Redmayne

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 3 (v.1) - Family Matters

Submitted: June 16, 2018

Reads: 39

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Submitted: June 16, 2018

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Patricia had just finished cleaning up the coffee from the vinyl floor where it had spilt when she heard the phone ring. She dropped the cloth in the sink, came in to her living room and answered the phone.

“Hi Sis,” said Jason as soon as she'd answered.

“You felt it too then?” She said

“Yes, he’s out,” said Jason.

Patricia glanced at the clock. “It hit me like an electric shock; a sudden realisation. I was going to call but I didn’t want to wake you.”

“Yeh, well you needn't have worried; it woke me up straight away. I won't be able to sleep now,” Jason replied.

“Nor me,” said Patricia.

After a moment’s lull Jason said “I always thought Mum was joking when she told us who we were, and what we might one day have to do.”

Patricia’s mind went back to the days when her brother was somewhat annoying. “Yes, I could tell you never did take it very seriously. I always thought you were upset that I was the one given the sword.”

Jason chuckled slightly. “I was;” he said. “It isn’t easy for a boy to see his sister being given a sword instead of him.”

Patricia coiled the telephone cord around her little finger. “You know why she did that; right?”

Jason quickly answered “Don’t worry, I got over that a long time ago. Anyway, I’m not going to question her reasoning now. I just hope you’re as good as you used to be.”

Feeling confident in what she knew, but wishing she knew more about the enemy, Patricia said “So do I. In any case, I’d better get on a plane and get straight over there.”

“Okay,” said Jason, “I'll get the spare room ready for you. Julian can have my bed.”

Patricia looked towards the floor. “It'll just be me; I think it would be better if I come on my own.”

“Oh okay, I don't mind you know; I can...”

Patricia broke in “I'd rather he stayed away from all this; at least for now.”

Jason paused momentarily and then said “I guess you're right. Keep him safe as long as possible.”

“I’ll leave him with Tom’s parents; they’re always happy to have their grandson come stay.”

Jason’s voice sounded thoughtful. “They're good people.”

Patricia did not feel the need to say anything in reply to that. Everybody had remarked how happy she was when she had been Tom, and his parents made no secret that they adored her and Julian. “I'll fly out as soon as I can,” She said.

“Okay Sis; let me know when you're due to get in. I’ll come and meet you.”

Looking forward to seeing her brother she said “It’ll be good to see you again, but I wish it was for a better reason.”

The conversation lapsed. Patricia did not want to put the phone down; she got comfort from hearing her brother. She held the phone to her mouth, but didn’t speak, nor did she hear any words from Jason. She knew that she would have to break the silence so she said “Well I’d better get on; I’ve got a lot to do.”

“Yes of course; cheers,” Said Jason.

“’Bye,” she said and was putting the phone down when she heard Jason’s voice again.

“Wait:” he said, “Just before you go.”

“Yes?” She said holding the phone back to her ear.

“Take care of yourself.”

Patricia tried not to let her own voice crack when she heard the warmth in Jason's. “Yes, and you too.”

“No, I mean it; the world is depending on you.”

“I mean it too; it may depend on you also. We are both Redmayne.”

Patricia put the phone down and was about to pick it up again to make a call. She stopped when she noticed Julian in the doorway; he looked white and had a frozen expression on his face. “Was that Uncle Jason?”

“Yes.” Patricia sat as calmly as she could. “Did you have a bad dream?”

Julian said nothing he just ran over to his mother, who put her arms out to form an embrace into which he fell. For minutes they held each other until Julian looked up and said. “What was it Mom? I was so scared.”

Patricia brushed back his dark brown hair. “You’ll be all right, Mummy’s here.”

Julian looked up at her with big brown eyes. He didn't need to say anything; Patricia knew her child wanted an answer. Patricia did her best to convince herself it would be all right so that she would be more convincing when she told Julian.

“We are descendants of a mighty warrior that lived many years ago,” she said. “He fought a very evil person and defeated him.” She paused. “Now I have to do the same thing.”

“Will you stab him with your sword?”

“Never mind what I'll do, just let's get you back into bed.”

Patricia picked up her son and carried him back through to the bed. Any thoughts of ending the conversation were to no avail as Julian continued. “Did the great warrior stab him?”

“He didn't need to; now you must go to bed and get some rest.”

Even as she was putting him back down in his bed, Julian protested. “But I can’t sleep now.”

“You will have to try. A warrior needs to rest if he is to be strong in battle.”

“Am I going to come with you?”

Patricia shook her head. “Not this time, you have to and stay with Grandma and Grandpa Munroe.”

“I want to help.”

“You will help me by going and looking after Grandma and Grandpa. If you want to help a bit more, you could include me in your prayers.”

“I always do.”

Patricia smiled and smoothed the hair off his brow. “Then be quiet and close your eyes. Prayers always work better when you've fallen asleep.”

“But Mum...”

“Remember what I said about being scared and being a hero? Now you have to be brave and go to sleep. You’ll be all right; I’m right here.” She kissed Julian and then turned out the light as she left.

Julian closed his eyes and whispered “Please God, keep Mom and Uncle Jason safe.”

Patricia sat herself down in her favourite chair and drew her feet up under her. Going to fight the Evil One was something she had always prepared herself for, but she never hoped it would happen. She knew that none of her ancestors had been called upon, so why should she? Her love for Tom had been enough to draw her from her resolve not to have children. She always thought the Redmayne line would pass down through Cousin Mary. Now though, she had a son, and he had already lost his father.

