My return to Lennon’s cabin (2009)
As I stepped closer to Lennon’s cabin, Corah and I were on high alert. Though I did not think that we were followed, I did not think we were alone. Nor did I think my brothers or even Jeremiah would give up on me. I stopped just one foot in front of the steps that lead up to the front porch and to his door. The change had happened so fast and so suddenly, I had not had time to take advantage of or even use our new powers beyond that of strength, speed, and stamina.
Maybe we should clean ourselves up first? Corah thought, taking control once again so we could see just how bad we looked. My eyes burned with tears as I stare down at the beautiful gown Mrs. Wilcox had designed for me, now and tatters streaked with mud, wet from melted snow, and twigs and leaves scattered everywhere. I shuttered, once again taking control, and pondering whether or not our face looked even worse.
You may have a point. Let’s wash our face really quick and try to make our hair look semi-presentable at least, I allowed going over to the pond and really quickly splashing water over my face and neck and through my hair, trying to undo the tangles that we had born through our battle and journey to get here.
Does that work? I asked her, allowing her to take control again once more to just look in our reflection in the ponds surface. I felt our shoulders shrug. About as good as we can do considering the circumstances. Suddenly, she said straighter and took a deep breath... There’s a scent carried on the wind, one we did not quite know and yet it felt familiar. Our ears opened, allowing the calls within the wild of the night to alert us to any oncoming visitors or trespassers. In a moment, I could hear two heartbeats, no not two four heartbeats.
The wind shifted again, this time carrying all four scents to me. Without even having to say anything, both Corah and I knew who must have been coming. I rolled my eyes and scowled, especially when I picked up one scent--the one that should have been mixed with mine, the person belonging to me now, forever, and always. Why the fuck was he coming now?
Quickly, we ran up the steps and knocked anxiously at the door of Lennon’s cabin. We stood, waiting with bated breath...but no one came to answer the door. Knowing someone would be here soon, we knocked again, listening, and taking another deep breath--tasting the air and using all of our newfound senses to see who was here. Maybe Jeremiah, or one of the Twins had called ahead--thinking Lennon would help them stop me? We took a deep breath--trying to sense if anyone else was near. I knocked one more time, but no one answered me.
Someone has to be home, that dilapidated hunk of junk was still parked on the side of the cabin.
Are you sure?
What do you mean, am I sure? Of course, I am sure! I remember noticing that when I first visited him at fourteen-years-old.
Hmm, Moon Goddess, what a joke…man so ancient has a car to match. Must be a hell of a mage. Corah scoffed in a near whisper. She was getting weaker.
I scowled, my fist slamming into the door...and rattled it open. Crickets met my ears, followed by the approaching pounding of footfalls.
Seriously? That’s like such a fucking cliché.
Oh, shut it! I huffed, pushing the door open further so it creaks on its hinges. We both flinch, looking over our shoulder to see if anyone’s there or if Lennon’s outside watching us. He is a creep and a recluse, so I felt he’d not be objectionable to watching us struggle or tiptoe around his home.
Closing the door of the cabin behind us, we take a quick look around the cabin and frown. The interior of the cabin hasn’t changed that much in four years. Still as dusty and eerie as ever, except this time the pot isn’t boiling madly like a witch’s cauldron. As we continue to look around, I lowered my guard, forgetting where I was out of exhaustion. We are so absorbed that we don’t even notice when he is just behind us and jump, nearly screaming, startled by the soft clearing of his throat.
“L-Lennon! Oh, thank goddess you’re here!” I gasp, nearly deflating with relief. He does not smile, only frowns with his hands on his hips like an ancient school mom catching one of their students going through their drawers.
“Do you know the punishment for intruding on a sorcerer’s domain without prior warning?” He snapped. dumbfounded, my mouth opens and closes like a fish as I try to find the words I’ve been searching for all evening. I had hoped he’d maybe be happy to see me, or that he would have known we were coming.
Think, Desi, think. He’s a damned sorcerer--not a god damned clairvoyant who knows the future! Corah half chide, half moans, the exhaustion of the evening finally catching up to us.
