Approaching Phoenix

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Chapter 5

My dreams were uneasy and filled with past memories. They finally came to rest with Michael lying right beside me. The light was bending around his chest and I reached out to touch his skin. The way the light danced across his skin it seemed as though he was a marble statue lying beside me. I held my breath just to see if his chest would rise and prove that he was something real. My finger tips fell against his muscles and his eyes were inside my mind.

It seemed as though his eyes were pleading with me, but I couldn’t figure out what he wanted or needed. His voice never came through this time, but it seemed that he found another way to communicate after a few minutes of silence. His eyes faded to the cliff that Blyth had stopped me from going over. That was the only place that the barrier didn’t stop me, and it was no doubt the only way that Michael could get me away from here.

My eyes shot open. I was now wide awake and lost in the darkness. When I felt his arms around me I was sure everything that I had been through this weekend was an awkward dream. I held his hand tightly inside of mine. Lifting it slowly to my lips I kissed it gently then let go to turn inside his arms. Slowly I ran my fingers through his hair ready to pull him closer to me when my fingers found themselves going further down than what I remembered.

My dreams snapped quickly back to reality when he pulled me closer and whispered softly in my ear, “Before you kiss me I think you should know I’m not who you want me to be.”

Both of my arms pushed against his chest forcing me away from him. I didn’t care too much when my body fell off the bed. I was just thankful to be further away from him. As I scrambled to get to my feet the light came on and I realized that I was once again in Blyth’s room. My first thought was racing to the door, but as he sat up grinning I rushed towards him.

“I’m so sick and tired of men thinking that they can just crawl in bed with me!” I screamed as my hands stretched forward ready to grip his throat.

Blyth caught my wrists and twisted me so that I landed on his bed instead of directly into him. He held a hold of me as he leaned over me, “This is my room, and you insisted on falling asleep in my bed. What would you have me do?”

The anger that was fuming through me vanished as I realized that history, or the future was repeating itself. It wasn’t the same, but very similar. This time it was not with Michael, but with Blyth. My hands that were balled into fists released as Blyth let them go. I turned my head towards the door as I thought about Michael waiting for me at the cliff.

“No.” I pushed Blyth away from me as I stood up again. This time I was going with my first thought. I didn’t look back when I made my way to the door, but Blyth appeared blocking my only way out. “I said no.”

“I need to go.”

Blyth’s eyes narrowed and his smile faded, “I know he is there waiting for you.”

I thought about hitting him, but I remembered the effect that it had on Michael, none at all. My legs buckled from underneath me and I found myself sitting on the floor. I covered my face to hide the tears from Blyth as they began falling for fear of everything that this future was going to contain.

I screamed at Blyth as his hands rested on my shoulders, “Don’t touch me!”

Instead of doing as he was told Blyth wrapped his arms around me. I pushed him away to hear the sounds of the woods around me. The moonlight shined instead of the light in his bedroom. “There he is. Go to him if you wish.”

I lifted my body off the ground and swung around to find Michael floating just a few feet from the edge of the cliff. I reached out for him, but I pulled back my hand for fear of actually touching him. Every inch of my skin screamed to stay away from him even though my heart ached for his. Fear rolled through me knowing that if I touched him everything I loved would die even him. Tears streamed down over my cheeks as I looked at Blyth, “What did you do to me?”

“You want him, now go.” Blyth stretched out his hand offering me everything I had wanted, but feared the same.

“Sir,” Michael’s voice finally came but it didn’t bring any peace to the torture that was dwelling inside me. “Forgive me. I should have not come.”

“Wait.” Blyth demanded of Michael, “I want to know why you would come for her.”

I watched through my tears as Michael lowered his head in respect, “She called.”

“Damn it, Michael.” Blyth’s voice grew angry causing me to cringe, “Tell me the whole reason.”

I watched in amazement as Michael gave in to Blyth’s demands. Never once had I seen Michael back down from anyone including my real father, which was the same as Blyth, a full blooded warlock. Michael not only chose to not fight Blyth, but he showed an enormous amount of respect it seemed.

