for lenetta

9

“Off the wall had sold almost six million copies in this country, but I wanted to make an album that would be even bigger. Ever since I was a little boy, I had dreamed of creating the biggest-selling record of all time. I remember going swimming as a child and making a wish before I jumped into the pool. Remember, I grew up knowing the industry, understanding goals, and being told what was and was not possible. I wanted to do something special. I’d stretch my arms out, as if I were sending my thoughts right up into space. I’d make my wish, then I’d dive into the water. I’d say to myself, ‘This is my dream, this is my wish’

I remember being in the studio once with Quincy and Rod Temperton while we were working on Thriller. I was playing a pinball machine and one of them asked me, "If this album doesn’t do as well as Off the Wall, will you be disappointed?” I remember feeling upset - hurt that the question was even raised. I told them thriller had to do better than Off the Wall. I admitted that I wanted this album to be the biggest selling album of all time. They started laughing. it was a seemingly unrealistic thing to want…The success of Thriller transformed many of my dreams into reality. It did become the biggest selling album of all time, and that fact appeared on the cover of The Guinness Book of World Records.

Making the Thriller album was very hard work, but it’s true that you only get of something what you put into it. I’m a perfectionist; I’ll work until I drop. And I worked so hard on that album.“

Stranger with a Third Eye

Carabella stood at the healing tent’s door flap, watching her adoptive mother work her magic on the woman they’d found. The waterbending healer had never failed to heal someone almost completely that Carabella could remember, but this one was taking a while. Long enough that Carabella was starting to worry that they hadn’t found the woman in time to save her. She knew the healer needed quiet in order to concentrate, so she waited until she paused to speak.

“How is she, Lenetta?” she asked quietly.

“Her energy is weak, but her spirit is still hanging on. She’ll live, I think, but she suffered quite a bit of head trauma. I’m not sure how that will affect her, but it’s a toss-up whether she’s going to wake, and no matter what, those burns on her face are going to scar.” Lenetta heaved a sigh. “I need to rest and recharge. I’ll be back in a few hours for another healing session.”

The waterbender left the tent, and Carabella went to sit beside the pallet where the injured woman lay. There was a third eye tattooed on the center of the woman’s forehead, and Carabella had to stop herself from reaching out to see if it was really a tattoo or a scar. She shuddered to think what must have happened if it was a scar. It was too deliberate to have been an accident. She hoped the woman would wake. Thinking it might help, Carabella used her airbending to waft a small amount of the sweet-smelling incense Lenetta always burned in the healing tent around the unconscious woman like a soft breeze.

Airbending Atop the Highest Peak

Carabella stared up at the sheer rock face in front of her. She couldn’t see the mountain peaks as they rose through the clouds above. The Northern Air Temple was at the top of those peaks, and the only was to get there was by air bison or airship. Or airbending.

She’d only recently learned that the amazing tricks she could do were an actual form of bending. It had surprised her to no end, and Carabella wanted to learn more. Jaca and Lenetta had suggested she visit one of the Northern Air Temple, since it seemed that was where all the airbenders who had suddenly appeared after Harmonic Convergence were headed, and she was keen to take their advice.

Carabella took a breath to steady herself and looked up again, searching for a good spot to start. She found one and jumped, landing lightly on a shelf sticking out from the rock face. She jumped again, and again, leaping easily up the mountainside. As she went higher, she started to wish she had worn warmer clothes. It was cold this high up! She had heard airbenders could warm themselves with just their breath, but she hadn’t learned how to do that just yet. She’d tried before, but she had no idea how the Air Nomads did it, so she’d stuck with warm clothes. Now she was wishing she’d worn those warm clothes.

When she finally reached the temple, she found the breath suddenly taken from her lungs in awe of the sight before her. The temple was beautiful!