Anguish held Sierra’s innards in a viselike grip, compressing, squeezing them. Her father. Dead. No. Please don’t let it be true. “Are you sure?” she finally managed to ask.
“Yes. I received a call right before your graduation started. When you started glowing I knew….” Gran trailed off. She removed one palm from the steering wheel and placed it on Sierra’s hand. For once, her touch brought no warmth or comfort.
Tears filled Sierra’s eyes. “Glowing, like you were?” she choked out. She needed to focus on something, distract herself. Because her dad couldn’t be gone.
Gran took a deep breath. “I wish we’d prepared you better for this, but until today, there were no signs. We expected you to remain human and never receive your powers.”
Sierra sat completely still. Maybe Gran not making any sense was a good sign. Maybe this was all a dream. Yes, it had to be, right? In a few minutes, she would wake up and go to her graduation ceremony. Dad would be standing next to Gran, clapping.
“Sierra, I need you to listen carefully and please keep an open mind. I believe that Heath was murdered to make it easier to come after you. You’re a very rare type of supernatural.” The soft flesh on Gran’s chin wobbled. “Until today, I had hoped you could lead a normal life, but you can’t now that your aura and powers are manifesting.”
If this was all a dream, Sierra decided there was no harm in playing along. Perhaps if she fulfilled her role, this trial would end sooner. “Is the green hue around you your aura?”
Gran nodded. “Yes, like you, I’m also a supernatural—a human with powers. My green aura affirms I’m a Guardian. Your mother was also a Guardian like me. Your father was a Dragoon and had a red aura. Guardians and Dragoons are two of the four Ardere types, which are humans with special powers—supernaturals.”
Sierra shook her head. Done with this nightmare, she pinched herself. Nothing. “I want to wake up.” She massaged her temples. “This is not happening. I want to see my father.”
“Sierra, I’m so sorry.” Tears colored Gran’s frail voice.
Why did everything feel so real? Could it really be happening? Sierra’s stomach heaved. She swallowed several times and brought her palm to her mouth. “Stop! Stop the car!”
As soon as the vehicle came to a standstill, she flung her door open and threw up. When her stomach was empty, she dry-heaved. She wiped her mouth with her knuckles and reached into the back seat to grab a water bottle, trying to wash out the acrid taste.
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