SUMMARY: An outcast, accused of something she did not do, she wanders the world until she comes upon someone that gives her more than food and shelter. Summoned to come back home, she becomes what the elders had foreseen many years ago. Now destiny can be fulfilled.
DISCLAIMER: No people, places, and things in this story are real, and any resemblance to anything or anyone real is purely coincidental. No part of this story may be used or reproduced in any manner without written permission from the author. Let me point out two things before you email me on abortion. Point 1: Let’s agree to disagree. Point 2: This story does not reflect my feelings or beliefs on this subject.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This is story number three in this series, and can be read alone. I would like to say a very big THANK YOU VERY MUCH to all my beta readers for making this story what it is. For translation, go to translation.langenberg.com. If there are any difficulties, go to www.thesandbox101.com, click RESOURCES on the left side of the screen, and scroll down to the bottom of the page to the website mentioned above. Any questions or comments please email at email@example.com. With all that in mind, enjoy the story.
Eighteen year old Alexandra is 6 feet 3 inches tall, sixth degree black belt in karate, childhood genius, the envy of every model, has a heart of gold, owns her own house, and is going through graduate school to receive a PhD in criminal psychology. Her father, a successful lawyer and well known in the city, laughed when he heard the deal. She analyzes the criminals after he sends them to jail. A partnership made in heaven. Her mother did not have a career outside of her home, but felt she had a duty. She attended fundraisers as well as volunteered for various organizations. Her parents were well known in their community. For the most part, they were a successful family, both parents contributing to the community in many facets, and their daughter is a beautiful and intelligent girl destined for greatness. There was a secret, however, a secret that would scar everyone.
Nerissa, a thirteen-year-old street ‘rat’, had been abandoned on the stoop of a local church. The nuns at the church, not knowing what else to do, called the authorities and she was immediately put into the foster care system. Nerissa hated everything about her life, and was always in trouble and always running away. She did anything she could to stay alive, well, almost anything. She didn’t know it yet, but all the dreams she’s had of fairy tale princesses and dreams of love would come true. She was destined to have it all.
The street rat peeked around the corner to see if maybe she could see someone that would be an easy target, and there it was. Nice clothes, wallet in the right breast pocket, nonchalantly talking to someone on the street, the target was perfect. Looking around to see if there was a possible distraction, just long enough to divert the target’s attention, the distraction was spotted, timing, it was all in the timing, two cars, coming at each other from the opposite directions . . . and . . . smash. She quickly ran after her target to grab the wallet from the breast pocket, which she got. Smiling at her success, she quickly opened up the wallet to grab the cash and go. It was going very well, except for one problem. The escape was not a clean escape, because now, the victim was directly behind the thief.
“Excuse me, before you throw away my wallet, could you give me the twenty that you’re holding. I would really appreciate it.”
Stunned, she did not have any other choice but to do as she was told. “Honest, I didn’t do anything wrong, but here you go.” She gave the victim the twenty-dollar bill.
“We’ll talk about that when I get back. Could I have my wallet back? The cards and driver’s license are really a pain to replace.” The victim was about to walk away, but suddenly stopped. “One more thing. Stay here until I get back.”
A short time later, the two reunited once again. “My name is Alexandra, and you would be . . .”
“Rat . . .”
“Rat is your name?”
“It’s what people call me.”
“Let me reiterate my question, then. What is your given name?”
“Nerissa . . .”
“Nerissa sounds a lot better than Rat, don’t you think? I do. Come on, the car is this way.”
Panic set in and Nerissa stopped suddenly. “I didn’t do anything wrong. You got your wallet and your money back. So technically, nothing happened.”
Smiling just a little, “I think you misunderstood. I thought we’d go home and get something to eat. I don’t know about you, but I need a shower and some food,” Alexandra informed the young woman, motioning Nerissa to follow her home.
Unknowingly, the encounter between the two women started a long relationship.
As time went on, they lived as anyone else did. Alexandra worked and studied while Nerissa continued her education. Despite being a street rat, Nerissa believed that if she ever wanted to leave the life she was now leading to survive, she had to go to school and learn so she could get a good job. Everything was fine; at least, it seemed to be that way to everyone, everyone, that is, except Nerissa. Nerissa noticed that Alexandra was slowly pulling away from everyone. Nerissa was curious and worried about her friend. Alexandra would only say she was fine, and Nerissa hoped that when Alexandra was ready she would talk, but that day never came.
“Lexa, I’m home. Lexa, where are you?” Looking around the house, she did not see anything that would indicate her friend’s whereabouts, or if she was running late.
A few days went by with no word, no note . . . no nothing.
Nerissa felt that if she hurried home then she might be able to catch Lexa and give her hug . . . then give her, her rights. She rushed home all right, but no one was there. There was a message on the machine, however, from a lawyer’s office asking her to come to the office. It was not the office that her father worked at, so who could it be?
“Hi, I’m Nerissa. You left a message asking me to come to your office?”
“Yes we did. If you would follow me, please. . .” The secretary escorted Nerissa into a large office with white walls, boring paintings, small window, and rows upon rows of law books. Out of boredom, she started counting the books. She got to number 103 when someone finally came into the room.
“Nerissa, it’s a pleasure to finally meet you. Before you ask any questions, let me tell you why you are here. Exactly eight days ago, Alexandra’s body was found washed up on shore, dead of accidental drowning. She left specific instructions for me to read you this document that states exactly what you have inherited as a result of her death. She left this letter, as well, for you to read at your leisure. And . . .” He held up a key. It looked like Lexa’s house key, but right now, she just was not sure about anything. “This is the key to the house. The letter in your hand will explain why. Shall I begin?”
Nerissa nodded her head slowly, her mind still attempting to absorb the fact that her Lexa was dead. The question though was why? Why did she die?
“Now, I just need for you sign at the bottom.” After signing the document, she carefully put the letter in her bag and walked stiffly and slowly out of the office, her only thought was of going home, going home to read the letter. Finally at her destination, she opened the envelope and pulled out the letter.
Nerissa felt very tired, and not wanting to be alone, she went to Lexa’s bed and laid there smelling her cologne. Nerissa held the letter tightly in her hand while crying, crying for the loss, crying for not understanding, crying for . . . When the tears stopped, she started talking to Lexa. “I know you love me, Lexa, but you still didn’t tell me why. I know, I know, you don’t always have the answers, so I have to search for them myself. The only place I know that might have the answers that I’m looking for is your parents’ house. They may hate me because they think I’m a thug out to steal your money, but I want answers, and they are the only ones that have them.”
It took a while to get there, but Nerissa finally arrived at the mansion, or fortress. Nerissa thought fortress was a better descriptive in this case.
“Yes, mum, may I help you?”
Is it my imagination, or does he look like Lurch? “I was wondering if I could speak to Lexa’s parents. My names if R . . . Nerissa.”
Stepping aside, he let Nerissa in. He motioned for her to sit on a sofa in a room that could double as a palace’s ballroom. She heard footsteps coming in her direction then seeing the father enter, she spoke up. “Hi, I don’t know if you remember me, but I came by for two reasons, really. I wanted to say I’m sorry for your daughter’s death. She was my best friend. I was also wondering what you could tell me about the day after Valentine’s, the day you met Sara.”
