Prologue - Attack
<<STOP! Have you read Dark Water & the Maiden, Book I of this series? If not, it is advisable to read that first, also on Inkitt. If yes, happy reading!>>
At precisely nine thirty o’clock in the morning, Monday, September 11, 2001, the girl suffered what seemed to be an attack. Her limbs grew rigid. Her pupils rolled back into her head. And then her body went limp.
A moment before, she had raised her nose and whispered to herself, “Is something burning?” Then her vision turned black and her body failed.
The girl had been walking down one side of the wide hallway of her grade school’s basement. She had been headed from her sixth-grade English class to the restroom.
Now, as she wilted, her slim body began its rapid descent towards the tiled basement floor.
As the girl passed out, the door of a janitor’s closet swung open next to her, and two hands reached out from within the closet. The instant before she could tumble to the ground, the hands grabbed the slumping girl under both armpits. The person—or whatever it was—pulled the girl into the closet by her arms, her lifeless legs dragging behind, and closed the door.
Inside the cramped janitor’s closet, a tiny, white-haired woman dressed in a cream-colored, monk-like robe sat the girl on a stool.
“There you are, my dear. Safe.” Holding the girl steady with one hand, the woman reached up with her other hand and yanked a thin chain. A dim bulb flickered on.
A muffled voice spoke from a darkened corner of the closet, next to a bucket and mop. “After all these years, you are still faster than you look, Florence. Even in that body.”
“Thank you, my friend. Come out of the shadows.”
“I arrived only a moment ago, Florence. I haven’t decided on a form. I don’t want to frighten her with my true form when she wakes. I will remain in the shadows.”
The woman nodded. “Thank you for coming. We need two High Magi for this upcoming task. I cannot do this alone.”
The woman supported the back of the girl’s head with her palm. The girl’s fine blond hair slipped through her fingers. Her other hand rested on the front of the girl’s shoulder.
“We have lost this battle. A tragedy has occurred this morning on this world. And there is a Dark Magi Master in our midst.”
“I know,” answered the voice. “I also understand where I need to go next, who I need to be.”
“Excellent. Ah, she’s waking.”
The girl stirred and murmured something unintelligible, which changed into a low moan. Her eyes opened, and she turned a confused glare toward the elderly woman. Then the girl began to scream.
The woman placed her other hand on the top of the girl’s shoulder. “Silent.”
The girl closed her mouth. Then her face scrunched, and tears streamed down her cheeks. As her body shuddered, the girl managed to speak through ragged breaths. “What happened to me? Did I have a fit? Who are you?”
“A seizure? No, my dear. You did not have a seizure. You made a connection.” The woman gazed sympathetically at the girl.
“What? Where am I?”
“You are in the janitor’s closet in the basement of your school, Riverwood. A moment ago, you made a connection to something called the Light Magic. Then your body failed, and you passed out. I grabbed you for your safety and brought you in here.”
“I don’t understand. What’s the Light Magic?”
“I will answer that question in about one year.”
The girl’s brow lowered. “How—uh, how long was I knocked out?”
“How long do you think you were asleep?”
“About two or three hours.”
“Your body was limp for less than two minutes in this closet. What did you dream?”
“It wasn’t a dream,” answered the girl, her eyes widening. “I was there.”
The woman nodded. “Tell me about it.”
“I-I was my father. I was living inside him.” The girl began shaking once more, her blinking eyes again growing teary. “Then he was gone.”
“Please tell me about it.”
“My father, he’s a Colonel in the Navy. I was living inside him when he drove to work at the Pentagon this morning. I could see what he saw and hear his thoughts. Like, he was thinking about some Steve Miller Band song and Heaven and Hell. Then, at about nine thirty, there was a bang in his hallway. Then…he…”
The girl dropped her head. “He saw it on screens in his office. Planes flew into buildings. They crashed jets into the Capitol Building and the White House.”
The elderly woman continued to gaze upon the young girl with concern. “And then?”
“And then a plane hit his building. It hit the Pentagon, right near his office. He’s gone!” The girl burst out sobbing and covered her face with both hands.
The young girl cried for a few minutes. Then, sniffing, she breathed in and out deeply.
“Please tell me what you saw after that,” asked the woman.
The girl spoke in a hushed voice: “He was a spirit. He was at peace. He was One.” She paused. “I don’t even know what that means. I don’t know why I said that.”
“When he became spirit, did your father see things? Like visions?”
“Yes. He saw my family. My mom remarried. My brother was a lawyer with a family.”
“And what else did he see?”
“He…he saw me. Most of all, he saw me.”
“Please tell me about that.”
“He saw me mess up. I’m not sure what I did wrong, but I died. Then he saw me wake. I was sitting on a big rock beside a stream during the afternoon. The sun was on my face. I was eighteen, but I felt very old. I was happy to be alive. I was skipping stones on the water. And I knew all sorts of things I shouldn’t know, like the future.”
The girl’s eyes grew large. “Then my father saw me travel over thirty years back in time to 1973, to talk to you! At Riverwood! You’re Florence Flower! But you can’t be here. You’re—” the girl cut herself off, placing one hand over her mouth.
Then she continued. “I told you four things I knew. I told you about two special people that need to be connected soon. I told you about an invincible fighter and a good witch. I told you about a woman who would save a world. I told you where the vial with dark-blue water could be found. I also gave you a vial of green liquid.” The girl’s brow furrowed. “I don’t know what any of this means.”
Florence Flower nodded. “This is helpful. When you traveled to see me in the past, you did not tell me about the two special people who needed to be connected, although you seem to remember differently.”
The girl’s lower lip trembled. “My dad. Is he really dead?”
Florence stood up the girl and embraced her. She drew back, holding the girl by the shoulders at arms’ length. “Yes. He has passed.”
The girl fell into the woman’s arms again, sobbing once more. “You will be alright,” Florence murmured in her ear. “It will be painful, but you will overcome. You need to go now. School is ending early because of the attacks.”
The girl drew back and rubbed her eyes with her fists. “Will I see you again?”
“Child, when you leave this closet and walk down the hall towards the restroom, you will forget everything that just happened. But you will see me again, in the future and in the past. Now you must go.” The woman hustled the girl out of the closet and, staying inside, shut the door behind her.
Students and teachers had started to stream through the now-buzzing hallways. Some teachers led their students in single-file lines out of the basement.
As the girl walked towards the bathroom, she wondered why the hallway was cluttered with people. She touched her hand to her face. Her eyes were wet, and they stung, as if she’d gotten sunscreen in them. ‘What just happened?’
She turned and spotted her teacher, Mrs. Mulrooney, looking grim, walking towards her. The girl’s sixth-grade class trailed the English teacher. Mrs. Mulrooney held out her open hand, beckoning the girl to come to her.
It was then the girl realized something terrible had happened.