Destined

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Wake Up

Holly

The last thing I remember is Grace being kicked out. There are a few flashes of memory, like nurses making me eat and drink, or checking my bandages, but just as fast as I remember them, they’re gone. I’m trapped in a dark, lonely abyss for what feels like years. My body aches, but at the same time I feel detached from it. Sometimes I want to speak but nothing comes out. I miss Emma and Grace... and more confusingly August and Gabe. And I really, really miss Brian. My heart tugs thinking about him, and even more so knowing that the girl he loved tried to kill me.

Maybe I am dead.

The thought occurs to me, a sense of excitement at seeing Brian again and not have to deal with this mess my life has become. I realize that’s morbid, and push those particular thoughts away.

I want to wake up. I want to feel again. Even if everything I’ve been feeling is a mess.

How many days have I been lying in this bed?

Will I ever be normal again?

No. That question was easy enough to answer. When I open my eyes I will still be torn between Gabe and August. I will still be bitter that Grace was meant for a guy that I really connect with... and I’ll still get a weird feeling about my connection with Gabe.

But why?

Why do I have such mixed feelings about Gabe? When he touches me it feels so good. At the same time, it also makes my skin crawl. When we touch there’s definite magic, a reaction in me so pure and strong that there’s literal lightning. It makes me feel powerful, and alive. It makes me feel strong.

But August makes me feel more than just powerful. He makes me feel special, important, and beautiful. He makes me feel shy and he makes me feel happy.

He feels that way about Grace now, though.

The pain is fresh, and piercing. My eyes flutter open. My vision is blurred, and I blink fast a couple times to try and clear it. My body aches and I yearn to stretch, loosening my tight muscles, but a stabbing sensation shoots through my arms and legs when I attempt it.

My sight finally clears enough to see that I’m in the same hospital room. There’s wilted flowers and deflated balloons in the corner of the room sitting on a rolling cart. I feel panic rise in my chest—how long have I been here?

Before my distress can fully set in, the door creaks open and a very familiar smile breaks through my near-hysteria.

“Daddy!” I exclaim, suddenly feeling safer than I have the few days.

“You’re awake,” he smiles, walking towards me. He sits gently on the side of the bed and puts his arm around me. “We’ve been worried about you, sweetheart.” He places a kiss on the top of my head and I get a warm feeling. I feel at home.

“I bet so,” I sigh.

“I can’t believe Lacey tried to set the house on fire,” he tells me, disbelief written all over his face. I still don’t know if he’s aware of the... witch situation.

“I know,” I agree, the memory still giving me a wave of unease. “It was so scary.”

“Well, you’re safe now,” he assures me. “She can’t hurt you anymore. How are you feeling?”

“Okay...” I say slowly, wondering how he could possibly not know that mom is a witch. Would that make me half human? “What day is it? How long have I been in here?”

“You’ve been here for about a week. Six days to be exact, I believe. You’ve been through a lot of trauma, some pretty serious injuries. Any time you woke up you would have panic attacks and they’d have to sedate you. You would scream about Lacey’s mom trying to kill you and how you needed to go home, and find some book.”

Mom’s spellbook.

I vaguely remember thinking that—that I need to find the book so that I can protect myself, that here has to be something in there that can help me.

Or am I beyond help?

“Oh. That’s weird. I guess I just associated her mom with her. It was such a weird situation.”

He nods in agreement. “I’m just glad you’re okay. They said they think the kitchen exploded because of the gas stove and you got thrown through the window or the door. It could’ve been so much worse.”

I nod thoughtfully, thinking about the hazy moments right after the explosion—getting up, stumbling onto the beach and into Auggie’s arms.

“Where’s mom?” I ask, trying to distract myself from any thoughts of Gabe’s brother.

“Mom is...” he says slowly, as if he’s trying very carefully to word what he’s saying. “Mom is having a hard time... she’s not going to be home for a while.”

“Is she alright?” I ask, worried about her mental health after what I’d learned.

“It’s my understanding that she’s checked herself into a... self-help facility.”

Oh.

“But she’s okay?” I ask. “She’s not hurt or anything?”

“No, not hurt. Just hurting. We all are right now, and we’re all dealing with it differently. Your mom needs some time... and if you, Grace, or Emma need anything at all, I’m here.”

“Where are Grace and Emma?” I ask softly, thinking about my mom and how suddenly her strange moods made sense and how she had no control over the things she did and said.

“Emma is downstairs getting coffee with a friend from school. Grace seems to have gotten herself kicked out. She apparently started your string of panic attacks.”

I nod. “Yes, I remember. I’d still like to see her.”

“A nurse should be in here any minute. They come in constantly, and now that you’re awake they’re taking their time. You can ask about getting Grace her visitation rights back.”

“Good luck with that,” Emma says, coming through the door. “Nurse Hard-ass barely tolerates me being here.”

Dad laughs. “She’s got a point,” he tells me, and then stands. “Alright, now that Emma’s here I’m going to head home and get a few things done so that I can come back tonight and see you for a little while. Maybe bring you your favorite takeout if they’ll let me. Sound good?”

I nod my response, things finally starting to feel more like normal, despite the odd circumstances. He ducks out of the room and Emma takes his place next to me, leaning back and closing her eyes.

“You’ve missed so much,” she tells me.

“Catch me up,” I command. “Where is everybody?”

“Well, for starters, you’re safe in here.” She gestures to the room. “Max came in and placed wards, these tiny crystals or whatever, that like, hide your magic aura. So witches can’t sense you here. They don’t last long, though, so he comes back every day and replaces them.”

“You and Max?” I ask, remembering the way she freaked out on me and Grace.

She rolls her eyes. “It’s a work in progress. Anyways, moving on—Grace is at home fielding phone calls, and organizing workers and schedules. Gabe’s been training her a little bit here and there. She isn’t very good at it so far.”

“What about August?” I ask. “Why isn’t he training her?” I can feel a slight twinge of jealousy.

“Oh.”

“What?” I ask, confused by her solemn expression.

“August is... Holly, he’s gone.”
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