Tag Archives: Long Distance Call

Long Distance Call part 1

“God, if this is heaven –

keep me from hell.”

oOOo

It’s been a month since granny passed away. We hardly ever saw her and thus felt little sorrow over her departure, but we did see mom’s loss and it hurt never the less. It’s strange to know someone has passed to the other side, made me wonder more of how to spend my tiny time on this rock so I would be joined with her again some day. That would be the case if I’d believe there is something to come after we go.

Still, granny was gone and all we were left were twelve boxes jammed in together in our garage every one of them bearing one of our names. There were Lizzy, Susan, Catalina (me, Kathy for short as no body beside me seemed interested in remembering the name), mom’s, dad’s, uncles Mathias and Thomas and someone called Scarab. She had packed them personally in advance as mom said – they had found them in her living room. I considered it odd at first, mom said she was strange, but to do this she had to like know she was going. After that notion reached my heart, I was taken enough to take her much more serious.

The rest was her old clothes and things from her massive apartment downtown. She had six hundred books in that apartment, but in her will she said no one was to touch them, that they were to stay there for the new owner, who would take good care of them and appreciate the collection. I would have appreciated it too, but the last will was the law. Strange was the new owner did appreciate it, so much even he called it the discovery of the year.

Lizzy, age 9, and Susan, 14, are my two nice little sisters, who rock in hundreds as long as they stay away from my door when I’m trying to have a decent conversation with my boyfriend. It’s their delicate age, I tell myself often, when the shock of finding one of them lurking around on the wrong moment starts to pass again. That IF it starts to pass or when I’m in rage and pressing them out from my old maid’s apartment under the thin roof. Mom ought to let me put lock on the door so they wouldn’t get here all the time, but who am I to keep them away? Alright, I agree, they are sweets.

The boyfriend, on the other hand, is more like a show off thing as he seems to search me out only when it suits him and his plans. I try to be nice to him and all, but I don’t think we’re gonna work out, I rather eat meals with crocodiles. After six times we’ve been out, my strings are on their limits and my brain is plotting five times a minute how to send him off for good and still keep my reputation in the class. It sucks going out with your classmate. His parents are moving though, his father being promoted to Tokyo, which makes it a lot easier. This is much better excuse to dump his ass than exploring what he lacks of with girlfriends. To start with – dignity, to end with – balance. Very immature fellow.

But coming back to granny’s passing. So, she left every one of us something she referred to as the helpful baskets. Lizzy and Susan had opened theirs long ago with absolutely no understanding of what they found there. I was sure they’ll find the explanations soon enough if they have the heart to keep the things attached till they grow up. One thing was common in the boxes – granny’s picture with five words: I love you, my doves. That was comforting to read.

Lizzy’s box also included two golden candle holders, a Holy Book, silver plate and in same style old goblet, little silver cross, purple bag to keep the bible in, some jewelry to mach her eyes and a box to keep them in. Knowing how much Lizzy liked spending time in churches I knew instantly what she was to become. I just hope she realized it too.

Susan’s box had two maps in it with some African masks and Indian staff. She too had jewelry matching her eyes and some golden items, including a ring with huge ruby on it. Mom immediately confiscated the jewelry from their piggy hands and decided to add them in their saving boxes in the bank which they would get at the age of 18. At my age.

I hadn’t opened mine yet. I didn’t know what I’d find in there, but I knew whatever it was, it had something to do with my future. For now, I had no wish to know the inevitable. So I left it be, knowing sooner or later Susan or Lizzy would find their way in there no matter how harshly I forbid them and they’ll be my little fortune tellers. Until then…

The until then arrived much sooner than I expected. Little thieves came to me with my fortune basket about a week before the due I had determined in my head. I was just reading a chapter in my history book, when they shyly knocked on my door. They never knock, which made me very anxious of what was going on, but I relaxed the moment I sat my eyes on the cardboard box between them – they just couldn’t wait any longer.

Neither could I, I had to admit after viewing the box for several minutes in silence. It was pretty interesting. The way my name was scratched on it didn’t indicate it, but it was still mentally intriguing to find out, what plans granny sought for me.

“Open it.” Susan grew impatient.

“I’m not sure I want to.” I admitted, brushing the dust to my yellow rug carpet.

Yellow was my thing. I liked yellow equally with grass green and you could see the results everywhere in my room – yellow curtains, rugged red pillows, green-yellow bedcover, yellow bear, yellow-green superstar poster, bookshelf… My room having windows both to east and west I was blessed with more natural yellow than anyone in the house, too.

“Of chores you do! We did it and we’re much younger than you are!” Lizzy burst out.

“Yes, and much bolder too – you grow cautious when getting older.” I introduced her to her future and as to show what I meant I threw myself back against my safe flowered bed.

Like that would keep their hands away and before I could protest, the tape was ripped from the box and the cover flew open. A silence followed. I observed their stooped heads for a while, before I lost my nerve. I think it was the way their eyes grew bigger.

“Well?” I demanded.

“There’s nothing in here…” Susan was first to open her mouth, astonished.

“What?” I leaped over to them and grabbed the box from them. It was loaded with semiprecious stones in various sizes.

“Got ya!” They burst in laughter. I had to admit, they were good in this. I eyed them with the angriest look I could manage, before turning my attention back to the contents.

As I had said earlier, the box was filled with stones, nice ones, yes, but still – stones. I took them out, one at a time and observed them closer against the light. I could recognize amethyst, malachite, some quarts, few carnelians and amber. The rest were a mystery to me, as was the purpose of having so many different gems.

She had to be darn rich to purcase them all, I told myself in whisper, amazed how many there were – there had to be at least a hundred different stones. Susan and Lizzy were back being serious now and I trusted them to touch the stones, yet not letting them out of my site not once.

Under the stones was a brown envelope I discarded at first to reach more inside. It was closed tight and that probably meant this was to my eyes and my eyes only. Later digging in it I found four things in it – a small metal clasp, a pendant with rather robust drop-shaped bottle consisting of some crystal clear liquid, a closed tiny tube with an unreadable seal and a flower of hope, a dried out Iris that had fallen into petals.

Beneath the envelope and gems was but a different story – there was a book wrapped in a cloth of purple surrounded by yet again crystals.

“Now that’s a mystery,” I sighed carefully removing the cloth. The book looked old, the cover looked creasy and the corners were torn. The back wasn’t spared either – several burning marks banished the last of its good looks it must have bared when brand new. The moment I took it up, it was definitely old.

“Another bible?” Lizzy was disappointed. She had little interest in religious things and never showed an inch of interest in going near anything church-like. I often thought she might have taken it after me as I wasn’t really enthusiastic about going there either and not very eager to hide it. Therefore it seemed odd she would give me a bible too.

“I don’t think it’s a bible.” I objected the notion, yet I didn’t jump in proving it by opening the book either. Susan’s interest immediately rose and she gave me those meager looks that demanded me to read it.

“My throat is sour.” Susan sounded sandpapery. “Lizzy, could you fetch us some lemonade?” Her wish was too transparent to bring straight forward actions from her sister. She wanted her out of the room when I opened it, still sure it was another Holy Book I was holding. I wasn’t sure about it anymore; my thoughts had started wondering way on a different roots. I didn’t want either of them near me when I would lastly open it. Granny had a reason she kept it from us and it being a secret for so long I dared not to defy her by opening it to the whole world. Susan and Lizzy were hardly the whole world, but their ability to keep a secret was yet to develop and I couldn’t risk that.

“No, I want to see what else is in the box!” Lizzy started her tantrum and to keep it silent enough to keep parents away I grabbed from the idea and set the book aside, digging in the next level of stones, handing her another set of moonstones.

Susan wasn’t that timid and grabbed the book into her little hands. Her grey eyes sparkled deviously. I couldn’t let it without notice and I took it from her once again, this time putting it far away from her itching fingers.

She immediately took a fence of that and stormed out of the room closing the door behind her so strong it made the walls shiver.

Nice. But I wasn’t to give in to her just yet – she had to understand the boundaries with everyone’s gifts and I knew there were things only the receivers were able to understand. My understanding at this point was that this book was only for my eyes now and for theirs if they grew old enough.

Lizzy grew smaller in a second, making her as sweet as she could be in order to earn my pity and let her stay and see what else the mystery box concealed. Later she even managed to hide her frustration over the fact that this was all the box had in it. Except granny’s smiling black and white photo with I love you, my dove.

I packed all the gems back in the box and clime up to my bed signaling Lizzy to follow. For her obedience and meekness I decided to reward her by showing her what the book was about. She kept herself reserved, bottling up the urge to reach out and touch it, which I found a little funny, but I knew she was only trying to please me.

Finally, after fearing my heartbeat couldn’t get any worse, I made myself bold and opened the cover – only to find an empty sheet on the other side. Alright, I decided, and opened the next tea brown sheet. On that we found a family tree filled with our family’s tree.

We gasped almost at the same moment – there were hundreds of names, all written in different times. The tree was so big it continued thick even on the upper side of the page . The names were so small they were hard to read, surrounded with golden leafs.

I could hear granny’s saying “…In old days, in our family, women were the barer of the family name… “. Her voice rang so clear in my ears it startled me. I looked at the names closer – the most female names indeed carried the same name.

“Susan has the same thing in her bible!” Lizzy studied the page thoroughly. “Only hers is much smaller.”

I raise my eyes surprised by her notion. “Are you sure?”

“Yes, she was very proud of it. She said it proves her that our family was once very religious.”

I grinned at that openly, thinking suddenly that what she might have in her bible is only one part of the family, while I seemed to have here the routs of that tree, which would mean our family had been religious, if she wished to call it so, only mere fracture of our past. Why, this made her quite gullible.

The idea seemed outrageous and I cast it aside. It was also hard to prove as there was no way she would show me the Holy Book now, when I had so gallantly prohibited her to see mine. I thought of convincing Lizzy to go and fetch it for me, knowing she would be in no harm if she played out her victim roll so well (Lizzy could speak black into white, Susan couldn’t) but she disappeared before I could ask, eyes misty with her secrets.

I stared at the door behind which she had disappeared only to see her enter again, the bible on her hands. She opened it proudly and placed it so the tree continued.

“How did you get her to give it to you?” I felt obliged to ask still listening if Susan was after her, screaming names, but she didn’t come.

“Easy.” She murmured like a little cat and patted the bedcover to her liking, before giving the full answer. “Mom had called her downstairs to wash the dishes.”

“We better return it to her room fast then.” I gave in to the crime and we stooped our heads low over the two pictures.

“Look!” Lizzy’s eyes stretched wider. “These two match!”

Indeed the boles matched. But in her book, only half of the page was filled.

 

oOOo

 

That was only the first page, what followed was more than enough to scary us for quite some time. The book was old, from times when nothing passed through beautifications and therefore stood as it was – ugly and tormented and darn exciting. Not that it made much sense as most of it was written in language long forsaken by the modern world and therefore staid much lost to us from that point on too till it DID reach to 1800s and from there to our time. By the night fall we had decided this had to be our family chronicles – tons of small text inscribed with small poems and ugly pictures showing organs and signs of different kind.

