Illusions: seen through new eyes


Nicole Schroeder

Illusions is a novella written by Nicole Schroeder and Ashley Tanner, about a girl named Gemma who has the ability to see people’s true character at a single glance. Each post in the following blog series is one chapter of Illusions.Gemma felt numb. She was barely able to process the sirens whirring in the background, their flashing lights casting a faint blue tint on the scene in front of her. All she could think about was the sight of the warehouse now barricaded with yellow police tape, the sound of the gun going off, the sluggish way her feet had seemed to move as she ran toward Elijah.
She hugged the blanket on her shoulders a little tighter and stared down at her feet, too overwhelmed by the sea of people around her to look up at everything else. She felt like she had been trying to walk among a different crowd for so long, keeping her gift a secret from everyone she met and trying to be as normal as she used to be. Now, her secret was out, at least to a few people, and suddenly she felt like the world would swallow her up for her gift and the chaos it had left in its wake.
“Are you doing alright, Miss?” Gemma turned to see one of the younger EMTs standing there, a concerned look spread across her face. She was tall and towered above Jenna, her long hair tied back in a professional ponytail.
Sporty. Dreamy. Hushed.
Gemma tried to answer, but couldn’t seem to find any words that truly fit what she was feeling. Instead, she simply gave a small smile and nodded, hoping she seemed convincing enough. She did, for the most part, and the girl returned Gemma’s questionable grin with a much peppier one of her own.
“That’s good. I wanted to let you know, the two men you guys saved are going to be just fine. We’re bandaging most of their wounds up now — the hospital is more of a precaution than anything.”
“Can I see him?” she asked in a rush, accidentally cutting the girl off. “Elijah, I mean. He’s —“
The girl nodded. “It’s okay, I know who you’re talking about. I actually kind of figured you’d ask about him.” At this, Gemma felt her cheeks redden slightly, and she was thankful for the red and blue lights around her to hide it from the girl. “Between you and me, I’d say you have about three or four more minutes before those police officers over there finish talking to your friend.” She glanced over at the two officers, different from the ones from earlier. The two had matching ponytails, one pulling back thin brown, wavy hair; the other deep brunette hair that was long and shiny. “Coincidentally,” the EMT said, pulling Gemma’s attention back to her, “it’s most definitely going to take me just as long to put away my things and get situated before I can get started driving them back.”
Forgetting about the Label for a moment, Gemma’s eyes flew to the EMT’s, trying to determine if she was serious. The girl simply smiled and pointed at one of the ambulances across the way. “Oh my — thank you! Thank you so much!” Not waiting for a reply, Gemma ran forward, weaving carelessly around the various people that had flooded the scene in the past few minutes. She ran straight toward the ambulance that held Elijah, feeling tears well in her eyes at the sight of him.
“Gemma?” Despite being in a stretcher, Elijah struggled to sit up, his eyes squinting at the sight of her running toward him. “Gemma!”
“Elijah!“ At that moment, she reached the stretcher where Elijah lay, crashing into him in a fierce hug.
“Ah, ow — oh, Gemma.” As the shock from her sudden embrace wore off, Elijah returned Gemma’s hug just as tightly, though treating his right arm gingerly. She glanced down to see a sizable bandage, tinted a slight red underneath.
“Oh my goodness, are you okay?” Her head fell into his shoulder. “I’m so sorry, I put you through this, this all happened because of me —“
“No, no, no. Shush, Gemma, it’s okay. This wasn’t your fault. If I hadn’t — if I wasn’t so focused on myself, instead of the person I should’ve been focused on….” He grimaced. “I’m so sorry, Gemma. I caused all of this. Please forgive me?” He looked up at her, his blue eyes shining with what looked like tears.
Deceitful. Insubordinate. Devoted.
Gemma had always thought Elijah’s false Label was Devoted. How could he be truly devoted if he had been willing to lie to her all this time? But for the first time, she realized he’d never lied — not about what truly mattered. He’d always loved her, since the moment they’d first met in that coffee shop.
Elijah had never been Deceitful; his eyes had told the truth. She had just been too scared to look. As she looked now, she saw nothing but his devotion to her, and the lengths he was willing to go to protect her.
Looking back into his eyes, she simply said two words. “Of course.”[vc_empty_space]What do you think happens to Gemma and Elijah now? Leave a comment below.[vc_basic_grid post_type=”post” max_items=”10″ grid_id=”vc_gid:1461036390550-f6761aeb-9cc4-5″ taxonomies=”12779″]