Order of Protection

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What Am I

Jessie’s POV

I started to wake, wondering why I was being rocked.

It wasn’t much, I felt the bed I was on move a little to the left, then a little to the right. I opened my eyes, it was dark; blinking a few times, I started to wonder where I was. The air smelled of salt and diesel fumes; the sheets smelled freshly laundered. I moved my hands up to my face, rubbing the sleep out of my eyes. My arms felt stiff; moving my legs, my left one was also stiff, my right still had the cast on it. I reached down to my chest, the bandages on my ribs were still there.

I hadn’t been out that long, but where was I?

I thought about what I last remembered. Hiding in Russia. Rushing to the jet to get away. Landing in London. Heading for the chunnel then… Oh God. Car. Glass shattering. Screaming… then nothing.

Oh God, oh shit… that sound was a gunshot. Had I been shot? I started moving my hands over my body, looking for where I’d been hit. I didn’t find anything on my head, shoulders or arms, and my chest didn’t feel different. Nothing on the stomach or hips. I sat up, moving my hand it smacked against a metal rail. “Shit!”

A light came on, bathing the small room in soft light. A woman was in the bed next to mine, the light on the table between our beds still had her hand in it. “You’re awake!” She was a tiny woman, older, with white hair.

“Who are you?” I looked around the room, it wasn’t familiar.

“My name is Miriam. I was brought here to help you, Jessie. I’m the High Priestess of the Old Aberdeen coven.”

Coven? “Witches?” What the hell?

“Yes, but we are called Wiccans. Witch sounds so evil,” she said with a laugh. “How are you feeling?”

“Sore. I have to pee.”

“Come on, I’ll help you to the head.” She lowered the rail on her bed, swinging out she put on some slippers. I sat there as she put the rail down on my bed, then pulled a new pair of slippers out of a bag on the floor. She picked up the crutches next to the bed, then helped me to my feet. The movement was even more pronounced as I stood up.

“Where am I?”

“You’re on a ship, the SS Marbacan, in the North Atlantic. You’ve been asleep for almost three days since the latest attempt on your life,” she said.

“Where’s Larry? Bruce? Charles? Are they all right?” I was starting to panic a little as I moved towards the door for the bathroom.

“Charles is fine, he’s home now. Larry and Bruce are in the stateroom next door.” I relaxed, she opened the door to the small bathroom. It was almost all stainless steel; a toilet, small sink and vanity, and a shower. “Take a few minutes and freshen up, I’ll let them know you are up.”

“I’m starving,” I said.

“I’ll take care of that too.” She smiled and closed the door, leaving me alone. I looked at myself in the mirror; I was a mess. I went to the bathroom, then washed my hands and face. My bathroom things were in a small bag on the counter, so I pulled out my hair brush and tamed my bed head. I would have to take a shower, I smelled. I put some deodorant on for now. I needed answers.

I went out into the room where several lights were on now. I saw the clock on the table, it was almost three; looking through the open porthole, I could see it was dark out. Miriam was sitting on her bed, while Larry was seated on a chair in the corner. I moved over until I was sitting on my bed again, then laid the crutches on the floor. “What happened to me, Larry?”

“Yuri Zubkov tried to kill you again.”

The noise, the shattered window, my scream. “That man shot at me. I screamed and pushed my hands out, but I don’t remember anything after that.”

“You flipped the car with those killers in it upside down and pushed it into a guardrail. The car exploded in flames and we drove away safe. You saved us, Jessie.”

“How?” None of it made sense. I could barely start a fire if you spotted me a box of matches, and I was flipping cars? “I can’t do that.”

“You couldn’t,” Miriam said, “But you were given magical powers, and your instinct was enough to protect you. The problem was it drained you, fed too deeply from your energy, and almost killed you. That is why you fainted, and why you have been sleeping these few days.” She came over and sat next to me, taking my hand. “You were given a great gift, great power was placed in you. Unfortunately, it was like giving a five-year-old the keys to a car. If you are to keep them, you need to learn to use them. That is why I was brought here, to teach you what your powers are and how to control them.”

My head was spinning. “Power? How did I get power?”

“What do you remember of the car bombing, Jessie?”

“Nothing. We were walking along, it had been a nice day, and then I woke up in the clinic in Kstovo.”

“All right. I wasn’t there, but I did hear directly from Patrick who was. Father Kempechny was more than a Russian Orthodox priest, he was a witch,” he said.

“A very powerful witch,” Miriam added.

“Before he died, he crawled over to you and placed his hands on you. Winds started to circle and the air around his hands glowed blue. Patrick watched as major injuries to you healed in seconds. It drained him, and he died before he could fully heal you. He transferred his powers into you, Jessie. It’s the only way you could have saved yourself and us on the motorway.”

“I don’t believe it,” I said. “You’re all certifiable.” Witches existed, but magical powers? Flipping cars? Healing severe wounds? No way.

“I can prove it to you,” Miriam said. “All you have to do is trust me and do what I say for a few minutes.”

“I didn’t see what the good Father did to you, Jessie, but I saw what you did to the men who were going to kill you. You saved my life.”

“Mine too,” Brian said as he opened the door. He was carrying a plate with a large sub sandwich and a big glass of milk. He set it down on the bedside table.

“Explain how you’re going to prove it while I eat,” I said. It turned out it was pretty simple; she was going to show me how to heal myself. I ate as she explained the basics of magical healing to me, and all I could think of was how far-fetched it all was.

The sandwich was quickly gone, along with the milk, as Brian removed the brace from my lower leg. “Your medical records are complete on this injury and your ribs,” he said. “The leg was broken in several places, the doctor had to put a plate in to hold it together. A normal person would take eight to twelve weeks before it would be strong enough to walk on it.”

I looked down at my leg. It was bruised, had a four inch scar from the incision, and I could see the plate under the skin. It looked terrible. “Ow,” I said as I touched it.

“Place your fingers on the leg,” Miriam said. “Close your eyes and clear your mind.” I did; a friend had taught me how to meditate in my freshman year of college, so I went back to focusing on my breathing and letting the other thoughts depart. She taught me a phrase, I didn’t know the language, but she helped me sound it out. “Repeat the phrase and let the magic flow. Imagine it coming forth from your heart, flowing down your arms and out your fingers.”

I relaxed, repeating the phrase I’d learned. Nothing happened at first, but I kept going because I’d promised I’d try. Then I started to feel the tingles.

My chest and stomach started to heat up, like something was coming out. It wasn’t scary, not like Aliens; it was like a warmth that was spreading to my arms. I focused on pushing it to my fingers, feeling them warm and start to pulse. The energy jumped into my broken leg; I could feel it tingle and warm.

“Holy shit, she’s doing it,” Brian said.

I ignored him, just focusing on saying the phrase and pushing the warmth out to my fingers and into my leg. Miriam removed the wrap from my ribs. “Jessie, move your hands to your chest now.” I put them on the broken ribs, saying the phrase as the power flowed. A minute later, Miriam pulled them away. “That’s enough,” she said.

I stopped talking and opened my eyes, feeling the warmth retreat back into my chest before it went away completely. I looked down at my leg, touching it in disbelief as my fingers ran down it. The bruising was gone along with the scar. I pressed on the broken area, expecting to feel pain, but there was none. “It’s…”

“Healed,” Miriam said. “Your powers healed you. You did this, because you now have powerful magic inside you that you can use.” She pulled me off the bed; I stood, there was no pain. I let go of her hands and walked a few steps, I was good as new. I felt my ribs, taking a deep breath, no pain there either.

I couldn’t deny it any more.

I was a witch.

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