Approaching Phoenix

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Chapter 6

After sitting in silence for several hours I finally turned on Kasey’s CD player and listened to whatever it was that she had in. Even though I was extremely tired and worn out completely I refused to sleep because that is exactly what he wanted me to do. Finally when I had gotten into the shower to wake myself up even more there was a tapping on the bathroom door. I decided to ignore it so that I could enjoy myself in the shower without interruptions and as I hoped it stopped.

Feeling refreshed and a little more energetic I walked out of the bathroom to find a tray of food sitting on my bed. That must have been what the tapping was about. Even though it looked delicious I sat it on the desk. I wasn’t quite sure if I would be able to hold it down if I did decide to eat it so I put it out of my mind as I worked on unpacking my suitcase into the dresser.

It didn’t take me as long as I thought it would. I sat down on my bed and rested against the wall feeling the exhaustion starting to set in. Trying to think of anything to do to keep me awake I closed my eyes to find Michael’s staring into me again. I sank down into my bed watching him as he watched me. He tried to beckon me to the cliff side again, and my heart screamed for me to go. With every inch of my body pushing me to go to him my mind kept me in the bed. I didn’t want to suffer anymore without being able to touch him, so I was content just lying here. I wondered while his eyes grew impatient if I continued to keep my eyes closed forever if he would stay with me.

The thought of forever with him seemed to be too much of a dream. Even when we were together I knew forever was too long. He would always be there, but never mine forever. His eyes faded away to when he handed me the silver band. The tiny words inscribed on the inside of it nearly broke my heart now. He would never keep me. Not that it meant much now because it never happened.

As my memory faded Michael’s eyes were gone now and the music suddenly changed from hard guitar lines to a simple acoustic rhythm. His voice came just as I knew it would at some point tonight. I refused to open my eyes to see him. “Ashley?”

I tried to pretend that I was sleeping, but I was sure the scowl on my face had given me away when he continued talking. “Listen, please. After I got some sleep I thought about how I acted and I’m sorry. Yesterday was not the greatest day to be me, and with the small amount of sleep that I had gotten. I apologize for taking out my frustrations on you. I understand that you have had a very trying time also and for the most part you have acted particularly quite well until I provoked you. Would you please forgive me for acting like a narcissistic jerk?”

Even though he did sound generally sincere and apologetic he didn’t deserve it. “No.”

“No?” I felt the bed slowly lower beside me as he sat down, “Can I ask why?”

“No.”

“You haven’t got any sleep yet have you?” Blyth brushed the hair from the side of my face causing me to turn towards the wall away from him. “I said I’m sorry. What more would you have me do?”

“Leave.” I decided it was the best thing for him to do.

“Will I see you in class tomorrow?” Blyth stood up from my bed surprising me that he was going to actually leave instead of trying to talk me into forgiving him.

My first thought was to shrug my shoulders and leave him guessing, but I decided to answer him as straight forward as I could. There was no way that I would step foot within his classroom again without a good reason. “No.”

“Again, I am sorry.” Blyth left and the music went back to what was originally on.

It wasn’t much later when Kasey finally came back. Without saying a word she turned off everything, and went to bed leaving me in the dark silence of my own thoughts.

“How long have you been out here?” When I heard Blyth talking I turned slightly, but not enough to actually see where he was. “You look cold.”

I nodded as he sat down beside me, but I didn’t take my eyes from the horizon in front of us. The chill from the night still wore on me, and now even though the sun was high in the sky it didn’t seem to warm the air much more. The wind beating against the cliff climbed up and over it hitting me with each blast.

There was nothing inside of me to fight against him anymore as he moved and put his arm around me pulling me close. I closed my eyes as I fell into him. Fatigue claimed my entire body, but still I haven’t been able to sleep. At first I was sure that it was only because I wished to defy him, but now I couldn’t find it if I wished.

The sun faded and the cold air warmed up considerably as Blyth took me back to the school. My jacket was replaced by a blanket, and Blyth kept his arms around me as he laid me down on the bed. I didn’t care to open my eyes to see where exactly we were. I just knew that it was warm and more comfortable on my body.

Blyth’s arms released me and I reached out grabbing his shirt pulling him back to me, “I don’t want to live a life without Michael, but I can’t bring myself to jump again. What do I do?”