With her head in her hands she thought about taking Julian away and hiding him. She could protect him; after all that was her priority as his mother. For a moment, she thought she felt a strong hand grip hers. She looked up at the picture of her and Tom, and remembered the words he spoke when she told him she was pregnant, and that she didn’t know whether she should continue her training. He had told her that if her family were right she could better protect him if she was ready and able to defeat the Evil One. He trained to face fires, why should she not do the same. If she was not needed what would be the harm?

Now here she was, the Evil had risen in her time, and though she’d trained and prepared for it she never hoped it would be her to whom the responsibility fell. She felt a difference now between her situation and Tom’s that she never felt when they discussed it before. Where a firefighter expects to have to fight fires; does a soldier expect to go to war? It didn’t matter now; she had taken the sword and become the swordweilder; now she would have to use it.

What would happen if she fell though? The sword could be lost, but if it wasn’t should she pass it to Julian? She now felt the burden that her grandmother must have faced, and she rubbed the arm of the chair while her thoughts went around her head.

She had no idea how long she’d sat in her thoughts before she got up and wandered over to the bedroom door to check on Julian. She saw he was sleeping, and she marvelled at the effect of tiredness on children.

Her mind was made up, and she phoned Mrs Williams, her regular babysitter. Though surprised to be asked at short notice she was able to come and sit with Julian.

*****

Mary was sitting rocking backwards and forwards in her chair. The TV was off and she had a half drunk cold cup of coffee next to her. Every time she had tried to pick it up her hands were shaking so much that she put it straight down again. She was startled by a knock at the door. She got up, brushed down her jeans, and straightened her blouse.

She made her way cautiously to the door and peered out through the spy hole. She recognised the person on the doorstep, though she thought it was one person who would never darken her door. If there was any night it was going to happen it would be tonight. She opened the door though she did not want to.

“Hello Mary,” said Patricia.

“What do you want?” said Mary.

“I really need to talk to you.”

“The swordwielder wants to talk to us, well we are honoured.”

Mary could see that Patricia wanted to walk away, and Mary would be happy if she did. The silence between the two had continued for almost as long as Mary could stand.

Patricia said sharply “I know our mothers didn’t get along, but I’ve done you no harm; couldn’t you ask me in?”

The two locked eyes, and they said nothing. Mary’s need to talk was fighting her conditioned hatred towards Patricia and all she represented.

Patricia broke eye contact first. She looked up the road, at the ground and then back at her cousin. “Please Mary, I’ll go and leave you in peace. Chances are you will never see me again anyway, but tonight I have to speak to you.”

Mary saw now a woman standing in front of her, no longer just a name that was spat out by her mother, or a face to be avoided at formal family events. “It’s come, hasn’t it?” she said, “you’d better come in.”

Patricia followed as they went into the kitchen. The woman leading her in was a little taller, and stockier. It was hardly surprising since she had not put her body through the physical regimen that Patricia had, though in fairness Mary was not unfit herself.

“It seems we can all feel it,” said Patricia as she entered the kitchen.

Mary put the kettle on and said “I wish I hadn’t. Coffee?”

“Yes please,” said Patricia.

Mary knew her cousin was standing and watching, but made the coffee without once turning to face Patricia or trying to make conversation. It was taking all her concentration to keep her hands steady as she worked.

Patricia said almost in a whisper “Mary, I’m sorry about your Mum not…”

Mary could not help a harshness in her voice showing as she finished the sentence “About Mum not getting the sword? Well that’s Gran for you; she had her favourites.”

Patricia said “Right now I don’t feel like anybody’s favourite.”

“Now you know how we felt,” said Mary as she thrust the mug of coffee at Patricia and sat at the kitchen table.

Patricia followed suit and sat with her. “Truth is I never really thought about it. Our sides of the family not talking just seemed like a natural thing.”

“You wouldn’t think that if you were the disinherited.”

Mary saw temper in her cousin’s eyes, but it died as she watched. It was as if she could see an internal struggle to stay and finish this conversation. Knowing it must have been difficult to come and open the dialogue, Mary had to admit some admiration for Patricia, and she thought it would be only fair to hear what was so important.

Patricia looked to one side and then back at Mary and said “I’m not here to argue whether Gran made the right choice or whether she wronged your family. That was her decision; not mine.”

“So what are you here for?” Asked Mary.

“To reinstate your inheritance,” said Patricia.

Mary sat back. Many years of stories about the ‘other’ side of the family made her wary of such an offer. She remembered the sick feeling in her stomach, earlier that evening, and her mind made sense of it. “So, you want to hand over the sword now that you will be called upon to use it. Suddenly we are good enough.”

Patricia shook her head. “No, I’m the only one trained to use it, so I’ll face the Evil One. But if I am successful and killed in the battle, or even if I’m not killed I should be thinking who to pass the sword to. I have no daughters and I would like to pass it to yours. It should go to Laura.”

Mary had not expected this revelation, and she had never even considered the possibility of the sword being passed back to her line. Almost instinctively she pictured the sword the hand of Laura, the ungainly child who was a fine piano player but generally loathed physical exercise. She thought instead that it would be better passed to Linda. With that thought came an understanding of the decision her Grandmother made, though it was still buried under years of resentment.

“What if you are not successful?” asked Mary.

“In that case the sword might be lost forever, and so might a lot more besides.”

They drank in silence, and though the atmosphere was not warm, it was at least business-like.

Mary came round to thinking that refusing the offer would have been foolish since it had caused so much resentment, and so she accepted the burden of responsibility back to her side of the family.

They finished their drinks while making slightly stilted small talk that avoided any other family issues.

As Patricia was leaving, Mary suddenly felt that she was watching her cousin leave for ever. She grabbed her and said “Good luck, Cousin.” 

She felt Patricia give a squeeze back in reply. It was only a brief hug, but one that until that night would have been unheard of by both sides of the family.


© Copyright 2019 Kevin Broughton. All rights reserved.

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