Since I had my own consciousness, I immediately knew... Felt... That I was different from the rest of the people in our small little village. A village so small that no more than 12 houses are built here with a small market and clinic.
For the past years, I've been trying to fit in. To feel that I truly belonged here... But that was so difficult. Much more difficult than having to live alone as a four year old up until now.
Yes, I was taken in by a family when I was a baby but they detested it. They hated me for some unknown reason. On my fourth birthday, they set me 'free'. But did I wanted to be free? No. I wanted to be one of them. Be a part of them.
"There she is. The cursed child." I heard a woman say and as I turned to her direction, she flinched and held her child closer. "You are never, by all means, to come close to that woman. Do you understand?" she said firmly.
"But why?" two sweet innocent eyes met my gaze "She seems nice." he said.
"She is cursed! Don't look at her!" she shouted, catching the attention of the other villagers as she covered her son's eyes before leaving.
It's always been like this. The villagers treat me as a curse and I have no idea why. As much as I wanted to be with them, feel their warmth, I decided long ago to stay indoors. To stay in this little greenhouse they seemingly built for me.
The greenhouse didn't have anything else but plants. No furniture. Nothing. What I eat are fruits and there is a small well deep enough to sustain me water. It was like my own personal protective haven and I have learned to love it here.
Although at times, when I wanted to look at the skies and stars, I would venture out just like tonight.
I have always wondered why they treat me as a curse. I walked to the nearest river and looked at my reflection on the still but flowing waters.
Is it because of my eyes? My complexion? My hair? Everything about me?
I had deep emerald eyes. The villagers' were black.
I had fair complexion. The villagers were tan.
I had long and wavy golden hair. The villagers had black.
My features were screaming different and I hated it. I hated my eyes. I hated my complexion. I hated my hair. I hated my whole being.
I sat down and dipped my feet on the water. Laid my back down so I could have better... No, a perfect view of the skies.
No matter how many times I look at the stars, they never fail to amaze me. Despite their growing distance from each other, the difference in sizes and color, and the difference of their light, they belonged. They belonged together and it makes me yearn for the same.
I immediately rose up when I heard a broken twig not so far from where I laid.
"Who's there?" I asked with voice so firm. "Come on out. I won't hurt you."
The bush begin to shake and out came the little boy from before. He smiled shyly at me before walking towards me with his little hands fidgeting on his stomach.
"I..I'm sorry I didn't m-mean to disturb." he shyly said. "I'll leave if you want me to." I took a good look of him from head to toe. I noticed a few wounds on his arms and legs, to which I had never seen a while ago.
"What happened to you?" I asked softly and the shy smile fell from his face.
"My mother hit me." he replied.
"Because I broke my brother's toy." I couldn't believe my ears. This little boy was hit just for breaking a toy?
"How old are you?" I continued to ask.
"Four." he smiled and showed me five of his fingers which made me smile.
"That's five." I said, reaching out to his small fingers to tuck one of them back. I felt a bit happy that he didn't flinch against my touch "Now, that's four."
"Oh. This is four." he said, amazed.
"Has no one taught you that?" I asked.
"No. But my brother learned this. He teaches me sometimes... When he's got time." he said.
"And your brother? How old is he?"
Ten... Is his mother playing favorites here? That's so... Sad... And I felt even sadder when I looked at his wounds again.
"Come here." I said while tapping the grass beside me, motioning him to sit and he did.
"Do you want to see something magical?" I asked and hid brows furrowed.
"Mother told me magic doesn't exist." he said.
"But mother's aren't always right." I smiled "Dip your feet on to the water."
"Why?" he asked with so much innocence.
"You'll see." he slowly dipped his feet unto the water and flinched. "It's cold."
I closed my eyes and held one of his hands. I took a deep breath and started to hum a sweet melody as I performed my magic.
Yes, my magic.
A small amount of water crawled unto his small feet, passing through each wounds and bruises up to his arms, effectively healing them.
I would never exhibit such magic to the villagers, afraid that they'd treat me more and more like a curse. But this time, the sight of black and purple against this sweet little boy ticked a string inside of me.
I couldn't bare see someone hurt, let alone a child.
"It's gone! It doesn't hurt anymore!" he exclaimed with surprise.
"Magic." I smiled as I stroked his head.
"You are amazing, sister." he said, his face beaming.
What a wonderful word.
"Say, why do the rest of our neighbors stay away from you?" he asked.
"I am said to be a curse. A terrifying curse." I said with a sad smile.
"But you don't look terrifying." He said "You look like the beautiful, beautiful sun." his innocent eyes sparkled with admiration while mine slowly teared up.
"You think I'm beautiful?"
"Yeah!" he grinned. "What's your name, sister? Mine is Marui." he asked.
Name? No one had dared ask me that... Then again, I wouldn't have anything to reply.
"I... I don't have a name." I said, gazing back at the stars.
"Really? But don't parents give their child names right after they are born?" He asked, innocent curiosity clearly showing from his face.
"I have no actual parents. The earth gave birth to me and I lived alone." I replied and he fell silent. His cute little mouth pouting, as if he was thinking something.
"The earth gives birth?!" Marui asked in shock and I just nodded in response.
"Where do you think everything you see in this world came from?" I asked as I stroked his brown hair. "The animals, the plants, the waters, the flames, they are my siblings."
"Wow... You have a really big family then." he said with a huge smile on his face. "Well, I can't keep calling you sister, right?"
"Hmm." I responded. "Is there anything else you want to call me then?" I asked.