“You must be Nerissa. I have a lot of work to do, so I will get directly to the point.” The father’s voice was low yet booming, with an edge of anger to it. “I do not have a daughter any longer. As for the events, she shamed this family by admitting she was one of them.”
“What does that mean?” Nerissa was confused.
“It means this, orphan! My daughter came here to announce a bonding ceremony between two people, my daughter and her love. My wife was excited to hear the news. We both were, that is, until she introduced us to her love. My wife ran upstairs in tears, and from that moment forward, I declared I have no daughter. Alfred, escort the orphan off this premises immediately.”
After being roughly escorted off the premises, she had no choice but to go home. It was two days later that she received a letter stating that if she were to ever step foot on their premises again, there would be severe consequences.
She cried for days after that, the tears seeming to never end. And once the tears dried up, she regrouped and did what Lexa would have wanted her to do. She donated Lexa’s old clothes to the church, keeping some, putting those away for later use not knowing there would be a time that she would use them again.
The day of her high school graduation arrived, and looking around, she saw everyone excited about the event. It was hard for her to feel that excited. High school graduation ceremony was all right. For her though, it was just another day. Without Lexa there, it didn’t mean anything.
Summer had come, and she needed to find a direction, but to do that, she felt she needed to say goodbye. She remembered watching a show once where the elder taught a child to write a letter. After the letter was written, it was placed in a metal bucket then a match was lit and dropped into the bucket, burning the letter. The ashes and smoke would rise to the heavens above, and there, the loved ones would be able to read the letter. That is what Nerissa did, not saying goodbye forever, just saying that the time had come to move on, find a love of her own, and work towards fulfilling her dreams.
It was a cold night and the moon was full. All was quiet at this time of night. Not a sight to be seen except for a black cat that wondered into a yard. It was tall and long for a house cat, with mirroring black fur. Some would say it was a panther cub. It had on an unusual collar, which was a gold necklace with an unusual stone, a stone that had never been seen before. The stone had an appearance of an eye, a very mysterious stone for such an animal. The cat was very cold and very tired, and needed a place to rest, a place to be warm. Finding a place by a door, it lay down to sleep until sunrise the next day.
A short while later, the door opened. Nerissa was doing the nightly securing of all doors and windows, as well as verifying that nothing had been forgotten outside.
“Oh, look, what a pretty kitty. It’s huge. It looks like a wild cat. It can’t be a wild cat though. Well, I don’t have much of anything, but I might be able to find you something. Oh, what a pretty collar, wait a minute, it’s not a collar, it’s a necklace. It’s awful dirty, too. I’ll clean it up to get all this stuff off of it.” Nerissa picked up the cat, noting how heavy it was, to put it on the faux fur rug in front of the fireplace. Nerissa took off the necklace to clean it properly. The cat meowed sleepily as the necklace was removed, but fell immediately back to sleep.
After much scrubbing with a toothbrush and toothpaste, the necklace was clean and shiny, then Nerissa placed it on a dresser for safekeeping. After checking on the cat before going to bed, they slumbered peacefully through the night.
The next morning, the homeowner hurriedly got up from bed, as they were running late, and raced around getting ready for work, not noticing that there was now a naked woman lying on the rug in front of the fireplace, still sleeping.
After working all day at the office, Nerissa was ready to go home and get some rest. During the lunch hour, a visit to the doctor’s office was necessary, to find an answer to a question. The answer, however, would not be available for three days. It would have to wait.
Upon arriving home, glad for the end of the day, a change of clothes would feel nice. On the way to the bedroom, Nerissa noticed something different. Stopping to take a look, the homeowner realized there was now a naked woman lying on the floor. Looking around the apartment to take notice if anything was stolen, they noted nothing out of the ordinary, and everything was in its place. There was now a fire in the fireplace, but everything else seemed okay otherwise. Nerissa quietly walked into the bedroom, to quickly change clothes, and looked around the bedroom to see if anything was missing. Everything was there, including the strange necklace that had been cleaned the day before.
The woman was naked and obviously cold, if the lit fireplace was a clue to go by. There were extra clothes stored in the closet, which belonged to the former homeowner, and might fit, as the woman seemed to be about her size. Without Lexa, things would not be as they are now. Lexa, however, started to change midway through her PhD. She had told her parents she preferred girls instead of boys, and that declaration caused a rift to form within the family. She could not take the isolation from her family any longer. Now dead, the only things left behind were memories, and clothes meant to be given at Christmas that last year they were together. Lexa loved the outdoors, proven by the flannel and denim she always wore. And Lexa had been the only one that offered something true and genuine.
Placing the blanket gently over the new visitor, a hand suddenly reached out to grab the blanket. Soft mumbling was heard then nothing, the woman had fallen back to asleep. The clothes were set aside, but something had to be done about a more immediate need. A thought came to mind and suddenly gone again to get something to help with the dilemma. It was embarrassing, but it was better than nothing, until the woman woke up.
Attempting to gently roll the woman on her back, the woman started to shake her head back and forth. “Wat? Wat gebeurt?” What? What is happening? Hands reached out to stop the intrusion, but they stopped. The woman rolled onto her back unassisted, waiting for something else to happen. She felt the blanket pulled gently off her. Listening closely, doing as she was instructed, the blanket was gently placed back on top to keep the chill away.
The woman woke up sometime later, to a smell of onions and garlic, and the sweet scent of wine. She was hungry. All that was needed to be done was to encourage the rest of her body to wake up. Slowly rising so she was now sitting, she realized three things. There was something made out of paper that she was now using as underwear, there was no feeling in her legs, and the necklace was gone.
“Hallo? Wer ist dort? Ich verursache Ihnen Schaden nicht.” Hello? Who is there? I will not cause you harm.
“Oh, you’re awake, that’s good. That means I get to share my beef stew with you. I’m sorry about the Depends undergarments. It was the only thing that I could think of until you woke up. Oh, I’m sorry, I forgot my manners. My name is Nerissa.”
The stranger smiled at the sound of the gentle singsong voice. “I am sorry. I do not mean to disturb you. I am missing my amulet. Do you know where it is?” The reply had a European accent of some sort. Nerissa was not sure which one, though it did sound a bit like Dracula.
“Amulet, amulet, did I see an amulet? The amulet, was it in the shape of an eye with a really pretty stone inside?”
“Yes, that is it. May I have it please?”
“Oh sure, I found it on a cat. It was really dirty, so I cleaned it with toothpaste, and it got really clean. I’m not sure what it was, but my sink turned black from washing it. I’ll bring it right back.”
After retrieving the necklace, Nerissa started to clasp the necklace around the woman’s neck; whose hands rose up to gently grasp Nerissa’s face. Completing the task, she stayed there waiting for the woman to let go. Her eyes started blinking, still looking down. Nerissa tapped the hands that were holding her face. Finally, seeing the eyes of the woman, she was surprised. They were not the regular eyes of a person. They were in the shape of cat eyes with yellow, orange and red coloring, very strange. Nerissa was not sure what to think. She was not scared, just a little cautious.