“I feared that she might be in danger here.” Michael never raised his head while speaking. I crawled to the edge of the cliff hoping to see his eyes, but they were closed.

“Danger of what kind?”

“Forgive me, Sir.” Michael finally opened his eyes looking only at Blyth, “I did not know that you had come back. She will be safe as long as you are here.”

Before another word could be said Michael vanished leaving me there. The tears fell harder as I stared out into the darkness of the night where he had just been. I wanted to touch him, feel his skin against mine, but I couldn’t. It wasn’t that I couldn’t, but feared to. I feared everything that would die from just one innocent touch. It felt that every inch of my suffering would be plagued upon him if we had any type of contact.

I now realized what Blyth had done when he stared into my eyes. He knew that I would run to Michael whenever I would have the chance. Blyth made me feel all the pain that I would cause Michael if I allowed him to love me again. Even though it seemed cruel while it coursed through me, I knew it was the best. It would always keep me a safe distance from Michael. It was after all the reason that I had wished to end my life.

“You understand that I didn’t mean to cause you any pain.” Blyth’s voice was calm now as he knelt in front of me.

I nodded and understood completely although it did not stop the pain from running through me. I knew each time that I would see Michael that I would be tormented with this and I would never be able to touch him. It broke every inch of my heart knowing that I could never be with him again.

Blyth eventually took me back to his room allowing me to release myself without interfering. I curled into a ball in his bed and I didn’t bother to stop him when he wrapped his arms around me again. Blyth held me for the rest of the night in the dark. Even after I had run out of tears my sobs continued as though they were still there. I wasn’t sure if he had fallen asleep, but when the sunlight began shining in through his window he finally said, “It is time to dry your tears and get ready for a new day.”

Unenthusiastically I pushed myself up out of Blyth’s arms. I didn’t want to get ready for anything and I hung my head in defeat knowing that I would have to face the world again. Blyth carefully moved the hair from the back of my neck. His hands softly massaged my skin as his words reached my ear, “What was the danger that Michael was concerned about?”

I stood up removing myself from his hands. I knew exactly what danger Michael feared, but it didn’t mean that I was about to tell Blyth. I fought to keep his name from entering my mind as I shook my head. Without waiting for any kind of reply from Blyth I made my way to his door and walked out.

Outside of his room the hallway looked dark and barren. I looked each way realizing that I had no clue which way I was going. I leaned back against his door and looked each way again. After weighing my choices I decided to go left. My feet carried me wherever they chose. My thoughts did not include direction for anything.

Thoughts randomly sorted through. I wondered why Michael would come here thinking that I was in danger. He had said if I had decided that only he could take my power then no one could touch me. Those thoughts roamed, but also why Michael treated Blyth the way he had made its way inside me. It also seemed that if Blyth was here that I was safe from whatever danger Michael really thought I was in. The only one that I knew of was Marcus, but Michael didn’t understand he had nothing to fear. If I had a chance to face Marcus again I would be sure to rip his heart out with my bare hands. It might not kill him, but it would hopefully help heal mine knowing the pain that he inflicted upon me.

“Ashley!” I heard Kasey from somewhere behind me, but I kept on walking. Her voice did however make me realize that I was no longer alone wandering the hallways. It was not just her and I. Several voices were around me now, and Kasey started calling my name again. “Ashley.”

Suddenly Kasey was standing in front of me out of breath. She had run to catch up with me, “What are you, wow, what happened?”

I shook my head without looking up from the floor.

Kasey lifted my face, “You look awful. Let’s get you ready for class.”

She studied my face, but I was sure that she was fixing my makeup from the tears. Quickly she ran her fingers through my hair straightening it out. “I knew that twenty four hours with him would make you want to kill yourself. You look worse than you did yesterday.”

I shook my head again trying not to let the tears start falling again. It wasn’t Blyth that made me this way. I was about to ask her again what exactly he was because of Michael’s reaction, but she took my arm in hers. “Time for class.”

