“You promised us answers, Aunt Mattie.” I said with a frown as she set a steaming mug of tea in front of me.
“That’s enough with the attitude, Elijah.” Aunt Madison replied sternly. “Drink the tea.”
I glanced at Brayden as he sat to my left. He smiled and nodded at me before he took a long swig from his own mug.
“It’s good, Aunt Madison.” Brayden complimented the older woman.
I saw my mother exchange glances with Natalie before her blue eyes settled on me. My mother smiled and motioned towards the mug.
“Do it, Elijah.” She said encouragingly. “It’s how you’re going to get your answers.”
I sighed and picked up the mug that sat on the kitchen table in front of me. Brayden reached over and squeezed my knee gently. I glanced at him before I finally just drank deeply from the mug. I didn’t stop until I had finished nearly half of the mug. I felt a strange warm feeling washing over me as I stared into the cinnamon flavored drink.
“Did you lace this with something?” I asked as the room spun slightly. Brayden’s head fell forward onto the table just before I felt everything lurch sideways.
I opened my eyes to find myself sitting inside of a church sanctuary. A girl with black hair and green eyes sat in the pew to my right.
“Who are you?” I asked as I scanned the room with my eyes. Nobody else was in the massive room with us, but there was a closed coffin sitting directly in front of the stage where the preacher had stood in my previous dreams.
“You’ll find out soon enough, Chosen One.” The girl replied without looking away from the cross that hung on the wall behind the stage. “There are more important things that need to be shown to you for now.”
“Are you going to tell me why everybody keeps hiding stuff from me?”
“You were kept in the dark to protect you from yourself, Elijah.” The girl said flatly.
“What do you mean?”
“You have no idea how much trouble you’ve avoided just because your mother helped you ‘forget’. Your mother has dedicated her life to protecting you from the evils of the world, just so you didn’t have to worry about hiding the Secret, Elijah.”
“Oh,” I said as her words began to sink in. “I didn’t know. . .”
“You weren’t expected to know,” the girl said with a light laugh. “That’s the point of our current discussion.”
“Sorry,” I said.
“Be quiet, Elijah!” The girl said jokingly. “You’re never going to get answers if you don’t listen.”
I frowned as the girl reached over and squeezed my knee briefly.
“Relax, Elijah.” She said softly. “Now, it’s time for your Awakening to begin.”
The girl reached out and touched my temples. The sanctuary seemed to melt away from around me before I found myself surrounded by a heavy mist.
“What’s going on?” I asked, only to realize that I was alone.
‘Let the memories guide you, Elijah.’ The girl’s voice came to me.
The mist surrounded me, but I could hear the distant sound of children’s voices echoing from nearby. I took a step forward before I took another hesitant step towards the sounds of laughter. The mist swirled around my feet with every step I took, and I felt a chill go up my spine from the creepy atmosphere around me. The fog parted as I stepped into the edge of a sandbox and found the source of the child’s laughter. There were two little boys standing in the center of the sandbox with mischievous grins on their faces.
“Tag!” The black-haired boy called out. “You’re it, Brayden!”
I gasped as I realized just who the two boys were. It was a memory from when Brayden and I were only five. I remembered the house I lived in with the park across the street. I watched as my younger self took off from Brayden just as the brown-haired boy reached out to touch him back. He furrowed his brow in consternation before he took off running after the other me.
“I’m going to get you, Elijah!” Brayden yelled after me as I ran from him.
I saw myself turn and my feet slid out from underneath me. It gave Brayden enough time to catch up to the younger me and tag him on the shoulder before Brayden took off running. The younger me only pouted for a second before he ran after Brayden. I followed both boys with my eyes as they taunted each other relentlessly. Neither one of them was paying attention to the direction they were running. Neither one noticed that Elijah was chasing Brayden straight towards the street. Neither boy saw the car heading towards where Brayden was about to run out into the road. I tried to scream out for the boys, but it was useless. That is why it was a memory. Nothing could be changed. It had already happened.
Brayden ran out into the road and the air was suddenly filled with screeching tires and a solitary horn blast echoing from the houses. Elijah suddenly blinked out of existence and reappeared right next to Brayden. The younger me, then grabbed Brayden and both boys vanished before they appeared on the sidewalk across the street.