“I am sorry. I do not wish you harm. I am Meschelein. Thank you for sharing your warmth and hospitality.” She let go of side of Nerissa’s face to stroke her cheek, gently caressing the skin she felt beneath her hand. With a gentle smile, she added, “I am in need of clothing. If you do not have any, I will understand. It is wrong of me to ask for so much, but as soon as my legs gain strength again, I must leave. You have been so kind.” As soon she let go of Nerissa’s face, the smile turned into a frown.
Not knowing what else to do, Nerissa left to retrieve dinner for two. “Here you go, I hope you like it, it’s beef stew, bread, and milk.”
They ate in silence, each deep in thought, one wondering if it really was a good idea to leave so soon, and the other, knowing she would miss the feeling of being warm and comfortable. The warmth reached deep below, far below into a place that she thought had long since died. Now, she had to leave, to find the reason that had brought her on this long journey.
“Here, wrap this blanket around you to keep you warm, it’ll help.” Wrapping the blanket securely around Meschelein, she left to take care of the mess left behind.
“Meschelein, I’ve been thinking. You don’t have to leave right away, unless you want to. You’re welcome to stay here, at least until you get better. I have some clothes that might fit. I was going to give them to you when you woke up, but you mentioned your legs are weak, and I don’t think it would be a good idea to do that right now. I think that maybe it would be a good idea if we just take things a day at a time.”
“Are you sure about this? You have feelings of fear about me. I felt it would be best to leave as soon as I am able.” Meschelein reached up to gently grasp Nerissa’s cheek, gently caressing.
“How do you know how I feel?”
“I cannot explain that.”
“Are you a psychic?”
“What I can do, I cannot explain, I am sorry. Please, do not be frightened of me. I am Meschelein. Maybe in time, you will learn more.” Meschelein grasped Nerissa’s hand, but as she did, she felt something. She knew the answer to Nerissa’s question, but it was too soon to tell her.
Nerissa only nodded her head. This stranger, Nerissa was sure had the strength, but she had been nothing but kind and gentle. Maybe a good night’s sleep would help.
Nerissa looked around her closet, thinking there must be something that could be used as a nightgown. Giggling, she remembered Lexa would not sleep in anything other than a flannel gown. Flannel gown in hand, she went back to the living room to give the gown to Meschelein, to keep her warm and modest.
“Here, I found this for you. I thought it would be better than just sleeping with a blanket wrapped around you.”
“Nerissa, you are very kind, thank you.” Meschelein propped herself up into a sitting position, making it a little easier to dress. This gown is truly a treasure, to give a stranger such a gift. This gown possesses many memories of love.
“How do your legs feel?”
“They are improving. By afternoon on the morrow, I believe my legs will be able to move once again. I will not have full use of them until the day after however. Please, be with me tonight. There is room here on the carpet.” Meschelein lifted her blanket to indicate that space was available. She heard Nerissa’s thoughts of cautiousness. She smiled when she heard Nerissa resolve with herself that she could trust Meschelein.
“I don’t know what you’re smiling about, but I am sure I do not want to know what you’re smiling about. I’ll sleep with you, as long as you promise not to hog the covers.” Meschelein started giggling and nodded her head. “All right, I’ll be back.”
Meschelein heard Nerissa thinking about the temperature of the house. She waved her hand in front of the fireplace, and instantly, a gentle fire came to life.
“I could’ve turned the heater on if you told me you were cold.”
“It is not I that I am concerned about, it is you, as you were thinking about the temperature of your house.”
“Goodnight, Meschelein, and unless you want to go insane, you will stay far away from my thoughts.”
“Your mind is not that bad. Yes, it is cluttered, but not so bad so as to say I would lose my mind.”
Meschelein picked up Nerissa so Nerissa was now sleeping on top of her. “Are you sure you want to do this? I’ll crush you.”
“Shhhh, it is time for slumber.” Meschelein started to rub Nerissa’s back, and soon, Nerissa’s breathing deepened and she started to snore, a whistle, really. Meschelein found it soothing, and drifted off to sleep soon after.
A buzz sounded, forcing Nerissa out of her sleep. She could not remember the last time she had slept so well. Reaching out to grasp the offending object, her hand was caught.
“I was mirat ce that dreadful zgomotos was. Bun? diminea?a. I am sorry . . . good morning.” I was wondering what that dreadful noise was.
Nerissa mumbled as she got up out of the warm bed. Bed..? She was not sure what exactly it was she was lying on. She would think about it after the morning shower, when her brain was kick started into working. Meschelein lay there, trying her legs, to see if they would move. A little movement, not much though. Not enough to get up and take a proper look around.
This is what happens when I decide to be a small animal. Nerissa has a very gentle soul. She would be a good mother. When I am able to move again, I will take her back with me, back to Tutela Isle. I do not care what they say . . . I am innocent. She is the one I have been searching for-I know that now.
“Hello, good morning, I hope you slept well. I have to run to work. The house is yours. And if you feel up to it, go ahead and take a shower, everything’s there. Let me give you a hug before I go.” Nerissa embraced Meschelein briefly before leaving, and Meschelein had a chance to see a small bit of Nerissa’s past. She knew she should not be using her powers as such, but after . . . well . . . Meschelein learned to be cautious. Meschelein reviewed what she now knew about the woman that Nerissa called friend, and felt as if a great treasure has been bestowed upon her and would protect it with all that she is.
Meschelein was feeling a mixture of emotions, ranging from frustration to boredom. There was nothing to do except wait. She looked towards the sofa, noting the distance. It did not look far at all, and thought that if she sat on the sofa she would not feel so vulnerable. Sitting up, she pushed herself backwards towards the sofa, climbed up onto it to sit down, and relaxed on something a little softer than the hard floor. The carpet helped to take the discomfort away, but the sofa felt so much better than the floor. The sofa was much shorter than Meschelein, who measured the same size as Alexandra. Meschelein would try her legs now and then, noting that her strength was returning rapidly. By mid-afternoon, she could feel and move her legs. Perhaps, maybe, it was time to try. Slowly rising, with the aid of the sofa, she stood up. Now with a little exercise, her legs would be back to normal very soon.
By the time Nerissa came home, Meschelein had finished her shower. “Oh hi, you’re up, you look good.” You look just like her. “Let me change my clothes. We can celebrate tonight with a pepperoni and sausage pizza with extra cheese.”
Meschelein heard her thoughts. Nodding her head in understanding, she walked slowly back to the living room. It was good to be able to stand up again.
“How do you feel? I bet you feel better being able to stand up again. Let me order the pizza.”
Meschelein was happy to have Nerissa back. While she was certain that Nerissa would be able to carry on a conversation all by herself, she enjoyed her company.
“The pizza will be here in about thirty minutes. Can you walk? Did you want to change clothes?”
“I am able to move freely now, thank you. I will wait for the clothes. How are you?” Meschelein placed her hand on Nerissa’s stomach, feeling the vibrations of the life within. Meschelein was pleased that Nerissa was doing well.
“I’m fine, glad to be back after a long day. Did you want to change into real panties? I have a pair. They are clean, honest they are.” Nerissa laughed a little, and Meschelein nodded her head. That being done, the pizza arrived, and they sat down at the living room table and ate, thinking about good things.
“Meschelein, why did you touch my stomach earlier?” Nerissa was curious. She could not think of any reason anyone would do that, so the only thing she could do was to ask.
