Chapter 17 of 21. If you haven’t read the earlier chapters, please read them first. You can find them here: The Willow, a serialized novel.
Nicholas sat staring at Beth, as James and Elizabeth sat across from them with their mouths wide open. Nicholas had just remembered his birth as Eliana, and giving his life in the protection of his sister Willa, and now Beth was reminding him, that he was also her daughter Reshmi in a previous birth. Lifetimes were mixing within his mind like a blur. He felt a connection to this woman before him that was unexplainable. He knew that whatever she said was true.
“Why today?” asked Nicholas.
“Because today Willow needs you.”
“Willow?” asked James.
“You knew her as Willa, of course,” said Beth looking at him.
“Is she still alive?” asked James, his heart pounding at the mention of her name.
“Yes she’s been alive all of this time.”
Tears began running down James’ face as years of guilt rushed over him. “I didn’t know. I didn’t even imagine it as a possibility.”
“None of us did,” said Elizabeth as she put her hand over James’. “As a child,” she explained, “Marcus, the man that would become my husband, saw Willow being dragged into a cabin. It was an image that tortured him for his whole life. He discovered their hiding place by accident, because he had a gift that allowed him to see a hidden pocket in the atmosphere where they were keeping her.”
“There are no accidents,” said James.
“Indeed,” said Beth. “Willow communicated with me from the beginning of her capture and she had Marcus’ family moved to an open house in my neighborhood, where I befriended him. For all these years, I was trying to help him discover his gift. To tap into it.”
“And did he remember?” asked James.
“He died a little over ten years ago,” said Elizabeth.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” said Nicholas.
“Then what happened?” asked James. “Why are you here now.”
“Because he was reborn,” said Beth. “He was reborn as a girl who goes by the name of Daisy. She is around ten-years-old now.”
“Daisy stumbled upon that same cabin that she saw as Marcus so many years ago,” said Elizabeth.
“And now,” said Beth, “Willow needs all of you. She needs her whole team back together.”
“But,” started Nicholas, “my parents were part of that team. They are dead now.”
“They are,” said Beth. “But they had you, and you were born with their gifts. You are more tuned-in to it than they ever were.”
“What about the others?” asked James.
“The others are coming together through Daisy,” said Beth.
“What now then?” asked Nicholas.
“Now we drive,” said Beth. “We have to get to a state park near Mt. Rainier. James you can get on the phone and search the motels in that area for a guest named Martha.”
“Martha?” asked James. “Martha what?”
“That’s all I’ve got. How many could there be?
Sam put the papers on the table in front of him and fell back into the couch on which he was sitting.
“So,” said Sarah. “So, this girl is still alive?”
“Alive and imprisoned all of these years,” said Sam shaking his head. “I mean, if we are to believe what your father’s written. Who knows how old these papers are? I mean, there’s some pretty crazy stuff in here. She was just a girl when they took her. How could they have known that she had some kind of power?”
Sam paused for a second. This was a memory that he kept tucked safely away. Other than dreams once a year, the image of Willow giving them the gift was too painful for him to think of. “Well, we all thought she had something special at the time. But, I mean, we were like four-years-old. Everybody believes in magic at that age.”
“But these papers confirm it.”
“Your dad,” said Sam, “seemed like he was in a pretty bad place. Just look at this place.”
“No,” started Sarah, “it all makes sense now. This is why he’s been so tortured all these years. This explains his demons. He’s not crazy. He’s just living a life that he doesn’t believe in. He failed to free her so many years ago, and he has been torturing himself for it ever since.”
“Where is he now then? Why not just ask for my help? Why run? Why pull a gun on me?” As badly as he wanted to stay calm for the girl, Sam was working himself up. His own failures were overriding his sense of protection for the girl’s feelings.
“Maybe he went to help her,” offered Sarah. “Or maybe he wanted to talk some sense into this guy, Gabriel.”
“Gabriel doesn’t sound like someone who is looking to change.”
“Well, we have to do something.”
“A random cabin, in a secret location,” said Sam, mostly to himself. “Come on. Really?” Sam said to the walls.
Sam’s cell phone rang and they both jumped. Sam picked up the phone and stared at the name on it.
“Who is it?” asked Sarah.
“She was my girlfriend, like 15 years ago. We kept in touch on and off, but not in the last eight or nine years.”
“Are you going to pick it up?” The phone stopped ringing and they both sat in silence. “Why didn’t you pick it up?” asked Sarah.
“I don’t know. I just had a bad feeling.”
The phone started ringing again.
“Pick it up!” yelled Sarah.
Sam pushed Answer on his phone and put it to his ear. “Hello?”
“Sam? This is Martha. I hope it’s not a bad time.”
“What’s going on?”
“Well? I’m at a motel near Mt. Rainier with my son and daughter. My daughter, Daisy, went walking in the woods and came across a cabin where she said a man with a gun was sitting. She said she heard a girls voice say, “Get Sam.” I know it sounds crazy, but you are the only Sam I know. Daisy is desperate for you to come here.”
Brett was pacing the room. His sister was running the show now. He wanted to help but there was nothing he could do. He pulled the drape back slightly on the window and looked out, wondering if anyone was watching them. He could barely hear the words coming out of his mother’s voice as she talked on the phone, until suddenly, Daisy pulled the phone from her hands. “Sam!” she yelled into it.
“Yes?” Daisy heard a voice say. His tone was deep – comforting yet concerned.
“Are you the Sam the girl was talking about? Are you the Sam that can help her?” Now Daisy was pacing as Brett and Martha watched attentively.
“I am that Sam, and I’ll get there as fast as possible. Just wait for me Daisy. I’m coming.” Daisy looked at her mother and nodded her head again and again.
“It’s him mom,” she said, “it’s definitely him.”
Willow heard voices arguing from outside the cabin and knew that Gabriel had called his crew back together.
“You killed him?” she could hear Russell saying. She imagined him motioning to Dave’s body lying on the ground. Willow knew that Gabriel wouldn’t have removed it. He would leave the body there, in front of the cabin, to intimidate whoever was coming next.
“It was only a matter of time,” Travis’ voiced snarled. He was the one person that Willow had never missed. Pure evil, that one.
“He gave our location away,” said Gabriel. “It’s only a matter of time before they find us.”
“They can’t find us without the sight,” said Russell.
“They have already found us,” said Travis. “That girl showing up here was a sign. We have to be ready for war.”
“I agree,” said Gabriel. “They’re coming.”
Willow walked up to the cabin door and did something she had never done before; she pounded her fist against it. There was a sudden silence outside and then the door opened. Willow saw Gabriel, Russell and Travis all standing before her with questioning looks.
“I agree,” she said. “They’re coming for you.”
I’ll see you next Friday for chapter 18.
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