Monthly Archives: May 2015

The Awakening, part 13

As I get back to the kitchen I see the floor is smeared with red. The stains were probably caused by me, since I’m the only one who’s been fumbling about in the woods barefoot. I didn’t exactly watch my step either, and my feet suffered for it. For a second I almost panic. How on earth would I get it cleaned up before Marissa sees this mess? Then I remember I’m not home any more. Somehow I don’t think Caleb is the type to give a beating for dirtying his floors.

“Should’ve told me you were hurt.” He says it without much inflection as he moves past me and enters his room. I didn’t even hear him come down. How does he move so quietly?

“Would you have carried me all the way back, then?” I mutter under my breath. It’s my own fault my feet are hurt. There’s no point in complaining, especially when it doesn’t change the outcome. I make a move to go and sit on one of the chairs, but as I take my first step I suddenly feel lightheaded. Black spots are dancing in the edges of my vision, and I’m pretty sure that if I don’t sit down soon, I’ll fall flat on my face. I take deep breaths and try to grab something for support.

Next thing I know, I’m lying on a bed and there is a curious scent of herbs in the air. It tugs something from my memory, but I can’t remember where I’ve smelled it before. I snuggle deeper under the covers and fall asleep.

Later, when I wake again, I feel completely rested. I stretch my muscles and open my eyes. It’s dark, but there is an odd glow that sheds enough light for me to see that I’m back in the attic. I sit up and realise I’ve been sleeping on a narrow cot that didn’t even exist here earlier. There is also a chest at the foot of the bed. I look around, but I can’t make out where the source of light is. I do, however, feel some kind of vibe in the air. Almost as if something was pulsing around me.

It is magic, girl. Raw magic. The power within you responds to this place. That voice again. I touch the side of my head. Am I really crazy?

“Why do I hear you in my head? What do you want from me?” I whisper hesitantly.

I saved your life. And I want a favour in return. Saved my life? I get an uneasy feeling as I remember those red eyes I saw in the Dark Lake, right before I passed out. And Brian said something about a monster pushing me out of the water. Could it be?

I shiver, even though the air is quite warm here, and push the voice out again. I’ve learned that I can block it if I want to, at least for a while. And I really want it out of my head right now. I’m not sure what I should believe any more. The idea of having someone else in my head is somewhat preferable to actually being a schizophrenic. Then again, who wants someone poking around in their thoughts?

I sigh. Some distraction is in order. Maybe one of those books can get my mind off my problems. As I push the covers aside to get up, I notice that my legs have been bandaged. I’d forgotten they were even hurt. The pain is completely gone.

I take careful steps at first, but everything feels fine and I continue more confidently. I take my time choosing what to read. In the end I take a small volume from a pile that I almost missed. It’s behind a couple of much taller stacks. I take one of the four candles that are neatly placed near the closed trap-door, but I soon realize I don’t have anything to light it with. That’s just my luck.

I go back to the bed and take the small book with me anyway. I scan the room one more time, hoping to see what causes the glow. Maybe I could find a way to make the light a bit brighter.

I open the book from a random page and am surprised to discover that it’s written by hand. This is someone’s journal. Caleb’s? But no, the handwriting is definetly feminine. And I can actually make out the words. I raise my eyes and I think there is more light than before. So strange. I shrug and turn my attention back on the journal.

“I know it was necessary, even essential for the survival of my race. But I fear the Binding may have doomed us all… The coming generations will take the brunt of it, when They emerge once again.”

What’s all this? I better start at the beginning. I turn to the first page and… It reminds me of the stories my mother used to tell me.

“For as long as I remember, we have lived in fear. Living in forests is dangerous, living out in the open is no safer. They do not wish to kill us, but They do not care enough to spare us, either. When the Elfins battle, they are as deadly to us, mere bystanders, as they are to Dragons. And the flying serpents burn everything that lies in their way. They have little to no control over their magic. Sooner or later They will wipe us out. Our only hope is to use Their own magic against them…”

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The Awakening, part 12

As I follow Caleb to the cottage I notice that everything is cleaned up. There are no traces of what happened. Even the grill is put away somewhere. Only the broken windows remain as a sign that the explosion-like thing really happened.