"Like give you a name?!" he asked back in surprise and I looked at his small face.
"Wow! Okay, okay. Let me think of something." his cuteness made me giggle a bit. I've never had this much conversation with a person from our village.
This was my very first real interaction with a villager.
"You look like the sun but Sun is such an ugly name... I wonder what else is gold." he murmured and I waited patiently, gazing back at the stars once more.
I felt him look at me and I met his gaze. "If your mother was the earth..." he said, his lips slowly turning up to a smile. "Then you should be named after her, right? The earth is beautiful just as you are." he shouted in delight.
"From now on, I'll call you Gaia." he said with a blinding smile on his face.
Gaia... I like it.
I wanted to cry. In happiness. For the first time in my twenty years of existence, I felt like I belonged... Because of a name. Because of this sweet child.
"Thank you." I said, showing him my most genuine smile "Gaia it is."
Since that night, little Marui would come to me to the river bank and sit with me. I'd bring fruits for us to eat and I'd show him a few magic tricks that I learned as I grew up.
My magic still amuses me. Maybe it's one thing about me that I didn't hate. The way my fingers would glow when I use my magic was beautiful. I have been able to control the water, the earth, the wind, and the flames. The day I found out about my magic was the day I initially had given up trying to fit in from the villagers.
I confirmed... A hundred percent... That I didn't belong here.
Although I still, at the back of my mind, deny it and wished, from the bottom of my heart, that this was my home. My real home.
The village had never felt like home, not until Marui came to me. He would tell me stories about the villagers. Play with my hair and adorn it with flowers. Sometimes, I would use my magic a little bit to make him float in the air. Give him the will to fly but just low enough that no one would see and I'd just be on the ground, hugging my knees as I watch him enjoy his night.His giggles were music to my ears and would always put my heart and mind at peace. I wished for these nights to last longer... Forever.
But it was cut short.
Marui stopped coming to me. I'd wait a few night but he never showed.
One morning, as I tended to the plants outside my greenhouse since I can't obviously use my magic here in public, I heard things I never wanted to hear.
No, it wasn't the usual name calling the villagers would always do. It didn't matter to me at all.In fact, I felt like my sense of hearing was gone. No... Like I lost all of my senses.
"She's at it again. Poor boy."
"Yes... she's beating up her bastard again."
"Goodness gracious. Poor Marui."
I hurried to the house Marui described to me as his home and there I saw was the most horrible thing I have ever seen.
A middle aged woman was on top of little Marui, strangling him as he struggled from her tight grip.
"I'm...sorry...mother." Marui managed to speak but it made the mother angrier.
"You useless child!" her grip on his tiny neck got tighter until I heard a horrible snap. Marui's hands slowly dropped unto the floor as his eyes let go of one final tear.
"Mother!" a ten year old boy, whom I assume was Marui's older brother, ran through me and pushed the woman off of the little boy.
I was too late... His small body in the arms of his crying brother. There were strangle marks on his small fragile neck and blood dripped from his left temple.
"Marui, stay with me." his brother pleaded while rocking his little brother back and forth. On the corner was whom I assume their father, frozen in shock.
"Brother, please. Open your eyes." he kept pleading. My eyes searched for one person I knew was to blame.
There... Sitting on the dining table looking horrified with the sight of her children.
"What have you done?!" Marui's brother screamed in anger at his mother. "What have you done..."
"I... I didn't mean to. I-it was an a-accident!" the mother said in defense.
"Poor boy." I heard one of the villagers say. Only then had I noticed that people were gathering behind me and even more so that they didn't seem to see me.
They were so near to me. Near enough that I could feel their warmth but they couldn't see me.That was when I looked myself at the glass on the door of Marui's home.
Come to think of it... Marui's brother ran right through me...
I was glowing. ... And my eyes... The emerald iris were gone but my entire eyes glowed green. My ears became pointed and I grew at least a bit taller than everyone else.
But most importantly...
I felt madness.
The sight of Marui's lifeless body made me lose all sense of rationality that I had. The calmness that I used to have seemed to disappear.
I knew I wasn't being myself.
But I also knew this was still me.
A big part of me.
"You." As soon as I uttered a word, I felt everyone's gazes at me.
"The cursed child! Move away!" the villagers behind me scattered as my feet slowly rose from the ground.
"What are you doing here?!" the mother frantically asked "You cursed child! This is your fault! You cursed my family, didn't you?!" she's going mad
"What are you saying mother?!"
"You bitch! You killed my son!" she lunged at but I flicked my wrist, sending her flying away and crashing into the wall.
"Now you dare blame me for your sins." I said and I felt angrier.
"Ha! I knew that stupid boy was seeing you every night! You tainted my son! You cursed him with death!" she said, pointing her small human finger at me.
"I am not the monster." I said "You are."
I raised my hands up in the air and felt my magic unfold.
"You have murdered this sweet innocent child." I continued to say. I could smell the fear of every villager and it was so sweet. Their fear of me smelled so sweet.
The earth started to crumble.
The wind felt humid and strong.
The waters from the river became rigid.
The flames from the torches of each house grew bigger, consuming each houses with it's crimson red hue and heat.
"Our house! It's burning!"
"Make her stop!"
Marui's brother stayed still, looking at me. He wasn't scared of me. Instead, like his brother Marui, he looked at me with awe and admiration. It made me hurt more.
Hurt about Marui.
Hurt about what I'm about to do.
Hurt about finally letting go and accepting the fact that I could never belong.
I will never belong.