You’re getting a bunch of chapters today because in order to post the chapter for today’s photo there are several others you have to read first. 🙂 So get cozy, you’ll be reading a little more than usual today. Enjoy!
9 – Pie
“I’m so utterly useless in love…” I sighed to my mother as I sat on her couch. Krypto was curled up and sleeping in my lap. I’d stolen him from Josh for the day while he was busy at the hospital. Josh and Miklos were both coming over to my mother’s that evening for dinner. My aunts would be there too which was sure to be a hoot. My family had met, and fell in love with Josh, but until then had only heard stories of the famous Miklos.
My mom chuckled and sat down next to me on the couch so that she could pet Krypto. She was quite fond of the little grey furball too. “Love can sometimes make you feel like that. But it’s a good thing.”
I nodded and thought about Josh for the billionth time that day. “Everything I do or say winds up leading back to him. Am I as annoying about him as I think I am?”
“No, honey, you’re not. Plus, he’s a good kid so it’s okay for you to bring him up a lot. Maybe if I didn’t like him I’d think you were annoying. But because I think he’s wonderful, I just love seeing you so happy.”
“So happy,” I said and paused. “But so confused.”
“I know, pumpkin. Any new visions?”
I shook my head, “Not since the one the other night about him uh… spending the night.” I blushed and she giggled. “I only have the death one about once a week lately so that’s cool. If it were every night I would go crazy.”
“How about the Crystal Lake vision? Has that come back?”
“Just once. Miklos called Josh the other day in the car so he was on the bluetooth speaker. He mentioned that he was headed to the lake for his grandma’s birthday party and as soon as he said Crystal it happened again. What the heck is that?”
“I really don’t know… I know you went there once with your grandma when you were little. She had a few friends who lived in that area. I don’t think I’ve ever been there though.”
I ran my fingers over Krypto’s belly as he slept, “I barely remember that. I must have been like five or six. Do you think that Miklos’ grandma could really be related to us?”
“Not unless she left the family for some reason. I’ve been through the family history a few times and we’re the only ones here in Michigan. If she’s one of us, she would’ve had to either chosen to leave the family or was asked to leave.”
A chill ran over my skin at the thought of being asked to leave the family. I didn’t know much about that sort of thing but figured it couldn’t be good. “Do you know anyone who was asked to leave? It just seems so harsh.”
I watched my mom nod and then she picked up her knitting that had been resting on the coffee table in front of her. “I had a cousin who was banished when she was in high school. She was older than me, I think I was in the fifth or sixth grade.”
“High school? What did she do?”
My mom shrugged, “The story I was always told was that she was using her gift for evil somehow. She was supposedly given the opportunity to stop doing whatever she was doing and stay but she said no.”
“So then what happens when you’re banished?”
“You are no longer recognized by the family or our community. Your name is removed from all of the histories and it’s like you’re just erased.”
“That’s awful…” I said and thought of a teenager with growing powers suddenly being disowned by not only her family, but the whole magic community. “Do they strip you of your powers in some creepy ritual?”
My mom smiled and shook her head, “No. You keep your gift, you just don’t get any guidance anymore from the elders, and if you do something stupid the community won’t come to your defense.”
“That’s shitty. Did you ever see her again?”
“One time,” she nodded. “You weren’t even crawling yet. We hugged and I showed you off to her, she told me a little bit about her life but that was about it.”
“Ugh… that’s so sad. Was she still ‘evil?'”
“No. I don’t think she ever was. But things were different when I was younger. The elders played a bigger role and got into everyone’s business. It’s not like it is now where the matriarch of each family branch is in charge.”
“Thank goodness for that.”
“Definitely… Although some people would say that the way we work now makes it easier for branches of the family to hide secrets.”
We sat quietly for a while as I watched her knit. Watching her make things out of yarn was like magic to me. She’d tried to teach me a few different times but I was too ADHD for it to keep my attention. Watching her knit always made me think of my grandma. She’d been a master knitter too and was all kinds of amazing in general. “I miss Grandma. I wish she could be here to figure out what the hell is going on with my powers. Not to say that you and The Aunts aren’t doing a great job… just, she was kind of awesome at figuring stuff out.”
She smiled a wry smile, “Yeah she was. She always said that you were going to be the most powerful one in our family some day.”
“I just wish she’d been able to tell us what exactly that meant.”
“It’ll make sense one day, kiddo.”
I groaned and tipped my head back leaning it against the couch, “Yeah, yeah… but I want to know now.” A message came through on my phone from Josh. I read it and laughed then showed the picture to my mom. It was a picture of a heart shaped bandaid on his finger. “He says that the meaning behind this heart is that jammed staplers are bastards who bite but he’ll soon be okay because he’ll be able to see me and I can kiss his boo boo.”
