Great stories about good people caught in difficult situations.


Chapter Four Hundred and Seventy-Eight : Guilt?

CHAPTER FOUR HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-EIGHT

Tuesday afternoon — 3:42 p.m. MT

Denver, Colorado

“There you are!” Sam said, as he pressed open Delphie’s apartment door. “I’ve been looking for you everywhere!”

Sitting at her tarot reading table, Delphie turned to look at him. Her face was red and swollen from crying. Sam rushed across the space to her side. His arms went around her and he held her tight.

“What’s happened?” Sam asked. “What’s going on?”

Delphie shook her head. Sam kissed her face. She let him help her up and they went to the couch. He held her close and tried to soothe her sorrow.

“Is this about Lilith?” Sam asked in a soft kind voice.

Delphie nodded.

“I should have known,” Delphie said with a dry sob.

“How could you have known?” Sam asked.

“Valerie knew,” Delphie said. “She didn’t want to let that woman inside the Castle! She came to get me!”

“You didn’t let her into the Castle,” Sam said. “Jacob did.”

“But I didn’t make her leave!” Delphie said. “I just made a tray of tea and scones. There you go, Blane and Heather. Bam!

Sam hugged her tight as she cried. When she was calmer, he tried to bring her to reason.

“Let’s think it through together,” Sam said.

Delphie nodded.

“When is your vision cloudy?” Sam asked.

“Never,” Delphie said. “Not ever in my whole life.”

“What about with me?” Sam asked.

“Oh, I don’t know what’s going to happen with you,” Delphie said. “You, Jake, Valerie, for sure, or the babies, and…”

“Tink?” Sam asked.

“I think so,” Delphie said.

“Try it,” Sam said, mildly. “What’s Tink doing right now?”

“Uh…” Delphie said. “Um…”

“Can’t do it, eh?” Sam asked.

“I’m losing my gift!” Delphie wailed.

Sam laughed, and Delphie gawked at him.

“You’re being cruel,” Delphie’s voice reflected her shock. “I’ve never known you to be cruel.”

“Tell me about Tink,” Sam said.

Delphie groaned at him.

“Humor me,” Sam said.

“Tink, oh, she’s such a great girl,” Delphie said. The sorrow cleared from her face and she smiled. “She’s smart and kind. I think she’s beautiful, but she’s…”

Delphie’s eyes grew vague.

“I really love her,” Delphie said.

“And Blane?” Sam asked.

“Of course,” Delphie said.

“Heather?” Sam asked.

“Absolutely!” Delphie said. “How could you even ask?”

“So why didn’t you know what was going to happen?” Sam asked.

Delphie fell silent.

“It’s a horrible situation,” Sam said. “It’s not your fault. Don’t take it on.”

Delphie began to cry again and Sam held her tight.

~~~~~~~~

Tuesday evening — 5:42 p.m. ET

between Ellis Island and Battery Park, New York

Tink leaned against the railing of the ferry. The wind and water filled her senses. Charlie stood right behind her with his hands on the railing. He was half holding her up and hugging her at the same time. When he first did it on the ride from Liberty Island to Ellis Island, Tink felt a little claustrophobic. But now that they were on their way to Battery Park, she felt his closeness like a hug. She was loved. She leaned back and turned her head to look at him. He smiled at her.

The wind, water, and the movement of the ferry made conversation impossible. He leaned in and kissed her ear.

“How are you?” Charlie asked.

Tink nodded and looked out again. Sissy returned from the bathroom to stand too close to Tink on her right side. She felt a moment of panic as the Delgado sandwich seemed to suffocate her. And then she relaxed.

Charlie and Sissy had made every effort to make her feel like she was a part of their family. Of course, Blane and Heather had called twice. They were stuck in Denver, but Tink knew that they loved her.

And that mattered a lot to Tink.

She just couldn’t get over the sheer meanness of her mother’s actions this morning. Her mind shorted out, like a needle on a vinyl record bouncing over and over again saying: “Lilith did what?”

What was wrong with Tink? She should be mad. This person, Tink’s biological mother, went to the Castle to murder Tink and then kill herself.

Her mother wanted to end Tink’s life!

Her mother wanted to stop the life that Tink was using right this very minute.

It was just incredible.

Tink had spent much of the day either laughing with Charlie and Sissy or obsessing on what was wrong — with herself, with Lilith. Tink liked being on the water because the wind, the water, and the cold helped keep her from obsessively wondering what the hell was wrong with her!

Tink had decided that she really should be happy. This person, her mother Lilith, had hurt Tink so very much. Now, Lilith, her mother, that lady, would never, ever be able to hurt Tink again.

Her mother was dead. Good riddance.

The thought brought Tink to tears. Again.

Her tears made Tink angry. She should not be sad about that horrible woman, who’d intended to kill her, this very day!

Tink cleared her throat.

Feeling pressure on her left side, she looked to see Giovanni. He held cups of coffee and hot chocolate. Tink was surprised at much she liked the ferry hot chocolate. Giovanni grinned in response to her smile.

“They make it plain,” Giovanni said. “I make it good.”

Tink smiled and for the briefest moment, she felt happy. Giovanni moved a little closer to Tink. For the rest of the ride, these three warm bodies held her in place. She didn’t know who’d cleaned up the Castle room or what the Coroner had said about her mother. She had no idea what her step-father would do.

All Tink knew was that she was standing on this ship surrounded by people who loved her.

She gave herself a soft smile and let the wind, water, and cold do their magic so that she could be at peace, if only for a little while.

