"We Revolve Around You"

The Dakota Planet

"We Revolve Around You"

The Dakota Planet

"We Revolve Around You"

The Dakota Planet

Carry Me Away

Part Three
Carry+Me+Away

12:17 AM 

 

Everybody had fallen asleep, and my plan was set into motion. 

 

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I was in my makeshift bed, recalling the events from before to try and replicate them. 

 

Shutting my eyes, staying still, whatever! Though, Max’s obnoxious snoring was hard to shut out. I wondered if his life’s purpose was to cause me more stress. At least Ash just acts like I don’t exist most of the time!  

 

Even so, it was nearly impossible to replicate the calm atmosphere of the outdoors that allowed my brain to drift off effortlessly. If I had to guess, about an hour passed until I was sitting up, defeated.  

 

My mind raced through the reasons why it didn’t work this time, and I made my next decision. I’d have to go back outside at sunrise. Who knows, maybe it was an environmental thing. Then again, I doubt that some lonely house in the middle of Utah held any real significance in this matter. 

 

What else did I do last time?
I needed to make the perfect plan two. I’d only have one shot at this, and if I messed it up, I’d need to wait until the next day.  

Everything was calm. Sunrise is the only time when I can escape from everything and everyone. Maybe that’s what I need to focus on. I need to be calm.  

 

** 

I rolled off my makeshift bed. I forced my socks and shoes onto my feet. I yanked a sweater from my bag of clothes so the grass wouldn’t poke and irritate my skin. As quickly as possible while trying to be quiet, I snuck out of Ash and Max’s room and out the front door once again. The air was cool like it always was in the morning. Birds were chirping and picking around the dirt for some food, and the moon was lowering across the horizon as colorful light was slowly spilling onto the darkness of the night sky. I found my spot in the grass and plopped onto it, hoping there were no ants plotting to crawl into my ears.  

 

I watched as the sun was beginning to rise higher than the peaks of the mountains, and I took steadier breaths.  

I need to be calm.  

With each steady breath, my body relaxed further. Each steady breath guided my eyelids as they began to rest too. My mind began to wander away from reality.  

 

Maybe I’ll see my grandma again. Maybe she’d be making me some pozole to celebrate my return. Better yet, to celebrate my parents returning with me. They’d all apologize for disappearing, and they’d all hug me and promise me that they’d never leave again. They’d tell me that they loved me, and that I’ll never have to deal with my foster family ever again. They’d get me new clothes that fit me, and I’d have a bed again. Everything would be perfect.  

 

Everything would be perfect.  

 

Everything would be… 

 

The floor beneath me was swaying as warm tears made me open my eyes. It worked. The sails of the boat were encouraged by the winds to keep moving forward as I stood up with wobbly legs. All my energy was put into maintaining balance while the boat rocked afloat the water. Again, I could still hear my surroundings from my “grass body,” but my mind prioritized the onslaught on my senses here.  

This HAS TO be real.  

I began to head towards the railings on the boat. My pace was hesitant at first, but my confidence grew with each step until I was standing tall upon the bow of the boat.  

 

The boat was fairly large, like something out of a movie I’ve seen before. Movies with men in ragged clothing and a brute-like physique. Part of me wondered if I’d meet a parrot or something. Would a parrot even want to spend its time on me? Why would it when it had the option to fly. If I could fly, I wouldn’t want to spend any time with myself either. I’d just go as far away from home as I could.  

 

The boat continued to rock back and forth as I searched through the boat for someone who could maybe explain my situation to me. I navigated the boat carefully, and I found a door.  

I’m getting sick of these doors.  

I thought to myself as I grabbed the doorknob and entered the room.  

There were landscape paintings of all sorts that decorated the room, and there were empty buckets scattered around the floor. Across the room, there was an easel that had not been given a canvas yet. However, on the left side of the room there was somebody leaning over a box, searching for something. The stranger was mumbling to herself, though I couldn’t quite decipher what words she was saying.  

 

I took a step towards her, but my foot bumped into an empty bucket, causing it to lose balance and collapse back onto the floor with a loud clanking sound. The girl quickly leapt up onto her feet and unsheathed some sort of dagger from her belt.
“Stay back!” 

She ordered with a harsh tone as her eyes wandered over me from afar. I froze on the spot, examining her every move as she cautiously approached me with narrowed eyes.  

“How’d you get on my boat?” 

she asked, keeping the point of the dagger’s blade pressed against my chest.