We returned the bible back at its place on Susan’s table and hoped dearly she hadn’t noticed it missing. There is nothing compared to a teenager in raw rage when she discovered somebody has touched her stuff. I set the book back in the middle of the gems and hasted Lizzy to go to bed too. I was definitely tired and in no mood to continue exploring the book be it then what it was, she must have felt the impact it had on us too.

In the morning I grew cautious watching the box in the open on my bedroom floor and thought it would deserve some kind of hiding place so my mom or any other, who didn’t need to know about this big discovery yet, couldn’t find it. The only place I could think of was on the top of the ceiling panel, but that meant ripping the book from its gems and they seemed to go together one-on-one. I ignored that feeling that morning and results weren’t far to catch up.

The school day was dreadful. Only one good thing happened and I flew through that as if it was mere sinking ship on the ocean. Which it literally was – I dumped my darling boyfriend and he managed to get under a strike of six graders, who found him to be the perfect target for their water bomb practice. The worst day in his life I recalled quickly and left before he realized I had put them up to this. Five bucks each should keep their crooked mouths shut.

When I reached to my home door, the backfire had already reached it and I got house arrest for the next two weeks. Plus suggestions to read Susan’s Holy Book and recall the meaning of humble woman. This was way too easy for seeing the wet cat thing that called self a man.

Lizzy came to me almost instantly after I got back in my room and had dugged the book out. She had waited patiently till parents were finished and sat on the chair in front of my bed.

“Are you very sad?” she asked quickly.

“About what?”

“That you have to be in your room the next two weeks?”

I smiled her secretively. Hell no! I didn’t have TV here and the music system might have been removed, but I had way more interesting thing to linger than that.

“If you keep me company, I won’t be sad.” I answered quickly and she nodded.

Yup, if she stayed much longer in my company, she’d catch my every flaw, including my taste in men, which I hoped she wouldn’t because then she wouldn’t have to deceive our parents and me as much as I did now. But it was just as sweet to keep her around knowing she’ll be just as hell breaker as I was in my best hours.

I opened the book in no place particularly and looked at the picture of knights. “They sure had it easy…” I sighed and heard Lizzy opening the door.

“Are you going in the garden?” I asked out loud. She nodded. “I found an interesting old tradition here,” I continued fast, thinking back on what I read yesterday, “I think it’s a blessing the house thing or something. Would you like to try it? It’s pretty simple.”

She nodded eagerly. If I was gonna be stuck here, I might as well please my mind with something different, I decided. I explained what it was about and asked if she could fetch some flowers for me – nothing particularly special, just some clovers and five violets. She returned in haste, but I pulled down her fast-forward button saying the ceremony had to be performed just before the sunset.

To keep her busy, I let her read the book, though that resulted more in watching the pictures than in actual reading. I braided the flowers into a circle at the same time. It came huge – almost seven feet in diameter. It got finished just before the sunset and I put it on the floor, packing myself next to Lizzy on the bed.

“I can’t find it.” She said sadly. “Didn’t they know page numbers or something?”

“I doubt it.” I took the book from her hands. “Let me search it. Meanwhile, how about you get us something to drink?” I suggested.

“Dreams that come, dreams that go,
show me who’s the one?
Who can weaken my feet
and bring out the heat
And make my heartbeat grow.
Let ya come and state in words
What nature bids ya hide…”

I read the first part of one of the poems I opened from the back of the book. “And make my heartbeat grow… Hah! Now that’s poetic!” I was moved how nicely they could put this love thing. No, this was not the one I was looking for. Perhaps I’ll introduce it to Lizzy later.

I ruffled through half of the book before eyeing one that had some mystery appeal and involved no word of love or heart or anything of that matter.

“As Earth is my witness,
So shall I say
Twice will you take it.
If you appear before me
Once will I give it.
If you stand beside me.

Mine is the will to call you
Yours is the will to answer.

As Earth is my witness,
So shall I say.”

“Hmm,” I mumbled, thinking on Ouija boards sold in the shops “pretty straightforward.” I remembered the petals I had found from the envelope and thought they would look nice between these pages and off to find them I went.

It wasn’t enough time to find the flower where I had put it the night earlier, but it was enough ten seconds to realize there was something wrong with the air behind me. Perhaps it was the rough noise of someone’s growing anger or a long bow stretching string, I don’t know, but my back was covered with cold sweat in a moment the knowledge reached my mind.

I turned very slowly to observe whatever had just materialized in the circle behind me. It was a he. An elf no less – long ears reaching high above his dark rain drained hair gathered in loosely so they wouldn’t interfere his view from two very peering brown eyes. He was wearing an armor one would find from movie theaters on screen, not dripping rainwater on my floor now. He was tall too, his height was nicely presented through two massive hands that hold the long bow in fullest curve possible. With two very ugly pointed arrows turned to my both eyes.

“I suggest myself to have a darn good explanation to this,” I shuddered and moved my ass those two more inches back I could steal from the chair. His eyes flickered, mouth still clenched together. My eyes fell on his nostrils moving in the beat of his breathing. “I say, you keep breathing like that and you’ll soon have a heart attack!” I continued and wanted to chuckle over my own cleverness, but his determined attitude to finish me off for ruining his evening made me stay serious.

Something in his face told me this wasn’t the first time for him. But it was to me and so I had no idea, what I should do next. Bow to him? Make him bow to me? Ask questions no man knows the answer to?

“Why does it always have to be ME you call out? Why can’t you stick with your damned ghosts?! Twice this decade – first the old witch and now you!” his voice boomed over my tiny room. “Who are you!?”

Breath! I demanded from myself, there is no help of you if you starve yourself from oxygen now. He’ll get you first if you try, I decided a second later and forced myself to smile. It was quite week performance, but it was a smile never the less and I could feel proud for that little nanosecond it lasted.

“Kathy.” I said firmly.

“Kathy who!?” His power of firmness outraged my own and I was quick to answer.

“Catalina Delmer!”

“Why have you summand me? To gain a personal laugh? If so I swear I kill you right here and now!” His bow rose slightly to quicken my answer and show he meant his every word.

“Do I look like laughing?!” What a monstrous idea! “Look!” His longbow rose half an inch more, which made me cast out my hands in hope for protection. “I did not mean to call you out! I swear it on my grandmother’s grave! I only read a book, nothing more!”

“Then why am I standing in the middle of the flower circle?” he demanded, still not lowering the weapon.

Why the hell should I know? “Step out of it if you don’t like it!” I boomed, slightly irritated by his manners now and earned two sharp arrows buried half in my wooden table. I quite preferred him just where he stood, though it held little security in my mind now.

“I can not step out of this spell ring you created and you know it! But my arrows can!” he cocked two new arrows on his bow and for some reason I knew these two weren’t gonna miss. “Now, why have you summand me?!”

“Stop yelling and listen for one minute!” My beating heart was starting to affect my ability to speak. “I have not summand you personally – who the hell are you anyway? – I just read our family’s chronicles and there were some poems and I read one out loud!”

His eyes grew wider in disbelief. “You are mocking me!” he lowered the bow and loosened the hold, but not fully freeing it from his grip. “Are you telling me, you read the darn spell and did not even know it was a spell?”

“Well, I suspected as much, but…” I lost my line before his voice shook the table against what I had reinforced myself.

“What??”

“I just got the book yesterday! What do you expect? I swear I thought nothing more of it than some sport when reading about the Flower Circle – I thought it was something to celebrate the spring!”

“Send me back, NOW!”

I got fed up, he either didn’t comprehend the awful situation he was in or I was literally talking to some unwilling ghost, whose brain refused to take the information given to him. I jumped up and faced him – he proved to be much taller than I expected. “Half of it is unreadable and the other half filled with crow steps – I haven’t had time to know more that it belongs to my family before you turned up!”

“I don’t care!” the longbow rose again. “Send me back! NOW!”

“To where?” Fair question as I knew nothing of where to send such long eared men back to.

“You ignorant fool! You have already cost me my Ursah – it would have been one splendid gift to my father for my return! Do not play with me now! Reverse the spell and send me back before the sun is set and the gate closed!”

“How do I do that?”

“How hard is it to you to understand? Say you are free to leave!”

Free to go? That’s it? This was way too easy, not even in the movies you could get rid of illusions that way.

“No!”

“Come again?” hi growled.

“I won’t let you leave unless you tell me your name!”

“You are in no position to ask my name!” he bolted from his stand and hadn’t the flowery line stood between them them, it would’ve meant one very sad faithful move to me.

“And you are enough of a position to point that thing at me?”

His eye muscle twitched. I sighed fast suddenly realizing his game – he had hoped I’d give in before realizing he had nothing to gain from killing me therefore making it pointless. That did not keep him from trying though. But he lowered his bow.

His voice was now only a low static, before he said: “Finn Scarab Bhain.” He waited a second for my reaction, before continuing in much restraint sound: “If you really haven’t captured me with a purpose, let me go back to my duties.”

“Of chores – you are free to leave.” I said appalled how polite he suddenly turned. The next moment he disappeared, still scowling at me.

“I got our lemonades!” Lizzy stormed in. She stopped in the middle of the room, looking around. “What happened?”

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Long Distance Call part 2

After that weird contact I spent almost every free time reading the book. But in silence so I wouldn’t have another of those surprise call outs. Lizzy never understood what happened that evening and I didn’t think it would help if I tell her, so she never learned about it. I was surprised she didn’t even see the two very straight arrows in the desk.

We did the spring celebration. I found it on the second page and read it twice before deciding it was harmless. At least I hoped it was and I still fret about the entire thing happening again, feeling like a swallow the moment it ended and I hooked sis to the lemonade glasses and sent her off to bed.

I didn’t sleep much. I kept staring at the circle trying to imagine what he looked like and what he said – twice this decade. Who was the other one who called him out? Was it someone I knew? Was it granny?

Not once during that heated thinking did I say myself there is no such thing as magic. Or the book I held now above my bed under the roof was some witch’s daily cook book. Some witch’s? This belonged to my family, hardly strangers. Just someone I hadn’t known about, that’s all.

Grandparents are so predictable Barry said once at school. I agreed with him back then. To my excuse I could say I had had little experience with having grandparents. I never knew, who my grandfather was as he died years before our birth and grandmother was, well, slightly hard to get along to. That was my mother’s opinion, I found her to be surprisingly easy to deal with. That’s when I managed to see her; she was indeed a mobile woman even in her high age, traveling all the time. Now, she was one huge mystery to me and I had no idea what else she was to pop out to us.

I turned away from the ceiling. There was plenty of time to deal with her and her secrets tomorrow – this book was in my hands now and I intended to know it from every side possible. She probably had things hidden between the creasy covers too.

oOOo

The next morning I was waken up by a loud slamming sound too close for my liking. I immediately jumped out of the bed as it were caught in fire, before realizing, where I was. One look out of the window confirmed my suspicion that it was too early for the workers on the street to be doing demolition on the last part of the street laid intact, which unfortunately meant only one thing – the bang came from the other side of my bed.

