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Walking in Nightmares (NSFW)
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 11:52 pm    Post subject: Walking in Nightmares (NSFW) Reply with quote

((Author's Note: This is meant to be somewhat of a continuation of Analysis of a Life and begins around Halloween 2012))

Chapter 1 - Christina

Just walking through the door revealed an elegance in her carriage that was unmistakable. Clearly, she’d been brought up in a well-to-do family and certain things were expected. He guessed her to be thirty something.

The doctor gestured to the couch. “Please, sit down.”

The statuesque redhead settled on the sofa and neatly crossed her legs at the ankles. Her hair was swept up into a loose bun that accentuated the graceful lines of her neck.

“How can I help you?” Dr. Fabares asked.

Her laughter was soft and rather humorless as she studied the man behind the desk. “Perhaps, Doctor, the question ought to be how can I help you?”

Michael double checked his appointment schedule before looking back at what he’d assumed to be a patient. “According to this schedule, I’m supposed to be spending time with a Miss Christina MacLeod. Having never met the lady before, I can only assume that’s you.”

“That’s a rather well founded hypothesis.” She gestured with a long slender index finger at the paper on his desk. “The name is there, therefore, that’s who’s supposed to be sitting here.” Before he could say anything else, she continued, “Your listing is correct. I know you’d like to pry into my head, examine my childhood, and so on, so, I’ll give you that opportunity.”

Determined was good way to describe his first impression of her. “You know I can’t reveal anything about your mother’s progress other that to tell you that she’s still coming to me as a patient.”

“Oh, yes, I know that.” A subtle nod confirmed her words. “However, I’m in a far better position to tell you what goes on in her dreams and nightmares than you are to tell me.” Chrisy paused a moment as if gauging the doctor’s reaction. “Each of my sisters and brothers has the ability to walk into the plane of dreams. Nicole has the strongest gift, she can touch the dreams of those not of our bloodlines. I’m told that’s due to a gift or two presented by her father’s kin.”

Michael had been jotting notes as Christina talked. He lifted his gaze to study her face. “You can actually see what she’s dreaming about?”

“Oh, yes,” she shifted her position to get more comfortable, “I can even walk in her dreams if the situation allows. Otherwise, it’s like watching a movie. When you walk in someone’s dreams, you have a chance to change them.” A wry little smile appeared. “That is often unwise. Despite the fact that the fair folk create dreams, only a dreamer should be in charge of the outcome.”

His brow rose as he listened. Interpreting dreams were not his specialty, but Michael had the feeling he was in for several new lessons on the subject. “So, why come to me?” there was curiosity in his tone as he made the query.

“How many parents do you know that listen to their children on matters that are close to the heart? Adult or not.”

“Not many.” He suddenly felt like he was on the other end of the analysis. “Tell me, Miss MacLeod, have you had training as a psychiatrist?”

“No, I’m a teacher, but that vocation does require some training in psychology. Before you ask, much of my education was at the Sorbonne in Paris.”

“Tell me about yourself.”

“There’s not much to tell.” Paris was home to the Mona Lisa and Christina mimicked the mysterious smile to perfection.

“Humor me. Your mother often does.”

“Oh,” her index finger was up and waggling back and forth, “low blow, sir, but well played.” She inhaled deeply and let the breath out slowly.

“You strike me as a very intelligent woman, so, I won’t play head games with you. One can learn a great deal about a mother by how her children turn out.”

“Honesty is a good path to choose under the circumstances.” She stood and moved to look out a window. “I think better on my feet. You’ll find that most of my siblings do. And, should you talk to her, you’ll find that my sister’s eldest daughter does as well.”

“Which of your nieces would that be?”

“Maggie.” Chrisy grinned. “As a teacher I find her thirst for knowledge both refreshing and remarkable at her age.” She gazed down into the garden in the building’s courtyard. “A teacher often dreams of finding such students to pass their knowledge on to.” She glanced over her shoulder. “Remember, you can ask me what you like, but anything entrusted to me as a confidence is not far game.”

“Didn’t you come here to tell me about your mother’s dreams?”

“And nightmares, yes.” She looked back out the window. “However, I’m here to tell you what I have seen in them in hopes of you helping her. They’re weighing on her, but …” her body language spoke of some discomfort, “she doesn’t always remember. I’m here with her blessing, so that between us we can try to sort things out.”

