Legacy Name: Poppies
The Common Tigrean
Age: 3 years, 6 months, 2 days
Born: April 16th, 2017
Adopted: 2 years, 4 months, 1 week ago
Adopted: June 9th, 2018
- Level: 7
- Strength: 18
- Defense: 10
- Speed: 10
- Health: 10
- HP: 10/10
- Intelligence: 11
- Books Read: 11
- Food Eaten: 0
- Job: Sprout Tender
"In a quarter mile, make a legal u-turn."Kyra smacked her steering wheel with open palms, exasperated.The road ahead curved drastically to the left, and just beyond, there is a break in the trees. The first traffic light in nearly 50 miles peered out from behind the trees. Kyra sighed with relief as she also noticed a small gas station.
"I was beginning to think there was no one out here and my GPS was trying to kill me," she mused to herself. Tapping the pause button on the navigation, she veers into the turning lane and pulls into the parking lot. The cars parked at the gas station gave her a small sense of comfort; knowing she wasn't alone at this strange place was nice.Kyra throws her car in park and grabs her wallet, clipping her keys on the ring connected to the lanyard hook.
The small gas station doesn't have much to speak of; four pumps in the front, two of which are out of order, a large crater in the very center of the paying area with a sinister look about l it- as though it's claimed many a tire- the vinyl siding warped with sun damage, and the hand-written note on the side door that reads "yank like you mean it!"
Kyra gives the door a good yank, and, startled by the ease of which it flings open, cries out in response, taking a couple steps back with the door and its deafening jingle bells attached to the top.
From somewhere inside the building she hears a voice, full of amusement. "Sorry, we keep forgetting to take down that sign."
"Oh, don't worry," Kyra half-shouts, "I needed to wake up anyway!"
After stepping inside, she holds the bar on the door and helps ease it closed, unsure if nearly throwing her on her behind was the only assault. The comfort of the air conditioning covers her in gooseflesh, and she rubs at her arms, feeling each one prick uncomfortably as she tries to smooth them out.Contrary to the unwelcoming visage outside, the interior is very clean, organized and up to date. The shelves are tidy, each item soldiered to the edge, spaced evenly. Not a speck of dust in sight.Each section is grouped in a concise manner so nothing seems out of place.Kyra wanders the aisles, careful not to touch anything, making her way back towards the coolers.
Up on top of the coolers is a hand-painted landscape. The desert sand at the bottom, a rich earthy brown, pours up into the twilight in some spots, between that peeks a swirled galactic sky, adorned with what looks like hundreds of stars. Beautiful, abstract cacti, contorted in different configurations, pop against the dark background in their rich greens and touches of purple in the flowers, drawing Kyra in for a closer look.Engrossed in admiring the mural, Kyra had no idea there was someone behind her, so when he spoke, she nearly jumped out of her skin.
"The owner painted this just before he opened the store."
"Agh! Where did you come from?" Whipping around, Kyra nearly elbows the stranger in the jaw.
"Sorry, you've been here for a few minutes and I hadn't heard from you since the door incident."
Kyra's gaze darkens, then she turns her attention back to the wall, away from the cheesy grin on the cashier's face.
"Is there something in the sky?" She squints at the sky, the fog she had admired suddenly revealing a shape, though she couldn't quite put her finger on what. It almost looks like it's coming to life, the tendrils of fog twisting and rolling around itself.
"Most don't actually notice it, but yes. He painted it after a near death experience, when he said that night, as he lay there unsure if he would ever see another night sky, he saw something in the stars," at this point, he's leaning in, speaking in a smoky, hushed tone.Kyra leans in instinctively with bated breath, curiosity overcoming her.
"The ambiguity is intentional, meant to invoke a more personal reaction to those in need of comfort. He's a very clever man, my father."
The man stood up, straightening his posture with a finality that bothered Kyra. "Well? What happened? What did he see?"
"He wouldn't say. All he would tell me was that if it weren't for that visitor, he would have died out there, either of exposure or from the bite he sustained."
The remark made them both laugh, Kyra thankful for the comic relief. "Alright, time to get going. Thank you for the story! Now, which way to the register?" She turns away and walks towards the area he shouted from, and the cashier passes her, chuckling quietly.
"This way, milady."
Kyra takes stock of the shelves as she walks by, grabbing a couple chocolate bars, some trail mix, a pack of gum and a roll of paper towels. Right around the corner, the cashier stands behind then counter waiting for her.
"Needed to find things before I bought them," she explained as she put them on the counter. He rings them out and bags them, giving her the total. After giving him the cash, she smiles.
"You've been great. Keep it up!"
The door, which Kyra opened very carefully, was the only barrier between her and the stifling heat. Just the few minutes she was inside the store were enough to heat her car up past a comfortable level and she cranks the AC to combat it. Tossing the bag in the front passenger seat, she pulls out s chocolate bar and opens it, breaking off a few squares to nibble on. Kyra pulls her phone out of her back pocket and checks for messages. Nothing. No service. She turns it off and tosses it in her purse, sitting in her driver seat, and closes the door.