~~~~~~~~

Tuesday afternoon — 6:37 p.m. MT

Denver, Colorado

“I don’t care if you don’t want to,” Sandy said in a low voice between her teeth to Nash. She pushed his shoulder to get him down the hall. “Delphie has done a lot of nice things for you. Do you think she always wanted to do them?”

Nash turned to look at Sandy. She tapped his forehead.

“Think it through,” Sandy said.

“I’m tired,” Nash whined.

“So am I,” Sandy said.

“Tired of your whining,” Noelle said smugly. In a mocking imitation of Nash, she added, “Oh, I’m so sophisticated I can’t be bothered with the little tasks of little people.”

His face a wash of indignation, Nash gave an “I’m-so-misunderstood” grunt and turned to Noelle. Seeing that Sandy and Noelle blocked his escape, he stumbled forward but stopped at the stairs.

“It’s gross,” Nash said.

“Abi cleaned everything,” Sandy said. “You’ve seen Abi clean. Do you honestly think there’s anything gross left?”

“I’ve seen CSI!” Nash said. “You can’t get rid of everything! It’s always there!”

“Maybe you can’t.” Abi’s half-African, half Isle of Man accent came from the bottom of the stairs. “I am capable of things that you couldn’t possibly dream of Master Nash Norsen. When I say it’s clean, your CSI will find no detectable trace of biological material.”

Nash looked down the stairs at her and then back at Sandy and Noelle. Sandy pointed down the stairs and mouthed “NOW!” Nash gave her a disgusted look and stomped down the stairs. Noelle followed him close behind. With her eyes to the heavens for strength, Sandy followed close behind.

Nash and Noelle stopped short and Sandy put her hands on their shoulders. Delphie was standing in the middle of the Castle living room. She had six bundles of herbs on the couch. There were three containers of sea salt on the coffee table. Valerie came out of the kitchen shaking a spray bottle in each hand. She set the bottles down on the coffee table. Ivy skipped in with three clear rocks in her arms. Katy came behind her with a heavy clear rock. To their right, Jacob was building a large, hot fire in the small room fireplace. There was already one burning in the main Castle living room.

“Delphie’s upset,” Nash leaned down to say in Sandy’s ear.

“That’s what I was saying,” Sandy said between her teeth.

“Sorry,” Nash said.

“Why are you sorry?” Aden asked as he came in the side door.

He pulled at his tie and looked around the room. If he was surprised at the chaos in the Castle living room, he gave no indication. He looked at Sandy when Nash didn’t answer.

“Nothing,” Sandy said.

Aden kissed Sandy’s cheek.

“Nash is squeamish about blood and brains,” Abi said. Nash shot her an indignant look. “What? I don’t need to keep your secrets. Plus, it’s not surprising.”

They fell silent. The air became tight with tension.

“What?” Abi asked, when she noticed everyone was looking at her.

“Why is it not surprising that Nash is squeamish?” Valerie asked.

“Yes, Nash,” Edie said. “I have killed.”

“Our mother sent my father’s children to contain the Vikings,” Fin said.

“He’d let them on the island to bury their dead,” Edie said. “She thought it fitting.”

While they all thought it, no one was impolite enough to remind them that the Viking’s ended up trapping their mother in the energy of the Viking ship.

“I know, I know,” Edie said. “What can I say? It was another time.”

Edie looked at each of them before spying the rocks Ivy held.

“Good choices, Ivy,” Edie said. “Katy, you can set that on the couch.”

“There’s a sprite inside!” Katy said. “I don’t want it to get out.”

“She won’t,” Abi said.

“Abi put the sprite in the stone as a kindness, to save her from the oxygen in the air,” Edie said. “She lives because of the stone. If she leaves the stone, she will die.”

Edie shrugged.

“There used to be less oxygen,” Edie said with a nod.

“Okay,” Katy said and set the stone on the couch. She held out her hand to the stone and a hand appeared in the clear crystal. “Bye.”

“Katy’s not doing this?” Nash asked.

“Katy, her father, and Auntie Valerie can’t help us, Nash,” Delphie said.

“We got rid of the ghost,” Katy said with a nod.

“This is energy work,” Delphie said. “It can only be done by those with thick, sincere boundaries.”

“She means because we’re dumb humans we can do it,” Noelle whispered to Nash.

“Fairies, as well,” Abi said. “It’s in your genes.”

“So it’s a good thing?” Nash asked.

