The Lake Grove
Disclaimer: The following short story is written by me. Both the characters and the plot belong to me.
Summary: They were protecting a group of people similar to them. One girl goes through almost losing the one she love only to protect something.
We were walking down a city road, following the rest of the group. The three girls stopped and waited for us. One pointed at the old mansion-type hotel near the small lake and the big oak tree. “You need to take him there. Stay there and wait for us. We will be back with the rest of the boys.” I nodded agreeing to the instructions and started to pull the boy down the road towards the building.
Glancing over my shoulder, I watched as all three girls took chase. I didn’t know why I had to leave the group. I understood what was happening though, that we were trying to protect them. That morning as I was walking home from school, Kira mention what was happening. She was the oldest in the group, but not the most experience in the skills of magic. She stopped Sara, Myra, and me all at a corner.
“Rumors are flying through the city again. The crystals that have been protecting us for over five hundred years are finally dying out. If they would truly die out, the Warlocks will be in great danger,” Kira said, speaking in a soft tone to keep all the humans at bay. We really didn’t want anyone to panic, to know that a few Warlocks still lived.
Over five hundred years ago, a major battle happened. That was pretty much the reason why this city was surrounded in crystals. The battle took place in an open field: Warlocks vs. Wizards. The Magicians were the only ones who didn’t participate. Magicians thought it was wrong that the Wizards wanted the Warlocks dead. The battle nearly wiped all of the Warlocks out. At the end of the battle, only a small group of Warlocks survived. It took a brave Magician to step forward and grab the few Warlocks that were left. This Magician, her name lost through time, took them to the same city I lived in. In this city, crystals were made, preventing any Wizard from entering and anyone else from leaving.
Now, with the crystals dying, the Wizards will finally find the rest of the Warlocks that have survived through time and kill them. It was easy to see why Kira was worried about the four Warlocks that we knew and were left. There was nothing wrong with the Warlocks. There magic was neither bad nor good, just like us. The Wizards had their own groups to attend to. The same went with the human race. The Magicians and Warlocks did not have their own. The Magicians were mainly female while the Warlocks were male. It was easy to see why Magicians wanted to protect the Warlocks.
I was snapped out of the memory when I felt the boy touch my shoulder. I nodded towards him and reached for his hand. We started running towards the mansion hotel. The place was located at the end of the road, near the edge of the city. The building itself was older than any of us, created out of old, dark brown wood. The windows had black window panels and most were covered by dark velvet red curtains. I push the boy inside and he watched as I walked out. Waving my hand, I closed the rusted Iron Gate. He walked over to the gate and gripped the cold black bars. “What do you think you are doing, Tara? She told you stay with me, inside the hotel,” yelled the nineteen-year-old boy, his short brown hair sticking against the side of his face.
A weak smile danced across my face as I gripped one of his warm hands. “I understand completely what she said, Leo, but I just can’t leave Kira and the others. I need to go help them. They need someone who is more experience in magic just in case the boys don’t listen. I will be back. Just wait here for me. You are safe and that is all that matters.” With another small smile, I release his hand and took off running, disappearing down the same road that followed the small creek, leading into the lake and pond.
I couldn’t see the girls as I continued to walk down the road as the area was covered in complete darkness. I released a small spell, enclosing a small bit of light around me. There was no one down the small road. I took another step, only to feel something come crashing into me. I fell to the ground hard. Rolling over, I noticed a shadow looming over me. My light had died out after I lost concentration on the spell. I knew the shadow had to be a person, but whom? Shaking my head, my legs, my arms, I tried everything to break free. The person above me tried to hold my legs and arms down. I didn’t want to be killed. I didn’t want to be hurt. I just wanted to find my friends, help them out, and then get back to Leo.
Out of all the girls in the group, Leo and I were the only ones who grew closer. Kira was too nervous with the rest of the Warlocks, afraid that they may turn on her. She witnessed a Warlock turn upon a young woman. He burned her to death and just laughed about the whole deal. It took her and another woman just as strong to defeat him. Since that day, Kira was never the same. She didn’t trust Warlocks very well, but she did agree on helping them since no one else would.
