I attempted to blink my eyes open, then instantly regretted it. The bright light was blinding as the pounding migraine in my head intensified with every beat of my increasing heart rate. However, the intense pain that I was feeling didn’t compare with my worry.
What happened? How did I get here? Where am I? Where is Mira? Is she okay?
I tried to sit up, but the bandages around my chest made it hard to move. Plus, my arms were too weak and I violently shook as I tried to properly support myself. It was of no use, and I helplessly crashed back down on to the bed.
At least my worry subsided when I heard Mira’s voice coming from the other room, “I think that he is up now. I’ll call you back later.”
I was laying in the fetal position with my back to the door, but I knew that it was Mira entering the room when I smelled her perfume; a strange combination of flowers and old book.
“How are you feeling, Linc?” Mira asked as she gently sat beside me.
I had so many questions running through my head. So many puzzle pieces that I needed help with. Yet, “Wha…how…whe…?” was all that I could muster.
Mira helped me sit up before she reached over to the nightstand to give me a sip of water. Then as she checked my bandages Mira explained everything. “I must confess that this has been my very first successful attempt of the Transportation Spell. The Transportation Spell has been alluding me for a long time, and a part of me thought that I never would be efficacious. Normally, I would not have tempted such a volatile spell with such uncertain results, but I feared that if I did not do something drastic they most certainly would have killed you.”
Mira offered me another sip of water then continued, “once I knew that we had made it back home, transported safely and successfully, I called Flint. He helped me get you to the bed, and he made an ointment to aide in your healing.”
So, that explains how I got here, and where here actually is. It still doesn’t explain why; why, or what, was Mira doing in the middle of the woods all by herself? After checking and redressing my bandages Mira began to explain further, as if she were reading my mind.
Wait…can witches read minds?! Ohmygawd, I certainly hope not!
“As I am sure you already know, Grendel has made life a nightmare for any humans, or anyone with a human parent. One of the many new laws, enforced by Alcander, is that it is expressively forbidden to talk about any of the humans that have been excommunicated from Moonlight Falls. Grendel went so far as to have Osiris and his vampire goons exhume any humans that have been buried in the town graveyard. Furthermore, anyone, supernatural or not, who has died since has not been allowed to be buried there.”
I watched Mira as she spoke. I could tell that those rainbow eyes have seen so much pain. I found myself hanging on each and every word. Which for me is a brand new experience. I sat captivated as Mira continued.
“Momma passed away long ago, I was only a small toddler. And she was not buried in the Crumplebottom Mausoleum. Momma’s last wish was to have her ashes sprinkled under the tree where she first met Papa. And ever since then, that tree has been growing more than any other tree in that area.
That is why I was there today. I visit that tree almost every week, at least twice a week. And I always feel the need to go alone. In fact, I have never told anyone about this, not even Flint or Renatta. If Alcander or Grendel ever found out that a human’s ashes have intertwined with a part of the forest, they wouldn’t hesitate to burn it all to the ground.”
I had no idea of any of this. And the fact that Mira felt comfortable enough to share with me something that she didn’t even tell her best friends; this was huge. But in some way I know exactly how she feels.
“I remember when my grandpa died.” I wanted to let Mira know that she s not alone in her suffering. After all, I once heard that if you share your pain, it hurts half as much. “I have never told anyone this before, but I would visit his grave everyday. I would talk to him, and I know that this sounds strange, but I could feel his presence there.”
“That isn’t strange at all.” Mira put her hand on mine, and for a split second I let it sit there. But then I remembered myself, and pulled my hand back. Either way, Mira continued un-phased, “Some of my first memories are of Momma reading to me. I remember sitting on her lap as she read to me in the rocking chair. So, more often than not, I like to take a book with me and read out loud. And I too can feel Momma’s presence there with me, listening to me read to her.”
“Wow, there is no way that I could do that. Grandpa Ryan and I would never miss a Twinbrook Gnome’s game, but I haven’t watched a game since he passed. It is just too hard. Not to mention, that is how he died; during a game while I was too focused on the game and not on my dying grandpa.”
Mira started to put her hand on mine once more, but stopped before she made contact. Instead she asked, “Twinbrook gnomes? I didn’t know that the gnomes migrated all the way to Twinbrook. Appaloosa Plains, maybe, but not all the way to Twinbrook.”
Although it hurt, I couldn’t help but chuckle at Mira’s misunderstanding. “No, the Twinbrook Gnomes is a football team. Grandpa Ryan’s favorite football team.”
Mira still looked confused, so I explained further, “football is a very popular sport. This is American football, which is different than what the rest of the world calls football. Ya know, it is also funny that Americans call it football, since most players don’t use their foot to move the ball. But anyway, the Twinbrook Gnomes were Grandpa Ryan’s favorite team and we had been watching games together since before I could remember.”
Mira brought me some food, and even though I said that I wasn’t hungry, she insisted that I try and eat something.
“I never knew you were so close to your grandpa.” Mira was changing the subject, but left the food on the nightstand just in case I changed my mind.
“My twin sister and I were practically raised by our grandparents, “ I said. “Not that my parents are bad people, far from it. My sisters and I have never been left wanting anything. But as my sister and I were growing up, Mom and Dad were very focused on their careers. My mom is a doctor, which kept her busy all hours of the day. And even though my dad is a national hero, he has always acted like he has something to prove to everyone. That left Autumn and I in the care of Grandpa Ryan and Grandma Cindy.”
It’s funny. I used to love to talk about myself. I could talk all day about how phenomenally awesome I am. Yet, this feels different. Not superficial fluff. This is real; things that I have never told anyone before. For some unexplainable reason, I found it easy to talk to Mira.
When Mira left to get me some more water, I took the opportunity to look around her room. Plumbob, this girl has a lot of books. There was also a small desk and a big black dresser standing next to it. On the corner of the bed sat a fat fluffy cat eyeballing me suspiciously. There were a few posters on the wall, nothing that I recognized. On her nightstand was a framed photo. I don’t even remember when the photo was taken, but I did recognize the wood and green carpeting from Mira’s living room. Flint and Renatta were posing and looking like they were having a good time.
Plumbob, I look miserable in that photo. Is that how I have been presenting myself to everyone? I’ve been acting like a real tool, haven’t I?
“You know,” I said to Mira once she returned with my water, “I am willing to give piano lessons another try. That is if you want to. And this time I promise to be a more patient teacher.”
Mira smiled a humoring smile and said, “I don’t know if that is a good idea.” but then added, as to not hurt my feelings, “but I really liked seeing how passionate you are about music. It is a new side of you that you never showed before. I wish I had something that I was just as passionate about.”
“Umm… look around Mira. I would say you are pretty passionate, no obsessed, with books. Have you really read all of these?”
“Yes, I have.” Mira said proudly as she looked around the room at all of the books. “Some more than once.”
“Do you have any favorites?”
“It depends on the kind of mood I am in. Sometimes I feel like a mystery, other times a sci-fi, or a biography. Or maybe a good romance.”
“You know, I listen to music the exact same way. Sometimes I feel like rock, and sometimes I feel like classical. There are even times when I feel like listening to jazz. What are you reading now?”
“Right now I am rereading Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austin. Have you heard of it?”
I do remember having to read the book in high school. Although, I didn’t actually read the book. Truth is, I bribed some nerd to write the report for me while I couldn’t be bothered to even try and read the synopsis on Simpedia.
“No,” I replied, “I’ve never read the book before. Would you like to read it to me?”
At my request to read one of her books with me Mira’s rainbow eyes lit up. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized how much I truly missed seeing those eyes sparkle.