Chapter 18. Fear and Trepidation
The next morning she awoke, her thought oscillated to Haile.
She paced slowly while everyone looked busied in the corridor. Her mom’s bedroom only a few blocks from where she was. She pushed the door carefully. The environment was quiet. The air conditioner wasn’t as noisy as in her room. There—her eyes stopped at the pale woman who still asleep.
She held her mom’s hand. “I might’ve wondered a lot, why haven’t you waked up?”
The clock kept ticking above them, breaking the silence. This was eight a.m. in the hospital. She had been waiting for a miracle to come, and yet, there was no sign when she prayed.
It wasn’t a falsity hope—Haile finally opened her eyes in astonishment. “Cathy, my dear?”
“Mom, how are you?” She almost got torn off.
“So it’s true,” Haile murmured as her eyes bulged out at the clothes that her daughter wore. “When did you return home?”
“Just a few days ago, my coma had caused dad to get us by himself.”
“Your dad had told me yesterday night, but—us, who?” She wondered. “I mean, besides Sylvia Elle.”
“You have awoken early?” She was more than blissful. “There were many things that occurred, included about the abandoned castle became a closed case, and besides Elle, there were Josh and Scott.”
“Your friends truly love you, Cathy,” Haile smiled. “For the closed case, don’t bother to think further, Manson will cover the rest to hide you from any brutal media and reporters who won’t get exhausted from finding about the rumor.”
“The Austrian government already handled it, right?”
“Of course, just in case if it would explode internationally.”
The silence was breakthrough. Cathy got something to question again, “Did Mr. Herron visit you?”
Haile glanced at her brown eyes. “No, I’m not so sure, but—”
“What?” Cathy wondered.
“When I woke up, I got a premonition that you were being murdered in Austria. I mean, the idea of Chantel would do that has been frustrating me.”
“I’m good, I’m alive,” Cathy comforted her. “Even though what happened was brutal, especially inside the portal, she won’t be able to do such thing because God and Elle stayed there for me—”
“Cathy, you are more than lucky. No one has a chance like you—to see the truth,” Haile murmured weakly. “I never see the place by myself, except to read about it from some books, and what the elders had told me.”
Somehow, she felt peeved. “Besides the truth that you hid, now you show a premonition?”
Haile showed her disappointment as they stared at each other. “My love, it’s never a simplicity to tell you. Won’t you forgive me?”
A knock on the door had startled them. The doctor in a blonde hair and pale skin walked alone to the room. He smiled gently. Cathy still remembered he was Clay Breckenwood, the cardiologist who took care of her mom’s illness.
“How are you, mam?”
“I guess, just fine,” Haile answered, her voice sounded languid.
The doctor stood in front of her bed while opening a medical record file in his hand. “You seem to make a progress. It is a good sign.”
“Does it mean my mom can go home by now?” Cathy asked.
He stared down at her, welcoming her presence. “Ah, your daughter, right?” He looked at Haile who nodded. “Aren’t you supposed to be in your room?”
“The nurse said, I can return by tomorrow morning,” she informed.
“Well, that’s great, my daughter just about the same age as Miss Charlotte, maybe you two can get along,” he smiled friendly. “Petunia is having a hard time to walk alone in Bisbee.”
“You have a daughter?” Haile sounded disbelief.
Doctor Clay flinched like he wanted to hide some parts about it. Everyone in town only knew that he always lived independently. “Yes, from my divorced-wife.”
Haile seemed to read his worried expression. “My daughter can accompany Petunia for good,” she squinted at her while squeezing her palm. “Cathy seems to heal quickly than I am.”
Cathy could read her mom’s unspoken code about the matter. “Yeah, of course, I’d like to.”
“That’s very nice of you,” he relieved. “She’s in the waiting room, just in case if you—”
Cathy rose from her chair. “I’ll see her.”
The doctor thanked her enormously. He didn’t seem to have enough time for his daughter. Clay blamed himself as he couldn’t be a good father yet.