“Nerissa, first, I must tell you that everyone has their own vibration, their own energy. I can feel that energy. It is how I know that you are well.”
“Okay, so what you are telling me is that we’re fishies?”
Meschelein laughed at the comment and shook her head no. How do I explain to her what I know? Slow and gentle would be the only way, but how much do I say?
“Then where do the vibrations come from or energy or whatever?”
“To understand that explanation, you would need to understand the rhythm of the earth. The energy she radiates. How the many life forms feed off of that energy?”
“I suppose it’s not something that could be explained in a Cliff Notes version, then, huh?”
“Cliff Notes version..? I do not understand.”
“You know . . . the short, simple, and sweet story.”
“No, it cannot be so. Later, I will show you, not now though. Just know that I am able to do many things. Feeling life’s energy is one of them.”
“Where do you come from? I have been trying to think of the country you’re from based on your accent.”
“I am afraid of that explanation; it will need to wait until we have more time. It is time for slumber now.”
“Okay, Mom. Since you’re up and about, this sofa is actually a sleeper sofa, which is why it weighs a ton. If you give me a hand, I could set up the bed so you have a more comfortable place to sleep.” Nerissa stood there looking at Meschelein, wondering what she was thinking. Suddenly, the couched moved and the bed was laid out, sheets, covers, and pillows. Nerissa stood there wide-eyed and speechless. Was that for real?
Meschelein only smiled and opened the covers, waiting for Nerissa to step inside. “Nerissa, are you all right?” When words failed, Meschelein thought maybe a wave of the hand would work.
“Nerissa . . .”
Then Meschelein started whistling a tune to awaken Nerissa out of the self-imposed trance. Nerissa started blinking her eyes and opening her mouth. Sound was coming out, but nothing understandable.
Nerissa shook her head a couple of times. “Did you . . . did . . . but . . . Holy Mother Mary that was incredible. Are you Merlin the Magician’s apprentice or daughter or something? Right now, that’s the only explanation I can think of. First, you know what I’m thinking. Then, you say you can feel life’s energy, and now this. Holy Mother Mary! Maybe I’m dreaming. That’s it, I’m dreaming! I’m going to wake up, and everything is going to disappear . . . Poof!” Nerissa stood there, waiting for something to happen after plucking a hair on her arm. Meschelein was still standing, watching Nerissa, and the sofa was still there, nothing changed. “This is not a dream. Holy Mother Mary this is real. I’m going to go to bed right now, and when I wake up, everything will be back to normal, my normal anyway.”
“Nerissa, everything you have seen is real. You are not dreaming. Merlin the Magician would not dare come near us. Besides, he was a grumpy old man with nothing better to do. Out of boredom, he assisted a young boy to become king. That is what our archivists report to us. Now please, come to bed. After a night’s rest, your mind will be clearer.” Meschelein held out her hands, waiting for Nerissa to take them.
Nerissa tentatively grasped Meschelein’s hands, feeling the skin beneath. They are real. This can’t be an alternate universe, can it? Nerissa nodded her head, “Um, I’ll be right back. I have to take care of a couple things, um, first.”
After securing the house, Nerissa returned to the living room. “Everything is locked up, so I’m going to bed now. Have a good night, sweet dreams.”
“Wait, Nerissa.” Meschelein walked around the sofa to catch Nerissa. “The bed is there. Are you not coming to bed?”
“I’m going to bed.”
“Come to bed with me, I will keep you safe. Please come to bed with me.” Meschelein mouthed the word ‘please’ looking straight into Nerissa’s eyes. She heard the confusion, but the need to hold her was far stronger. She realized she was being selfish, but right now, she thought it would be best. Nerissa closed her eyes and nodded her head yes, Meschelein smiled with delight.
They slept peacefully that night, Nerissa on top of Meschelein.
Just like the day before, Nerissa rushed off to work and Meschelein stayed behind in the house. Meschelein felt stronger now that she had nourishment and proper rest. She knew that Nerissa was nervous, having heard those thoughts loud and clear, but about what, she did not know. She did not want to intrude. The house was clean and tidy, with a little help from Meschelein. If anyone were to walk into the house at that moment, the vacuum cleaner would be seen operating by itself, the couch moving back into place unassisted, and various other things floating or moving about without a human attached to them. After the housecleaning was finished, a walk outside was needed to stretch the legs and clear the mind. She needed to start thinking about returning home. The question was though . . . would she be welcomed back?
Thinking back to five years prior. . .
She finished her walk around the block, bringing her back to Nerissa’s house. Still deep in thought about past events, she did not notice Nerissa’s return.
“Meschelein, are you all right?” Nerissa was sitting next to Meschelein now, holding her hands. Nerissa was a little puzzled as to what was happening with Meschelein. I know so little about her. Maybe if I make her feel comfortable she will talk to me; tell me what she’s thinking. She looks so lost. Nerissa went to the kitchen to make a cup of tea to help Meschelein relax and to get her mind off the news she received from the doctor’s office. Lexa always made me tea when she thought I needed to talk, maybe it will work for her. I can’t believe it, the news, what do I do. It was a one-night stand that neither of us wants to remember. Except now, I have a lifetime to remember that night. Well, first things first . . . Meschelein.
“Meschelein, I made tea for you. I brought lemon, honey, and milk with it because I wasn’t sure what you preferred.” Nerissa was looking Meschelein at an odd angle, wondering what was going on in Meschelein’s head. “Meschelein, did you need somewhere to rest? I noticed you cleaned my house. I know I didn’t mention it when I came home, but thank you for doing that.”
Meschelein turned her head up and looked Nerissa straight in the eyes. “I do not understand why it is troubling you so about the baby. It is a new life that has been gifted to you. You cannot decide what it is you are supposed to do?” Meschelein picked up her teacup, added a little honey, her eyes remaining on Nerissa, who was now confused as to what had happened.
How did a conversation turn from talking about Meschelein to talking about me?
“How did a conversation turn from talking about you to talking about me? How did you know I’m pregnant? You said you were leaving in a couple of days, though that has not been determined yet, so what difference does it make. This is my body, my life, and my decision.” The confusion came out as anger, because there was no place for it to go, other than the person that was causing the confusion.
Meschelein needed to calm Nerissa for more than one reason. Standing up from the couch, grasping Nerissa’s hand, Meschelein walked both of them back to Nerissa’s bedroom, away from prying eyes. Meschelein encouraged Nerissa to step on her feet to levitate them both. Now they were both standing in the air a few inches off the floor. Nerissa’s sense of balance told her she was experiencing something different, but dared not look down, afraid of what she might find. “Nerissa, it is all right to look if you must. You will be safe, I will not let go. I thought this might calm you before you become too agitated. It will disturb the baby. Sometimes, if there is too much energy, it builds up inside in the form of anger and frustration. To calm ourselves we must find a way to distribute that energy back into mother earth. You do not know how to do that. I am doing that for you by channeling that energy back into mother earth for you.”
