Eric: What to do?
When I regain consciousness, I feel much better than I had since I entered the forest. My head once again in Adria’s lap. She smacks me on the shoulder and stands up, making my head hit the floor with a thud.
“Sorry!” I mumble and sit up, rubbing my head.
“You almost got yourself killed, do you know that?” Devon glares at me.
“I don’t know. I don’t know anything. I don’t even know what is happening to me?” I shout at Devon, Aura, and Daemon. “I’ve been hearing and dealing with stupid stuff ever since I came here, and all you people do is talk in riddles.”
“Who was in his head, Adria?” Aura ignores me and questions her instead.
“I don’t know. I didn’t get to know. I just helped him build the wall around his mind.” She shrugs like it was nothing. She isn’t telling who she saw purposely. I heard everything that was said, and I know well enough who was trying to get into my head. I feel relieved and confused at Adria’s decision not to tell them anything.
“Daemon, tell him what you told Adria, and I will carry on from there.” Aura asks Daemon as she looks thoughtfully at me.
Daemon clears his throat and asks Jaivyn to leave for the day.
“I don’t want to.” He says stubbornly, and I notice how young he seems to be.
“Go. I’ll be fine!” Daemon pats his shoulder and comes to sit in front of Adria, me, and Devon. Aura gets up, saying that she has to prepare for lunch.
Daemon starts with what they are and what they can do. It turns out every Pneuma specializes in one type of magic or ability. Devon can do mind magic best. Daemon can do protection magic best which explains all the barriers around this place. Jaivyn is exceptional in growing fruits, crops, trees, and all other plants. Aura, on the other hand, can transform things from one form into another.
“Only a few of us are like Aura. She is level eight, and few others like her are twos and threes.”
“We don’t know anything about you or Adria. Adria definitely possesses mind magic abilities at Devon’s level, but we still need to know more.” Aura lays down cookies in front of us.
Even though I’m hungry, I don’t touch the food.
Adria unfolds my hand. I didn’t know I was clenching under the table. Confused, I look at her, but she avoids making eye contact with me.
“I think it’s enough for now, mother.” Devon stands up and stretches.
“What do you mean?” Aura asks him, narrowing her eyes.
“Honestly, we need a break.” As he walks away, he pats my head and walks out. Adria nods at me and gets up to follow him. I get up to leave as well, for I don’t want a minute alone with Aura and Daemon.
“Eric?” Aura asks in a gentler tone.
“Just be careful.” She gives me a meaningful smile which feels more threatening. I shake my head as I leave her house. It was definitely a threat.
I follow Adria and Devon to the front of the forest, where the sun is at its peak, and everything around is bathed in bright light. The flowers are glimmering even more now. Devon guides us to the path on the right, and we follow him quietly.
I run to catch up with Adria, who is a few steps behind him.
“Why didn’t you tell them?”
“Honestly speaking, I don’t trust them. Especially Aura.” She says as she kicks a pebble out of the way.
“You’re related to her. Then why?” I ask her again.
“I don’t know. Call it instinct or a gut feeling, but I don’t trust that woman.”
“Me too,” I add, and she looks up at me.
“I don’t know either.” I shrug.
I hear her sigh, “You saw that same person in your grandmother’s house?”
“Yeah,” I say bitterly, and my grip tightens on the sketch pad in my hand.
“He was scary.” She whispers, “Come on, let’s see what Devon has to say.”
She speeds up to join him, and I watch the two of them talk. I can’t listen to the conversation between the two, but I can see the tension between Devon’s shoulders and Adria’s grim face.
I look up at the trees at the sides of the path whose tips kiss each other over my head. They make a beautiful tunnel. I close my eyes and take a deep breath. This place feels like home, and it doesn’t. I want to stay, and I don’t. I have no idea what’s happening to me. How I’m capable of doing magic? I hope I find the answers in the right place.
Devon guides us further away and points towards a wide white bench on our left.
“So, Adria, you saw that guy in his mind?” Devon asks her as we sit down on the bench with him in between us.
“What are you trying to get at?” She demands sourly.
Devon scowls at her, “Adria, I’m not your enemy here. I hope you know that.”
She looks away, “What about Eric? Daemon and Aura don’t seem like they trust him.”