“Come here.” Blyth lifted himself so that he was sitting on his bed. He pulled me up letting me rest against his chest. Slowly his fingers brushed the hair from my face. “If you would sleep you could think more clearly.”

“But I can’t sleep for fear that I would find him there causing my dreams to become nightmares.” As I let Blyth in he started rocking me slowly I hated the feeling of being treated like a child, but it was calming everything deep inside of me. “Can you turn me back to me and take all of my memories of them away?”

Blyth brought my hair around so that I could watch it turn back to normal. “I can change you back into your old self because I can see that it did not help you create a new life. As for your memories I won’t.”

“But you can? If Michael respects you, you have to be more powerful than any warlock, so you can?” I pleaded with him.

“I can, but I won’t. As for the respect that Michael shows is not because I am more powerful. He shows respect only because it is deserved.” His hand still ran through my hair just as the rocking continued. He shushed me when I looked up to speak placing his finger upon my lips. He closed his eyes and I watched his lips as he spoke, “Release all your fears into me as you close your eyes and I will protect you as you dream.”

Relaxing back against his chest I listened to his heart beat trying to do as he said. Slowly I let my eyelids close and Blyth’s lips fell on the top of head. From the constant rhythm of his heart and the darkness surrounding me I became submerged in a glorious dreamless slumber.

When I woke up the first thing that I heard was the horrid screech of a cat hissing. Opening my eyes I found every light in Blyth’s room on. I lifted myself up off the bed and rubbed the sleep from my eyes. I looked around when I heard Blyth, but it didn’t sound like him. His voice was hushed and bleak, “Get it out. Please get it out.”

In the only shadowed corner of his room Blyth was hunkered down with his head down and his hands out. There three feet ahead of him was a small orange kitten full of terrible sounds. The hair on the kitten stood on end as Blyth cowered further into the wall. The scene before me was very unusual and almost funny if it wasn’t for the trepidation that Blyth was projecting. “But it is just a kitten?”

He kept his head low as he spoke, but his voice pleaded, “Please, Ash, just get it out of the room.”

Slowly I got of the bed and knelt down calling the kitten to me. I pulled back my hand as the kitten hissed and swiped its paw at me. “Does it have rabies or something?”

“No, just pick it up by the scuff of its neck, and put it outside the door.” The kitten’s attention turned back to Blyth when he spoke. I took that opportunity to quickly grab the kitten like he said. It hissed and growled reaching around trying to claw me. I questioned to myself why it was being like that, but the urgency of getting it out of the room took over. I quickly opened the door and stepped out into a dark hallway. I sat it down hurrying back into the room, but before I made it in the kitten attacked the back of my ankle. I felt its claws and teeth dig into my skin. Without wanting to, but impulse pushed me to kick my foot out. The kitten meowed and sounded frightened as I sent it flying down the hallway. I slammed the door behind me as I looked for Blyth in the corner. He was still there with his head in his hands now.

Kneeling down in front of him I put my hand on his shoulder and he shied away from my touch, “Are you okay?”

“Do I look okay?” Blyth nearly shouted as he lifted his face. Fear shot through brown eyes that closely mirrored my own. A man who controlled everything around him was severely frightened by a simple kitten.

I reached out to touch him again, but this time my hand brushed the side of his face. I almost pulled it away as soon as it touched him, but I let my fingers run from his cheek down to the bottom of his chin. This was the first time that I could ever remember touching a man’s face that was rough from needing to shave. Michael and Marcus never aged so their faces remained the same always. A smile came over my lips hoping that it would help calm Blyth. Slowly his eyes lost everything inside of them leaving only despair.

Blyth lowered his eyes from mine looking at the floor. Using both of my hands I lifted his face up again, “It’s gone.”

Gradually the brown faded away letting his eyes become blue again. He closed his eyes and rose up causing my hands to fall into my lap. With the gloom that had just been flowing through Blyth it shocked me to find his voice in anger as he spoke again. “Since you have come here nothing but terrible providence has come to me. If Michael’s luck was the same in that future that you saw, maybe it was better off that you died. If I was smart I should just send you back to your father, and you can just deal with your problems on your own.”

