Readers find out that Meridian is with Raina in Salem. Raina is still up to her old tricks, but a new character appears. An old friend of Raina's from years past. Amelia is her name and she and Raina go back several years. (She is also in the Spin off prequel I am working on). Meridian has her own prophetic dreams and she struggles to connect what is going on. Next week Chapter 4.
If you need to catch up, the first 2 books and read the latest one, a series collection of all is out on Amazon.
Raina had awoken from just a few hours of sleep. She was in her kitchen waiting on her coffee maker to finish filling her coffee pot that needed a wash. Picking up her phone, she quickly dialed and after a brief silence on the other end, she spoke.
“Hey, it’s me. So, yeah, I will need more. I am running low and the effects are wearing off. I get maybe six hours at the most. I need something stronger that lasts longer than six hours. It is getting more difficult to find ways to get Meridian to take it at the right time.” Raina’s voice lowered to a whisper as she walked down the hall, past the bedroom where Meridian lay asleep.
“So how fast can you have it?” Raina listened and resumed speaking after a moment. “Good, so I will meet you then, same place, same time.” She hung up the phone and Meridian who had walked into the kitchen startled her.
“Oh! Meridian! You scared me! I thought you were asleep.” Raina put her hand to her chest catching her breath.
Meridian was yawning and scratching her head. “Well, I thought I heard you talking to someone.” Meridian nodded to Raina’s hand where she still had her cell phone.
Raina looked down at her hand and back to Meridian. “Oh, yes, of course. I was talking to one of my suppliers. Checking in to let me know that he won’t be able to deliver this week, that the beer I wanted is out and that he will bring it next week.” Raina put her phone down and poured herself a cup of coffee. “Want some?”
“Sure, I could use caffeine.” She sat down at the table. Raina’s place was small but suitable enough for the two. She stared outside the bay window at the quiet street while Raina slipped off into the pantry.
“So, do you want creamer? I have a new flavor to try if you would like.” Raina peeked out of the pantry at Meridian.
Meridian didn’t break her stare out the window. “Sure, I am always up for something new.”
Raina pulled out a bottle of blue elixir adding a few drops into Meridian’s coffee. She skipped out of the pantry over to Meridian. “Here! This one is a chocolate flavor, I just love it. Ya know, it has been so awesome having you around, and with your good looks, you have certainly been good for business, huh?!” Raina smiled and nudged Meridian’s arm. “The tips you are getting, no one else is that lucky in tips.” Raina took a sip of her coffee.
Meridian broke her stare to watch Raina stirring her coffee. “Yeah, I have enjoyed myself here. I have met neat people in this town.” Meridian sipped her coffee. “So, when do you think we could go back over and see Esmra? I know that you two don’t get along that well, but remember I came here to find out about my curse. It is so odd that for all this time, Esmra is always busy or gone. Right?” Meridian said with doubt in her voice.
“Oh, you know Esmra, she goes with the wind. No telling what she is up to. Even though she doesn’t approve of me, shouldn’t be any reason for you not to go, I will make sure we go over there this week.” Raina stood up and put her coffee mug in the sink. “How about a shower? I am sure that will help you feel better.”
Raina went into the bathroom and turned on the shower and rushed back into the bedroom and dug through Meridian’s purse for her phone. She read messages Meridian received from Esmra days ago. The last text from Esmra read “Meridian, are you all right? I thought you all were coming. Do I need to come to you?”
Raina quickly deleted several of Meridian’s messages. A loud bang from the shower from Meridian dropping the shampoo startled Raina causing her to miss one of the last messages that Esmra had sent to Meridian. She put Meridian’s phone back into her purse and walked into the bathroom.
“Meridian, I have an errand to run. Will you be all right?” Raina pulled the shower curtain back and Meridian was rinsing her hair.
“I think I will be. I feel a little dizzy again. That doctor you took me to, should we go back? I keep having my headaches. The prescription, can you get it for me?” Meridian pointed to the shelf on the wall.
“Sure.” Raina pulled a prescription bottle down with Meridian’s name on the label. The prescription label read Xanax. “Here, this should help you relax. Your anxiety has been worse this past couple of weeks.”
