Embracing the Magic
As I stared into Briar’s eyes, I noted how soft they were as if she knew everything I had just seen. Her gaze told me she was waiting for me to speak as she knelt in front of me to get closer. But, I had no idea what she wanted me to say. Was there even anything to say? I had just seen some unspeakable things that confused the daylights out of me, but how did I tell her that?
The house still shook and groaned beneath the earth-shattering vibrations while Brad’s screams boomed over it all. It was strange to me that Briar didn’t seem affected by the events taking place around her because her sole focus was on me. And the other strange thing is that I didn’t seem worried about it either. I could feel the earthquake-like vibrations all around me and the ear-piercing sounds but I sat here completely unaffected. Was I feeling Briar’s calm energy much the same way I had felt my mother’s sadness the day I left?
“Brad! Buddy calm down!” I shouted over his screams, feeling an excruciating headache come on. If he didn’t stop screaming soon, I might lose it.
His eyes were wild but he seemed to listen to my words as his screams became lighter, but still existent. If this situation wasn’t so frightening for him, I might find myself bursting out in laughter at the way he just did that. I love this kid.
My gaze shifted to Atticus and my neighbor as I watched them continue their chanting while their palms still faced the front door. I almost forgot that my neighbor was here and wondered how he knew how to do these things? Was he my neighbor for a reason? That would only add to the strange events happening around me right now and I didn’t have the mental capacity to comprehend what that might mean. It was clear that they were protecting us but I didn’t understand how they were doing it or what they were protecting us from. I could feel a lingering dark energy just outside but I didn’t know who or what it was. Was there some unseen force that I wasn’t privy to see?
Briar stood up from me then, my eyes following her as I waited for her to join the two men at the front door. Instead, she pulled a necklace from around her neck and yanked a stone from within the small wire cage that held it on the string before she began writing strange symbols on the door. What made me blink several times was the fact that I could actually see the symbols being written. They were glowing as if a light source was coming from within the door. She turned and began writing the symbols on the walls and as she wrote them in one spot, the entire wall from floor to ceiling began to light up with the same symbols; they seemed to manifest on their own. Briar went from wall to wall as the glowing symbols spread like an ivy plant until every single wall was covered.
Once all the symbols connected, I felt a wave of calmness shock me to the core and the house immediately stopped shaking, plunging us into a deafening silence. Noting that Brad’s screams were also silenced made me whip my head in his direction to make sure he was okay. I noticed how blissfully comfortable he was just sitting there on the couch. How did he go from complete panic mode to this? But, it was as if everything just went back to normal and nothing had happened at all.
“What in the hell was that?!” Brad shrieked, breaking the silence in the room. Okay, so something had happened after all. But what?
All eyes were on him now, nobody saying a word. The tension in the room along with everything that had happened up to this point caused me to break out in a hysterical fit of laughter. My hands shook and as much as I tried, I couldn’t stop laughing. I knew I probably looked like a nut job, though I’ve felt like one for several days now, I didn’t care. Everyone continued to silently stare at me until I was able to swallow back my nearly uncontrollable giggles.
“Sorry,” I breathed, feeling another round of laughs clawing up my throat but I was able to successfully swallow those ones back too.
One look at Briar and I saw that she was holding back a laugh herself. Her lips were squeezed tightly but the corners of her mouth were twitching into a smirk.
“Is nobody going to tackle the giant elephant in the room? I feel like I drank some crazy juice from the fridge and I’m hallucinating right now. Wait…” he paused, glaring over at me. “I’m not hallucinating, am I? There was some weird tasting tea in your fridge that I drank and now…”
Tea? There isn’t any tea in my fridge. What the hell is he talking about?
Briar looked at Atticus before her gaze moved warily between Brad and my neighbor, who was trying to stay in the shadows. It was clear that what she needed to say wasn’t something she wanted to do in front of them. Is it really that bad?
My eyes scanned the room when I felt a strange pull on my energy and when my eyes locked on Atticus’, it felt as if I had tunnel vision. I couldn’t pull my gaze from his no matter how hard I tried. But then I remembered what I had just seen in my mind’s eye and all the times I had married and fallen in love with him. It might sound crazy, but I almost felt those feelings now, even though this guy is a complete stranger to me. His gaze held mine when I noticed he was studying me intently. Was he wondering what I had seen? Did he know what I had seen? But that would be impossible, right? I finally pulled my eyes from his when Briar spoke.
