Chapter 1 : Kinsley
The morning paper read like this:
"Happy day for local resident who has been reunited with her family after eighteen years. Lyra Preden went missing almost two decades ago after her car went off a bridge. A fisherman found her washed up on the shores in Zephyrs Landing and took her to the hospital. When Lyra awoke, she had suffered temporary memory loss and struggled to remember who she was. After recovering her memory, Lyra has been returned to her daughter and grandchild. This is a day to be celebrated in Byolla Bay".
"Grandma, even I have a hard time believing this story." I held up the paper and pointed at the front page. "Well luckily nobody else other than you, me and the Vikings are gonna know the difference. It was all I had to work with in the time given." She drank the rest of her morning coffee and gave me a smile.
"We could have said you ran off to Vegas with a handsome guy half your age." I nudged her in the arm. She scoffed, "Have you met the sticks in the mud that run this town? They would have put in the paper 'harlot granny returns home after abandoning her family. How is this going to affect Erin and is she afraid of the negative influence her mother will have on Kinsley?' Yeah, that would have gone over real well. You know how everyone here talks. I would rather them feel pity for us than disgust."
A wistful smile graced her face, "Anyways, how did you like the whole 'lightning burned the house down' story? When the insurance check comes in the mail, and all this mess is over, we'll build your mother a house by the bay. The water may be green and unsightly, but hearing the waves hit the shoreline at night makes sleeping so much better. It's good luck and will grant her pleasant dreams."
"Grandma, you are too much." As we turned to walk back down the driveway, my eyes were drawn to a gorgeous blonde haired, emerald eyed man laying shingles down on the rooftop of the newest section of the house. Keri talked mom into moving us here with them until the insurance check arrives. Mom only agreed to stay if she could pay rent while we were here, to which Keri reluctantly agreed. She couldn't explain to her that they were in no dire need of anything in the financial department.
He catches me staring and gives me a wink. A billion butterflies took off at one time within my stomach. He never fails to take my breath away.
Grandma sighed, "I know that look. It was the same one I used to give your grandfather. He was my everything. Well, up until Erin graced our lives, of course. Then, we were blessed once more with you."
My attention instantly went to her, "Speaking of, now that I know who you actually are why don't you tell me the real story of how you and grandpa met instead of the version mom told me. She said you two were high school sweethearts."
About that time I heard mom calling for us. "I'll take a raincheck on that one as it's a pretty long story and your mom don't need to be privy to it. We'll talk more tonight."
Grandma smiled and led me up to our new lodging, which was the garage that the spectacular Keri turned into a three bedroom apartment overnight. Her skills never cease to amaze me. She said this was only temporary until the new section of the house was built for us. My mother doesn't know it, but we will be staying here for a while, mainly for safety reasons, until the Drakkar threat is over.
Mom was in the garage packing up most of the stuff we weren't going to need for a few days. Keri informed us yesterday that our part of the house will be ready by tomorrow, which is the day before graduation. It's hard to believe it's been almost four months since the "lightning storm" hit our house. That's all anyone in town remembers that night, but we seen a much more vivid description of just how powerful our enemies are.
Drakkar. That name still strikes fear into my heart every time I even think of his name. He vowed revenge, but so far there has been no sight of him.
There is another name that bothers me in a different way, though. Trygve. I twirled my ring around my finger and stared at the garnet stone.
He's trapped in there and any day now we are waiting for the Dark Oracle to come release him. We don't know what that's going to mean for me. No one seems to want to discuss this any time I bring it up.
There is also these weird dreams I've been having that I refuse to mention to anyone, even grandma. With everything happening at the moment, it's best not to add this to the mix. I don't want there to be worry when it's probably nothing.
Grandma patted me on the back and whispered, "Stop it, Kinsley. Now is a time for celebration, not anxiety. Let's help your mom pack."
After about an hour or so, Keri opened the door that lead into the house. "I'm sure you ladies have worked up an appetite. I made lunch."
My mother smiled, "Keri you are a saint. After I eat I gotta get ready to head out. My shift starts at 2:00 today."
Grandma talked mom into quitting her job in Zephyr's Landing after a cashier at the grocery store put in her two week notice. The girl was getting ready to go to college after graduation. The owner asked mom if she wanted to upgrade from stocking shelves part time to a cashier position full time. Mom didn't need too much convincing as she was beyond fed up with her horrible boss at the factory.
Within a week mom moved up to shift leader and closing store manager. She makes more money now than she did working two jobs, plus looks a lot more happy and has more energy. Of course I also think it has a lot to do with her mother coming back.