Meridian left the bathroom wrapped up in a towel and sat on the end of the bed holding her head. She slowly lifted her head from her hands and stared off. Raina waved her hands in front of Meridian. “Meridian, hello?” Meridian turned and smiled at Raina.
“Hi Raina, you are playful today.” Meridian giggled and lay back on the bed laughing.
Raina collected her things in anticipation of her meeting. “Well, good, everything is working out,” Raina muttered to herself as she watched Meridian giggle.
Meridian sat up and said, “So, when will you be back? I will need you to take care of me, you know.” Meridian flashed a smile and bit her bottom lip. Raina leaned over and gave Meridian a kiss.
“Oh, I will be back, and we will definitely take care of one another.” Raina left and headed out for her meeting while Meridian passed out on the bed.
Raina dashed out of the house looking disheveled and unkempt from not sleeping with work and staying up late with Meridian. Her worries of not maintaining the lies never gave her rest. She walked into town several blocks away and went into a coffee house and sat down at a table. As she waited, she dug through her purse and pulled out the bottle that held the elixir she had been giving Meridian. As she held it up, the bottle was nearly empty. Raina placed the bottle on the table as the server arrived to take her order.
“What can I get you to drink?” The server asked Raina as she stared at the bottle. Raina moved her hand over the bottle.
“I will take coffee, black.” Raina swiped the bottle back into her purse and was startled when the person she was meeting showed up.
“So, you are already out, are you?” The tall, thin, dark-headed woman dressed in a long, black, summer dress took her sunglasses off and set them on the table as she made herself comfortable. Adorned in jewelry, her fingernails were perfectly manicured with red polish. She sat with her hands clasped in her lap as she looked on Raina with a grin. “Well, I always knew you to be impetuous, but I didn’t fathom you would use elixir again. When you called me the first time, I was a little surprised. This got you kicked out of Esmra’s coven the first time. She has reluctantly let you back in and you are using magic on the person you were to help. Now I am curious. So, it begs the question, what are you up to?”
Raina studied the bottle, fumbled it with her fingertips and finally answered. “I need her,” Raina said as she locked eyes with her friend. “Amelia, please do not give me a hard time on this one. I need her.”
Amelia sat back in her chair with her arms now crossed. The server had returned with coffee and as the waitress set a cup in front of her; she lifted her hand from the cross of her arm. “None for me, thank you.” Amelia looked back at Raina who was stirring sugar into her drink. “Raina, I am thinking that you have lost your way and you have forgotten what magic is about, what it is for. Every witch knows that when she uses dark magic, it comes back times three. You are in over your head.” Amelia leaned forward in her chair and stared at Raina who had stopped stirring her coffee. “You will pay the price. Are you sure you want to continue down this path?”
Raina took a sip of her coffee and stared down at the bottle on the table and she didn’t blink as she swallowed. Never moving the coffee cup away from her face, she quietly said without emotion, “Yes.”
Amelia picked up her purse and dug out a small black velvet bag and laid it on the table. “Very well then, here it is. This is the last I will give you. I hope you know what you are doing and what you are getting yourself into because I sure do,” Amelia said as she stood up from the table and left Raina sitting and staring at the table.
Back at Raina’s place, Meridian still lay asleep on the bed in a dream state. It was dark and slowly the darkness gave way to a flickering light in the distance. Meridian saw herself as she walked toward the small flickering light, dressed in white, her hair long and bright blonde. She entered a tunnel leading toward the flickering light. As she drew closer, the light became brighter, unbearable to her eyes. Blinded, she used her arms as a shield and continued her slow pace pushing onward.
She peered outward through the breaks in her arms to find her way and the silence gave way to distant cries of sobbing women. At this moment, Meridian was no longer looking at herself, but she was seeing things through her own eyes. A voice from the light spoke out to her.
“Meridian, you have come once again. I cannot see you, but I know you are near.”
Meridian brought her arms down away from her face and she found she could see into the light without it hurting her eyes. Her feet dragged inches closer to the mysterious voice that echoed from deep within the light. The wind from the power of the light blew her hair back away from her face.
The voice spoke again. “Meridian, you cannot know how much I miss you. Your path has led you astray and you must find your way again and find your way back home. Remember who you are, Meridian.”
