4 months later…
The sun shone through my curtains. It felt warm against my skin, rousing me from my sleep. My fingers tingled from the events of the night before. The memory replayed in my mind as I laid in between the blissful land of nod and near the point of waking.
The target froze in mid air. My hands outreached controlling the torso shaped target with large red circles in the centre. Over the course of four months, I had learned to control my freezing abilities with the left side of my body. My telekinesis was controlled with my right side. When I clenched my right hand into a fist the bag exploded, the sand making a dust cloud. The energy I felt with my magic was phenomenal. It had taken me months to trust them. It’s easier to control them without all those nasty side effects. The headaches and the nosebleeds stopped. The moment I pushed aside all other distractions, I allowed myself to focus on growing and strengthening my powers. In return, the side effects stopped.
Suddenly the events changed. The clouds in my dream turned dark. A dark force pushed and threw me into a forest. The trees were tall and loomed over me. The branches took a swing for me. I ducked, staying down in a kneeled position. The branch moved again. It struck the ground beside me. My feet suddenly moved. I ran through the forest designed to kill me at every turn. My heart racing as I ducked and jumped over swinging branches. Until I heard my name being called by a child’s voice and I made the mistake of looking back. It was Jeremy as I remembered him.
A small child with short brown hair. Jeremy wore his favourite T-shirt with a green dinosaur with the slogan ‘If you’re happy and you know it clap your... oh!’. I almost smiled but a branch slammed into my stomach and I bolted up in bed.
The front door opened as I walked down the stairs. Nan came inside with a wooden braided basket with a lid. It reminded me of the times we used to go on a picnic with Jeremy. Nan would bring the basket full of sandwiches, apples, strawberries and juice cartons. My favourite was always orange.
“Penelope, I hoped you’d be up. I wanted to give you something.” She said with a warm smile and I followed her into the kitchen.
While Nan rummaged through her basket, I had a look in the fridge to see what I could have for breakfast. There wasn’t anything I wanted. Then, turned my attention back to nan. She pulled out a long black rectangle box and handed it to me.
“I wanted to give you a gift. You have done so well over the past couple of months.” She said, “And all of us in the coven wanted to congratulate you on your progress.”
“Thanks nan!” I grinned.
It was a silver bracelet with black roses. The detailed leaves were encrusted with black stones.
“I had it specially made. I thought you would prefer a bracelet.” She said. Nan pulled a necklace out to show me the same type of black rose with tiny diamonds. “Witches like to identify themselves with black roses, some like necklaces, some like earrings or rings. It doesn’t matter how you wear it as long as you do. Especially if you want to go into a bar run by witches or vampires or even werewolves. They won’t let you enter unless they can identify yourself as part of our society.”
“Thanks nan. I love it.” I said. She came over to helped me put it on.
“It suits you. I knew it would.” Nan observed. “Now, there are things that I need for a spell. The only place I can get them is Enukeador. Do you want to come with me?”
“Yeah, okay. I thought it was hard to get there?” I asked.
“It is unless you know a secret entrance. There is only two known entrances I’m aware of. One here in Eastbourne and another in Paris.” Then she paused. “There’s always a chance of danger when going to Enukeador. We rely on our most trusted allies. The King mustn’t find out about you. Not yet. Not till we’re ready to fight him.”
“I’m not scared. When do we go?”
Mum drove Nan and I across town until we got to a quiet road. There wasn’t anyone walking passed or birds chirping, not even the wind made a noise. It made me feel anxious.
“Be careful.” Mum said as I got out the car.
“I will.” I said.
“Take the backpack out of the boot. I put some things in there that might be useful on your trip.”
The boot was practically empty. It had some odd items in there and a black backpack. I grabbed it, surprised how light it was as I pulled it over my shoulder and closed the boot. Mum didn’t stick around for too long and drove off. It seemed she didn’t like this part of town either.
“This way,” Nan said, heading in a direction without me. I ran after her.
We came to a steel door with only a sliding peep hole. Nan knocked four times and we waited. The necklace that nan had shown me earlier was on show. Since most of the time she usually had it tucked away, it was obviously for a reason. So, I rolled my sleeves up to show the bracelet. The slider opened, a pair of dark brown eyes peered out and squinted. The slider closed with a loud thud. The bolt unlocked and the door opened.
We entered the building, passing the guard at the door who grunted as we walked by. Nan wasn’t fazed by him but I couldn’t help but gawk. The guard’s hair was long and wild, brown in colour. He looked like he could lift a car with the huge muscles on his arms. Nan hit my arm and I stopped looking. A man came round the corner, greeting us with an over exaggerated smile. He wore a black suit, his hair perfectly combed, white gloves and had black rose cuffs.
“Pamela!” The man sounded so cheery. “It’s a pleasure to see you again.”
“Hello, Clarence. This is my granddaughter, Penelope.”
“It’s nice to meet you, Penelope.” Clarence said to me. He shook my hand firmly.
“Penelope, this is Clarence. He runs the Clarence Club Association which is were we are now. It’s a lovely bar for all kinds of supernatural creatures. It doesn’t tolerate any fighting or discrimination against vampires, witches, werewolves or supernatural creatures.”
“Indeed, all are welcome here as long as they have identification.” Clarence added lifted his cuffs into my view.
“They also protect a very important portal.”
“Indeed so, the portal is protected by CCA and has done since all other portals were destroyed.” Clarence said.
“We came here today to request access to Enukeador. There are some things needed which are only grown there.” Nan handed him a piece of paper. He scrutinised it for a short while.
“Very well. Come this way.”