Several curses followed and the same elf I had banished yesterday rose up giving me yet another site of his not quite likeable features.

“I swear I did not read any book this time!” I started fast, taking several steps away from the imaginative circle he was standing in. If he was mad, which, giving the circumstances was highly possible, he at least couldn’t come after me. “And I did not – I repeat, NOT! – call you out this time!”

He stared at my shivering body and discarded what he was obviously wishing to say. I must admit, I have never been much to look at in what I slept in, old grey t-shirt and long pink trousers. I pulled my hands up to cover the parts he wasn’t suppose to see through the thin garment and gave him a displeased grunt.

He on the other hand was dressed for training, brown trousers with wide belt to keep the back straight and light boots. According to the sound the bang I heard earlier was sort of a heavy landing wrestlers would do when falling on opponent’s chest… Oh my, this had to hurt to land on a wooden floor instead of someone’s soft flesh or sand pile.

However he kept looking for something with his eyes, letting them travel around the room. He wasn’t wearing any weapons, except some dagger strapped on his right arm. I think he was verifying my words by searching for the book, but as it was static in its hiding place above my bed, he couldn’t see it.

“I thought you finished the spell after releasing me.” He then said quietly, still panting from the training he had been to. It must have been one heavy fight, he didn’t pass as some weakling.

“Well, to be honest, I thought I did.” I lied. In fact, I thought releasing him was all I had to do to get the illusion disappear. “I have no idea, why you are here again.”

“I am here, because you summoned me!”

Oh, don’t start with that crap again, I moaned. For that I should have put my lips together and gesture the sounds, which as far as I knew I had not done.

“I did not! Stop saying that!”

Silence scooped in some moments we spent staring at each other, before I couldn’t keep the eye contact any longer and had to look somewhere else. He wasn’t the type to keep repeating he was right, which was quite pleasant discovery in my behalf, Tim was all that and more and I enjoyed it for a second. My eyes traveled back to his uncovered knees. I came back to the notion the blow those two endured had to be immensely painful.

“If it means something, I’m sorry for the…” how should I call it? Earthquake? “um, landing. I didn’t mean it to be that way if any.”

He accepted my apology with a quick nod. Seeing he wasn’t about to threaten me this time as he did yesterday, I got little courage to take a step closer to him. He didn’t move.

“Say, um… you wouldn’t want the arrows back you shoot me with yesterday, would you?” This had to be the oddest thing to start a conversation with I scolded myself. His brown eyes flickered for a moment before turning to look where the arrows had landed. I followed his eyes.

There was no signs left about anything hitting in the wood, I put some flower stickers on the spots so it would look less messy. The problem with the arrows was that in order to remove them, I sort of broke them off and then filed the spots smooth before anyone might got an idea of looking in that direction. This in general idea now meant that I didn’t really have anything to give him back.

“The arrowheads have not been removed from the wood?” He asked quickly with little enthusiasm, before shaking his head, giving me one mean glance. “If I’d ask them back now, when you have offered them to me and you would have nothing to give me back, I would have the right to ask the guerdon in your flesh.” He paused to watch how the blood left my face, before continuing. “Would you like to repeat your question?”

Turning pale in less than a second was enough of an answer I assumed and I promised to burn them with my trash. That thing settled I gave him a quick question about him wanting to return to whatever had occupied him earlier. Like I had to ask, his scowling turned in bright fierce anger for dealing with someone this annoying and idiotic that I gave him fast approval to leave, before he could say anything extra.

He disappeared and I sank down on my bed before letting my breath slide out of me. He was scary, even if he stayed civilized, I decided. There was one thing I failed to mention him though, probably because in the surprise visit I didn’t remember it myself – there was one time before his appearing when I thought about him. In my dream! Did this count for calling? If it did, I was in deep trouble; I couldn’t get him out of my mind anymore. Especially now, when he had appeared again and freshened my memories.

It was not in purpose, I told myself. My brain was just recalling the day events and that happened to pop in my head with along other stuff, like wet kittens and bibles and the book… No, I could definitely not been blamed for calling him out as I had not done it willingly, it was nothing more than my brain pulling tricks on me, one very mean trick.

But if mere seeing him in my mind caused the spell revoke, I had to learn to control it by somehow not thinking on him and where he might have came from. Though it would have been interesting to know more about what he was doing – this seemed military training he was doing. You wouldn’t see something like that in today’s world…

oOOo

Parents need to be credit for not “noticing” when something is really wrong in their kid’s worlds. They can be ignorant to the facts for months or even years if nobody puts their noses in it and that was exactly what my parents did – they ignored everything that came upstairs.

Was it probable they didn’t hear the smash? Right! And I’m the canary married to a cat. I could have played along and say it was my boyfriend who happened to smash one of their beloved TVs on the floor because he was so passion strike. It was unlikely they would have believed me, but it would have been better than sitting around the breakfast table, trying not to look in their children’s eyes and carry on their daily conversations.

Lizzy’s face was the guiltiest one today. I managed to put on the nun’s appearance, who will go to school, do her duty and come back home to pray in her little cell. Neverhteless, her condemned look was a puzzle to me. Had they fallen out with Susan after she went to bed? Had Susan threaten her with something?

When walking to school, I had plenty of time to question her and find out that her hangdog face had nothing to do with neither my little problem nor with Susan.

But she had heard the crash from my room and now she was concerned that I was using her to hide my boyfriend’s visits and she was not happy with things going that way at all. If she hadn’t been so serious, I would have laughed hard. I still wished to, but she was right – it wasn’t fair.

I did my best to assure her that wasn’t my boyfriend, who was sneaking in, explaining more of the situation that led to my house arrest in the first place. She immediately inquired if we considered ourselves as partners, which I gladly denied and managed to raise her mood notably through that.

I held a low profile in school. After sending sisters to their classes, I turned back to my main problem – keeping the elf out of my thoughts through various distractive elements I had brought with me. That included my player with the loudest band in my collection, which eventually gave me a humdinger of a headache and a collection of sudoku riddles (never my favorite pastime). In classes, where neither of them could help me, I spent the minutes pushing holes in my cardigan – during the first class- or drawing S-shaped snakes in my books.

Living through the day was easier than I thought. Well, that after I left the player alone and the headache eased away and giving my sudokus to classmate. She was overjoyed, I was just happy as the sleeping drug had passed to another unsuspicious victim.

In the evening I decided to skip the not thinking part and figure out the last riddling question he had planted in my head. What did he mean I hadn’t finished the spell? Wasn’t it enough just saying he was free to go? Or should I have performed something extra? Like saying the spell all backwards to reverse the effect as they did in the movies? Charmed sisters would have a field day if they were real. I had a huge problem in my hands.

I was lying on my bed after finishing the essay on John Tyler and stared at the ceiling. What use was to hide myself from the book if Finn appearing before my eyes was a living proof that there was something I hadn’t quite taken in consideration?

I got the book and spread it out right on the encyclopedias and notebooks. I could finish typing it in later, I decided and searched the page out. There had to be something extra, but to my disappointment I couldn’t find anything. As if that part was never written.

“Finn, you are gonna be so mad when you hear about this.” I sighed disappointedly and buried my head in the pillow.

As if ordered I heard water splashing on my floor again and realized too late that this definitely went under calling him. And it was sunset time, which would then mean the portal was again open and I had…

“WHAT? Again? Come on!” His voice rocketed over the room.

I winched and was forced to look what made him so thorny this time. Beside the fact he was yet again forced to stare at my yellow flowery wallpaper.

My jaw dropped – he was naked as a jaybird! Standing his backside at me, he appeared like in the middle of taking a shower or something.

“Oh no!” I cried sinking lower. “I am not here!”

He darted around. “You called me out again, didn’t you?!” He eyed the open book between my fingers and reached for it, but banged against the barrier. “You are doing this consciously! That book! Hand it over – I want to remove that page from there so you’d stop disturbing my damned life!”

I gaped at him, not really knowing what to say. He reached for the book again and I was forced to pull it back suddenly sensing his wet fingers too close.

“I didn’t read from here yet, you fool!” I hit the book shut and put it behind me. “Have you no shame?” I turned this turmoil back on him, hoping creating shame on his nakedness will take his mind off the book.

“Excuse me! Didn’t think I need pants to wash myself!”

His face had no different color than before and I had to admit, he really was shameless. Well, I wasn’t about to faint of embarrassment either and left him rattling over the undutiful faith to dig in my chest of drawers. It might have been nothing to him, but having two little sisters, who could run in at any moment I preferred him covered…

“There is the movie on Channel 8 I wanted to see,” Lizzy flew in starting fast, closing the door after her, “Susan’s using ours, can I…” she fell back against the door. “Whoa!” her youthful stare flew over his body as if it was a statue placed in an art museum. There was some to look at I’d be honest.

“Oh dash it… ” I hid my face in the towel. We were never hid from the ways of the world, but this was little more she was leveled for in my opinion. She was definitely to ask a lot of questions about that naked guy in…

“Oh great!” he threw up his hands. “Now I’m some girlie’s wet fancy! Give me that!” he demanded and grabbed the bath towel from my hand to cover self up. I didn’t even notice I was that close.

“That is not your boyfriend.” Lizzy pointed out keeping her lovely glare steady on his furious face. “He was way shorter the last time I saw him. Though not less wet.”

I couldn’t help but being proud for her not falter once keeping her gaze on one place. Mine was way too traitorous and swung over more than few times.

“I am not her …!” he chocked.

I thought in my best interests to intervene. “See? Just as he wanted to say – not a boyfriend. He’s somewhat a…” God, I prayed, keep me from laughing, I searched some signs in him to find the right words. His scowling wasn’t making the task easier. “…um, huffy elf…” wearing my towel, angry as hell and ready to strangle me if I stand anywhere near his reach.

“An elf?” she wasn’t ready to go with the flow yet, but noticing his two tall pointy things she shrugged halfway. “I’m dreaming…” she shrugged again. “Yup, that’s it, I’m dreaming…” she closed the door after herself.

I took a deep breath, but almost choke on it as she flung the door open and measured Finn one more time from tip of his toes up to the pointy ears. “Not a boyfriend.” She turned to me. I nodded. “An elf.” I nodded. “Wearing your green towel.” I had to check before agreeing, but yes, that was the fact. “Yup, this has to be a bad dream.” She closed the door once more and I listened her steps furthering away.

I was biting my lips quite hard now, not really daring to look at him again. I wondered if he noticed the little wet part with my boyfriend and what ideas that might give him, but most of all I was worried that now there was no way to make him understand I wasn’t calling him out in purpose and I would have happily agreed to leave him be.

The room grew awfully cold now and dampish. My courage failed me and I kept the eyes lowered.

