DEATH BEFORE BOYS

Parts 3 & 4

DEATH+BEFORE+BOYS

JoElle Coats, Staff Writer

*Disclaimer: this book is for ages 13 and up*

Part 3- Royal Research

 The next day, I still remembered the warnings my “dad” had given me but it was obviously just a dream so I acted normal, ate breakfast with my mom, dad, and sister, did schoolwork (well homework) and then proceeded to binge-watch some K-dramas. It wasn’t until I watched a new drama that I started to take my dream seriously. The lessons I had learned from these dramas had always been true so how could their suspicions about dreams be any different? They told me that what may seem like a mere dream is most likely hooked to a past life or a future experience. While I don’t believe in past lives because I’m a Christian, I also trusted the drama and so I did some research. While crunching on some french toast cereal I sat at my desk and yanked out my keyboard, dusted the crumbs off my hands, put on my glasses, and began with my master researching skills. After a few searches, I found a few articles talking about how the you right now is a result of what decisions you made in your past life yada yada yada, but then I stumbled upon something that stood out to me: “The KOAK: The way the royal family describes your meaningless dreams” My first thought was what the heck does KOAK mean? but then I asked myself a more serious question what royal family? I only knew England had a queen Elizabeth or 2 but my mom always ranted of the many royal families in Europe. Maybe if I cared to listen I would know but listening isn’t my cup of tea.

After scrolling Instagram for a few hours and giving my sis the daily lecture about why she should never date or get married to a boy, I laid face down on my bed. Still at the back of my mind was this article “The KOAK, the royal family” UGHHHH what does it mean? After realizing I have no friends to ask about this problem, I went to the kitchen and asked my mom, who’s an expert in royal gossip. After listening to her rant about whatever it was she was ranting about she finally answered my question in a way I couldn’t understand, of course. 

“WOW thanks, mom, that was so helpful,” I said trying to be sarcastic.

“Yeah no problem, sweety, hey speaking of helpful do you mind helping me bake some cookies on your birthday?” 

(I wasn’t very good at being sarcastic when I tried) Dismissing that last question I left in a flash to try to figure out those big words my mom was using.

Dictionary.com, Wikipedia, and aaahhh here it is on History.nl

“The royal family of The kingdom of Aloy (KOAK) was the richest family in all of the 6 kingdoms on the lands of which are now known as the United States.”

I wasn’t too fond of history but I learned to “listen” to my mom’s royal gossip so I may have become a bit interested in the love affairs, wait no not the love affairs, but the killings that happen in royal families. Romance isn’t my type unless it’s a Kdrama, but murder mysteries could kill my ADHD any day. 

After reading more in-depth, I got stuck upon this lingering thought in my head. “Am I related to this? If so, why do I seem to remember the events described from the 1700s?  Could this all just be my creativity or was my intuition really something I should listen to?” 

With those questions in my head, I somehow fell asleep, allowing me to get pulled back into yet another familiar place.

 

Part 4 – The Messenger

 