Leo was a year older than me. I met him during school one day. He was just transferring from a different side of the city. On his first day, I gave him a simple smile and approached, bowing lightly. He returned the smile and placed a hand on my cheek, trying to raise me to a standing position. As I looked into his green eyes, I noticed something warm about them. It made me feel different as if I already knew him. “Hi.” It was the only word I could get out. I was just lost gazing into his eyes.
He smiled again before replying. “Hi. My name’s Leo. May I ask what is yours?”
“My name is Tara. Welcome to West Side Academy. I hope you enjoy your time here.” I was being the normal introduction person. The Headmistress of the school chose one person from the top grade to introduce all new students to the school. Everyone she chose denied the job. I was the only person who agreed.
For four months, Leo and I hung out, doing everything together from swimming at the lake to playing all the sports. We started going out almost three months before the day Kira told us the rumor. I didn’t know he was a Warlock till the three days before. We were walking home. The sun was already setting and it was getting late. I knew Kira hated me being out late. She was the oldest in the group, being the age of twenty-seven. She made sure that we were home at certain times. Kira and the rest of the girls including me all lived at the same place, the mansion hotel near the lake and the big oak tree. How we came to living together or even there, I don’t know. The story was never told. There was only one rumor that Kira gathered us together. Again, for what reason, no one knew.
Anyways, as we were walking home, Leo stopped by the pond right of the lake. He took a small pebble and threw it across the water. It skipped three times before sinking. I could tell as I stood behind him that he was tense about something. Slowly but cautiously, I called out his name, “Leo?”
He dropped his head and sighed. “There is something I haven’t been telling you and now, I believe it is time that you know what it is.”
I smiled towards him as I walked over and reached for his hand. “I am sure that whatever you have to tell me, it isn’t going to be real bad. I trust you.”
Leo nodded and swallowed hard before pulling me towards his chest. His breathing was irate and his heart was pounding. It made me worry that whatever was bothering him was really bad. I tried calling his name again, but he only blocked it off with a small, chaste kiss.
“Tara, I’m a Warlock, one of the last few left. I fear everyday that there will be a day that the crystals protecting us will die out and I will be killed by the Wizards.”
To say that I was not shocked was an underestimate. I was shocked and I was scared for him. He didn’t know that my friends and I were a group of Magicians, that we were one of the groups trying to protect the Warlocks. Wrapping my arms around his neck, I placed another kiss upon his lips before laying my head against his chest. “Don’t worry. You will be safe. Remember how I explained about the Magicians living in the city, about how there were some groups protecting the Warlocks that were left.” He nodded, remembering everything. “My friends and I are that group. We promise that we will protect you should that day happen.”
His eyes light up with such hope as he wrapped his arms around my waist and spun us in a circle. I could see that he was happy about the news, that he was glad that everything would work out. For me, I was just glad to know that I was able to help someone that I loved. That night as I went inside the mansion, I explained everything to Kira. She was shocked to hear that Leo was one of the Warlocks. However, she was also happy that we were able to find one of the Warlocks that was originally part of our group.
I felt the person’s hands grip my shoulders, shaking me and breaking me from the memories. I tried screaming only to have a hand placed over my mouth. My eyes went wide as I tried to roll away, as I tried anything to break away. I didn’t know what this person wanted. I didn’t know what this person was planning to do. Concentrating hard, I reached for a spell and cast a blinding light. The area went white for a few seconds allowing the person to drop away, releasing the grip upon me. Turning around, my hand came in contact with the side of the person’s head. I heard the person fall and roll down the hill. By time I could look back, I was already running.
I ran around a corner, only to come running into the back of Myra. She turned around with a surprised look upon her face. “Tara?” Sara and Kira both turned to look at me. Kira shook her head as she raised a hand to rest against her forehead. “What are you doing here? We left you with Leo.”
Out of breath, I bent down over my knees. “He is safe at the mansion. I just couldn’t leave you out here on your own. You need someone who is strong, and I am the strongest.”
“There was no reason for you to come. We have the boys. After explaining everything, they agreed to come,” said Kira as she walked over. Her arms were crossed over her chest and she didn’t seem happy with me chasing after them.