“Send me back.” He said resentfully, hands crossed on his chest. “And never summon me again or risk loosing your tongue.”

I sighed. If it was mine to say, which it wasn’t. I might even enjoy life without tongue.

“You may go.” I whispered.
The moment he was gone, I searched for another towel and dried out the water pool on the floor, before dragging the bed in the middle of the room to hide that damned place that cost me so much trouble. I was sure that if he had no where to return to, I can’t summon him unwillingly either.

Then I hit the bed and did some whet eye whining, before hiding the book above the ceiling panel and freeing the space from school work. I had no will left to type it in now, perhaps in the morning, when this feeling of sorrow had passed, tomorrow was Saturday after all, so plenty of time for that nasty task.

oOOo

That night brought me no salvation. I kept pondering over my icy situation and woke up after every hour like a clock work in fear he might be standing there again, yelling at me to send him back.

Then, when that fear finally faded, I couldn’t help but think about what went on in his world and who he was. In my opinion he had to be some sort of a knight, but I wasn’t sure, who. He didn’t seem that terrifying anymore and I even liked his brown- red armor he appeared in on the first night. That covering his warrior’s body wasn’t such a bad deal I chuckled.

Thinking on him brought me back to the horror he might accomplish if I accidentally summoned him anywhere near the sunrise, so I moved on wondering how to bring this to an end. I had to find somebody, who could explain me, what I had done and what I did wrong. There had to be someone, who wasn’t a charlatan or after huge amounts of money to earn on a fool’s behalf. Finding anyone close to that description might take years though and that was not the time limit I wanted to push myself in.

Then there was the little sister problem. I wasn’t sure, what to tell her in the morning for explanation, but I better find it fast as morning was fast to approach.

“There is no time!” I whispered, pressing my temples to stop aching. Why did this all seem so urgent? I needed time to understand this, but I had none.

Feeling worse than ever I skipped all the next problems I happened to think about and tried to sleep. It was hard, but I did manage to get another two hours without waking up now and then before mom woke me up, displeased that I had moved my two-people bed around without consulting them first as through that I had carved some heavy furrows in my freshly put floor and that seemed the worst thing I could do.

I rather accepted that accusation and slid away from the real reasons why this gigantic thing was now in the middle of the room instead nicely under the eastern window where it had been the past six years. To keep curtain someone out of my room.

The rest of the day was just as equal to Friday the 13th, so equal even that I lost all hope of seeing anything brighter that day than a pitch I was made to clean. Never tell your mother you don’t want to help her washing the car if you’re under house arrest. They can be quite creative on finding you something to do.

Sunday followed almost the same routine, except I also had the essay to type in. I had little time to think about anything and couldn’t wait to get in my bed and sleep for the next week. Dreaming has never done much harm, now has it? In general I mean. Not particularly that incident.

Anyway, I was way deep asleep, before that evening’s event started. I didn’t know about it before been waken by my sister holding my nostrils closed in the early morning, but still.

My sister has a bad habit, something I really dislike about her. It’s slightly hard to explain, but I think this characteristic only belongs to dogs department and therefore it is very annoying to find it with some people, who think it’s funny.

I think I was already half awake when she came to me, because I could hear her sneaking on the bed and then whispering something with someone in the footboard. I wanted to deceit myself just a little longer that I don’t have to wake up yet and slight peek on the window didn’t indicate the time was right either, so I kept my eyes strongly closed. Nonetheless, I couldn’t move my feet though I tried and that was little unnerving. I must of forgotten the cover on I decided, waiting now impatiently for her to make her move.

“Wait and see,” she giggled happily and it suddenly occurred to me this was not meant for me, but to the th… “Wake up!” she whispered to my ear and closed my nose so I had to gasp for air and open my eyes if I wanted her to stop.

I screamed like hell the next moment when I was all of a sudden faced both with Lizzy and the elf sitting on the footboard, grinning. It took me a while to realize he had to been there since sunset, because it wasn’t yet sunrise and that he had his blanket with him, a beautifully margaric piece with white embroidered corners and decorations.

“W-why do you have this with you?” I asked hastily, bringing mine higher to cover myself up.

“Have what with me?” he did indeed sound amused. Perhaps he had forgotten his promise concerning my tongue. I sure hoped so.

“You’re blanket. Don’t tell me you spent the night here!”

“I did.” He nodded.

“W-why? How?” I was thoroughly confused. I had no idea anymore what made him come again and again, because I hadn’t thought about him the whole day, including the evening neither had I seen him in my dreams. Yet here he was, smiling like a lunatic and my own blood related sister with him.

“I should be asking that question from you!” his voice grew much lower.

I took that as a sign to get Lizzy out before continuing this conversation any further, but I didn’t have to – she had already left. Looking at the clock probably reminded her that it was hardly five in the morning and she went back to finish her sleep. She never missed much of her sleep. But I was clad she woke me up instead of mom or dad.

“I don’t know – I went to sleep far before the sunset.” I wasn’t to let him drag me back in the self blame I had fallen in earlier. Here was something more in play than only my will. “I don’t know, how you came here again, but I swear and will keep swearing that I have not called you here nor have I thought on you this whole day!”

“It had to happen somehow, why would I be here then?”

“I don’t know – figure it out yourself, you’re the elf!”

His rubbed his eyes, but stopped immediately. “What’s that suppose to mean?”

“That you are a bloody elf! You are magic all over, what do you think? You know more of magic than anybody else in this world!”

“What are you blabbering about? My people are warriors, not some mumbo jumbo dealers! We use magic very little, only our Healer knows more and she is neither human nor elf! It is you, who deal with magic, not us.”

“Right! Here, everybody know magic is a curse made to torture human kind with its nonsense idiotic spells! Is this enough of an answer to your question?” I hit my foot out under the blanket towards his thigh. It hit right thigh hard, but did little damage. “I can’t give you promise I can’t keep,” I hit him once pre every word, “because nothing I do seems to fucking work!”

He finally captured my foot, it was probably causing him a bruise already. “Send me home!” he demanded and I was happy to grant it for him.

I didn’t get any sleep after I sent him away. I focused on my anger that I felt was more powerful now than ever more. How ridicules to think humans knew more of magic then elves did! They were made of magic – we were mere flesh and bones held together by fluid called red blood, which at this point was boiling hot in my veins. If there were so many witches among us, why did I feel ahead of failing in searching anybody who could help me with this problem?

Magic my ass! Next time I’ll put boiling oil van on the place where he appears not my comphy bed! Yes, that’s exactly what I’ll do!

oOOo

My plan was cut short before I could pamper myself with doing it. Because I had moved my bed without my parent’s consent earlier, I was cracked down at mere sound of removing my chair around and was put under tight loose not to move anything again and to bare the bed in the middle of the room now as my punishment for the foul deed.

Only thinking he might appear there again sleeping the night off made me shiver in disgust. I didn’t even like my boyfriend in my bed, why would I like sharing it with always pissed elf? Plus I didn’t always have Lizzy to count on to wake us up before parents got the chance to find us in our weird situation.

I didn’t keep myself from thinking on him anymore. He managed to fill up all free moments I didn’t have to concentrate on the black board or house work. It was so annoying, I hardly knew the guy, not to mention he was angry son of a … well, I already said that.

But I couldn’t brush off the frustration his attitude was causing me. I wanted him to understand, to realize there really wasn’t anything I could do unless exposing myself to my family and the world of charlatans – I was sure that was not what he wanted. And the book gave me little consolation too – there literally was nothing among the texts I could understand. I was jammed, big time.

My ex boyfriend searched me up today too. What was it? An asshole day? He stood there, in the dining room’s door hole and didn’t let me pass, saying I owe him an apology. I asked, for what? He said, for dumping him. So I tried to explain it so simply a five-year-old would understand too: it was either he dumping me when his family moved or the other way around. I chose the fast way. I didn’t fail to add the other extras that made being with him so thwarting experience either. He of chores had to yell over the hall that in that case he’ll be dumping me. Like that mattered much to me anymore – he can go out with the hell dog now as far as I cared. One like Bessie Lou from eleventh grade, she always liked boys who bossed her around. A perfect couple.

That was all I could take for that day though. My breakfast tried to find its way out soon after that and I got school’s nurse personal advice to go home and get some rest. I didn’t let her tell me twice, but called mom and said I was heading to my bed for that day.

The bed was darn comfortable and knowing there was at least six hours till sunset, I made the best of it and just slept – no dreams, no thinking and no upset stomach.

Good things are not meant to last though. I can’t remember, what I did or what happened, but I was woken by the worst way I had ever thought possible – a sound of mirror shattering and a heavy Finn standing on my left foot with all his weight put on the foot.

“GET OFF!” I screamed, tugging him with the strongest power I could gather with my right foot. It felt as if he’d broken it. He moved the foot without delay, staring in shock both me and my broken mirror. He was again wearing his red armor and I didn’t need to guess the arrows on my back wall came yet again from his long bow.

“God, you broke it!” I yelled, crooking the feet so I could touch every aching muscle. He grunted and kneeled behind me, putting the bow away so he could fight with my not so willing hands and get hold over my foot himself.

“Stop fidgeting!” he said loud and pressed my hands on the bed, before he could make any move near to my foot. “It ain’t broke if that’s what you’re yelling about! If it were, you would not be able to touch it!”

“Keep your filthy hands off!” I wasn’t to oblige to him just yet. “I don’t care if it’s broken or not! It still hurts!” he frowned. That gave me some courage. “And I so want to believe right now that all you are is one fucking bad dream and the pain is part of it and the mirror…” I fell silent. The mirror! It was granny’s gift to me when I was fifteen! I flew up faster than he could react.

“You broke granny’s mirror! She’s gonna be so crystal sharp when she finds out! And father too! God, I’m gonna be grounded forever for this! What am I suppose to tell them, huh? Some sick goats landed in and shoot arrows through their beloved mirror table meant to be a family heritage for the next six generations?”

“Stop it this instant!” he barreled. “I was in the middle of a battle field if you must know! I hardly thought in direction of your mirror when shooting the arrows at the enemy in front of me! So stop yelling at me for some furniture! And why are you yelling anyway?”

I was so appalled by his straightforwardness I immediately forgot, why I was doing it. I brushed through my hair. Next to his reasons, my mirror was indeed nonexistent problem.

“I don’t know.” I whispered. I let myself down on my back again, keeping my eyes straight on the ceiling. “I had a trying day.”

“And that makes you yell at others?” he returned his bow to his lap and started playing with it.

“Usually it doesn’t…” I honestly said. “But as I said, it’s been a trying day and finding you breaking my bones is not the most pleasant way to finish it.”

“I wasn’t doing it on purpose!” he immediately took offence. “I’d be still standing on it if I was out to do that!” I wanted to apologize, saying that wasn’t what I meant, but he was on a row. “Who told you to move your bed here anyway?”

“I did it myself, nobody told me.” It was my time to frown.

He sounded stunned. “Really?”

