Corilan, 25, is an IT project manager by day, and spends her free time involved in ecological organizations endeavors. When her long-absent negligent father, Nolan, wants to see her she’s annoyed. Finally, she decides to see him and despite the friction over his absence, from that meeting her life evolves. Nolan tells her of his birthright, an environmental organization, the School of Ancestral Guidance (SAG) and its members having ancestral guides. This clarifies Corilan’s gift, a voice inside, something she has never revealed. Knowledge of SAG feeds her obsession against environmental destruction.
Then an invisible entity, Earthos, manifests itself to her and proposes assistance in uniting people that want earth preservation. Years, she has been seeking a way to unite conservationist factions and still has no solution. Inspired by her inheritance, she accepts Earthos’ proposal and infuses with him. Then, she joins the SAG organization. From her infusion, she soon discovers abilities, among them lightning bolt generation, mind reading and control.
Armed with powerful abilities and her ancestral guide, Corilan must take an unexpected path. Then she discovers who her real enemies are and must find a way to defeat them.
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Corilan closed the back door to her new place and carefully removed her siec, making sure the acidic residue of atmospheric particles did not make contact with anything. After taking off her gloves, she removed her ENAZ mask and placed it on one of the moving crates nearby. She examined her siec; a cloak made of biodegradable mesh that served as a sieve to catch and block atmospheric particles. The particles grew heavier after dark and attached to the fabric, creating large clumps of acidic residue that could easily rub off on her skin or quickly eat through more vulnerable materials. Two more wears, she figured. After she shoved her gloves in one of the siec’s pockets, she hung the cloak on the coatrack by the back door. The visibility lens and nasal filters in the mask could be cleaned later.
For nearly five years, this was the process she had gone through daily to go outside, and she was pissed. Life did not have to be this way—it was a widely known fact that the deterioration of the environment was caused by the actions of humans. Yet industry and national leadership chose to do nothing; nothing that was truly effective. She dreamed of finding a way to resolve the environmental problems, in spite of the indifference of corporate CEOs and government leaders. Her body became rigid, her teeth clenched; her hands tensed and became fists at the thought. Those avaricious, self-serving bastards! To lead opposition against the environmental status quo and reverse the damage, that’s what she wanted. Every time she put on her outer gear or removed it, these were the thoughts that filled her mind, leaving her helpless and frustrated. Ticked off that leadership was so obliging to industry . . .
Catching her runaway thoughts, she refocused her thinking and realized she was still standing by the back door.
Then she remembered what she had placed in her shoulder bag the day before the move. Her eyes scanned the tops of the moving crates and boxes stacked on the floor and furniture. She located her bag, browsed the contents, and found what she was seeking. Corilan stared at the letter in her hand. She had found the piece of cursive-written correspondence on the floor when she’d come home the day before the movers arrived, and had stuffed it in her shoulder bag without opening it and continued packing. Who took time to write hard copy anything anymore? Moving to the kitchen counter, closer to the light, she opened the letter.
March 27, 2040
My Dear Daughter,
I received your thank-you card. Good to hear from you. I hope you’ll be happy in your new place.
You are probably surprised to hear from me so soon, but as I said in my previous letter, I would like to see you. I know I have not been a part of your life since your mother died, but I have not forgotten you.
I would like to see you on the second Sunday of next month. I will be in Pond Park at 6:00 p.m. If you decide not to come, I will understand. No matter what happens, you will always be loved.
Corilan laid the letter on the counter and pursed her lips—Nolan Troxler, her father. So soon? She hadn’t expected he would respond at all. Why would he? This was his second letter to her in her life. No surprise that he felt unworthy. Really, there was no other way he should feel. She hadn’t seen him in a little over twenty years. Hell, she couldn’t even remember his voice. The way she looked at his message, it was as if he was telling her, “I’m here now, let’s be family? Oh, and by the way, you’ve got two weeks to decide.” What made him think he could just arrive in town and tell her that? She felt anger rise inside, and a flush of warmth swept over her. Okay, her father had been widowed early in his marriage, but did that mean he’d had to abandon her?
She pulled out her wallet and looked at the pictures of her parents that her grandmother had given her. They looked so happy in the photo. Her own hazel eyes and thick, wavy, amber brown hair were just like her mother’s. Why did her father stay away? It could not possibly be because of her mother’s biracial heritage, could it? He always knew her mother’s background, and it had not mattered before. What was it with him? The anger boiled up and flowed through the tears rushing down her cheeks. Why was she crying, anyway? She probably was not going to get to see him even if she agreed to the meet-up. Who knows, he might not have the backbone to face her. Seeing her in person would not be the same as writing to her. Just more disappointment for her, she thought.
This had to be some kind of ruse. Why would he just show up, after two decades of silence? What did he really want? After returning the pictures to her wallet, she put it in her bag along with the letter. Then she flipped the light switch off and strolled over to the window, pulled the drapes aside, and gazed outside.