It was his turn to shift uncomfortably. He turned his chair so he could watch her. “Tell me about your childhood, Christina.”

“People often assume that we were neglected in some fashion because there are so many of us. All that shows is they only know the public face of Colleen MacLeod or should I say Fenner?” She paced to the other window in the office. “Those that have any idea what she’s really about have probably seen her tending a small child in one arm, cooking with the other hand, and telling a bedtime story while running the to do list of an entire week in her head.” Chrisy smiled thoughtfully. “It’s never been a dull life, Doctor, that much is certain.”

“What about your father? Did you know him?”

“Not very well.” She cleared her throat. “The last time I saw the man I know as my father was … a long time ago.”

“You have doubts that he was?” His brow rose in question.

“Oh, I believe he is or was as the case may be. He didn’t really influence my life choices.” She fixed him with a pointed look. “I thought you wanted to know about my relationship with my mother.”

“I do. What is like to be the child of a such a headstrong woman?”

Chrisy chuckled. “As I said, never dull.” She examined the brocade fabric of the curtains. “She taught us all to fend for ourselves. Mother never wanted us to have to depend on anyone. If we choose to marry or have children that’s our decision. She gave us the tools for survival on our own or, maybe, an arsenal is a better way to put it.”

“How so?”

“Before we could walk, we had our first ride on a horse. It’s pretty much a requirement in the household. You learn to ride. It’s good exercise not to mention the other benefits to a farm. Like manure.” She snickered then cleared her throat. “Until we were of age to decide, we had private tutors. One of my step-fathers, Judas Lasher, had his own school for some time.”

He stopped her with a raise of his hand. “What do you remember about him?”

“I remember Judas as being very kind to us. He was a gentle man until someone set him off. If anyone was hellbent on doing harm to anyone he loved, he was the first one to step up. If you want to know more about him, ask Rhi. She was the one closest to him. Our brother, Draven, was quite young when his father died.” Christina pursed her lips. “Draven, the elder, brought him back a few years ago. Mother said he changed far more than she would have expected. I suppose being dead will do that.”

“I suppose so,” Michael murmured as he jotted more on the legal pad. “Not an uncommon thing in Rhydin.” He tapped his pen on the tablet. “You were saying about your mother?”
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 12:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If he had been trying to throw Chrisy off course, he was failing. All she could think of was how this guy would handle talking to her sister, the barrister. There was no doubt in her mind that Rachael would have the man running in circles. “As I told you,” she paused.

“Never a dull moment,” he interjected.

She chortled. “Yes. Living with Mother was not a bed of roses as those with fantasies of growing up in a wealthy family might like to believe. We did our lessons including the history of various cultures across the multiverse. Each of plays at least one musical instrument.” She gestured to herself then positioned her fingers as if playing a woodwind instrument.. “Clarinet.” She set both hands on the windowsill as she spotted a cardinal flitting into one of the young trees in the garden. “We all read and write in at least two languages outside of Rhydinian Common, Earth English, Gaelic, and Irish.”

“Aren’t Gaelic and Irish the same language?” Somewhere along the line he’d asked that question before.

“They have similar roots, but they aren’t the same.”

“One of yours would be French.”

“Oui.” She turned to face him again. “The others are Spanish, Italian, and two forms of Elvish.”

“Impressive, but why France?”

“I wanted something different, a change if you will.” Crystal blue eyes swept over the psychiatrist. “My mother traveled extensively on Earth before coming here. I often wonder if some part of me was curious about her paths and why she took them.” Chrisy shrugged. “She’s never really talked about about how she got here or why she came. Maybe she just needed a change.” She took the seat in front of his desk. “When I returned from Paris, I took a position as a governess to Princess Erwyn of Eldicor.”

“Are you still teaching in Eldicor?” He met her gaze, but his hand continued to write as he spoke.

“No. Little girls grow up. Erwyn was placed in the hands of other teachers. It wasn’t a reflection on my teaching abilities by any means. It was simply time. I now teach the children of the workers on the farm. My family has always held that education should be for everyone. ”

“And what about your personal life? Any attachments there?”

