The nightmare was dark and I felt the pain of it before I’d spotted the corpse on the faraway hill.
Before I’d spotted my Edmund sprawled on the ground, his red locks mixing with the green grass, with the Grim Reaper standing over him.
Why always him?
I cried out for my husband, but he remained unresponsive. The figure clad in black however, turned to face me, and for the first time in all of my dreams his face was not a deathly black hole.
This time, he wore a face I recognized. With dark brown eyes and locks of jet black hair I knew.
Death has always followed your footsteps
My own face smirking at me, smirking over Edmund’s body.
I ran as fast as I could towards him, but my feet were heavy and stuck, and the dreadful scene strayed farther away with every step.
And then he began to laugh – a horrible cackle.
She began to laugh. Whispering in my ear…
Oh little witch
I woke up with a start. Both the tv and the light we’re still on, and I’d somehow still managed to fall asleep.
I rubbed my eyes tiredly as yesterday’s events came back to me. If I didn’t have the kids to look after I would’ve left the moment I got the call about Edmund being in the hospital again.
I glanced at the clock – 4 am.
Some stupid cartoon was on tv, making fun of supernaturals in that 2D animated kind of way. I turned it off and rubbed my eyes. My coworkers at work have been constantly asking me what’s going on, dropping comments – some positive and a lot negative. I’ve been getting looks in the streets and emails.
Emails telling me to let him go. To stop killing him. That I should get arrested for this. That I’m a freak of nature.
My nails dug into my neck from the frustration. I inhaled sharply and shook my hands to get myself back to thinking straight. A little spark of magic escaped my fingers and hit the ground, creating a horrid dark scorch mark.
Not this again.
I stared at it, the proof that I really didn’t have anything under control right now. I’ve learned to live with my power, but I don’t think I’ll miss it when it’s gone.
And with Edmund at the hospital again so soon…there’s no point to waiting. Tomorrow I’ll figure something out for the kids and then I’m leaving to find the girl.
I got up from the couch. It’s 4 am! Who could it possibly be?
“Is anyone home?….please…”
He saw me arrive and he looked away with shame.
“Please, can I come in?” He asked over the pouring rain.
I let him in.
“What’s wrong Alistair?” I asked Edmund’s little brother. They looked alike, but they were most certainly not similar in any other way.
“I – since dad died – now Ed is dying and – my mom’s just goddamn suicidal 24/7 and I just can’t – I just need a break from all this! I need to breathe and I got robbed on the way over-” Alistair began to spit out in trembling words.
I grasped his shoulder. “You can breathe right now.”
“I need to get away from home and I was hoping you guys would let me stay here for a little while. Just for little while. I just need to – to put it behind me, get back on my feet, get my-”
“Ok calm down. You’re soaking wet, let’s get you something warm.” I said, passing my arm around my brother-in-law and leading him into the kitchen.
I might’ve found my solution earlier than I’d planned.
My thumb hovered over the contact, struck with a severe case of hesitation.
I really want to know the address. I want to help Elvis.
But Salandra never did give it to me yesterday. So all I have to do is call her and ask for it right? I’m not usually scared of calling people. No, not scared…just feels wrong.
Awkward and weird.
I slipped the phone in my pocket.
Shit I hate this.
“Niko what’s with the long face?” My big sister asked, coming out into the corridor.
“Notice anything?” Nikita asked in an excited voice.
I looked at her and it took me a good few seconds before I realized what was going on.
“Hey, your crutches…”
“Yup!” She affirmed, shaking a little. “I can stand on my own two feet! And it doesn’t huurr-”
Nikita’s knees slipped out from under her as she tried to take a step and I rushed over to catch her before she crashed on the floor.
“Might still be too early.” She winced. “But I’m making progress!”
“Just don’t break them again while making progress.” I said as I grabbed her crutches and handed them to her. She slapped me on the arm.
“Kids?” Dad called from downstairs. “We have a visitor.”
“It’s probably Alistair.” I told Niki.
“Pa’s brother? But we’re still in the morning!” She mocked. She’s never quite liked him. I think it’s the fact he smokes pot…among other things.
“I heard him come in last night, when it was pouring rain out.” I said. “Don’t know why he came, but he never left.”
“Hey you were right.” Niki muttered in my ear once Alistair and dad welcomed us downstairs.
“You doubted me?”
“You do tend to hallucinate.” Niki said, making a crazy gesture with her finger. I stuck my tongue out at her.
