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Soul's Little Lie 2: Midsummer House

By Tara Dobbs All Rights Reserved ©

Horror / Fantasy

Blurb

Vivian Warren is trying to make the best of her marriage even with a husband who ignores her when she needs him most. To calm her worries, she works meditative magic and prayers to give her strength. In the process of such a spell, she is confronted with an unexpected reality – her spirit guide comes knocking at her front door. As friendly and helpful as her spirit guide is to her, she discovers a deep anguish in the man whom calls himself Ynycornus. To find the answers they both seek, Ynycornus takes Vivian on a road trip cross country to his home in Lowell, Massachusetts. Along the way, a past friend of Ynycornus' is out to get revenge. All the while, Detective Jacob Umari sees a missing person's report of Vivian, finding a connection between her and a mysterious man named David Geraci dealing with an old case file from decades past. All parties involved are in for a wild ride when all comes to a head. Death knocking at the door of the Geraci Mansion. A haunting of old history and a young woman's faith still in herself to save both crippled souls into the next life. Even if it means she must die in the process.

Chapter 1

At the FBI offices in Boston, Jacob Umari looked feverishly through cold case files. Even ones that would have been considered training material. Deep, behind some unmarked cardboard boxes, there was one file that caught his eye. The only words labeled on the folder was a city and state – Lowell, Massachusetts. Sticking up from the folder was some old parchment paper that felt like animal skin. A tingle drifted through his fingers and down his spine as he lifted the files from the box. Looking back, down the dimly lit rows of shelves, he saw the dark clothed man a few shelves down under a light fixture.

“This case is considered closed. Is this what you really want?” Jacob asked calmly, lifting the old heavy parchment paper out a little trying to read the words written in black ink that looked to have been oxidized over time. Looking closer he saw the words were in ancient Gaelic and Latin. Looking up from the folder to see the man again, the only response was a slow nod just before he walked away, his long black trench coat trailing behind. Running after him, all Jacob saw were rows of shelves. The man had seemed to disappear. Taking out his cell phone, he speed dialed his friend Frankie.

“Hello, Jacob,” Frankie answered while sipping a cup of coffee while watching the sunset out the main balcony of his living room condo in California.

“I think I’m going to need your help on this,” slipping the three file folders under his jacket, he made his way to the elevator. “Could you meet me at the Commons in three days? I know it’s on the spot, but I really need your help. I think this got a lot more complicated. I just felt her presence. She’s near.” Jacob’s voice spoke fast, almost nervous.

“Get up, soldier!” the man demanded. Kicking him, “Get up, soldier!”

Carl awoke with a start seeing he had fallen out of bed, looking down at a tight woven blue carpet floor beneath him. Lifting himself off the floor he looked around to get his bearings.

“Attention, soldier!” the man roared again. Carl looked around frantically. There was no one in the room with him.

Wiping the beads of sweat off his brow, he picked up a white under shirt off the fabric covered chair, slipping it on as he stumbled around. The loud, bellowing deep male voice echoed through his ears again. Feeling disoriented, he fell to his knees. Scrambling back up, his fingers found the hotel key on the TV stand dresser.

“You’re pathetic!” another male voice bellowed. Looking in the direction were the voice came from, on a chair near the small hallway, Carl blinked.

“What are you doing here?” he asked, stumbling a little to the bed, his hands shaking. No one answered. Catching his breath, closing his eyes he sighed heavy. “What am I doing here?” he asked himself aloud. Blinking, he looked around to where he was again. “Yeah, that’s right. I need to get going. But...” he paused, slipping on his shoes. “...I don’t know. Do I...really want to?”
Standing up before the mirror on the dresser, he wiped his face again looking himself over carefully. Looking to the right of the mirror he saw a man sitting on the bed near the bathroom. He looked awfully familiar. Too familiar that is. Turning around swiftly in hopes of catching the man in the act, there was no one sitting on the bed.

“You know you want to. You just have to pull yourself together,” the familiar male voice affirmed.

“I don’t know,” Carl breathed, his words shook as they left his lips. “I don’t know if I can do this.”