“Personal covers a lot of ground, Doctor. However, if you’re asking about, as my mother would put it, my love life,” her expression became thoughtful, “there was someone once. He was a sailor, First Mate on the Lady Venture. Things happened; ways parted. I heard he married and later died at sea.” She took a deep breath. “I think of him from time to time and wonder what if, but I don’t dwell on it. My brothers and sisters could tell you all about what happens when you meddle with time.” She held up one hand in a halt pose. “Not something I care to dabble in.”

“Care to elaborate, Christina?”

“Have you ever read Bradbury’s A Sound of Thunder?”

“Many years ago, but I know the premise.”

“I don’t like stepping on butterflies. No matter what form they might take.” She folded her hands in her skirt covered lap. “My mother believes that it’s like tugging on a single thread and causing a garment to unravel or a tapestry to be undone. I tend to agree with her.”

“You share a lot of your mother’s viewpoints?”

She laughed softly. “Some, but not all. Just because I favor her in appearance doesn’t mean that I’m a mouthpiece for her thoughts and opinions. If I was, my family would wonder who had replaced me. She raised us to think for ourselves. We were … encouraged to challenge ideas and to question authority when we believed it was unreasonable. In fact,” she lifted her index finger to an upright position, “Mother held what might be called court, rather than a family meeting, once a week to allow us to share what was on our minds.”

“Everyone has their own methods of child rearing.”

“And teaching,” she added. “We learned all about assets and liabilities when my brother, Ian, announced that as the oldest known living son, he ought to have more privileges and pocket money than the rest of us.” Her lips curved into a wry smile. “Ian learned it was a good idea to be careful what he wished for. Privileges are often coupled with responsibilities.”

“Do you have a good relationship with your siblings?”

“Mmm, most of the time. I do, however, have healthy relationships with them. Nothing is always perfect. We have disagreements from time to time. About those dreams, doctor?” she redirected the conversation back to why she’d come in the first place. The ball was back in her court. “What would you like to know?”

“What is she dreaming about?”

“Recovered or still repressed memories for one.”

“Such as?” Michael’s hand hadn't stopped moving since she’d started talking, but now, it was still.

“I’ve been told you know all about the accident that took place close to four years ago. The one that caused the memory loss in the first place.”

“Yes, I’m aware of it.”

“When she was stolen from us, she was drugged and shocked into remembering. That much I know. If you want details on the what, however, you’ll have to talk to Diana. The only thing she would tell us was that Mother was given a cocktail of herbs and drugs that could have sent less hardy soul to meet what deity they worship.”
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 12:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

“What have you seen or watched?” He then held up a finger as he collected his thoughts. “You mentioned other siblings with such a gift?”

“Yes.” Her head bobbed once. “My brothers seem to only have a connection with her if she calls to them or they to her. Rhiannon, Nicole, and I have the strongest telepathic connections to her. I suppose this is because ...” Chrisy paused a moment to gather her thoughts. “Nicole and I nearly killed her when we were being born. Odd how the male children we shared the womb with passed safely into life and we put up a bit of a fight.” A tight smile tugged at her lips. “Mother jokingly says it’s because we’re both redheads and stubborn.” Her brows furrowed as a realization struck her.

Michael studied Christina’s face. One of his brows rose in question as if to coax her along in her revelation.

She was silent for a minute or two. “There were no redheads after Nicole until Abby and Madison came along. I just hadn’t realized that before.”

Colleen had been Michael’s patient when she took the tumble down the stairs. It was a subject she hadn’t fully opened up about. He shuffled the papers on his desk and found something specific before looking back at Chrisy. “You saying her redheaded daughters cause her grief?” The teasing in his tone was coupled with a slight smile on his face.

A nearly imperceptible shake of her head was the reaction. “The redheads tend to be the survivors. If I were to choose the strongest among us, it’d be Rhiannon.”

“Why’s that?”

“She simply does what she’s going to do. Oh, don’t get me wrong, Doctor, Rhi does her share of talking and planning. If comes down to it, though, she’d walk into a burning building to bring out survivors instead of standing there asking who was going to do it.”

“Is she planning to come and talk to me?” His curiosity was piqued.

“Both of them are.” There was that duality again. Those that knew the family well had long ago learned who was who when differentiating between those that were when they belonged and those that were a step out of time. “It seems that each of holds a piece of a larger puzzle. We just can’t make them fit.”