I look up, feeling the exhaustion begin to pull at me. I meet Lennon’s eyes and notice that he looks dangerous. And it frightens me.
“Well…”He demands, his eyes flashing red in warning.
“We need help…” We croaked just as the darkness of exhaustion took over and gravity pulled us to the floor in a fit of unconsciousness. And just as we fall, I thought I heard Lennon say, “Well, fuck a duck this night is showing some promise...and just in time.”
Lifting her still body from off my freshly cleaned floor (Damn, what did she do-- take a bath in my pond? Ugh), I laid her down upon the couch in front of the hearth. With the snapping of my fingers, the fire raged as I began to prepare something for her. Desdemona and I have a long night ahead of us, especially for her and her beast. So, I am not fond of half-blood Lycans, for what I am about to do to help, she will need strength and a full stomach.
As she rested, I carefully filled the cauldron with bones, herbs, water, and leftover undesirables from my vegetables to make hearty broth to fill the stomach and soothe the soul. Soon, the contents inside the caldron began to bubble and pop as the broth grew hotter. As I tended to the broth, I glanced over my shoulder and watched the girl sleep.
I saw this coming when she was last here. I knew what her future held. Even as she approached my cabin and took time to clean herself, I could sense her and her beast’s intertwined presence...but also something else. A heavy forlornness...a rejection. Not only could I smell the rejection on her but could also sense the residual bond between her and her unfaithful ex-mate and protector. Hmph--Guardian of Virtue, indeed.
And yet, I praised Cerridwen for this fortuitous night! Everything now is falling into place. While I do have a soft spot for the rejected beasts, it is not in the way one might think. It takes a lot of strength and courage to want to participate in the spell I do for them, it’s not for the weak of heart. Not only that, but what they are leaving behind is sometimes even more traumatizing...and that all comes down to that half-blood and her errant mate.
I knew who the Beta would choose in the end--I know because I did the spell for her after she told me that her mate rejected her for being impure. I knew she was lying, though, because--like me--I knew what she was willing to do to be on top. She was naïve, power hungry, and only too willing to reject Roland’s son and hex the little one’s true mate. And it all went down without my having to suggest or choose a victim--she was all too willing to assist me, the fucking moron. It was all easier than I thought. That idiot did me a favor, so I returned it by giving her what she desired.
The one we had to break though, was the Beta--that golden silent boy Tanner Wilcox. Who knew hexes could make someone such a horny pushover? Granted, it was not easy. Over the last few years, it’s taken a lot of coaxing, not to mention truly disgusting misinformation about his true mate for Beta Tanner to take the bait and tonight just goes to show how little he cares for her.
Ever since this little she-beast was a newborn, she showed great determination and strength--almost pig-headed stubbornness. No wonder she has two mates, and both are from strong blood lines. It’s not even her human form that is the resilient soul, her beast has even greater power--even with a human born mother, strangely enough. This little sprite has greater power than even her own father was aware of. This is why I needed her gone. At least until the clan is shattered enough for me to rebuild into the society it once was. And I am going to be their savior.
Desi...Desi...wake up. We’re not alone…Corah called to me, pushing at me to awaken. I stirred, wanting to rest when something warm and familiar tickling my nose. Then I heard a noise--a warm, faint popping tickling my ears. I opened my eyes to see a crackling of a fire in front of me, warming and cooking a delicious stew. The smell of garlic, clove and fennel stirred me awake. I winced, my body aching as I tried to sit up and remember where I am. Frowning, I glanced down and looked over my now tattered gown, covered in a long flannel nightshirt like a blanket and my feet coated in long wool socks.
My memories assaulted me--my birthday party, my rejection and Corah’s rising to the surface, fighting Tanner, and running to Lennon’s cabin. As if on cue, the man himself passed in front of me to kneel before the fire. After a moment, he turned about and faced me, handing me a mug of some delicious chicken and vegetable stew.
“Well, hello Desdemona Patchett. What has brought you to my humble abode?”
I took the proffered mug. Though the stew smelled delicious, Corah was on guard...seemed she did not trust him either. Still, I was hungry and took a sip--it was quite delicious, but Mama made better stew. I quickly glanced around the cabin and snorted, “This place is far from humble.”