“Yes! Who other would come out such a stupid idea in the middle of crises? Not my parents, that’s for sure! They already took me through about this, so don’t you also start!”

Wait… he sounded stunned! I raised my head to look at him. He was indeed surprised. Was he playing with me?

“Alone?”

“Yes, of chores alone – see, there’s the ruts I pulled in the floor. Not quite a power woman…” I pointed at the birch, not removing my eyes from his face. He studied the creases before turning back at me like he’d seen something weird.

“So,” I decided this bed thing was getting odd and moved on to the next topic, “what pissed you out today?”

“Beside you?” he grinned.

Nice, that was really mature response. “Yes, besides me!” I grunted, not even pretending it was funny.

“Our neighbors decided it was a good day to blitz a village on our borderland just after the dawn. Father has been on the move since and has sent three of us – his sons- to retrieve it. Before that I talked to my father about the situation you so pleasantly put us and he now sees me as a somewhat half-wit for falling in witch’s trap. No, nothing much.” He shrugged.

“I see.” I took a deep breath to take that in. “If it is for any consolation, I didn’t set up any traps and I’m really sorry I dragged you in this. I wish I had granny here to ask her help, but I don’t.”

His eyes checked me for truth. “You have a granny to ask? Why haven’t you done it already?”

“After accidentally summoning you, I didn’t consider it a good idea to start calling out ghosts!” I felt as if he was attacking me. Hadn’t my foot hurt I’d definitely walked away from him at this point. But I couldn’t, so I had to face him. “She died a month ago.”

He nodded understandingly. “She taught you to summon?” he continued, keeping his voice calm now not to excite my passion to run again.

“She’s the one, who failed to teach me how to do it correctly. Had she told me about this years back we wouldn’t be in this mess.”

“She was a witch?”

“I don’t know – she never talked about it with us. I guess she thought we were too young. But I think she was one – she left me the book.”

“But she didn’t teach you to read it.” I didn’t understand, so he continued. “You told me these were your family’s chronicles.”

“Yes, I still think so. In a way that’s what they are, aren’t they?”

He agreed, observing me in silence.

“What are you thinking?” I asked fast, like afraid he’d keep something to himself again.

“That you need help.”

“Yeah, I already called to psychiatrist.” I joked, but he didn’t get it. I didn’t bother to explain and discarded it fast. “Never mind.”

“Anyway, we have to do something about this; it’s getting dangerous for both of us.”

I couldn’t agree more.

“First, how about moving your bed so I wouldn’t end up standing on you again?” he asked kindly. It almost broke my heart to introduce him the sad truth about the furniture in my bedroom. “You’re pulling me, aren’t you?” I shook my head. I wish it was that simple.
He suspired. “Strange ways you have, humans.”

“Tell me about it.”

His gaze traveled on the window. “You know, the sunset is almost over. You better send me back.”

“You wish to go back on the battle field?”

“Yes.” It was his turn to stare at me as if I was from Moon. “It’s an honor to go in battle. Besides, my brothers would be searching me soon, I need to stay healthy.”

I think I understood that worry and smirked.

“Alright, you may go.”

“By the way, I think I have an idea, who the witch was, who…” his voice echoed few more seconds before disappearing with his image.

“What?” I shrieked up. Darn! He was about to tell me the one more person, who had dealt with this before and he dared to disappear before that? I was indeed in the limits of my luck!

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Filed under Long Distance Call

Long Distance Call part 3

His next appearance was a torture to wait. But after having him called off from the weirdest situations, I dreaded to call him at all. I rather waited out and had another accidental summoning take place than have him know I did it willingly and face his rage. It was bound to happen sooner or later.

The left calf was sour the whole next week, but as he had said, it wasn’t broken. But instead of having a thorough check out, I hid it away and bared the pain.

The mirror created problems too just as I had predicted. My allowance was cut to one third in order to pay for the damage and buy the new oval mirror. This time I got the arrows out in full and storage them next to the book so I could imagine them every split of a second when glancing up there. I wasn’t thinking of offering them back to him, but keeping them. For memories I told myself.

Things that came out from the brown envelope found their place on a little pouch on my belt. I kept them in the storage near the mirror table, but after all the fuss around the piece I removed them to keep them safe with me. They still puzzled me.

Lizzy lost the interest in my book soon. Neither seemed she interested in Finn, saying from the last punch, he seemed most normal. She also said it that in her opinion the little she knew the better it was. Smart girl I’d say.

Susan on the other hand kept a keen watch over me. She brought me books and flayers about what a perfect lady was suppose to be like. I think she might have taken mom’s words way too serious, not really understanding I never was gonna take her advice. I tried to make her see reason and sat down with her, giving her my mind about her ways and ended up staring in two very blank eyes before finishing the conversation with very angry arguing over why I’m not willing to accept Christ as my personal savior.

I backed out their room faster than it took me to enter – something was seriously wrong with her, more badly than what I was going through. I at least was convinced what I saw weren’t some illusion, but flesh and blood creature. She on the other hand… It wasn’t really my place to argue – granny had predicted her ways and I had no wish to alter it or go against it. It was just hard keeping myself reserved and open minded with her world when she seemed to have gotten a brainwash in giant measures. It’ll pass I assured myself and decided to keep away from her door for as long as I was dealing with elves and their religious beliefs.

Did elves even have religious believes? I didn’t think so, perhaps it was mere trust fond deal with the earth?

I had to stay focused here, I immediately told myself – I couldn’t lose myself in such trivial things and arguments. My contact with their world must stop at the moment we figured out how to bring this to an end and then move on with our lives.

Why did this make me so sad then?

He came again on Thursday. I had grown so impatient that I took off with friends that night and came back way after midnight, sneaking in like a thief. Mike and Sharon thought I had mocked my life enough to give me a heavy trance night in the local nightclub, but they failed to know about my leg, which made me ask them bring me home much earlier than they had expected. To me it was almost perfect – for weeks I had asked to be allowed to party and now, when I finally did get out, I couldn’t wait to get back home again.

I barely got in from my door, when my way was blocked with my sitting pillows and clomped over one of them, getting quite disturbing hush as a response. I froze on the spot to give my eyes time to settle for a second, before I was able to make out Finn’s silhouette. My knees befooled me instantly and I landed on the nearest pillow.

“Hi!” I started, still surprised. How long had he had to be here? Gosh, he must be furious at me.

“Keep it down, Lizzy’s asleep.” He whispered.

“Lizzy?” I didn’t understand, but it made me move my legs again and find the switch for my reading lamp nearby. To my astonishment she really was there, sleeping soundly before him as it was the most natural thing to do.

“She ought to be in her bed.” I lectured covering her fast with the blanket. “What is she doing here?”

“She discovered me.” He answered half loud. “She ran in here to get something, I don’t know what. Anyway, she came back and kept me company till you decided to show up!”

“I was merely out with my friends!” I objected. “I have no obligation to sit here and keep watch all the time!” I wasn’t about to give vouchers to become God’s brides. “I have a life too you know!”

“I had too ’til I had to oscillate between this place and my home!”

“Is that so? What, you’re woman isn’t savvy enough to believe you won’t do anything dishonorable?”

“What?” He frowned so hard I was sure it will stay like that for the next week. I snacked at my lips again. It was so easy to temper his mood – it would probably take less than a minute to get him all worked out.

I discarded the idea I had fast seeing he had no idea what I was talking about. Good. It also proved to be harmful to irritate him now when there was so much time left till morning.
Instead I turned. “What did you do?”

“With who?”

I stared at him blank for a moment. What did he mean with whom? Oh… that. Either I was too oblivious on keeping the track on one topic or he was too gotten into that thing that he was to make an example of it.

“With Lizzy of chores, who did you think?” I started to rattle as if it hadn’t been me who just asked the question about his plausible wife.

He eyed me some time, before daring to answer.

“We played… games.” He didn’t sound very sure of the name. I wouldn’t be either if all you do is sleep, dancing with your partner on the wrestling field, practice one’s shooting skills and eat. In fact he was wearing his training costume even now.

“Oh? Like what?” I searched around and saw some simple skill games, most of her wooden collection was there, all nicely spread around the floor.

“She likes solving problems.” He nodded approval.

“Yes, well, she wants to be archeologist one day.”

“Who?”

I kept forgetting he wasn’t from here and that he had ears equal to Doberman’s. “Umm, historian chronicles studier, something.”

It was the first time I saw a true smile on his face, the one you give when you mean it. I was so stunned I immediately forgot what I was saying and just stared at him openly.

“I know, who archeologist is, we keep much better contact with your world than you do with ours.”

“Oh,” I felt like an idiot and blushed equally. “I’m sorry, I didn’t…”

His smile vanished. He changed the subject. “I figured out, who the other witch was.”

I welcomed his initial. It had been bugging me since his last visit and I was eager to hear the end of his sentence. “So?” I didn’t let him bake me long. I wanted to know, now, right here not wait another two days. “Tell me!”

“She called herself Florya. That’s your ancestor, isn’t she?”

Somebody up there really hated me and wanted to see me suffer I sighed disappointedly. “Yeah, that’ssss granny…” Great, he was summoned out by two Delmer women. I coughed slightly, trying to get this out of my system fast, but it stuck like a bad gum. Damned.

“I bet she got everything right in the first time.” I added sarcastically making my voice as soft as I could manage to keep it. Well, there went my hopes of getting some help from that mystery woman – kinda hard to get anything out of a ghost.

“She had much more experience than you have – it can be seen in miles.”

Perfect. I was to be the only black sheep of the family in this. I cursed her hard at that moment, why didn’t she take in consideration she ought to teach me first, not just give me a book that is mostly unreadable. Was she so eager to kill the tradition? Then why would she leave me the damned thing in the first place?

“I talked to my lord about this.”

Come again? Was he fishing for bad reputation? When I was searching ways to keep this under cover, he just ran around babbling about it to probably anyone he could get his hands on. I told myself to keep quiet and see what he has found out. As much as I didn’t like it, he was probably the closest to any solution.

“He said the only one, who has the knowledge to reverse this, would be our Healer. In order to see her, I need to take you to her – she never leaves her house.”

“You like said you need to take me there?” I interrupted.

“Yes I did.”

I goggled at him for some time, hoping he would back out and say he was joking. But his face kept his composure. This wasn’t quite what I had hoped for. What I had in mind included him just delivering me a punch of written texts we could follow without me going anywhere from my comfortable space.

“Where exactly is there?”

“For a change, you’re coming to my world.” He said calmly.

I burst into laughter, but buried it in palms as Lizzy was showing signs of wakening. “I’m sorry, um…” I rose abruptly and gathered the little bundle from the floor. “She really needs to, um… Come on, sweet, let’s get to bed. I’ll be back in a moment.” I was losing my composure and hid it fast behind the façade of doing something useful. My heart was racing like nuts. I still wished he’d come with papers.

I didn’t go back right away, but stalled getting myself some juice from the kitchen. I got two glasses, but took up only one.