“Which piece do you have?” Sorting of the memories of a woman that was not too far from starting a sixth century of life was not an easy task. It been a hard enough task dealing with the memories of one lifetime, but when evidence of the first one had arisen, Michael suddenly had the makings of a paper on past life regression.

“What was,” she answered simply.

“What was as in her current past or …”

“Farther back,” she interrupted him. “I had always wondered why my mother had a partiality toward Rhi. “ When I was growing up I had entertained thoughts of her being considerate enough to not be sharing space in the womb with someone else. Considerate to Mother, I mean.” A little laughed escape those rosy lips. “Rhi always seemed to know things she shouldn't have. Even as a child, she had a certain sense of things.” Her expression was pensive. “I guess we just had no idea how true it was when someone said she was an old soul.” She shifted in the chair to get comfortable. “What I’ve seen in my mother’s dreams are echoes of her first life, including her death.”

“How did she die?”

“Given the circumstances, it was rather ironic. She drowned; a daughter of the Lord of the Sea and she drowned. Tangled up in vines. However, from what I saw in those visions, it was no accident. Some form of magic or divine power was at work.” She made a circular motion with her hand. “Most forms of plant life don’t attack people without outside provocation.” She closed her eyes as she called to mind what she’d been seeing. “She walked into the water. It was some kind of lake or a large pond. Vines wrapped around her legs and pulled her under. There’s a facial reflection on the water, but it’s not someone that I recognize. Best guess, some kind of jealous retribution.”

“Why do you believe that’s the case?”

“His expression.” Her lower lip curled inward as she searched for the words. “Hateful, perhaps, insane, and then horror when he realized that he’d done more than frighten her. Not to mention that he’d taken two lives and not just one.” She brushed some stray hair out of her eyes. “That’s how Rhiannon fits, you see. She was the child who died that day.”

“Can you remember other details?”

“It’s brief flashes. People grieving the loss and the punishment doled out to the responsible party. Nicole and Rhiannon haven’t been able to glean much from what Greek I could pass along.”
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 12:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

“What about other detail? Places? Anything about his face that you can remember?”

“Oh, yes. I came prepared for that question.” She had brought a sketchbook and dug it out of her purse. Chrisy set the portfolio on Michael’s desk. “My teaching credentials are secondary to why I really went to Paris to study. I’m an artist by calling, Doctor. However, there is always a need somewhere for a teacher or a governess. Artists with no other profession to back it up often face empty tables and no rent money coming in.” She grinned. “One of the lessons Mother taught that I took to heart, never be without a back up plan.” She opened the sketchbook to the page that showed the face of what had likely been her mother’s murderer in her first lifetime. “It’s how we roll as they say, a means of survival.”

“Have you shown this to her?”

“No, not yet. I finished these last night.” She turned several pages in the sketchbook. “That’s the water I saw. The vines seem to be attached to some sort of water lily plants.” Her index finger moved across the bottom of the page. “My brother, Al, identified it as a type of lotus flower that grows in Greece. The variety has been known to exist several thousand years. I can’t even pronounce it. He’s the one with the degree in horticulture, so, I defer to his knowledge on the matter.”

Michael kept looking from the portfolio to Christina. “These are quite good.” He turned pages and stopped as he realized the drawings had gone from a tight view of the face reflected on the water to a wider view of a shore line where several people had been indulging in food and drink. The scenes painted a picture of had been a pleasurable outing. “Quite a mood shift in the theme.” He looked up at Chrisy with a curious expression.

She set a second sketchbook on the desk. “There’s more.” Chrisy’s mouth turned downward into a frown as she opened the second sketchbook. “This shows what I’ve seen afterward. You can look through. I have tags on them.” Her fingers drummed on her thighs a few times. “When I told her that I had been bombarded by this dream, she said the last thing she remembers when she wakens is going under the surface of the water. The rest disappears into some darkened corner of her mind..” Her hands were turned outward and with the palms facing the doctor. She was at a loss to explain it. “She buries it somehow. I suppose it’s understandable to not want to remember such nightmares, but if she doesn’t remember, she can’t face it. If she can’t face it, she can’t begin the healing process.”