“I don’t know! I didn’t mean to! I just… opened my eyes and I was here? This is my second time doing this and I saw a bunch of doors the first time and… and I opened one and I got here?”
I explained frantically, watching the girl brush back a strand of her messily tied back hair. Her gaze softened a little and she pulled the dagger back slowly.

 

“Oh, so you’re a traveler?”

“Huh?” I hoped that she would elaborate further, but she just sighed as she returned the dagger to its place on her belt before glancing up at me warily. Her now free hand began to fidget with one of her sun-shaped earrings.

“I guess I should’ve known, I’m guessing you haven’t figured out how to alter your appearance yet, have you?” 

She finally pointed out as she turned on her heels and waved her hand, signaling that I should follow her. I exhaled dramatically, rolling my eyes a bit as I tip-toed with her through the maze of empty buckets.  

 

“Look, I don’t know what you mean by ‘altering my appearance’ and whatnot, but if you’re trying to call me ugly then just say that!” I huffed, crossing my arms tightly across my chest. The girl just gave me a confused stare.  

 

“I’m not talking about your normal body, I mean your ‘traveling’ body,” My reaction caused her to quickly avert her gaze from me, “You’ll see! I’m not being rude or anything it’s just that travelers–” She stood before a mirror nervously, giving me some room to stand beside her. It took me a few seconds to fully digest what I saw before I shrieked.
 

“What the heck! Why do I look like that?!” I wailed out.  

 

I didn’t even resemble a human. Instead, my appearance was translucent and contorted. It reminded me of those uncanny images that Ash would show me to try and scare me. Images taken in some monochrome location with a distorted looking creature in the background, staring at the camera with unrecognizable features.  

 

“Hey! Calm down! This isn’t permanent, it’s just how travelers look before they figure out how to alter themselves to look more like their real bodies–” The girl paused for a moment before mumbling something under her breath, “Or idealized versions of their bodies.”  

 

My eyes were fixed on the floor, too frightened to face myself in the mirror once more. “How long does it take to figure that out?”  

 

She laughed uneasily, “Well,” She paused as she turned the mirror so it would face the wall instead, “It took me nearly two years to figure it out on my own. But hey! You might be able to figure it out faster than I did!” She tried to reassure me. I was silent.  

 

 

“Listen kid, I can let you stay on my ship, and I’ll tell you everything I know about traveling! Besides, you’re not much of a threat to me– or anyone in general to be honest,” She offered as she carefully grabbed my shoulders and turned me towards her. “The name’s Kehlani! And you are?”  

 

“Valeria,” I answered uneasily, watching as she extended her hand out towards me while staring at me expectantly. Slowly, I put my hand in hers and she roughly shook it.

“Welcome aboard! I don’t have many rules, but just don’t mess with my paintings and try to avoid mirrors until you figure out this whole ‘traveling’ thing!” I would later realize that Kehlani had a way of saying something rude without intending for it to come out that way.  

 

“Right… aren’t you a bit young to be on a ship all by yourself?” I questioned quietly while Kehlani ambled back to the box on the floor, grabbing a canvas from it.

“When you’re a traveler, there’s a lot you can get away with. Besides, how old are you exactly?” Kehlani looked over her shoulder, raising a brow at me.  

 

“Thirteen.” I grumbled under my breath.

“Exactly. I’m fifteen, so I’m basically an adult!” Kehlani replied as she grabbed the easel from its spot and kept it between her arm and her side. With a confident stride, she made her way out of the room without looking back at me. I was about to follow along behind her, but I heard my foster mom’s voice from my other body.

“VAL! What are you doing in the middle of the yard?”
She shook me back into my normal body and I sat up in the grass abruptly.

“I… um…” I couldn’t think of a response in time, so she dragged me by my arm and led me back indoors.  

 

“Seriously Val, I’m starting to think there’s something seriously wrong with you. One of these days, I might just send you back so some other unlucky family will be stuck with you.”  

 

If there was one thing that ‘traveling’ was good for, it’d at least be a way out of my life with her and the rest of my foster family.  

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About the Contributor
Emily is a senior at Dakota High School, and this is her first year at the Dakota Planet. For nearly seven years, she's been writing creatively in her spare time as a hobby. Emily is also the president of Writing Club and the Historian of Women's Empowerment Club. In the future, she plans on writing professionally as an author.
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