I bowed low, trying to ask for forgiveness. “I am sorry.”
Myra just laughed and gave a shrug with her shoulders. “Don’t worry about it. Let’s just return home. The Warlocks are safe, meaning the Wizards will never find them.” I smiled towards Myra and started to follow everyone back.
Sara was the first to round the corner. However, she stopped and screamed causing Kira to run by and around the corner. Myra and I looked at each other before following to see what had happen. My eyes followed where Sara was pointing. She kept glancing at me and then down at the creek. Looking to the side, where the edge was light blue by the reflection of the water and the full moon, I saw someone.
My hands slowly made their way to the front of my face as I dropped down to my knees. Tears were flowing from my eyes as I saw the boy lying halfway in the water. A gash was on the side of his face and his pale green eyes were open. Loudly, I screamed his name, “Leo!”
Myra dropped down to me and wrapped her arms around my shoulder, allowing me to rest against her. I kept calling out his name. I didn’t know that it was him that attacked me. I didn’t know that when I hit him across the head with my hand, he fell against a rock. I didn’t know that I accidentally killed my boyfriend.
“How did this happen? I thought you said he was at the mansion, Tara,” said Kira as she glanced back at me.
A few more tears escaped my eye to run down my cheek as I glanced at him and then up at Kira. “I told him to stay. I told him I would be right back. As I came walking down the path, someone ran into me. I fought that person off using a blinding spell. Turning away, I hit the person across the head and heard that person roll down the hill. I didn’t know it was Leo. It was too dark to see anything. It was an accident. I didn’t mean it.” I broke away only to cry against Myra again.
Kira asked for two of the Warlocks to pick Leo’s body up and to follow her. She walked head with the other two Warlocks following behind. Sara stayed with Myra and me before finally sighing and walking away. I don’t know how long I cried or how long we stayed out. I just know I felt terrible for leaving and causing Leo’s death. I should have stayed. He wanted me to stay and now, I would never be with him again.
I don’t remember much of the funeral. I was the only one strongly shedding tears. Not many knew who he was, what he was, or how he knew me. My friends had tears in their eyes, but they were not crying as much as I was. I was the one who lost a love one. It didn’t matter to them that he was a Warlock. If a Warlock died, there was nothing they could do. Out there in the world, away from the protection of the crystals, where the Wizards fought against anything that got in their path, where strange creatures roamed, and people died constantly, there might be Warlocks that have survived. However, we don’t know how many or if they are being slowly killed off.
I remember when the coffin was open. I was allowed to walk forward and gaze down upon his pale face. His green eyes that always shine with such brightness were now close. His lips were so pale and his skin so dry. I leaned over a place a soft kiss upon his cold cheek as a tear ran down my face. Lifting his hand, I placed a dry, red rose inside before backing away and dropping to my knees. The priest asked where we would like him to be buried. I looked back at Kira and she nodded. I didn’t hear what Kira said to the priest. I didn’t see what happen with Leo’s body for the rest of the day I stayed in my room, crying myself to sleep.
Pound. Pound. “Tara? You need to get up. It is already 6:30 in the evening,” said Myra’s voice, muffled by the door. I sat up to look at the clock and then towards the window. I don’t remember much after the funeral. I just know that I hurt, that I was in pain for losing the one I loved.
Opening the door, I noticed Myra standing near the door and Kira leaning against the wall across from the door. Myra sighed as Kira shook her head. “Finally. Go outside and take a walk. I know you are hurting because of Leo’s death. It will get better. Right now, though, we need you to be ready just in case the crystals die out,” said Kira.
I wanted to yell back on what the reason was for saving the last four Warlocks in the city. I wanted to break down and cry, saying that I already lost a Warlock and not by the Wizards. I wanted to scream that I was a murderer, that I was the one who killed the Warlock when I promised to protect him. Instead, I kept everything inside and walked outside the mansion.
