The Fire Within - Heidi Cooper

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 13 (v.1) - Chapter Thirteen

Submitted: April 27, 2017

Reads: 29

Comments: 1

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Submitted: April 27, 2017

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Chapter Thirteen

 

 

I reeled in horror as the realisation hit me. That man was my Dad’s father, Tobias Amesbury.

 

“Dad…” my father whispered, struggling to let the word pass through his lips. To say Dad was shocked was an understatement. I think we were all taken a little aback.

 

“I know my being here comes as a surprise,” Tobias started, withdrawing his hand slowly and returning it to his coat pocket. “Though what I have to tell you comes as a matter of great importance.”

 

My mother disappeared into the kitchen without saying a word. I heard her bang and clatter around in there for several minutes before entering the lounge room with a tray of tea and biscuits. “Refreshments?” she offered, smiling awkwardly and casting my father a sideways glance.

 

“So you’re my grandfather…” I said as more of a statement than a question.

 

“How do you do, young lady?” He asked, kindly. “Emilie, is it?”

 

“Yes.” I said, timidly.

 

“Pleasure to meet you, Emilie.” My grandfather said, taking off his right glove and extending his hand to me. My Dad stepped forward suddenly and pushed his hand out of the way.

 

“What are you doing here?” Dad said, indignantly. I had never seen my Dad like that before; angry, confused, surprised and a little upset all at once.

 

Mum put the tray down a little too hard on the coffee table. Suddenly all eyes were on her. “Shall we sit?” She said, awkwardly.

 

Mum and I took a seat on the three-seater-sofa and my grandfather sat in the recliner nearby. Dad remained standing.

 

“I know my being here comes as a shock to you – “

 

“You got that right!” Interrupted my Dad, rather irately.

 

“I am sorry, son. I don’t expect you to understand.” Tobias said, with a little emotion. “I thought keeping away would protect you. I’m sorry I hurt you but I had no choice.”

 

“After all these years…” Dad practically whispered. I saw a single tear appear in the corner of his eye and roll down his cheek. Tobias must have noticed because he whipped a handkerchief out of his coat pocket and handed it to my father. Dad stared at it as though he had never seen one before. After a little hesitation he took it and dabbed at his newly formed tears.

 

“He was banished, David.” Mum said, breaking her silence. “Let us hear what he has to say. Please…sit.”

 

My mother, ever the peacekeeper.

 

Dad sat himself next to Mum and she grabbed his hand. We waited with baited breath for what Tobias had travelled so far to say.

 

We could have heard a pin drop in that deafening silence. Mum and Dads eyes were fixated on Tobias. The tension was so thick I doubt a knife could have cut through it. Dad’s muscles along his jaw stood out as he clenched his teeth. He didn’t look angry in that moment; just incredibly tense and perhaps still a little stunned. I cleared my throat and leaned forward to collect my cup of tea and a couple of choc chip cookies. I stuffed a whole cookie in my mouth. Nobody except Tobias seemed to notice because he smiled at me as my parents continued to stare right at him. He cleared his throat loudly and it shook Dad out of his trance. My Mum blinked a few times before looking over at me stuffing the second cookie into my mouth. Normally she would have said something along the lines of, “Oh, Emilie!” but I suppose she was also too stunned to think straight.

 

“I wish I was here solely on good terms but I am afraid my being here brings with it some rather bad news.” Tobias began. “It wasn’t my intention to leave you for all those years with no word as to my whereabouts. I thought about you every day, David. Please believe that.”

 

Dad started dabbing at his face again with his father’s handkerchief. My Dad wasn’t usually one to cry but family reunions certainly had a way of bringing about all kinds of emotions in people.

 

“I was banished…” He continued. “But I was never very far away. I have followed you all this time. I saw you marry your wife, Cordelia. I was there the day you brought Emilie home from the hospital, all eight pounds and seven ounces of her. I was there the day you enrolled her in school. You could not see me, but I could see you. Not a moment has gone by where I haven’t thought about all that I have lost…”

 

“Mum died of a broken heart.”