She dragged me down the hallway and into a room where we sat in the back of the classroom. I couldn’t concentrate on anything that they were teaching. I knew that we remained in the same classroom while each of the teachers came in. It seemed quite odd to me, but then again nothing here seemed to be any kind of normal. They went through each normal class as a high school. English, math, science, and history, but none of them lasted for more than half an hour. I had come to the conclusion when Kasey informed me that it was time for lunch that they were classes the school had to teach.

I declined her attempt to get me to move from the desk. She said she would bring me back something from the cafeteria, but it didn’t matter to me. After she left I beat the end of my pencil off the notebook that she had given me. Bradford Art Institute of New England was written across the cover. I opened it up deciding that I would write just like I used to, but nothing found its way to the paper.

Kasey sat an apple down on the notebook, and didn’t say anything to me as she sat back down. Alec was here now, and he thankfully pulled her attention from me. Closing the notebook I stared at the rest of the students in the room. There were about twenty of us altogether. I recognized the girl and guy that I had first seen when I woke up here, and they insisted on whispering to each other while stealing glances at me. No one else even paid me any attention.

My head fell down on the desk in boredom or exhaustion, which one I wasn’t sure, but I still couldn’t close my eyes. I stared at the wall even when I heard his voice. “Alright, you are all late. Detention banging erasers after class for all of you. Wait? We don’t have a black board, am I in the right school?”

Blyth’s words were lost in the laughter of the class. When everyone finally quieted down I turned my head and stared at the notebook. One of the guys in the class called out over everyone else’s chatter which cause me to cringe in my seat, “Hey Mr. Baine about the homework…”

“Tyler, if you call me Mr. Baine again I swear I will turn you into a toad.” Blyth cut him off, but it wasn’t after my nails dug into the desk. There right before me the letters on the notebook screamed out to me. B.radford A.rt I.ntitute of N.ew E.ngland. Baine was written right in the name of the school. “It is Blyth, or Mr. Bradford if you prefer, but never again call me Mr. Baine.”

“Sorry. It is a bad habit.” The boy apologized.

Another voice cried out from the laughter, “Can we really do that? Turn people into animals.”

I tried to pry my fingers a way from the desk knowing that Blyth was not a Baine as well, but I couldn’t let the name of the school escape my thought. I kept listening to the conversation going on in the class hoping to get my mind straightened around.

Blyth answered the boy, but his voice was no longer the happy carefree sound that it was when he walked in, “If I ever hear of a student from this school turning anybody into any animal I swear I will bury them alive. Then after six hundred years I would dig them up just to bury them in a different location. How does that sound?”

The room grew silent and my eyes closed trying to remove the words from my sight. Even in the darkness of my closed eyes lids the initials of the school were embedded into me.

“Like the new do.” Alec finally broke the silence of the room.

Slowly I lifted my head to find Blyth standing in the front of the class. All of his hair had been cut. Now it was a choppy short cut. Longer on the top, but it got shorter the farther it went down. His eyes fell on me as he answered, “Yeah, figured that I could use a new look instead of being confused with others.”

My head fell back down on the desk as others complimented him on the new look, but the only vision I had in my head at that moment was running my fingers through his hair last night mistaken him for Michael.

“Now Tyler,” Blyth’s voice overwhelmed the student’s, “What about the homework?”

“There’s nothing out there. You sent us all on a wild goose chase.” The boy finally got to make his point.

“Is everybody in agreement with Tyler and there is nothing out there?” Blyth asked the class, and silence again filled the room until he spoke my name, “Ashley, perhaps you, a girl from the middle of nowhere, no ties to any other witches or warlocks, could help everyone in the class.”

I looked up at him again finding everyone turning to me.

“Their homework was to find any profitable business owned or operated by those just like us, outside of this town. Could you name one?” Blyth’s eyes seemed to dig into mine searching for an answer. I knew if I did name the only one that I knew of he would have the key to my future, my pain, and the danger which Michael was speaking of. I shook my head and laid it back down the notebook. “If you just give me one, I’ll excuse you from the class to go back to your room.”

