Crystal Hearts: The Crystal Key (Prologue)

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The small town of Berkey is - in my opinion - one of the tiniest, most insignificant places in America. Actually, it's more of a village: four square miles of hillbilly hell. Yes, it's really that tiny. Two hundred sixty-five people, ninety-eight households, and eighty-one families embracing a life of cornfields and well water. The junior high I go to is located ten miles away, also in the middle of nowhere. Everyone knows everyone, and hardly anything ever changes.

It's difficult for me to believe that anyone could enjoy such a dreary existence. Sure, there are perks. When the weather is warm, the greatest thing in the world is running barefoot through the grass, surrounded by beautiful golden fields. But being cut off from the rest of civilization is a real drag. The epicenter of town is the intersection, located right next to the corner store and the blinking red traffic lights. Are you beginning to see why I hate living here?

In all honesty, I never fit in with the farmers and the jocks that make up our school. I was born a city girl: artsy and riddled with quirks. We had moved to the Middle of Freaking Nowhere, USA when I was three years old, but only because my stepdad-to-be persuaded Mom that it wasn't so bad. We've lived here for ten years now. An entire decade... wasted.

I'm grateful to have my friends, though. The six of us are diamonds in the rough. Creative sparks in a sea of mediocrity. Chelsey is the writer, Karly is the dorky one, Nicole is the emo, Casey is the reasonable one (sort of), Delaney is the outdoorsy type, and I am the artist. Not all of us get along with each other, but I do my best to give my attention to everyone as best I can.

I know we're not exactly "normal" people. No, we're not insane. We're just a little weird. In an ordinary school, being different would be okay. But in a place where everything is the same, it can turn an entire community against you. Stuck-up cliques and queen bees aren't just in books, believe it or not. Sadly enough, a small school usually spawns some nasty characters. When we aren't being ridiculed, we're being shunned and utterly ignored. In the end, we can only trust each other.

To take my mind off the bleakness that is my future, I used to like curling up with a good book and losing myself in the pages. Nothing could compare with a well-written fantasy novel. It didn't matter to me whether it was about monsters or myths, modern day or the future. As long as I could pretend that I was the heroine, anything would suffice. Whatever it took to leave my tattered social life behind, I would do it.

Still, I never expected to become part of a fantasy myself.

You've probably had your share of myths and monsters. Vampires, werewolves, witches, angels, demons, faeries... Even Greek or Roman gods, or Native American tales. Whether you were being forced to read about them for school or picking up a book of your own free will, it makes no difference. They're fun to indulge in. They make you see the world in a new light, and you begin to wonder if magic could actually exist somewhere. But once you pull your head out of the clouds, you know that it could never happen. If something seems too good to be true, it usually is. Right?

Think again.

The creatures that inhabit your dreams - and nightmares - are most definitely out there. Most adults will tell you that none of it is true. It's simply the product of books and movies. Musings of ancient civilizations. But no one knows everything. As far as the average person is concerned, there is a scientific explanation for any "supernatural" occurrence. But you have to learn to listen not only to your head, but to your heart as well. I'm telling you, we haven't even scratched the surface of what is and isn't possible. It has been proven that there are ghosts, vibrating at frequencies too high to detect under ordinary circumstances. Why shouldn't there be other elusive beings lurking in the shadows?

This isn't one of those typical stories you expect to read these days. There are no "mates" involved, no boring clichés, no overly-romanticized exaggerations. When I talk about witches, I'm not referring to pointy black hats and cloaks, nor am I talking about Wiccans. Angels don't wear long white gowns or golden halos. Demons don't have pointy tails or horns on their heads. Faeries aren't pretty little pixies with silver dust. This isn't a horror story, or a romance, or anything you're used to reading. This is my reality as I know it.

When I say this, I don't mean that a monster is hiding under your bed. Not everyone who claims to be special is some amazing freak of nature. As much as I hate to say it, there really are people with mental disorders. I despise labeling anybody off as "crazy," but some things are inevitable. The real things, however, are known to keep a pretty low profile. In fact, they keep so quiet that you would never know if you encountered one. Unless, of course, you knew how to identify such beings. And if you did, could you even find them?

Truth is, the mythics have their own little worlds, scattered across the globe, that completely defy modern science. They are invisible to the human eye, but can be thousands of miles in diameter. This is because their vibrations are masked. Imagine an invisible realm the size of New Hampshire, and yet it goes completely unnoticed! Furthermore, you need a special key to even know of one's existence.

You can call me crazy all you want. If you want proof, I am capable of providing it, though I probably won't. If tangible evidence were available to our world, who knows how the public would react? I'm not talking about the goths and the vampire-huggers. I'm talking about the general public. Think of the military and the politicians, the scientists and the detectives, the Atheists and the strictly religious. There would be absolute chaos.

So how do I know so much about these realms? I've been there.

Let's just keep this our little secret, okay?

Just you and me.

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AUTHOR'S NOTE: I wrote this story a very, very long time ago (like in middle school). The next chapter is definitely not as good as the prologue, so if I were you, I'd stop reading now and avoid the disappointment. ^^;

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