 

“I saw that too. I so desperately wanted to return to her – and to you – but the coven would not allow it. If I could have stayed I would have. You have to know that. I would never have left you and your mother if I had the choice.”

 

“Why didn’t you come to me after Mum had died?” Dad asked.

 

“I lost you for a moment. The last time I knew your whereabouts you had fled South of Salem but then I could not find you after that. It was like you just disappeared. I tried to locate you every day, then every week. I had almost lost hope in ever finding you again. Then one day the location spell came up with something and I have followed you ever since. You were quite young still at that time and you were courting Cordelia. Might I say, Cordelia – you were a beautiful, young woman and have only improved with age…”

 

Mum blushed at her father-in-law’s unexpected compliment. Dad didn’t seem to notice.

 

“Why didn’t you make your presence known when you had found me again?”

 

“I had to be careful. The coven made it abundantly clear that I was not to go anywhere near you after I had almost lost myself to the dark side…”

 

“Almost…?”

 

“Yes. They considered me a threat. I guess I considered myself a threat also. It was my decision to flee, but not without a helping hand from the coven. I was not aware of just how intoxicating using dark magic was until that night so many, many years ago. I was worried that I had lost myself for a long time. I have not used dark magic since that night. I tried to appeal to the coven, but they refused to overturn their decision. So I have been following you around using spells and under various guises.”

 

“What makes now any different?” Mum and Dad asked in unison.

 

Tobias picked up his tea and sipped at it casually.

 

“Well,” He began, “As you know, most of the coven is either dead, or in hiding much like yourselves. Also, the shadow coven appears to be gaining a lot more power and momentum, Rumour has it they were heading here, to Myrtle Beach. I have come to warn you. I don’t know what they are planning. I was too light for the dark coven and apparently too dark for our coven. As a result I was ostracized from everyone. I became somewhat of a lone wolf. All I know is that they are coming for the fire coven and we all need to be prepared.”

 

“Aren’t you worried about being punished if the remaining members find out you are in contact with us?” Questioned my mother.

 

“At this point I think it is crucial that I involve myself. I have been watching, hoping that the shadow coven would not find you but they are growing stronger and more determined than ever. You need my help to keep you safe. Of that much I am sure.”

 

“I thought South Carolina would be far enough from Massachusetts to help keep my family safe.” Dad said.

 

“No one is safe while ever the shadow coven is allowed to exist.” Tobias replied.

 

We all drank the remainder of our tea together quietly. Tobias sat quietly on the recliner, gazing intently at the inside of the cup as though it contained the answers to all of life’s mysteries.

 

Mum stood suddenly and said, “Another cup of tea, coffee perhaps?”

 

“Coffee please, love.” Said Dad.

 

“I would love another cup of tea thank you, Cordelia.” Tobias said, smiling as his gaze shifted from his cup to my mother.

 

“Can I have a hot chocolate please, Mum?”

 

“Sure.” She said, gathering the tray. “I’ll be back soon.” She added as she headed toward the kitchen.

 

I stared at my grandfather. It was like looking at my father a decade into the future; my grandfather still had a head full of brown hair, brown eyes and barely a wrinkle on his face. Most of his features were identical to my fathers; chiselled with highset cheekbones, wide jaw and mouth that turned up slightly in the corners. He looked kind, but fierce. He had this presence about him that almost put me at ease but I could not help but feel a little cautious. Finding out the shadow coven may be in town was daunting, but right now I was focusing on the fact that my grandfather just waltzed into our life unexpectedly. I had only moments ago found out about him. It was a difficult concept to digest; hell I was still chewing on the idea. As I sat there thinking to myself, it occurred to me how rather uncanny it was that he had actually turned up less than a few hours after my parents had mentioned him to me.

 

Mum walked back into the lounge room, balancing a tray full of our liquid refreshments, some tiny cakes with vanilla frosting and cinnamon donuts.