Lennon chuckled, though his smile did not reach his lips as he removed the bubbling cauldron and placed a cleaner one over the fire. “True, absolutely true. But who am I if I don’t live in a grand home? A little dilapidated, but grand, nonetheless. What can I help you with, child?”
Corah nearly unleashed herself then, her growl nearly erupting from our mouth. Lennon jumped, nearly dropping the cauldron. I shook my head, silently ordering Corah to stop.
We need him. I silently remind her, watching him curse and mutter as he walked away into the kitchen with the warm cauldron. No doubt he was going to save the rest for later. He returned in a moment, carrying a freshly cleaned cauldron, and placed it on the fire.
If he calls us “child” again, you will not be able to stop me! She spat angrily. I sat up as he whisked his large, round cast iron pot over the fire and began to dump items and herbs inside. I opened my mouth, intent on offering an apology when I noticed the way his eyes glow as he works--all the while mumbling some words in what I assume was in Gaelic.
“Bidh mi a ’tilgeil an gheasaibh seo gus am pian a thoirt air falbh.” (I cast this spell to take away their pain).
“Bidh mi a ’gairm apon air na draoidhean gus a làthaireachd atharrachadh, a’ cur anam eile na àite.” (I call upon the druids to change her presence, adding another soul to replace it.).
Unable to bear it any longer, I set aside the cup of stew and blurted out, “I was rejected by my mate and I want to end my suffering. I need to leave here too. I can’t stay here, and be expected to pretend the rejection never happened, while he can go about his life without me and with someone else that I despise.”
As I unleashed these words, I felt warm and angry, then something wet. Oh no, I’m crying. Oh, shit--stop Desdemona Patchett, you stop it immediately. I urged myself. Corah sighed, taking over so we could stop crying...even though I knew she wanted to cry, scream, tear the bloody cabin to shreds and Lennon along with it.
Lennon just stared at us, nodding but I got the sense he was just humoring us. Then turned his attention to me but snapped his fingers so the long wooden spoon kept agitating the concoction.
“I already know, Desi. I smelt it on you, and I sensed a change in your aura, in Corah’s aura as well,” He admitted, nodding at us as though he could see her. He spoke with a pleasant Scottish brogue, though his voice was soft and slow so I could understand him.
“I didn’t tell you her name,” I said slowly, the hair on my arms prickling slightly. He waved away my concerns, “No, but I saw this many years ago.”
That did little to put me--us--at ease. Something was...off about him. The way he was being kind and helpful...it was rather unlike him. I had not even brought him a gift, yet I had a feeling something was coming. Corah could feel it too, and her unease and distrust made me feel anxious. Lennon gave me the creeps, but I knew he was the only one who could help us.
“I-I don’t have anything to give you. Everything ha-happened so fast and I--will you help? Can you help us?” I asked. He stared at us for a moment, his face unreadable. For a moment, my heart caught in my throat and I thought he’d reject my plea.
“I can help, and I will help. Once the broth is finished, you will drink it. But I will explain what will happen after you complete the transition.”
“Transition?” My brows furrowed as I mumbled in confusion. Corah perked up, tensing as she waited for him to speak.
“Yes, like when you phase into Corah, you transition into her form, but it only lasts as long as you deem fit. This transition lasts longer, essentially keeping your true form hidden until the spell ends. I have found a decade works for the soul bond to break and you’re completely healed, ready to move on and perhaps the Moon Goddess will grant you a second chance mate?”
He turned to look at me, and it was all I could do to not let Corah take over and bolt into the night. His face was...wrong, contorted by the most disturbing grin on his face. Turning away, he began to hum an eerie little ditty as he threw more ingredients in the pot.
Scoffing, I stood up and stared down on him, hands on my hips as though I were scolding an errant child. “Lennon, I’m a big girl. It feels like you’re leaving quite a few things out of your little speech.”
He chuckled then and stood, towering over me. Waving his finger at me, he smirked and tapped me on the chin. “My, my, you’re a clever one. No wonder your IQ is 145.”
“How did you know what my IQ was…” I began when the truth hit me. Sorcerer. Duh, Desdemona.