“Of course you can. We talked about it for months...for years. You have no choice. I can’t do this anymore. You’ll have to pick up where I left off,” the male voice trailed off into the distance as though moving through a wall.

Silence, Carl waited with baited breath for the male voice to appear again, but nothing came. Sighing heavy, he went to the bathroom. Turning the small sink faucet on cold, he splashed water on his face. Taking in a deep breath, he looked himself in the eyes at his own reflection.

“I have to do this. It’s the only way to get to him,” he said at last. Grabbing his car keys and pulling on a button up blue shirt, he walked out of his hotel room with a stance of determination.

The early evening air was warm. With the brightness of the half moon hanging in the cloudless sky, the glow gave a cooling effect. Everett, Washington was in the middle of Spring. The cherry blossom trees that lined Rucker Avenue were just barely starting the bud fruit. What was left of the pink and white flowers on the branches barely hung on as the breeze wiped by. On the corner of Rucker Avenue and 25th St, a dark green Edwardian style house sat proudly. The converted apartment house was seated only a few blocks from the Everett Naval Station. Across the Puget Sound the Olympic Mountains could be seen in the distance with still a hint of winter snow atop their peaks.

In apartment one, on the left up the stairs, a young woman by the name Vivian Warren stood before her Goddess altar. Vivian had an average body with a soft hour-glass figure. Oval shaped face with medium high cheek bones. A top her head long wavy dark brunette hair. Almond shaped eyes evenly spaced with a button nose that held up a pair of silver oval shaped glasses. Simply shaped lips with a natural earthy pink tone where she never needed to wear lipstick.

A simple laid out altar that depicted an earthbound woman sitting on a crescent moon throne. Vivian was pagan. A simple spiritual path that she followed since she was a little girl. As for practicing this path, she did not deeply get into it until she moved out of her parents’ house at the age of twenty-three. It was best to keep this faith quiet. Another part of these practices was the act of speaking with her spirit guide – a person who had previously lived on this Earth whom one can be guided through their spiritual path safely.

Simple pleasures kept her busy, besides practicing her path. She enjoyed taking time out to read and dance in the living room where there was more space than the apartment bedroom. Art consumed her more than anything – her art table covered in watercolor paper, paints and drawing pencils. Having a spiritual path so free to explore gave her ample amounts of inspiration for her work. From her collection of paints, her favorite color was purple which symbolized dreams and psychic awareness. Tonight, however, Vivian began a pagan ritual to awaken old dreams, to speak with her spirit guide more clearly.

As the young woman prayed before the alter, a calm surrounded her and the house. A feeling of peace and grounding until...a loud knock at the door broke the tranquility. Her heart pounded in her chest as she whirled around making her large black and purple trimmed circle skirt unfold as she scampered to the door in the hallway. There before her stood her friend Kristine with a heavy school bag of books lugged over her shoulder.

“Here, let me take that,” Vivian politely suggested, placing the bag on the ratted cream recliner across the way. Smiling the two young women hugged in greeting. “What did you bring with you? That bag was a bit heavy.”

“Oh, not much,” Kristine replied as she unzipped the main compartment, “just the basics in case you didn’t have any.” Out she pulled two white and two black candles, placing them gently on the floor. Along with these two bundles of dried sage and two scallop shells and some matches.

Starting any ritual, no matter how elaborately detailed or short, smudging a room in which the ritual will take place cleanses the air of negative energies. As a bonus, burning sage had a pleasant clean scent as it dissipated into the air.

The next process for the two women was to turn off and unplug all electronics. By doing so, there would be no excess electric energy waves that could possibly interfere with the energy of any good spirits passing through the house at any given time. Along with this, having burning candles around the alter and possibly on the floor could pose a fire hazard if a live; frayed wire came in contact with an open flame.

Once they were done with the basic precautions, the girls gave silent prayers of thanks for the blessing of the house. Soon after taking a lit match each, they lit the few candles on the mantel of the fireplace. Lighting the two white candles underneath the antique gold oval mirror, Vivian took out her ceremonial black handled dagger to call the circle. Calling the Circle was to ask the spirits and Holy Mother and Father for entrance into the Vail. Asking in this manner would also insure protection for those participating in the ritual as the Holy Mother and Father would watch over them.

