Secret of the Family Tree: Digging Up Old Roots

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Chapter 28: Magic Made Simple

“Ooh, no— No pleeeease!” Samantha heard a girl’s voice pleading. Her own lips were moving. It was her. She was the screamer! Her eyes flew open, darting left, then right, finally focusing straight up, staring at a ceiling. A second ago, she was running for her life. Her heart was still racing, thundering in her ears, and in her throat. Brushing back her curls clinging to her sweaty forehead, she told herself, I’m safe. It’s okay.

Slowly her heart rate returned to normal when she realized she was in her own bedroom. Tossing back the covers, she swung her legs over the side of the bed, firmly planting her feet on the floor, allowing her head to clear. Her clock read 8:13 p.m. She remembered heading to her bedroom soon after Chief Bevin and Officer Roberts left. She had climbed into bed, not even bothering to remove her outside clothes, and immediately fell off to sleep, falling into a nightmare.

In her dream, she’s in the library sitting in the children’s section. Ms. Emily is walking towards her pushing a library cart. On her cart instead of books, there’s a serving tray with a domed shaped lid concealing its contents. Ms. Emily parks her cart next to Samantha. Smiling the old librarian says to her, “Have you met my sweet boy?” Ms. Emily proceeds to lift the domed lid off the tray where there lay the soft doughy head of Kenneth Randall, staring out vacantly through his dark brown eyes. Samantha screams, pushing the cart away from her. She runs through the library toppling bookshelves while darting down the aisles. She sees a flashing red exit sign and runs for it with her hand outstretched trying to reach for the door to make her escape. Ms. Emily appears again, blocking her way. Raising her arms, Ms. Emily points her gun and fires. The sound of the bullet whizzing in her ears woke her up.

Rushing into her bathroom, she splashed cool water over her face. Recalling her dream reminded her just how dangerous the situation had been for her and Zen. Ms. Emily and Kenneth had killed three people, she was aware of, to gain the favor of a powerful group. And Samantha knew these murders had everything to do with the knowledge her family was concealing; not some illegal antiquities trade as Officer Roberts surmised.

Drying her face, she rubbed her forehead extra hard, trying to wipe away the thoughts running through her mind. “How many more people like Ms. Emily and Kenneth Randall will come searching for my family?” Samantha asked her reflection staring back at her from the mirror. “Do these Sentinels still think we know something? They must be convinced after all these years that we know nothing,” she reasoned with herself before returning to her bedroom.

The sight of her jumbled bed didn’t suggest a peaceful slumber. It screamed more nightmares. I wonder if Zen is still awake. Heading across the hall, she found his door open and his room empty. He must be downstairs, which is where she found him, sitting at the kitchen table with her parents, Addiwan, Aunt Sam and Uncle Junzo, who must have arrived while she was sleeping.

“You look terrible,” Zen said, frowning at the sight of her. He was sipping something from a teacup he held with both hands.

“Thanks.” Then giving her aunt and uncle a hug, she said,” Sorry for getting Zen into trouble.”

“We’re just happy you’re both alive,” Sam said.

“Besides, Zen would’ve found other ways to get into trouble,” Junzo added.

“Oh thanks, Pop.”

“Are you hungry?” Anna asked. “I saved you a dinner plate.”

“No thanks, Mom. I’m not hungry.”

Sliding into a chair next to Zen, Samantha asked him, “What are you drinking?”

Extending his right pinky finger, Zen pointed his nose towards the ceiling answering in a snobbish tone, “Its tea. Addiwan made it for me.”

“The herbs will help to reduce the swelling around his face, and help him sleep,” Addiwan explained.

“I can use some of that if it will help me sleep peacefully,” Samantha yawned.

“I will make you a cup.” Removing a small cloth pouch from his pocket, Addiwan poured a tiny amount of a powered substance into a cup, added hot water, and then handed the brew to Samantha.

“Are you having trouble sleeping, Cherub?” Craig asked.

“A little.” Looking down into her cup at the purplish-blue liquid, she raised the cup to her noise. It smelled a bit like the lavender liquid from Essences Flower shop and something else she couldn’t identify. Samantha really didn’t like tea, but as she took a sip, she found it very soothing the way it slid down her throat and warmed her belly. Smiling, she nodded her head and gave Addiwan the thumps up sign before taking another sip.

“Thanks for saving our lives— hey, you turned yourself into a bird.” Samantha recalled Addiwan’s stunt. “How did you do that? Did you perform some type of magic?” Looking at Addiwan in his usual black dress attire, she hoped he wasn’t some sort of dark sorcerer. She really couldn’t handle any more secretly twisted people in her life, as Mrs. Emily turned out to be.

Addiwan’s bright amber eyes twinkled as he answered. “If you are asking me if I have the ability to shift my appearance, than yes, I can perform what some humans call magic. I do not call it magic. It is a normal way of being for me.”

“But, most people can’t alter their faces to look like a hawk or sprout wings and fly. Are you… human Addiwan?” Samantha had to ask the question. From the moment she met him, she sensed there was something very different about him, and from the silence around her, she could tell the rest of her family wanted to know the answer to the question too.