He laughed. “There are of course things I left out, but I am getting to them. Like anything else that interferes with fate, there are consequences and there are side effects to this spell that may be permanent or short term because I am casting a soul curse.”
Wait, what? A CURSE! I didn’t expect it to be a curse. Corah tried to take over when Lennon touched me and guided me to sick back down. He frowned at the cold cup of stew and, shrugging, tossed the contents into the fire only to have the fire blaze brighter. What the hell had he put in that stuff?
“Don’t worry, Desi. It’s a low-level curse, but a curse, nonetheless. I will essentially be making you human. Since humans don’t have the over-sensitivity to mating and soul bonds, they heal their hearts faster. It is easier for them to handle a broken bond or broken heart than your kind because lycanthropes are supposed to mate for life. Humans, well, do not: they like to think they do, but they have things like divorce.” His face contorts to a painful frown.
Corah had become wildly aggravated. If she could scratch me to make me bleed, just to get my attention, she would. But I pushed her down--deep within my subconscious, but it was as if she was begging me not to do this.
Run, Desi. Run away, please don’t do this. I heard a faint prayer. Maybe I should think this over longer? As if he could read my mind, he snickered. “You have questions?”
“Of course, I do. But just one for now. I don’t know if I have the ability to comprehend more. So, what happens? What do you do?”
“It’s not what I will do but have done. Whilst you were sleeping, I began to prepare and, just now, I have asked the druid gods to take your true soul and your Lycan soul for safe keeping, as if you’re asleep in the recesses of your mind and I transplant another soul in your place.”
I felt my stomach drop...removing my soul, and Corah...what would happen to Corah? Though she had been with me, we had finally just been brought together as one. She was me, and I was her...how could I be parted from her? As if sensing my trepidation, his face softened a little and he placed a hand on my shoulder. I knew the gesture was meant to appear sympathetic, but it took all of my strength to not slap his hand away from me.
“There will be side effects and uncertainty, like any transplant. She won’t have any of your memories, but the replacement may have moments of blackouts, flashes of your old memories, visions, or night terrors. It just depends on the soul I chose for you.” Lennon said with a shrug. Dropping his hand, he moved back to the fire and began to tinker again. Throwing this and that into the pot, clicking his tongue as he mulled over what to add next, muttering more words in Gaelic.
“How will this work. This new body...or soul? I’m sorry, I just...lots to try to comprehend. Will she know who I am, I mean before she was me? I mean--”
“I cannot remove all of your memories; I can only alter them slightly. For example, the mate bond you had with Beta Tanner and his rejection. They would be presented to her as a dream or past life. She won’t think they are her memories.”
“What happens to me as the spell comes to an end?”
“You would revert back to your old life after the life of the curse runs its course. You’d go to bed the night before in your replacement form and the next day, you wake up in your true form without any bond to Beta Tanner.”
Corah liked the sound of this when what he had said about my soul and the transplant caught up to me. Corah sensed my uneasiness, growing somewhat anxious when I considered his words. It was...mind boggling. If anything, we felt even more confused. What did he mean by a replacement form?
“What do you mean by a replacement form?” I asked. He did not answer me, instead a mischievous and creepy smirk came upon his face, making both Corah and I feel more angsty than before. His constant expression of sarcastic humor was irking me. Just answer my question. We thought, doing our best not to roll our eyes or growl. Finally, as if realizing we had asked him a question, he turned about, his eyes wide and mouth opened in an excited ‘oh.’
“You won’t be you. Your human form will be that of the soul that took over. Once you lay your head down tonight, this will be the last time you will look, sound, smell, act…well, like you.” He waved his hands at me and in the air for dramatic effect.
“Then, once you rise in the morning and you look at your reflection, you will be someone else. With no recollection of what transpired the night before.”
“Okay...I think that makes sense; I suppose?” I said, not quite sure I understood. Lennon pursed his lips but apparently had nothing more helpful to say. Okay fine, you nasty ass excuse for a Druid priest. Have it your way. Then another thought hit me.
“But where do I go to live?” I asked helplessly, gesturing around the cabin. “It’s not exactly like we could stay here with you.”