She feels her anxiety flare up for a moment and closes her eyes, breathing slowly through the heart palpitations.
"Alright," she opens her eyes and puts on her seatbelt, "let's get this party started."
Kyra pulls out of the parking lot and towards her destination.
"Ah! Shut up!" Kyra taps the power button on her GPS forcefully. No more GPS from here on out. She slows down, eyeing the mile marker for her cue to pull off. 101.5 marks the location of her turn and she pulls in the small opening in the dense tree cover. Kyra smiles, parking the car and turning the key.
I never would have made it here without you, mom. She grabs her purse and phone, gets out and walks past her car, looking forward. Just ahead of her, the dense clouds open up and the sun showers the landscape with golden light. Kyra walks towards it, eyes aching from the sudden change from the thick cloud cover she's been driving through. She enters the light, feeling it warm her pale, freckled skin. She closes her eyes and breathes deep, recalling a memory.
"Kyra! Don't you think you're going to leave me with all of this junk!" Her mother peeks out from behind the station wagon, her face adorned with a snarky smile, bright white, a stark contrast from her dark, freckled complexion. The polar opposite of her daughter in looks, Breanna pulls a hair tie off of her wrist and knots her thick, chocolate brown mane at the top of her head, her bright, colorful bracelets quietly jingling as she moves her thick arms. Her brightly colored gown drapes just over her voluptuous form, falling just above her feet to reveal toenails painted several different colors, peeking out from a worn pair of Birkenstocks.
Seeing her mother takes Kyra's breath away. Afraid that blinking would wash her away, she tries to keep her eyes open in spite of the hot tears pooling just below her vision. Unable to fight it any longer, Kyra blinks the tears away, and with it, the vision of her mother.
She swallows hard at the lump in her throat while she walks towards the same station wagon in her vision, albeit a little worse for wear. She opens the trunk, sniffling. In front of her is a duffel bag, bohemian in looks, patched together from her mother's old dresses. To the left of the bag she has a small tent and a sleeping bag. Kyra pats the tent. "you've made it this far, old boy. Let's go on another adventure."
Kyra gives her car a once over, looking for anything she may have forgotten and locks up her car, tossing her keys and purse in the duffel, and begins walking towards the entrance to the trail, her hair and clothes clinging to her in the sticky midday heat. She takes her canteen off of the carabiner and takes a small sip, carefully closing the lid and clipping it back on her duffel. Just ahead is the opening to the trail, long since grown over from the days she and her mother would visit each summer to sleep under the stars.
The silence around her was deafening; nothing like the hustle and bustle of her day to day life. This quiet, secluded Eden feels more like home than anywhere else to Kyra; much closer to her mother than anywhere else. This is the first time she has been back since long before her mother passed, before she got sick.
Alright, where is that canoe?
Kyra sees something in the distance reflecting the sunlight, "ah!" She speeds up, eyes focused on the canoe so intently that she doesn't see the hole just over the knoll she's climbing. The sudden drop startles her, and she flails, throwing her tent and sleeping bag down just in time to get her arms out in front of her to break her fall. As soon as she lands, she rolls to the right and lands heavily on her pack. "Seriously?"
She stares up at the sky for a moment, allowing the waves of pain and frustration to slow. After a moment, she stands up, brushes herself off and walks to her discarded items and picks them up. Her heart still racing in her chest, Kyra shifts her pack around until it settles comfortably and walks on, the jolt of the fall still gripping at her muscles.
After a few minutes of slow, deliberate trekking, Kyra sees the rock face she's been searching for, and a sense of satisfaction washes over the frustration from her fall.
The rock face, a sharp 90 degree angle, looms over the tree line, marking w very different landscape as if it were carved out of another world. The deep green forest ends abruptly at the wall, and just beyond it is a desert. Blinking away the slight stinging pain from the light, Kyra takes in the view; faded red-browns and sandy tans a painful visual assault coming from the canopy cover. The desert stretches out as far as she can see, the summer heat dancing down towards the sandy floor, heat waves reflecting the sky and creating small mirage pools.
Kyra stands still, breathing slowly, grateful for the dry heat. Just beyond the protruded section of the wall is a small wooden structure that has been there long since before Kyra was born. Being so close to her goal renews her energy and she quickly walks towards the structure. Made up of gnarled, twisted wood bleached grey-white from the sun, unrelenting day after day this beautiful spire looks as though it shot up from the desert floor. Its original is not known to Kyra; she asked her mother once if she knew anything about it.
Drawing up a memory from a time long past, Kyra lays her hand on the blazing hot wood and closes her eyes, taking a deep breath. She exhales slowly and opens her eyes, the landscape before her drastically different.
Art by CORE.
Background from pixabay.