“How are you feeling, Emersyn?”
Confused by her question, I cocked an eyebrow at her and shrugged a single shoulder.
“I’m confused about everything.” I waved my hands around for dramatics. “What’s going on here, Briar?”
Sighing, she came and sat next to me. “I know this all seems scary right now, but I promise to explain everything and help your soul remember who you are.” She looked at Brad and the neighbor again before continuing, “But not here. We need to keep you safe and we can’t do that here. The protective symbols won’t hold forever.”
My head was spinning from everything that she had just said. There wasn’t a single ounce of me that knew what the hell she was talking about. Help my soul to remember? Remember what? What I had seen in those visions? And the symbols? One look back at my walls I could see that they were still there, only now, the glowing symbols pulsed as if they had a heartbeat.
“What do they all mean?” I asked, pointing towards the walls.
“You can see them?!” Excitement and surprise laced within her words made me curious as to why. Was I not supposed to see them?
“Yeah? Can’t you?” I turned and asked Brad, praying I wasn’t the only one seeing them. Somebody has to see them!
Brad scrutinized me with his gaze. “Emmy, there’s nothing there.”
Blinking, I stared at the walls and there was most certainly something there.
“Am I the only one who can see them?!”
“No,” both Atticus and my neighbor replied in unison.
This caused all of us to stare at the neighbor, who still gave me the creeps, as I wondered how he could see them. But then again, he also came in here and started the protection chant before anyone else. He must be connected to all of this somehow, right?
“Who are you?” Briar’s authoritative and squaring of her shoulders caused the energy in the room to crack.
The man gave Briar a small smile before he held his hands out and snapped his fingers. All the lights in the room flickered and I found my eyes glued to the strange man. In seconds, I watched his entire body twist and morph into a completely different human being. My heart slammed in my chest and I felt myself self-consciously move farther onto the couch for protection. But upon blinking several times, I realized that I recognized him. But, how can this be? The man I saw in my visions would definitely be dead by now. Hell, so should Briar and Atticus, yet they stand here in the flesh. He was the man who assisted Briar during… Well, whatever the hell that weird ceremony in the highlands was. Good Lord. This is one twisted trip I’m on. Maybe there is strange tea in my fridge and both Brad and I really are hallucinating right now. Yep, that has to be it.
“Jasper,” Briar breathed out and now I had a name for the stranger from next door.
I watched as the man dropped his hands, the lights stopped flickering, and both Briar and Brad let out screams at the exact same time. However, Brad’s were screams of pure terror – mirroring my own emotions – whereas Briar’s were screams of excitement and happiness. Regardless, I plugged my ears and waited for them to stop.
Waiting for silence to come, I watched Atticus’ lips move as he stared at Brad, but I couldn’t actually hear what he was saying. Within seconds, Brad not only stopped screaming but he had fallen into a deep sleep. Anger and fear gripped my chest as I glared up at Atticus, his gaze now moving to mine.
“What have you done?!”
Atticus sighed. “What I needed to do. His fragile mind can’t handle what’s happening right now. But he’s fine, Emersyn.” The way he spoke my name caused a warm sensation to lick across my skin.
“Stop it!! What are you doing to me?!”
His brows furrowed as he looked between me and Briar, who wasn’t paying us any mind at all. “I’m not doing anything to you, Emersyn.”
Again, I felt the warmness but this time, flashes of our love-making ran through my mind and all the emotions came with it.
“Enough!!” I shouted, standing to my feet. This finally caused Briar and my neighbor to look at me now. “I need you all to tell me what the hell is going on or get the hell out of my house!” Rage swam through my body until my hands shook and my breathing became labored.
Briar’s wild eyes softened as I watched her take my neighbor’s hand.
“We’d love more than anything to tell you, Emersyn, but we need to leave for your protect…”
I cut her off with a wave of my hand. “Yeah, yeah – my protection. You said that already. But what you haven’t said is what I need protection from. For all I know, I need it from you people! And what the hell has he done to Brad?!”
“Brad is fine. He’s just in a deep sleep and we’ll return him to his bed back at his home where he’ll wake up tomorrow morning and think this was all a vivid dream. There are things in this world that most people can’t handle knowing and this is one of them.” Briar pointed between all of us. “Emersyn, you can trust us. We don’t want to harm you but to help you. I know you’ve been going through some very unexplainable things lately and you haven’t been given any answers.”