“Do you mind if I hold onto these for a few days and make copies? If she sees them with her conscious mind active then I might be able to help her unlock what’s been kept hidden.”

“I don’t mind at all.” She took in a slow, deep breath then let it out. “Just one more thing, Dr Fabares.”

“And that is?” he asked as he leafed through the second set of sketches.

“Could you encourage Mother to talk to her husband about this? Please.” For a moment, Chrisy’s lip was caught and held by one of her canine teeth. “I think he ought to know. She spends many nights in nightmares and … he should know. That’s all.”

“I’ll discuss it with her, but I can’t make any promises, Christina.”

“I understand” The nod was almost nonexistent. “It’s just hard to know how much she’s hurting and keeping it in.” She glanced at the clock and stood. “If you need anything else …”

“I’ll talk to your sisters and your mother, first. Then I’ll determine whether a group session or a regression is in her best interests.”

“I hope to be hearing from you soon.” Chrisy gathered her tote bag and went out the door.

Michael picked up the phone. “Ms. Schultz, my last appointment for the day has just ended. I still have some things to review, but you can take off early if you like.” He was quiet as he listened to his secretary give a rundown on the next day’s activities and appointments. “Thank you. Don’t forget to lock up when you leave for the night.”
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 12:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

He poured himself a cup of fresh coffee and started to carefully read Christina’s notes on her drawings. Not only had she drawn and described what one of her mother’s nightmares had revealed, she jotted a few of her own observations as well. It read like a paper presented for some sort of review board. He suspected that Christina had more training in his field than she had admitted.

When I was a student in Paris, I was offered an opportunity to take part in a forensics art program. I had adapted these skills somewhat to aid in a sleep study with patients suffering from night terrors. Unlike those of fey blood, human beings do not always understand that even though dreams are created like a finely spun web of spider’s silk that they, the dreamer, have the ability to interact with and take control of their dreams.

What are dreams? In some cases, they are repressed thoughts or memories. It is my contention that this recurring nightmare of my mother’s is, in fact, a memory. She has stated that she was pressed into remembering a life that once was. Including the death of an unborn daughter whose soul rests in the physical form of my younger sister, Rhiannon. Strictly speaking that means that child’s soul is encased in two bodies, one that belongs here and one that is a step out of time as we often call it.

There are several nightmares that my sisters and I have managed to identify and parse. We seem to see and retain a part of a greater whole. Our mother, on the other hand, seems to only retain a moment or two of each part. Our primary concern is the strain of this could set her back to square one and her mind could become a blank slate again.

I have prepared a portfolio of sketches for Dr. Michael Fabares, who has been Mother’s psychoanalyst since the accident involving a protective spell for her counterpart’s young children nearly four years ago. She succeeded in protecting the Lexington children, however, the backlash was too much on her and her memory was the cost.

The sketches are from various perspectives. I was able to create several faithful reproductions of the face reflected in the waters where the drowned body of what is now my mother was found. I saw everything from her near point of view. Being under the water, I had to remind myself that it was, in fact, a world of dreams and I need not hold my breath. Sleepers often waken themselves in that manner. I watched in wonderment as her spirit separated from her body. The spirit of the child, who was to be named Zafeíria, the Greek word for sapphires, also parted from the body. It is interesting how faces in dreams sometimes morph into more familiar ones.

From my vantage point, I could see the face of the man that had walked to the water with her; they had been picnicking with others on the shore. It is his face in the reflections. I have no reference point for the face. No man I know looks like that. After she breathed her last, he escaped quickly with a horrified look on his face. It’s clear to me that he probably had not intended on killing her. That or he lead her to her death in the heat of the moment and when he realized what he’d caused, he fled.

Even though I know it was a dream, I felt a sense of helplessness as I watched the body being withdrawn from the water. It was clad in a royal blue gown that looked like an ancient Greek peplos. A man that I assume to have been her husband wept as he cradled her. What had been a joyous celebration of the coming of new life had ended in death.

There must been some guilty feelings on the man’s part. The last glimpse of the dream is what appears to be his suicide not far from her gravesite. Who knows? Is it possible that revenge was taken on her behalf?

Rhiannon and Nicole, all four, hold pieces of this puzzle as well as our brothers Garrick, who have the gift of psychometry. I have also enlisted Diana’s help. I don’t know what she found where Mother was being held, but it is possible that she will tell the doctor what she won’t tell me.