“Here,” I gave him his and sat down again.

“Is it laughable that you need to come in to my world?” he didn’t wait to ask. “What is this?”

I gave him one very disappointed look. Though the times of knights seemed romantic in the books, it wasn’t so when seeing fear of being poisoned by everyone in his eyes now.

“I wouldn’t know how to poison you even if I’d want to.” He couldn’t be won over. “It’s just a drink, some apple juice.”

I thought he might be thirsty and that he was – he swallowed it in two gulps.

“And no,” I returned to his question. “I don’t think it’s funny, it’s just how I react on things.”

“Like when you yell in a bad mood?”

“I did not say I do it all the time. You’re getting to me with all this and I just happened to want to…” I lowered my voice down to a whisper, “yell at you…” I sighed. Not quite what I wanted to confess. “People react to surprise sayings with laughter. It’s a form of a fear and dealing with it.”

“You fear entering my world?” he asked fast.

I frowned. “Stop twisting my words! I didn’t say that.” I had to find some good excuse to change his opinion and convince myself in this too. “How long would I have to stay there?”

“As long as it takes to fix it. Why?” He stood, stretching his muscles. He looked intimidating again, but I passed this as something he probably was natural at. This gave me slight nudge that made him less scary in my eyes.

“More than a day then?” I rose too, only to make grimace on the hurting foot and leap over to my desk, bringing him my daily schedule.

“Why?” He asked, irritation growing knowing I was about to come up with some idea to ditch his only chance getting free.

“If you can tell me, how to pass all this without them noticing, I’d be very grateful.” I smirked. Perhaps use some fairy dust? He snapped the paper from my hand and read it with little interest, before rumpling it all in one tiny ball and giving it back to me.

“You need to get your priorities straight, girl!”

“You come first, right?” There, I knew the answer. He didn’t reply and I was glad for it. “Should I take something with me?” I continued fast, discarding the earlier question. I was sure he could come up with something nifty if given the chance, but I wasn’t really interested in listening how someone rants about so irrelevant thing. Besides, I wasn’t thinking of finding the way out of this, it was my mess and I had to clean it up.

“No, nothing I know of.” He eyed me from tip to toe. “When you get there, you’ll need to change – I won’t have you walk around looking like a boy.”

“I have dresses too!” It was weird he thought my fashion sense surrounded boy style – two third of my closets were filled with dresses and gowns from last year. One was gift from aunt, a nice dark blue, I was her bridesmaid. Even now I was actually wearing a skirt, a short one.

“Anything reaching your toes?”

“I preferred higher line.” I grunted, dragging the skirt lower, leaving the subject. “Look!” I nodded towards the eastern window. “I guess the gates will be open soon, you can get back at your training.”

I started cleaning the floor from Lizzy’s toys. It was weird to discuss my wardrobe with him anyway – what would you expect from an elf who hardly had chance to look up from the battle and see a modern age women taking a catwalk on the stage. They had little to do with how I dressed, but in my mind I thought I cleared the subject enough.

“I won’t be doing training today.”

“Oh? Sleep then perhaps?” I joked, getting the last of the pieces of the pyramid. I figured anyone was tired after spending the night talking and dragging yourself through one awkward conversation to another.

“Come here.”

I swooped up. He meant in the Flower ring? No. No, no and again no – I was not that uneducated in old myths – getting in the ring with an elf always meant trouble. On the other hand, how was he gonna get me in his world if I didn’t.

“Come.” He called me again reaching his hand to me. I was right in his reach, yet he didn’t grab me but waited me to answer.

“I’m so gonna regret this.” I whispered, letting the toys fall free on my bed and taking step towards him. “Wait!” I stepped back again, remembering what I thought earlier. I patted the pouch on my belt, my silver necklace with a bird. “I’m missing something…”

“I said you don’t need anything.” He started, but stopped when he saw me bring out my gem box.

“Give me these few minutes and I swear I’ll behave.” I promised fast, raising one stone after another against the light till I found what I was looking for – four different stones, each one exactly the color of my family members’ eyes. If there was anything here I wanted with me, it would have been them, even if they didn’t know it. Four different grey gems found their way to my pouch. They were all some sort of crystals just as their eyes that sparkled in sunlight. My eyes were grey as the dirt –I needed no reminder of that.

“What are they for?”

“I might need them there.” I shrugged. I didn’t want to explain this irrational thing to him, he would find it silly, but it was important for me to take them. I hid the box again and stepped next to him inside the circle. The flowers were long gone, but I could see them clearly in my mind.

“I don’t think so,” but he didn’t try to reason with me, but closed his big hands around my wrist so hard it hurt and told me to send him back.

I hesitated. “How can you be sure I’ll go with you?”

“All my things travel with me. So did your towel.” Embarrassing moment, I thought, but he didn’t seem to care. “Why wouldn’t you?”

“Because am not some thing?”

He started losing his patience with me. “To magic, everything is some object to play around with. You’ll see – there will be no trouble getting there.”

“How about coming back?” I posted fast. I knew elves were hard to deal with, but I wanted him to promise me, assure me that I was coming back and not kept there. I wasn’t sure any elf in one right mind would actually keep a promise given to human, but if he did say it out loud it would be something to remind him later.

“I don’t know.” He said honestly.

I stared at his deep brown eyes for a second or two. I was trapped. He wasn’t gonna promise me anything and would be strong enough to keep me standing here with him until the next sunset if I’d refuse to say the words. Never step in the fairy ring unless dozed and sure you can afterwards claim on losing your sanity.

“You are free to leave.” I used the words I had learned by heart the first time and clanged to his arms.

I could see my room vanish softly in thin air before another room immerged, a simple kitchen. He let go of me and I watched around the room. There was nothing really special about it – dirt floor, a table with benches and few cupboards.

We were immediately approached by an old woman, who bowed to Finn. “My lord, you’re back.” She sounded startled. “I started worrying when you did not return yesterday.”

Lord? Was I in a mess!

“What does she mean?” I got suspicious.

“Has anyone come looking for me?” He continued fast.

“No, they think you are hunting Ursah.” She started giggling like Lizzy did when she thought of something funny. Her little wrinkles came out one by one. She was actually kind of nice, warm and homey. I wondered who she was.

“Good.” Finn nodded, removing his dagger holder from his hand. “Get her dressed.”

“Right away.” She bowed him slightly and started towards me. She stopped for a moment when she was far enough to measure me with her eyes, and then reached for me. “Come on, dear, I have just the dress for you.”

I didn’t know how to respond. Was she a servant? Or family?

She lead me to a room next to the one Finn was changing. It was even smaller bedroom, filled with two huge beds and a chest. She pat on my back like assuring it will all be right and went to search through the chest.

“My name is Kathy.” I started shyly. I didn’t know if she even wished to respond, but I sure wished to know her name. She seemed so nice and loving; there couldn’t be any harm in learning her name.

She brought out a long simple light blue gown, little bodice and a marvelous grey tunic girded with white and blue.
“I’m Fenny.” She laid the dress on one of the beds. “Strip up.” She suggested and witnessed my stark red blush. “Oh, don’t worry, he ain’t the watching type. He has too much in his mind right now to look any gal.”

That was comforting thought, but I doubted any man could resist the temptation to peak if given the opportunity. Still, not wanting to insult the woman, I removed my cardigan. She took it from me and waited for the rest.

I had to ease the situation somehow.

“So, are you Finn’s grandmother?” I asked, removing my slip-on.

She laughed so openly I was pulled back. “Oh, would that be a day!” she turned her attention to the brim of my blouse. “I just make his clothes.”

I swear I heard wrong. She was his seamstress? And he came to her to hide his disappearing? Wouldn’t she rat him out?

“Oh, don’t be so – he had to trust someone.”

I thought he trusted his parents; he did go to them as soon as he could.

“I know all his secrets. Where else he could turn?” She continued. I had to admit, this was weird. I would never go to the woman, who measured me for a gown and tell her all about my little world. She forestalled my next question. “I hide his weapons, why not cover up you too?” She whispered half loud as if Finn couldn’t hear her that way. Her shiny eyes went over my now shivering body and stopped on my bra. “That too.”

I shook my head. No way.

“Yes, yes. Why do we have bodice then? Take it off, come on.”

I tick went through my jaw, removing the last of the garment covering the upper body. She gave me courage with a smile and turned me around to fix the bodice around my lungs. I froze to my spot seeing Finn just few feet away focusing on his sleeves. I clamped my arms up to hide the little dignity I had left. He may have been ok appearing nude in front of anyone, I sure wasn’t. Fenny used the moment and pulled the strings on my back together leaving me almost no room to breath, only gasp.

Finn was indeed gentlemen and didn’t look up not once I was turned to him. But then I felt Fenny unlace my belt and I jerked, not letting her finish what she started.

“You can’t wear that here.” She explained, not letting go.

The gallant man before me disappeared and Finn’s voice rolled over me as a cold shower.

“Take it off.” He demanded.

I sternly met his gaze and refused. His frowning increased tenfold, but before he managed that, I still noticed the hungry look he gave me. I was right – no man can resist the temptation – the thumb rule for every woman to follow.

“Take it off, we don’t have this material here, it will be too obvious.”

“I’ll hide it under the jacket.” I argued, knowing I couldn’t win, but I wasn’t leaving my treasures behind, they meant too much for that.

“No! I said, take it off!” his look passed me for a moment, I presume it met with Fenny’s and he seemed to ease a little. “Here,” he threw me a small dark pouch with red flap clad with his signs, “you can put your things there.”

“I’m not leaving them. Not with you, not with anybody.”

His jaw ticked. “I’m not gonna drag them with me! You are! In this they are less noticeable.”

It was my turn to frown, but I let the lady remove my stuff, before forcing him to turn with my peering look.

She pulled the soft gown over my head and strapped it on the back. The fabric was heavy and followed my every curve. It felt cool against my shame burned body. While she was busy making the dress stay place, I repacked my pouch. It was meant for a belt, looking down it was obvious this gown didn’t require any.

“What is it, dear?” Fenny finished with the straps and started remodeling my plain hair.

“It is meant for a belt.” I showed her.

“No worry, dear, I’ll find it a nice rope you can use to put it over the shoulder.”

A moment later she returned with shining red chain and helped me put it on. Then came the jacket and she started with the hair again.

That gave me time to look at myself. The dress itself was beautiful – it held more fabric than it showed, creating nice waves when I played with it. The jacket was from strong material and it felt odd to move around in, but the patterns on it were superb handwork and though hard didn’t mind wearing something so refined for a change. The only thing out of place was his pouch that now tangled near my hips like a little handbag I had in fifth grade. The cord it was tied with looked awfully tender and I couldn’t help but wonder when it broke off. I had to be careful – it was after all my whole world at the moment, the only thing to keep my contact with my world.

