Chapter Three: Maida
Tentatively, I opened my eyes, blinking in confusion. There was a figure standing over me, small and slim. I sat slowly up, and found myself looking into the pale blue eyes of the young girl who'd been in the room when I'd first woken up.
"Um, hi." My voice was weak and wavery, and as dry as rasping paper. I didn't know what to say. She was looking at me with an emotion I'd never seen before in her eyes. Sadness? Pain? Fear? None of those quite seemed to fit. Anger? No, she didn't look angry. Shock? That was closer to the mark.
She brushed a strand of light brown hair away from her eyes, and then offered me her hand. I took it, and she pulled me to my feet. She didn't seem alien at all. She wasn't particularly strong, and she looked normal. Nothing odd about her at all.
Apart from the fact she was glowing.
Back on Lyni, I'd been considered something of a bookworm, preferring to read rather than taking part in competitive sports. I'd only heard of three planets whose dominant species can glow: Draise, Almor, and Garletti. Judging from this girl's appearance, I'd say she was from Almor. On Draise, the inhabitants are all fierce, war-like creatures, which didn't seem like her at all, and the Garlettians are all gaseous beings.
"What's your name?" Her voice was quiet, and she sounded unsure of herself. The glow around her faded, and my heart clenched. How anyone could drug a girl as young and vulnerable as her and then lock her up without a second's thought was beyond me.
"Sitara. What's yours?"
"My name's Maida." Maida, meaning shy. I couldn't help thinking it suited her.
"And you're from Almor?"
A slow nod of the head.
"How old are you?"
"Twelve." The word was barely more than a whisper. I could see she was trying not to cry. I moved forward and bent down, looking her straight in the eye.
"What were you doing on Earth, Maida? How did they catch you?"
She took a deep breath. "Chondr was attacking our planet. Our forces were failing, so my parents sent me off into space. They knew I'd be killed if I stayed."
I frowned. "Why? You're a kid. What harm could you have done to them? The people from Chondr may be attempting to build up an empire, but they have no reason to slaughter children who had done them no harm."
She bit her lip. "I'm not just a kid. My family has ruled Almor for generations. I'm an only child, like both my parents. There's no one else. If they were killed, and I was as well, the ruling family of Almor would be destroyed. In the confusion that would follow, Chondr would be able to take the planet with ease, and with little need for fighting." Glistening tears trickled down her cheeks like dew dripping from a leaf.
I nodded. "An evacuee." I whispered, more to myself than her. She nodded miserably, and I felt like a complete monster, pressing her to talk about a subject that was obviously painful. But the more we knew, the more likely we were to escape. So I continued, even though the sadness was clearly visible in those piercing eyes. “Maida, how did they catch you?”
She bowed her head. “I was on my way home from school, when a couple of men started following me. I tried to ignore them, but they didn’t go away.” She looked straight into my eyes. “I thought they might have been sent from Chondr to kill me. I panicked, and ran. They ran after me, and injected me with something. I tried to get away, but I couldn’t- I couldn’t. Then I woke up here.”
I put a comforting arm around her, and hugged her. She cried, her back shaking, her eyes brimming with little droplets of silver. I waited until she had calmed down, and then asked very gently, "And just now, when you were glowing, what was that?"
She blushed modestly. "Well, I have healing powers. When I woke up and saw you unconscious on the floor, and that girl lying on the bed, I didn't know where I was, what was happening, or what to do. I thought you might know more than I did."
I thought hard. "I'm not much more knowledgeable than you are about this situation, I'm afraid. These people know that we're not from this planet, and they want to know more about us. Which doesn't actually sound so bad, when you think about it. But call it sixth sense, call it instinct, call it intuition, call it whatever, something tells me they aren't that friendly. I don't think they'll say, 'Oh, ok, after all the trouble we took to find you and catch you, you can go now you've answered our questions'."
She nodded, looking far older than she was. "Do you know who they are?"
I thought hard. "They were wearing badges with APAI on them. Any idea what that means?"
We sat there for a moment, deep in contemplation, until a loud cough broke through our thoughts.
A/N sorry it's short. I was running a stall at my school fete yesterday, and I needed to complete the rest of my homework today, so I didn't have much time to write this. Hopefully next upload will be longer!
|Allie DeBerry||as Sitara|
|Sinead Michael||as Maida|
|Kendra Timmins||as Ailisa|