Ok, dear reader, please understand. I have a few things going on right now. Sometimes everything just seems to happen at once. This is one of those times.
So I tell you be patient. I tell myself as well.
Because when I feel the tug on the ether and I know in my soul it is Aidan, even I don’t understand why the fire brings me to this girl.
Mila is just beginning to awaken to her power. She has strength and untapped potential. Just like many others, her parents brought her here for the sanctuary my town provides.
Watching the first few minutes, I should have known what might happen in this melting pot of power. It has happened before. I should have kept better tabs on the ripples.
But I never claim to be perfect. And I never claim to have better Sight than Him or His Nemesis. I work within the limits of my formidable power. I do have limits. I do make mistakes.
To be fair, this might be one of those defining moments in Aidan’s life that has to happen. This may be one of those times I am not supposed to meddle if she is to make it to her Destiny.
So when I take a moment away from other things, pull the fire into my hands and bring up the source of the magical disturbance, I see a girl.
A knock on the door echoes through the fire.
She is alone in her house. Her parents are gone for the week on a cruise, recreating their honeymoon. She’s just hung up from their nightly call, pulled a blanket over herself on the sofa and clicked the remote to unpause the movie.
Someone knocks on the door.
It is not loud, but it reverberates through her.
Please go away, she thinks.
But the knock returns after a few moments of silence.
Mila tosses the blanket to the side and patters in bare feet to the front door. She peeks through the hole.
Bryant stands there, shifting in the cold night, looking around furtively.
He lifts his fist to knock again.
She opens the door before he can.
“Go away, Bryant.”
“You know I can’t.”
“No, I really don’t. I know you scare me. I know your friends are out to get me. I know I want you to leave. But I definitely for sure do not know that you cannot just get away from me.”
He pushes past her, glances around her home and dismisses everything but the fire in the fireplace. He kneels beside it seeking heat to warm his cold hands.
“Sure. Come on in. Make yourself at home,” she quips closing the door and falling back onto the sofa.
“You know why I’m here, Mila.”
“No. I don’t think so. I told you and your friends to leave me the hell alone. I don’t want to play anymore.” She reaches out with her power, touches his mind lightly like a soft breeze.
He slams her out of his head. “You’ve screwed up. No. I’m sorry. I screwed up. I didn’t mean for any of this to happen.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. You just showed me what I can do is all.”
“We’ve left you open, left you without protection. You’ve created worlds without end. People can get lost in things like that and can’t get back.” He pulls reluctantly away from the fire and sits next to her taking her hand.
“It was just a game. You showed me. You said it would help.”
“Now you’re hurting other people. And, Mila,” he wraps his hands around her face, making her look him in the eyes, “I know there are people hurting you.”
She glares at him. His blonde hair is messy and falling into his eyes. When the flames flicker, the light plays on his face giving her an impression of Primitive Magic. She shakes her head, pushing aside the knowledge that he is right. She has lost control. Finally, she relents. “What do we do?”
He drops his hands from her face onto her knees palms up. “Take my hands.”
He takes a deep breath. She can feel his muscles relax one by one. “I need you to trust me,” he says much less urgently. “I need to see what we’re working with. Trust me. I won’t hurt you.”
His hands feel nice. Creative hands. Long gentle fingers. Secure hands that comfort. Although his presence always projects power, his touch, this innocent contact sends lightning through her arms.
“Relax, Mila. If it helps, close your eyes.”
Her hands stop shaking. The energy coursing through her comes from him. It races up through her body and touches her eyes, dragging her lids down until all she sees is darkness and the bright after-image of the fire.
For a moment, he gazes at her soft lashes resting on her cheeks, notes the unnatural paleness and deep circles that comes from so many nights without sleep and way too much stress.
He closes his eyes and touches her mind.
(They are Dreamwalkers, capable of touching anyone’s dream, capable of creating dream worlds and mastering them.
In the Magical Community, Dreamwalkers are trained from before birth in their power. They are usually counselors and shrinks. More often they are subversives on one side or another searching for secrets in the uninhibited dreams of others.
I shake my head. My sanctuary has been abused again. Parents aren’t always right. Parents with children who have powers like these should never keep them from learning their strengths, harnessing their powers. Only bad has ever come from trying to ignore this particular magical gene.
If you ignore your history, it will repeat itself.
I follow them into the dream as unobtrusively as I can. I am a shadow they cannot feel.)
A blinding white light surrounds them. Inside the lights, Bryant mentally releases one of Mila’s hands so he can guide her.
She half expects the light to give way to her own private meditation place filled with trees, flowers and hidden springs. Instead, they are inside the Corridor.
(Lovely. How did that bitch get into MY town? Adair is weakening faster than I anticipated.)
For a moment, Mila backs up into the white brilliance.
Bryant refuses to let her go. He yanks her back into the Corridor, the hall of infinite doors. Stone is cold on her bare feet as he pulls her deeper.
This isn’t an unfamiliar place. This is the first place he and Michael had taught her to go. Sort of a central hub where everyone can find each other. Bryant said that first night that it seems like a place where She can keep tabs on them, but he never explained who She is.
He passes the electric blue door he’d led her to before. That is his, his private place.
She knows he is taking her to a room that would be hers.
The floor seems tilted. It feels as if they are walking uphill. She studies the doors they pass. They are made of every material: glass, gold, silver, brass, wood, stone. They are every color she can dream of.
The hall itself is empty. She is sensitive enough, though, to feel the presence of others behind some of the doors. Their magic combines with Bryant’s and her own and electrifies the air. She is breathing fire.
Bryant keeps pulling her. She doesn’t want to go. Her reluctance makes it hard on the boy. Sweat beads on his face. His hair is damp.
Finally, he stops and points to a door on their left. It is plain and silver. He nods to it. “Yours,” he tells her.
She looks at it. She doesn’t like the cold feel of it. She reaches out and touches it. Beneath her palm, cold steel warms, shimmers and changes. Dark mahogany appears. She traces her fingers over it until there are beautiful carvings in the wood.
It is just a small change, a hint of what she can do. It makes her feel better to know she can make her door appear however she wishes.
She is not ready to call it hers. She waves her hand across the wood, returning it to cold steel.
She glances at Bryant and sees the corners of his mouth lifted before he steels his face again. “Open it,” he says.
So she does.