The Awakening/C9 Awakening
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The Awakening/C9 Awakening
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C9 Awakening

Sera sits straight up in bed, gasping for air like it's the first breath her body has ever taken. Her blinds are open so that the sun, high in the sky, is shining directly in her face. That's when she realizes she's tucked into her own bed. Huh? Instinctively, she frantically runs her hands all over her body. Counting every rib, poking every muscle for pain, broken bones, any reason for the agony she remembers from the night before. She's still wearing the same outfit from last night. Her fingers pick out a tiny shard of glass from her light pink sweater. Ripping the covers off, she reveals the rest of her body. Her eyes widen as a gasp escapes her lips—there's dried blood all over her. The dress pants and sweater she was wearing look like they soaked through before they dried to a crusty red color. Yet, Sera finds no wounds. Not one ounce of pain on any part of her body; not even an ache from the running she attempted. Is it crazy that I actually feel... good?

Sera slips off the bed onto her feet, reluctantly at first, expecting all the pain to hit her again... it never does. Her toes wiggle into the carpet before she steps in front of the full-length mirror on the back of her door. Sera strips down to bare skin and throws her destroyed clothes in the garbage can behind her. She turns around and thoroughly inspects every inch of herself. Over and over, she turns, almost expecting something to appear—it never does. Her skin is spotless, even the birthmark on her stomach is missing. Am I losing my fricken' mind? I feel... healthy, strong... why do I remember excruciating pain?

Collapsing to her bedroom floor in a heap of confusion, she scoots against the bed frame for support and stares at the palm of her hands face up in her lap. What the hell is going on with me?

Sera blinks a few times as her hands come back into focus. She must have zoned out for a little bit. Like when a computer is on overload, it has to shut down to get things right again. That's how she just felt. Things aren't exactly clear, but it somehow doesn't make her too upset now. The sun is even higher in the sky, the warmth radiating into her feet against the carpet. Her body finds its way onto her feet again. She steals one last glance at herself in the mirror before the idea comes to her.

Go for a run.

Yes, that sounds great. Spinning on her heels, she digs through her closet for a pair of yoga pants and a navy sweatshirt. By the time she has her sneakers laced up, she is practically dancing around in her little square room. Her body is firing with such pent up energy flowing through her every vein, she just has to release it. The feeling is beyond words, they seem to escape her. A fire has ignited inside of her. It feels as though something deep within her has finally awoken. She feels alive, awake, and excited all at the same time. She feels as though she's had six cups of coffee and three of those energy drinks.

Opening her bedroom door she takes off down the stairs two at a time, unlocks the front door, and jumps off the porch steps in one bound. Once her feet touch the concrete walkway, she's hit with an array of strange scents and noises that immediately bring her to her knees. A bird caws in the distance and echoes inside her ears. It pounds through her head, vibrating her eardrums. Next, she picks up a crunching that sounds like dead leaves underfoot, but then that too is background noise to an annoying drip. Drip, drip, drip—the droplets continue to fall from a leaky pipe in the backyard that has yet to be winterized. The sounds become too much and she places her hands over her ears, fighting off the noises that hound her all at once.

Then, her other senses come to life. Her nose inhales the first scents of winter. The smell of cold in the air, the nauseating garbage from the truck around the corner, even the candle in the kitchen that smells like peppermint wafts to her nose. Sera looks up and her gaze becomes enraptured by the fact she can see a spider burrowing under the bark of a tree branch, ten feet above her head.

Still hunched over with her hands on her ears, she decides to get a handle on things. Taking away all stimuli, she closes her eyes, and blocks out the smells and sounds, while trying to focus her mind.

The thought comes to her like a fleeting sentence inside her conscious.

You are stronger than this.

She can control this. Taking a deep breath, she calms her concern. Slowly, one by one, she focuses on the sights and smells. Her mind forms a mental filing cabinet where she archives them all away into categories. Just as suddenly as they appear, she finds she can control them as well. She continues with the mental-filing and the deep breathing until there is nothing overpowering her. Sera finally releases the death grip on her ears and climbs to her feet. One glance around tells her that things are different. The cold in the air has shifted; winter was teetering on the edge before—now the barrier has broken and brisk air is upon the small town of Angelica. It whispers through the trees, winding its way to her in a swirling vortex of natural energy. It's like the world around her is alive in a way she never thought possible before. She shifts her weight from one foot to the other as her energy begins to return. Without warning, she breaks into a run, dashing down the dead end street and around the corner toward civilization.

Sera only gets a few blocks before her hypersensitive senses overpower her again, but instead of giving into them and falling to her knees, she tries to acknowledge them, study them. Every different bush smells different to her, exhaust from a passing car, donuts in the local bakery. She catalogs each one, somehow knowing it will make her better in the long run. Focusing her mind on something feels good; it keeps her from going mad. Her mind needed something to do. Instead of flinching at the slightest noise, she finds herself trying to determine what made it, where it is coming from, and why. Her body craves answers, thirsts for knowledge like never before.

Her vision is extremely enhanced; she was blissfully unaware of how blind she was until someone gave her glasses. Insanely detailed and practically x-ray vision glasses, but enhanced all the same. Everything seems so much clearer to her now, visually and mentally. It's like she has cleaned out the cobwebs of her soul. Things just seem to make sense, like her love for her friends, her sense of duty, and the overwhelming feeling of lost purpose. This is what Anna was talking about; this is how she should see the world, her rebirth. Anything is possible. She is possible. She is alive.