She chuckled, “Very nice.”
Another text, this one from Miklos, came through and I laughed even harder as I read it to my mom, “‘Don’t give him any sympathy, he’s a lame ass who can’t even use a stapler. Ask your mom if she wants us to bring anything with us for dinner.'”
“Tell him no, and to stop picking on your boy.”
I giggled and tapped the message then sent it. I also responded to Josh’s message and told him I’d definitely give him kisses. I looked up from my phone and smiled at my mom, “Are you ready to have the two of them here? Plus The Aunts?”
She nodded, “I’m a big girl, I can take it.”
Take it she did. Between my smartass aunts and Miklos, there were plenty of giggles and friendly insults being thrown around the dinner table that night. It was a crazy, but fun, evening. My aunts and mom took to Milkos as easily as I had and before long he was calling them all “auntie.”
“How was the birthday party?” my mother asked him after dinner while we were all just sitting around the table talking.
“For my yiayia? Oh it was great. She’s a silly old girl. Loves a good party. I swear, you’d never know she was 83 by looking at her. She’s amazing.” He looked at me, “Oh and I was wrong. I told you that I thought she moved here in the 30’s but it was the 40’s. She met pappous and they got married when she was like sixteen or something crazy. They lived in Chicago for a little while then came here.”
“And did they always live up at Crystal?” my mom asked. She’d been planning to ask about Crystal Lake to see if I kept having my weird forest vision. I didn’t see when she said the name but as soon as Miklos began talking about the lake picture popped right back in my head. I casually put my hand on my mom’s hand where it lay on the table to signal to her that it was happening again. She smiled and raised my hand to her mouth and kissed it then put it back on the table under hers. “I’ve heard it’s a beautiful lake, but I’ve never been. Elle went up with her grandma once years ago though.”
“That’s what she said…” Miklos said with a smile at both of us. “I’ve been going up there since I was a little kid. It’s great. I used to spend most summers there too. My parents were always shipping me up there to get me out of their hair. But I loved it.”
A picture of Miklos as a young boy popped into my head. He was sitting on the end of a deck and kicking his feet in the water. I felt as if I was watching him not from up close but from far away like I was inside a house looking out at him. I shot a look across the table at my aunt Gina. She and Gen were well aware of the Crystal Lake thing and that we were going to be experimenting that night. She gave me a wink and then cleared her throat, “Elle-belle, come help me with the desert…”
I got up, thankful that my aunt could read my random looks and followed her into the kitchen. “What happened?” she asked in a whisper as soon as we were in the kitchen away from everyone else. She reached out and ran her hands over my arms because they were covered in goosebumps.
“I just had another one. I saw him as a little kid at the lake. What the hell is going on?”
She shrugged and kept rubbing my arms, “Maybe his family has magic and it’s causing yours to do weird stuff?”
“But we see the future, not the past. This was totally him as a little kid. I’ve never seen the past before.”
“So maybe the woman in the forest is a memory instead of a future vision. Maybe it’s something that happened when you were at that lake with Grannie.”
I chewed on my bottom lip and then sighed, “I don’t remember but, maybe. Does he seem magic to you? Sometimes when I’m around him I feel like there’s a twinge of extra magic in the air. But I don’t pick up on it like you and Gen can.”
She nodded. “I definitely felt something different when I came in tonight. But that could be you, too. As your gift changes and grows, you’ll feel different to us.
I ran my fingers through my hair and took a deep breath trying to avoid freaking out since I still had to go back into the other room and act like a normal person. “His last name is Leventis. I’ve never heard of a magic family with that name. I think I’m going to have to do some researching though. This is just too weird.”
“I’ll see if I can read him at all tonight. I know Gen is planning to as well.”
“Okay…” I said as I chewed on my thumbnail.
She smiled and pulled my hand away from my mouth, “We don’t have to figure it all out in one night, kiddo. We’ll do this together okay?”
I squeezed her hand and nodded, “Yeah, right. You’re right. Okay… it’s just dessert. I can do this.”
She nodded, “Good, girl.” She picked up a stack of dessert plates, forks, and napkins that my mom had already set aside and handed them to me. She then picked up a freshly baked pie and a pie slicer and nudged me toward the dining room. “Pie time!”