The corridor had a different aroma from lemon to rosemary. Cathy wondered what it was. Her eyes were still roaming around to find the girl, according to what the Doctor had described that Petunia would be the only adolescence in this hospital besides her. The aroma struck her nose more sharply, which was coming from the waiting room. She paused at the corner of the small room to observe the only girl who sat on the bench. Her heart felt like stopped to pump, and her eyes surprised to realize that Petunia was the same girl as the one who peeped behind her patient bedroom’s window. That girl still wore the same clothes of all black.
Briefly, Cathy could somehow feel the pain that the girl had endured. She saw the bitterness on her face.
Petunia was too quiet, she drowned herself into an endless reverie, her mind tangled through a sickness boundary.
The fluorescence on the ceiling glimpsed a sharp light at her bright brown eyes. A few people walked across in the corridor. She won’t turn to look at any of them. Petunia kept her eyes focused at her thighs. A moment was last as her impractical sadness. She prayed for her mother who was undergoing a hard examination, it had been three days with no progression yet.
It seemed she didn’t notice that Cathy already approached her. “So, you’re Mr. Breckenwood’s daughter?”
Petunia headed up and startled. “Ye-yes?”
“I’m Cathy Charlotte,” she offered to shake hands while Petunia seemed to hesitate, and they did it anyway. “My mother is being taken care under your dad’s treatment,” Cathy sat down beside her and tried not to act like a thief while that girl seemed to tremble a lot. “How come I never see you before?”
“I lives in New York,” her eyes blinked too fast. “I’ve come here to escort my mother for her treatment.”
“What’s her illness?”
Cathy could see the agony on her face when Petunia mentioned it. Ischemic stroke considered as a blood clot that blocked the brain from receiving a blood vessel, and people called it as a brain attack. Therefore, she didn’t dare to intrude into questioning a further matter, it might consider rude.
The silence wasn’t last forever when Petunia returned to ask her, “Where is your friend?”
Cathy peered unsure at her. “You mean, Elle?”
“The white hair girl.”
“Oh, she’s not around now,” Cathy smiled. “May I know—what was making you stopped at my bedroom’s window?”
Petunia seemed to fidget about it, her fingers won’t stop lingered restlessly on each other. In no second, she turned her face at Cathy. “I just want to tell you that, you’re not making friend with human,” she talked so fast. “Oh, dang it, I did it again,” she murmured in disappointment.
Cathy didn’t understand with her odd behavior.
“Please don’t tell my father—I told you that,” she fidgeted. “He might take me to the asylum again.”
Cathy perplexed for a second. “What do you mean the asylum?”
“Believe me, you won’t stay in that hell place for even a minute. I saw countless bad things in there,” she said pathetically. “The doctors let me returned home because I pretended to heal from my nightmares—people only want to hear what they want to hear, right?”
“You stayed in one of the New York’s asylum?”
Petunia nodded, her regret face only looked down at the white floor.
“Don’t worry, I won’t tell him,” Cathy assuaged that girl who had a restless heart. “You’re not the only one who can see things,” her avowal made Petunia bulged out. “Because you’re right—Elle isn’t human.”
“Do you—” Petunia flinched nervously while her words were hard to speak out. “You’re no ordinary,” she suspected. “I supposed that your friend have a clausal charade on her green eyes whenever she accompanied your night sleep.”
“What’s your guess?”
Petunia smiled a little. “I never met an entity whose vibe as strong as her, despite a little knowledge that I have, she’s probably a celestial?”
“Wait—you know what is a celestial?” Cathy shrank her amazement. “People at our age won’t bother to know, right?”
“I think you’re older than me,” she observed. “I’m fifteen.”
“Two years difference still consider as one generation,” Cathy argued.
Petunia shrugged. “Well, at least we’re attending high school. Will you have a graduation this year?”
She took a heavy breath, and nodded impassively.
“School is hard, isn’t it?” Petunia knew the feeling. “Especially when supernatural is becoming the main food for my eyes.”
Cathy squinted at her. “What was your nightmare that got you into the asylum?”
“Scary things. Monsters. Stigmata enemies. Like everything you’ve heard in a legend story. I’ve seen it every day.”
