Going Home (Going Home#1)

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Eric: Visit from Ben

Honestly, Adria’s past has rattled me. My brain shut down for a moment when I tried to digest what she just told me. It's clear from the way she told me that she was scared and still is. After telling me, I felt her hold in her breath as if waiting for me to push her away, but I couldn’t do it, nor I wanted to. What she did, I would've done it too, and a lot sooner than she did have I been in her place. If my life had been difficult, hers had been hell, and after listening to her, I feel like I’ve lived a better life so far.

The people in the forest start humming the sad tone as if on cue, and I smile over Adria’s head. I remember Devon mentioning that every full moon, they sing this song for their lost home and hope to go back. Adria shifts, and I pull my arm away.

“Why?” She asks quietly.

“Why what?”

“Why didn’t you push me away? I don’t want your pity, or anyone's.” She looks up at me with her tear-stained face. It is so unlike her. All I’ve seen on her face was the determination to get us away from this mess, but now she feels so lost and broken.

“I'm sorry you had to go through all that, but you're here now. With your people and lost closer to getting the answers to who you really are. And because of you, I'm here too.” I tell her. She keeps looking at me with that unreadable expression for a moment before she blinks and turns away.

“I hear someone coming!” I hear rushing footsteps through the quiet forest and jump to my feet.

“It's Devon.” I see him before Adria could thank my sight. Devon taught me to keep my senses alert and focus on sight and sounds all the time. It took me three days to learn, but thankfully I did it.

“Come on. If he is running and is late, then something could be up!” Adria runs towards him, so I follow her.

“Where the hell have you been? We were waiting for you!” Adria asks him, half shouting as he stopped in front of us. He takes deep breaths and closes his eyes before looking at her.

“Do... you know anyone named Ben?” He asks, still breathless from his run.

“Yeah. Is he ok? Did something happen?” Adria frets.

“He's fine. God, I ran all the way here!” He bends over and takes deep breaths.

“It's not like you are human that you are so damn breathless.” Adria accuses and puts her hands on her waist, pacing and biting her lower lip.

“Honesty woman, learn some patience. He's fine, but he won’t be if he keeps calling for you just outside the invisible veil.”
“He's calling me?” She gapes.

“Yes, he says he has something urgent to ask of you. You're lucky I was on guard today, but now I have to go to the meeting. Eric,” He turns towards me, “where is that sketch? I’ll be showing it to the elders.”
“Tear out the page from my sketchbook, which is under my pillow.” I fold my arms as he throws up his hands.

“You are not coming with me but going with her?”

“Yep! Let's go, Adria, before Jaivyn decides to get involved.” I hold her arm and drag her away from Devon’s suspicious look boring in our backs.

“You don’t have to come with me!” She pulls her arm free rather slower than I had expected.

“And I don’t want to spend time waiting for you and Devon in Aura’s house either!” I say firmly, “Race me to the veil?” I say and start running. Adria follows me after a second of hesitation, and if I hadn’t suggested the race to distract her, she would’ve run anyway.

We rush from between the trees and animals’ shelters where Pneumas keep different animals as the forest starts to thicken towards the training grounds. We don’t stop to take a breath when running between the houses; I smile as people jump aside to make way. I can hear Adria laugh behind me, “This is so much fun, but I can’t run further.” She stops just as we cross the golden trees into the front part of the forest.

I stop too and bend over my knees to push air into my burning lungs. “I won!”

“Not really.” She smirks and takes off again. I smile at her back, happy that I got her distracted a bit when she was about to lose it back when she heard the name ‘Ben.’

“HEY!” I call behind her, but she waves at me as she runs. I try my best to keep up but stay few steps behind. It's not my fault either because she is only half-human, and I’m definitely human or hope to be.

As we emerge from behind the veil, the person waiting on the other side shrieks in surprise before gasping.

“Adria!?” He stares at both of us before engulfing Adria into a bear hug.

“Oh, Ben!”

I nod at him when he looks at me over Adria’s head.

“What are you doing here? Don’t you know it's dangerous?” She starts fretting again, and he puts his hands on her shoulders to calm her down.

“I came to see you after Jade called. She sounds worried for you!”

“I don’t know. She begged me to check on you and get you on the phone. She said she had something to ask you!”

“I don’t understand. Is she in trouble? Oh God, I should've checked with Cyril myself before sending her over.” Adria rubs her eyes and starts pacing, her shoulders tensed.

“She mentioned him.” Ben jerks his chin towards me.

“Him? She doesn’t know him!” Adria looks between us incredulously. I stare at her then at Ben, not knowing who Jade is or even he is.

“She said he's all the more reason she needs to talk to you!”

“Oh, God! Ok, I’ll go back with you!” Adria starts walking towards B when he pulls her back.

“You can’t. Headley has stationed guards on both sides. I came from over the fence from that side!” He points to our left, which the other part of the forest Devon didn’t mention.

“It's dangerous, Ben! It is far more dangerous than this part of the forest, and you know it way better than others.” Adria accuses.

“I’m sorry. After talking with Jade, I just got worried. Look, if you want to come with me, we should hurry. Orla is waiting just outside the fence between the houses.”

“You left her there? Are you kidding me, Ben?” She stares at him in disbelief.

“Yes, so please let's go!” He turns without waiting to see if she's following or not.

“I’ll come with you!” I blurt out and ignore Adria's look, which she throws at me from over her shoulder as we start following Ben.

Ben keeps looking at me and tries to catch Adria's eyes. I’ve been watching their exchange without even knowing a thing, but I do know that it is something that has to do with me.

“It's ok, Ben, we can trust him.”

I follow Adria and Ben towards the other part of the forest. We don’t go in deeper but turn to our left towards Baskerville B. We stay awfully quiet and jump from over the fence when a woman hiding in the shadows of the houses beckon us over, giving an all-clear signal.

We make our way towards the back of Ben’s house quietly and by staying in the shadows. I can see guards here and there. I wonder where did my grandmother get them from? Something about them feels off.

“Don’t let them notice or hear you. They are a little strange!” Ben’s wife whisper as we hide behind their neighboring house. I notice more guards around it than the other houses. As one of the guards turns to talk to his fellow on the other side, we quickly make our way into Ben’s backyard and from there into the house.

“Make sure you don’t trip anywhere.” Ben cautions us and takes the lead to guide us upstairs.

We cautiously make our way upstairs and into Adria’s and Jade’s room. Ben quickly pulls the curtains and digs out the cordless phone from under the bed.

He hands it over to Adria, who grips it tightly before taking a deep breath and dialing the number.

I look around the room. It's dark but not enough because of the full moon outside. It's a small room with one double bed in the center, a desk and cupboard in one corner, and a tall mirror opposite them by the window.

Adria disconnects the call and tries again; I notice that she's nervous and scared as she is chewing on her nails of her right hand. I wish I could help, but I restrain myself in front of Ben and Orla. For some reason, I'm scared of the guards outside the house. I feel as if I use my abilities, they will know.

“Hello, Jade.” Adria’s relieved voice reaches my ears, and I open my eyes which were drifting close without me realizing it. The call went through.

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