“Holy Mother Mary, this is unreal.” Looking down below her feet, she realized she was not that far off the ground. “You mean we’re off the ground?” Breathing in and out deeply, she looked at Meschelein. “Meschelein, I’m sorry, it’s just that this is too confusing. Let’s face it, you’re not normal. You’re gorgeous though, look at you. I love your hair; it’s so shiny and so dark. And those eyes, I get sucked into them every time I look into them. I know, I know, there is no such thing as normal, but for the lack of a better explanation, I can’t think of another way to explain all of what’s going on.”
“Thank you for what you say. I am sorry I did not acknowledge your return, I was thinking of the events that brought me here away from my home. You are right; you do not know much about me. I will tell you what happened five years ago. I was accused of treason against my lord. I am innocent, I did no such thing. Someone betrayed my trust and turned eyes away from them to me. Who that person is or was, I do not know. I was ordered to leave, and only given a small boat on which to leave my home on. I have been wandering ever since. This is the first time I have stayed in a place that I have felt warmth and comfort. I have you to thank for that. I know you are pregnant because there are two life energies within you. There is yours and another life form, that which is growing inside of you. I feel both. I knew before today. I did not tell you because I did not feel you were ready to hear about the baby. Now that you know, I thought you would understand. However, your thoughts are confused. I do not understand why there is confusion.”
“That had to have been awful. Being accused of something you didn’t do and not knowing who did it. Then you left the only place you have ever known, to wander aimlessly. Well, you have a home now, a new home anyway if you want. There is confusion because I’m pregnant from a one night stand. We both got drunk, had sex, and woke up the next morning regretting what we had done. We vowed never to think of or bring up that night ever again. Neither of us wants to relive that night: him because he’s married and me because I did it with a married man. Not exactly something that’s good for either of us. I’m trying to decide between abortion, adoption, or keeping the baby. It’s still early enough . . .”
Wide-eyed, Meschelein exclaimed, “ABORTION! YOU WOULD KILL A BABY?! Why would you think of something like that? The child is a gift freely given to you, why would you betray that?” The more Meschelein talked about this subject with Nerissa, the more confused Meschelein was becoming. To kill anyone was beyond anything she would do or think of doing. Did I make a mistake into believing she is the one?
“It’s not your decision, it’s mine. Remember that.”
“I will remember that. I want you to remember something as well. As soon as I am able, we will leave here to go back home, my home. There you will have no choice but to keep the child. Yes, you may refuse to come back with me. It has been foretold, however, that a stranger will come upon the land to reunite the three powers. I believe you to be the one. Keep that in mind when making your decision. There is more to consider than not having a reminder of a night that was influenced by the gods.”
“Influenced by the gods? You really are a . . .”
Meschelein immediately put her hand over Nerissa’s mouth. “Do not speak when your heart is full of anger, your mind confused, and your soul influenced by the words of Beelzebub. Take the time to clear the emotion and think before you speak. There will be less consequence to follow.” Meschelein immediately removed her hand and lowered them both to the floor. They stood there facing each other. After a while, Meschelein left for the kitchen, leaving Nerissa to her thoughts. Meschelein ate the leftover stew for her afternoon meal, deciding to prepare a chicken dish for dinner. She was in need of a distraction, and cooking was the needed distraction.
Dinner was eaten in silence, each in their own thoughts. The sleeper was set up as it was the night before, except they lay in their own bed that night, deep in thought and filled with emotion.
Meschelein rose with the sun, not having slept much that night. The conversation replayed itself over and over again in her head. Meschelein needed to believe that Nerissa was the one, the one that brought her here. Nerissa was still sleeping, at least that was what Meschelein thought.
“It’s okay, I’m not sleeping, just lying here wondering if we should take the invisible jet or find the ruby slippers.” Nerissa rolled over and took a good look at Meschelein. The red eyes told her all she needed to know. “Why don’t we continue the conversation later and just play today? Maybe go to the mall, go to the movies, oh, and the festival is still open. It’s your choice.”
“The invisible jet or ruby slippers . .?”
“You had to have seen the movie, I guess. Go ahead and wash up, I’ll wait.” Nerissa got up from the bed when she heard the shower running. She couldn’t wake up properly until she had her morning coffee, milk, and honey.
Now what do I do? Lexa, you always had the answers, you tell me what to do, because I don’t know. Why did you have to die? Why did you leave me?! Nerissa did not realize that Meschelein had been standing there behind her, holding Nerissa close to her body. Meschelein felt her sleeves getting wet and knew the reason why. No words needed to be said, they would not be heard. Only the gentle comfort of love was necessary to heal a wounded soul, to answer the questions that did not have an answer.
It was quite some time before Nerissa realized her coffee was now cold and there was a body behind her. No, there was a body behind her holding her. “Yoo-hoo, if this is Meschelein, could you let go of me now? One, because I’ve gotta tinkle, and two, because I think I reek.” Playing with Meschlein’s fingers caused her body to shake from behind, causing Nerissa to laugh.
“You do not reek, as you say, and I will make breakfast. Go and do what you need to do. I will be here.” Nerissa left to attend to her morning duties.
It was decided over breakfast that they would first go to the Autumn Festival and then the movies.
It had been a good outing, both very tired but happy to be back home.
“So tell me, oh magical one, where is your home?”
Meschelein laughed. The day had been good and long, without thoughts of the conversation they had the night before. Meschelein waved her hand in the air, and a map appeared, hanging there, with nothing holding it. Nerissa poked it and nothing happened, her finger just poked through the map. She looked on either side of the map, and nothing there. How is a map able to hang in midair? Is this like the sleeper?
“Yes, this is like the bed. Now pay attention to what I have to say.”
“You’re scary, you know that. You would win at a poker game. No one would be able to hide what kind of cards they had in their hand.”
“Poker is very boring, as well as a test of patience. Now pay attention.”
“Yes ma’am, sorry, paying attention.” Nerissa’s eyes were now facing forward, looking at the map in front of them.
“This is the Bering Sea, with Russia on the left and Alaska on the right. These islands here that trail from Alaska towards Russia are the Aleutian Islands. There are three islands that are not marked on any map; they are Avalon, Andromeda, and Tutela. Tutela Isle is the northern most point of the three islands. As you see here on the map in front of you, these three islands form a triad. Long ago, there was a shipwreck, the survivors of that shipwreck separated into three groups. The aristocracy divided into two main groups, half on Avalon and half on Andromeda. Andromeda, however, had more commoners following than aristocracy. Tutela Isle was inhabited by what the people called witches or the devil’s children. The outcasts of society made Tutela Isle their home, feeling free of the hatred and scrutiny of the country they had left behind. Avalon and Andromeda used to be at war with one another for many centuries, until peace was agreed upon. Neither has ventured to Tutela Isle, we believe, because of fear, fear of what they might find. Tutela Isle is my home.” After Meschelein explained briefly where her origins are, she was not sure how Nerissa would accept the information. To say she was nervous was an understatement.
“Okay, but why are these not marked on any map?”
“The elders of Tutela Isle agreed to cast a spell called the Cloak of Secrecy, casting a veil around the three islands to isolate us from the rest of the world.”
“What does Tutela mean?”
“There are many ways to define Tutela. The best definition I can give to you is protection. The story is not known how we have our name. What we do know is that that is the best description of our home, because we have no visitors, never. We are protected by the surrounding stormy seas as well as the folklore of our peoples, the devil’s children.”