The woman jumped out of her car and was screaming frantically as she thought she had hit a child with her car. Then, I saw my mother step out of the front of our house with a worried look on her face. She ran down and checked on Brayden and the younger version of me before she turned her attention to the woman. My mother touched the woman’s forehead, and she suddenly got in her car and left. Then, my mother turned back to where the younger Brayden sat with my arms around him. His face was pale, and he looked as if he was about to faint at any moment. My mother reached out and touched both of us on our temples before we both slumped forward into her arms. I saw her mouth something before both little boys vanished from my sight. My mother glanced around before she returned to the house.
Then, the fog swirled around me again and when it cleared, I was standing in my middle school gymnasium during Gym Class. We were playing dodgeball when a strange man in black appeared out of nowhere. His eyes were red, and his skin was whiter than snow. As he walked it seemed as though his body drifted behind him in wafts of smoke, like he was not completely there in the flesh. His attention was only focused on the younger version of me. The strange man attacked me repeatedly, yet somehow, I was able to fend him off with a ball of energy before my mother appeared. My mother killed the strange man before she said a few words that made everyone stumble forward slightly in a daze. Then, they went on playing dodgeball as if nothing happened. I had just watched my mother wipe the memories of an entire gym class.
The mist returned, and I found myself sitting next to the lake behind our house. As I sat there in the grass and stared out at the choppy waters. I was only ten or eleven at the time of the strange memory, but I remembered the day clearly. My father had just come to visit me, but something else had happened that day that I had difficulty remembering. There was a storm that day, and even though it looked like any other summer storm we received in the area, I remember my mom and dad being worried about it. The clouds grew darker, and I could hear my mother and father talking behind me.
“This isn’t natural Nikolas,” I heard my mother say softly.
“I know, Salena.” My father replied. “Eli, you should go inside, buddy.”
“Why, daddy?” I asked without taking my eyes off the steadily growing waves. I didn’t even flinch as a solitary bolt of lightning struck in the center of the lake, quickly followed by a loud resounding ‘crack’ that shook the air around us. My eyes widened in amazement at the sight. “Wow!”
“Eli!” I heard my mother call for me, her voice was filled with fear.
I glanced back at her and looked in confusion at how she was standing like she was about ready to fight someone. My father’s expression of anger surprised me even more than my mother’s stance.
“Eli, get inside the house, now!” My mother commanded.
“Yes, ma’am.” I said without further argument. I could tell something was wrong. It wasn’t like my parents to be so demanding when it came to telling me to do something. I stood and turned towards the house, but I could not get my feet to move forward. I looked at my mom as my eyes went wide in fear. “Mommy. . .”
“What’s wrong, Eli?” My father asked as he stepped towards me.
“I. . . I can’t move, daddy.” I said as tears sprang to my eyes.
“It’ll be okay, Elijah.” My mother said without taking her eyes off of me. “Just keep looking at me, baby boy.”
I nodded and looked at her as my father stepped past me. I could have sworn I saw a ball of electricity crackling in the palm of his hand as he stepped forward, but my mother called my name again; effectively drawing my attention away from the strange object in my dad’s hand.
“Get out of my way, Destiny!” I heard someone growl angrily from behind me. “I will have the boy!”
“If you know who I am, Masro, then you know I already have an idea of how this is going to play out.” I heard my father say calmly. “You won’t win. You might as well go tell Jarik that you failed, Masro.”
“I’ll die before I fail to the likes of you, Destiny!” The evil sounding voice screamed out furiously. “I am Jarik’s number one! His most powerful follower! You won’t be able to stop me from taking the Chosen One! Nobody can!”
“That’s where you’re wrong, Demon.” I heard myself say calmly. “It always comes down to fighting.”
I turned around and looked at the black-haired man that was standing on the surface of the water. His black eyes were suddenly filled with bewilderment as he looked past my father and turned his eyes on me.
“How did you break my spell?” The pale man demanded.
“Stand aside, father.” I said as I started to feel sad over what was coming. My father stood between the man and myself; the ball of energy still crackled in the palm of his hand. He had a golden glow surrounding his body as I stepped forward to his side. I held out my hand towards Destiny. “Give it to me, father. This is my Destiny.”
I saw him glance at me for a moment before he nodded and placed the energy into my hand.
“Masro, it is not your Destiny to defeat me.” I told the Demon sadly. “You misinterpreted your vision wrong. It’s your Destiny to die by my hand, Demon.”
“Lies. . .”
