The Return to Willow Lake - 2

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Chapter 21

“Ms. Paxton?” Ms. Jameson beckoned as I desperately tried to escape her classroom without being called on.

I grimaced at the sound of my falling from her lips as my feet suspended in the threshold.

“I’ll catch you all in a minute.” I gave Zach, Mahala, and Hannah a small smile as they nodded and headed out.

Once the classroom was cleared, I shut the door and shifted to her with the fakest smile I’d ever plastered on my face. “Yes, Ms. Jameson?”

“You did not come to see me Monday lunchtime, everything okay?”

I internally cursed, I’d deliberately avoided her this week at school.

After what Masato had told me, I’d opted to have as little contact with her as possible. However, I was unable to avoid the history class, much to my distaste.

“Oh yeah, sorry. I got caught up studying with finals being only four days away.”

“Perfectly reasonable, but you have no reason to worry about finals, Ms. Paxton. You’re very bright, and I know your other teachers think so. I have no doubt you’ll pass your exams with no concern. So, you completed the book?”

“Yes, I did.” I nodded, “It was undoubtedly an interesting read with some intriguing theories.”

“Theories? Is that all you think they are? No truth?” Her thin, blonde eyebrow raised in inquiry as her green, almost blue eyes penetrated my skin.

“Not as such. For example, take the Vampires. Do I believe that Vampires, as they’re characterized these days exist? No.” I shrugged cooly. “Nevertheless, perhaps once upon a time, Vampire-like people lived — people who preferred roaming around at night and ate raw animal meat. The first account of them was in the late seventeen hundreds. Back then, life was very different from now. It’s not hard to believe that some might have attacked another human out of hunger and ate their meat. Cannibalism does exist in modern-day, too.”

Naturally, I knew the truth. Vampires were real and dated further back than even the Witches. We never knew specifically how the Vampires came to be. Not even Emmett nor Alicia knew how they came to be; they’d always been a mystery.

“That is a fascinating and smart concept, Ms. Paxton, I’m impressed. Do you implement this line of thought to all of the diverse kinds of creatures?”

“More or less. Way back when these folklores came to be, no one understood mental health or mental disabilities. I firmly believe that these illnesses existed way back to the early man. People can also witness something and completely misunderstand the full story. And much like a game of Chinese Whispers, the primary account can become something entirely different down the line.”

Ms. Jameson looked at me, surprised, “Well, that’s certainly something I hadn’t considered. Well, I had to an extent but not as you have. And what of the Witches? I mean, of course, we have the pagan religion, even to this day.”

“We do, but they’re simply ordinary human beings who believe in tellings, much like the bible. They use herbs, spices, and nature for energy, and everyone knows nature is a source of energy. I would not call them Witches, not as they are in the books.” I answered confidently. It was just about the most honest thing I’d said in the entire conversation.

“I quite agree. Well, I think you’ve earned yourself a little extra credit, Ms. Paxton. I’d be honored to grant you the credit for your views and approach to the topic. Now, better run to your next class. Here is a note to excuse your tardiness.” Ms. Jameson pulled out a small blue slip and quickly scribbled on it before handing it to me.

“Thank you, Ms. Jameson.” I nodded as I folded the slip in my hand.

“No, thank you. I’ve very much enjoyed hearing your views on what I deem a captivating subject. I won’t see you before finals start, so I wish you the best of success with your exams.”

I gave Ms. Jameson a small smile before I turned on my heel and headed to my next class.


“Suppose you couldn’t avoid her forever, huh?” Zach murmured as we walked home from school.

I’d filled Zach in on what Masato had said after meeting Ms. Jameson on Sunday. We’d decided not to worry Alicia and Emmett right now; they were focused on preventing more townfolk from becoming dinner. Plus, between the three of us, we were old enough and powerful enough to figure things out on our own.

“Sadly not. It seemed she brought what I’d said though and said it was an interesting way of seeing the subject.”

“However, was she bullshitting as much as you were? That’s the question I’d like an answer to. I wonder if we can do a sort of detection spell. It must be achievable.”

My lips pouted in thoughtfulness at Zach’s idea. Most magic we could do just by willing it, but certain ones required further items. For example, we could cast a location spell; however, we needed a map and some blood. And it only worked on humans as we learned.

“Might be worth checking out. Emmett’s keeping the books in a safety deposit box over in Flagstaff. It’s about a three-hour drive, and I have access to the boxes. Masato could drive us over on Saturday, and we can have a look?”

“Sounds good. If Mrs. Jameson isn’t mortal, I will hedge bets on her being Jinni or a maybe even a Banshee, as we can rule out the main three types. If Masato heard a woman’s cry in that flash, and Dad did say Banshee’s had been known once upon a time, it’s credible.”

I nodded slowly; his theory of a Banshee seemed probable. Their wail warned of imminent death, and they could assume human form.

However, the thought equally caused a shiver to run down my spine. Hearing a Banshee’s wail didn’t just a signal of impending death; it warned of one connected to you.

“Wait, that makes sense, Zach. Think about it; you saw Thomas. We all know he barely has months left, we’re not even sure he’ll make it before we get there after our wedding. Maybe Masato heard what he did because his dad is about to die.”

Zach let out a small, brief chortle, “Damn, I’m smart. No, but seriously, you’re right. And if she is a Banshee, they’re generally harmless; they’re just warning sirens. I think dad only knew of one who’d caused harm to others.”

“Well, either way, we’ll go dig through the books Saturday. I’m sure if Dad were aware of Banshee’s, there would be something if we find nothing on a detection spell.” I looked up at my brother and gave him a small simper.

“Sounds good. It does mean Thomas might not make through to see you two married though.” Zach sighed sadly, his shoulders sinking a little.

“Yeah. Maybe he can hold on a little longer, but if not, I know Masato took the time to say goodbye before we left. He went by first thing, while we were still asleep the day we left.”

“Good, as long as he got to say goodbye. And I guess it’s good we got to know he was alive after all this time and see him again. Got to find the light in the darkness, hey, Hale?” Zach looked down at me with a smile.

“You need only look hard enough.” I smiled back at him as he wrapped an arm around my shoulder.

“You still remember. Come on, let’s get home and tell Masato.”

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