“You’re damn right I haven’t been given any answers!” I barked out, still feeling the rage swimming through my veins like lava. Things like this didn’t happen to normal people and all I wanted to know was: why me?!
Briar looked at Atticus before stating, “Atticus is your husband. Well, maybe not in this lifetime yet, but he has been in all of your other lives; lives that were given to you for a purpose. We all play a vital role in keeping the human race safe.”
A crazed laugh left my mouth as I shook my head at her. Everything coming out of her mouth right now sounded like a cool storyline for a book or movie. It wasn’t real life. Nope, no way. And one look at Atticus told me that he believed all of her words as well. These people are bat-shit crazy. Not me.
“I think you all should leave now,” I sighed out, pointing towards the front door.
“Take one long look at Atticus and tell me you don’t feel anything,” Briar urged, sounding as if she were grasping at straws here.
Trying to appease her, I stared over at Atticus, really looking into his eyes. This unbelievably attractive man did in fact make me feel things, but how could I not? Just look at him! But I couldn’t help but know it was much deeper than any physical attraction, I just couldn’t explain what that was.
He held his hand up, palm facing me, as I back stepped from him. What the hell is he trying to do?
“Trust me, Emersyn,” Atticus stated softly.
I don’t know how to explain it, but I did. I trusted him completely. My feet carried me closer to him until I was close enough to put my hand up against his. And once I did that, I felt an electric shock between the two of us but it wasn’t painful. I found that I couldn’t pull my gaze from his as the warm feeling from before consumed my chest as a sob lodged itself in my throat.
“I love you.” Atticus’ voice filled my mind but his lips didn’t move. I know for a fact that I had heard him say those three little words that affected me far more than I ever anticipated. The sob that had lodged itself into my throat broke free, surrounding us as I tried to choke it back.
“How did you do that?” I asked on a whisper.
The corners of his mouth lifted into a small smile as an overwhelming urge to lean up and kiss him pulled at me. But I refrained from doing so.
“Open your eyes, Emersyn. May the sun bring you new energy by day, may the moon softly restore you by night, may the rain wash away your scars, and may the breeze blow away negativity.”
Upon hearing him quote the inscription inside my mysterious birthday card I had received only opened up a whole new string of questions. But none of them were forming in my mind as I found my gaze locked onto his.
“Are you still questioning my motives?” Atticus asked, cocking an eyebrow at me.
Shaking my head lightly, I licked my lips. “No,” I whispered. “But can you explain what happened to me on my 18th birthday? There was a tree and the moon…”
Briar’s light laughs pulled my gaze from Atticus’ as I pulled my hand from his and turned to stare at her. I had a feeling she had a lot to say on that matter.
“Emersyn, why do you think the moon claimed you that night?” Briar studied me, stepping closer.
Shrugging, I replied, “Because I was turning 18? I mean, don’t most supernatural events happen on someone’s 18th birthday?”
Laughing, she shook her head. “That was actually just a big coincidence. It had nothing to do with you becoming an adult, Emersyn.” She stepped up closer to me, grabbing my hand. “Did you see anything in your past life regression with three people in it? On their knees? In the highlands?”
It was obvious that she knew what I saw but she clearly wanted me to say it. Nodding, I waited for her to continue.
“Did you see who was kneeling there?” She had a knowing grin on her face.
“Yes,” I breathed out on a whisper, “It was me…”
“And who else?”
Looking over her shoulder, I see Atticus standing there watching us intently. He almost looked worried but said nothing.
“He was there,” I nodded towards Atticus. “You were there. Atticus’ brother was there,” I paused to stare at my neighbor. “And you…”
Grinning, Briar nodded her head. “Your soul in this lifetime is the exact same soul from that time. You were chosen by the moon that night because that was the exact day, time, and moon phase that I had changed your souls forever. You reincarnate life after life. All of you do.”
“Why?” I asked, not sure what else to say at the moment. This was some heavy stuff.
“That’s a very long story and one I will tell you. But we need to leave, Emersyn. That man,” she pointed towards the front door, “wants to kill you.”
At the mention of Sebastian’s name, I felt all the hair on my body stand up on end as a realization swam through my senses. It was as if I knew all along that Sebastian was dangerous and out to hurt me, but I didn’t know the extent of everything. I didn’t know how to explain it but I believed every word Briar was saying and I knew that I could trust her completely. It was the same feeling I got the first time I met her as well.
“Briar, we need to move,” Atticus insisted.
