Chapter 3 Part 2
Happy Friday, fantasy readers! Here’s the second part of Chapter 3 of Saving Foreverland.
If you didn’t get a chance to read the previous chapters, remember to check those out.
For those of you crunched for time, the estimated reading time for this post is only
“Again,” he said. Sarah knew this was a command, not a question, so she tried to focus the same way she did when Elozar showed her how to bend. But she couldn’t remember how she did it. Was she thinking about the target or the environment? Did she have to say a command? But before she could consider what to do, Josh was counting down again.
“Three, two, one - go!”
Now that she knew he wouldn’t hit her, she tried to plant her feet, remain where she was standing. But it was so hard. Her instinct was to jump out of the way. What else were you supposed to do when a person looked like he was going to tackle you?
She bounced on her tip-toes and back down, her anxious tic, like a bunny hopping in place. She knew she must look stupid, but this was how Sarah mentally grounded herself. She squinted her eyes on the blur that was Josh, and thought, stop!
But nothing happened. He kept moving towards her, and then right when she was resigned to the fact that they were going to collide, Josh swerved to the right. He came to a halt right by Sarah’s right side.
“That was good,” he said encouragingly.
“But,” Sarah mumbled, “I didn’t even do anything. You kept moving and then you redirected yourself.”
“That’s true,” he admitted, “but I felt you bending. I had to push myself harder to keep going - if I hadn’t pushed harder, you would have probably slowed me down a bit.”
“Really?” she asked in disbelief, still questioning whether this was all a trick.
“By the end of the day, I think you’ll be able to stop me,” he said. He put his hands on her shoulders. Sarah had to look up to see his eyes, about six inches above her own. At that moment, she wanted to hug him, or maybe do something more, but she didn’t want to be looked at as a foolish child. How old is he anyway? Everyone stays looking like they’re 15. He could be an old man!
It was as if Josh could read Sarah’s mind. “You know…” he started, “I’m only 17 years old - in mortal years,” he clarified. “I got to ForeverLand two years ago. Usually, the trainers are older, but they wanted someone new to train you.”
“Why?” Sarah asked immediately, curious.
Josh shifted left and right, running his hand through his dark hair. “Um…” he hesitated uncomfortably, “I’m not sure. That’s just what I was told when I was assigned to you.”
Sarah knew there was more to the story, but she could tell it wasn’t worth pressing him now. She would have to let some of the information slip out naturally. But she stored this moment in the back of her head, bookmarking it for later.
Josh turned his back on Sarah. Was he angry? She wondered. What did I do? He walked purposefully towards the other end of the training arena, and while he was still facing away from Sarah, he announced, “Again!”
Sarah got herself ready, although she wasn’t sure how she was supposed to prepare. This was all mental, but she was bracing herself physically as well, ready to fight whatever was coming at her.
Josh didn’t count down this time. Before Sarah could even get her bearings, he was running at her at full speed. She covered her face with her arms, curled up in a ball, and braced herself for the force of Josh’s body hitting her. But it didn’t come. Again, he swerved at the last second, missing Sarah by inches.
“That’s not fair! You didn’t even warn me!”
“Well, do you think Hadoo is going to warn you when he’s destroying our world? Do you think he’s going to make an announcement for all Timebenders to prepare themselves? No. You have to be constantly on your toes, ready to express your powers.”
His eyes, though still bright blue, seemed to be as dark as the night sky, and serious too. It was like Josh wasn’t his regular self. Sarah wondered if he was ok, but she knew better than to ask that now. Instead, she stood up straight, flattened her shirt with her hands, and got back into her fighting stance. She looked down to check her stance, and when her eyes were level again, she noticed that Josh was already on the other side of the arena, and she knew he was getting ready to strike.
Sarah started focusing all her energy on Josh, as if she were pushing him backward with her mind. She wasn’t sure if it would work, but all she could do at this point was hope it was enough. Sarah was stubborn - she couldn’t accept failing at this task again. She squinted her eyes as if she had laser vision and she was aiming for Josh’s legs, getting ready to destroy them before they could reach her. It felt like a year passed, but it must have been only seconds. Sarah’s concentration felt different. It was like she was in a different universe. Everything around her was moving slowly. Josh wasn’t even moving at all right now - he was frozen in space. Then, she slowly and deliberately stepped to her left, out of Josh’s path. After she was settled a few feet away, she let her mind relax and Josh suddenly sped up into a blur once more.
He stopped inches from the other arena wall that Sarah had been standing in front of just seconds before. His face was frozen. His jaw was slack and his eyes were blank, stoic. Sarah didn’t know if this was good or bad, but before she could ponder this further, Josh appeared in front of her, almost on top of her, and embraced her tightly.
“You did it!” He said. “That was amazing!”
Sarah allowed herself to smile, her heart racing as she got excited, even giddy.
“I did it!” Sarah yelled in triumph. Her left fist pumped in the air like a chant.
Josh’s eyes were locked on Sarah’s. They were in their own space, their own time. He smiled and his face turned pink. “Um…yea,” he said. “So that’s the first step.” He cleared his throat. “Good job.” He gave her a playful punch on the shoulder, like an old pal.
Sarah’s face flushed. She feared she let too much emotion out. She was never an emotional person. At home, her parents always focused on the facts, not feelings. At school, she had no friends, only acquaintances, because that way, she didn’t have to share too much. She wanted to carry over that demeanor to ForeverLand - it had protected her for 15 years - surely it wouldn’t fail her now. But Sarah couldn’t resist. She was genuinely happy, happier than she ever remembered feeling in Leisata.
She continued training with Josh the rest of the day, and she felt stronger after each exercise. Like a bodybuilder, building muscle, Sarah was developing her bending abilities, and she was doing so rapidly.
By the end of the day, she could stop Josh from running at her, throwing rocks at her, and she could even make him reverse - in essence, she could bend time on itself such that it would go backward, something even Josh had never seen before. Maybe this is what I’m meant to do, Sarah thought. Maybe I’ve found my calling.
What did you think? Be brutally honest because I’m always looking for ways to build on my stories.
If you think you want to read more, make sure you look out for the next post Friday at 5pm EST.
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