10 – Hospital Visit
One thing that was getting harder and harder to do was avoiding going to Riley Children’s Hospital to see Josh. He kept telling me that it would be okay if I stopped by after work when he was there but I always found some lame reason not to go. It was simple, if I wasn’t at the hospital, there couldn’t be an explosion there that would kill him. Of course, I knew that wasn’t true. I knew that the vision would happen one way or another and even if I wasn’t there, he would meet his fate. But part of me wondered if after seeing him die so many times in my vision I really needed to be there for the real thing. If I couldn’t save him no matter what, why did I have to be there to watch him die?
Eventually I ran out of excuses though and found myself walking into the hospital one evening after work. I purposely didn’t go through the Emergency Room entrance even though it was the first door I came to when coming from the coffee shop. He’d told me what floor he’d be working on so I figured that as long as we didn’t go anywhere near the ER we would be okay. Plus, the last time that I’d had the vision of his death I’d noticed that there wasn’t a scar on the hand I’d burned. But in real life, my hand was healing and while I no longer needed to keep it covered, there was a noticeable mark there that Josh promised me would go away eventually. Josh also had recently had a haircut and in the vision he always had longer hair that showed off the curl. Even so, I was a nervous wreck walking through the hospital to find my adorable boyfriend.
He told me to text him when I was nearby so that he could meet me. I did, and just as I stepped off the elevator he was there. He was wearing a pair of blue scrubs that matched his eyes. I loved it when he wore blue. His stethoscope was a bright red that I assumed was chosen for Superman purposes. It had turned out that he had as much Superman stuff as my father had but he was subtle about it most of the time. One of the reasons he loved working in the children’s hospital though was because many of his patients loved all of his Superman gear.
He pulled me into a tight hug and kissed me, “I’m so glad you’re finally here! I was beginning to think you didn’t want to see where I work.”
“Oh, honey,” I sighed. “No, it was never that. I just… hospitals kind of creep me out. We spent a lot of time here in the adult wing when my dad was sick and I’ve always just had the heebie geebies about hospitals.” I wasn’t lying, I really did get freaked out by hospitals and not just because of the way Josh was supposed to die.
“Well, I promise this won’t be creepy. It’s playtime…” He grabbed my hand and began leading me down the hall. The floor were on was decorated like it was a city. The floor looked like a street, and the walls were painted to look like storefronts and buildings. There was even a little parking lot section for wheelchairs and wagons. It was all kinds of adorable. I remember thinking that adult hospital floors needed to be as cool as this one.
“Playtime?” I asked.
“Yep… just before dinner each night is playtime. There are other times during the day when the kids get to do activities and stuff, of course, but right now is when all of the kids who can leave their rooms get together to play. We play games, sing songs, have dance parties, draw pictures… it’s honestly one of my favorite times of day.”
I chuckled, “I bet it is. But is there Play-Doh?”
“So what about the kids who can’t leave their rooms?” I asked as we passed a room where a little girl was laying in her little hospital bed. She didn’t give me the impression that she was getting up anytime soon to go play. “The volunteers and other staff bring the playtime to them. Everyone gets to play if they want to.”
I smiled watching him talk, he was totally in his element and it was the coolest thing to see. We reached our destination and walked into a big playroom full of awesome stuff to play with. Children began trickling in, usually with a mom or dad in tow and many of the kids greeted Josh with hugs or high fives. Seeing all of these little kids and knowing they were sick broke my heart, but it also tickled me to think that Josh was there giving them so much love and attention.
He pulled me over to the Play-Doh table and we sat down across from a little boy who was making snakes.
“Cool snakes, Kevin!” Josh said and handed me a container of bright orange Play-Doh.
Kevin said thanks and then looked at me, “Are you sick too?”
I smiled, “No, kiddo. I’m just here to see Dr. Everhart. He wanted me to see where he works and show me all of his awesome patients like you.”
Kevin looked at me like perhaps I was a little weird but then raised an eyebrow at me, “Can you make snakes?”
I giggled and nodded, “I sure can! Are orange snakes okay?”
He nodded, “Yeah… just not pink.”
We all laughed and I began making orange snakes to add to Kevin’s menagerie. Josh excused himself to mingle with the other patients while Kevin and I kept up our work. “How long have you been here in the hospital?” I eventually asked him when I thought he was comfortable with me.
He shrugged, “I dunno… long time. I need to have a surgery but Dr. E doesn’t have the parts I need yet, so until the parts come in I have to wait.”
I kept making snakes and nodded, “Sometimes it takes a while to find the right parts.”
“Yeah. My mama hopes it’s soon though cause she’s sick of being here.”
I smiled, “I bet you’re getting sick of it too, huh?”
He shrugged again as his little fingers focused on his snakes, “It’s okay. I like the toys and the popsicles. We also have movie nights sometimes…”
I wondered silently what sort of illness he had and what “parts” he was waiting on. He had a tight buzz cut haircut which made me think of cancer but it was hard to tell.