Blyth tapped on my desk now, and reluctantly I looked up to find him standing over me, “I saw how you reacted when you heard his name. Now just tell me the business running under that one man.”

“No.” I growled at him.

“Just say it.”

“No.” I stood up ready to leave, but Blyth caught my arm keeping me from moving.

“Tell me, and then you can go.”

I turned and sat back down at the desk staring at the words on the notebook cover. It was obvious that he already knew so what was the point of holding it in. “The Ocean’s View Hotel.”

“Owned by?”

“Marcus Baine.” I enthused him some more with my knowledge.

“There you go everyone. Mr. Baine, your very own teacher owns and manages a very profitable ocean side hotel.” Blyth’s voice grew distant as he walked back to the front of the class, “The whole point of the homework was to make you understand we can be very profitable people and still keep our true identities hidden from the world.”

“But how does she know about Mr. Baine owning that, and we had no idea?” Another student asked.

“Ashley and Mr. Baine…”

I cut off Blyth before he could say anything else, “Stop saying his name.”

As I screamed at Blyth to stop everything suddenly cleared in my mind. He was a teacher here and that is why Michael was so concerned about me being here. That is why my father sent me here to begin with. That is how Marcus met my mother and pushed her into helping him.

‘Just a vindictive old man that used to teach here.’ Blyth’s words came back reminding me of the man that had tried to hit him with the lamp. I knew exactly why Marcus was so upset as well. He knew the future was changing since I had seen my fate.

I looked up to find Blyth talking with the class, but I couldn’t hear anything that was being said. I threw my arm in the air as the tears fell in the opposite direction. “Yes, Ashley?”

“How do you run from someone who can see the future at will?” I couldn’t believe that the words actually escaped my lips, but there they were out in the open now.

Blyth’s eyes seemed quite confused now, but it was Alec that stopped my heart with the answer laughing, “You can’t.”

Blyth lifted his hand silencing the whole class from random giggles and murmurs. “Who can see the future at will?”

“I can, but I don’t think that I’m who she is talking about, Blyth.” Alec again spoke, but this time he was more serious.

“Alec you can see no more than two or three minutes into the void, but I have this odd feeling that she is talking years maybe more.” Blyth looked over the confusion of the classroom ignoring my question, “Everyone this is Ashley, she has happened to see a glimpse of what her future might contain by blessing or curse. She is the daughter of Elizabeth Bowerstone which is a direct descendant of Mary Bowerstone, the one who brought about the Bowerstone Fate. Who remembers what she did?”

“She was convicted of being a witch, and as she walked to her death she cast a spell upon her children so that they could see their own fate. She didn’t want them to die like she was going to.” Sophie offered the answer quickly.

“Yes, but there are some facts that were left out in the teaching only because it was about her spell being past down through the generations,” Blyth paced the front of the classroom never taking his eyes off of me. I knew that he wanted me to know everything that he telling, “She was never convicted or tried as being a witch. Months before this supposedly took place she woke up one morning screaming in agony and her children found her scared by the flames that consumed her at the stake. Not only had she placed the spell upon her children to see their fate months before they turned it had also worked on her only she received the scars of her death. Since then it has been discovered that her descendents see their fate nearly three months before they turn, unless in that fate they perish. If their fate is to die they are taken back further before they turn with their skin still bearing the scars, so that they may change it in their favor.”

“Wait,” Sophie now interrupted Blyth, “What happened to her if she didn’t die like we were told?”

I looked down at my desk when Blyth disappeared from in front of the classroom. His hands were balled into fists as he leaned against it. Staring deep into my thoughts he answered her question, “She brought her three children ages eight, ten, and sixteen to this school. The next day her body was found.”

“Where?” Sophie questioned.

I lowered my eyes from Blyth’s as we both answered at the same time, “At the bottom of the cliff.”