Cathy noticed how sleepy those pair of honey brown eyes that looked almost similar like her own, and the depth imprinted the keenness. Petunia was a sweet and shy girl, although her appearance looked unnoticeable and almost always talked without staring at her interlocutor.
“I guess you can’t be here for too long, a nurse will be mad at you,” she giggled.
“Ah, right,” Cathy realized, she rose from the bench. “I’ll return home by tomorrow, can we meet again?”
She stared up at her. “Why?”
Cathy almost got guffawed. “If you ever need a superstitious people, I’ll be the one,” she smiled. “I can be your tour guide too.”
Petunia was silent to feel her heart got drummed. Cathy noticed the happiness on her face.
“I’ll be glad, but can we just visit one place for the sightseeing?”
“Patagonia Lake?” She recommended instantly. “It’s the best scenery—no dry place, very green.”
“I’ll wait for you in the hospital’s lobby.”
Cathy waved her a goodbye hand and left her alone. The air was easier to breathe when they finally found a mutual interest at each other for becoming superstitious.
The next morning, Manson helped to carry her suitcase. Cathy was grateful that her dad took a day off—the family became his main priority now.
As they walked out to the lobby, a smell of rosemary was getting closer. Cathy knew it would be Petunia whose perfume was identical. She hailed her head to welcome them politely.
“Oh, Mr. Breckenwood’s daughter?” He noticed. “How’s your mom’s condition?”
Manson made a good friendship with the doctor during Haile’s treatment. They were more than just acquaintance. He knew some parts of Breckenwood’s matter now—as a detective.
“My mom has been doing training to move her legs’ numbness. There’s still not enough progress to show,” she chinned down to hide her glossy eyes.
Manson realized how guilty he was to ask a very sentimental thing. “Well, your mom is a tough woman,” he punched her shoulder lightly.
“Yeah,” Cathy nodded.
Petunia squinted at her. “You can go first to Patagonia Lake, I’ll be there soon.”
“What’s wrong?” Cathy bewildered. “Do you know how to get there?”
She squeezed her black satchel bag. “My dad gave me a map, I hope I can read the signs,” she was breathless. “I need to help my mother for her breakfast, so—”
“Okay,” Cathy agreed. “Let’s meet there by ten a.m.”
They smiled in farewell, and continued to approach the parking lot. Manson opened the front door for his daughter after he threw the suitcase on the back seat.
“Alright, today is Friday, where your school absence is my concern to take care of,” he sighed while turning on the car engine. “The principal was looking for you.”
“I didn’t go to school for almost a week,” Cathy won’t bother her thought to remember the monotonous days of being a student, but the circumstance already returned to the everyday routine. “I’m sorry, dad.”
“Please don’t,” he giggled. “You just need to go rest during this weekend.”
Cathy relieved that her dad would be a life saver. School seemed boring since she couldn’t enjoy the fresh air while meeting with bunch of the crowds.
Nevertheless, a car trip to the neighborhood only took fifteen minutes. Cathy missed her home already. There was nothing really changed though. The yard was smelled so flourish like usual, she wondered if her dad would go into the gardening stuff.
“Did you water all the flowers?”
Manson stopped at the terrace as soon as he opened the entrance door. “No, but Josh’s grandmother did.”
“Martha?” She murmured.
The car horned loudly outside the wooden fence. They squinted at the same time. Cathy noticed the car was hers—a silver Ford Edge 2011. The wheels were repaired like brand new since she left to Austria. Josh was the driver, and he came out to greet the landlord.
“Morning, Mr. Charlotte,” he smiled, and he turned to Cathy. “Your car is shiny again. It has become the perfect contribution for the Bisbee’s repair shop. I mean they glad that someone would come into the shop.”
“Good, big thanks,” Cathy giggled thankfully. “Do you want a treat of a punch toss?”
“You owe me,” he snarled when she referred it as an energy drink.
“Kids, be good at each other,” Manson said while lifting the suitcase at the edge of the door. “Oh, don’t forget about Miss Breckenwood—you have an appointment.”
As her dad entered to the house, Josh wanted to snap a question. “Is she the doctor’s daughter?”