“I’ve got you all dressed up now.” He murmured giving me one thorough once-over, bemused by his own cleverness while Fenny finished with the hairdo. There was little she could do with them; I never had them longer than to my shoulder blades. I made a grimace as response, he sounded as he was choosing clothing for a doll.

oOOo

I openly studied people around me. What was he talking about the fashion again? Anything down to my toes? I saw several people around wearing much shorter skirts than I had ever seen among my friends and they were the mini skirt enthusiasts at school!

I didn’t hear him approach, but a moment later I was softly moving on, with his hand keeping me steadily on pace. I glimpsed at him, he had put on a nice long tunic. That was about all I saw as he stayed back enough to hide himself from view.

“I could have easily worn my own skirts here!” temper rising in me as I spoke. “I look like a fool in this gown!”

“No you could have not!” he protested, getting serious again. “If you are to be among my family, you better act accordingly and this means dressing properly. It is one thing to rise suspicion, it is totally other to dress as a commoner!”

The jacket suppose to be covering my breast made me feel itchy and I couldn’t get it high enough to hide my skin from the world. I didn’t like it one bit anymore – why have full length to cover your feet if up there, everything was put out for full view.

“I fail to see the logic in you argument!” I pushed through my teeth and stopped trying to keep the jacket up, it was pointless hope.

“Dressed as a commoner you would be executed without giving you a chance to explain.” he softly pressed on my back, making me move. “Dressed as a noble will need our Lord’s word before removing your head. This way you’d be brought to my father one way or the other and seeing you’re not around here he’d recognize you at once.”

“Oh! It’s like keeping a restraint on me even if I happen to wonder off?” I bitched.

The erupted stop was so sudden I almost fell over hadn’t he captured my elbow. “You’ll do no such thing!!”

I was taken back with the sincere sound I could hear in his voice. He honestly looked worried at that moment as if the whole world was out there to get me.

His eyes turned dark again and he let me go. “You don’t know our laws.” He explained harshly. “We don’t give strangers a chance to go back. It happened once that your people stumbled on us and it was enough to take up laws to prevent such episodes to repeat. It is bad enough you are too ignorant to find the answer to why the spell won’t stop, but that I had to bring you here…” he sighed. “Look around.” He advised me. “They can smell far you are not from our world and ready to become part of local legends as of one who killed the outsider.”

I kept my look steady on him not at all appealed to see all the eyes I knew were tagged on my back. He was right, I had little clue of what might happen to anyone, who was bold enough to be different. God that made me miss our little town – exact laws to everyone with little crime and even less anything else. And freedom to wear what ever one wished.

“Do you still wish to go walking by yourself?”

I shook my head. No, I had no such wish left in me. He nodded approvingly and led me on towards a huge garden.

He didn’t explain, but I understood this had to be his father’s home. I remembered him telling me the first time we met that he had been on his way here when I so rudely intervened. This gave me something to think about while we walked. I wondered if he had his own house somewhere and perhaps indeed someone waiting him there or had he been just on a tour of some sort.

My daydreaming was interrupted by sounds of metal and bows hitting thick wood. That’s probably the place they practiced their skills for war. I had to admit they sounded good and looking around, they had to be, because I saw no signs of any recant attacks in the city.

“You wish to see me hanging too, don’t you?” I asked when we were half way to the city gates that marked his family’s territory.

“I need you. You have nothing to fear until then.”

His monotone answer was all that needed to keep me calm. The situation got much clearer to me then. I was safe till he got free. After that my life will got pretty much uncomfortable. All is well as in hell; I snuggled sadly and kept the pace. He was being honest, I gave him that much, though I would have liked the notion of him being slightly friendlier or trying to use the fairy charm I had read about from old tales.

Yuk! Imagining him using some fairy dust to charm his ways to get me into doing his biting seemed repulsive. I shivered from the idea, deciding right there that I preferred him shooting his red arrows at me to scare me than see him play cupid.

Why did he have to be so darn honest?

“That necklace,” he woke me, “take it off.”

I stared at him with honest question in my eyes – what necklace? How had he even seen it? It was so small she hardly remembered wearing it.

Not getting the answer he waited, he stopped me and reached his hands to get it. Soon the little tangle was in his palm and he discarded it unconsciously in his pocket. I watched it go not daring to remind him I rather had it in my little purse.

“Do you want the rings too?” I asked, raising my three fingers up to meet his gaze.

“No, they are simple enough to fit.”

Alright. I guess I ought to be glad now.

I continued to walk, not waiting him follow.

He immediately caught up and put his hand back on my back to lead me. This was too much. “I wish you’d stop that, it’s embarrassingly childish!” I marked and pulled myself free, only to feel him clench in my jacket so hard it left bruises.

“Take this as our way of holding hands.” He pressed through his teeth. “And you’ll feel much better. Besides, I think it’s much more personal that just keeping fingers engaged, don’t you think?” his voice grew lower as his hand caressed over my backbone and lower back. That I did not expect.

I pressed my lips so hard they formed a white stripe over my face. He raised his hand again and we continued the journey, I more upset than before. Not because of him, but mostly over my own stupidity of even letting the thought of keeping my jewelry through my head.

“When we meet my father, you are not to ask or say anything before him, do you understand?” I nodded in slight response. “I’ll have to leave you there alone for a minute, so stay put and say nothing, but wait till I arrive.”

“But what if they talk to me?”

“I doubt it. It’s like a war strategy…”

“…no one sees you standing in plain site,” I finished for him, “I know that strategy, works well on little children too.”

He hardly smiled.

 

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Filed under Long Distance Call

Long Distance Call part 4

The introduction to his parents hardly existed as they didn’t even gaze at me when passing us heads lowered for respect. Finn didn’t make a try to raise their attention either. I thought of it weird, but rethink it a moment later, realizing it was good.

The castle itself was very dull. I expected elves to be a bearers of something wonderful, instead met a lot of empty walls. It was lighter, yes, and the plants covered almost every place possible, but that was about it – behind the walls there was nothing, no elaborated carvings, no wooden or stone laces. Finn caught me staring around and explained this was their hunting house that was built for war in the first hand and has been like that since. When that since was, I had no inclinations to ask.

What he called halls seemed to me as all self standing huge tents built in the middle of a huge garden. Only made of stone, yet having the lightness of a wood. Still, it was ugly to my sense of beauty and made me wish back to my ugly suburban yellow room.

Just as he had promised – after the lords had entered to one of those tall white halls covered everywhere with soft white silk, he left me alone, standing in the middle of nothingness. I could have killed him for that move. What was he thinking?

I spent my time well, studying the men and women around me, one more beautiful than the other. Two women not far from me seemed similar to Finn, their hair were much longer, but they had the same eyesight and way the familiar body built. One of them kept a keen watch over me, so even I hardly dared to breathe. I wondered if they were his family members.

“Look at that! What an awful lace she’s done to me!” I looked at the most wonderful handwork I had ever seen in my life – she’d be fit to dress queens! I had seen her earlier walking in the corridor looking at the flowers while comparing her work with them. But I never saw her even look at her work while her fast fingers did her bidding, yet no one else managed not to look – what wonderful glistering patterns came under those small fingers. There was nothing comparable in our world. She reminded me of Fenny, but she was younger than she was. I thought this might be her daughter and therefore mother of the six children, who happily chased us up when we left.

“I must make sure one of her fingers is removed for presenting me such a distasteful thing.”

I froze. The bright lady before me turned into an ugly toad. Was she serious?

“How dare you?” I asked loud over the hall, taking my place next to the young Fenny. “She just gave you the most elaborated lace anyone has ever mastered!”

Her golden eyes shot open in shock, her long fingers starting shivering. “It is trash!”

“In what way?” I demanded crossing my hands on my chest. If she was to through such accusations, she better do this through facts.

She stared at me before taking a closer look in woman’s handwork. “It’s… not in style! Lilies! Who wears lilies anymore?”

I let my eyes flow over the bystanders – six women in higher rank had lilies covering their coats, two of them being Finn’s sisters.

“And it’s cheep!”

I was appalled. “It was done with love between all her other duties in the hall, watching her children play and listening birds sing! It is worth more than you ever own, princess, and she offered this to you as a gift!”

“HOW DARE YOU SPEAK TO ME LIKE THAT?”

I collected the lace from the floor where she had thrown it and gave it back to the woman. “Who are you then?”

She gave me a list of titles. “Without your titles,” I intervened, “Tell me, who you are, without using your titles.” Between screaming and fainting I sort of lost the answer, but I didn’t wait up to get it either, but decided to lead my friend out of there.

“Milady…” she tried to intervene, but I shook my head.

“Hush!”

In this world I had nothing to lose I couldn’t fight for. If this was to bring any problems, I was sure it couldn’t be worse I had encountered before. Surely not as disturbing as that political history exam I was stupid enough to take last year. Now that was something to fret about.

I was almost out, getting us through the crowd out in the hall. Finn better be right about this dressing code or I’ll find my end right here and now. He had to be right, I decided a moment later, when we got to the door intact. But that’s where the real problem started.

I noticed Finn not far from the other door leading in and stared in his cold eyes for a moment. He was leaning on his long bow and didn’t seem very happy to see me, which could only mean he had witnessed the whole thing from here.

“Did you really mean what you said in there?” the old lady’s question brought me back to reality and I released her from my grip.

“Yes.”

“Then you are in real trouble, milady.” She gave me a concerned look.

Finn started towards us and I could feel how my heart sank with his each step. “I know. But it’s better me than you.” I shrugged, I tried to keep my attention on her and not look him coming.

“I owe you my life now, if…”

“Definitely not!” I had no need to mix anyone else in my little drama as far as I could help it. God knows what that would bring if I’d accept an offer big as this.

She seemed shocked. I had to be broking one of their unspoken rules again I sighed. “But I’d take a promise, if I may ask?”

“Yes milady?”

“Promise me,” I could feel Finn getting closer, “promise me you teach your children your art?”

“Milady?”

“Just promise me, please? Teach them the gold you possess.”

“I promise.”

I discarded her with a smile and watched her disappear between the columns. Better me than she, I repeated to myself. She had other obligations more important from mine.

“Leave you alone for one damned minute!” he cursed, but without his usual angry tone. “You should’ve taken her life, she being lower than you, it….” Finn put his hand on my back, a sign to start walking.

“It’s not hers to give.”

“How’s so?”

“She can’t go around giving promises like that – she has children to grow. Surely, you see logic here…” I hoped so. “Besides, she’ll be soon happy she didn’t give it and therefore she can go on with her life without regretting it.”

“Please don’t be mad.” I whispered. I didn’t want him to be mad.

“I’m not mad.” He grunted his usual way. “And you are right. It’s not hers to give.”
I thanked him in my heart.

“Where are we going?” We had walked some time now in silence. He was leading me outside, towards the training fields, but he surely wasn’t out to practice. But exactly there he stopped and showed me a bole I could sit on and watch.

“Do I have to watch?” I was sort of displeased, what fun could there be watching someone do something for hours, because he probably wasn’t gonna satisfy with five minutes. Seeing how he mastered his bow, this must have been a daily routine.