Suddenly my eyesight went all weird and instead of seeing what was really in front of me I was looking down at Kevin’s medical chart flipping through it. It showed that he had leukemia and was waiting for a bone marrow transplant. He’d been sick for over a year and his current treatment was no longer working. Without the transplant his chances of survival were very low. I then saw a nurse getting a phone call that said that Kevin’s bone marrow match had been found. From there everything fast forwarded and I saw Josh standing near Kevin’s hospital bed, seemingly after having received the marrow transplant. There seemed to be some complications but Josh was still hopeful and was saying so to Kevin’s mother. The view fast forwarded again and it was snowy outside. Josh had on scrubs with little blue snowmen all over them. Kevin, with a full head of hair and looking extremely healthy, snuck up behind Josh and tapped on the back of his leg. Josh turned around and was delighted to see Kevin standing there looking so healthy. They hugged, Kevin gave Josh a Christmas present and then the vision faded away.
I looked around the room, shocked, and realized that Kevin was still talking about movie nights so it clearly hadn’t been very long that I was “gone.” My heart was racing and my hands began to shake. I’d had a waking vision. Not just a flashback or whatever was going on when I was around Miklos but an actual waking vision. I tried to think back to the vision to figure out when the bone marrow match was going to be made. I remembered seeing a fourth of July decoration on the wall behind the nurse who’d taken the call. July was a week away so that meant the call would be coming soon. It also dawned on me that I had at least another six months with Josh if Kevin was visiting him for Christmas. There wasn’t snow on the ground when the explosion happened, but in Michigan that didn’t mean much. We’d had mild winters with hardly any snow and harsh winters with weekly snow storms. I had no idea when the explosion would happen, but I knew I had at least half a year of just being with Josh.
“You gotta keep making snakes…” Kevin said motioning to my hands that had totally stopped working. “We need more.”
“Oh, sorry, kiddo…” I mumbled and went back to the snake I’d been working on. I needed to talk to my mom and my aunts right away but I also didn’t want to just up and leave Kevin, not to mention Josh. I managed to finish making snakes out of all of the orange Play-Doh and then smiled at Kevin, “I have to go, buddy. But maybe I can come back another time and make snakes with you, okay?”
He nodded and kept working on his own snakes, “Okay. Bye.”
I got up on shaky legs and walked toward Josh who happened to have on a tiara and a feather boa while he played with a group of little princesses. He was so incredibly delightful that it made me want to cry. “Hey! Would you like to be a princess with us?”
“I would love to, but I just remembered I’m supposed stop by my mom’s tonight so I have to go.”
“Oh man…” he sighed and got up like he was truly disappointed that I couldn’t play with them. He looked at the girls and removed the boa but left on the tiara, “Ladies, you’ll have to excuse me for a moment while I walk Princess Elle to the elevator. I shall return…” He then did a curtsy which made all of the girls, and me, giggle.
While we walked toward the elevators I tried to keep calm but was seriously freaking out inside and hoped that Josh didn’t notice. I’d always known that my powers would eventually change, but I hadn’t expected waking visions since my mother already had them. It was rare for women in the same family to have the same type of powers.
Josh pushed the down button for me and then pulled me into a hug, “Thank you for visiting.”
I held on to him tight and felt myself shiver, “It was really cool… I think Kevin is my new buddy.”
“Yeah, poor guy has been having a hard time.”
“He’s going to be okay.”
“I hope so…” he said and kissed the top of my head.
I pulled out of the hug and looked up at him, “He will. Soon.”
He looked at me with a confused look then smiled, “Sign from the universe?”
My eyes welled up as I nodded, “Yeah.”
He held my face in his hands, “Hey… are you okay?”
“I’m good, just emotional. Traumatic hospital stuff. But he’s going to be alright, I’m sure of it.”
He pulled me in and placed a kiss on my forehead, “You’re going to have to teach me about more signs to look for some time…” I nodded and wiped away my tears. He kissed me again and then smiled, “Will you be at my place when I get home?”
“Yeah… My car is there anyway. I’m going to go get the pup before I go to Mom’s. So if we’re not home when you get there, don’t freak out.” I chuckled looking up at his tiara, “I can’t take you seriously with that thing on.”
He laughed and pulled the tiara off, “I totally forgot I had it on.”
The elevator opened and I gave him a quick kiss before stepping in, “I’ll see you later. Have fun with your princesses.”
He waved goodbye just as the elevator doors closed me in. I pulled out my phone and sent a group text to my mom and The Aunts. “I just had a waking vision. I need a family meeting now.”