The dream started in what looked like a fairytale land. The grass was perfectly green (which definitely was not normal for winter.) It was almost fake-looking– except for the fact that it smelt like grass. Around me were plants of all kinds, a healthy pond with a fountain, and a colorful cherry blossom tree sprung up right in front of me. I would’ve gone up to take a picture except I was stuck… my feet felt like they were glued by the wetness of the grass. I could move my tanned arms, but my feet wouldn’t budge. The air around me felt heavier than normal, and I felt like I was being watched. Then I heard “MAKK.” At first, I thought it was an animal, but then I realized it was coming from the leaves of the blossom tree. What the heck? Am I in a movie or something? Oh, wait, right this is a dream, so anything can happen. With that in mind, I let out a huge sigh of relief, but while letting my guard down, a tiger jumped out from the bush behind me (Don’t ask me how I knew this, it seems like I dream in the third person and first person at the same time) My blood was boiling, so I could imagine how tasty I smelled to him, wait her? I don’t know. Now I don’t typically care for animals, but besides the fact that it was now in front of me and looking at me like, I was a sort of gourmet dessert. It was kinda cute. It had very beautiful black stripes with amazingly groomed golden fur, its eyes looked like the cute watery eye emoji and he seemed to hold a slight smile. Taking a closer look into its sweet golden eyes, my heart suddenly shifted. I felt like I could see its soul through its eyes and I seemed to know the soul. Then, all of a sudden, it jumped up like it was gonna pounce on me. The first thoughts I had were “Oh great now I have to go back to the real world, uhh school” and “maybe I’ll miss telling my sister why boys are not good” while forgetting that this was a dream. After those thoughts, I then resorted to more important thoughts, “Can you really die in a dream?” and “If I die, will anyone miss me? I literally have no friends…” After those depressing thoughts, the tiger that was now mid-air about to pounce on my head, turned into specs, almost like glittery puzzle pieces, and vanished. Now, standing in its spot was a man with his back faced towards me in a black trench coat. Despite his amazing fashion sense, I wanted to compliment his dramatic entrance, but before I could, he glanced back at me and smirked.  I don’t know if he could read my thoughts or what, but I was just wishing that he would turn into a female because I couldn’t stand the sight of him. When he turned completely with his coat twirling gracefully behind him and smoke floating in the air that was spirling around his presence, I must have rolled my eyes because he said with his deep, manly voice, “Annie! I get that you don’t like boys let alone handsome men, but please try to keep that to yourself. You can’t hate every man because someday you might need one to protect you.” With an angry glance, I puckered my lip and blurted “EXCUSE ME ‘sir’ but the fact is men are bad, and I can’t be soft and allow empathy to take over, plus I can hate who I want to. I don’t think you, a stranger can tell me who I can and can’t hate. And even if I somehow pretended to like one, how could they possibly protect me even more than I can myself?” He must have been stunned by my response because he stood there with his hands crossed for a while, examining me up and down. He then placed a finger on his chin and finally made a peep, “Hmmm, very interesting indeed.” I crossed my arms, covering myself from his eyes. “Ewww all men are perverts indeed” I complained.

“I’ll have you know Annie, I’m not a man in fact, but a simple messenger,” he said, thinking that would make any difference.

“Ok well surely your fashion sense is better than men, but maybe you just watched a lot of Kdramas. It doesn’t mean you aren’t a man,” I said with certainty. 

“Welp, I don’t know what that is, but I am indeed not one of those things, those things are far under me in this world.” 

I suddenly felt the urge to high-five him, but I held back because, even if he wasn’t a man, he still looked like and deceived like one.”This is nonsense why am I even here can’t I just go to sleep?”

“Honey you ARE asleep” he reminded me. “Oh yeah, but can this actually be considered sleep because I was told sleep was supposed to be peaceful, but men don’t fit this criteria,” I said with a serious face.

“Oh, right I suppose I forgot to deliver the message from the king. He said it was urgent, but one tends to forget when traveling to dreams. He said he’d like to speak with you at once about your upcoming mission.” At first, I thought he said king, but then I realized that’s exactly what he just said, and so I turned to him urgently. “KING?!? What king? The only king I know of off the top of my head is the Pharaoh of Egypt, and I suppose he wouldn’t like to speak with someone like me?” ..Well, that and he’s dead I noted.

“The king of KOAK,” he said like I was supposed to know who that was or something. Then I suddenly remembered what I’d read before bed “The KOAK: Kingdom of Aloy Kooly” I thought about this being too big of a coincidence, but dismissed the thought of being related to this “king” that was probably pranking me right now.

“Okay so this ‘king’ and the mission he talks of, where do I meet him?”

“In your connector of course”

“Connector?” 

“Yes, the thing that connects you with the very kingdom you were born in… why do you sound confused? I suppose the people you’re living with haven’t informed you?” He said seeming annoyed.

Before I could make my parents look bad, everything started to fade. The grass was disappearing, patch by patch and then the whole landscape just went black. Then I heard the man say in an echoing voice “You have the power, just train your soul and steer it where you want it to go, Good luck. I hope we’ll meet again Annabeth”

And like that, I awoke, forgetting that I still had the history.nl tab open from the night before. It was now morning because my room was lit, but I couldn’t help but ponder upon what I’d just saw and heard. This was the day when I decided to discover my true identity, but it took me until this week to figure out that trying to figure out who I was, probably wasn’t the best idea.