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Chapter 23

Once I get back home it’s dark, I decide that after a day like today I should shower. Get all the grime of breaking into a place off of my body. Maybe it will help shake this weird feeling I have. Getting out of there was easy, almost too easy. Hopefully, though the shower will get that out of my mind. I need sleep tonight. As soon as I step out of the shower my phone buzzes with a text. I grab my phone and see that I missed 12 calls and I have 24 messages. “What the hell?” I say out loud as I check the first message, something happened to Alex’s mom and I need to call Evan right away.

I speed dial him #2. He can never know that. It would be so embarrassing if he found out, I mean him being #5 would be less of an embarrassment but not #2. He will never have the #1 spot though, that will always be for Oliver. Even if we were super mad at each other, he belongs there. After not even one full ring it clicks, “Riley is that you?”

“Well duh. It says my name when I call, doesn’t it?”

“Actually your picture shows up, but it could have been someone else calling from your phone.” When did he get my picture\ and who would call from my phone? He doesn’t give me the chance to ask those questions though, “Riley we need to bring Alex’s mom there. Actually we are almost there. Can you get some ice in a pail or bucket or something? We need lots and I don’t know. Can you make sure William and Emma are home?”

“Sure? What is wr...” He hangs up before I can finish. So many questions left unanswered. Is this what my life has become? A life full of unanswered questions?

Not even 5 minutes later everyone is at the house, including Oliver who I suspect was with Alex the whole time. Alex’s mom Jamie looks horrible. Her skin is so pale and her cheekbones look like they are popping out of her skin. I never noticed how small she is until now. I wonder if this she looked this bad when we left the facility. I remember her looking not as good as his dad, but I don’t remember her looking this bad. They bring her into the spare room, which is big enough to hold everyone in at the same time.

“What the hell am I supposed to do? I’m not a doctor!” I yell in Evan’s head, or at least I hope it was only Evan’s mind I was talking to. I didn’t get any added looks so that must be a good sign.

Evan pulls me into the hallway by the arm. He whispers “Riley, do you still have those flowers I gave you?” His face is full of concern; there is even more concern in his eyes. I’ve never seen that many flecks before, the flecks take up the whole inside of his iris, the outside is still gray. I wonder what happens when an even more powerful emotion comes out. Would all the gray leave?

“They dried out Evan.” I say with a shrug, they were only flowers after all.

“Yes but you kept them didn’t you?”

Embarrassed by the fact that I did I try to look away before he can see the light purple in my eyes, but he grabs onto my chin so I have to look at him. Looking into both his eyes I manage to whisper, “Yes, I kept them. They are in my room.”

“Good show me where they are.” Evan says softly. Then I think this day can’t get any worse, my room is a mess, and that is where they are. Although he doesn’t seem to care how there are pairs of pants on the floor, or shirts thrown every direction, not to mention a few unmentionables in the drawer that is open. I can feel my face heat up in embarrassment. I grab the flowers off my dresser and close the drawer before he gets too close to fully see what is in there. He looks at me and says, “Thank you Riley.” The concern is still written all over his face, but there is gratitude in his eyes as he stares at me.

“What will they do? Will it help?”

“Yes. Well hopefully. See this flower, the one with ivory petals, red flecks and black stripes from the tips to the center? Notice how dark green the stem is compared to all the other flowers? Well this is called Dragons Labyrinth. It is very hard to get, and it took a lot of bribing on my end to get it from a warlock in the area...”

“Why did you give it to me then?” I ask now more confused. Why would he do that for me?

“Riley, you’ve got to know how...”

Before he finishes Alex comes rushing in and screams, “We need it now! Hurry and get it upstairs to my dad!” Forgetting what Evan was going to say we rushed after Alex. The urgency in his voice scares me.

“Hurry give it to me,” Liam says to Evan with his hand extended he takes the flowers away. He has a mortal and pestle beside him, and starts to grind up the dry flower. “I hope this works. Normally it needs to be fresher than this.” His brows come together in concentration as he smashes the flowers in the small bowl. Once it is to the consistency he wants, he grabs a spoon that is on the side of the bed, and scoops the powder that once was a beautiful flower. Once he has the amount on the spoon, he gets closer to Jamie, he gently opens her mouth and puts it on her tongue.

“Wait?” I scream at everyone, “Won’t she choke? She is unconscious! She can’t swallow it.”

“Don’t worry, it will dissolve in her mouth,” Liam says to me in a calming voice, then someone says in my head “I hope.” but I don’t know who said it, I’m too busy concentrating on Jamie. Alex grabs a wet towel from the ice bucket that was brought into the room. He lightly dabs his mom’s forehead where sweat has started to form around her hairline.

“How do you know that flower will help? What is wrong with her?” More questions form in my head, but no one gives me a chance to ask. They hardly even give answers for me, which makes me come up with more questions.

“Those people gave her something at the facility,” Liam says to me, sympathy is written all over his face as he explains this to me, must be because I know nothing of the world I’ve been forcibly put into. He is so calm waiting for the flower to work.

Panic seeps into my bones and a chill goes down my back as I clue in, “Oh no, what about Caleb?”

Liam looks away from his wife, looks at me in the eyes and says, “No Riley. They only gave it to her.”

“How do you know that?” There is still panic in my voice.

“Because we were there before they brought him in. Strange people, I don’t even know why they brought him into our room. It didn’t seem like they were keeping species together, but maybe they just thought we would try to communicate with him because of how young he is.”

Evan scoffs and says under his breath, “Or he was put there for a purpose.” I hear him clearly though, I give him a look that I hope says shut up, you don’t know him. At the look he just rolls his eyes and shrugs his shoulders.

“No, I don’t think so. Anyways, they only gave it to Jamie that I know of. I’m not sure about anyone else that was in the building.” I smile at the first part; Caleb is nice, and handsome. Liam continues, “Riley, I know you don’t know much about all of this. I am sorry if it seems sometimes I, no not just me but, all of us… I am sorry if all of us seem to get a little frustrated with having to explain everything. We’ve all grown up knowing this, so it is hard to not expect it of you to know too.”

I shrug and say, “It’s okay, I get it. So can you explain the flower a bit more to me? I mean how can it help?”

“Yes. Dragons Labyrinth is a powerful flower and it is very hard to come by. Only certain warlocks know how to grow it. The properties within the flower are healing. So no matter what is wrong with the person, it will heal them. Unless the person is dying or dead, unfortunately the flower won’t be able to help them then. Normally in these situations where it is an unknown illness, you are supposed to use fresh Dragons Labyrinth, but this will have to do.” He sighs and holds his wife’s hand a little tighter than before. Alex is on the other side of her, Evan behind him with his hand on her shoulder. Oliver is off to the side, looking very uncomfortable with everything. I know how he feels. I don’t belong here, not around everyone who fits so nicely together.

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