Unsheathing the dagger, she held it towards the sky as both recited in unison: “Lord and Lady, we open the sacred circle for you. We call upon you this night to watch and guide us well into this ritual of sight and learning. We ask for protection and guidance.” Taking a step back from her, Kristine continued to watch in silence. Her place in this was to observe in case of problems. Continuing where she left off, “As I look into the mirror, I seek only a man I call my spirit guide,” as she thought of him a shiver surrounded her. Putting the dagger out in front of her turning slowly around starting at true North and working clockwise, she continued to think of him.

Taking out a small iron cauldron, a chill swirled in the room making Vivian shiver again. Pouring the incense mixture of wormwood and mugwort which had been steeping in a closed jar for several days to age, the hot charcoal disk began to burn it causing a wafting of gray smoke into the air around her face. Standing before the mirror on the wall and breathing the foul smelling incense slowly, but not too much, she closed her eyes.

Opening her eyes, the room was dark, but lit by the candles that flickered. Slowly beginning her trance, her eyes barely seeming to blink, Kristine watched the woman’s face for any distress. The trance went on for several minutes. Scrying has been an ancient technique for seeing the other side and to see into the future. Techniques could include staring into a black dish of water, a black mirror or any type of mirror as long as the room was dimly lit. All types of ancient and even modern cultures have used these scrying trances for centuries. A few moments passed further before she opened her eyes to peer into the now slightly darkened mirror. As she stared her reflection shifted from two separate forms besides her own. These facial forms were of her older self of Mother and Crone. This was not her imagination as she had done this twice before. She knew from previous experiences what to look out for during the early stages of the trance. Moments later, Kristine gasped quietly seeing the mirror turn solid black and a few distorted hints of Vivian’s reflection change shape. The candle light shifted ever so often in no particular pattern. Gasping just slightly of the first images that began to appear all the while her Mother and Crone forms were speeding up shifting between the two. Faster and faster the two separate faces now becoming a blur. A few seconds later the first image came into view.

Vivian kept still as she watched. First it was hazy, seeing what looked to be a fogged up mirror. Then a hand appeared, wiping the fog away. Her eyes widened at the sight – the form of a man was before her with long white hair and blue eyes staring back. But he seemed to not notice her at first. Blinking only a little she kept watching. Her heart was pounding. She knew who this was. The man before her looked a little closer at his own reflection and then backed away wide eyed. He cleaned off the fog some more and kept looking. She could see in his blue eyes the reflection of her own face. Putting her hand up to the mirror, barely touching it, Vivian moved forward a little. She then moved back seeing a glimpse of a man’s hand that was now touching his side of the mirror. Their hands now seeming to touch on both sides. The man kept looking and then blinked, realizing what he was looking at.

Mouthing something she could not hear from him, she understood in her heart what he said. Moments later he went into a trance and so did she, both their eyes closed and hands upon the mirror. Like water their hands began to meld into the mirror touching finally in between the spaces of the two mirrors. Opening their eyes the glass from both mirrors shattered scrapping across both their palms. Falling back from the blast of shattered glass, Kristine covered Vivian with the woman’s black and dark green cloak.

“What happened?” she exclaimed checking for any glass that may have scrapped her face. Vivian sat there on the floor holding her chest as Kristine got her a glass of water. Sipping it, she just closed her eyes as she began to shake. “What did you see?” Kristine asked, looking at the shattered mirror. The frame was amazingly unharmed.

Glancing up at the broken mirror, with a quivering voice, “I saw him. He was there! That was not my imagination. I know the difference,” she began to speak swiftly, “between visions, imagination and physical sight of my own two eyes.” Chuckling, “I know you had to have seen or at least sensed something.”

“Yeah, I did. I felt a male presence in the room. It felt like...” she paused,“you know that feeling when a ghost has walked by.” Vivian nodded. “It felt like that, but not dangerous. I also saw his hand pressed against your mirror.”

Vivian smiled softly and shook her head. “If I tell you what else I saw, you’ll think I’m just a silly little school girl with a crush.” She began to blush and looked at her hand that was still bleeding slightly from the broken mirror glass and blotted the blood away on a paper towel that was on the computer desk.

