She was a healthy baby born on April 17th, 1996. The small baby girl was given the name, Yara. Born under a prominent family residing in Cheongdamdong, a neighborhood in the heart of South Korea, Seoul, Yara was pretty much guaranteed to live a long-lasting luxurious life. Or so they thought. She was an only child of the eldest son of the prominent Kim family who owned a jewelry company. Her birth was a miraculous event for the entire household as they have been trying to get a child for almost a decade and had failed to do so. However, things weren’t as easy as many thought it would be for the child. It was built in their family’s belief that a child born under a solar eclipse would bring calamity upon the entire family, some even went as far as to exaggerate that with her birth, their family’s generation is thereby cursed.
Yara’s father refused to believe the myth spread by his own family but the same couldn’t be said for her mother. It was surprising to see just how quick her mother fell down to the trap cultivated by their envious relatives that wished to take their fortune away. Even Yara’s grandmother had been deceived into thinking the same, leaving only her father to fend for her sake. But what would an 11-month-baby know? All she could see were deceitful gazes and the bad words that slithered out of them every time she makes an appearance. She knew no better then, the same way she would know no better afterward.
Growing up in that kind of household that was once so welcoming but was now the opposite with a simple toss of a coin devised by snakes, it wasn’t easy for Yara. At the age of 5, she was already reprimanded by her own mother to do better. To always do better. The whole thought of ‘I must be number 1’ was quickly replaced with a reformed one, ‘I must be the only one’. Imagine being that harsh to your own flesh and blood; your own child, your only child. All the harsh treatments she received was to make her better, her mother told her. It eventually took a toll on the poor child because one can only endure so much for long. On the eve of her 10th birthday, Yara realized that she has never spoken out of the line before, in her entire life. Not once. Usually, before she could have anything to say, she would either be silenced or taken away.
Her father could no longer take the silent treatment from his daughter and prompted her one day, in his study, to say something; anything. But she still wouldn’t say a word, leaving only a whimper to escape her every time she was pushed to do something. That was when her father decided to see what was wrong with his daughter because the Yara he knew; the Yara everyone knew always strived to please. He began hiring professional tutors for her and pulled her out of the academy she was previously enrolled in. Nobody outside the household knew what went on, honestly, not even their relatives knew what goes on in the residence. The only thing people knew was that Yara Kim was pulled out of school due to personal reasons and would be home-schooled by the finest tutors in the country. Seeing as it wasn’t surprising to see a privileged child being home-schooled to develop better skills, nobody questioned the allegation.
Every month, the tutors would evaluate her from every corner; from her cognitive skills to her passion for other things that weren’t academia. 6 months passed and all the reports were the same. 3 different tutors that were hired would leave a resignation letter in the duration of those months. Nothing changed. People kept leaving Yara, saying that she was illiterate which her father knew could not have been the reason. She was able to read an entire storybook a few years ago, so how could this be? How is it that his daughter suddenly became illiterate? He tried to test it again by asking Yara to read one sentence from a book but to no avail, no words came out. All he received was a frown from her who seemed to be trying her best. So he did what he thought was best; he brought her to a hospital and asked the doctor to check up on her. Who would have known that the harsh and competitive environment that was once a loving and warm place became the very reason, the catalyst, for her condition?
At 11, Yara was diagnosed with selective mutism. The moment the news reached her mother and the entire family became the very moment she lost everything. Her mother refused to even spare a glance at her, much less speak to her. Her cousins would evade her as if she was a plague. Even her loving grandmother that once doted on her existence grew wary of her. Her father wasn’t any better, either, he would not come home most of the time, there were no dinner sessions anymore. In fact, there was nothing that required more than a single member of the family. Yara grew frustrated and expressed her discontentment and rage on the notebooks that covered the entire shelf where it was once stacked up with toys and books.
It turns out that she was never illiterate, it was just locked inside of her due to her repressed state. Yara wanted her voice to be heard, if not by oral communication, at least by the words she had written in her book. She would’ve been fine living in the house, sure she would’ve been upset and discouraged by the lack of interaction and affection but she would not have minded any of it if it meant staying. It was just a silly excuse to send her away because her parents couldn’t bear to see the sight of her; a daughter they ruined, at such a young age. The guilt was eating them and it was too much, so they sent her away. Far away in another country where she would have a better life. They were right on one part, she would be leading a better life but they forget that she would also lead a lonesome one.
Since she was mute, she could not enroll in a normal school and was sent to a special school instead. Yara spent the remaining years finishing her middle school in Canada. No communication with her family still. On New Year’s eve, she was greeted by the news of her parents’ tragic accident while they were on a business trip to Switzerland, and the worst thing was that the girl couldn’t even attend her own parents’ funeral. Every attempt to contact her family remained futile, once again leaving her to wallow in her sadness. Her foster family could no longer care for her after Yara became more aggressive, refusing to even dine with them and would snap when they try to console her. With the death of her parents, she was considered an orphan and was then sent to an orphanage in Evermore after a mysterious person told them it was a city full of hope.
She kept to herself and still refused to mingle with the other children. But the supervisor was kind and relentless, Talia, would not give up on her. She would continue to smile and invite her to join them despite being rejected every single time. One day, Talia found Yara who snuck up to the roof so she could stare at the stars. She even went as far as to learn sign language to communicate with Yara and that made the younger female feel guilty for pushing her away. On that same night, Talia told her that she was different too, to which Yara scoffed and dismissed her statement, believing that she was just trying to make her feel better and stop isolating herself because she was different. That was the night she found out about the existence of the supernatural. Talia demonstrated her abilities by making a flower bloom; her favorite flower. Perhaps, things could still work out for her, that’s what she told Yara, and the human held onto those words for more years to come.