The portal was protected in an enchanted room. The only way to enter is to have special permission from Clarence himself. He had created the enchantment. Only he had the ability to send people there.
“These bracelets will give you a safe passage there and back.” Clarence said as he clipped a grey block bracelet with a flashing blue light on my wrist. The portal was contained in a golden frame, it swirled, making a whirling sound. As we entered the portal, I held tightly onto Nan’s hand.
The portal took us to a cave in Enukeador, behind a waterfall. It was hard to see but nan seemed to know her way, directing us to an exit. It was night time, dark and gloomy.
“We’ve got a bit of a walk to the village but there’s a cottage not too far away from here. It belongs to a very dear friend of mine. They might be able to give us a ride.”
We set off into the night. It took us nearly two hours to get to the cottage. My legs were exhausted. I was hungry and I was incredibly thirsty.
The cottage seemed ordinary. There was a massive field with stables and a large barn. The door opened and we were greeted by a lady with white curly hair. She wore strange tatty clothing. When her eyes met Nan’s, they widened and she have us a heart warming smile. She came out the cottage to give Nan a huge hug.
“Pam, how are you? I’ve missed you! How long has it been?” The lady almost squealed. “Two or three years?”
“It’s only been a couple of months from my side but it is so good to see you!” Nan said.
“Penelope, this is my dear friend, Edith Ludgrove.” Nan said to me, then turned back to her friend. “This is my granddaughter, Penelope.”
“It’s lovely to meet you dear. Now, lets get you inside.” Edith ushered us in. Before she closed the door behind us, she peered out to check if anyone followed us.
While sitting and listening to their conversation, I had found out a lot of information about Enukeador. Enukeador ran on a different time to my world. Every month in my world equalled to a whole year in Enukeador. This meant if I spent a whole year here, I would have only been gone a month back home. However, for every month I spent at home a whole year would go by in Enukeador.
Nan had met Edith four years ago. When Edith was twenty two. However, because of the time difference, Edith had known Nan for forty eight years. It took a long time for Edith to understand that Nan never looked older because it had only been a short time since seeing each other. While Edith, always on the slow path, aged every time Nan saw her. We stayed with Edith for a while until Nan asked about borrowing a horse to ride into the village.
“She can’t go into town dressed like that…” Edith said. “Before your journey, you can wear one of my daughter’s dresses. There are some spare boots you can have too.”
We met Jessie, a majestic stallion in the stables. He was beautiful and made noises of approval when I offered him some food to eat. We rode Jessie into the village where it was full of villagers. There were stalls for groceries, jewellery, different types of fruit and veg. It seemed everyone wore old clothing and cloaks. Nan stopped at a place to rest the horse. She tipped the man in gold coins to keep Jessie safe.
In the corner of my eye, I saw a shadow move quickly. It was too fast to know what it was but the feeling inside me told me to stay cautious. When I turned around to see where Nan had got to, she was making her way through the crowd. I ran to catch up. The feeling of being watched never left me.
We entered a little shop containing vials of different coloured liquid with labels in alphabetical order. While nan went to talk to the merchant, I was intrigued with the little bottles.
Ageing Potion... Anti-Paralysis Potion… Bloodroot Potion… Confusion Potion… Cupid’s Crystals…
As I walked round to see more, I noticed the merchant handing over a brown pouch from under the counter. He received a small bag in return. It was filled with gold. It jingled as he snatched it quickly.
“It’s a pleasure doing business with you, as always.” he said with a small head bow. Nan nodded and we left.
At the front of the shop we were greeted by an old lady.
“Pamela? Is that you? You haven’t aged a day…”
While nan was distracted with an old friend, I realised it could be ages before they stop talking. So, I strolled over to the jewellery stall.
“Hello beautiful,” The man behind the stall said. He had an infectious smile. He was young, around my age with olive skin and big brown eyes. “May I have your name?”
“No, it’s my name and I want to keep it!”
The corners of his lips curled involuntary and he laughed.
“That’s funny! I’m Stefan Benson.”
“You’re not from around these parts, are you?”
“Because I would remember a beautiful woman with a remarkable sense of humour.” Stefan said.
I laughed anxiously.
Then heard my nan calling in the distance. “Penelope!”
“I have to go now.” I waved goodbye, turning to go.
“Penelope? That’s a very familiar name…” He said, with a frown like he was trying to work out where he knew the name from.
“It was nice meeting you, Stefan.” I quickly said before shooting back over to Nan. We continued our walk through the village. Though my nerves hit the roof when I turned round to see Stefan had disappeared. I convinced myself it didn’t mean anything. It was my mind keeping me on edge to make me scared.
It wasn’t long till we had reached a turning. We stopped outside a cloth maker’s shop.
“I’m going to wait here.” I said.
“Alright, but don’t wander off.”
While nan was preoccupied in the shop; I went over to the corner to peek round the bend to see whether Stefan had returned. To my horror he was talking to two men in silver armour. This wasn’t good. From what I’ve been told, I needed to keep low-key in this place. They were the last people I should be bumping into. Near the end of their conversation Stefan gestured in my direction. It knotted my stomach. I pulled back, hiding in the shadows. Suddenly my shoulder was grabbed, pinning me against the wall.
My arms held with an iron tight grip. My face scraped against the bricks. Before I could scream for help, they pressed a rag over my nose and mouth. My body desperately trying to fight back but their strength overpowered mine. My eyes struggling to stay open. I could feel myself getting weaker but I couldn’t do anything about it. My body couldn't fight any longer and I closed my eyes. The darkness grabbing me and pulling me into a deep sleep.