His words hit me hard in the gut as I fell back against the wall where he just was seconds ago. I watched as Blyth began pacing the floor quickly and talking under his breath. Little by little I brought myself up off the ground as Blyth’s blue eyes pierced into mine. I readied myself for another outburst that I could see coming through his eyes, but my wait was in vain as he kicked the bed cursing.

In an attempt to understand what was going on I took the silent moment in the room to ask, “I thought cats were supposed to be like familiars or something. What was that all about?”

“Michael never told you?” Blyth turned to me leaving me more clueless than I was before. I shook my head and waited for an answer, but it wasn’t one that I really wanted. It was more of an answer that I would have gotten from Marcus trying to avoid the whole truth. “Cats and I don’t get along. We have a mutual disrespect in a sense. But someone sent that cat here. I have to find out whom and why, and somehow I have a feeling it all comes back to you.”

“But I…”

Blyth cut me off holding his hand up, “I know you didn’t know, but someone has their eye on you. Whatever their plans are they don’t want me holding you here.”

My first though came to my lips before I could even hold it back, “Michael has called me back to the cliff while you weren’t with me.”

“No,” Blyth shook his head and began pacing again, “It would be impossible for either Michael or Marcus to send it. Michael, I know, wouldn’t stoop that low for one simple girl, no matter how great your power may be. Even if it was Michael could have sent it someway, he would have swooped in here the moment the barrier was down and took you.”

“You lose your powers around cats?” I hated asking, even though the answer was obvious enough now. I needed to know the answer to the question that I had initially asked though, which was directly answered by the glare that Blyth was now giving me. “So it is like a Superman and Kryptonite thing?”

Blyth rubbed his face, “Not really, but it has the same effect.”

I sat there in silence for awhile watching Blyth pace. I had absolutely no idea what was going on so my thoughts went back to when I first saw Blyth cowering in the corner. The fright that had consumed him from just a small kitten worried me. “Could it have killed you?”

“Would you just stop with the questions?” Blyth’s anger came back as he kicked his desk knocking over several things on top of it, “For having such a wonderful relationship with Michael, or even being so close to Marcus, you should know all this.”

“Oh, I’m sorry. Neither of them was attacked by little orange kittens.” I stood up taking my ground against his rage, “Marcus held in every single bit of information that he could, and Michael never once mentioned anything about the effects of cats on warlocks. You said that you and Michael have a lot of similarities, but right now you remind me of only Marcus.”

I glared at Blyth as he forced me into the wall with his hand on my throat. His words, however, caught me off guard, “I know what you fear the most, and if I reminded you anything of Marcus you would be trembling in that corner not standing up against me. Does that shock you? You said you feared seeing Michael in your dreams, but when I looked inside the only fear I saw in you was him. So tell me now, is he the one who can see the future at will?”

Using both of my hands I pulled Blyth’s hand from my throat. He didn’t willingly let go, but he wasn’t forcing it against me like he was at first. “Yes, but shouldn’t you know that since you know everything else about them.”

Even thought Blyth’s hand was away from me his eyes were right in mine, “Did Michael know?”

“No.” The anger that had consumed me now dwindled down to nothing. My eyes shifted back and forth between his, and I couldn’t help but wonder why he kept them blue instead of their natural deep brown. It seemed that Blyth’s rage was slowly disappearing as well, and I didn’t ask him why hoping to keep it gone. There were so many questions swarming through my mind at the moment, but I knew I couldn’t ask one of them without enraging him.

Blyth rubbed his eyes and turned away from me. He pulled a lighter out of his pocket and lit up. I thought about reminding him what he had said earlier about not smoking in the school, but I didn’t know how he would react so I kept my mouth shut. Quietly I excused myself to the bathroom.

My red hair and brown eyes were back to normal, but I washed the makeup off that didn’t fit. With the water running I was reminded of the bite that the kitten had inflicted on me. I sat down on the edge of the bathtub and lifted my pant leg to reveal several puncture marks in the back of my ankle. There was very little blood coming from any more than that. I didn’t want to bother Blyth with it at the moment.

