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Being an older, inner city suburb, Eraldus had many laneways crisscrossing behind the houses. Maria, often, walked them because they were much quieter than the streets. They were paved with uneven cobblestones and marked with weeds, puddles, graffiti, and solitude. Eraldus was originally a Greek area and there were still many olive trees and vegetable gardens growing over and through the back fences. In marked contrast to the stunning beauty of the Waldmeer beaches, the laneways were a vacuum. There was little to look at and so one started looking inwards. The energy in the laneways was different to the surrounding suburb. For one thing, Amira’s voice was particularly clear. However, other voices of lesser realms, also, seemed to make their presence known up and down the empty pathways.

It was a cloudy, cool afternoon with only occasional rays of sunlight. The laneways were quiet as usual, yet, Maria kept feeling that they were poised on the verge of action. Several times, she turned a corner and thought she saw the fleeting movements of a group of dogs in the distance. That was strange, in itself, because there were no stray dogs in Eraldus. Maria stopped walking. Something was there. She couldn’t see anything but she decided to head for the nearest street and get out of the lanes. A woman came from the shadows and stood in the lane ahead of Maria. Perhaps, it is one of the elderly Greek women, thought Maria.

As Maria passed, the woman said, “Why are you running away from me? I am your Great Aunt Evanora.”

Evanora, thought Maria. Yes, she had a great aunt called Evanora. It was one the sisters of the great aunt who died when Maria was sixteen. It was her father’s side of the family. Maria only occasionally saw some of the sisters and had the impression that they were a strange mix ranging from very good to very bad. Which was Evanora? Evanora looked at Maria with eyes that were both vacant and full of vengeance. She pulled a gun from her coat and took serious aim. Just as Maria felt she would be unable to save herself, a great wind pushed her over and she heard a thunder of growls. She barely dared to look at the horrible attack on Evanora by the wolves. It was Galahad and part of his pack, about six male wolves, from the North Country. Although extremely relieved to be rescued, it was a deeply distressing site. She sat motionless, unable to speak.

“Do not worry, Maria,” said Galahad. “We have not killed Evanora. We have only destroyed her temporary form so that she realises we are here and watching over you.” Sure enough, in a few moments, the bloodied remains of Evanora started to disintegrate and then completely disappeared.

“Would the bullet have killed me? Was it real?” asked Maria.

“Your belief in its reality gave it some power and so we did not want to take that risk,” said Galahad. “One day, you will realise that both the bullet and Evanora have no power to hurt you whatsoever.”

“Will she come back?” asked Maria.

“Not for now,” said Galahad. “We are the guardians of your spiritual bloodline.”

“Do you mean my family?” asked Maria.

“No,” said Galahad. “Some members of your spiritual bloodline have been in your family. Sometimes, there has been no one in it for generations. Other times, there have been several people in it at once. Whenever the light is strongest, there is, also, a darkness which comes.”

“What about my great aunts?” asked Maria.

“As you know, there were four sisters in that family grouping,” said Galahad. “One was the aunt who died. Another was the aunt who was upset with you at that time. Then there was Evanora. You cannot remember seeing her when she was alive. She was sent into your bloodline to prevent the spiritual light of the last born sister, Rose. Evanora watched her youngest sister relentlessly because she hated the light and she hated Rose.”

“What happened to the light sister?” asked Maria.

“She lived elsewhere,” said Galahad, “and only recently transitioned to the Homeland.” Galahad moved swiftly with his pack to the end of the lane and disappeared.

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