“Well, I know from watching documentaries that the ocean surrounding the northern hemisphere is pretty wild, but wouldn’t that Cloak of Secrecy protect you from the stormy seas.”
“One would think so, yes, but our scientists are puzzled as to why this is so. I cannot answer that question.”
This is not a fairy tale; it cannot be a fairy tale. Oh boy, what did I get mixed up in this time? Keeping in mind what she just said, the outcasts of society, people that were accused of witchcraft. If she came from Tutela Isle that means . . . that . . . she . . . better keep this under wraps, not that I know for sure that anyone would believe this. If the government found out, she would be turned into a guinea pig.
“Is it my imagination or do the three islands that you just finished talking about look like puzzle pieces? Or is this an artist’s interpretation?”
“We have wondered that for many years, we cannot find evidence to suggest that the three islands belong as one.”
“Okay, another history mystery. If I remember my history, the people that were accused of witchcraft did nothing wrong and only admitted guilt because of the torture. How do you fit into all of this? As far as I know, the only strange thing you have is that necklace.”
“It is said that for every thousand years, there is one born that has the gift of the gods. They are born with the ability to move mountains, change the direction of the tides, and see across the miles that no animal is able to see.”
“Let me guess, you were that one born, right?”
“Yes, I am.” Meschelein reached behind her neck to take off her necklace. The eye amulet closed as it was taken off. Meschelein looked at Nerissa, who could only stare at Meschelein.
“Meschelein, you don’t have any eyes. They’re blank, there’s nothing there. You can’t see without that necklace, can you?” Nerissa could barely speak as she was looking into Meschelein’s eyes, or what were once Meschelein’s eyes.
“I am able to see things no one can see. The necklace provides me a way to see as you do.”
“Without that necklace, what happens?”
“Without this necklace, I am able to see. I see things you do not. Your energy, the wind patterns, the ability to see everywhere, farther and wider than anyone or anything is capable of seeing. Without the necklace, I do not see the beautiful green of your eyes, the reddish golden glow of your hair in the sunlight.”
“Just for my own information, what is that necklace called?”
“This is the Eye of the Dragon. There is only one stone for every person.” Meschelein clasped the necklace around her neck. Nerissa stared in disbelief as she watched Meschelein’s eyes reappear.
“All of this is just unbelievable.” Nerissa laid her head back and closed her eyes, letting all of the information absorb into her brain. Looking at Meschelein, she said, “Give me a little bit of time to deal with all of this, all of what you told me is just mind boggling. You have to understand that I started out on the streets. I had no home before I literally bumped into someone. That someone meant more to me than anything.” Nerissa had mixed emotions about all of what were happening, exhaustion, sorrow, and confusion, just to name a few. What was it that Lexa said? Among other things, start with the most difficult first then work your way to the easy to handle issues. That way the end will be more satisfying. Next question, which one is which?
“I am aware of the person you speak of. If Alexandra were alive, I would thank her for taking such good care of my friend.” Meschelein heard everything Nerissa was thinking, and now realized just how much of an adjustment everything was now that Meschelein was in her life. They sat together on the sofa, Meschelein embracing Nerissa in her arms.
It had been six months since their initial meeting, and Nerissa and Meschelein had fallen into a pattern during that time. Nerissa would go to work while Meschelein would take care of the house and Nerissa. Nerissa would go off to work after breakfast, Meschelein stating that it was not good for the baby or the mother to be deprived of vital nutrients, and that the coffee would be eliminated from the diet, to be replaced by herbal tea which she would prepare herself. Breakfast was one thing, but taking away her coffee meant war. Nerissa tried to sneak in coffee at work, only to suffer the consequences. Nerissa never knew how Meschelein was able to find out the truth, but Meschelein was always able to find out. Needless to say, Meschelein was not happy, and to say she was angry would have been an understatement.
“We must find her; she is our leader now that our sire is dead.”
“Where would she be? It has been several seasons since she was cast away from society.”
“Well, let us start here and work our way outward. She must be somewhere.”
A small group set out to search for their missing leader. Knowing that she would not be found on Tutela Isle, they left immediately for the outside world. The search party started with Russia, working their way through to Korea, China, Vietnam, and on through the rest of the Asian continent. Without any answers, they proceeded to Europe, again without any answers. The next continent to explore was North America . . . their last hope. The search party separated to look for their leader, feeling that it would be faster to search for her, wherever she is or was.
Meschelein had been at the farmers market purchasing some food for the week. On her way back to the house, she noticed she was being followed. Not knowing whom, she decided to take the long way back. Hiding behind a tree, changing form, she reemerged to confront her shadow. Waiting silently behind the tree, she waited until they were in the right place then immediately jumped out to tackle her follower. A loud roar was heard next, as the now soaked human that lay underneath looked up into the eyes of the great beast.
Meschelein recognized this human. It cannot be, why would anyone search for me? I am the traitor that was cast out of society. I hope they remember their lessons. Meschelein projected her thoughts into the human. What are you doing here? Grab the bags behind you and pray the eggs are not broken. Open the door and follow me.
Now inside the house, Meschelein changed back into human form, needing to be sure she was presentable. She is already wet; there is no need for an unconscious visitor. It would be hard to explain to Nerissa. I am sorry, Nerissa, there is an explanation.
“Are you going to explain to me why you are here? Or do I have the pleasure of waiting for the rest of the army to crush this house?”
“Empress, I . . .”
“I am not your Empress!”
“I am sorry, but I am here along with seven other members to search for you. We are without a leader, our sire is dead. We need for you to come back with us, please.”
“Our sire cast me out of society. Nobody said anything to defend my honor. All of you had that opportunity. Yet no one said anything!”
“Please, come back with us, everyone is in need of you. We need our Empress Meschelein to come back home. With our sire dead, you are no longer a traitor. All of those records had an accident with a fire pit. Please, come back with us.”
“An accident with a fire pit . .? De tot art.hot. lousy scuz? . . .”
“Excuse me, I do not understand.”
“I said of all the lousy excuses. I need time to consider what you have just told me. Gather the rest and tell them you have found me. When you have gathered everyone, bring them immediately back here. We will sort this out to determine if all of you are being truthful. Go now, I have things I must do.”
“If you are in need . . .”
“I SAID LEAVE!” The sky suddenly roared with thunder, and if her visitor had dried off some during the conversation, they were wet again. Meschelein was not a person not to take seriously, her abilities well known among her people. They treasured her heart, and many were loyal, however, everyone was well aware not to anger their dear Empress for fear of her temper.
Meschelein was alone again, sorting through the groceries, a necessary distraction.
“Hi, honey, I’m home. I always wanted to say that. Meschelein, are you okay? I did not have any coffee today, I promise.” Nerissa started to worry when she did not receive her usual welcome home greeting. Meschelein always embraced her, gave her a peck on the cheek, and assisted when Nerissa changed her clothes. Meschelein was always respectful, so Nerissa never worried about or even thought she was being violated. It was done with love.
“I am sorry, Nerissa. When your supper is done, we will talk. There is something I must tell you.” Meschelein left the table to sit on the carpet, with the fire burning in the fireplace. She removed her necklace and placed it on her lap then looked straight into the fire.