By the time I made it outside and had headed toward Josh’s house to get Krypto my mother and aunts had all replied telling me they’d be at my mom’s within 15 minutes.
11 – Experiment
I was a bit of a mess when I got to my mom’s house. My aunts had already made it there and my mom had put on a pot of coffee for us. All of us experienced a calming affect when drinking coffee instead of the usual caffeine high associated with the drink. I’d begun crying on the short drive from Josh’s to my mom’s house. I didn’t know why the waking vision had freaked me out so much, but it had definitely done so.
My mom was all hugs as soon as I walked in the door and I got out a good cry before the four of us sat around the kitchen table together to talk. “It was so sudden…”
“Did you touch the boy?” Gen asked.
I shook my head, “No, all I did was play with the Play-Doh. I was playing with this kid and all of a sudden I wasn’t there anymore. It was weird.”
“So, was it like the thoughts came to you and you suddenly had a new awareness?” my mother asked.
“No… it was just like a dream vision. I was there and could see and feel things. I was literally flipping through this kid’s medical chart and reading it. I could see and hear everything just like I were there.”
“That’s interesting…” my mom said and looked at my aunts who both nodded.
I looked between the three of them, “Why?”
“Everyone I’ve known who has waking visions doesn’t actually see things happening. It’s like your mom said, they just have awareness all of a sudden, like what you’ve been doing with the Crystal Lake thing,” my aunt Gen said.
I whipped my head to look at my mom, “You don’t see the things when you’re awake?”
She shook her head, “No. Sometimes I might get a picture in my mind, but it’s more like a thought, not an actual vision.”
“What about Grandma? Do you know how she did it?”
My mom shrugged, “Same as me. I have never known anyone to do it like you explained.”
I groaned and tipped my head back, “Ugh! Why does everything have to be so weird with me?”
They all chuckled and my aunt Gina put her hand over mine, “We’ve always known that the power is different with you. We just have to figure out how to deal with it.”
“What if I’m driving and this happens? Will I crash my car or will my body keep on driving without me? Will people be able to tell I’m not actually there? Or will I be able to still communicate with them?”
“Those are all things we’ll have to figure, kiddo…” Gina told me gently. “The first step is to figure out how you triggered the vision. Can you remember back to what you were doing right before it happened?”
I ran my hands over my face and sighed while thinking back. Kyrpto plopped himself down on my foot and I picked him up to snuggle him. “Kevin was telling me about how he needed surgery but was waiting for the right parts. I wondered what his illness was and what surgery he needed. My eyesight sort of faded out and then all of a sudden I was looking through his file. It was pretty fast. Like, I saw the nurse get the call about the transplant, then Josh talking to the family after the treatment, and finally I saw the kid showing up to surprise Josh at Christmas.”
Gen jumped in, “Were you able to see, feel, and hear things in the vision like in the dreams?”
I thought about it and nodded, “Yeah. Except, it was so fast that it was difficult to look around. Although I feel like when I think about it now, it’s clearer than it was originally. Almost like I can go back and replay it.”
“Wow…” Gen said and smiled. “That’s pretty freaking cool. Are you sure you didn’t touch the kid?”
I nodded, “Yeah. I just thought about him.”
“I wonder if you could do it again now. Then we could watch to see how it looks on our side,” my mom said.
I knew that was the logical thing to do but I was scared. I’d grown so used to visions coming to me in my sleep that to have it happen while I was awake was too freaky. I took a deep breath and nodded, “Okay… but if we’re going to test it, let’s go for a walk and really test it. If I can do it, you’ll be able to see if I keep walking or whatever.”
“Good idea…” Gen said and jumped out of her chair excitedly. She took Krypto from me and put his leash on which made him run around excitedly like a spaz.
It was fully dark out but a nearly full moon gave everything a blue glow outside. My mom lived in a quiet neighborhood with a lot of trees not too far outside of the city. Not exactly suburb, but not really city either.
The four of us walked along together silently until I laughed, “Uh, we have to talk about something.”
We all giggled and my mom linked her arm with mine, “I’m guessing this won’t work if you think about Josh directly. So maybe we should try something that isn’t related to him.”
I nodded, “True.” I looked at Gen and Gina, “Anything?”
Gen grinned, “I want to know if Gerard Butler sleeps in the nude.”
I smiled, “Of course he does! We don’t need a vision to figure that out.”
“Ooh!” Gina said excitedly. “What about Jewel and Rick? See if you can figure out if they’ll go through with the wedding.” My second cousin Jewel had been engaged and broken up so many times we’d sometimes call her fiancé by the wrong name on accident. Rick was the latest man in her life and they were just a few days away from the wedding; closer than she’d ever been to actually getting married.
