Keepers & the Soul Key (#4) Last book in Meridian Chronicles Series - Chapter 3 Part 1

If you need to catch up, the first 3 books and read the latest one, a series collection of all is out on Amazon.

Tallulah, Esmra, and Chris stood during the exchange. Esmra was the only one who could hear the fairies and Tallulah struggled to connect to the spirits from an overload of emotion and lack of the energy it takes to foster such a connection. Chris, feeling left out was in the dark until the best friend witches recited what was said.

Selena stared at Karma with concern, she glanced around and then took a measure of Talon. “No. No more. We will find Meridian first, no more risks or chances.” Selena looked to Ridge and said, “When is the next council meeting?”

Ridge said, “I can’t be sure. They just had one. It may be more time. The guides were at unrest with all that has happened. Warrick will not reveal the whereabouts of Charity or Brennan. He goes along as if nothing has happened. He just gave many of the guides excuses and vague answers at our last gathering.”

Selena was quick, and her words were sharp as though something was driving her. “I need you all to return to Etheria, find out from Slaten when the next council meeting will be called. Confront Warrick if the demons do not first.”

“Selena, what are you getting at?” Pramlee asked.

“Warrick was a tool, a pawn. Maybe the demons don’t get him first. We must locate Meridian, something tells me with the way of her departure on Earth, she is in Etheria somewhere within the hall of souls, where Caius rests. Let’s go to the dark realm and get the others out.”

Luna’s mouth dropped open; she was quick to her mother’s side. “Mother! There is no way I am going back there! We have been lucky in the past but breaking in to break other spirit guides out is madness! We can’t take on the entire demon realm.”

Selena snapped her head back at Luna, angered by her daughter’s doubt in her plans. “We will not go head to ahead. We will sneak in. Open war in the dark realm; now is not the time.”

Chapter 3

Talon drifted away from everyone, for quiet time, finding his way to the only place that kept the memory of his son alive. Back at Aiden’s home, his grandparents remained seated in their favorite chairs. Talon made his way to Aiden’s room, where he sat on his bed. Posters of Aiden’s rock bands covered every square inch of the walls and the room was a mess, from when Aiden hurried to catch a ride with Tallulah to Salem. Clothes were strewn across the floor, and his backpack from school was set next to his door.

He strolled over to Aiden’s desk where he had a picture of Meridian. She stood with Tallulah at Esmra’s house, with her arms around Tallulah. Meridian looked happy to have been reunited with both Aiden and Tallulah. Footsteps were audible from the old wooden staircase. Suddenly, Aiden’s grandmother appeared, teary-eyed and hesitant to enter his room from the doorway she stood within. After her long pause, she took small shuffling steps across Aiden’s wood floors as she stared at the space in front of each footstep. Sad eyes, swollen from a thousand tears shed, twinkled under the sadness. Her thin lips and wrinkled face seemed to rise and brighten with her inner monologue. She made it to his bed, where Aiden left his dirty shirts for the laundry. Picking up the favorite black T-shirt, she brought it to her nose with both hands. She immersed her face into the shirt, taking a breath in.

Grandpa’s heavy and slow footsteps interrupted her, she brought the t-shirt away from her face, turning around to face her husband as he now stood within Aiden’s doorway. He glanced down at Aiden’s backpack before drawing a massive breath in. He still had his old brown slacks on, his nice button-up shirt untucked, and his tie loosened. His arm up leaned on the doorway and he brought his tired eyes to his wife, barely blinking as though he would miss something.

Aiden’s grandmother still held the shirt in her hand, and she looked back down at the wooden floor and said, “Maybe we should, you know, have the floors redone.”

Grandpa jerked his head back in surprise. “What would make you say that?”

“Before Aiden left to go back to school after break was over, I was doing my normal digging. He did a rapid change of subject and asked when the old floors would be replaced.” Grandmother said, bringing her eyes back to the-shirt still laying across her lap. She took her left hand and brushed the shirt across her lap as if to straighten it. A tear fell into the shirt, darkening a small spot in the fabric. She lifted her head back and stared at the ceiling fighting away the emotion. She took a deep breath and closed her eyes.

“Everything smells of him. He is everywhere. There isn’t a room in this house I can’t stop seeing him in. He won’t be here anymore, to be sassy or demand I make another cobbler where I have to tell him to not speak with his mouth full. He won’t ever have the chance to marry a woman he is in love with, or father a child I know would be lucky to have Aiden as a father. We will never see him accept his diploma when he graduates. I’ll never hear his truck blaring down the dirt road where I will have to remind him to get mufflers. Oh my god, I just can’t take this.” She broke down, her shoulders moved up and down with every uncontrollable thrust of her convulsing body. She buried her face back into the shirt, her voice muffled she hollered into her hands, and through her tears, in between the convulsions, she said, “Make it stop! Make it go away! Why! Why did this happen! He didn’t deserve this; he was a wonderful person.”

Her body continued to convulse, as her husband moved to sit beside her. Grandpa wrapped his long arms around his wife and squeezed her as hard as she could stand it. She collapsed into his embrace, burying her face into his chest.

“I love you. I wished I could answer your questions; I feel the same way. No one knows when their time has come or where the wind will take them. Life is a mystery, and one I do not believe we were all meant to understand. I know that when I am flat on my back, I hope to feel I lived. That I lived for something in this world bigger than me. To live for you, to have lived for Aiden.” A tiny tear left Grandpa’s eye as he continued to hold his wife. “I know in my heart that Aiden lived. Even in his short life, he lived, and he lived loving his family and friends. Doing anything he could to help another and standing for what he believed. That boy so tenacious.” He pulled away and looked at grandmother. “Do you remember that time when he was seven years old, we told him he couldn’t drive the tractor because he was too small? Remember?” Grandpa snickered under his sadness. “We found him crawling up on the tractor. He even had the keys. He said if he was big enough to get on it and get the keys, he could do it himself.”

They both laughed at the funny memory. “Aiden, he lived. He stood for what he believed in but was humble enough to admit when he was wrong. Few his age can do that. Wherever Aiden is, just like he was here, he will be okay. Remember, this isn’t the end. We will see Aiden again. I promise.”

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