Dressed with the window’s dirty splotches, the polluted air looked like misshapen corporeal images. One thing was certain: No matter where she moved, she could never get away from the air pollution choking out Earth’s natural environment. For a moment, she stared at a hazy gray spot glowing in the darkness; probably the moon. She rubbed her eyes and shifted her thoughts. She liked this new, small, quiet community in Bowie, Maryland. It suited her well—not rowdy with people coming and going constantly. Most likely the neighbors were aware of the vacant detached townhouse in their cul-de-sac. They would awaken to a new resident on their block.
A problem with broken windows and the words “queen bitch” graffitied on her vehicle, along with feces smeared on her apartment door, more than once, had prompted her to contact law enforcement. She suspected Arley Hackett, a terminated employee from her job, but could not prove he was the vandal. The police’s recommendation was that she should move. “For your safety,” they had said. Her instructions to the movers had been an unmarked truck and a night move. She felt like a thief, and her paranoia was growing. What if the vandal found her new residence?
“Stay alert and be prudent, and know that you’re doing the right thing,” the voice inside her head said.
“I didn’t move here to continue glancing over my shoulder and wondering if I would have a skunk carcass or worse at my front door,” she shot back, annoyed with herself for being jumpy. Why was she so afraid, anyway? Communication with or from the voice was part of her life. As far back as she could remember, Innerme, her name for the voice she thought of as being male, had spoken to her, guiding her whenever she sought help; sometimes when she didn’t ask.
“You have done all you can do, except perhaps get a security system installed. Think about it. Would it make you feel safer? Relax you from being so uptight? You put yourself in a pins-and-needles state on your job daily, but you enjoy it. You do not need negative stress, and the vandalism problems are exactly that.”
“Maybe the security system would help. I’ll find out more and think about it,” she replied, calmed from her prior outburst.
Stepping away from the window, she glanced at the television. Probably not a good idea to turn it on, but at least it would soften the amplified silence. After plugging in the TV, she made a space on the couch and slumped down, resting her head on the pink and green cotton quilt made by her grandmother. Exhausted yet restless, she would never get to sleep now. Nerves, and not knowing what might happen if she slept, made her resist her weariness. If only her Scottish terrier, Sir Henry, were with her instead of in the kennel where she’d placed him until she was settled. She’d feel less uneasy.
Her father’s request to meet flooded her thoughts again. Had he been watching her? How had he known about her moving plans? Being suspicious made sense, but she had to admit that curiosity was overwhelming her. Why now, after all this time?
In the last six months, her father had paid off all her student loans. That in itself was pretty fantastic, but she wondered why he hadn’t contributed to her tuition while she was actually in college.
She considered the benefits of getting to know her father. Having a blood relative to visit and do things with on occasion might be nice. Well, only if they had similar interests. What if he wanted to control her life, tell her what she should do, criticize her choices, insert himself in every aspect of her life? He might not see her as an adult. In his mind’s eye, he might still think of her as a five-year-old and treat her like one. Just the thought caused her to sit up and stretch.
On the other hand, what if she were sick or dying? Would he be there for her or would he disappear for another decade, or let her die alone? She knew she would be there for him if she made him a part of her life.
After all, she reminded herself, there wasn’t a line of people waiting to befriend her. She had always felt like she did not belong, did not fit in, and she was okay with that. Going her own way, doing her thing was the code she lived by. Maybe getting to know her father would lead to something fresh and more interesting in her life. That definitely would interest her.
During her college years, she had spent her time studying, working with the Chesapeake Bay restoration program, attending environmental conventions, and occasionally going roller-skating. Not the types of activities one would find most students doing. She’d had two college boyfriends, but she had not been willing to allow time for them outside of her preferred activities, and they soon went their own ways.
Since finishing college at the University of Maryland and entering the workforce, she had not taken time for social activities: no skating, no get-togethers, no physical participation in environmental projects. Getting ahead in her career had been her primary concern, and now she wondered if that had been entirely the best decision. Although, thinking back on her past social experiences at parties, dating, and spending time with her peer group, social encounters had always been slim. Perhaps her choice was just her way of doing what she always had: focusing on what was most important that she could do, undisturbed by the social tides around her.
Interacting with more than a few people made her feel tense. One instance specifically stood out in her mind. College students who were not members of fraternity or sorority communities often spent social time together, and she was a part of that group. On those few occasions when she did hang out, she had observed and listened to everyone’s snipes, constant negative remarks, and other idle chatter, which never interested her. While at a pizza restaurant one evening, she had asked, “Has anyone read the latest news on U.S. environmental issues?” Chatter at the table shut down that instant. Everyone stared at her. Finally, one of the guys said, “No. We’re all in denial.” Laughter flooded the group and everyone acted as if she had not spoken. That had been her last group activity.
At her job, she could be all business and was considered an A-plus employee. Since the days of socializing at work were a relic of the past, current workforces were smaller with maximum output expected.
Aside from the chance to expand her social life, she might also be able to expand her knowledge of her family background, which was currently limited to what her grandparents had told her about her mother. If she got to know her father, she might be able to explain things about herself. Why she had a voice that talked to her. Why she was so obsessed with taking action against leadership and industry for not establishing the effective regulations needed to preserve the environment. Were these not reasons enough to meet with her father? Admittedly, she was very curious about her family tree.
Her thoughts faded as she drifted off to sleep.