The sun was shining and the breeze was warm. It dried some of my tears as I glanced around the area. Kids were swimming in the pond and lake. Some were even lining up on top of the hill. They wanted to dive in into the lake. For some time, I have been hearing that the hill was called “the Lake Grove.” I didn’t know why. I did know that by just sitting or standing there, memories are given purity. It was a way for you to release anything that hurt inside. I walked across the little wooden bridge between the lake and pond over to the path that lead to the top of the hill. Two older women were watching the children as the kids sat upon a fallen tree log waiting for their turn.
I walked around the tree and sat near the edge. A young girl with brown curly hair turned towards me. “Are you going to dive?” she asked. I shook my head. “Why are sitting then? Some of the other kids are waiting for you to move.”
“Is there a reason you sit on the tree when this place is allowed for purity?” The girl looked at me confused before shaking her head and running off the edge. I watched as she splashed into the water and swam over to a small group of little girls. They looked up at me before swimming off to the edge and running up.
I saw the same girl talk to one of the older women. She nodded her head and approached me. “Miss, this girl said you are not diving. Why are you here then?”
I didn’t answer right away. Instead, I replied about something different, about something else. “Why are the kids jumping into the pond? It has less water than the lake. Wouldn’t it be less safe?”
A smile came from the lady as she sat down beside me. “The kids enjoy the waterfall that flows into the lake. Some of the older kids do jump into the lake, but not many. Now, why are you here, if you are not going to jump?”
“This is the Lake Grove, a place of purity. I lost someone dear to me yesterday. I wish he was alive or at least, I was rid of this pain.”
“The Lake Grove, you say? Well, I am sorry, but this isn’t the Lake Grove.”
I turned to the lady with a baffled look. My eyes were full of confusion. If this wasn’t the Lake Grove, where was it? “What do you mean? I thought this was it.”
She shook her head before turning and pointing. A group of people were standing around the big oak tree. Christopher, a shrine priest that prays for all dead to find peace, was talking with the mayor of the city. “That tree is the Lake Grove. Rumors has it that if you wish by the grave site of the one you lost within the time before the shrine priest makes the prayer, the person that was dead would be alive again. Another rumor has said that if the person who lost that person did the praying also, it would give a better chance.”
My eyes went wide with both confusion and hope. Was there a chance, with me being a Magician that I could bring Leo back to life? I couldn’t stop to think about it. I watched as Christopher started to approach the tree. My time was limited. I would lose Leo for good if I didn’t stop that prayer.
Moving from the tree, I stepped in front of the same little girl that sat by me before. I apologize with a smile and jumped, twisting three times in the air before splashing in the lake. As I stepped out, fully dry, I heard the girl yell at the older woman. “Who is that lady?”
The older woman smiled towards the child. “She is a magician.” A smile was on my face as I took off running towards the shrine priest and the mayor.
Christopher was about ready to start the prayer as I ran in front of people and moved them out of my way. “Stop!” I yelled. The mayor and the shrine priest looked towards me as I came in front, gasping for air. “I wish to make the prayer for the Lake Grove. I beg of you, let me say the prayer. Please, let me.”
Christopher looked at me and then at the mayor. The mayor just shrugged his shoulders and back away. The shrine priest knelt on the ground, placing his hands upon my shoulder. “You must have lost someone just recently to be begging to do the prayer.” A few tears dropped from eyes and splashed upon the dry soil. He used his thump to wipe them away before nodding. “Go ahead. Summon a prayer.”
I smiled towards the shrine priest before approaching the tree. Laying a hand across the rough bark, I closed my eyes and dig deep into the soul of my magic. Backing away, I dropped to my knees and reached for the small wand that hovered in the air before me. With both hands wrapped around it, I brought the wand up and formed a circle before a star and a “t” was drawn. Closing my eyes, I prayed.
The sun was starting to set as I walked slowly up the stairs of the big oak tree. The tree, which has been around longer than I have been born, was a special type of tree. Some people were buried here after carving and digging out parts of the inside of the tree forming small boxes. Leo was one that was buried here. I learned from Kira that she had his body burned and his ashes were moved to the tree. Climbing the stairs, that were placed inside to reach the top, I stopped by a window. It glanced out over the lake and pond extending over the small forest and the horizon. Next to where I was standing was the burial box of Leo’s ashes. A few tears ran down the side of me cheek as I looked up at the setting sun.
