I lay in my bed still shaking off the remnants of dreams I long to remember. All I ever have are little bits and pieces that never seem to go together. A cold walk here, mysterious lady with brown hair and green eyes and silky-white skin over there, and that damned oak tree. All tied together, yet not even related.

I reluctantly opened my eyes to be greeted by the beaming of sunshine through my window. Clock says it's already 2 in the afternoon and I know I am late for the carnival my city puts on this time of year. I never really understood why they have to put this silly thing on every year. Every one gathers to the grand central courtyard in the very heart of the city, they do a bunch of strange dances and sing in some cult-like fashion. Then, one of the members of our community goes on some profound journey. Sometimes they come back, and sometimes they don't, I didn't really pay too much attention to them before.

I heard a loud pounding at my door that startled me from my thoughts. My father popped his head in gave me a hollow smile.

"How are you doing my son?" he asked almost cautiously.

"I'm just fine dad, thanks for asking I guess," I responded apathetically. I was sweating as if I slept in a sauna all night long, and my dad noticed. His brows furrowed as if he was analyzing me for physical anomalies. He quickly turned on his heel and walked out of the door shouting for me to hurry up and get dressed. I rolled my eyes and peeled myself off of my comfortable mattress to get myself ready for the long day ahead of me.

I headed out the door and as I did my older brother, who had just recently come home, gave me a hard pat on the back. Strangely though, it would have knocked me flat on my face before he left; now I hardly noticed it. It's either he got a lot weaker, or I have gained some muscle mass from nowhere. I quickly shrugged off the latter of the two. I stepped outside into the warming sunlight that seemed to fill me with a great burst of confidence. I inhaled the crisp air and took a look around our front yard. It was filled with all sorts of exotic looking flowers of all colours and plants the richest shades of green. Vines appeared to be climbing up the white picket fence, and even up the side of the house. The grass on our lawn even seemed to be more lush than usual. I strolled out of the yard casually feeling like nothing could bring me down. Besides the ominous feeling that someone, or something, was creeping behind me.

As I approached the court yard, my closest friend Annabelle ran up to me and curled her long slender arms around me. She had a sheepish grin that crawled onto her lips when she looked into my eyes. The aroma of her perfume was almost as intoxicating as her deep blue eyes. She has had very passionate feelings for me as long as I can remember, but I always seem to refuse to feel the same way she does. I merely wanted to be her friend, and that was all I ever felt for her.

"I heard a rumour that today is a big day for you!" she cooed into my ear, "the elders say it's your True Birth day. The day that you discover what you really are. What kind of dreams have you been having!?" she shrieked in excitement. Her eyes were wild and her hands trembled. Begging to know what I hardly knew myself.

"True Birth? Anna, what in the hell are you talking about?" I had never heard that term before. What I really am? What does that even mean? My Aunt Judice walked up behind Anna and scolded her for pestering me with questions to which the answers were uncertain to me.

"Oh how I wished your mother was here today to see you Alexander. She wouldn't have missed it for the world!" my Aunt said with what sounded like regret. She is missing it though, I thought to myself.

"She just never really fit in here, that's all," My older brother Joseph said mockingly as he strode up to us. "There comes a time when all the people of our city are tested to see if they may remain; or if they are destined for someplace else. She was not so lucky in her judgement," Joseph said grimly. I gritted my teeth at the thought of my Mother being cast away. I still did not understand why any were cast away at all. Why could we not all just stay here?

"I don't exactly understand what is going on. What is a True Birth? And why do I not know anything about it?" I asked somewhat now agitated. Judice was the first to speak up.

"All questions will be answered in a matter of time my dear. Do not fret over it. You will feel much better when this is all over. You are special you know," her voice sounded more like an echo and her form began to droop. Was I going mad? Then I felt it, the sharp barb of the Echano plant, it wasn't lethal, but it could knock you unconscious for hours. All I could see was the melting faces of family and friends as the all circled in around me. Then, it all disappeared, and everything went black.