“He’s right, Emersyn. Sebastian will be back and when he does we have no idea what he’s going to do or what he’s capable of doing. Do you trust us?” I vigorously nodded my head. “Good. Now go gather your things and we’ll go.”
I turned on my heel and headed for my bedroom where my suitcase was still half packed before I began shoving the rest of my belongings into it. My mind was going a million miles per second and I couldn’t focus on one thing at the moment. There were so many things I didn’t understand and didn’t know where to begin deciphering them. Hushed voices came from the living room and because my house is so tiny, I could make out what they were saying so I froze in my spot and listened to their words.
“Where are we going to go, Mama B?” Atticus asked. “If Sebastian is as strong as we think he is, he’ll find her again.”
“I know that. We for sure need to leave the city but I don’t know where to go after that. Have you spoken to Tristan?” Briar’s voice had a worried tone to it which in turn made me feel worried. And we have to leave the city?! What?!
“I’ve tried. He’s blocking me from his mind.”
“You don’t think he’s…” Briar started and then stopped. I really wish I could see their expressions right now.
“I don’t know what to think, Mama B. I’ve always been able to jump into his head. If he were in danger, though, I’d know it.” Atticus spoke matter-of-factly and I pictured him standing there with squared shoulders and a confident gleam in his eyes.
Silence stretched between the two of them as I moved closer to the door, hoping I wasn’t missing bits of conversation that might be spoken even softer.
“These symbols,” Atticus started. “I’ve seen them recently.”
He has? Where would he have seen these symbols? One look at them and I didn’t recognize them at all. I mean, I know I probably wouldn’t have but it wouldn’t be the first time something felt familiar to me in the last several days. My life lately was like one giant dose of déjà vu.
“That’s impossible, Atticus,” Briar laughed. “These are the ancient protection symbols from the fairy realm. And they’re all gone.” The sadness in her tone made my heart squeeze. I don’t know why I felt so emotional at the mention of these fairies but a knot began to form in my throat.
“Not true. I saw Tavia and they’re all hiding out in a cave system in Washington State. I was literally just there.”
“Then it’s settled. We’re heading for Washington.”
My heart fell into the pit of my stomach at the mention of leaving Louisiana and traveling clear across the country. Thoughts of leaving Brad and my parents behind made me feel uneasy and this wasn’t something I was cool with. Yes, I trusted them and knew they’d keep me safe, but I didn’t think that entailed me leaving the state.
“We can’t leave!” I burst out as soon as my feet hit the kitchen linoleum.
Briar whipped around and stared at me. “I know you’re afraid, Emersyn, but you mustn’t be.”
Crossing my arms over my chest, I shook my head. “I’m not leaving my family behind.”
“Your family isn’t in danger. You are,” Atticus growled out. “This isn’t up for discussion.”
Who the hell does he think he is?! He can’t tell me what to do. “Listen here, buddy. You aren’t the boss of me and I’m staying put.”
Groaning, Atticus ran his hand over his face before blowing out a long breath. “I won’t leave you again, Emersyn. The last time I did that, you…” he paused as his face contorted into pure sadness. He shook his head as if he was trying to remove a painful memory; one that I was clearly in but didn’t remember.
“Emersyn, we’ll be back before you know it. We just need to hide out for a while until we understand what Sebastian wants with you. In that time, we’ll get you stronger and hope your soul remembers before the next full moon. We don’t have much time.” Briar stepped up to me then, extending her hands out to place them on my arms. “What does your gut tell you to do?”
Nobody had ever asked me that question before and upon a quick examination of my gut-feelings, I knew that I would be leaving with them.
“I’ll grab my things.” Spinning, I headed back into my bedroom to grab my belongings, stopping in the bathroom for my toiletries bag before joining them back in the living room.
Atticus had picked Brad up over his shoulder and was heading for the front door. One last look at my tiny house and I began shutting lights off as we left one by one. We had to walk a few short blocks away to Atticus’ vehicle and the entire time I was on edge. I felt like Sebastian might pop out from behind one of the trees or houses nearby and attack, but when nothing happened and we reached the SUV, I felt a million times better.I may not know what’s going on but I have a feeling I’ll know more than I want to soon enough. One look in the rearview mirror and I saw Atticus staring back at me with longing in his gaze. A deep feeling of love pulled at my soul as I stared back into his eyes. He might be a stranger to me right now, but I couldn’t help but notice how my entire being knew that I’d be safe as long as he was near.