I nodded as we walked and I looked down at Krypto happily trotting along with us. “That might work.” I had no idea what to do in order to get the vision to work. I looked at my mom, “Keep talking about them…”
“I talked to her the other day and she was planning the bachelorette party,” my mom said with a groan.
“Dude, that’s not her job!” Gina added with her own groan. “You’d think that after being engaged so many times that she’d know that.”
“She’s never gotten this far though…” Gina chuckled. “Don’t get me wrong, I hope it works out this time but I still can’t help but wonder if it’s going to last. I mean, how many times can you buy a wedding gown before the magic is just gone?”
“And why isn’t anyone in the family having visions for her? There’s no way that out of all of us, no one has ever has a vision to clue her in on her historically shitty choice of men,” I added.
“Maybe there have been visions but she’s ignored them.”
“True…” I said and nodded. “It’s just weird. I wonder about that all of the time.”
Just like at the hospital, my eye sight faded and instead of seeing my mother’s neighborhood I was standing in Jewel’s home. I watched her awake from a vision and saw the despair on her face. I assumed it was about her wedding and immediately felt bad for her. I noticed, though that Jewel’s hair was long and dark which meant this part of the vision was in the past because now she had medium length red hair. She looked at a photo on her side table, it was of her and the fiancé de jour. I couldn’t remember his name but I remembered his face. She sighed and shook her head speaking aloud, “I thought you were going to be the one.”
The vision then zoomed forward to present day, Jewel’s hair was the right color and length and she was in her wedding gown at the church on her wedding day. She looked absolutely gorgeous and happier than I’d ever seen her. I saw her and Rick exchange their rings and kiss as the attendant announced them as husband and wife. From there I flashed to her excitedly checking a pregnancy test to find that she was indeed pregnant. After another flash forward I found Jewel laying on her bed sobbing. I looked around the room trying to figure out what was wrong, or at least when it was. Jewel’s mother joined her on the bed and pulled her into a hug. “It was a beautiful service…” she said gently.
Jewel looked up at her mother and cried, “How am I supposed to do this without him?”
“No…” I said as I figured out what I was seeing. “Oh, no, no, no…”
“He’ll always be a part of your life, honey. I’m sure he’s already looking down on you and making sure you’re okay.”
“I’m not okay! My husband is dead and my baby is never going to meet his or her father. I’m not okay. I’ll never be okay.”
The vision changed again and I watched as Jewel and her son who was about three years old. He looked so much like Rick with just a smidge of Jewel. He had a Hot Wheel car that he placed on his father’s headstone as he said, “Happy Birthday, Angel Daddy.”
I snapped out of the vision and my mom and aunts were still talking about Jewel and Rick as if they’d had no clue I’d even been gone. I stopped walking and pulled my arm away from my mom. I covered my face as tears welled up in my eyes and I shook my head. “No, no, no…”
“Honey?” I heard my mom ask and she put her hand on my shoulder. My whole body was shaking and I kind of felt like I was going to throw up.
I looked at her through sad eyes, “What is wrong with this family? Why can’t we ever be happy? It’s like the universe doesn’t want us to be happy.”
“Elle, what’s wrong?” my mom asked as she reached out to wipe the tears from my cheeks.
“Did it happen?” Gen asked.
Gina finished, “Did you have a vision?”
“Dude, you were walking and talking the whole time. Did you really see something?”
I nodded sadly, “Yeah.”
“Oh no…” Gina said with a sigh.
I shook my head, “No… they get married and they’re really happy. They have a little boy.”
“Then, what’s wrong, baby?” my mom asked as she ran her hands up and down my arms soothingly.
“He dies. I didn’t see how, but he dies. Before the baby is born. Before Jewel even looks pregnant.” I looked at my mom as a sob escaped from my mouth, “Why does this happen? The women in this family can’t ever be truly happy.”
“People die, it’s part of life…” Gina said quietly.
I shook my head, “No, think about it Gigi… All of the Jensen women have experienced heartache if they fall in love. Great Grandpa died and left Great Grandma alone to raise the family by herself. Grandpa died and Grandma was alone to raise the three of you. Dad died, Jewel’s been engaged a billion times and they’ve all ended in heartbreak but once she finally finds love she’s going to lose it. And Josh…” I looked down to see that Krypto was sitting on the sidewalk looking up at us panting and patiently waiting to move on. My mind flashed with images of Josh’s death in front of the hospital. My knees gave out and I fell to the ground sobbing, “I can’t lose him… I can’t watch him die.” My mom and aunts were suddenly there, arms wrapped protectively around me as they whispered thoughts of hope and strength to me. “I can’t do it… I love him too much. This isn’t fair. It’s not fair.”
