Farrah spies on Warrick and listens in on a conversation with an unknown visitor he has. Aiden finally goes home with his best friend Chris for springbreak. He opens up about Meridian to Chris. Stillborn deaths are on the rise and Aiden finally breaks down in weakness and reaches out to Meridian.
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Slaten rushed down the hall of the palace. His brisk and determined walk went uninterrupted as Farrah hurried behind him to keep up urging him to calm down.
“Slaten, please it is no use. Your father will not see things any other way. You will only make things worse. Please.” Farrah pulled on Slaten’s arm while he tried to pull away but stopped to face her.
“Mother, I know that you have stayed here with him because you are afraid. I came back Etheria, with you in hopes to help things settle down. For what? Pramlee snuck out of here and took off. Janus and Cora are gone. According to the rumors, Charity and Chance are in the dark realm. We all know Father has connections there. Now he keeps you locked up here. Why do you put up with this?” Slaten hollered out as he raised his hands up.
“Going at it in this manner won’t help. I am just playing the part without objection right now. At least Janus is all right even if they locked away her. It takes time. Please, do not do this.” Farrah hugged Slaten despite he remained stiff and reluctant to return the embrace.
“Mother, what am I supposed to do? Stay here and allow Relic and Ridge to go on without my help? I need to be out there helping them! Pramlee sent word they went to the dark realm and now Luna is stuck in there. What do you think will come of that? They need her to communicate with Esmra. I feel so out of touch here and worthless!” Slaten turned his back and ran his hands through his light brown hair. Farrah’s face flushed bright red through her pale skin as cried. “Mother, I am sorry. I do not think for a minute he isn’t up to something. For you I won’t, but for now.” Slaten rushed to his quarters leaving his mother standing in the middle of the hallway. She flinched at the echo of Slaten slamming his door shut.
Farrah turned and continued her walk until she reached Warrick’s quarters and she hesitated to knock when she heard voices shouting from inside. She put her hand down and leaned into the door where she could hear Warrick yelling.
“What do you mean? Brennan is a traitor! He left here after our trip to where we encountered the dark one and he told the others! I want his banishment! Now that we have Luna in the dark realm, Selena will have no other choice but to step back and leave things the way they are. The war she threatened at the council meeting is a farce and will not come to pass. I have managed to escape the trial Charity set out for me, among other things.”
The other voice spoke back to Warrick. Farrah continued to strain to listen to who he was speaking with. “Warrick, you have the dark one’s support. We feel Charity, Chance, and Luna locked away with the dark one is more than enough protection. We have acquired Janus and Cora. It minimizes the threats for you. Banishing Brennan away will only go to substantiate everyone’s claims. The court has already made the judgment. They cannot remain forever. You have stopped casting guides away. By doing so, the humans are slowly progressing into what we want. Their evil ways are there for the demons to continue feeding upon. As wonderful as this all is for us, it will not last. At some point we will have to face Selena and take her out. You will have your realm the way you want it when you turn over the keys to the hall so we may finish our work. This is not up for negotiation. I am just warning you. Your time grows short and our master will have what he wants.”
Farrah continued to listen through the door while footsteps coming near were audible. She quickly jumped away and took a step toward the door to appear as though she had just arrived.
“What are you doing here?” Warrick snapped.
Farrah fumbled her words, “Uh, well I wanted to see if you had anything else for me to work on? I have nearly completed the writings for the next council meeting. Are we still going to have that meeting with Brennan and Charity?”
Warrick shut the door behind him. “Yes, why do you ask?” Warrick was suspicious.
Farrah stepped away from Warrick. “Oh no reason, I was wondering when?”
Warrick stared at Farrah and he had an eyebrow up. “I don’t know that at this time. What else do you want?”
Farrah made an advance to open Warrick’s door. “Well, I thought I would collect the journals for the meeting, you know the notes.”
Warrick stepped in front of her. “You have never asked for them before, why now?”
“Well, I guess I don’t need them, it is just that, it has been a while and I worry I will forget to add something to the agenda.”
Warrick slid his hand down from the door slowly. “That won’t be necessary.” He walked away without another word, leaving her standing alone.
Etheria was quiet despite all the guides having been banned from watching over their humans leaving them to remain there in the realm. They were subdued and many guides had remained in their quarters, feeling they existed without purpose. As the humans remained without the help of their spirit guides, things on Earth were at unrest. To most humans, this showed the times they live in.
Aiden and Chris had made it home to Aiden’s grandparents’ house and awoke the next day to a long list of chores that Aiden’s grandpa had left for them to complete while they were home for their spring break. Both were out in the pasture on four-wheelers holding bags of feed as they led the herd of cattle toward the pens.
“So, Chris, how long has it been? Are you ready to get dirty?” Aiden laughed.
Chris wasn’t thrilled, staring with dread as the many cows bustled one another as they competed for the cow cake strewn through the pasture. “It has been a while, stop laughing. You know I hate doing this. You owe me a fishing trip, man!” Chris threw a rock at Aiden as he was jumping off his four-wheeler.
“Well, Grandpa wouldn’t let us three do all the work, we have help to come in. Besides do you have any idea how long it would take to mark, spray and vaccinate three hundred head?” Aiden threw a rock back at Chris.