“You wish to stay at the hall with Ferigan?” he murmured, checking his arrows.

So that was her name? I gladly declined the offer. I knew it was in my own interests not to get around her right now, being equal to Finn, she’d probably see me scream of pain.

I watched him tune his bow before taking the first shot as casually as he was getting dressed. In a way he did. I was amazed; the shot hit its target hundred feet from where he was standing.

“Can I try?” My fingers ached to touch it.

He gave me sympathetic look. “No.”

“I’m not as week as I look!” I showed him my muscles as tiny as they were, but knowing those muscles did help me move my oversized bed, they seemed much bigger to me.

He burst in laughter. I was taken off guard – his eyes sparkled. This was no polite smile, but a genuine, warm mocking smile.

“No.”

Ok, I sat back on the pence. “Why not?”

“No one, not even my weapon master, touches my bow. Definitely not the one I used as practice stance.”

I gulped hard with that image. “Alright, fare.” I gave up.

He started his practice, sending one arrow after another to the target. Not one missed. I observed him repeat this for some time and realized I rather liked watching him in action. Is that how the medieval women felt when the only place most of them saw men were on the practice fields?

“Kathy?”

I flinched from my seat, feeling him suddenly right next to me. “What?”

“You had this look on your face…” he shrugged, slightly worried.

How would he know what I looked like when he was so into his exercise? I clenched my teeth – he hadn’t concentrated on that at all!

“I’m sorry – I didn’t mean to distract you.” I apologized as soon as I managed to create words with my dry mouth again.

“It’s alright.” He took his bow and sat next to me on the pence. “I was meaning to talk to you anyway.”

I came rigidly still. It was if talking to my father. He used to use this tone with me when I was a little girl and he had to bring me the news of one my many pets gone up in heaven to their rightful place. After Susan was born, he stopped talking with me like that and instead used it on Susan, thinking I was big enough to know now, what really happened to my loved fireballs. I was so furious and hurt I didn’t spoke with him for weeks. Then he came home with another furry hamster. Why would one give a pet to a child that would die in two years anyway? Parents are so cruel using mice and hamsters to teach respect to animals. It was more like preparing them for death to me. And that made this tradition cruel.

“Tomorrow my father is signing me back to my duties.” He said calmly, not noticing my fear filled eyes. “You are left with my sisters until the Healer returns from her journey.” He paused, giving me time to take it in.

Did he just say until Healer returns? I took a breath. “I thought the Healer was here, isn’t that why you brought me here?”

“No, Healer is on his way to the Sharecone Mountains, she’ll be back in few days.”

“Then… why did you bring me here?” Away from all my duties, just to sit around?

“So you wouldn’t be able to call me out again – I’m having difficult times explaining my disappearing as it is, I will not have you call me away again!”

Things got a lot worse at that point. I was still hoping I’d have to spend here less than a day, then return home and pretend I was just out for fun and prepared to stay in my room for the next two months. But to be gone for more than a day would raise suspicions and with my mother, bring consequences only Hell master could bear later on. I didn’t even want to think on what happened when I then turned out.

“You? I am about to miss two days with my family! While being under house arrest! I know it means absolutely nothing to you, but they are fucking gonna kill me! After tomorrow they probably will call police to search me out and then… God!”

He had this incredible I-don’t-care-look on his face I could have hit him right there so hard he’d remember it forever. I jumped up and started spacing to stop the irresistible urge to puke.

“Stop it, you’re giving me a headache!” he growled and rose to stop me.

“In two days, I’m gonna be more than a headache!”

He was convinced in that just as much as I was, because he frowned at me.

“But before that,” he started after a moment of silence and took a step back, “I am arresting you, Catalina Delmer, for using witchcraft for personal amusement.”

Six elves appeared from surrounding foliage witch all arrows pointing at my neck. I was so baffled I hardly managed to keep myself standing, which all together was actually quite easy as I was sure had I fallen there, it would have brought with it at least ten arrows all over my chest.

I kept my eyes on Finn. I was trying not to start crying and show myself week. Through all the sceneries I had in mind, this hadn’t even occurred to me.

Speaking to my lawyer would be a joke at this point; I thought anger flooding over me and went with the guards, knowing he was still standing there, probably laughing his socks off.

What happened next was like a bad dream. I was taken before the Lord again, who roughly went over why I was brought there and added the insult against Ferigan. I saw Finn take his place next to the Lord and watched me stand there, all dressed up, ready to be fed to the wolves. I kept staring at him, not really knowing, where to turn.

“Is it funny now?” someone asked from the crowd, “Are you laughing now, witch?” asked another.

He tried to look away couple of times, but turned his gaze back. I had done nothing to him and he knew it, I was sure he did. I wanted to see him burn for his actions, not me. I prepared myself for burning, what else did they do with witches then? Hang them? No, I was safe until we saw the Healer, that’s what he said! Or was that one more of his lies? I realized suddenly that he wasn’t amused by the trial. I could have sworn he was actually sad.

Someone sent a shoe towards me and it hit painfully at my elbow. I didn’t take a look, who had done it, but kept my eyes on Finn. His eyes grew darker and were turned to my right, where the blow came from, before turning them back at me.

I hardly remember what was said, before the Lord turned to me.

“Are you aware by the charges placed on you?” his voice barreled over the hall, making everybody silent.

I lowered my eyes, but said nothing. When I first stood here, I was sure I wanted to burst out all the injustice they were doing me, trying to make them see that I was no witch and this was accident, but listening them made me realize that even if I tried, I was still the worst in their eyes, the one who had the power over both of our worlds and abused it.

“Open the tub, read it to Scarab…” I gasped and looked up, searching among the elves standing around me. The voice belonged to my grandmother.

“Do you understand charges placed on you?”

“No.” I tried to stall and still searched the voice among the faces, but none of them looked as if they’d said anything for a while. “Yes, my lord.” I whispered sadly, turning my gaze back to the floor tiles.

“I therefore sentence you to be hanged tomorrow morning. You will spend the night in the garden of Solitude.”

I had to sit and that’s what I did, fell down on my knees, trying to keep my head from swirling.

oOOo

The garden was small, perhaps only ten feet by ten feet and resembled more a hole. It was surrounded by arches, which were probably filled with watchers, though I didn’t see any. The wines going up and down looked like one huge mass, leaving only small area to put the bench in. The moon was bright and I hated it – all looked liked spattered in cream.

I had sat there for two hours, before the sentence reached my mind and I burst into tears. I had no wish to leave my life behind. I had sisters for crying out loud and mother and father. I wanted them back!

I was cold now, I felt as the sadness was draining me from my warmth and not long after I was shivering hard. The clothing the woman had provided me with was not meant for fall’s cold nights. I tried to keep still, so the pain would keep still on the surface and not get deeper.

I remember the stones I had brought with me. Through them I could still see in their eyes, right? I hoped so, I saw longed to see them right now. I took the gems out and played with them for a while, before my eyes stopped on Lizzy’s stone. It felt warm in my hand.

Suddenly a small hand reached out and touched it. I raised my eyes and watched her weird light filled shape dance before my eyes. She was smiling at me, just as she would when she came to wake me up and in her hand she held a blue Iris. I couldn’t move, only watch her and try to smile back at her, while she reached out to try my dears.

“My little angel…” I whispered, before she reached out her hand and placed the Iris in my lap and then disappeared as smoke.

I gasped – what was that? I threw the stones back in the pouch and stared at the flower in my lap. How did she manage that?

Hope – that was the name of the Iris. I had hope. Even granny had said it, in the crowd. Only if I could get to that man she named – Scarab. It was also the only box left in the garage.

She told me to read him the letter in the tube… I grabbed the tube from the pouch and watched it in the moonlight. It had still this unreadable seal on it.

“Granny, you better be right.” I prayed towards the sky and broke the seal and very softly removed the upper part of the tube. In it was a small piece of paper.

And let out disappointed sigh on the next moment. It was like a torment had to go on forever. I read the words:

” As Earth is my witness,
So shall I say
Twice will you take it.
If you appear before me
Once will I give it.
If you stand beside me.

Mine is the will to call you
Yours is the will to answer.

As Earth is my witness,
So shall I say.”

I had to be dreaming! All it was was the same stupid spell that got me in this mess in the first place. I put it back in the roll and was ready to hide it back in the pouch, when I saw suddenly Finn appear in one of the archways.

I felt my stomach strengthen. I had no wish to talk to him not now not ever.

“Is this the spell you used?” he asked, honestly shocked.

I used it to wrinkle my eyebrows and nodded. “Yes, you didn’t know?”

He shook his head and touched against the wall for a second, but pulled away fast as it was burning him. “The words…” he shook his head again and then disappeared.

I was speechless. I sat down again, still cold, still not willing to understand what was to happen in the morning, because I honestly had no idea.

oOOo

The next morning came way faster than I expected. As came the soldiers, who took me back to the hall. This time it was empty and there were no one except the Lord, woman, who I would say was the Healer and Finn.

“There has been a change in the circumstances,” Lord began. “As I understand, you have power over my son that needs to be lifted before you can be hanged.”

I wished to die right there. These words hardly touched my soul, only made the wounds hurt more and I wanted this to end, one way or the other.

“I have no power over your son!” I retorted, why wouldn’t they finally get it? “I had no idea what I was doing that evening and still don’t! I swear on my honor, on my granny’s grave, on God, on who ever you choose – I did not wish it to happen nor will ever wish again! And I did not wish to gain any personal joy out of putting you in this situation.” I turned towards Finn, but gave up almost at the same time. “Why won’t any of you believe me?”

“I do.”

Finn’s voice was so clear I flinched.

“I heard your spell last night.” He said calmly.

“So?” I didn’t understand where he was getting at.

“I heard what it said. Mine is the will to call you, Yours is the will to answer. It wasn’t you, who kept the spell alive. It was me.”

As if it was all a dream, I stood again in my own bedroom with him in the middle of the flower circle, holding his bow at me, ready to shoot. He immediately lowered it, just as surprised as I was.

“Get out.” I said firmly, rising from the floor, where I was sitting.

He didn’t answer, but never looked back either. That night was a torment to me, I didn’t know what to think or where to look. I kept my hands in fists too, so I wouldn’t reach up, take the damned book and burn it.

I burned the box meant for him the next day though, cried like hell for all the hurt feelings gathered in me, but I did it. Never new what was in that box. Except that it was light as a feather.

Then Lizzy came to me with a letter she said she had found from the box meant for me and she’d taken it out yesterday to bring it to me. I burst in sarcastic laughter so heavily I must of looked like nuts, but I opened the letter and read it anyway. Granny had been right so far, perhaps this was only to prove she had the answer to make me feel better, too.

“My dove,
the bottle you carry with you will help you to clear your anger towards him. You like him and so do I. All my love will stay with you, my dove.
Love you.
Granny.”

I took out the bottle and watched it sparkle against the evening light. Maybe he actually is worth it?

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