*This is not a good place for you to be, Rachael,* whispered a voice. Rachael whipped around, looking to see which person in the crowd surrounding her had spoken - and called her by name at that. It was only when it spoke again that she realized the truth. *You need to get out of here now, Rachael.*
The strange woman's voice said 'Rachael' with a strange accent, lending it a few more syllables than it usually possessed. No one else seemed to have heard the voice; it was clearly only in her mind. And she had heard it before - only she'd been asleep at the time.
"Sunshine?" she whispered aloud, mouth barely moving with the name.
*There is something here,* the voice declared, neither confirming nor denying her identity. *We need to be somewhere else.*
"What is it?" she whispered, her hand whitening around the metal banister she held. What could possibly have Sunshine so upset? So upset that she would be speaking directly to Rachael, not even waiting for a dream? "What's wrong?"
Sunshine's voice in her mind cut off as the ground - or rather, the escalator - beneath her moved in ways that it really shouldn't, seeming to jump side-to-side and up several feet. Under the intense motion, her knees gave out, and she fell to the step, still clinging to the railing as it moved upwards. Around her, she could hear screaming, crying, and general bedlam breaking out around her.
The fountain next to the escalator exploded, water shooting in every direction, soaking Rachael as she continued to cling to the railing. It shook and jumped beneath her, the water making holding on even harder.
*Get up, Rachael.* Sunshine's voice was firm and cold. That wasn't right; she'd never heard the woman's voice like that, even in her worst dreams. *Get up and get out of here now.*
"What's wrong?" she whispered. "What's happening?"
*Miara's dead. The first seal is broken. She must have been close by. Otherwise, all... this wouldn't have happened here.* Sunshine sighed, and Rachael got the distinct feeling she would be rolling her eyes if she could. *Now... get up. Crawl up the steps if you have to. Just get out of here while you still can.*
"Who's Miara?" There was no response. "Sunshine?"
Apparently, there was going to be no more help from that quarter. Never releasing her grip on the shaking railing, she began working her way up the escalator a step at the time. It was only once she'd reached the top and level ground there that she released a sharp breath of relief. She pushed herself to her feet and sprinted for the door. Once outside, she pushed her way past the emergency workers and police. The minute she cleared the building and stepped into the parking lot, the tremors ceased, so she felt safe enough taking her car home. She slid into the vehicle, pulling the door closed behind her and turning the radio on quietly as she pulled out of her space. "Talk to me, Sunshine."
There was a distinct silence of someone trying not to speak, and again she got the feeling that Sunshine was making some purely mental aggravated expressions.
She slammed her fist down on the edge of the steering wheel. "Listen, damn it! I think I've been taking this pretty damn well for all the crap you've been throwing at me, Sunshine, but I think I deserve to know what's going on around here!"
There was a strained silence for another few seconds, then the woman responded, *What do you want to know?*
"Finally," Rachael sighed. She stared at the policeman directing traffic out of the shopping center and finally spoke again when her line of cars was permitted to move forward. "Who's Miara? Why did her dying do all this?"
*Miara is - was the embodiment of the spirit of earth. I... knew her before. Miven and I knew her before.*
The name made her blink. "Miven? Who's that?" She wondered if it could be the man with the green eyes perhaps.
*My brother. I believe you've been calling him... "Rain".*
"So what was Miara? And why did this happen? You didn't answer that part."
Sunshine sighed. *She was the seal the Ancients put on Earth. There were five seals total: earth, air, fire, water, and spirit. Each protected a facet of human life on this planet.*
She felt the color drain from her face. "What happens if the other seals are killed?"
*Humans will die a painful death as a race, and the world will return to the other creatures that inhabit it.*
15 July 2004
Well, it's been a while, hasn't it? I certainly never meant for the next chapter to take so long getting out, but it did, and I do apologize. Hope I still have a few readers. Besides Bru, Aya, Biscuit, and Ryoko, I mean.
So... the plot bunny is coming together. Let's just see what happens next. Poor Rachael.