May 24, 2016

Half the Sparkle- The Story of Gemstone


“Afraid to be called something so babyish, Gemma?” Meredith laughed.
“Stop,” I growled. “My name is Gemstone. You know that very well.”
“Sure,” Meredith laughed again. “Change your name if you hate that nickname so much.”
“I've changed my name once. Once was enough.”
“Fine,” Merideth said. “Gem then.”
“That's not much better.”
“Why?”
“Let me tell you.”
“Come on!” Gemma nudged me with her snout. “Gem! Move your tail! You're blocking the door!”
“We're not allowed out of the cave without Mommy,” I replied.
“Please?” Gemma begged. “She's sleeping! She won't even notice.”
“Fine,” I growled, moving my tail. “But we should be quick. She could wake up anytime.”
Gemma nodded excitedly. I think my words just went in one ear and out the other. Gemma darted out the door and into the clearing, just a few feet through the trees concealing the cave entrance. I followed close behind her. I had to say, it was nice not having Mommy tell us to be careful every thirty seconds. I knew that it was dangerous to be outside without protection, but I would be alert.
Gemma seemed to buzz all over with excitement. I felt almost sick. I was scared to be outside alone. Gemma didn't seem to care at all, hopping up and down and fluttering her wings. Her wings weren't strong enough to get her off the ground yet, but she didn't mind.
It was then that we heard a loud crack from the woods.
“Gemma?” I whispered. “Can we go back now?” She ignored me.
“Gemma?” I blew a cloud of flames into her face. “Can we go in?”
“It's thunder, Gem. Stop being so paranoid.” Gemma loved the word paranoid, ever since Mommy had used it to describe dragon hunters.
“Paranoid, that's what they are. Scared that such big and powerful creatures are going to go picking them off for fun,” she had said. Hunters seemed about the same to us, with their sticks that could kill. Mommy said they were called “guns.”
I looked above me. The sky was cloudy, but it didn't look like rain. “I don't think it's thunder, Gemma.”
Gemma snorted and continued with her game. I really wanted to go back in, but I was afraid to leave Gemma out here by herself. If I wasn't so scared, we'd probably be in the woods by now.
I saw a flash of white behind a tree. My heart dropped.
“Gemma!” I screamed. “RUN!”
Gemma looked up just in time to see a hunter step out from behind the tree. I ran for the cave, not even looking to see if she was behind me. I could hear her thundering steps. I blew flames at the men behind us, and heard a shot fired. Gemma screamed in pain.
“Mommy!” I shouted. “Mommy!” I kept running, tears starting to leak down my face. Don't cry, I told myself. Don't cry.
Mommy heard me, and came charging out of the cave. “Go,” she told me. “Keep running.” I obeyed. My sides hurt so much I could barely breathe. My legs burned, but I kept running. I didn't stop until I reached the cave.
Now all I remember is her scream. That horrible, haunting, heartbreaking scream is the last I remember. I don't even remember making it back to the cave, only running.
Several minutes later, Mommy returned. Alone. I stared at her with teary eyes, hoping what I saw wasn't true.
Mommy whispered, “Yes,” and then didn't speak. I could see the near invisible tears in her eyes. Gemma was gone.
Mommy didn't speak again until bedtime. “Gemstone,” she whispered as she tucked her tail around me. “I love you.” The nest felt cold and empty without Gemma. I didn't know if I could even sleep without her scream plaguing my dreams. I was afraid. I missed my sister.
“Gemstone?” I asked. Mommy nodded. She told me later that Gemstone had always been my name, and Gem was just a nickname. Now I know better. That was the first time I remember her calling me Gemstone, instead of Gem. We had always been Gem and Gemma, with matching names. I guess she wanted me to change out of my matching name, but when I asked her she told me that Gem had only been a nickname. I could tell she didn't mean it, but I said nothing. Losing Gemma hurt her just as much as it hurt me.
Will you sing?” I asked her. Mommy did not answer, but began to sing.

The sky is my wings when I have none
That to whom I owe my flight
Forever beneath the silver moon
In the shadow of the night

The light is my fire when I cannot find
Burning into the dark and cold
Shining brighter than the starlight
When I let my wings unfold

The night is my heart that I cannot hold
The place to hide in shadow
Sleep now, under dragon's guard
And I won't let them find you

This song is my wish when together we fall
The sky lifts your wings ever higher
Fly, Gemstone, dragon of mine
The night is yours to wander

This song is my love when you sleep by my side
Long after the day has retired
Fly, Gemstone, far into dreams
The night is your heart but the light is your fire 
 
The lullaby was different. It had shifted from the warm, happy lullaby it had once been to something fearful. The changes were small, but it changed the way it made me feel. I still remember the old words, but it hurts to much to sing them. From then on, it was always Gemstone. I was never one of the nestlings again, only Gemstone.
I still haven't gotten over it. I come close to tears when I hear her name. That is why Gemma is not an acceptable nickname for Gemstone. Gem is barely tolerable. I don't think it's babyish. I just don't want to remember. Her name still hurts too much.

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