“I prayed for you, Leo. I wish for where ever you are, you will be in peace. I am so sorry. I should have never left you. I love you and I will miss. I found some rumors regarding to this tree, the Lake Grove. It was said that if you are the summoner of the prayer, you can have a wish. If that is true, I wish for you back.” As the sun set, shrouding the inside of the tree into complete darkness with only the moon as light, I slid the down the side, pulling my knees to my chest and cried.
I don’t know how long I sat there crying. I just knew I wasn’t alone. A voice came out, calling for my name. My eyes went wide with both hope and fright as I glanced slowly up. There he stood, leaning against the inside of the tree. His arms were crossed over his chest as a smirk danced across his face. His green eyes were shining brightly with the love he felt for me. “Tara.” His voice was gentle as he called out my name.
I slowly rose, tracing my hand against the hard bark of the tree. Gripping the ledge of the window, I looked at him, shocked on believing that he was actually alive, that the rumor was true. “Leo?” I stumbled across his name as a single tear ran down my cheek. He nodded his head as he walked over and used his thumb to wipe the tear away. “Leo.” He nodded once more as he wrapped his arms around me. I buried my head into his chest as sobs shook my body.
“It’s alright. It’s alright. I’m here.” He kept whispering that in my ear, hoping to calm me down.
“I thought I lost you. I saw the funeral. I saw your body. I can’t believe you’re alive.” I placed my hands on each side of his face as I looked into his eyes. He smiled again before dropping his lips to mine. The kiss was warm. It made me remember how much I missed him and how much I loved him. Wrapping my arms around his neck, I allowed him to kiss everything away, the fear, the tears, everything.
“Tara!” We broke the kiss upon hearing my name. I turned to glance out the window to see Kira, Sara, and Myra standing outside the gate. I looked back at Leo and he smiled.
“The day has restarted. This is the day that they went after the boys, remember?” I nodded my head, remembering how everything started. It was dark when we went after the boys. Leo was always with us, moving in the day he told me that he was a Warlock.
Leo and I walked out of the oak tree and approached Kira. She nodded her head. “Remember what I said after school. Tonight we need to find those Warlocks. Leo, you said you knew where they were. Lead us.” Leo nodded and we followed.
The boys were at an old abandon house. He walked in and soon walked out with four more boys, all around the same age as us. All four didn’t seem to like us. It was easy to see why. They had no one to trust, not after hearing what was happening around the world. Kira tried to approach, but the boys backed away and started running. Lucky for us, the mansion was straight ahead. Kira walked over and looked down the road the boys ran. “We need to catch them and make them understand what is happening.” We all agreed and started to chase.
The same road as before came that the boys ran down. Kira did the same thing, stopping and pointing towards the mansion. I listen as she said the same instructions for me to take Leo to the mansion and wait for everyone to return. I nodded and grabbed Leo’s hand before walking off. At the large gate, he pulled me inside before using his magic to close the gate and lock it.
“We will not allow the same mistake to happen again. This time, we stay.” I nodded my head and allowed him to take my hand. We walked inside, nodding to the caretaker. He took the key to room 63, my room. We walked up three flights of stairs before stopping at my door. He used the key to unlock door before pulling me inside.
I closed the door behind myself and locked it. We were not leaving this time. I was not going to lose him again. He dropped the key upon my dresser and turned on a small light, giving it a red glow into the room. Three roses were sitting on a dresser. A smile danced across my face as I walked over to him and wrapped my arms around his neck. He smiled back before lowering his head and sealing my lips into a warm, passionate kiss.
We never left that night, staying together was all that mattered. The following morning, when the sun was shining brightly through the curtains, I rolled away to hear the sounds of Kira arguing with Myra and one of the boys. A smile danced across my face as I rolled onto my back and glanced to my side. Leo was sound asleep, his breathing even and very much alive. Trailing my fingers down the side of his face, I wrapped the white sheet around me and laid my head upon his bare chest, falling back asleep happy to know everything was going to be alright.