“I am a human. I am a human who has retained the capability to do what most humans have lost the ability to do, which is to control their physical structures. Let me explain it this way. Rhiannon said you witnessed the pure essences working with plants.”

“Yeah, they can take on the form of whatever plant life they work with.”

“Exactly,” Addiwan agreed. “Everything, even humans are made up of pure essence or energy frequencies that create form. People and things may appear fixed and unchangeable; however, they are not, they can be fluid as water and light as air. I will demonstrate the truth behind this idea.”

Extending his arm out in front of him, Addiwan transformed the structure of his right hand into thousands of colorful light pixels. “This is my essence, my energy pattern.”

Everyone gasped.

“What happened to your hand, your flesh, your bones, all of it, it’s all gone!” Samantha said, leaning in closer to get a better look at where Addiwan’s hand used to be.

“It’s still here. You cannot see it because I shifted the pattern of my hand’s frequency.”

“How?” Junzo asked.

“By saying a word in my head, or some would say that I cast a magical spell. Now watch, I am going to say another magic word out loud.” Samantha held her breath; waiting to hear that all powerful word that would restore Addiwan’s hand back to normal.

“HAND,” was all he said and before their eyes, Addiwan’s hand reappeared at the end of his wrist.

“Oh, wow! He’s like David Blaine!” Zen said, nudging Samantha. “I’m gonna learn how to do that.”

“Hand, the magic word is hand?” Samantha just couldn’t accept such an ordinary word could conjure such an extraordinary result. “How is that a magic word?”

“It created what I asked for. Yes?”

Not able to hide her obvious disappointment, Samantha exclaimed, “Yeah, but…hand is something everyone knows, like chair or table. I thought magical words were, you know, magical, like Abracadabra or Bippity, Boppity, Boo!”

“Hmm,” was all Addiwan said before then asking, “What do you create when you say the words, Abracadabra or Bippity, Boppity, Boo?”

“Whatever I wish for… I guess.”

“You guess…why leave it to chance? It really is simple,” said Addiwan, looking at everyone in the kitchen. “Abracadabra is a fine word, however, if you are going to use this word or any word, make sure you understand its vibrational pattern of what it is meant to create. Words are powerful, and they will create the energy pattern they are designed to create.”

Taking another sip from her cup, Samantha thought about what Addiwan just said. Then it came to her, “So that’s what Grandpa Innis meant when he said there’s power in words.”

“Correct, and that, Samantha, is how I transform myself.”

“Can you teach me to do that? Transform?” asked Zen.

“Son, first learn how to just be a boy,” Junzo said.

“There is your answer,” said Addiwan, standing at the kitchen door. “Goodnight.”

The door had barely closed before Zen offered up his opinion of Addiwan. “I always thought Addiwan was a cool dude!”

“You did not. You said you thought he was odd,” Samantha said, finishing her last drop of tea. “I always thought he was unusually interesting.”

“It’s like shapeshifting,” Craig said, getting up from the table to place his teacup in the sink. “This is what Addiwan is talking about. Most indigenous people talk of it and we’ve all read about shapeshifters in our culture’s folklore. Even in some cultures today, there are Shamans who claim to do what Addiwan does.”

“And on that note, you two should head off to bed,” Anna said, pointing to Samantha and Zen. “Your Aunt Mayra is arriving tomorrow.”

Back upstairs, Samantha lingered at the threshold of her bedroom door, uncertain if she really wanted to enter.

“What, you’re not tired yet?” Zen asked.

“Zen, are you having trouble sleeping, you know, since the incident in the woods?”

“Nah, why are you?”

“I had a nightmare about Ms. Emily and Kenneth,” she shared. “You know that whole episode of being attacked and almost dying was pretty scary. It doesn’t bother you?”

“Well, sure it bothers me. I don’t like being punched in the face. I certainly didn’t like being chased through the woods by a mad woman and her son. It was like being in a scene from Psycho.”

“So how are you able to close your eyes and not relive it all again?”

“It’s because I surf the waves.”

“Surfing, I don’t get it.”

“It’s like this,” Zen said, leaning against her doorframe. “When my dad first taught me to surf, it scared me. I couldn’t balance myself on the board. I’d fall over, taking in a mouthful of saltwater. Then when I learned to balance, a wave would come out of nowhere and knock me for a loop. After it all came together, Dad told me his philosophy on surfing, and why it was important for me to learn. He said life was like surfing, you have to find your balance, and even if you’re cruising along, a big wave, like the Randalls, may knock you for a loop. Don’t let it keep you down if you do, the water will drown you. You have to get back up and find your balance. Get it?”

She did get it. As frightening as the incident was, she couldn’t let it consume her or get in the way of a good night’s rest. “Thanks, Zen,” she said, giving him a hug.

“Good, that will be five bucks for my therapy session.”

“I’ll pay you when you actually have your therapist license.”