She began to mingle around with the other kids in the orphanage and became more approachable, she even found her passion for Astrology and Chemistry. Regardless of her state, Yara proved herself to be quite adept at science. It was something that she enjoyed researching on, something that doesn’t require her to communicate orally as much. Talia never stopped cheering for her, she helped her undergo her therapy and treatment for her selective mutism, hoping that one day she would be able to grow out of it and regain the ability to speak again. Things were well. She had friends who understood her and a guardian who believed in her. She never thought that would be the last time she’ll experience such happiness.
It was a rainy night, as per her usual routine on every night of her birthday, Yara went up the roof and stared at the stars. This time, however, she fell asleep after reading her book and made her 17th birthday wish. She didn’t know that someone would be jealous of someone as kind as Talia even if it was expected. Yara woke up to a smell of smoke engulfing her respiratory system, causing her to cough and scramble to her feet as she debated on how to climb down the moment she saw the east wing of the building burning hotly. The human eventually climbed down carefully, using the same route she uses every time she wanted to go to the roof and landed safely on the ground. She rejoined the others gathered in the yard but could not pinpoint Talia in the crowd. Upon asking the head of the orphanage, she realized that Talia wasn’t present when they did a headcount. Yara couldn’t possibly wait for the fire to die down, not when the firefighters weren’t there at the scene yet. Rushing inside the house without any proper equipment or training was the biggest mistake she’s ever made but the thought of Talia being in danger worries her more than her own safety. She saw a figure towering above a coughing Talia who tried to escape by crawling away. And yet, the only thing she remembered was calling out her name before blacking out.
What Happened After
When she woke up, she couldn’t remember a thing. The moment she fluttered her eyes open, she was greeted by the white ceiling and the clean sterile smell of the hospital. She blinked rapidly while trying to make out her surroundings, what else wouldn’t you find in a hospital ward? The bed is rock solid, it felt like she was lying on top of a rock shrouded by linen sheets. The pillows were the same, it was giving her a headache. Though that doesn’t seem to be the only case for the female. Her head was pounding as if someone was actually hitting her head. Her eyes never left the machine she was strung upon, the beeping indicating her steady heartbeat felt like it was screeching in her ears. It was deafening. She could even distinguish the busy scene outside the hallway where she surprisingly placed in a private ward and not a general one. So she wasn’t deaf but how come she could not speak a word? Was she mute? There were so many questions bombarding her head; ranging from why, where to how.
Seeing as she could not respond to the nurse’s question when it came down to them asking her name, she was marked as Jane Doe. It wasn’t the best name one would give to a person, honestly, but how could she protest when she couldn’t even remember where she came from? Where she was born at? She would then continue to spend her days being cooped up in her room, refusing to get the slightest bit of sunlight when the nurses would urge her to take a walk outside alongside other patients. It wouldn’t bring her sense back; she wouldn’t be able to speak either way, so what was the point? How would she interact with the other patients if she couldn’t even speak a word coherently and wouldn’t be able to say anything without the aid of her notebook and a pen? It was a devastating reminder that she was going to stay that way forever while not knowing what happened. It was hard to go on being mute in general, but to be a mute who was diagnosed with post-traumatic amnesia (PTA)? Not a single ring of a bell.
A few months after her admission, the hospital decided that they could not keep her here after she was physically fine to be discharged seeing as she is also of legal age. They were going to file her a missing person report to the police, a decision that she protested heavily, knowing that if she was sent to the police station, they would send her to a welfare center or worse because there was no way she could fend on her own in her current state. So she did what was meant to be a spur of the moment kind of action; she ran. And she didn’t stop. At least, until she found a place that she found familiar. It was an orphanage, something about the place just calls for her and it wasn’t long until she found herself walking up to the entrance and knocked on the wooden door, with a part of her desperately hoping for an answer. She couldn’t recognize the face but she couldn’t remember anything from her past, so it wasn’t surprising. It turns out that the female that greeted her that day was the head of the orphanage, Ariana, who also happens to be Talia’s older sister. When asked about her name, she gave the same answer; Jane.
Following the story told by Yara, Ariana was reminded of how fond Talia was for the 17-year-old female, prompting her to call her Taealha instead of her real name, in hopes that she would flourish in her new identity. Apparently, the memories of Yara Kim were too painful so she was advised to shed her old skin for a new one. Unsurprisingly, she took it with a sound mind, it didn’t seem too bad to start over. Ariana promised to aid her with everything she needed, proving herself to be the more mature and wiser version of Talia. At first, Taealha refused to have any surname that would tie her to her old one, believing that there was a good reason justifying her memory loss but after being advised by Ariana, she kept it for one reason and one reason only; to be grateful for her second chance and to live her life with no regrets.
Evermore opened the doors for her to explore more, Taealha found herself driving back into her science-loving roots and studied diligently. She then enrolled herself in the Evermore University and completed her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry before eventually, furthering her studies in grad school. The Organization offered her with so many choices to make her standing in the supernatural city, with her headstrong tendencies, it wasn’t surprising to see her dive straight into the Science Department upon being recruited. With endless possibilities at an arms-length, why not?