By: Alexis Donkin
Copyright 2011, Alexis Donkin
All rights reserved.
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There are always three. Legends always have three obstacles - three challenges to prove the hero's worth, three paths to be taken. That should have tipped me off. The problem is, when you're sixteen, you don't understand the implications of a glance, a touch, or a joke. It's all one giant experiment you orchestrate on yourself – something you can't fully know until you're looking back at it many years later. At that time, I was hardly contemplating the nature of my life. I wasn't even concerned about starting another year at yet another school, where I'd once again be the new girl.
It was a cool September day when I first encountered them. I remember autumn came early and leaves were falling slowly in the brisk air. Those remaining on the trees were bright orange, gold, and the deepest of reds. Trees, like all living things, act according to how things feel, not a schedule determined by some outside force. So far north, the time line was different. Mostly, we had lived in the South where it was green year round. But here, in the Northeast, autumn comes early every year. There was more than one Indian legend about such things, but at the time I couldn't remember any of them clearly. I was in a mixed state of shock and dread. Once again my life was changing faster than I wanted, courtesy of my mother. The trees seemed to sympathize, crying red and yellow leaves.