“You didn’t see him naked? Did you?” Kristine began to laugh.

“No, but he was shirtless!” They laughed like little school girls.

Afterward the two women cleaned up the mess of broken glass, and closed the circle with a simple prayer of thanks for the Lord and Lady. However, it had come apparent to Vivian that her childhood mirror would never be the same again even with new glass. It was quite unusual that a scrying session would cause such damage. Most often a mirror would have a crack in it having blocked the energy that was trying to invade the room or magic practitioner by bodily possession. Something about this night didn’t set well with her as her mind began recalling past conversations with her spirit guide when she was a teenager.

While looking through some of Vivian’s magical book collection on the mantel shelf, a chill swept over the whole room. It had been warm the whole day of May 1st, which was also named Beltane or May Day by some. There were no windows open in the whole apartment. Even the main living room window, which had old wood rot from years had been sealed up to prevent heat from escaping. Shivering, Vivian looked around, cocking her head to the side as she stood up. Kristine sensing the same thing stood up after looking in the same direction as Vivian towards the front door.

“Do you feel that?” Vivian asked as she lit a black candle on the altar. The color black, especially being used in candles when lit, is to ward off negative spirits or energies.

“Yeah, do you think...maybe?” Kristine looked around, checking every wall in the living room as though there was the possibility of an open portal. It is said that spirits can walk through walls of a living person’s home. The most common of houses in the United States built for just this purpose belonged to Mrs. Sarah Winchester, the widow of gun magnate William Witt Winchester. She believed that she could speak to her long deceased husband through seances and the way the house was built with rooms and staircases that lead to nowhere the spirits could come and go as they pleased. Even though Vivian’s apartment building used to be a full family manner from 1910, it would have it’s small share of spirits and ghosts coming and going at late hours of the night.

“I don’t know, but we’ll see.” Just then, Vivian’s cat Pooka came running down the hallway, her claws scratching the hardwood floor as she bolted past as though something had scared her. The black cat skidded to a stop on the pentagram rug that lay before the altar and then sped off again, stopping in front of the apartment door.

“Pooka, what’s gotten into you?” Kristine laughed.

Just a few seconds later there was a knock at the door. The girls jumped with a yelp, their hearts pounding. “I’ll get it,” Vivian said as she walked over to the door.

Pushing Pooka to the side with her foot, she opened the door with a slight smile on her face having laughed the scare away. There in the lobby stood a man that was cleanly dress – black trench coat, dark blue jeans, black dress shoes and a cream white cotton poet, Victorian style shirt. White hair down to middle of his back and stunning blue eyes. He looked to be in his early thirties. She closed her mouth, putting her hand on her heart. The man smiled softly back at her with a little twinkle in his eyes. Her mind seemed to freeze as she looked at him. It was only moments before that she had seen him in the mirror. How could it be that he was now standing in the lobby of her apartment building? What kind of magic was she playing with? ‘This has to be a dream,’ she thought.

“Vivian...” he began. “I told you I’d come find you.” That was exactly what he had said to her in the mirror, that he would find her, but why? Hearing his voice to her ears fully for the first time, she stood there speechless and dumb struck.

Turning slowly to Kristine who stood in the corner of the room near the altar, the expression on the woman’s face was that of ‘deer in head lights’. “Where are my manners? Come on in. This is my friend Kristine.”

“Nice to meet you,” he extended his hand in greeting. Smiling, Kristine kept quiet, but shook his hand in return.

“Vivian, may I talk to for a moment?” she asked, nudging her in the side to follow into the kitchen. After looking to see if the mysterious man wasn’t paying attention, she asked in a whisper, “Who is he? That can’t be the man you saw in the mirror, can it?” The look on Vivian’s face of absolute giddiness was clear to Kristine what the answer was. “Oh...my...God! What have you done?” she exclaimed, an expression of full blown worry came over her face.

“I don’t think I did anything wrong. For all I know, this could just be some fluke of coincidence. I might have met him before, I don’t know,” Vivian shrugged. “Let’s not be rude and just ask who he is just to be sure.” The two women walked out of the kitchen and down the hallway moments later.

