This does not immediately follow the previous post, but this is where the shit hits the fan. Please let me know if you think this post is too long, I am trying to get a better way to judge using word's word count tool (this one clocks in at 1399). Have a great weekend and hope you enjoy it.
The smells of breakfast drew us in as nothing else would have: French toast, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, toast, biscuits drenched in butter and honey, hot tea and coffee, the smells were enough to make me drool in anticipation. We all filled our plates like we were trying out for the local rugby team, and started eating with enthusiasm.
Halfway through breakfast, Laura and Dr. John walked in, both smiling, pink cheeked from the cold air outside. Laura made a point of greeting each of us, even Owen, as she walked about puttering: emptying her jacket pockets onto the sideboard, handing Bronwyn a flower she’d found during there walk, and hanging her jacket in the hall closet before going into the kitchen for a mug of coffee.
“I found this on my walk,” Laura greeted me with a smile, and a stick.
A long straight stick.
“This is a stick from the holly tree that took such damage this winter. It will make a great wand for you. It’s already dried out, just sand it and shape it some, and it’ll be perfect.”
Dr. John knelt between Owen and Caerwyn’s chairs, looking across the table at Caitlin and me with a wink. “How are you boys feeling today? Feeling a bit stiff, I’d bet, but hopefully that’s about it?” Dr. John asked, looking into Owen’s eyes as he turned to answer. Dr. John had clasped one of Owen’s wrists, and I could tell that he was unobtrusively taking his pulse, counting his breaths, and even checking for signs of fever and possible concussion.
“I’m okay, I guess,” Owen shrugged, unused, I think, to people being concerned about him and his welfare. “I took a hot bath last night, and it really helped me relax. Thank you, sir.”
“Oh, please,” Brychan snorted, “You’re not in one of his classes, call him John. Dr. John, if you must. You should have let one of us know you wanted to take a bath, you were in no shape to get out of bed alone last night.”
“Don’t worry da,” Caerwyn replied, blushing slightly, “I was getting some stuff out of my room, so I helped him into and out of his bath.”
“And helped yourself to one as well, I don’t doubt.” Dr. John teased, catching the muffin that Caerwyn threw at him and lathering it with butter before eating it with a grin.
“He has room to talk,” Caitlin defended her brother with a grin, adding, “You realize they went out early for a walk because they just wanted a little privacy to make out.”
“You know it, kid,” Laura replied with a wink, patting my back as I tried to keep my coffee from spewing out my nose, before handing Dr. John a mug of coffee. Taking the seat next to him, Laura sipped her coffee while staring at me thoughtfully.
“I’ve got a couple of other projects for you, Gracie,” Laura began, waiting for the four of us to finish our breakfast and clear the table for Bronwyn. “You don’t have to start on them today, but you might want to start thinking about them.” As she said this, she laid on the table a bag of rocks and a deck of cards, and explained.
“I think we might start with these. The rocks are rune stones, or will be when you’re done. You can buy rune stones, but they work better when they are made by the person who is going use them. And this is a deck of Tarot cards, this deck is mine, but back at the house I left a package in your room of heavy paper cut to size so you can make a deck of your own, I want you to research some of the various decks available and then design your own. I don’t think that divination per se is one of your talents; I do think that these will make excellent meditation tools for you. Even back in college you seemed to be able to make intuitive leaps that followed you own internal logic, and I think these will help you.”
“Design my own deck? How?”
“There are four suites in the minor arcana and then the major cards. Take a look at how the other decks use different symbolism, and find a symbolism that is meaningful to you.” And she tossed the deck to me, setting off a chain of events that would change all our lives.
I caught the deck before it hit the table, and felt a small jab as something sticking out from the box pierced the tip of my ring finger. Opening the box, I pulled a small thin needle from the business end of the box. For some reason, it reminded me of a spindle. My brain was working as fast as it could, but my thoughts were coming very slowly and is if from a great distance. My stream of consciousness had become a string of random non sequiturs.
A strange lassitude washed over me. I watched silently, almost idly, as three drops of blood dripped from my finger to the table top. Those three innocent drops triggered the curse that had been sprung the night before, when Bronwyn had said those fateful words: Sleeping Beauty.
The world was suddenly out of focus, like my contacts had fallen out. And though I could tell that they were shouting at me, I couldn’t hear the words and then I couldn’t hear their voices. The most frightening thing of all was that through it all, Owen was sitting beside me looking so sad.
“It’s called the Sleeping Beauty curse,” he explained, and somehow I knew that they could hear him as well. “It’s a nasty piece of work. The Sleeping part is actually your powers, as long as they were dormant, or sleeping, the curse couldn’t be triggered. In this case, it was triggered by being pricked by the small spindle that one must have slipped into the box, and then the three drops of blood. It’s not really a curse, but more of a trap. It takes your own powers, pours them into your shields, and uses your own shields to isolate you. The shielding being erected around her is so complete that you won’t be able to hear her or see her or speak to her.”
“How do we break the curse?” Caitlin asked, fighting back tears.
“I don’t know,” He admitted. “Until I saw the blood, I didn’t even know it had been set, let alone triggered.”
Looking over at Caitlin, it was suddenly too much and I had to try and reach her.
Pressing against the shield, I reached out and hugged her for all I was worth, stretching until I could rest my forehead against hers. The pain that ran through my head was worse than anything I’d ever felt before, but I ignored it as long as I could to hold onto Caitlin and let her know that I loved her and that I would find a way to break this curse.
“Is this harming Gracie?” Laura asked, looking at me shocked, “She’s bleeding!”
Sitting back, I wiped my face with my napkin to find that my nose was bleeding and I was somehow crying blood.
“Only because she was fighting the shield, if she lets it surround her it won’t damage her. She’s lucky, she may be isolated but at least this curse does little actual physical damage: there are others that can do a great deal of harm.”
“Based on the name of this curse, I can think of several off hand,” Laura began, and afraid she’d name them and give the curse any ideas, or trigger any other curse already laid, I stopped her speech laying my fingers across her lips.
She looked up at me, staring into my eyes and saw the fear and determination in them, the fear winning as I lost the ability to see them. Wanting to reach me, Laura took her hand in mine, rested her cheek in my hand and slowly kissed my palm until I could no longer feel her lips caress my skin.
Knowing what I know now, I feel that the eyes I should have been staring into as the world changed before me were not Laura’s but Bronwyn’s. But foresight is evidently not one of my talents.
Construction Photos- Week 27
6 days ago