The pair stayed busy all day until the sun set. Aiden smiled more than usual, having not mentioned much about Meridian. The boys went inside to clean up and eat a meal from the grandmother who had her hands full cooking for the lot that showed up to help for the day.
The aroma from the cooking filled the house and hung right outside the screen door, teasing a hungry group. The steaks were piled high alongside Grandmother’s famous mashed potatoes. Aiden and Chris ran up the steps slugging one another and laughing to see who could get there first. As they busted through the door, a familiar voice filled the air, over the clanging of pots and pans coming from the kitchen.
“You boys better cut it out! Get in here and eat before the human garbage disposals arrive and eat more than they should!” Grandmother’s voice trailed off as she went back to whistling.
Aiden and Chris collected themselves and walked into the kitchen and stood smiling ear to ear. “Grams, I smell it! Where it is? Hide it! They will come in here and I won’t get any.” Aiden was hunting for the cobbler, fumbling through the cupboards and lifting lids on everything that was set out in the kitchen.
Aiden’s grandmother stood at the table sorting out plates and silverware and she walked over and slapped Aiden’s hand as he was digging into another bowl. “Get out! Your hands are filthy, you are filthy. If you can’t manage a shower first, the least you could do is wash your hands!”
Aiden giggled and walked over to the sink to wash his hands. As Aiden scrubbed, his grandmother, grinned at Chris and pointed. “You too!”
The boys eventually ate and made it upstairs to scrub off the day’s hard work. They continued their light-hearted fun visiting in Aiden’s room. Chris had said little to Aiden about what took place at the convenience store the night before. He glanced at Aiden, to find the best way to approach the subject, meanwhile he turned on the television while Aiden was sorting his dirty laundry.
“So last night, at the convenience store, you want to tell me what the hell that was all about?” Chris asked.
Aiden stopped sorting his laundry and sat down in the chair at his desk across from Chris. Aiden threw his head back and stared at the ceiling and swayed back and forth. His hair now grown past his shoulders hung over the chair as he swayed. “Well, I told you, I thought I heard something talking but it wasn’t human or anything I could see either.” Aiden stopped swiveling his chair. “Don’t get that look on your face, I do not think it was anything like what Raina turned into.”
“So, like a ghost or something?”
Aiden shook his head. “I don’t know. I know I heard it and it said not to give up.”
Chris was struggling as he scratched his head. “Look man, you have been under a lot of stress and have been upset. Are you sure you are all right? You can trust me, I wouldn’t do anything that would cause you problems, you know this. I am worried. Don’t take me wrong, today was the first time I have seen you smile in a long time. I want you happy. It’s just that in all the years we have been friends, I have never seen you this way. So hung up on a girl. I mean in the past, you would date casually, always treated girls with respect, and somehow even at a breakup, you never acted as though it bothered you so much. I am a little jealous, I guess. I wished I could always bounce back the way you do.” Chris smiled as he reminisced about some of Aiden’s old breakups from prior years. “So, really, I don’t know how to take you like this is all. I want everything to be okay with you.”
Aiden drew a large breath followed by a slow sigh. “Yeah, I know man. I don’t think I am losing it. I believe there is more to life than what we know for sure. I believe that there is something watching over us. Meridian is different, I knew it the night she came up at Stephanie’s. When Eric first talked about Meridian, before I ever saw her, I had this feeling. This feeling I had to know who she was, to meet her. Something told me that I could not let the chance go by. When she walked up that night the feeling that came over me was unlike anything I could explain. I knew she was special, she had that ‘something’ intangible.” Aiden looked back at his bed where Meridian lay the night he saved her from Raina, he smiled and continued as Chris listened. “When I looked into her eyes, it was like I knew her from somewhere, but I couldn’t say where. I felt as though I was coming home, only no home I had ever been. I guess love at first sight isn’t some fleeting thought or cliché. Not for me now anyway.” Aiden was interrupted when Chris jumped in to point out what was on the television.
“You see that! Some lunatic went into a bank, shot everyone up and left with a lot of cash. The other day I was listening to the radio and there was some nationwide hunt for a suspected serial killer. My dad phoned and said one of our local shops got broken into and that the day before some lady went into the store going off on the owner over a refund or something. Seems lately its always bad news.” Chris continued to watch the television. “My mom told me that a friend of hers that is a nurse at the hospital has seen two stillbirths. Strange.”
Aiden watched the news with Chris as they both silent. After a while of watching, Aiden shut off the television. “Hey, no more gloom and doom. Let’s get some shut eye. We can go fishing tomorrow, early.” Aiden shut off the lights and he lay in bed, staring at the ceiling of his bedroom where his mind slowed down and it took his thoughts over by his subconscious. Meridian swam in his mind, ruling his thoughts and all he could envision was her face smiling back at him the night they met, he could almost smell her skin and feel her touch. His memories overwhelmed his mind as he thought of the last time he saw her before she left on the bus to Salem. Soon, Chris fell asleep as Aiden lay awake. After a while, Aiden rolled over and picked up his phone, pulling up Meridian’s name in his address book. He began texting her.
Meridian, I hope you are doing ok. I think of you a lot. I am home and it makes it worse. I miss you.
Aiden stared at the message for a few seconds and hesitated to send it. He thought of Raina and how vile she was and how he hated her. With those thoughts, hitting send was the easiest thing he had done all day. After he hit send, he stared at his phone for a bit before he fell asleep.