“Nikita, Nikolas, I have to go on a trip – a business trip.” Dad began once we’d said hi to Uncle Al. Niki and I exchanged a glance. Business trip huh. “Alistair will be staying here for a little while, until Edmund comes back home.”
“Dad, you’re leaving before pa gets out of the hospital?” Niki exclaimed.
“It can’t be helped.” Dad replied.
And that was that.
Dad talked to us individually, telling something I couldn’t hear to Niki, and telling me to keep practicing my magic (even with what happened to pa…guess I just don’t have enough magic to actually make a difference) and to stay out of trouble (ha ha). Also, Annaliese and Traz need me to babysit their spawn, Jesse again. His birthday is coming up soon and they wanted to go present shopping for him and the neighbor backed out of babysitting at the last minute.
After that, dad kissed us both, grabbed his bag and left.
“So,” Alistair began a little awkwardly. “What do you guys do around here?”
The front door closed.
When are you coming back dad?
Both Niki and I spun around to face our temporary – I hate to say it – babysitter.
“You’re still here?” Nikita scoffed. “I’m surprised you aren’t on the roof smoking yet.”
“I got mobbed on the way over.” Uncle Al said clearing his throat.
“Look,” I began, stepping forwards.
“Dunno what you were expecting, but I’m 15 and she’s 17, almost 18! We really don’t need a babysitter. So you do your stuff and we’ll just do our stuff, sound good?” I said, Niki nodding at my side.
And really he’s probably the worst choice for a babysitter. Dad must’ve been in a hurry if he chose him.
Alistair sighed in relief. “Ah thank god! And you’ll tell your parents I was an awesome adult right? This really sits well with me. Where’s your booze?”
“What are you even doing here?” Niki asked in disgust.
“I just needed a place to crash, your dad was kind enough.” Alistair replied with a smile.
“Nevermind, I don’t actually care.” Niki grumbled. “Niko, bring my wheelchair outside will you? I need some fresh air.”
I shrugged. “Sure, in the study right?” I said, already heading for it.
“So…the booze?” Alistair mentioned again as I walked past him.
“Dude haven’t you met my parents?” I said.
“Right.” He said, coming to the realization.
Like they’d be the type to drink, seriously.
“Thanks a ton Nikolas. We really appreciate you taking care of him.” Traz said, making sure to shake my hand vigorously.
Jesse sighed heavily.
“Er no problem. Are you guys going to be long?”
“An hour, two tops.”
Traz made to leave, but then he doubled back.
“You know Nikolas, I’ve been noticing something lately, but it was never clear…in your profile I mean. You might have an extra power, apart from your usual witch stuff. A bit like Annaliese can heal small wounds.” Traz noted.
“Oh? Really?” I hadn’t noticed at all.
“Anyway, I gotta run. Keep me posted.” Traz said. I probably won’t. Then he turned to his son and gave him a quick squeeze on the shoulder. “I’ll be back soon, have fun with Niko.”
I looked at Jesse and raised my eyebrow.
“WHAT.” Jesse asked, already pissed off.
“What’s with the hair. You’re going punk?” I snorted.
“Looks cool don’t it?” Jesse asked, doing a little hair flip with a smirk.
“Not really. The contrary actually.”
“I STOPPED COMPLAINING ABOUT YOUR LOOK.” Jesse shouted, stomping his foot.
“No you haven’t.” I said shaking my head. He glared at me.
“Well I wasn’t going to today but now I just might.”
“The threat is real.” I mocked. “So what do you want to do? Watch Teletubbies?” I asked, scratching the back of my neck.
“I’m almost 12 you know!” He erupted, attempting to punch my stomach. I deserved that one. “Mom says once I’m 12 I won’t need to be babysat anymore!”
“I know someone who was old enough to be alone when he was 8.” I said.
“What?” Jesse narrowed his eyes at me. I could see it on his face that he was trying to see if I was lying or not. And I’m not, Elvis is that someone.
“Yeah, guess you’re just too immature.” I shrugged. Jesse decided to glare harder.
Our home phone/cellphone in the kitchen began to ring and I rushed over to answer it.
“Niiikkooo guess who? It’s only your favorite cousins!” Veronica exclaimed before I could even say hello. “Ok so basically some classmates arranged a meet up for some swimming as an end of summer kind of thing. Everyone’s invited, wanna come? It’s in like well right now actually pretty sure.”
“Uh, swimming?” I glanced at Jesse, he shrugged. “Yeah sure why not!”
No one’s POV
The ‘pool’ party was held in a pond – for all intents and purposes – near Veronica and Joel’s house. Considering Niko’d figured the twins had been the classmates to arrange t, he hadn’t expected so many people to come.