Grandma had to erase mom's memories the night she presented herself to us in the remains of our living room. She protected mom from her realm for as long as she could. She thought all was lost when Trygve found his way into their lives.
He made mom fall in love with him because he thought she would be who the Ring of Souls was passed down to. When she got pregnant with me though, he tucked his tail and ran away like the coward he is. That brought me back to the dreams I have been having.
No... I don't want to do that right now. I can't get sucked back in to my thoughts trying to process what it all means.
Shaking my head to clear it, I followed mom into the kitchen where a wonderful smell was coming from. The talented Keri not only can fix the house from top to bottom, exterior and interior over night, but can also out cook the best gourmet chefs in the world, or at least I think so. She had enough food spread out across the bar to feed an army. It consisted of fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes with white gravy, green beans, corn on the cob and deviled eggs.
"My goodness Keri, you said lunch. I believe this is a thanksgiving dinner minus the turkey!" Mom exclaimed.
Keri just beamed as she always does anytime someone compliments her cooking. "Well, when the guys take a break they will be famished so I wanted to make sure there is enough. Also I already made you a plate to take to work with you if you want it."
Mom smiled even bigger, "Yes! Thanks Keri. I just don't know where we would be without you and Ty's hospitality. We were lucky to get out of the house before it burned down thanks to Rikki. If that thoughtful boy hadn't have came by to check on us after the lightning started striking the ground, I don't know what would have happened to us."
Mom's eyes started to pool with tears, but Keri stepped in, "Oh Erin, please don't cry. It was the least we could do. After all, Kinsley was already becoming like family to us even before her and Rikki started dating. She was so sweet to he and Mag when they started school. We wanted to pay you two back for the kindness shown to the new family in the neighborhood. Rikki has always been good at knowing when something bad is going to happen. He gets what he calls a gut feeling. I'm just glad his gut told him to drive to your house that night."
Mom blinked through her tears and hugged Keri around the neck.
What mom thinks happened is the exact same story that the rest of Byolla Bay believes. A rare lightning storm washed in from across the sea and swept through our tiny town. Our house got the brunt of the storm. It all, but fizzled out by the time it hit Meshella's. There was minimal damage to the rest of the houses and only ours was absolutely demolished.
This story is more believable than an ancient Dark Oracle granted a deranged Viking King the power to decimate his enemies. Afterward, he banished Rikki and his family to this world and came after us to get my ring, which is actually the key to getting them back to their world, not to mention it holds the power to destroy the evil king.
Keri gave mom her lunch and all three of us walked her to the shiny new red SUV in the driveway. Mom's old car was crushed by the debris of our house and so her car insurance totaled it out, sending her a check in the mail. Grandma picked this out for her.
At first mom thought it was too flashy, but now she adores it. Mom pulled out of the driveway and headed to her job. We waved until she was out of sight.
Keri spins around quicker than my eyes can follow and yells, "Okay boys! Erin is gone so now you can really get to work. Double time!"
All of a sudden a flurry of blurred movements were occurring on the roof and ground level of the new section. It's like watching a time lapse video in real life. The siding was on, the shingles were hung. All that was left to do was paint.
"Awesome." I heard myself mutter. Even though I'm used to their extraordinary strength and speed, it still blows my mind every time I see it in action.
All three men jump down from the roof and land in front of us. "What do you think, my love?" Ty inquired of Keri as he walked up and kissed her. She smiled up at him as she wrapped her arms around his waist, "I guess it will do."
Gene dropped his tool belt next to his feet while looking at his mother shell-shocked, "What do you mean it will do? We followed every thing down to the smallest half inch adjustments on your blueprint."
Keri laughed at her eldest son, "No dearest, I was joking. It's perfect. I hope Kinsley, Erin and Madam Oracle enjoys their new home."
Grandma snorted and rolled her eyes, "Inkeri! How many times do I have to tell you to stop calling me Madam Oracle? Call me Lyra, grandma or hey you."
Keri smirked, "When you stop calling me Inkeri, I'll start calling you granny." Grandma laughed, "That's the spirit! Now, come on. Let's go continue our research. I'm convinced we are only a few pages of a book away from summoning a portal home."
My stomach gave a tiny lurch, like when a car is driven over a hill too fast or going through a loop on a rollercoaster ride. They are close to finding a way home. I don't know what this is going to mean for Rikki and I.
My mother is indefinitely ignorant to the real truth of her ancestry and I cannot leave her. Grandma and I are all she has. Probably the hardest decision of my life is awaiting me, buried in the books of Ty's study.
The question at the end of it all is will I stay with mom or do I go on to a new world with the love of my life who my soul is bound to?