“Sir, I have to ask for your name,” Kristine asked without missing a beat. Sensing the tension in the air, Vivian glared at her. She was afraid that her little secret of knowing this man from the ‘other side’ could get out in a dangerous way.

“Fine. Here you go,” he replied handing Kristine his leather wallet and flipping to his driver’s license. Looking it over, Vivian looked over her shoulder with a goofy grin on her face. The man’s name and location were exactly as Vivian had predicted. Days before the ritual she had told her friend as much as she dared to tell about her spirit guide. Tonight, from all that had happened, there couldn’t have been a coincidence at all.

“I almost can’t stomach this,” Kristine added. “How did you get here...” she stuttered, looking at the card for his name, “Ynycornus?” The name seemed foreign to her.

“I got here by normal means. I was in the area on a business trip and thought to stop by after what happened here. I did feel the magic in this building while a few blocks away. I knew I found the right place. My car is right outside in the parking lot.” Kristine rushed outside to have a look. Ynycornus and Vivian followed. There were only two cars in the parking lot that evening – a dark red car belonging to one of the tenets and the other, a black Prius, clearly belonged to Ynycornus. The license plate read Massachusetts.

“Happy now,” Vivian exclaimed to Kristine, looking at his car and chuckling to herself.

“Hey, don’t bark at her for not understanding what’s going on,” Ynycornus snapped back.

“I’m sorry. I just...” she was at a loss for words. He seemed to put her back in her place as though he knew every bit of her personality a head of time. Not only that, however, she felt that she had to gloat about her magic and she felt ashamed right after the man caught her on it. He seemed to not like people who thought too highly of themselves.

“Vivian, clearly you know more than I do about magic at this point, but you don’t have to rub it in my face!” Kristine huffed away from her closer to the apartment steps. Even though the two girls were only friends for a short time, Kristine didn’t practice that much in magic as Vivian did.

“Ladies, lets not get into a power struggle here over who’s more this or that. The point is, Vivian is more educated in magic than most people, but that doesn’t mean she’s not your friend anymore.” A sense of ‘teacher’ came into view for both girls of this man’s demeanor.

“I’m sorry, Kristine. I guess I’m a bit...” she said sheepishly with her head hung in shame.

“Uppity, nervous?” he smirked. Vivian glared at him and poked him playfully in the ribs. He soon darted off starting the chase. Not able to resist, she ran after him around the property in the large patch of grassy area. Kristine just stood there watching and laughing. She couldn’t help but notice a natural connection between the two of them. Even though Vivian and Ynycornus had just met for the very first time, it was as though the two had been friends for decades. A long lasting friendship that had just picked up where it left off as though not missing a beat.

“Get back here!” Vivian exclaimed, reaching out to grab his arm, but he was just too fast.

“My, you’re slow,” he said barely out of breath. Vivian stopped running knowing she wouldn’t be able to catch him. He smiled back, moving his wind blown hair out of his face.

Walking up to him, “Is your hair color natural?” she asked as she noticed that the half moon shone down on them making his hair shimmer like silver.

“Yes, actually I’m not an albino as a lot of doctors thought when I was born,” he chuckled twirling a lock of his white hair.

Vivian smiled at him, holding back her nervousness she got up the courage to hug him. They both stood there in each others arms for a few minutes before she spoke, “Where have you been?” she asked, laying the side of her head on his chest.

“With you the whole time,” he replied stroking her hair gently. “It’s good to see you in person though. I thought we’d never meet.”

“I was thinking the same thing,” she whispered, looking up at him with tears welting up in her eyes.

“Don’t cry,” he said catching a single tear from her cheek on his finger. Holding her chin gently, he bent down slightly to kiss her lips ever so softly. Even though the kiss was brief, she wanted desperately to hold onto that very moment and bottle it for safe keeping.

“We should get back, before Kristine starts to think you kidnapped me,” she chuckled, he nodded in agreement. The pair walked a little ways away from each other so not to give any odd impressions of what had just happened.

Kristine was there sitting on the stoop waiting. “I figured to leave you two alone.”

“Isn’t it getting a bit late now?” Ynycornus asked glancing at her left hand seeing a wedding ring on her finger. “Won’t your husband worry of a strange man coming to see his wife?”