Staring at the bite on my ankle thoughts quickly went through my mind gradually slowing and ending on one thought alone. Marcus. I hated Marcus with everything inside of me. I did not fear him like Blyth had said. He was wrong or maybe he took my strong feelings of hatred for Marcus thinking they were fear.

Pulling my pant leg back down I decided to go back out into the bedroom. As soon as I opened the door I was face to face with Blyth again. This time he was beaming. “You remind me of someone. The only woman that would ever challenge me, except she had an advantage over me, you however don’t.”

“Who was that, your mother?” I pushed passed him and walked over to the window to watch the sun beginning to rise.

I closed my eyes wishing that I had my powers when Blyth’s hands rested on my shoulders. Instead I just stood there waiting to see what he was going to do. His words fell into my ear as a whisper, “Do you take pleasure in causing me grief?”

I opened my eyes to prepare myself for the response from my answer, “Yes.”

Blyth’s hands moved my hair and his lips brushed against my neck as he spoke, “Then you should give me some pleasure for such pain.”

Before I knew what I was doing I turned and shoved him away from me. “Don’t you dare touch me like that again!”

“Ah,” Blyth crossed his arms and stared curiously at me, “If I ever touch you again like that you have my permission to spoil whatever fun that I may have planned.”

I returned his stare, “Seriously?”

Blyth nodded and turned to look out the window. “You should go get ready for class.”

I tried to read his expression as he nodded, but I couldn’t discern if it was torment or sorrow. Whichever one it was, it wasn’t him. “Blyth?”

“No more questions, Ashley.”

“I’m sorry for whatever pain that I cause you. I want you to know that I don’t mean any of it. I would honestly rather you have let me jump that day.” I turned to walk out the door, but I hesitated hoping that Blyth would respond. He remained quiet.

As I tried to find my way to my room I thought about Blyth. Nothing about him was making any sense to me. Everyone around here would bow to him if he wished, including Michael. Yet, someone knew his only weakness it would seem. If cats were a weakness to all warlocks then I’m sure I would have heard something. It was only something Michael, Marcus, and Blyth would fear. That is how I would assume it to be now that I actually had time to think about it.

Spinning around I found myself going back to Blyth’s room. I had a question for him whether he wanted to hear it or not. I needed an answer. I slowly reached for the door knob. Holding my breath I opened the door ready to keep my courage up for confronting him.

“Blyth, how… Blyth?” I looked around his room, but it was empty of him. “Blyth?”

Peering into the bathroom I found that the mirror was shattered everywhere. I stepped in further to find the washcloth that I had used earlier covered in blood tossed in the sink on top of more pieces of the mirror. Carefully I lowered myself down to the floor and began picking up the shards then tossing them into the garbage. I decided while I waited for him to return that I would clean up the mess that he had created. It would only take him a moment or one thought to do it himself, but I needed something to keep me busy.

While I cleaned I kept peeking out into the bedroom in hopes that he would have returned, but each time it was in vain. Finally when I had finished I walked out and stared at his laptop. I thought about using it to send an email to Kate back home, but just as before there was nearly no life back for me there. I sighed at the thought and moved my eyes from the laptop to the books that covered his entire wall.

I studied several of the books recognizing the names of some, but as I went further down on the shelves the books seemed to age. On the bottom shelf there were several books that held no title, and they reminded me of several that I had seen in Marcus’ possession while in the hotel. I wondered if I would be able to read these ones unlike his.

I pulled the first one out and examined the poor binding before opening it. It had been read several times, and it was also extremely old. I opened the cover and the date called out to be read aloud. “January 1720.”

“Put her book down.” Blyth voice startled me enough that I quickly closed the cover. If I hadn’t been so startled I was sure that I would have given more care to it since it was just under three hundred years old. “Ashley, put it down.”

“Alright,” With more care I placed it back on the shelf, “I was just curious. It is so old.”

“Ashley, what are you doing in here?” Blyth glared at me. I had infuriated him by looking at the book it seemed.

I looked back down at the book and thought about his words, ‘Put her book down.’ Who was ‘her’?

“Ashley!”

“I, um, cleaned up the mess in the bathroom for you.” I tried to calm him down.

“Go to class.”

I thought about the date in the book and remembered exactly why I had come back. “I will go if I can ask just one more question.”