Caleb leads me back around the house and into the kitchen. Now that I think of it I don’t remember seeing a staircase anywhere when I was in here earlier. Nor were there any second-storey windows to be seen outside. How exactly am I to get to the attic and is it even habitable? I watch Caleb as he opens the pantry door and am quite confused. I checked the pantry for food when I was last in the kitchen. It’s very small, and only has the far wall lined with empty shelves. And my new companion is climbing them like a ladder? I get what he’s doing after he slides the ceiling panel aside. A secret passage?

“Clever.” I climb after him as soon as he disappears through the hole and enter darkness. The only bit of light is what’s coming from the way I just came, but it’s not nearly enough to see anything.Then Caleb lights a candle and the room becomes visible. The sight is…

“Wow.” I thought it might feel suffocating here due to the lack of windows, but I was wrong. The gable walls are filled with paintings that are so lifelike that I feel I could walk straight into the scenes. A big farmhouse on the nearest wall, and there are six young children playing in front of it. The next scene shows a dark haired young man in military colours. He has a lopsided grin on his face. One hand is resting on the hilt of his sword and the other is raised as if in greeting. I scan the closest illustrations and they all give off a happy vibe. I make a mental note to give them a closer look later.

There is no furniture that I can see, and the only things here beside the paintings are books. Piles and piles of books. And this is the place where I’m going to live? I can hardly believe my luck. My hands are already itching to grab a volume from the nearest pile and dig into it. I turn back to Caleb.

“Will all these remain here with me?” I wave my hand in the general direction of the books with a hopeful expression.

“Yes, they will.” Caleb sighs and rubs his forehead before speaking again. “I realize that you countryfolk have some strange notions about the written word being dangerous, but I assure you that there is nothing to fear. These pieces are simply hidden here to keep them from falling into the wrong hands.”

The Awakening, part 11

I frown. Me? But I didn’t do anything. What is he talking about? I struggle to find the right words as I speak.

“I don’t know how… I mean, I don’t have… That strange blast couldn’t have been natural. And I. I can’t make things like that happen. I’d know by now if I had any magic in me.” I turn my gaze away from Caleb, not wanting him to see my face. Speaking of supernatural, and me having magic feels uncomfortable. It brings back a lot of memories – my mother sitting by my bedside, telling me stories about dragons and Elfs and magic. She often told me that I was special, even magical. And I believed her with all my heart.

Another flashback, from after my mother’s death. She had just been buried and I wouldn’t leave her grave. I was so certain that I could somehow bring her back to life if only I tried hard enough. I stayed there for nearly three days, until I gave up and let my father take me home.

I blink to clear my vision and take a deep breath. Some things are better left forgotten.

“Is there any other way this could have happened?”

“No.” Caleb’s tone is curt and I take it as a hint that the conversation is over. I wonder how much longer it will take before we reach the meadow. I should really try not to lose my head next time I run off somewhere. Getting lost all the time is no fun.

We walk in silence for a while, and thankfully my soles have become so numb that I barely feel the pain. If only my sore muscles would do the same. Just as I begin to debate with myself about whether I should break the silence or not, Caleb opens his mouth.

What kind of family do you come from?” That was the last thing I would have thought he’d ask. Why does it matter to him, anyway? Or maybe he’s trying to make small talk.

“My mother died when I was little. My father and his wife are simple peasants.”

“Are you educated in any way?”

“I have been taught how to take care of a household. Why do you ask?”

Caleb eyes me thoughtfully before turning his gaze back on the path. I guess I won’t be getting an answer from him. I roll my eyes without much irritation. Silent treatment is nothing new to me and I can handle it with ease.

We’ve almost reached the meadow when Caleb finally breaks the silence.

“Your chamber will be in the attic.” I haven’t yet told him my decision, but I guess we both know that I have no other options but to stay here with him. At least for now.