“Didn’t you meet her in the hospital?” She baffled when Josh shrugged for sure. “It’s Petunia Breckenwood. I guess she’s not into a calamity crowd.”
Josh guffawed. “It sounds like you, back in the old days, and even now,” he couldn’t stop blurting. “Look at my little baby—you’ve made a new friend!” He relieved at some point
“Yeah, all in the introvert category,” she commented and chuckled at once.
He swiped for the main topic after Cathy sighed, “What’s with the appointment?”
“We’ve planned to take a walk in Patagonia Lake, do you want to come?”
“Sure,” he agreed. “Oh, and I miss you like hell, those days seemed hard you know.”
They stared out and grinned back like something was funny to think about what happened in their journey, despite the fact, Cathy became a healthy adolescent again.
“Well, let’s go after I pack out my stuff.”
An hour later, Cathy drove her shiny car while Josh was navigating their way to the lake. She felt like slightly amnesia of what road to take around Bisbee, and she got enough jetlag to confront with.
The car just came across with a huge sign board that told them to go straight from the river. Cathy began to remember that the last time was when Josh rode her with a bike to this path. There were trees on both sides of the long road. It was tremendously quiet, only a few cars were parked in front of a small traditional restaurant on the north area.
“At least this district never as asleep as Sierra Vista, isn’t it?”
Cathy braked the clutch to stop across the restaurant. “Do you have to mention it?”
“Hey, the river is a mile away from here!” Josh barked. “Okay, sorry about that ghost town.”
Cathy eyed him an exasperation look. “You make me recall the nightmare I saw on those evil faces.”
“Excuse me?” He surprised. “Around the abandoned castle?”
“The castle is also the important relict of my mom’s ancestor.”
“Mr. Dalton told me—your mom is a royal descendant of the Aloise,” he murmured while looking at her popeyed eyes, he knew what was that, “don’t worry, Scott didn’t listen to his story as much as I did.”
“Because his mom is a witch, huh?” Josh blurted. “Those evil faces were demons—I know it.”
“Honestly, I feel a bit uneasy about him,” Cathy sighed.
“He didn’t even take a visit to the hospital for you, he just went away after we got home together.”
“Scott must have been worried for his mother, he knew the truth, right?”
“Maybe he resent her, hate her, and I know he is so full of himself—”
Cathy started the engine again while Josh kept on blurting of his own huge annoyance.
Soon after, they arrived at the park. She stopped her car at the edge of the entrance gate. A few meters from the car, they saw a girl with black beanie stood alone against the shallow river.
“Is that Breckenwood’s daughter?” Josh popeyed. “I think I saw her before.”
“You should have been, she’s Petunia Breckenwood,” Cathy said while pulling off her seat belt.
“Is she always dress up all black?” Josh wondered.
Cathy smiled a little as it was a matter of preference. “C’mon, just let’s go,” she slammed the car door.
They walked out together at the foreshore. Josh whispered, continuing their small talk, “I mean the clothes, it’s kind of show someone’s personality, is she going dark, mystery, or some kind of alien maniac?”
“In a manner of speaking, will you going to ask her like that?” Cathy narrowed her eyes at him.
“Is it okay?” He giggled. “She doesn’t even realize we’ve arrived.”
Cathy stared at the girl whose face still stared down toward the river. Until she called out her name, Petunia finally headed up at them with a morose look that was always painted on her pale face.
“Hey, sorry we’re late.”
“No, I just got here earlier.”
The winds blew delicately on their cheeks. For a while, she locked her eyes at Josh.
“This is Josh Kingsley, my very close friend,” Cathy introduced him. “We’re attending the same high school in Bisbee.”
“Nice to meet you, Miss Breckenwood,” Josh greeted.
“I am younger than both of you, please just call me Petunia,” she didn’t even smile at them.
The time went a bit awkward when they spent to walk together at the foreshore. Petunia seemed to find it hard, being such an open person than Cathy did. She was the one who made the atmosphere to feel gawky since she stayed silent.
Josh still tried to find any idea to break the ice, while Cathy seemed to enjoy the fresh air around.