Nerissa’s worry grew as she watched Meschelein stare into the fire. She hoped Meschelein was just meditating, thinking that she just needed a little time. Nerissa ate slowly and cleaned up the kitchen. During that time, Meschelein had not spoken or moved.
“Meschelein, I know I don’t say it often enough . . . but . . . I love you.” Nerissa gently placed her hand on Meschelein’s shoulder. Nerissa was suddenly grabbed and held tight while the dam broke open. They sat on the floor for quite a while, Nerissa gently soothing, as Lexa had done for her many times, while Meschelein let go of all the pain and anger she felt, having never allowed herself to let go until now.
Meschelein slowly rose from her crunched position, “Nerissa.” Nerissa found the necklace on Meschelein’s lap and clasped it around her neck. “Thank you for everything. A search party was formed to bring me back to Tutela Isle. They say our sire is dead, and all records of that trial have been destroyed. They need me to return home with them. I told one of them to return when the rest of the search party was found. I need you to be here with me. I do not know if they are telling me the truth or a story to bring me back to torture me even further.” Meschelein stopped to take a look at Nerissa. Nerissa had been her source of strength since they met. She wanted Nerissa to follow her home to raise the child, their child, in an environment that is both free and pure. “There is something you do not know. Before I was cast away I . . .”
The doorbell rang, interrupting their conversation. It was harder for Nerissa to get up from the floor. Meschelein rose to answer the door, not expecting the visitors on the other side of the door. It was the search party. Meschelein invited them into the house, and as soon as she had done so, the entire party fell to the floor to honor their missing Empress. “All hail our Empress. We are honored by your presence among us. All hail our Empress.” This was repeated three times before silence.
Nerissa was confused, “Empress? Whom are they talking about? Did you forget to tell me something?”
Meschelein felt a mixture of emotions, none of which made sense. The best way to explain her feelings would be she was confused herself. “That is what I was trying to tell you, Nerissa. Before I was cast away, my title was Empress. Since I was cast out of society, that title no longer holds true. Why they continue to call me Empress, I do not know.” Meschelein, looking like a lost child, still had tears in her eyes. She needed Nerissa to understand. She was desperately seeking for somewhere to call home, and now that she found it with Nerissa, she did not and could not leave again.
Nerissa looked at Meschelein, her eyes, her face, her body language, and realized Meschelein needed her. It was time to pay back that gift of love.
That was what Lexa explained to me when I asked her how I would know if I’m in love. What does love feel like? “I’ll be here or we’ll be here.” Nerissa looked down to pat her belly, smiling as she rubbed it in a gentle circle. Meschelein smiled as silent gratitude was exchanged.
“All of you rise. I am not an Empress any longer. Why are all of you here?”
“Lessa spoke with you earlier, to inform you that our sire is dead. We need you to return. We need our leader. We need our Empress. Please consider coming back with us. The advisory council had sent us on this journey. We cannot return without you. Please, our Empress, come home come back to Tutela Isle.”
“I need to know if you are being truthful. All of you have been trained to block your thoughts from me. I will not return if I am to be tortured again. I have spent five long years wandering from place to place, country to country. None of you, NO ONE spoke in my defense. Everyone had that opportunity. Yet no one spoke. Now, all of you are here to bring me back to Tutela Isle. I will not be betrayed again.”
“You were not betrayed.”
“I sînt la spre believe nimeni betrayed eu?”
Nerissa whispered to Meschelein, “It might be better if you speak English.”
“Of course. . . I AM TO BELIEVE NOBODY BETRAYED ME?”
“I am sorry, but we did not betray you.” Meschelein was preparing to speak again when the leader of the search party held up her hands. “Please let me explain.” Meschelein stood there, expecting the explanation, whatever that explanation was. She still needed to decide if they were telling her the truth. “All of us were advised not to speak to anyone. To do so would mean that all of us would lose our homes, our families, and our lives. They said they would know. We could not take that chance. When we had found out what happened, we were all saddened. The healer said that our sire’s death was due to old age disease. We do not believe that. The rumors of poisoning have grown even more so since our sire’s death. It was you that everyone admired, not our sire. We all feel that you should have been the one to take the crown of sire.”
“Who was this that advised all of you not to speak to anyone?”
“We were all given a message, they said the same thing. The message did not name anyone.”
“How do I know this is the truth?”
“I brought the message with me,” the leader revealed, handing a small parchment to Meschelein.
When she opened it, she recognized the writing. There were only three people within the palace who knew how to write in the old language. Meschelein and her sire were two of them, so that left . . .
Now everything made sense, and Meschelein started laughing. Out of curiosity, Nerissa gently pulled the parchment out of Meschelein’s hands to take a look. What she found was:
‘If you wish to continue with all that you posses and love’
The message continued, but Nerissa gave up reading at that point.
Meschelein noticed Nerissa’s confusion. “It says: If you wish to continue with all that you possess and love, your words will remain silent, beware, though . . . we see all. It is a note that means to threaten your life, home, and family, everything you have and love. There are only three people in the palace that know how to write and translate the old language. I am one, our sire was the other, and I am guessing the one that translated this for you did not say anything.”
“My mother knows how to write and read the old language. She translated these for us. We did not want to take a chance. Mother told me not to take the note seriously, but all of us did. We are sorry.”
Meschelein removed her necklace and held it out for Nerissa to take and hold. “Approach me so I may know your thoughts. Lower your will, or all of you will suffer my wrath.” Meschelein examined the memories of each member of the search party, and now knew that they are telling the truth. “I will let you know in the morning. Come back when the clock reads 9 o’clock. All of you leave.”
The following morning, Nerissa reluctantly left for work. She offered to stay, to be there with Meschelein, but Meschelein was certain that everything was as it was supposed to be, she knew that now. After the reassurance of love and promising to stay until Nerissa came home from work, Meschelein went about the preparations for the search party’s arrival. There would be one stipulation however; Meschelein would not leave if Nerissa could not return home with her. Nerissa was her source of strength. She knew that Nerissa did not have any family, Alexandra’s parents never acknowledging Nerissa as one of their own. They blamed her for Alexandra’s death. Meschelein was her only family now, and she would help, love, and protect Nerissa with everything that she could.
The search party arrived on time, and waited for their Empress’ decision.
“I have decided to come back with you. I reserve the right to leave if I sense any betrayal. I reserve the right to bring along Nerissa. She is to be my betrothed. The child she carries will be the future leader of Tutela Isle. What say you?”
The search party looked silently at one another after listening to Meschelein’s demands. They did not have a choice, either bring her back to Tutela Isle or do not return home. Her demands were not extraordinary, just unexpected. The leader spoke softly. “We agree to your demands. We will leave immediately.”
“You will wait until sunset. Nerissa will return home by then.”
“It really would be best if we left immediately.”
“We will wait until sunset or I stay here, not to return with you.”
“Very well, we will return at sunset.” The search party left the house, leaving Meschelein to think what would be needed for the long journey home.
The phone rang as Meschelein was preparing for the trip, however, she was not able to answer the telephone, as she was busy packing. She listened to the message though, noting that Nerissa would be late coming home due to someone leaving unexpectedly. Meschelein did not think that would be wise. They were leaving at sunset, and Nerissa needed her rest. She knew the office for which Nerissa worked, and thinking that a good walk was needed since the trip to the office took forty-five minutes, and this would be the last opportunity to do so, Meschelein left to speak to Nerissa.