I felt my mom kiss my forehead and then felt her smoothing her hand along my hair, “I know, baby. I know.”
“There has to be a way to stop this…” I cried. “We can’t just blindly accept that the universe doesn’t want our family to be happy. We have to be able to change things. Otherwise what’s the point of our stupid power?” They all mumbled assorted agreements and as I started to move from sadness to anger I wiped away my tears. I looked at the three most important women in my life and could feel the power that the group of us had together. It was like we were enclosed in a bubble of magic. It wasn’t rare for me to feel their power when I was around them, but with us all there in a huddle and all touching, the power was unmistakable and it was strong. I could tell that the others felt it too without any of us actually having to say it.
My mom looked at each of us and then spoke, “I think it’s time to start looking for some answers.”
12 – Old Barn
I got back to Josh’s place two hours after he’d gotten home from work. When Krypto and I walked into the condo I expected to find Josh sound asleep either in the living room in front of the TV or already in bed. Usually on his last day of his seven day stretch of work he was flat out exhausted and wasn’t able to stay up for long once he was home. When I got to the bedroom though, he was wide awake in bed reading a book. I smiled at the sight and stood in the doorway, “Well, hello there.”
He looked up from his book and smiled, “Hey, yourself, gorgeous.”
Krypto jumped up onto the bed and climbed up into Josh’s lap. I followed suit and climbed onto the bed and snuggled up to Josh’s side feeling completely exhausted emotionally. I laid my head against his chest, “How are you awake?”
He chuckled and put his book face down beside him on the bed. “I was going to go to sleep but thought I’d wait up a little bit in case you were going to get back earlier. Then while I was waiting I figured I’d read for a bit and totally got sucked into the book.”
I slid my hand up underneath his shirt and began tracing patterns on his tummy with my fingertip. It drove him absolutely crazy when I did it because it tickled, but he would tolerate it for a few minutes each night. For me it was sort of a nervous habit that I did when I was winding down. “I’m sorry we were so late.”
“It’s okay, I know how you get when you’re with your mom and your aunts. I don’t ever expect you back early when you’re with them.”
I chuckled, “You know us well.”
I raised my head and stretched to kiss him. After the kiss he looked at me curiously, “Were you crying? You look kind of whipped.”
I sighed and nodded as I rubbed at my exhausted eyes with the heel of my hands, “It was an interesting night. I got all crazy emotional after leaving the hospital and playing with Kevin. Then I got all upset again when I was with my mom and my aunts. I’m beyond whipped.”
“I’m so sorry that coming to the hospital was that hard for you… I won’t beg you to come there anymore.”
“No, honey, it’s okay. I really did have a good time. I loved meeting Kevin and seeing you as a princess…” I giggled and he smiled. “It was good for me to be there. I just hadn’t been there in a long time and the memories I have of the hospital aren’t good ones. But now, I have a few new happier memories to associate with the place. I swear, it’s totally okay.”
I snuggled back up to him and was relieved when he wrapped his arms around me, holding me tight. I always felt so safe in his arms. “Just promise that if I ask you to come see me and you’re not feeling up to it, or you visit and it gets too hard you’ll tell me. I get that people don’t love the hospital but I sometimes forget it because I’m there so often.”
I slid my hand back under his shirt and resumed making patterns on his skin with my fingertips. “I promise…” I drew a heart on his stomach around his belly button and he chuckled. I stopped drawing pictures with my fingers and instead just rested my hand on his skin, feeling him breathe.
“How old were you when your dad died?”
“Ten. He’d been sick for a while though. He went in and out of remission a couple times, I guess. I don’t remember all of that, but the last time he spent a lot of time in the hospital. I remember being there every day after school for a long time.”
“I wish I’d been able to meet him.”
I smiled as my eyes welled up with tears for what seemed like the billionth time that night, “Me too. He would’ve loved talking Superman with you. And he would have loved Krypto.”
“Well that’s a natural, who doesn’t?”
“Right?” I asked and giggled. “He was so excited to go in the car tonight and then when we were at Mom’s we went for a w-a-l-k and he was so geeked but such a good boy too.”
“Thanks for picking him up. Poor guy must get so bored when he’s here alone. I love that you’re able to come and get him when I’m not able to.”
“I love to do it. He’s such good company. He listens to me when you’re not around and he doesn’t ever look at me like I’m crazy or I’m boring him. He’s always so happy to listen.”