“No, he’s actually fine with things like that. He always says, ‘You need to make more friends’. He’ll be home soon anyway,” she replied giving a wink to him. “Kristine, don’t you have work tomorrow?” The woman nodded.

“I can give you a ride,” he suggested, getting his car keys out of his pants pocket.

“Sure, a ride home would be good. If you don’t mind.” Kristine replied, getting up off the concrete steps.

“It’s not a problem. Get your things and we’ll be off,” he said standing near his car. “I’ll stay out here.” The girls ran up the stairs in a flash.

Back inside the apartment...

“Well, it’s none of my business, but you better watch it Vivian,” Kristine said in a stern voice as she put her candles and books into her back pack. “I know your history dealing with other men.”

“Yeah, I know,” she admitted with an apologetic voice. ‘But I’m spiritually married to him.’ she thought, knowing that none of her friends and possibly her husband would never understand.

“You’d better find a way to prove to Dan about this guy,” she cautioned having a feeling of great concern for her friend who she felt was about to get herself into something so deep she may not be able to get act.

Looking down at her wedding finger, twiddling the ring as she did, she thought of her husband of how he might react to all this. Just then a faint lavender glow shown around her wedding ring, “Kristine!” she exclaimed.

“Oh my God! It’s true!” Kristine held her hand, looking closer at it. Taking her wedding ring off, the glow was a full circle around her finger. “I thought for sure what you told me about the aura around your finger was a joke. I thought you were just making this up!”

“How’s Dan going to react to this?” Vivian said aloud. A wave of worry swept over her.

“I guess we’ll find out soon enough. You better be careful with this guy,” Kristine stressed to her feeling even more concerned that maybe this guy put a spell on her friend.

“Oh, I will! No matter how tempted I am on anything to do with Ynycornus. If I love him that much, I don’t want to ruin anything or jeopardize my marriage to Dan.” She looked down at her wedding finger again, seeing the lavender glow had disappeared.

“I think you may have already done that,” Kristine added, still looking at Vivian’s wedding ring finger. “But it’s not my place how to run your life. Just please be careful. You don’t know if he’s...”

“I know Kristine. I know how to detect if he’s up to no good. Don’t worry, please,” she said as she hugged her friend. “We need to get you home.”

“You got everything, Kristine?” Ynycornus asked as he opened the back passenger door for her.

“Yeah, I think so,” she said stepping inside the compact car.

Just a few minutes did it take them to drive her to her apartment. The two waved good bye to her as they drove out of the apartment complex parking lot.

“I won’t stay long after we get back to your place,” Ynycornus said. “I’m only staying here in Washington for a few more days and then back home I go.”

“I hope I’m not keeping you from anything important that you originally came here for?” The sudden feeling of being a burden to him swiftly came over her.

“No, not really. All I came here for was to look into some property.”

“Did you find any?” Vivian asked, as she fidgeted with her wedding band, twirling it around her finger.

“Not really. There’s too much flat land here that can easily be flooded. There’s plenty of property over the Cascade Mountains, but I really don’t want to deal with the weather.” He shivered remembering on the news mentioning about last years winter had caused so many problems for the people here.

“It’s not that bad. It’s hotter over the mountains and it does get rain, but the winters are a bit harsher than here,” she said happily, trying to ‘sell’ the idea of him staying.

“That’s what I noticed. I think it’s pretty here and the seasons change nicely, but like you said, ’the winters are a bit harsher over the mountains,” he added. “But the winters back home are much, much worse.”

“What will you do now, now that what you were looking for isn’t here?” she looked at him with some hope in her voice.

“Who said nothing is here?” he mused, looking at her lovingly. Vivian blushed.

“Would you like some tea when we get back?” she asked.

“Sure,” he replied just as he drove into the small parking lot of the apartment building.

Getting out of the car, “You didn’t drive all this way did you from Massachusetts?” she asked.

“Yes, I did. Spent many nights in pretty good hotels and had my fill of sight seeing,” a long sigh came after. It really had been a long trip to come all this way mostly to find new stomping grounds for his business prospects.

“You went through the south and then headed through the southwest Arizona and California high ways. Am I right?”

