Disclaimers: See part one.
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The Rivers Edge
Jenna slammed back into reality with a jerk followed by short, rasping breaths. She stared numbly at the earring resting in her palm for several moments, trying to digest what she had just seen. It was completely overwhelming.
"Good Lord," she muttered, unsure of what to think or do. Even the voice in the back of her mind was silent. She sat the earring down on the nightstand and wiped at the sweat that had formed on her brow. Jenna needed fresh air and fast.
She hurried out of the bedroom and out the back door to the small deck outside her kitchen window. She took a few deep breaths and sat down in a plastic chair, rubbing her face. That vision had been utterly mind-blowing and she wasnt sure just what to think about it. On one hand, it had explained the lapse in her memory regarding the missing time she had spent at the institute. On the other, it seemed to affirm what she had suspected she had been seeing since researching on the Internet. And the information had come from her grandmother, the person she had always trusted most in the world.
Jenna thought about the things her grandmother had said to her, about what she had called a gift and the things she would see because of it. Granny had been right on more than one count- she did not like what she had seen and she certainly doubted that the ability she had was a gift. It seemed more a curse than anything.
She blew out a breath that sent her bangs skyward. She guessed that the only good she could see about the whole thing so far was that she wasnt as crazy as she had formerly suspected. However, that didnt give her any hard evidence about what was really going on, especially with Leah.
She figured she could call Laura and tell her what had just happened, but she didnt think that would clear up her friends doubts. At least she could reassure her that it wasnt the pills.
Sadly, Jenna wondered why her grandmothers visits had ended that day at the institute. She missed her sorely, even after all these years. She was absolutely sure that Granny would give her some insight as to how to deal with what was happening now.
But she isnt here, is she? the voice reminded her none too gently.
Jenna made a face and stared longingly in the direction of the river. She wanted badly to visit the water and see if Leah would be there again. Something inside held her back, though she didn't know what. It just didnt feel right. And if she was going to trust what her grandmother had said about this so-called gift, she needed to listen to what her body told her as well as her mind.
So she thought about what she did know to be the truth. Leah existed in the here and now, she had seen that first hand. And that brute she called a husband was ill tempered in the present as well. So she figured she could safely assume that the things she saw were to warn her about the future.
But what about the river? What significance did it hold? Was it telling her that that was where there would be trouble? Or was it just a medium that she could see things better near, like some super transmitter or something? Jenna had no idea what the answers to those questions were but she was determined to find out. And there was one place she could go to get some local history as well- the library.
Jenna returned to her bedroom and put a pair of tennis shoes on. As she tied the laces, dread welled up in her at the thought of having to venture downtown by herself. She wanted nothing more than to avoid the stares and malicious whisperings that followed her wherever she went, but again her gut told her that this was more important than hiding away- a life could be in the balance, if what her last vision at the river had indicated was true.
Sighing, the blonde went to the living room and grabbed her sunglasses off the coffee table. As an afterthought, she picked up her wallet so she would have her card if needed, then set off for the library.
Jenna Moss walked through the double glass doors into the cool, dimly lit foyer of the Simpson City Library. She inhaled deeply, the damp air smelling of musty old books. It had been forever since she had set foot in the place and she suddenly missed the thrill of getting lost in a good book.
Deciding it was time to get down to business before people could start talking, she made her way to the small room in the back of the building that housed the microfiche machines. She knew that if there were anything to find out about her particular stretch of the river, she would find it there.
Jenna pulled out as many rolls of the old film as she could hold, then sat down and loaded the machine. One by one she picked through them, searching for anything that might have bearing on the visions that she had been seeing there. And one by one, she met only disappointment. She could find nothing there that might be of consequence- no Indian burial grounds had been unearthed there, no brutal murders anywhere nearby, nor had any occult activity had ever been suspected of happening there.
Except for you, she was reminded by the chuckling voice in her head.
Jenna rolled her eyes and put the films away with a huge feeling of frustration setting in. She had hoped beyond hope that she would find something there to give her a clue about what was happening. Now, she was back where she had started- with nothing.
The blonde emerged from the building and squinted. The sun was bright and extremely hot after being inside the cool depths of the library for so long. Suddenly she wished that she had not let her drivers license lapse. How she would love to turn the air conditioner of a car on full blast and point it right at her face. Instead, she headed around the side of the building into an alley, not caring if it would take her longer to get home if she went the shady way.
Several blocks later, Jenna ran out of alleys and shadows to walk in. Cursing the heat under her breath, she emerged onto the main road and crossed the street, thankful that she would be home soon. It was so hot that even the birds and bugs wouldnt come out.
As she meandered down the sidewalk, she tried to pay attention to the businesses that lined the road in an attempt to distract herself from her misery. It worked to some degree because she had not seen some of the new shops that had recently opened. She was tempted to look in a clothing store since it had been ages since she had bought anything new for herself. That only served to disappoint her further when she remembered that she had been nearly broke the last time she had balanced her checkbook, not to mention the fact that she had not done any work on the few websites that she still serviced in a long time.
Jenna was making a mental note to check on those accounts when a neon sign caught her eye from across the street. Psychic it read. She chuckled and was about to dismiss the shop altogether when a thought occurred to her- what if whoever ran the shop could help?
She stopped and shaded her eyes with her hand, looking skeptically at the white storefront. Jenna had always heard that those people were frauds, that they made generalizations that could be taken however a person wanted to hear them. She had never personally been to one, and she had to admit that she had always been curious. Making up her mind, Jenna crossed the street and entered the small shop.