There is also the matter of things with Darien Fenner. I have had little contact with him, so, I will not presume to judge him or his actions. Mother is not nor has she ever been the easiest person to deal with. She is fragile in some ways, but she generally hides it well. She hides that weakness behind a series of walls. Few people have ever gotten past all of them. Some are lucky to get past a few. Because she is open about much of her life doesn’t necessarily mean that one has entered the proverbial inner circle. For everything she talks about, there are five others that are not spoken of, like my father’s name.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 12:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael pursed his lips as he read. His own notes on Colleen’s case were extensive. Unlike her offspring, however, he did not have a gift that would allow him to visit her dreams or sense her emotions. The list of people that could have a hand in the healing process was getting longer and longer. On the good side, the puzzle pieces were there, they just needed to fit in place. It was his job to help Colleen put them together.

A total of six daughters and two sons were to be interviewed. He was considering asking Rhiannon Harker if he would be permitted to speak to her eldest child, Maggie. It had been the little girl who had made the first break through to Colleen’s mind after her accident. Puzzle pieces didn’t always fit together cleanly. Some were roughly hewn; others were polished to smoothness over time. No matter how it was sliced, there was much work to be done.

The following morning was filled phone calls and appointment scheduling. As Chrisy had explained, each sibling had something to contribute. Permission was granted for Maggie Harker to be interviewed. Michael wasn’t used to dealing with young children in his sessions and had made it a point to say that an adult needed to be present. Whether it was one of her parents or another adult she felt comfortable with was open for debate.

Each phone call and set of arrangements revealed doorway after doorway into places the doctor had only imagined. Diana had agreed to bring in laboratory notes from the warehouse where Colleen had been held captive. The brothers were to examine certain objects and offer their impressions. Nicole, the younger’s, connection was to a nightmare dealing with a housefire. The elder of the pair had seen images of her long dead great grandparents.

The conversation with Rhiannon Harker had been intriguing. He had always wondered about her mother’s name. How had a woman that was born with one clan’s name end up with another? There was a interesting story behind it and Rhiannon had the goods.

The call to Rhiannon Brock, on the other hand, produced a reluctant agreement to come to the office. She had been witness to something that she referred to as a perpetual rewinding of events.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 3:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

((This chapter is told from the point of view of the elder Nicole Brock))

Chapter 2 - Nicole the Jeweler

A quiet knock on Michael’s office door heralded the arrival of Nicole Brock, the elder of the pair. She entered in silence and sat without being asked. Nicole was dressed simply in a pair of khaki slacks and pale green blouse. The pastel tone brought out the deeper green of her eyes. Based on that quick observation, Michael realized that her Irish heritage overshadowed the Greek.

It was the woman who broke the silence first. “Have you ever been haunted, Doctor?”

“Can’t say that I have, no.”

“I have. Many times.” She stretched her legs out in front of her. “Watching someone’s dreams is like watching ghostly images of people. Sometimes, it’s like a parade of your own history. We are part of those that came before us.” She crossed legs as she made a quick study of Michael. “Some people might refer to what I’ve seen as racial memories. These are things that are part of us by blood and by birthright, but not that we’ve experienced on personal level.”

Doctor Fabares lifted his eyes from the stack of notes he’d been making. “It was my understanding that connection you’ve made within your mother’s dreams specifically involves her parents.”

“Yes and no. It involves them, but it’s my mother’s grandparents that have the deeper connection.” She bent forward slightly to brush some lint off of her pants. “Mother was raised by her grandparents after her father died. Her mother went first.”

“How did they die?” Michael had grown accustomed to jotting short notes without looking. As a back up, he recorded all of his sessions for later transcription and record keeping.

“You mean she didn’t tell you?” One of Nicole’s brows lifted as she asked the question. It was no secret within the immediate family that she and Chrisy had nearly caused their mother to depart life the same way her mother did. “Grandmother died in childbirth.” After a pause she, added, “So did my aunt, Mother’s twin.”

“Do you have children, Nicole?”

“No.” She shook her head. “We had planned to, but it never came to pass.”