The minutes tick away and Sera barely realizes how long she's been running. She has circled the outskirts of the town about three times—her body showing no sign of fatigue or ache. She is bounding around another corner when her ears pick up a crunching sound. It puzzles her as she fights to figure out what it could be, until she almost runs smack into another runner. Time seems to slow and she reflexively dashes around them in record speed that even her own eyes could barely follow. From behind her she hears the runner let out a startled gasp as the wind from her ballerina twirl finally hits him. He's looking around now to see where it came from, but she's already gone. Well, that was different. She shakes the thoughts out of her head, no this 'New Sera' isn't going to over think things.

Running along 'The Avenue' now, it finally catches up to her that she hasn't had to stop and rest, her body doesn't even crave refreshment—something has definitely happened to her. She feels as though she can go on forever, pushing herself into a sprint she decides to test that theory. Her legs take her faster and faster, the scenery of the small town that she spent her entire life in is blurring past her. Her hands pump up and down until they, too, become a blur. The fire inside her is filling her with adrenaline, making her push harder and harder. Testing limits she didn't even know were possible. Until, she subconsciously begins to slow.

The pounding in the pavement softens, and her feet begin to slow to a walk. She stands before the green street sign. 'Florence Street,' it reads. The same street she remembered crossing the night before, the scene of the crime, so to speak. Hesitantly, she presses further down the street, her overactive mind once again craving answers. One foot carefully placed in front of the other until she is standing at the entrance to the park. The first thing she notices is the dark spot on the ground. It's long, and a shade of dark burgundy. Something crunches under her sneaker and she slowly lifts her leg to find glass. Actually, now that she looks around there's glass everywhere.

She must be in something like shock, because even now, it takes her a few minutes to realize this is blood. Her blood. Last night was not a dream, it wasn't a crazy figment of her imagination—it was real and somehow, she survived it. She tosses her head from side to side causing her auburn ponytail to swish behind her softly at first, then gradually more violent. She's trying to shake all the bad memories out of it. Whipping around, she breaks into a run back the way she had come. She sprints the entire way home without ever looking back. When she finally collapses on the porch steps with her head in her hands, she allows herself to process what she had just seen. It started out a joke, that she was losing her mind... but now, the things she has seen in the past few hours alone make her think otherwise. Her mind is close to overload again as thoughts flood her mind. On the verge of yet another re-boot, she finally shakes herself out of it. There's no way she's going to come to some solid conclusion right now. Her hands slap against her thighs, the only thing she can do is live her life, wherever that may take her—she has a feeling the answers will come to light.

Pushing herself to her feet again, she notices a stir in the woods across the street. Her eyes study the bushes with her new sense of sight, but it turns out she doesn't happen to have x-ray vision. After a few more moments of staring at a bush, she finally decides there is nothing there and turns to head inside.

Sera makes her way through the hall, her stomach growling like it never has before. Bianca Cross's humming makes it's way to her from deeper inside the house.

“Mom?" Sera calls.

“In the kitchen, dear."

She walks in the kitchen and finds her mother is behind the newly renovated island. The house is old, old enough to have been in the family for centuries. When Sera's parents agreed to keep it, her mom had one condition—an updated kitchen. She can survive without air conditioning in the summer, the creaky floorboards, and a leaky roof, but an outdated kitchen was not going to cut it. It only took one month to get it Bianca-Cross-perfect. Brand new white cabinets keep the farmhouse vibe, but the sleek new granite countertops and sleek metal appliances bring this ancient home back into the twenty-first century.

“And where did you go this early on a Saturday morning?"

Sera's head is deep into the fridge as she mumbles her response through the grapes in her cheeks, "I went for a run."

“You? Running?" her mother retorts before bursting into laughter. Obviously, Sera had never really been the athletic type (to put it nicely). Unless walking home from school constitutes athleticism.

Sera's father comes strolling into the kitchen drawn in by the laughter. Sera is shoveling yogurt into her mouth when her mother feels the need to fill him in.

“Edward, dear, did you hear that? Our Sera just came back from a run."

He has to lean on the granite island for support as he cracks up alongside of his wife. Maybe un-athletic was a little generous.

“Ha-ha-ha," Sera mocks, "I guess I just wanted to get back in shape since I'm dating again, but go on laugh." The statement was a joke, trying to put her parents in their place. She scoots up onto the counter top with a bag of chips in her lap.

“Oh, good," her mother mumbles, "You know, Sera, we were starting to worry about you..."

“What do you mean?" The joke is apparently on Sera.

“Well, it's been a while since Caleb and, it's just that you haven't even looked at another guy..."

Sera sucks in a sharp breath at the mention of her ex-boyfriend's name. It's been a while since she's heard it. It's a ripple of guilt every time she thinks about him. They were serious for a good while, but something told her it wasn't right. So, when he went away to college, she let him. Sera got into the same college, but she couldn't shake the feeling that here is where she's meant to be. Instead, she received a full scholarship to North Commons University, one town over from her little farmhouse. The full ride included housing so she was able to get the best of both worlds—the college experience and still close to home.

"... And you've been very distant and aloof lately," her mother continues.

“You know, Sera, when your mother and I were your age, we were already married and little Sera was on the way," Edward Cross feels the need to chime in.

This is Sera's cue to leave. She swings down from the island, "Okay, I'm done with this conversation." Her hands fly up in defeat. Before she turns to leave, she steals one of the ham sandwiches her mother has just finished making and walks out of the room.

Libre Baskerville
Gentium Book Basic
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