 

“Oh, Cordelia!” Tobias exclaimed as he clapped his hands together excitedly. “You have outdone yourself. It all looks absolutely delightful!” He picked up a tiny cupcake and Mum handed him his tea. “Much obliged,” he said, smiling as he received his cup.

 

“It’s really no trouble, Tobias.” Mum responded.

 

I grabbed my cup of hot chocolate and gulped down half of its contents in about ten seconds flat. In my haste to consume the beverage I had forgotten that my mother liked to add tiny marshmallows and almost choked on them. My Mum, Dad and newly acquainted grandfather all turned their eyes towards me. I raised my hand and through a mouth half full of marshmallows I mumbled, “I’m okay.”

 

Dad chuckled at me. Mum was mortified as usual; more so since we had company. It wasn’t the first time I had almost choked on my own food or drink. I was a guts and they knew it but my mother still chastised me for having no table manners. Tobias shifted in his seat and cleared his throat. Mum glared at me for a second and motioned towards our guest.

 

“Sorry,” I said, feeling about two inches tall.

 

“It’s quite alright, dear.” Tobias replied, chuckling. “No need to apologise.”

 

Mum smiled nervously and picked up her tea, sipping it slowly. Suddenly I remembered Dad. It occurred to me that he had been silent for a good fifteen minutes. The tension in his face had relaxed somewhat though he looked deep in thought.

 

“Are you okay, Dad?” I asked.

 

No answer.

 

“Dad…?” I said, a little louder.

 

“Sweetheart!” Mum called, a little too loud. Dad’s coffee almost flew right out of his hands as Mum snapped him out of his daydream. “Are you okay?” She continued her tone much softer.

 

“I just…it’s a lot to take in.” He said. “I don’t know how to feel about all of this. Dad returning, the shadow coven. Emilie only just found out about all of this today.”

 

“It’s overwhelming, I’m sure.” Tobias said, sincerely apologetic. “You take all the time you need, David.”

 

Tobias drank the rest of his tea and sat it down gently on the coffee table. He stood, straightened his coat and grabbed his cane. “I suppose I really should be going. I don’t want to overstay my welcome…”

 

Mum stood up quickly while Dad remained on the couch still clearly bewildered. Tobias looked down at my Dad and said, “I am so very sorry for all that I have done, son. And I am hoping that one day you find it in my heart to forgive me.” Dad remained rather motionless.

 

“Where will you stay, Tobias?” Mum questioned, concern written on her face.

 

“I will find somewhere. Rest assured I will never be far away.”

 

“You can stay here…” Mum started. Dad was still staring off into the distance.

 

“No, it’s clear that I need to give David and all of you some time to adjust to everything. It’s better if I leave.” Tobias responded, glancing down at Dad for a moment. “I thank you for your hospitality, Cordelia.”

 

I suddenly found myself wanting my Grandfather to stay also. I put my hot chocolate down, stood and headed towards him. I felt a strange connection to Tobias and the closer I got to him, the stronger it became. I knew him, like really knew him. I had met him before somehow. I knew that was not possible, right? Nevertheless he felt so familiar to me and not just in a my-father-is-your-son kind of way.

 

“G - Grandpa,” I stammered. “W - Won’t you stay?”

 

“Maybe some other time, Emilie.” He said, considerately. “I have something for you, though.” He took out a tiny red, velvet pouch tied with a fine golden cord. “It was your Grandmother’s. My Genevieve. I am sure she would have wanted you to have it. It has belonged in her family for centuries and brings unfathomable power to the one who wears it.”

 

He handed me the pouch and I took it gingerly. Loosening the cord, I tipped the contents of the pouch into my palm and placed empty pouch on the lamp table nearby. My eyes widened as I saw what my Grandfather had just given me; a ring made of white gold filigree with a large red garnet in the shape of a teardrop. It had at least a dozen tiny diamonds that made two little curls on either side of the pointy end of the tear. It shone and sparkled under the lounge room ceiling light. I had never seen anything like it.