“How can you tell?”

“You look a little dusty,” she chuckled. “I’m not saying you need a bath. It’s just something I can smell and see off of you. I did live in Arizona quite some time while growing up,” she smiled, Ynycornus nodding in agreement.

“What time is Dan supposed to come home?” he asked while looking through the wide variety of teas Vivian offered. He didn’t want to meet her husband in such odd circumstances. It seemed improper to meet him at such late hours of the night.

“Usually he gets home about 11:30.” Just then the phone rang. She jumped, dropping a tea bag she was about to put into her cup. Seeing this, he caught the tea bag just in time before it hit the floor.

“Hello?” she answered.

“Honey, I’ll be home late tonight. Work is doing mandatory overtime again. I might not get home until two.” Dan replied on the other end. His line of work kept him late most of the time as it was a machinists job that required long hours at the Everett Boeing plant.

“Oh, okay then,” she drawled on in her reply. “Hey, honey, when you do have some time off, I want you to meet a good friend of mine I hadn’t seen in years. He just came into town.”

“Sure, we’ll do that when I can. I’ll see you when I get home, okay?” the sound of his voice was of urgency to return to work.

“Yeah, see you soon,” her tone was clear to Ynycornus’ ears. She wasn’t happy that her husband had to work so late again. It seemed to him that this happened way too often.

“I love you,” Dan added before leaving. Just then Ynycornus walked into the living room, making a b-line for Pooka who was rolling over on her back on the black pentagram rug asking for belly rubs.

“I love you, too, sweetie.” She then hung up the phone.

“So, what did he say?” Ynycornus asked, as he rubbed the little black cat’s belly.

“He won’t be home until almost two in the morning,” she sneered walking over to the rug slowly. He casually glanced up, seeing her body language told him she was very unhappy.

“If Pooka wanted, she would have me stay here all night rubbing her belly.” he cooed smiling at the cat and seconds later he heard a tiny chuckle out of the young woman’s mouth. Smiling to himself, he was pleased to have helped her feel a little better.

“Oh yeah!” she chimed with a smile on her face as she looked at the cat. She then remembered one day that she had Pooka in her arms cradled like a baby for almost thirty minutes straight. Hearing the kettle whistling she headed to the kitchen. “Any sugar?” she called out. A strong sounding ‘no thank you’ came from the living room. A few moments later she came back with both their cups of tea.

“I think it would be best if we kept ourselves occupied, until I leave for the night. Mind a game of chess?” he asked, looking down at the chess board that laid underneath the long mahogany coffee table that was against the main wall.

“Sure, I love chess,” she said bending down to pick up the wooden chess set. She placed it on the rug and began to set up the pieces.

Time seemed to stand still as they played the game. Ever so often, they would look at each other with their eyes smiling, but they would say nothing. Vivian kept looking him over. She couldn’t believe how handsome he was. Even though she already knew what he looked like from years of seeing him by her side in his spirited form, it was still surprising. There was something majestic about him. Something about him intrigued her, keeping her mind guessing and thinking. How could it be that someone she had known since she was a small child be sitting before her - breathing, talking, just simply in full living form? She kept thinking, ‘Is this an unending dream?’

“You’re not dreaming,” he replied. She gasped, knocking over one of her pawns that she was about to move into a bad position.

“You’re telepathic?” she questioned.

“Yes.” he sighed. “You already knew this.”

“I’ve known, but...” she hesitated. She knew many things way ahead of time about him, but to her it seemed unbelievable. She didn’t want to sound as though she knew everything about him before he even gave her a chance to ‘really’ know him.

“Vivian, I’m here,” he breathed. “I’m alive and real. As real as I was created by my parents. I’m not a ghost. I’m not a dream to you anymore. I came here because you were ready to see me. I was ready to see you.” he said, hoping that this would reassure her.

She looked at him with wide eyes. Thoughts of the past of seeing him over the years just flooded her mind. The images felt like a large towering book shelf falling over onto her. She shook her head, covering her face with her hands. “With all the years of training. With all the spells. All the studying...nothing has even once prepared me,” she began to cry. “I thought I could handle this. Even after writing and experiencing Mythia,...I guess I can’t.”

