfully turned her two pistols into a single sword. It's beautiful Azura admired. Her sword had a light shade of blue coloring the blade, and the hilt looked as if it were wrapped with the blackest leather.

As it was created from you aura it is a part of you Sky explained. There is you in the sword, and because of that no one could ever wield it but you.

"Amazing. . . ." Azura whispered. Seeing that the injured monster was charging at her, Azura took the blade and ran towards the creature. She dodged when the monster tried to slash at her, and she jumped into the air. As she was landing, Azura sliced the sword through the monster's neck, almost as if she were slicing a ham.

It was done. Azura killed the alien.

Well done Sky congratulated.

Thanks Azura returned.

"Hey!"

Azura spun around to see a group of people crowding around her and the dead creature.

"Wh-who," a man stuttered, "who are you?"

Azura pressed her lips together. "Sky . . . ," she finally said. "Aura Sky."

"And how did you . . . ? What are you?"

Instead of answering, Azura turned away and fled. I blew it! Azura mentally worried.

No, you didn't Sky said in a way that made Azura believe she was smirking. They will think that you are some kind of hero, and since you saved their lives I believe you deserve it.

I wished no one noticed me Azura said.

You didn't give them your real name Sky reminded her. "Aura Sky," I like it.

Well I fight with my aura, and I look like you. Could there have been a better option?

The Masked Phantom? Sky suggested.

Azura laughed as she continued to flee. I wonder what they'll call me in the news and on the newspaper tomorrow.

Sky also laughed. I guess we'll have to wait and see.