Masro’s raspy voice fell silent as his gaze fell to the smoking hole in his chest. I felt a tear fall down my cheek as I held my now empty hand to my father.
“I need another one, please.” I said softly.
“Impossible,” Masro said in disbelief. “The vision. . .”
“As I said, Demon.” I interrupted him as my father placed another crackling ball of energy into the palm of my right hand. “Your vision was wrong. It is now time for you to meet your true Destiny.”
I threw the energy ball at the Demon and watched as it struck him directly in the face. The ball exploded into a blinding white light that turned the evil being into ash. The moment the light faded, the storm that had been brewing fell silent, and the world tilted sideways around me.
I was wandering through the mist again when I opened my eyes. Multitudes of conversations could be heard all around me, and I winced as the different memories slowly broke free from the spell that had kept them hidden from me. I pushed forward through the mist as lights flashed and voices cried out from different directions. I couldn’t stop, though. Something continued to draw me forward until I found myself standing in the kitchen of my home. My mother was sitting at the table, and a five-year-old version of me was sitting in the chair next to her.
“I don’t understand, mommy.” The younger version of me said in his small voice. His blue eyes were filled with sadness, and there was a small bruise forming on his cheek. “Why did that man attack me like that?”
“He was afraid of you, baby boy.” My mother told me softly as she held a washcloth with ice in it up to my cheek.
“I didn’t do anything, though.” The boy admitted. Then, he glanced down at his hands as several tears fell into his open palms. “How did I do that?”
My mother smiled and held the boy’s hands in her own, making him look up at her.
“I can’t tell you right now, Eli.” She said sadly. “One day, all of this will make sense to you. I promise. For now, just sleep and you’ll forget all about this.”
“I’m not tired, though.”
My mother touched the boy’s temple with her hand, and he nuzzled into it with a soft smile on his face.
“I love you, mommy.” He said sleepily before he fell forward into her chest.
“I love you, too, Elijah.” My mother said as she pulled the sleeping child into her arms. “I wish I could tell you everything, Chosen One. I really do.”
I went to follow my mother as she carried the boy towards the front room. The moment I stepped through the doorframe, everything changed around me. I was suddenly walking through the edges of trees and into a small campsite. My mother and father were busy setting up the tent and starting a fire, while the eight-year-old version of me was walking towards the tree line in a daze. His normally bright blue eyes appeared to be faded, and there was a whispering sound coming from the trees in front of him.
“Eli!” I screamed out at the boy. He didn’t even give any recognition that he had heard me. I glanced over towards my mother and father and yelled for them. “Mom! Dad!”
My mother seemed to glance up, and her eyes immediately went in search of the younger me. She turned and her face fell as she saw the boy step into the trees.
“Elijah!” My mother screamed out in a panic as she raced after me. I saw my father glance up and see what was happening as well. Hs expression turned from confusion to anger in the blink of an eye, and a golden glow began to emanate from his very being. He went to take a step forward and vanished from my sight, only to reappear right at the edge of the forest.
I ran over to my father’s side and followed him into the trees. My decision to follow the dark-haired man was filled with regret the moment a vicious monster stepped out in front of us. The creature was twice the size of a human, and its lower jaw jutted out nearly as far as its hooked nose. The rotting flesh covering the creature oozed blood and fell away in patches, revealing the bloody tissue beneath. His long arms had wide hands with long claws at the ends of each. One of those razor-sharp claws was wrapped around the squirming frame of the younger me.
“You shouldn’t be here, Demon.” My father said with a scowl. “Let the boy go.”
“I go where I please, human!” The creature hissed in annoyance. “This boy is snack. I keep him. You go away.”
“Look again, Demon.” My father stated. “Closer this time. I’d hate for you to make a mistake.”
“Izrak hungry!” The monster declared angrily. “Boy Izrak’s snack!”
“Look at me, Izrak!” My father screamed angrily. I glanced down and saw the ball of energy glowing the palm of his hand. “I’ll kill you if you don’t!”
Izrak’s black eyes looked surprised as he turned back to gaze at my father, the younger version of me was still dangling from his grip.
“Who be you?” The monster asked cautiously. Then his gaze turned to where I was standing. The creature nodded at me once as if he was acknowledging my presence before he looked at the boy in his hand. He looked surprised again before he looked at me. “This you?”
His question surprised me, but I nodded. My father glanced back in my direction with a confused look on his face, but he couldn’t see me, so he turned back to the Demon. Izrak cautiously set the younger version of me back on his feet and stepped back slowly.