Blyth let the class talk momentarily to themselves and then he continued removing himself from my desk, “She was the first that we know of that had jumped, but she was not the last. In fact the only ones who have jumped are from her blood which carefully narrows her bloodline down to one left. One true full blooded witch who also wishes to end her life in the same way. Now I want you all to think about this tonight: Is it Ashley’s true fate that she saw in her vision, or do you think she is actually fated to jump from the cliff just like over half of her ancestors.”

While Blyth was doing his little speech I felt the frustration boiling up inside of me. By the time that he had completely finished I decided that I had had enough of his class and got up. I could feel everyone’s eyes on me as I walked out the door. Slamming the door I turned looking both ways. I was still lost in this building, but again I didn’t care. I leaned against the wall and covered my face trying to rid myself of the irritation that Blyth had caused.

“Why did you lie to me?”

He shouldn’t have followed me out here especially now that he had evoked the anger inside of me. Uncovering my face I glared at him trying the right words to say him. There was no smile on his face now, but it started to grow with each word that I projected, “You may control this whole entire place including the town. Michael can show you whatever kind of respect he wishes, but to me you are nothing. You singled me out in the middle of class humiliating me to no extent, and now you actually want them to discuss me, not as a person but as a piece of homework.

Like I said you can control everything that you wish, but you won’t do it to me. People fear and respect you, but you will receive neither from me. Do your worst because there is nothing that I fear anymore.”

I beat my fist against the wall behind me from the rage because he did nothing other than smile the entire time. I hope to bring some sense of anger to him, but it didn’t seem to work which just enraged me even more. Finally after messing with his hair he replied, “You shouldn’t have lied to me. Maybe I would have been a little nicer.”

“What did I lie to you about?”

“This morning I asked you about what Michael was talking about and you shook your head denying that you knew. Then again in class you denied knowing anything about Mr. Baine. Why?” Blyth moved forward blocking me against the wall placing both of his hands on either side of me.

I place my hands on his chest trying to push him away from me, “I didn’t lie to you. I shook my head which means I don’t want to tell you. Now let me leave.”

He leaned in closer loosing his smile and making it harder for me to push him away, “Denying me what I want, and I will consider it whatever I deem it to be. In this case I feel that you are lying to me.”

“Around here they may treat you like God, but if I refuse to answer you, I should not fall under the same punishments because I do not worship you as they all do.” I stopped pushing against his chest now and just defiantly glared at him.

“I am not God and if there were a God, he would have ended my life years ago just as he should have with Michael and Marcus. So however I chose to run this town and this school you will obey me.” Now Blyth was glaring at me.

I couldn’t help but feel a small amount of happiness knowing that I had agitated him just as he did to me. I stood my ground though refusing to let him own me as he did everyone else. “No.”

Blyth raised his eyebrow and questioned, “No?”

“How are you going to punish me? Send me to Michael so that I can watch him in agony, send me to Marcus so that I can kill him this time, or will you just put me to rest over the cliff like I wish?” I beat against Blyth’s chest with my hands to show him that I was not afraid of anything that he would do to me. “I already live in Hell so stop prolonging my agony and just do whatever you want to me.”

Blyth grabbed my wrists to stop me from hitting him, and swirls started around us. Kasey’s room came around us as Blyth pushed me down on my bed, “You are tired. Get some sleep.”

Before I could do anything to defy him he vanished leaving me alone in the room. Fury tore through me as I picked up the suitcase sitting beside me and threw it at the door. I watched as it landed with a thud on the floor, and then I dropped on the bed to stare at the ceiling. There was nothing that I could do at the moment. He might as well chained me to my bed because I knew if I did anything or left the room he would know about it and bring me back here.

“What do you think he’s going to do to her?” Kasey’s voice came into the room as soon as she and Alec appeared.

Alec smile as he saw me lying on the bed, “Send her to her room just like a parent would do to a defiant child.”

I rolled over and faced the wall so that they couldn’t look at me. Kasey continued talking as though I wasn’t even there, “What do you think he’s going to do if she doesn’t start obeying him like he wants?”

“Come on. Let’s go back to my room.”

Silence filled the room after they left, but my thoughts roamed on what Kasey asked him. What would he do to me? I was ready and determined to find out.

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