Reckless Magic (Page 19)

Someone carried me the entire way back to the bus which was running and waiting for our arrival. A hike that took over an hour just that morning seemed to take only minutes on the way back. We were loaded onto the bus and I was deposited in the very back, left alone to sob as silently as I could.

If only the extreme force of the energy I held were enough to cope with tonight it would have been enough. But it wasn’t just that, my friends were attacked tonight, attacked by people who had intended to kill us. I had to watch my friends fight for their very survival.

I was physically weak and inundated. But the realization of what I had done to other people, enemy or not was the truly crushing reality. I took four lives tonight. No one asked me to, and no one else could be held responsible. With the suggestion of no other person I chose to destroy those people. Despite the fact that I saved my friends lives in return for theirs, the truth remains: I was a murderer.

They weren’t even ordinary men, they were men like me. Whatever I was, they were. They possessed the same energy, the same electricity; we were the same, and I killed them. Their lives are over and for all I knew they were still lying there, piled on top of each other, in the middle of the wilderness.

I continued to sob until I was at last too exhausted to even cry and fell into a deep, dreamless sleep. I could finally feel nothing and think no more. The sweet rest seemed to last forever and consumed my whole consciousness. I was aware of the bus arriving back at school, and I was aware of being taken to my aunt’s car, but through it all I refused to open my eyes and acknowledge reality.

Somehow, someone eventually placed me in my bed. It was there, under my thick comforters and surrounded by soft, feather pillows, that I let the sweet nothingness consume me entirely. I would have been perfectly happy to never wake up again. But of course, that was asking for far too much.

After what seemed like days of sleeping I finally could not keep my eyes closed any longer. Although if it had been up to me; I would never have opened them again. But fighting against my selfishness was the conscious knowledge that I had a moral responsibility to pay the consequences of my actions. I sighed deeply and contemplated whether I wanted to get out of bed or just call down for Aunt Syl.

The warm sunlight from my bedroom windows enveloped me as I lay on my overly soft, overly large bed. I was wrapped in warm blankets and surrounded by my favorite pillows. I rubbed my eyes as they adjusted to the light they hadn’t seen for what seemed like a very long time. I could feel how puffy and swollen they were, a consequence of the large amounts of sobbing I had accomplished lately.

I started to sit up, but still felt drained of all energy. I laid my head back down and wished I could stay there forever. I tried to swallow, but my throat was dry and scratchy. I didn’t attempt to move, unquenchable thirst seemed the least of my problems.

“Aunt Syl,” I called out, but my voice was nothing more than a harsh whisper.

“Sshhh…” she responded, entering my room with a glass of water in hand. Either she was a mind-reader or just a very good person. I sat up a tiny bit, taking the water from her. “I figured you would get up soon, and I thought you would need this,” I took a small sip and my eyes filled with tears; for being both grateful for the water and for having to face her.

I realized that she had been sitting just outside my door, waiting for me to get up. I wondered how long I had been asleep and how long she had been sitting there. I couldn’t hold back my tears as I thought about the pain I must be causing her. How could I explain any of this to her?

I gratefully gulped the glass of water down, spilling it all over my face and on my surrounding covers. I tried to speak again, but this time no sound came out. Tears continued to spill from my eyes and I hung my head in shame. Aunt Syl soon started crying as well.

She took the water from my hands and set it down on my night stand. Still crying she pulled me into her arms and hugged me, rubbing my back with her hand. She had never felt like much of a mother type before, but at that moment it was exactly what I needed. I felt like a small child, unable to comprehend anything that was going on outside of my own feelings.

“It’s alright Eden, everything is going to be alright,” she cooed soothingly, pulling my shoulders away from her and staring directly into my face. She brushed the tears away from my eyes and then her own eyes as well. She handed me a tissue from her pocket and I gratefully wiped my face with it. “There is someone here who needs to speak with you,” She tried to smile reassuringly, but I saw the trepidation in her eyes.

Without being asked, a man entered my room and cleared his throat. I looked up to see Principal Saint standing in my doorway, looking very grim. All of the horrors of the previous night rushed back to me and I was filled with dread. A sense of foreboding gripped my nervous system, and the tingling electricity filled my veins once again.

Chapter Seventeen

“Hello, Eden,” Principal Saint said in his usual distinguished voice, then cleared his throat. “I am glad that you are feeling better.”

He assumed I was feeling better without even asking. I was not feeling better, I was feeling worse. The cloaked figures passed through my mind again and I bit my lip to hold back the tears. A wave of nausea crept over me and I glanced around in search of a trash can.

“First things first, those men are not dead,” Principal Saint continued. He paused as if waiting for his words to sink in. “They may have appeared that way to you, but Talbott was able to revive them. They were simply unconscious. You children were very lucky to have survived such a brutal attack.” He cleared his throat again. Principal Saint was a very tall man, and since he had not moved from my door way he appeared overly large and intimidating in his double breasted, brown, tweed suit.