“Izrak sorry,” the monster said softly as he continued to step away.
My mother rushed forward with a cry of relief, and quickly scooped the boy into her arms.
“You had me so worried, Elijah.” She said as tears fell down her cheeks.
“I’m sorry, mommy.” The younger me said softly. “I don’t know what happened.”
“It’s okay, Eli.” She replied with a smile as she hugged her son. “You’ll figure it out when you’re old enough.”
I turned and walked away from the family, only to find myself suddenly standing in my own backyard. I saw myself standing in the backdoor and staring at blankly into the backyard.
“This is from the other day,” I said with a shock. I could see Aunt Madison and my mother looking at me in confusion while Elliott whined how I pushed him off my lap. It was the deep voice that drew my attention towards the back corner of the yard.
‘Come to me, Elijah.’ The words seem to blend together, and I felt a chill go down my spine as I caught sight of the dark figure standing in the shadows. Only his eyes filled with black fire were visible in the late evening darkness. ‘The world needs you. . .’
I turned and saw myself reach for the door handle, but my Aunt Madison suddenly appeared in front of the other me and placed her hand on my own to stop me. She glared out into the yard where the dark image hid.
“It’s not time for your meeting, yet, Jarik.” I heard my Aunt Madison say darkly. “Unless, you want to die before you ever get a chance to speak with your Master?”
‘Your time is coming, Witch!’ The dark figure growled before he vanished.
I saw my aunt touch the cheek of the other me before she helped him back to his seat at the table. Then, my mother stepped around the table and touched his forehead. I saw the other me slump forward slightly. I frowned at the revelation before the scene dissolved into the mist.
I was standing on the bike path as a storm brewed overhead in the night sky. I could see the shore of the lake in the darkness as lightning illuminated everything around me. Suddenly, I felt a rush of energy as the other me appeared in the center of the bike path. He fell to his knees and screamed at the skies as a heavy rain began to fall. I sniffled slightly as the other me fell to his side; his own sobs of grief filling the air. He was only alone for a moment before my mother appeared and kneeled beside him.
“I promise that you’ll learn everything, Elijah.” My mother said sadly. “You have to experience something else first, though. By tomorrow night, you’ll know everything, my blessed child. For now, you need to forget everything.”
“Why, though?” I heard myself ask.
“It’s the only way to keep you safe from your own power, Elijah.” My mother admitted. “Just remember how it made you feel to teleport; keep that sensation in the back of your mind.”
“I was thinking about Brayden,” I heard myself admit.
“I love you, Elijah.” My mother said. “This is the last time that I’ll ever erase your memories, my son. I swear on my life!”
“Do you promise to explain everything to me?”
“I do, Elijah.” She replied. “I promise to tell you everything when the time is right. That’s the best I can do. I’m bound by oaths that predate our existence. You will learn everything, though. Don’t expect to learn everything at once, Elijah. What you have to learn is going to take patience to master.”
“Okay, mom.” I heard myself say. “If you say so. I trust you.”
“I’m sorry, Elijah.” The blonde-haired woman said before she pulled the teenager into her arms.
They only vanished for a moment before my mother reappeared in front of me. I took an involuntary step backwards as everything froze around me. Even the rain falling from the sky froze in midfall and I couldn’t help but look around in wonder. The mist began to rise from the ground, making everything except for my mother vanish slowly.
“Mom?” I asked nervously. “What’s going on?”
My mother smiled and laughed slightly.
“I’m here to give you some of the answers that you need, Elijah.” She said. “Your Mentor has done enough for the time being. You’ll meet her again when the time is right. For now, the remainder of your memories will come to you over the next few days on their own.”
“Okay,” I said nervously.
“First,” my mother said with a wide smile. “You are a witch, Elijah. A very powerful one, actually.”
“A witch?” I asked in awe. “Is that how I was able to save Brayden, tonight?”
“Oh,” I said as everything began to become clear to me. “Is Aunt Mattie a witch, too?”
“Yes, Elijah.” My mother replied with a slight laugh. A table appeared behind her with two chairs on either side and she motioned towards it. “Sit with me, son. This talk has been a long time coming.”
“Yes, ma’am.” I said as I remembered how I had talked to my mother the night before. She turned back to me and hugged me tightly. “I’m sorry, mom. I never should have said what I did. Last night, I mean.”