“Fine, no more free consultations from me,” he said, entering his room. Then poking his head back out he asked, “Hey, can you take me to meet Ashlynn tomorrow.”

“Sure, that I can do.”


Samantha felt rested the next morning. When she finally got back to sleep, she dreamed of sprouting a pair of lavender wings and traveling high above the Earth. It was such a peaceful feeling. Actually, last night’s sleep was the best she’s had since learning of the death of her grandpa Innis. It must have been because of the tea Addiwan gave me.

Moving casually around her room, she straightened her bed, picked up her clothes from the night before, and took an extra-long shower. Wiping the fog from the bathroom mirror, she studied her face. The bruise on her left cheek was still there, but no longer painful. Turning away from her mirror, she began to dress for her day by pulling on a pair of wool socks, donned an oversized white sweater over a pair of jeans. Downstairs she joined Zen for breakfast before heading over to Ashlynn’s tree.

As she watched Zen circle the pine tree for the second time, Samantha noticed the swelling on his face had gone down considerably. He’s almost back to looking like his old Zen self, she thought.

“So do we knock on the tree trunk or what?” He asked.

“Well the last time she just stepped out.”

Zen placed a hand to the side of his mouth, leaning over to whisper to Samantha. “Maybe she doesn’t want to be seen talking with you. You know, because of that stunt you pulled, breaking through that barrier. All the trees are probably talking about it.”

“Hey, you stepped through that barrier too!”

“Yeah, but I was just following you. I was the one who told you we shouldn’t. They know who the troublemaker is. Did you notice Gypsy slept in my room last night, she wants nothing to do with you.”

“Gypsy slept in your room because you have food in there. She always follows the food.” Secretly, she did wonder if what Zen was saying might be true. Terrance was rather quiet last night too. He normally says goodnight, even if he doesn’t tell me a story. Perhaps the trees were avoiding her.

“I just don’t know about you, Samantha. You’ve gone completely rogue.”

“Hey, you’re the one who told me to stop living my adventures through books. Besides, I was worried about Mom.”

“Ahh,” Zen sighed. “Samantha, Samantha, Samantha, what am I going to do with you” Holding his hands out in front of him as if he were on a diving board, he explained. “There’s a time to dive in with both feet,” then placing his hands in a prayer position, Zen concluded, “Then there are times you must sit and contemplate the situation. That’s another five bucks for my therapy services.”

“Well I felt the situation called for action, not contemplation,” she retaliated, with her hands planted on her hips leaning into her cousin’s face. Okay, my peaceful feeling is gone.

With all their arguing, Samantha and Zen hadn’t noticed Ashlynn had appeared right in front of them until she spoke.

“I knew I heard voices. I apologize for not coming out to greet you sooner. I thought it was just the chatter of the two squirrels up in my tree. They are always arguing with each other as to how many nuts each should carry,” said the lovely tree essence as she glided towards them.

“Sorry Ashlynn,” Samantha said. “We didn’t mean to make so much noise. I wanted you to meet my cousin Zen.”

“It is very nice to meet you cousin, Zen,” Ashlynn smiled.

“Wow!” Zen said, gazing at the tree essence. “Can I touch you? Will by hands go right through you, like a ghost?”

“Zen!” Samantha said, feeling embarrassed by his questions.

“It’s fine, and yes, you may touch my hand, Zen.”

Lightly touching Ashlynn’s hand, he said, “Your hand is so soft.”

“Why, thank you. It feels nothing like the bark of my tree does it?” Ashlynn said, giving Zen a wink. “What are you two younglings up to besides coming to visit me?”

“We’re supposed to take it easy. We both got into a bit of trouble. I’m not sure if you heard anything about it?” Samantha hesitantly asked.

“Mmm yes, I know something about it. I sent out the message for the barrier.” Ashlynn said.

“Just for the record,” Zen said, casting Samantha a sideward glance. “It was not my idea to leave. I wanted to obey the warning.”

“It was good, Zen, you stayed by Samantha’s side. If she were alone, it may not have been a happy ending.” Ashlynn said.

Zen puffed out his chest saying, “Well, I would’ve never let her go by herself. Oh, did you see my black eye and my lip? I put up a fight. I tried not to let them take us.”

Samantha looked down, she felt stupid now, running through the barrier as she did. “I didn’t mean to cause so much trouble, really I didn’t. I was just worried about my mom,” she confessed.

“Oh, I understand you want to protect your mother, Samantha. Even we tree folk have the instinct to help those we care for. I must caution you to please pay attention to the warning if it should happen again.”

“Believe me, Ashlynn, I have learned my lesson.”

“How does this barrier thing work anyway?” Zen asked.

“It is created by the concentrated energy of most of the trees on this property. Through our roots, we can communicate with each other and sense the intentions of humans from the energy flowing from their feet. We felt strong negative vibrations from the woman and man, and we prevented them from coming onto the property.”

“Then how did we get through?” Samantha asked.

“That’s a good question, because as hard as we tried to keep you in, somehow you both forced our barrier to bend and let you through.”

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