I have written records all my life. About the stars, the runes. Everything- never once have I written about myself.
But here it goes;
When I was young- five I think?
My mom would tell me scary stories about other islands, bigger islands. Islands where the weather always changed and no day was exactly the same.
Where lightning- a voltage of light and power- struck sand and trees. Where the trees fell onto houses and killed families. Where the earth shook and floods- which was when the nearby body of water acted up and drowned the area- took lives.
I think she told me the story to scare me into loving eth island.
She didn’t have to.
I already did. But what she didn’t know was...I craved that world. Where islands were 20 times bigger than my own. Where people were complex, where I could find my purpose.
I never voiced it aloud.
My mom- my sisters. They wouldn’t understand.
I knew it before I grew brave enough to express myself.
But maybe my sisters suspected it- my mother, too. Maybe that’s why they smothered me so. Keeping me away from the complex runes that could promise me freedom and in the scribes where I took notes of their discoveries.
I was the youngest.
My mother was immortal- in the sense that she’ll never age beyond 30. She was beautiful. Everything- pale brown hair and amber eyes. Her skin is richly tanned and her limbs are string and feminine.
My sisters were beautiful too.
They were strong from spending hours on end painting runes on stone. Carving runes into stone- they were strong and tanned and beautiful.
I know I'm speaking as if I don’t share their devastating good looks. That’s because I don’t. Where my sisters had curves I have none. Where they had grace I trip over my feet. Where they were strong from labor, I am weak from my studies.
Their eyes glowed like honey in the sun on their tanned skin.
Mine glow like a cat in the night against my pasty skin. Due to my writing records in the caves all day.
There is one thing I have that I can brag about, however. It's a perfect memory.
I remember everything that has ever been said. Everything that's ever been seen.
I always thought it was a blessing- something that will help prove my worth to my family. To prove that I can also create and strengthen runes. I can also map out the stars- I can.
So there, I told you my two core desires. To tend to the island and to escape.
Naturally, I tried the first one first since the second was a pipe dream. Completely impossible.
I offered my services to my sisters, showing them old scribes and runes that have nearly been forgotten. My mother was proud, she hugged me close- then encouraged me to find more.
I tried a few times after that.
To lend my services, but my lack of practice only slowed them down and made them feel responsible for my blunders.
So... I tried to escape. Clearly, they didn’t need me. Anyone can sort out some dusty old papers.
This is where you can choose to stop reading.
On a full mooned night I made my way to where the worldly runes were carved. Where I was usually ushered to do some other meaningless task before I could get a proper look.
I studied and learned the meaning of every single one.
And then I drew my first rune. My first forbidden rune.
Taking the bark of a tree I drew an enlargement rune on it. I never had need for one. And it really wasn’t forbidden. Just….not necessary. Why would you need more in paradise?
The bark enlarged so that it was as tall as myself. Which admittedly isn’t very tall.
Then I drew a strengthening rune. Something that is risky due to the power is drained from the giver.
But oddly enough, under the full moon, I didn’t feel drained at all.
I drew the straightening rune, turning brittle bark so that it had the hardness of a rock.
That was enough, wasn’t it?
To take me away?
So I set it on a pond- only to watch it sink.
Then I did the math- did the strengthening rune weigh it down? Or is it not wide enough?
It took a few more full moons to figure out the perfect size, the perfect runes, and the perfect placing for each rune.
I ardently wish now that my sisters noticed my old behavior and stopped me. That my mother noticed that the youngest of her daughters was sneaking around, stealing food provisions. I wish that they noticed and stopped me.
But they didn’t.
I remember sitting on my makeshift raft, a bundle of objects and scrolls and provisions in the space inside my crossed legs. I remember wishing my sisters could see me off. That they’d be proud of me.
But then- lightning struck sand. Waves roared. And I was surrounded by new terrors.
I realized then that I was arrogant. To think my runes and memory were enough to conquer the forces of nature.
I remember praying for my sisters- my mother!- to find me and save me. To berate me. To hug me. To protect me the way they always did.
But- but the lighting didn’t strike me and the waves didn’t swallow me.
It was worse- having to watch lightning strike trees near our home, closing my family in. Then, despite my pleas and screams, watch as waves crashed repeatedly onto our home.
I drew rune after rune. Cutting runes into my own skin- to get me out. I prayed for the gods to have mercy on my impudence.
They didn’t listen.
Eventually, the tide evened and the lightning stopped. The sea rushed me to shore but I paid it no mind.
I remember, perfectly well, running to the home. Trying to wiggle between fallen wet trunks. Screaming my sisters' names.
If I write their names I fear I will shake too hard to handle the quill. So I will let you know I had five sisters. I cried for my mother. Pleading that if this was a joke for my punishment that it was too cruel.
No one answered.
So I kept hammering away at the walls until I broke through. My sisters- they were sunk in the bottom, faces bloated and blue. My mother too.
I howled. It was sunset then. I know because it was early morning when I started hammering at the walls. I howled at the moon, hoping someone will hear me and fix everything.
No one did.
I dragged each corpse out. Drawing runes on their skin with ink. Then praying to the stars.
I had to bury them when they started to smell.
It was hard work. My arms were weak from lack of labor.
My sisters, my mother, would have had them all down within two hours. It took me all day and night. A punishment I let myself indulge in, still shoveling after my hands broke and my snot made it hard to breathe.
I’m still not quite sure how I killed my family. How I survived what should've happened to only me.
All I know is that I killed my family.
And now here I am. On an empty island. Filled with runes that I didn’t carve, draw or create. Knowing that my family was fertilizing the plants they cared for all their lives.
I made a new rune.
I called it ‘intoxication’. When I draw it on my skin- with ink!- it helps me forget everything. It's draining however and it leaves me with a terrible headache the next day. And sometimes nausea during the night.
But I forget.
And It feels good.
I don’t deserve either but I'm selfish enough to let myself have both.
I wish I could die.
Here is my final entry.
My name is Clara. That is what my family called me. Short for Clairvoyant.
A group of people came to my island for the first time in forever. The leader is a tall girl with green eyes, one greener than the other, she has tan skin and long dark hair. She is neutral-faced. But kind. She listened to me as I rambled about everything. Her name is Eliza.
The other, an equally muscular man, was named Hames. He is kinder and friendly-faced. Jovial. I think he is fond of Eliza but she doesn't seem to return his affections the same way.
The other, another girl, is rather beautiful. Gorgeous silver hair and brilliant purple eyes. She has light olive skin that looks rather warm against her shiny hair. She is Adelie. I think she is also fond of Eliza.
And lastly, my favorite of the group, Romie. An older man. Wise and magical. A wizard. He, thankfully, wasn’t in love with Eliza.
He told me why my family died.
It's because I left the island- which I suspected.
He said that it is fated that the first to try and leave the island would be chosen to be the only revelator. He said it as if it was a good thing- that I wanted more than my little world, my paradise. He didn’t know that I was actually a spoiled brat. He didn’t know how ashamed I am of what I did. If he did he wouldn't have said it, right?
I don’t want to be the Runed One. The Reader of Runes.
I want my mother, my sisters.
I didn’t tell them that. What would be the point?
I just packed up my things and followed them as they led me off the island. Off my paradise. Of the graves of my family.
I don’t think I was crying but Eliza wiped her thumb across my face anyway.
Maybe I was.
I kept staring at the island. Waiting for more lighting to strike and just kill me too.
But nothing happened.
It was written in the stars.
And, at that instant, I was glad I had the chance to tell the stars to go to hell.
Which Hames told me was slang for ‘I don’t like you’.