Meridian threw up her hands in frustration and then threw them down just as quick, as they slapped her sides she said, “I don’t understand, where is home? How do I know where to go?”
The low and familiar voice had one last message for Meridian. “Look to yourself and remember who you are, and you will find your way home. All is not lost with faith. Listen to your heart, Meridian. I sleep near the angels, but I am always with you. Remember . . . remember.” The voice trailed off into a whisper and Meridian woke up startled.
She sat up in the bed and rubbed her head as she felt dizzy from the effect of the Xanax and the elixir. She got out of bed and went into the bathroom slowly, supporting herself by placing her hands on the walls in the hallway as she walked.
She flipped on the light switch and gazed into the mirror above the sink. The bright sunlight shone through the window in the bathroom and reflected off the bright white walls decorated with black and white photography. Meridian turned on the water and let it run for a few moments while her eyes adjusted to the bright room. While she watched the water run from the faucet, she thought.
That dream was so strange, and I think I have heard that voice in a dream before, but I can’t recall. Why can’t I remember anything? Why is everything so fuzzy all the time? Why when I check my phone, does it seem that no one has texted me? Why doesn’t Esmra answer me back? Why does it seem that I do not know why I am here anymore? Why do I catch myself thinking of Aiden one day and then it is as though he hides from me? He hides from me in my mind. Maybe I am going crazy.
The tears fell down Meridian’s cheek as she wrestled with her thoughts and stared at the stranger in front of her. Suddenly she heard the front door slam shut. Startled, she quickly splashed water on her face to wipe away the smeared eyeliner she never washed away along with tears. Meridian grabbed her toothbrush and began nonchalantly brushing her teeth.
“Hello! Meridian are you up, girl?” Raina strolled down the hall into the bathroom.
Meridian was still brushing and she put her finger up as she leaned over the sink to spit out a mouthful of toothpaste. “Oh, hey, Raina. Yeah, I am freshening up. So, where have you been?”
Raina stood in the doorway with her arms crossed. She pulled her hand out and examined her nails. “Oh, I had coffee with an old friend, from Esmra’s.”
Meridian perked up. She threw her towel down on the sink. “Yes! Esmra, when can we go see her?” Meridian was smiling and happy to hear the name.
“Oh, well, we can go now.” Raina was suspect. “So why the big interest to see Esmra? I mean she hasn’t returned your texts, has she?” Raina stared Meridian down.
Meridian was taken back. “Oh, I want to see her, I mean she may have forgotten to answer. So, when can we go? Who is the old friend? What about the account?” Meridian walked out of the bathroom to the bedroom to get clothes to wear. As she undressed, Raina remained quiet and came up behind her and groped her. “Why don’t we spend time together?” Raina whispered in her ear.
Meridian froze and pushed Raina’s hands away as she stiffened up. “Well, I want to go over to Esmra’s.” Meridian smiled nervously and resumed getting dressed not paying attention to Raina’s reaction. Raina sat back down on the bed and huffed.
“So, what’s the deal? Why are you being a cold fish?”
Meridian paused before she pulled her shirt over her head. “Cold fish? I don’t think because I want to see Esmra that I am a cold fish.” Meridian walked out of the bedroom and left Raina sitting on the bed. After a few moments, Raina followed Meridian and found her in the kitchen with a glass of water.
“I am so thirsty. I seem to always stay so thirsty. We need to get more to drink here, we are out of everything.” Meridian opened the door to a nearly empty ice box.
Raina did not look over at the fridge. She dug through her purse and pulled out the elixir she acquired and poured a few drops into an ice coffee drink she had purchased. “Here, I was passing by a small store and they had these, you like these ice coffees.” Raina handed Meridian the drink.
Meridian gulped it down. “Thanks, I wish I knew why I stay so thirsty all the time. It is strange. I mean there are moments I don’t feel that way but over the past couple of weeks it has gotten worse.” Meridian said as she examined the empty glass that had held the coffee.
Raina put her bag on her shoulder, “Are you ready to go to Esmra’s?” With a nod from Meridian, she finished getting dressed and they got into Raina’s old beat up Honda she rarely had to drive and took off.