I, of course, had finished school forever with, literally, flying colors and was enjoying my summer off with my sisters and parents. I got to be with my friends, and I went on adventures, like everyone should. We dinked around as kids are supposed to do, but every once in a while we’d talk about stuff, usually just the three of us, in the warmth of the sun and the cool damp of the grass. I couldn’t directly understand Umala, so Ashlee translated. Ashlee was a short-term telepathic, and Umala “said” she was something like an atmospheric manipulator or telekinetic thingy, capable of changing the effects of the air around her and the granting the knowledge to help others access it. I told them about my terrors, or what I felt they ought to know, and made some use of my time writing stories and drawing pictures. We often wondered how our abilities would be useful, but we knew God had made us to be part of His plan, so we trusted in Him and prayed together.
Over time, and with a stronger faith, I found that some of the scars of the night left on my nerves faded and became dormant. I slept better and had more regular dreams of sunshine and friends and flying and cool story ideas and fun stuff that’s impossible, like walking on clouds, and zooming through galaxies, and even seeing a place like Heaven, where you’re enjoying it so much you’re almost a little bummed to wake up. It was all normal, and it was all good.
Until one night I dreamt of the burning tree again and woke up screaming.
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