“So, the earlier story, you are from New York?” Josh repeated the previous topic.
“Did you enjoy your sophomore high school?”
Josh sighed because there wasn’t enough space in his head to ask the same question since she would answer it too shortly. “Okay, I mean, will you go to their finest university later?”
“I never plan to continue anyway.”
“Why don’t you stay with your dad rather than going back and forth like this?” Cathy asked in the middle of their small talk.
This time, Petunia stopped and gazed at her. “My parents are divorced. There’s no way I can leave my mother alone in New York, all over her body is numb.”
“Don’t you have anyone in there?”
She stood frozenly. “Yes, but I won’t leave her—you don’t know how many times you can spend with the one you love most, I feel like it’s—”
Cathy heard her trembled voice, and her fingers fidgeted.
“Day by day, it’s getting worse,” her eyes almost got torn off. “It has been a very long time my mother lives with ischemic stroke,” Petunia couldn’t hide her sadness when she talked. “Especially with the problematic life I have.”
Cathy remembered the last part was the asylum she lived in. Their stillness seemed to make the universe to overhear that conversation in silent. Josh was staring pitifully at her.
Petunia snapped her words immediately, “Yes, it’s still happening to me. Bad dreams.”
“That sort of nightmare like monster?” Josh asked.
She nodded without looking back at him.
Cathy had an idea suddenly, and she didn’t even know if it would be a good thing. “Probably, you need to meet Sylvia Elle, she knows everything about metaphysic.”
“Seriously, what’s anything to do with that theme?” Josh snapped.
“Nightmare may happen for a specific reason, and she got it constantly, right?” Cathy stared at her. She might be in a right or wrong decision to bring her to an angel. “It’s something unseen.”
“Really? Does she need to meet Elle for that?” Josh argued. “You just need to Google it for a solution, or take one or two pills for good.”
Cathy sighed in disbelief at him. “Don’t blurting, and stop denying what you know.”
“I’ve got full of stupidity,” Josh gave up and walked ahead from them.
Although knowing random things they encountered in Austria was real in front of their human eyes, it seemed like a momentary prejudice to think about it as a logical matter.
“Who is Sylvia Elle?”
Cathy returned to look back at Petunia with an inscrutable smile. “The white hair girl you’ve seen before.”
“Oh, I don’t know, it’s not a good idea.”
Petunia walked away from the foreshore immediately. Cathy followed from behind, and she tried to make her pace balance with that girl who was shorter.
“Why are you afraid? She won’t bite you!”
Cathy grabbed her shoulder and stopped her for a moment. “It’s okay, she’s a really nice person.”
“She’s not even human!” Petunia barked. “I can feel it!”
“You shouldn’t be afraid of the light, right?” Cathy decoded it quickly. “What’s wrong with celestial being?”
Petunia ran toward the black sedan, precisely it was her father’s personal car. The atmosphere that she left had remained awkward, and worst. Everything seemed to feel uncomfortable when Petunia drove the car, getting out from Patagonia Lake.
Josh was behind her to ask what just happened, even though he already caught her expression as a certain answer without need to explain it.
“It’s a dismay.”
“She has rejected your offer, I see.”
“My central question would be—why she’s afraid of the light when she haunts by the dark?”
“Your question isn’t a metaphor,” Josh popeyed sublimely. “You’re literally saying it, the light means Elle as an angel, and—”
“The dark as her nightmare,” she continued.
“Agreeable,” he chuckled. “You know, the second I saw her, there’s just something not in the place, that’s why I don’t want to discuss the thing with you earlier.”
Her mind was vague to believe his brief reason.
“Is it some kind of your incognito or hypocrite?” She suppressed.
“Forgive me, my lady,” he hailed kiddingly. “My instinct said not to bother Miss Breckenwood with that sort of topic, and it got me right.”
“You’re jerk,” she annoyed.
He quickly tickled her waist to make her mood raised up again. They guffawed together as a really great best friend. Cathy surely needed a moment to feel happy after what she had been through. Soon, they continued to have a breakfast in a previous small restaurant across this place. The atmosphere went great for a day.