“Shh, Elijah.” My mother reassured me softly. “Everything is okay. I understand what you’re going through.”
“But. . . My dreams. . .”
I broke down into sobs as my mother kept her arms wrapped around me.
“There are things that are more important, Elijah, and it’s time for you to learn about everything that’s at stake.” She said as she pulled back from me. Then, she motioned towards the chairs again. “Please, Elijah. It’s time. . .”
“Okay, mom.” I said as I sat down. “I’m listening.”
My mother sat down across from me and smiled.
“Elijah, there’s a Prophecy that revolves around our entire family; one that will determine the fate of mankind as we know it.” Her admission floored me. I couldn’t think of any response to her statement. It was not what I had been expecting at all. “I know it seems difficult to believe, Elijah, but it’s true. You’re one of the most powerful witches ever born, Elijah. You’re a Guardian of the Four Corners.”
“I’m sure you’re going to tell me what that means, mom.”
My mother held out her hand and a small blue stone appeared in her palm.
“This is the Stone of Life, Elijah.” My mother said as she set the stone on the table between us. I couldn’t help but feel drawn to its beauty as it emanated a bluish glow. “It holds the power of the Northern Guardian inside of it.”
“Mom?” I looked at her in confusion. “I don’t understand.”
“You are the Guardian of the North, Elijah.” My mother told me. Then, she reached across the table and took my hand in her own. “Listen to me closely, my son. The moment you take this stone into your hand; you accept responsibility for its power. It will be up to you to find your Mentor, and she will be able to teach you how to control your power. Your Aunt Madison and I will help you as much as we can, I promise. You will never be able to give up this stone the moment you take it into your possession. It will become a part of you until you die.”
“Until I die?” I asked as I felt a stillness fill the air around us. It was as if the entire universe waited for my answer.
“Yes, Elijah.” She told me honestly. “You can say no. . .”
“But I won’t,” I said as the reality of everything began to settle in my mind. The dry voice in the back of my mind was telling me what I needed to do, and what would happen the moment I took the stone into my hand. I sighed. “I love you, mom. I’ll see you when I wake up. You should leave,” I warned her.”
My mother just grinned smugly.
“I’m stronger than I look, Elijah.” She teased me.
“It’s not me that said you should leave, mom.” I said as I tapped the side of my head. “Someone told me that you shouldn’t be mentally connected to me when I pick up the stone.”
“Oh,” she said disappointedly. Then, my mother smiled and released my hand. “Sleep well, Elijah. I love you, too.”
I flinched slightly when she vanished; leaving me alone at the table surrounded in the eerie mist. The stone began to pulse as I reached out towards it; my entire being suddenly longed to touch the glowing stone. I knew I needed to touch it. It would be the only way for me to truly understand everything that was going on.
I took a deep breath and picked up the stone with my left hand before I transferred it to my right hand. It was nearly the size of my palm and shaped like a ball. The sphere suddenly began to glow brighter, but I couldn’t take my eyes away from it. It lifted slowly out of my palm before it drifted towards the center of my chest. I could feel heat coming from the stone as it got closer to my skin. Right before it touched me; it suddenly cooled and pushed into my skin. I grunted in pain as the stone started to become one with my very being. I felt its power begin to fill my body as the stone disappeared within my chest. The light began to fade as the stone settled in its place, leaving a perfect blue circle in the center of my chest. Then, the stone suddenly flashed in a brilliant blue that made me squint my eyes. My entire body began to tingle as the energy emanating from the stone melded with my body.
‘Shit,’ I thought with a grunt. ‘This fucking hurts.’
I put my hand to my chest and had to pull it away almost immediately due to how hot the stone was. The fire burned within my chest before it suddenly felt like I was being incased within a block of ice. Then, just as fast as it had begun; the glow faded, and the energy finished melding with my body. I stared at my hands as they started to give off a blue glow.
‘Now, what?’ I asked myself in confusion.
My hands started to flash more and more until I gave off an explosion of power.
“Oh, shit!” I said as I held my hands out away from me.
Another burst of power shot out from the palm of my hands that was even stronger than the prior one. The mist swirled as the ball of energy flew through it. The next burst of power made me fall to my knees as a wave of exhaustion swept over me. I had no control of the strange power to stop it, though. I saw a rush of blue light shoot out from my chest before I slumped over to my side and fainted from exhaustion.