Or would want to. Lennon...yack, Corah gagged. If she had a separate corporeal form, I would have slugged her. Lennon, however, apparently had not been able to read our mind. Instead, he stood there for a moment as if deep in thought.
“I will send you to neutral territory in Roswell, New Mexico. There is a shaman called Tourn Murdock. He’s the shaman for the Apache tribe and he will take you in. He will maintain the spell because once a year it needs to be refreshed or you will begin to lose your true soul.” Lennon just stood there, blank faced.
Hold on, what? I lose myself! Corah stirred and was snarling in my head, giving me such a headache. I stood up shakily and stared up at him, trying to reason and understand him.
“Lennon, no…how, how could that happen? You said I’d be in a safe place.”
Again, Lennon placed a hand on my shoulder--I really wanted him to stop touching me--and said in a oh-subtly condescending tone, “Everything has consequences, side effects. You could also retain your replacement plus yourself and your beast.” He offered. “But you would still need to be under someone’s guidance and care, lest--yet again--you run the risk of losing something, maybe the other soul, maybe Corah. It’s hard to say what the goddess and the curse will take.” He said this so casually it was all I could do not to throttle him then and there, damned the consequences.
How the hell could he be so damn calm and condescending? How could he be so heartless and callous as he weighed mine and Corah’s life in the balance--not to mention some unknown replacement, just casually pouring the completed potion in a mug as though we are having small talk about the weather.
“I have never seen that, and I have performed this spell countless times on people who want to leave abusive mates and those who have been rejected. They come out fine in the end.” He said, smiling down on me as though I were a fly in his web. And the worst part of it was, that I was a fly, and I was desperate and out of time. I sighed, sitting back down on the couch. I tentatively reached out to talk with Corah.
Corah, Corah are you there? I need your opinion. What should I do?
Desi, I’m scared. I don’t want to be lost. I don’t want to die. But I don’t want to die from the rejection either. I won’t be able to stay here and watch them together. It’s killing me now.
I closed my eyes and saw an image of her, clear as day. She’s curled up in a ball, barely able to lift her head to meet my eyes. I want to reach out and sooth her, but she just laid there--silent, unable to move, and heartbroken.
“So…” Lennon said tersely, “are we doing this or not?”
“Let’s do it,” I said finally. I stood up, ready to take the potion when something struck me. “Wait, what will happen to him?”
“Nothing.” Lennon admitted simply.
“ ‘Nothing’?” I parroted, dumbfounded.
“That’s right: nothing. He will feel every bone shattering, painful ramification of his actions. This spell is not meant for the ones who do the rejection. It’s meant for the victim.”
Corah sighed in relief. I smiled grimly, happy that he would feel the effects of what he had done to me--to us. He did not deserve our forgiveness.
“Tha mi a ’gairm air ban-dia na gealaich agus na diathan draoidh a bhith a’ toirt dha companach an dàrna cothrom agus a h-anam daonna a companach fhèin.” (I call upon the moon goddess and the druid gods to grant her true soul a second chance mate and her human soul her own mate).
After that last incantation, he offered me the cup of the broth. “Drink it all up in one swig. The rest I will pack for your trip. Instructions will be included but needless to say you will need to continue drinking it for a month and then Tourn will continue making it for you. He will be able to adjust the recipe as the years pass.”
Taking me aside with my steaming cup, Lennon pushed me up the stairs into a clean guest room. Before he leaves, I asked how I would get to my destination. He stopped, blinking as though he had not considered that.
“You can have my truck so you can travel across the country to the tribe. Goddess knows that heap could give you a good journey versus gathering dust here. Now stop gabbing and drink up. I will see you in the morning.”
“Where are you going?” I asked, suddenly feeling uneasy being left alone in Lennon’s cabin. Corah stirred, a low growl passing from her mouth. Sighing, Lennon glared at me and said, “I have business in town. What do you want me to do, hold your damn hand for the entire thing? Good lord, just drink already. I will see you in the morning.”
