Extract from : The Power of Six

My name is Marina, as of the sea, but I wasn’t called that until much later. In the beginning I was known merely as Seven, one of the nine surviving Garde from the planet Lorien, the fate of which was, and still is, left in our hands. Those of us who aren’t lost. Those of us still alive. I was six when we landed. When the ship jolted to a halt on Earth, even at my young age I sensed how much was at stake for us – nine Cêpan, nine Garde – and that our only chance waited for us here. We had entered the planet’s atmosphere in the midst of a storm of our own creation, and as our feet found Earth for the very first time, I remember the wisps of steam that rolled off the ship and the goose bumps that covered my arms. I hadn’t felt the wind in a year, and it was freezing outside. Somebody was there waiting for us. I don’t know who he was, only that he handed each Cêpan two sets of clothes and a large envelope. I still don’t know what was in it.

As a group we huddled together, knowing we might never see one another again. Words were spoken, hugs were given, and then we split up, as we knew we must, walking in pairs in nine different directions. I kept peering over my shoulder as the others receded in the distance until, very slowly, one by one, they all disappeared. And then it was just Adelina and I, trudging alone in a world we knew next to nothing about. I realize now just how scared Adelina must have been. I remember boarding a ship headed to some unknown destination. I remember two or three different trains after that. Adelina and I kept to ourselves, huddled against each other in obscure corners, away from whoever might be around. We hiked from town to town, over mountains and across fields, knocking on doors that were quickly slammed in our faces. We were hungry, tired, and scared. I remember sitting on a sidewalk begging for change. I remember crying instead of sleeping. I’m certain that Adelina gave away some of our precious gems from Lorien for nothing more than warm meals, so great was our need. Perhaps she gave them all away. And then we found this place in Spain. A stern-looking woman I would come to know as Sister Lucia answered the heavy oak door. She squinted at Adelina, taking in her desperation, the way her shoulders drooped. ‘Do you believe in the word of God?’ the woman asked in Spanish, pursing her lips and narrowing her eyes in scrutiny.

‘The word of God is my vow,’ Adelina replied with a solemn nod. I don’t know how she knew this response – perhaps she learned it when we stayed in a church basement weeks ago – but it was the right one. Sister Lucia opened the door.

We’ve been here ever since, eleven years in this stone convent with its musty rooms, drafty hallways, and hard floors like slabs of ice. Aside from the few visitors, the internet is my only source to the world outside our small town; and I search it constantly, looking for some indication that the others are out there, that they’re searching, maybe fighting. Some sign that I’m not alone, because at this point I can’t say that Adelina still believes, that she’s still with me. Her attitude changed somewhere over the mountains. Maybe it was with the slam of one of the doors that shut a starving woman and her child out in the cold for another night. Whatever it was, Adelina seems to have lost the urgency of staying on the move, and her faith in the resurgence of Lorien seems to have been replaced by the faith shared by the convent’s Sisters. I remember a distinct shift in Adelina’s eyes, her sudden speeches on the need for guidance and structure if we were to survive. My faith in Lorien remains intact. In India, a year and a half ago, four different people witnessed a boy move objects with his mind. While the significance behind the event was small at first, the boy’s abrupt disappearance shortly thereafter created much buzz in the region, and a hunt for him began. As far as I know, he hasn’t been found.