The two had barely stepped into the park when two girls suddenly crowded them.
“Who’s this cutie pie?”
“Look at that hair! Heehee!”
Nikolas couldn’t very well leave him at home. He was supposed to babysit him.
“I’m almost 12, but I’m in highschool too. Skipped a few grades.” Jesse lied with a smile. Niko gave his hair a quick rub before leaving him with the girls.
He flopped down beside Lucas.
“Hey Luke, I’m surprised to see you here, thought for sure you’d be at home napping.”
“Are you kidding?” He scoffed. “Like I’d miss this.” He said, gesturing in front of them.
“Just look at her, smooth complexion, slim body, long legs, and those curves…she’s super hot and she’s my girlfriend.” Lucas said.
Niko blinked. “Oh right.”
“Zoning out on some other treasure you’re searching for?” Luke rolled his eyes.
“Actually, Elvis’ little brother.” Niko replied. And he still didn’t have the address.
“God just relax a bit.” Lucas said, leaning back to lay down on the grass.
“That’s Sal right?”
“Blue hair, I’d say that’s a yes.”
“I don’t think you heard me…” Salandra said, ripping her arm out of Veronica’s grasp again.
“Come on Sal, the water’s great!”
“No, I don’t like swimming.” Sal said again.
“Then why’d you come?”
“Because you forced me to? I just thought I could dip my feet in the water or stay by the shore, not start a race with you.”
“Fine well whatever stay near the edge in the ‘kid’ area.” Veronica hmphed before heading for the water.
“Don’t be like that…I think there’s fish in there.” Salandra said, her desire to get in the water lessening.
“Obviously!” Veronica exclaimed, already dipping into the water.
Salandra crawled onto the rock, regretting coming. But Veronica could be very persuasive – that and she’d promised a public pool and a ride. Though she did have a problematic fear of water, even if there were quite evidently fish swimming in it – oh dang that one looked big – Sal could probably sit on the shore there. And it was a pretty hot day.
“Hey there? You’re the one they nicknamed Ice Queen right? It should’ve been Fire Princess cause you’re smoking hot.”
A red swimsuit blocked Salandra’s view of the water and her eyes drifted up to see a guy wagging his eyebrows at her.
She sighed. She waved him off, but he didn’t get the message.
“Who’s that?” Nikolas asked.
“I dunno.” Luke shrugged. “I think he was in my chem class? Bah.”
“What’s he doing?”
“Er?” Lucas frowned at his friend. “Coming on to Sal by the looks of it? And she’s rejecting him. Nothing new here. Happens all the time.”
“Well yeah? She’s hot so there’s no surprise there. It’s how she got her Ice Queen nickname.”
“I thought it was because of her glare.”
“That too.” Lucas glanced at his phone.
“He’s not letting up.” Nikolas said. “He’s really insistant.”
“Yeah, but she’s got this I’m sure.”
Niko bit the inside of his cheek, before getting up.
“Or you can go play the hero, whatever.”
“Seriously, screw off.” Salandra warned again.
“Look babe.” He said leaning on the rock, and consequently leaning into her personal space. “I’m the hottest here and so are you. I’m pretty popular at school, I could help you get yourself out of the social hole you dug yourself. You know, get people to like you, get you friends…”
Salandra didn’t like violence, but she wasn’t afraid to dish it out. And if this guy didn’t get his hot dog breath out of her face, she was about to do it.
“Heeeyy,” Nikolas invited himself to the party, sitting down on the rock. “She told you to screw off sooo,” Niko lifted up his fist, his favorite one really, and smiled at him. “Screw off.”
Deciding it wasn’t worth it, and that he was bored of the conversation already, the guy left with a shrug and a ‘whatever’.
Plus well, everyone at school knew how much Nikolas actually enjoyed getting into fights. Contrary to him, some of them actually didn’t like getting bleeding noses.
Nikolas stayed on the rock, feeling that awkwardness again. Maybe she’d give him the address this time. Sure the ambiance didn’t feel that friendly –
“You didn’t need to do that.” Salandra replied, staring straight ahead. She wasn’t entirely sure what had happened, but she felt like she’d be thought of as weak and she couldn’t bear with that right now.
Nikolas scratched the back of his head and got up.
He could always just call Elvis and have him tell him again. Should’ve done that from the beginning actually.
*pets everyone’s heads*
This chapter was many things – like against a lot of my plans. But there’s no point in fighting with my characters.