And with that, he vanished. Uneasy and not wanting to deal with the ramifications of Tanner’s betrayal a moment longer, I downed the broth. It tasted delicious, followed by a bitter burnt taste, followed by the strangest, sweet tingling sensation. As soon as I downed the last drop, the cup fell from my hands--the events of the day finally catching up with me. I felt the sleepiest I have ever felt as I climbed into the bed. As my head lay upon the pillows, the sound of pelting rains assaulted the wooden beams, the skies opening up as if the heavens knew what I had done and the gods were crying, mourning the loss of one of their own.
I realized, in all the chaos, I had never said goodbye to Mama...or Jeremiah. My heart ached for them. This was my last opportunity to say goodbye, but who would I mind link? I had already said goodbye to my brothers...I couldn’t talk t Mama, even though I yearned to. She would try to come for me. And the Wilcox family and the oh-so-powerful Beta were out of the question.
I couldn’t tell Lucie, Leighann or Tameekah what I was up to. They knew what I was, but they wouldn’t understand my decision. Finally, knowing what I had to do, I closed my eyes and opened my mind to search for him...the one who had always been there and never let me down.
Alpha Jerimiah, are you there? I called out to him. My tone hesitant. My mind sounded weak, fragile...so unlike myself. But then again, I wasn’t myself after tonight...and who knew if I would be me again? For a moment...there was nothing, static and blackness. But then I felt him, his aura--so bright and powerful.
Oh, thank the Goddess, Desi! I have been worried sick--why did you shut me out before? What’s going on, where are you? He begged, genuinely sounding concerned. My heart bled to hear him like this.
“You already know the answer to that, Jeremiah. You saw what happened--to me, to Tanner. Don’t you see the storm outside? The heavens are crying. The pack is grieving. If they can feel a mating, don’t you think a bond breaking? And I cannot tell you where I am. Even if I could, I wouldn’t.
Are you at least safe? He asked softly, his voice a near purr me-- meant to calm not only himself, but me. That tone doesn’t work on just anyone. He used to use that on me as a child...someone he considered family.
Yes, Jerry. For now, anyway. I’m sorry I blocked you out, but I had no choice. He rejected me, Jerry! He was a little distant when we were kids, but he was never cruel. I kind of always knew he’d end up being my mate, but he changed once I turned sixteen and I-I don’t understand, but the pain nearly killed Corah, Jerry! I had to do something to save her! I had to.
For a moment, Jerry doesn’t respond. When he does, his Alpha tone comes out so strong that I almost think Crow has taken over. I’ll talk to him, try to convince him to take it back. Just come home, please I can’t lead without you. You’re m-my m...”
He stopped, the words dying in a choked strangle of emotion. Was he about to make a confession that he couldn’t take back? He can’t. I won’t. No, I had to stop him.
Oh, cut the crap, Jerry! You’re a born leader: you don’t need me. You never have. And you better not talk to Tanner: he’s made his bed, it’s time for him to live in the tainted sheets. I already accepted his rejection and severed the bond. It’s too late and he’s made his choice...Meri Newton. I wouldn’t want to catch her fleas for anything. I snapped, chuckling darkly at my little joke. I could have sworn I heard Jerimiah chuckle and his Lycan Crow chuff.
I can’t believe I’m losing you, my best friend, over a rejection. I love you, Des. He admitted, holding his breath for a prolonged moment. As he was silent, I could hear Crow chuff at Corah in her mind. Even through his sorrow, he was trying to comfort her. Maybe I always knew what Jerry and Crow were to me. But is it enough to stay and why won’t he just tell me?
Be my Luna, choose me.
And bring you down with me? Absolutely not! I won’t make you suffer right along with me. I love you too, Jerry... Both Corah and I began to weep. We wept over our future or lack thereof. We wept for the love we may never have. I probably always have and always will.
Oh, Desi, my sweet Corah...Crow and I love you more than you think we do. We don’t want to lose you.
Corah and I will always be with you. Goodbye, Crow, and goodbye Jerry. Be happy, for us.
And with that, wrenched the mind link closed and passed out into blackness. As we entered the void of unconsciousness, I drifted and reached for Corah--finally being able to hold her. We tearfully said our goodbyes, our souls holding the other until we drifted apart into the darkness.