Ynycornus moved over to her side, putting his arm around her shoulders and gently placing his head on hers. “It’s okay, Vivian,” he said softly as she wiped her eyes looking up at him. Brushing her tears off her cheek, he smiled at her.

“I’ve known you for years. In a way, I’ve seen you grow up. I didn’t think once that you were real,” she added.

“What is real? This moment is real. Yesterday was real. Your dreams are real as much as you want them to be.” he replied, guiding her head to his shoulder. Caressing her dark brown hair as he gently rocked her in his arms. “Everything will be all right. You need not worry about why or how. Just be in the moment with me. Don’t return to the dreaming.”

“I won’t run back. I promise,” she replied, wiping her eyes again. She looked up at him, seeing how truly blue his eyes had become at that moment. He smiled at her, leaning over to kiss her forehead.

“I’d better head off. I’m here in town staying at a very nice hotel,” he said getting up from the floor. Extending his hand to her, he helped her off the floor. “Be sure to tell Dan as much as you feel he should know about me.”

“I don’t know if he’ll believe me.”

“If he loves you enough, he’ll believe you. If he doesn’t, at least you can confirm everything with Kristine. It’s good to have a second witness,” he said winking.

“When will I see you again?” she asked as he put on his trench coat.

“I’ll call your cell,” he replied getting a piece of paper and pen out from another pocket in his coat. She gave her number a few seconds later. “It has been a wonderful evening, Vivian. I’ll see you again soon.”

“I hope so,” she said, giving him a wonderful smile back. “Drive safe and good night.” Nodding to her, he went on his way.

Vivian’s mind was swimming as she closed the door. ‘Was it all a dream?’ she asked herself again. It couldn’t have been a dream. It was so real. To hear his voice so clearly. To feel his breath on her lips and forehead. To feel his kisses. To hold his hand and feel his heart beating as she lay her head on his chest. It was all real. There was no way it could ever be a dream anymore. Putting the two cups in the sink, she began to cry. Falling to her knees, almost dropping one cup on the floor, she shivered as she cried. She then got up the strength to walk to the living room moments later.

Reviewing everything that had happened that evening - Kristine coming over to help with the ritual. The preparation of getting dressed in her magical best. Reciting the spell quietly. The smell of the incense and the candles burning in the darkness. The vision she had seen of him in the mirror and then the best part...he came to her front door - standing there all beautiful as the night itself.

Shaking in the emotional remembrance of it all, she fell to the floor in front of the altar sobbing uncontrollably. Tears filling her eyes and falling down her cheeks.

“Oh, Goddess!” she began to say with a trembling voice. “You...sent me someone I...had only dreamed. He’s here. I...I thank you for all your hard work. I thank you for the services you helped me with. I thank you for everything. Blessed be. Amen.” She continued to cry. This time they were tears of joy. Not one ounce of fear or worry fell with those crystal clear tears.

Ynycornus was finally at the hotel. He opened the door to the room with shaking hands. He too was in shock as to what had happened that evening. Throwing his coat on the light brown comforter that covered the bed, he stood there thinking of what he just went through.

The hesitation of getting out of car when he parked in the apartment driveway. The fear he felt while he walked up to her front door. There was no way for sure to know how she would react to him. Only one thing was for certain - he was about to meet her for the first time. There was no way he was going to back out now. He remembered at that moment the look on her face how surprised she was. She was almost speechless when she saw him.

“Oh, God!” he cried. Falling to his knees. “I don’t want to ruin this. I don’t want her husband to hate me.” He began to shiver at the fear of how Dan would react to him. Would Dan reject Vivian? Could Dan understand where Ynycornus was coming from? Would Dan accept the friendship between the two of them? Something so ancient and sacred had come between them - there was no way this could be ruined.

Just then a knock was heard at the door. Wiping away a single tear from his eye he got up to answer. There in the hallway stood a mousy brown blond haired man about the same height as the other man.

“Carl?!” he exclaimed. His eyes widened at the sight of the man before him. His mind now was really racing for sure. Fear crept up his spine like an unwelcome guest.

“Long time on see,” the man answered with a soft smile, his blue-green eyes sparkling.

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