“They were dead, I know they were dead,” I protested. “I killed them,” I looked down and covered my face with my hands. I couldn’t hold back the choking sobs.

“Eden it’s alright, what Dr. Saint says is true,” My aunt put her hand against my cheek and spoke in a soothing manner. I looked up at her unbelieving. “There are a lot of things that have happened to you that need to be explained,” she continued, “Amory would like to talk with you, and maybe shed some light on all that has been happening recently,” she gave me an encouraging smile and stood to leave. I grabbed her hand unwilling to be left alone with him.

“I saw those men lying on the ground. They were dead. I know they were dead,” I struggled to speak through my tears, my voice was deep and course, but I refused to believe them. I committed a horrible act, and I knew that I must pay for my actions. They were not going to sugar coat it for me. Surely the police would be here any minute anyways.

“Eden, the police are not coming,” Principal Saint seemed to read my mind and answer my very thoughts. His voice was more constrained and I could see that he was frustrated with me. “The police will never be involved. We have our own way of dealing with issues such as these. Now trust me, those men were not dead. They probably appeared that way to you, maybe even felt that way; but as I said before, Talbott was able to revive them and they are currently being held for questioning.”

“Why didn’t you call the police? Those men are dangerous. They tried to hurt us, they tried to kill us!” I was fully ready to face the consequences for homicide; but I was also more than ready to plead self-defense. As awful as I felt for taking another man’s life, I did realize that it was necessary. The fact that these men were not even in police custody made my actions meaningless.

“Trust me, those men are in custody. However, it is a different type of legal system than you may be used to. I’m afraid they will face a judge and jury very soon. A trial has been set for them and they will face their accusers soon enough,” a look of sadness passed across Principal Saint’s face and I was not sure if it was meant for me or for the men who would stand trial.

“So I will get to testify against them?” I asked, unsure if I was even ready to face them again.

“No, absolutely not. That is out of the question,” Principal Saint reacted quickly. I was instantly confused, but before I could ask any more questions, he continued, “What I mean to say is that Kiran Kendrick and Talbott Angelo will act as both witness and prosecution. Their testimonies will be more than enough to seal your attacker’s fate. Trust me,” Principal Saint wore the same look of sadness he had a few moments ago and I was positive this time it was meant for the attackers.

“But why can’t I speak on my own behalf?” I felt obstinate; those men tried to kill my friends.

“Haven’t you been through enough? Besides the trial will take place in Romania.”

“Romania?” I blurted out, much louder than I had intended. “What does Romania have to do with what happened here… in Nebraska? Isn’t there something about jurisdiction or international law or something?” I was now completely confused. Surely a Romanian court system could care less about what happened to a bunch of teenagers in the middle of America.

“They will not be tried by a Romanian court system,” Principal Saint once again answered the questions in my head and I was sure now that he was reading my thoughts. “We have our own judicial system and they will answer to us. Like I said, their fate, I’m sure, will be much worse than any human justice system is prepared to give them, trust me,” Principal Saint looked down at his shoes and shook his head slightly as if ashamed.

“Ok, I have no idea what you are talking about,” I looked at Aunt Syl, hoping she would shed some light on this bewildering conversation. “You are really starting to freak me out.”

“It’s alright Eden. You need to start trusting me,” he approached the bed and pulled my desk chair closer so that he could sit near me. My aunt stood up and crossed the room to look out my window. My throat began to close in nervous anticipation. “Sylvia would you make us some tea? This might be harder than I imagined." Aunt Syl left the room silently and obeyed.

“How do you know what’s been happening to me? How do you know what I’m thinking? What do you mean by our justice system?” my questions tumbled out quickly and all at once. Principal Saint obviously knew much more about what was happening to me than I did.

“What is happening to you is completely normal,” when I rolled my eyes he continued, “Well it’s completely expected anyway. It’s completely expected for someone in your position,” he clarified. “You see Eden; you are special, very special.”

“If by special you mean crazy and this is some sort of weird intervention then just let me know where you are sending me and get on with it!” I couldn’t hold back my tears this time; they came in waves of choking sobs. All of my fears and anxiety finally manifested themselves in a very real manner. The strange things that had been happening to me and the inexplicable things I was responsible for were not normal, but more than that, they were scary.

“You are not crazy,” Principal Saint replied a little disdainfully, but even more impatiently. “You did the only thing that anyone would expect you to do and that was to protect yourself and your friends. From what I’ve heard it was a very dangerous situation; you are lucky to be alive,” he said this with finality, as though this should be enough. “And I will say it again, you are not crazy. You drained those men of their magic; it was not a pretty task, but a necessary one,” he paused to let his words sink in. “I’m sure the magnitude of force you used on those men felt like murder, it probably felt worse to them, but Talbott was able to revive them. They are in custody now and soon we will find out what their exact purpose was. Then we will know why they attacked you children…. although I am sure I already have a reason in mind.”