“Adria, don’t worry about me. You have your mess to worry about,” I say briskly, and Devon stands up, angry.
“Will you two just stop acting like a pair of irritated kids?” He says crossly and puts his hands on his waist.
“You two have no idea what you are up against. Both of you are totally unaware of your capabilities and your role in the future.”
“I know mine, Devon. I’m the ‘sacrifice,’ remember?” Adria air quotes the word sacrifice.
“Adria, no one is forcing you to do it. We had the discussion before. I will stand by you if I have to.”
“Who stood by my mother?”
“Your dad!!” He pulls at his hair as he turns away from us.
“My dad? Where is he now? How did he die? NO ONE IS ASKING ME TO DO IT, BUT THEY EXPECT ME TO DO IT.” I wince as she yells in the end.
“ADRIA STOP!! Please.” Devon says weakly.
I notice Adria’s angry tears as she tries not to cry and glare at Devon at the same time.
“Devon, I think it will be better if you leave us be for a while?” I suggest solemnly.
His shoulders drop as he nods before walking away. I don’t engage Adria in any conversation and open up my sketchbook instead. Good thing I grabbed it on the way out.
I start sketching the guy I saw in my grandmother’s house and my head while trying my best not to notice what Adria is doing.
As I move to sketch the eyes, Adria mumbles, “I’m sorry.”
I chuckle softly, “You didn’t do anything wrong to me. Say that to Devon?” I suggest without looking up.
“I don’t trust them. I don’t trust anyone here.”
“Trust issues much?” I look up at her sulking face.
“Life hasn’t been nice with me.” She looks down at her hand, picking a loose thread from her right sleeve.
“Look, Adria, I think we need these people to know who we are and what we can do.”
“I know that, and I hate it. I mean, I’ve always managed everything on my own almost all my life and here...” She throws up her hands and stands up. I look back at my sketch but don’t really see it. Instead, my memories start playing in front of my eyes.
“I know the feeling. Picture this, you get kicked out of the house for something you didn’t do, get an arrest warrant on your head for it, find out that your grandmother might be the crazy Frankenstein sorcerer, find out that you can do magic, and on top of it you are not welcomed anywhere.”
She turns and looks at me. I was dreading this moment all along, I didn’t want to see pity in her eyes, and my heart thuds in my chest when I realize it’s not there. She doesn’t pity me like half of the world does.
“I’m sorry,” She yields in and comes to sit back on the bench.
“Adria don’t. I don’t need your apology or anything.....just help me figure out what the hell is wrong with my life?” I whisper back without looking up at her.
“I’m not pitying you, Eric. If anything, you’ve been the only one I can talk to, and you said not to worry about your mess.” She says, and I notice the teasing in her tone.
“Well, I just felt like saying it then?” I say, smirking.
“Jerk,” She laughs.
“Witch!” I retort.
“Oh my God. You didn’t say that?”
“Stop it, weasel!”
“I see that you have exceptional words in your dictionary!” I salute and pick up my pencil again.
“There are nicer ones. Though it’s the courtesy of growing up in a club.”
“Don’t use them on me! On the other hand, my father was pretty strict, so I grew in a controlled environment. Hearing the curses.....aggh leave it.” I add in, still trying not to laugh. It’s first for me, feeling like laughing out loud while talking about my father.
“Mine was abusive. Stepdad, of course.” She says airily, but I feel a slight tremor in her voice.
“Don’t worry, you’ll get to know about your real dad,” I say softly and stop myself from throwing an arm around her shoulders and hugging her.
“And I promise you that I will drag us out of this mess.” She moves her hand towards mine absently, but she pulls back half away, and I keep sitting there, wishing she hadn’t.
“You hear the water?” She asks quizzically.
“Yep.” I nod and bend on my drawing again. What is going on with me? I can’t feel like this for a girl I hardly know.
“I’m going and check it out.” She says awkwardly and stands up, dusting her jeans before carefully stepping through the plants and onto the path.
“Okay. Just don’t get into a fight again!” I call out after her.
“Hilarious, Eric.” I hear her amused reply and go back to sketching the evil guy. Strangely, I feel light-headed after so many days. I didn’t notice it before, but I hadn’t been feeling easy since I arrived here. I should put this on things–to-figure-out list.