 

“I – I can’t accept this…” I stammered, my eyes as wide as saucers. “It’s t – too much.”

 

“It is what she would have wanted, Emilie. You would do me a great honour and your grandmother, if you accept it.”

 

“I – I don’t know what to say.”

 

“Just promise me one thing,” my grandfather said. “Please wear it always. It will help keep you safe.”

 

“I...of course, grandfather.” I managed to croak out. I picked up the ring and placed it on my pointer finger and holding my hand up, palm forward I gave my fingers a little wiggle; admiring reflections dancing around the walls.

 

“Well then,” Tobias said, smiling gleefully. “It fits perfectly. Your grandmother would have been so proud.”

 

“Thank you, Grandfather.” I said, still a little awe struck.

 

“You are most welcome, my dear.” He responded. He turned to my mother and pulling a leather wallet out of his coat pocket he retrieved a business card and handed it to her. “Fabulous invention, these.” He said. “Please feel free to call me anytime. I won’t be far away.”

 

Mum took the card and smiled at him. “Thank you for stopping by, Tobias. The offer for you to stay is always open if you ever decide you want to stay.”

 

“Thanks, Cordelia.” He said as he briefly looked down at my Dad again. Dad was still giving the curtains across the room the thousand-yard-stare. “You will hear from me again soon. Take care.”

 

We walked Tobias to the front door, along our footpath and watched as he gradually disappeared from view down the street.

 

Mum sighed and glanced at me.

 

“Well…” she started. “What an interesting day.”

 

I just nodded in response as we silently returned inside together.

 

Dad was still in a trance-like state in the lounge room; eyes having barely moved  - if at all - for the last twenty five minutes. I was starting to get concerned. I had never seen him like this before.

 

“Dad, are you really okay?”

 

Dad looked up at me through sad eyes and said, “I have waited a long time to see my father. I was beginning to think I would never hear from him again. Now that I have I am not sure how to feel.”

 

“I am sure he missed you all these years too, honey.” Mum said, soothingly.

 

“I know,” Dad said. “I can’t help but feel angry at the coven for sending him away. I know they had their reasons but growing up without my father…”

 

The overwhelming sadness written all over his face was blatantly obvious as his voice trailed off. Mum sat next to him and put her arm around him. Dad turned to face my mother, resting his head on her shoulder his emotions trickled freely out of his eyes and down the back of her blouse. Feeling a little out of place I backed out of the lounge room quietly and headed towards my bedroom.

 

Night had come around faster than usual. Perhaps it was because of all the drama that had unfolded earlier. Whatever the reason, I was tired and it wouldn’t be long before sleep would overcome me.

 

I grabbed my pyjamas and made for the bathroom across the hall to perform my nightly ritual. Closing the door and flicking the latch behind me to lock it I disrobed and adjusted the shower faucets until I could feel warm water on my fingertips. I stepped in and tilted my head back, letting the water envelope my whole body. I relaxed and let out an audible sigh as the water flowed over me.  I worked my favourite soap into a lather and cleaned myself. The familiar scent hit my nostrils and I breathed in deep. After rinsing I turned off the shower, grabbed my towel and dried myself. Pulling on my pyjamas I took my hair out and gave it a really quick brush. I hung my towel and left the bathroom.

 

I entered my bedroom and fell backwards onto my bed. Another sigh exited my lips as I relaxed against my comfy pillows and doona. Mum walked in and sat down next to me.

 

“How are you, Em?” She asked, worry showing in her voice. “Do you want to talk about anything?”

 

“Not right now.” I said. “Thanks, Mum. I just think I need some sleep. Can we talk in the morning?”

 

“Of course, dear.” She responded. She kissed me on the forehead and hugged me before leaving the room.

 

I got under the covers and sleep had me in its grasp before I realised I had closed my eyes.



© Copyright 2017 H D Cooper. All rights reserved.

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