The sight of a girl running down the street is not uncommon in the city. Folks there are accustomed to seeing unusual things and never thinking twice about it. A running teenager is hardly noticed by the crowds of pedestrians too busy to wonder about why she looks so frightened. And the fact that she was crying had no impact on their lives. Jade dashed across the streets, snarled with traffic and brushed her way past the crowds. Her lungs were burning and she gasped for air, but she pressed on toward home. She saw the out reaches of her neighborhood as the traffic began to thin and the tree became more plentiful. As she approached the tree-lined, cobblestone street that her home dwelled on, she slowed her pace to a walk and tried to compose her self. It was unlikely any of the neighbors would even care, but there was no sense in taking any chances they might notice her.
Jade slipped through the front gate and began to wind her way alongside the large wrought iron fence that bordered the estate. She kept to the shadows and made her way to the large gardens that stretched behind the home. She knew that the gardener Miguel would not be working outside for a few more hours because she knew when her parents were away he always stole time away to spend with Rosalia in the house. Her parents did not have a clue about the romance, but Jade—given the amount of time she spent home—could not help but notice. She didn’t care, but it came in handy at times like these.
Jade made her way toward a large fir tree that would provide her with concealment from the house. When she was little she used to hide underneath its comforting branches--so thick only the heaviest of rain could break through. She slumped against the trunk of the tree, smelling the fragrant aroma of sap, and closed her eyes. She felt her heart pounding through her chest and tears running down her face. After a while she calmed down enough to dry her face and look at her hands. She inspected her palms and found nothing out of the ordinary. Her skin appeared perfectly normal. She turned her hands over but saw nothing unusual about the tops of them either. She was absolutely puzzled by the events that took place earlier. Had she imagined it?
Jade was deep in thought when she was startled by a snapping twig behind her. She spun around and saw blue-green bolts of lightening burst upward into the branches and a man dive to the ground. Jade began to scramble away on her hands and knees, screaming in terror. She did not know how he had found her but she was convinced her attacker had returned. She struggled to run away but stopped when she heard, “Jade!” Jade stopped at the sound of her name—how did he know her name? She turned slowly and saw Miguel cringe and duck. He looked at her hands then her face with a wild-eyed look. He looked as confused as Jade felt. Jade stood there helplessly searching for words to explain something she couldn’t. Miguel spoke first. “Ms. Jade, we need to talk.”