“It’s a very good thing,” Delphie said with a smile. “Human beings create amazing things — churches, monuments, gorgeous standing stones, painting, sculpture …”

“Math,” Abi said.

“Because they can work in this energy,” Delphie said.

“Katy’s not very good at math,” Noelle said with a nod.

The adults smiled.

“I’m going to change,” Aden said. “I’ll be right back. Feel free to start without me.”

“We’re not quite ready,” Delphie said.

Aden nodded. Jacob put his arm on Katy’s shoulder.

“We’re hanging out at my house,” Valerie said.

Katy took off up the stairs to the second floor. Valerie nodded to Delphie and followed Jacob to her apartment.

“You were going to tell us what we’re going to do,” Nash said.

“I did,” Delphie said with a smile. “We’ve done a space clearing. Do you remember?”

“For stagnant energy,” Nash counted on his fingers. “Negative or high emotions, and sometimes but not always helpful in illness.”

“Very good,” Delphie said.

“Should I go get the HEPA filters?” Nash asked.

“Not yet,” Delphie said. “We’ll get there.”

“Why is this different?” Noelle asked.

“Because Tink’s mother killed herself,” Abi said. “Suicide is more complicated.”

“How so?” Aden asked from the stairwell as he came down.

He appeared wearing similar clothing to what Noelle, Nash, and Sandy were wearing — jeans and a long sleeved T-shirt. Delphie waited a paused for him to join them.

“Someone who violently kills his or her self has usually thought about the act for a long time,” Delphie said. “The thought of this kind of extreme violence against self causes micro tears in their energy shell.”

“Like an aura?” Sandy asked.

“Outside our aura is a protective barrier,” Delphie said. “The violence you experienced as a child made your external barrier very porous and thin, whereas Tanesha, for example, her experiences made her shell thick and hard to penetrate. Aden’s, too.”

“But I’m not …” Sandy said.

“You are also best friends with the Goddess of Love,” Delphie said. “Even when she was Hedone, she probably fixed it without even thinking about it.”

“This barrier keeps our energy separate from other people’s energy,” Edie said.

“Where is it?” Nash asked.

“Good question,” Edie said. “It differs by person and type of person. We fairies keep our energy very close. It is one of the first things we learn to do as children. If we don’t do that, you can imagine the crazy mixing of magic and energy.”

“You’ve seen us work with Zoe and Zaidy, Noelle,” Abi said. “By the time they are a year, they will hold their energy close.”

Noelle gave a hesitant nod.

“Is that how Zoe fixed Yvonne’s brain?” Sandy asked.

Embarrassed, Abi nodded.

“It was unintentional,” Fin said. “The girls love Yvonne. She was bathed in their unguarded magic. We never thought of something coming from it. It was our oversight. We have apologized.”

“It’s a good change,” Sandy said.

Abi looked at Fin and they shared a look of regret.

“We have meddled in her affairs without permission,” Abi said. “We love Yvonne, so we feel badly.”

“Where do people keep their energy?” Nash asked to get them back on track.

Everyone thought it was great that Yvonne’s brain had healed so Nash wanted to move on.

“Oh I know! I know!” Ivy said. She danced around a little until Delphie nodded to her. “It depends on the person. Delphie and me, we keep our energy right on our body. If we don’t, we’re flooded with people’s thoughts and stuff. If we need to know something, we send our energy out.”

Ivy nodded.

“Where’s my energy end?” Nash asked.

The adults smiled. Ivy trotted over to him. She stood about five feet from him.

“Think of Nadia,” Delphie said.

Nash shifted uncomfortably and Ivy ran out of the room.

“It’s bigger than the house,” Ivy yelled.

“You send her energy,” Delphie said. “So when you’re angry with someone, you literally send them dark energy. When you love them, you send them love.”

“That’s why we try not to be so mad at people,” Sandy said with a nod.

“Like our mom,” Noelle said.

“Like her.” Aden nodded.

“Between your protective barrier and yourself is a field of energy,” Edie said with a nod. “You want someone to know you’re mad, you send them energy of anger — that energy comes from inside your protective barrier.”

“Oh, so they’re inside our energy field,” Nash said.

“Like a hug,” Noelle said.

“Exactly,” Edie nodded.

“As Delphie said, when you think of killing yourself you create tiny tears in your protective energy barriers,” Edie said.

“Wait,” Sandy said. “There’s more than one.”

“Yes,” Edie said, “but thinking of it as one is fine.”

Sandy scowled, but nodded.

“Lilith must have thought of killing herself for a very long time,” Delphie said.

“We noticed how dark her energy was,” Ivy said.

“Ivy and I have been talking about these protective barriers,” Delphie said. “When Lilith came through the living room, we could see the holes in her protective barrier. I knew that her son had just died so I assumed she just depressed.”

“Why are holes bad?” Noelle asked.

“Because anything can come in,” Edie said.

“And the anything that wants to come in is very dark,” Sandy said. “Like the very description of dark itself.”

Everyone nodded.

“Is that why Tink’s mom killed herself?” Noelle asked.

Denver Cereal continues next week…

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