“He is a pretty good listener…” Josh said with a yawn. I smiled knowing by his body language that he was finally losing his battle with sleep and in a few short minutes he’d be out cold.
“I say we stay in bed all day tomorrow… Sleep in, snuggle, watch tv, read, nap…”
“…have lots of kinky sex…” he added.
“Well, duh…” I chuckled and kissed him. His eyes were beginning to get that sleepy look and it made me smile. I took his book from his lap and put the bookmark in then set it on the bedside table. I kissed him again, “Go to sleep… Thanks for staying up to see me though.”
He yawned again, “Anytime.”
I snuggled back up to his side and laid my head against his shoulder. As expected, he was sound asleep within a few minutes. I watched him sleep and found myself gearing up to cry all over again. I was so in love with him, so happy with him… there had to be a way to change his fate. Otherwise, what was the point of the vision? Why have the power to see the future if nothing could be done? I thought of my cousin Jewel and the complete despair on her face the day she buries her husband. I then thought of their beautiful little boy who will never get to meet his father.
I always tried really hard when I was with Josh not to think about his upcoming death. To just live in the moment and enjoy everything about him, but on nights like that, it was really hard. I flashed back and forth between watching him sleep, and seeing him die. First he was just there next to me, quietly snoring, then he was on the ground outside of the hospital bleeding through his scrubs. I tried to use my newest power and thought over and over, “Why does he die? What happens?” but nothing came to me. It was like the universe, or whatever it was that fueled our family powers, just didn’t want to give me any more information about Josh. I cried until I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore.
I expected to wake up in the Meeting Place simply because I was so emotionally exhausted and had two waking visions in just a few hours, but suddenly I was there before the tattered blue door I knew so well. I sighed and stared at the door. I whispered to it before pushing it open, “Anything but his death… please.”
Relieved when the door opened up not to the Emergency Room parking lot but a dusty run down barn, I was also confused. I turned in a slow circle and realized that I was alone in the barn. I couldn’t hear anything other than a soft breeze blowing through the spaces where the planks of the wooden walls no longer touched. As I looked around a little bit more I decided that I’d never been in the barn in the waking world. Nothing about it felt familiar at all.
I threw my hands up in frustration and sighed looking up at the ceiling of the barn. Cobwebs were everywhere and I shivered when I thought too much about the bugs that were probably crawling around the place. When I returned my gaze to the ground level there was a small unstable looking table against the wall that hadn’t been there before. It was wooden and looked like the slightest bit of pressure would send it toppling over. There was a big book on top of it though and it was a book I knew well.
We have these books in the family that contain hundreds of years of stories of our family and our powers. They’re big, heavy, books with wrinkled pages that you would think after so many years would be torn and faded; but because of the magic in them, they were as clear as if they’d just been written. I’d been flipping through the multiple volumes of the family history for years. I always loved to read about the amazing women in my family tree and see not only how their power ended up manifesting, but also what things they did with their gifts. Some were pretty vanilla and hadn’t gone out of their way to use their visions outside of their inner circles; only telling family and friends about their future instead of helping strangers with it. Others had used their gift as a means of living and would tell fortunes for money. There was even one ancestor who’d been employed by the government to predict attacks on the President or other higher up important people. The stories were fun for me because when I would read them I’d imagine myself in their shoes living their lives.
Seeing one of the family books in this worn down barn was strange though. As far as I knew, the books never left my mom’s house. She’d been the keeper of the books after her mother died and even if cousins or aunts needed to seek wisdom from the books, they had to go to my mom because she didn’t trust the magic in the books to behave outside of her home.
I looked around the room to see if anything else had changed but everything was the same. I then walked to the book and took a deep breath before opening its cover. The books changed all of the time. What would be on the first page one day would suddenly be on the 100th page a day later. The magic of the family somehow kept the books continuously updated so the books were ever changing. Knowing this, I never assumed to know what would be waiting for me each time I opened a book.
When I opened this book though, I found only a blank page. Thinking that was weird, I flipped the page and found yet another blank space. I thumbed through the book to find one white page after another. The family books were never blank like that. Ever. I shook my head as I picked the book up and turned the pages rapidly thinking to myself, “This isn’t right.”
I looked around the barn again hoping to see something new that would clue me into what was going on. I found nothing, however, and looked back to the seemingly empty book. After flipping though every page I sighed, “What is this supposed to mean?”
I opened the book one more time and found words that made my blood run cold.
Your story is not written.
Your future can be changed.
You must find the pages that tell your story.
Only then can you save the ones you love.
Chapter 13 – Books
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Don’t forget to see what the other girls came up with too. 🙂