When Meschelein arrived at Nerissa’s office, she quietly entered. “Nerissa, I must speak with you. This will only be a moment.”
“Oh, sure, I’ll meet you outside the office, more private out there. I’ll be there in a minute.” Nerissa let another coworker know she was taking her lunch break now and would return in an hour.
“Come on, there’s a deli across the street. They have good sandwiches. It’s my treat.” Nerissa did not receive a response from Meschelein, as Meschelein was busy examining the baby to be sure everything was well. There was an inconsistency that caused Meschelein to worry.
“Maybe some food is needed. Let us go to this deli that you speak of. Do you have time?”
“Yeah, I have time. I told them I was taking my lunch break. How did you get here? Don’t tell me you walked all the way. If you had called me, I could have met you somewhere in-between.”
“I walked all the way here, and I am concerned. The baby’s energy is not strong and steady. I must also tell you that we will be leaving today at sunset.”
“Today at sunset . .? I can’t. I have to work late, that is, if I’m coming. Can’t it be postponed until later?”
“They had plans to leave first thing in the morning. I told them I would not leave without you, and not before sunset.”
“Here it is. They have every kind of sandwich you can think of. I feel like eating a roast beef sandwich, how about you?”
“A roast beef sandwich will be fine, and we will share. A side of a vegetable salad with fresh fruit as well.”
“You know, you sound more and more like a mother, you know that. You take all the fun away.”
“If taking away the fun means keeping you and the baby healthy, I will gladly take the role of mother.”
“Okay, MOM, whatever you say, MOM, I’ll order it, MOM. Do you want anything to drink, MOM? I’m having Sprite, MOM. It doesn’t have any caffeine, MOM.”
“No caffeine, but too much sugar, though the alternative on the ship will be water or wine. I will order for us. Go ahead and find a table. I will find you.”
Meschelein returned to the table with a roast beef sandwich on whole grain bread, low fat mayonnaise, no mustard, lettuce, and tomato. For sides there was a green salad without dressing, because Nerissa’s stomach had become sensitive to dressing, and a tropical fruit salad. Nerissa was enjoyingt the pregnancy as much as she could, and cherished the fact that Meschelein took care of her and saw to her needs. At times she felt she was going to go insane, but knowing it was all done with love made it all better. That is, until she saw what Meschelein brought back. Well, it was food, and she was hungry, after all. If there is a will there is a way, and Nerissa would find any way to swallow and savor every moment of this. It was lunch.
“Thank you for lunch, it was good being here with you. I think the only way to leave at my regular time is if I just get up and do it. They can fire me because I won’t be here anymore, right?”
“Nerissa, it will be good to be with you. I will take care of everything. Just be sure to be home on time so we may all leave. I dragoste tu.” I love you.
“In English that means . .?”
“I will escort you back to your office. I will be waiting.”
Meschelein returned home to finish the preparations. At sunset, everyone returned, with Nerissa trailing close behind. Meschelein checked the status of the unborn baby, and did not like what she was feeling. There was a solution. The solution, however, meant placing Nerissa into a maternal slumber. The infant would continue to develop normally with little stress to the mother. It was something that had been recorded by the archivists throughout history on Tutela Isle. This was done only in times of great need because the mother wanted to experience every moment of the pregnancy.
Meschelein left the search party in the living room, pulling Nerissa with her back to the bedroom to discuss the health of both Nerissa and the unborn infant. Meschelein levitated them both off the floor as she had done once before with a different purpose. “Nerissa, I am concerned with the welfare of the baby. The energy of the baby is not strong. I would like to put you into a deep sleep. The baby would continue to grow, with very little stress to you. This way the baby would gain strength again due to your decreased stress.”
“You want to put me in a coma so the baby can grow? How is that going to happen if I’m not awake to eat, drink, and whatever else needs to be done?”
“This is a deep sleep similar to a coma, but different. I am speaking of a maternal slumber. Your body would use the stored energy as fuel then I will supply your body as necessary. You will be put into a special bubble that no one can break except me or you in an emergency. Do you understand now?”
“How am I going to know if it’s an emergency if I’m not animated?”
“Your body will know because your soul will feel it.”
“Maybe I just need rest, not that kind of rest, but just to sit back and relax.”
“I fear that will not be enough. The energy from the baby has decreased since I met you earlier this afternoon. That is why I would like to place you in a maternal slumber. I will keep you safe.”
“Does it have to be now? Can we just wait and see what happens before you make me comatose?”
“It must be done now, before the baby’s energy becomes too low. This is something that is not unusual. I have done this a few times myself for the palace staff.”
“How will we get by the neighbors though? It’ll be kinda hard, don’t you think, to sneak a human-sized cocoon all the way to the ship?”
“We will not be traveling to the ship by automobile?”
“Then how will we get there? Fly?” Nerissa was getting nervous the longer the conversation continued.
Meschelein did not respond, only looked at Nerissa. Nerissa knew what that look meant, and started to shake her head. Seeing it happen in the movies and television and dreaming about is one thing. For it to happen in real life was another thing entirely.
“Do not worry . . . the length of the voyage will be more than enough for me to regain my strength. The voyage will take approximately four months. It will take me about three days to recover my energy, my strength.” Meschelein lowered them to the floor so she would be better able to comfort Nerissa. This would be the last time she would be able hold Nerissa, at least until their arrival or the birth of the baby.
Meschelein and Nerissa rejoined the search party in the living room to prepare for departure. The leader of the search party had been discussing the means by which they were to return. The ship was lost upon arrival to North America. The only way back would be by the Empress’ powers. “Empress, there is something we must tell you now that you have agreed to return with us.”
“Yes, what would you need to tell me?” All the warning bells in Meschelein’s head started ringing, and wondered if she made a mistake by agreeing to return.
“You see, Empress, the ship that we had been using to travel has been lost, leaving us with only one way to return to Tutela Isle.” The leader of the search party was growing nervous for fear of their Empress’ temper.
“Can I ask a question? You see, if we aren’t going by plane, train, auto, or ship, then how are we going to get there?” Nerissa could not hold her silence any longer. She was a part of this motley crew, and she needed an answer to her question. After all, it is only right, right?
“That is why we cannot return without our Empress, because only she has the power and the knowledge to use this.” The leader brought out from behind her cape a crystal ball. It was not just any crystal ball. Used properly, it would transport anyone to their desired destination.
Meschelein recognized the ball and now understood why the search party would not be able to return home without her. Without Meschelein, the search party would become citizens of their last visit. They would not be able to return home.
“That changes things only slightly. After arrival, I require three days to regain my strength. Nerissa will be slumbering until the birth of the baby. The leader will see to it that both of us are taken care of. Does everyone understand?” After a round of nodding heads, Meschelein proceeded to place Nerissa into maternal slumber. The search party formed a circle as instructed then Meschelein raised everyone off the floor, and concentrating, the crystal ball began to glow brightly.
Then an explosion was heard as everyone disappeared with a flash.
To be continued in next partReturn to the Academy