“One.”

I inhaled deeply not afraid of questioning him, but of the answer, “Blyth, what is your real age?”

“Twenty six, just as I told you before. Now get out!”

He seemed to be telling the truth. As I walked out the door I couldn’t help but feel that he wasn’t telling me the whole truth.

“Ms. Daisher, I am glad that you could finally join the class again. Why don’t you have a seat?” Blyth announced my entrance into the classroom, but I had no plans on staying or joining the class. Since I left his bedroom earlier I searched this place high and low for some kind of date, but there was none to be found except in that book.

“Mr. Bradford,” I addressed him the same as he had done to me, hoping to cause disrespect as much as I could, “I have only come for an answer.”

“No more questions. I told you.” He glared at me from the front of the classroom.

“This is a classroom after all, and you are a teacher, I’m a student therefore you are almost required to answer my questions.” I walked up to the front of the classroom to the dry erase board. Quickly I jotted down the school name with each word falling down from the first letter showing BAINE in plain sight. “I want to know what year did Marcus and you found the school. I have searched this entire building for a date, but I can’t find one.”

Blyth looked away from me and at the curious faces in the room. Anger shot through his eyes as he looked back at me, “Marcus and I did not found the school. This building was constructed in 1855. The school was founded in 1744. The name that you foolishly place with Marcus is not there because of him. At the founding of this school he was no more than twenty years old at the time. The Baine that you should refer to is his mother. She, however, did not have anything to do with the school, but when it was named they could never let what she had done go unforgotten. It is because of her …”

The anger was lost in his eyes as he removed them from me to stare out the window. His answer was definitely not what I had expected, and I was more than shocked into a silence. I turned to let him finish his class, but surprisingly Alec brought up the topic again. “Because she is the one that created the only unbreakable spell, right?”

“NO!” Blyth appeared right in front of Alec’s desk, “She sacrificed everything.”

Alec did not respond now and neither did anyone else.

“Class is over. I want everyone out now.” I followed his orders with everyone else and started to leave again, but my body was halted. “Not you Ashley. You stay right where you are.”

I watched as everyone left the classroom, and the door swung shut as soon as everyone was out. Blyth was standing in front of me leaving me only to hear the click of the door shutting in place. He kept me stuck there as he walked around me like Michael used to do. “I am lost in what to do with you. First I try to show you a good time to get your mind off of suicide. Then I help you successfully stay away from Michael and take your fears away so that you can sleep. I have showed you nothing but kindness. Not to mention I actually asked for forgiveness and you refused to accept it. It is not within me to be cruel, but you are wearing my patience thin.”

“I only wish to find the connection that you have with Michael and Marcus.” Finally I admitted my reasoning for breaking up his class. “I have issues thanks to Marcus with people withholding information from me, more so now that he withheld the fact that his only goal was to kill me. So you can imagine my feelings against you for being just like him.”

Blyth finally released me from his hold as he sat down on top of the desk next to me. “There is no connection between us that would change your fate. So I must insist again that you give up on questioning me about everything, and try to enjoy the short amount of time until your birthday.”

“Thanks for nothing, Mr. Bradford.” I bowed, “I’m sure that Marcus has already seen what I plan to do, so whatever plans that I had are foiled now. I’m sure that he had something to do with my dad bringing me here therefore bringing you into this. Doesn’t it kind of scare you to know that Marcus knows what will happen before you do?”

“Just another reason to keep you far from me.” Blyth got up and slowly walked to the door. Once he reached it he turned around, “I’ve washed my hands of them and their brotherly problems. I was only trying to help you prolong your life, but you seem sure that Marcus will find a way to end it any way. Good luck in however it ends.”

My breathing lowered and my eyes fell closed as my fists clenched. I pulled at the small amount of magic inside of me. The desk that he was just sitting on began rattling. I imagined throwing it at him for just letting me fight them alone when he seemed to know more than I did about them. Blyth would have to power and knowledge to keep them at bay, especially Marcus, but he wasn’t going to help me.

I felt it flow through me and out. I opened my eyes to find Blyth glaring at me and the desk lying against the door behind him. The world started fading around me as I heard Blyth speaking. “You just keep finding new ways to pull me in.”


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