She was instantly overpowered by the smell of incense as she looked around the small room that had only a wooden table and chairs in it. The beaded curtain that divided the main part of the shop from the rest of the building reminded her of a cheesy B movie. Jenna was about to turn around and leave when a voice called to her from the back of the building.
"Ill be right with you!"
She grimaced and wished she had been quicker about getting out the door. The tinkling sound of the curtains moving brought her attention to an older woman with long, curly salt and pepper hair. She smiled at Jenna in greeting, revealing slightly yellowed but straight teeth. Her red silk robe swished as she walked towards Jenna.
"I am Madame Borineau," she introduced herself in a European sounding accent.
Jenna was ready to laugh at the total cliché that this woman appeared to be- all she was missing was the turban and a crystal ball.
"And I was just leaving," she said and started to turn away before she did laugh.
"You doubt a gift that you possess yourself?"
The words stopped her in her tracks. Jenna took a moment to compose herself before turning back to face the woman. When she did turn around, she did her best to remain stoic.
"Come, sit," the woman told her, indicating the table and chairs.
Jenna frowned. She was not sure that she wanted to but found that her feet had made the decision for her. As she sat down in a chair facing the door, she watched as Madame Borineau went to the front window and changed the sign to Closed. She suddenly felt very nervous.
"You have questions, yes?" the older woman asked as she sat down facing Jenna.
"I- I dont know," she answered hesitantly. "I saw your shop and thought I would come see what it was like."
Intelligent green eyes regarded her thoughtfully from across the table. "And what is it like?"
Jenna looked around again before answering the question. She took in the dark wood paneled walls that were devoid of any decoration, the wooden floor that was mostly covered by a faded and ancient looking Persian rug. A deck of what appeared to be Tarot cards were stacked neatly on a corner of the pock marked table they sat at. Finally, her gaze returned to the woman patiently waiting across the table from her.
"It looks like something out of a movie," she answered honestly. "And a bad one at that."
Madame Borineau laughed. "Yes, it does. But that is what they expect."
"The ones that call you witch."
Jenna studied the gypsy-looking woman sitting across the table from her. She was not sure what to make of the disturbing comments. She figured they meant one of two things- either the woman really was gifted, or she was damned good at guessing. Jenna found it hard to believe that Madam Borineau could have pulled that out of her sleeve unless she had heard about her around town and done some investigating. But in all her experiences as far as that was concerned, there were very few left around town that had really known what had happened with her as a child. The rest had heard rumors and had no face to put with the name that they called witch.
"They like it this way," Madam Borineau went on, interrupting her thoughts. "It is safe for them, the ones that do not know what it is really about."
"And what is it really about?" she heard herself ask sarcastically, immediately wishing there was some duct tape handy. She was quite sure she did not want the answer to that question, even if there was a plausible one.
Again, the other woman smiled. "I think you know. The dreams, the feelings what happens when you touch certain things," she finished, leaning forward.
Jenna placed both of her hands flat on the table and willed herself not to get up and run. Her pulse began to race and the air was so thick she was sure she could see it swirling about in front of her face. She was very sure now that the woman with the piercing green eyes was for real. Suddenly she had a bad feeling.
"That brings us back to why you are here." Madame Borineau leaned back in her chair and folded her arms across her chest.
The blonde tried to maintain eye contact but her distress won out. She looked down at her hands to find that her thumbs were nervously picking at each other, a dead giveaway that she was uncomfortable. She didnt know why she felt that way. She was not sure if it was that she had considered spilling her guts to a complete stranger who obviously sensed some of her problem, or if it was something that she thought could happen. Deciding it was the former, Jenna grinned sheepishly at the other woman. "I guess I dont know the answer either, Madame Borineau."
"Please, call me Rosalie."
"Im Jenna. Pleased to meet you."
"And you have no idea why you just wandered in here?"
Jennas gaze shifted back to the table. She still had that funny feeling in her gut but now it was not so foreboding. "I thought you could help," she answered after a moment of thought, and then relayed to Rosalie the entire story.
Rosalie was silent after hearing the tale. She studied the blonde with narrowed eyes but remained silent. When she finally spoke, Jenna was not sure she had made the right decision by talking to her.
"You have had no training in this, have you?" the dark headed woman asked. Something was wrong and it had made her accent so thick that Jenna had to struggle to understand her.
She shook her head. "I was tested for it as a child, but no one has ever tried to help me with it. In fact, most people ignore it."
"That does not surprise me. Tell me, how long has this been going on?"
"When I was a kid I saw my grandmother but-"
"No, child. Now."
"For several months. Why?"
Madame Borineau stood up from her chair and began pacing the floor in an agitated manner. She muttered incoherently to herself, occasionally glancing at Jenna and making strange gestures with her hands.
As Jenna watched the woman march back and forth, she became more alarmed. The feeling in her gut was almost as strong as it had been when she had seen Leah die. And suddenly her leg was aching as badly as it had just after her final surgery, the old wound on her face searing in pain. She clenched her teeth and finally willed herself to speak her distress.
"Madame Borineau, what is it? Am I in trouble?" Her heart was thudding in her chest so hard that it felt like a jackhammer had been turned loose. But she had to know what was going on.
Rosalie stopped and stared at Jenna as if she had just realized that she was not in the room alone. "I think trouble doesnt explain it."
With that, she resumed her pacing and left Jenna stewing in her fear.
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