“We being …”

“My husband and I. He disappeared along with Rachael’s while they were on a border patrol.” As she talked, she rose to fix herself a cup of coffee. “Best guess that anyone has is that they stepped into a Nexus rift.” A half hearted smile touched her lips. “They always thought it would be me with a house full of children not Rhiannon. I was always the homebody just about living in the kitchen.”

“Ah, that’s right, you’re one of sisters with the five star chef skills.” Michael prided himself on learning and remembering such details.

“I’m one of the sisters that learned the culinary arts from two of the best cooks and bakers in Rhydin. I better be good.” She laughed and it was musical. “My younger sister took over the family restaurant not too long ago. Me,” she jerked a thumb back toward her chest, “I own and operate a jewelry shop in New Haven.”

“How did that come about?”

“Anorlas, my husband, was a silversmith by trade. He taught me how to turn a lump of precious metal into a finely crafted work of art. Working with gold wasn’t too much different, matter of melting points and such. We wanted something of our own. No one in the family had a jewelry business. Seemed to be a perfect solution.”

“Wasn’t it?”

Nicole shrugged. “It was until he disappeared. Then I had to make it work on my own.” Her green eyes locked on Michael and she was silent for a while. “Tell me, Doctor, how much of the time you spend with your patients is getting them to seek out their own answers?” A wry smile touched her lips.

“It’s part of the healing process for some patients. Self discovery and learning how to cope with issues on their own.”

Nikki chuckled huskily. “For the prices you charge, I could feed a house full of animals and they would listen for free.”

“Ah,” he held up a finger as if to punctuate his statement, “they don’t give answers, I do.”

“To me, they do!” She grinned as she trumped his play. “Family thing. Some of us understand better than others.”
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 3:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

“Touche,” he murmured. “Shall we get back to discussing the dreams? Or would what you’ve seen be considered a nightmare?”

She was silent for a while as she dug a piece of hard candy out of her handbag. “I’d say it’s got a few unhappy themes, but it doesn’t really come close to being a nightmare.” She gestured outwardly with her right hand. “It’s more like they’re trying to tell her something. Her father’s mother is there, too, but she never speaks. It’s as if I’m supposed to understand, but I’m not quite getting her message.” She popped the peppermint into her mouth. “They knew I’m there. Her grandfather does at least. He addressed me directly. Even asked my name.”

“How did he react?”

“Favorably to me, but …” Nicole pursed her lips as she searched her mind for the right words. “When I told him who my father was, he called me the Badger’s daughter. Badger is one the meanings for the surname my father used.” She chuckled lightly. “I guess he didn’t like Da much since he said what amounted to not holding that against me!”

“That he used?” Michael’s curiosity was piqued.

“Yes,” Nicole said as she met his eyes. “He had a Greek name, but I was never told what it was.” Her lips pursed. “I suppose Mother knows it, but it might be one of those things she buried at some point.”

“I gather she buries things a lot?” He’d already heard similar things from Christina.

“Mmm.” She made a soso gesture with her hand. “Some people think that when my mother is having a fit of temper that’s the time to be concerned, but that’s not the case.” Her eyes closed a moment as she considered her own words. “I have been told that her temper was a point of contention in her marriage with my father. He told her to tame it, but she’s just not her without it.”

He made a thoughtful noise in the back of his throat. “When is the time to be concerned?”

“When she’s quiet,” Nicole replied in a soft tone. “That generally means she’s plotting.”

“Plotting?” One of his brows shot up.

“Plotting, thinking, weighing options.” She shifted her position and crossed her legs. “It might be something simple, but might just as easily be something earth shattering.”

“Earth shattering in what way?”

“That’s a matter of perspective, I suppose. To you, earth shattering might be the death of a patient by their own hand. To someone else, it might be something as simple as a missing piece of jewelry. More often than not it’s the sentimental or personal meaning of the piece rather than the price tag that matters more in those cases.”

“What about your mother? What might she call earth shattering?”

“Mother has always put us first. So, anything to do with her children or the responsibilities passed on from her grandfather could lead to something earth shattering.”
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 3:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

“What about her own life?” He gave Nicole a pointed look. “What about her husbands, lovers, and so on?”

“My mother is …” Nicole held out both of her hands in a hell if I know sort of pose. “Husbands, I know about, lovers not so much. Other than AJ Maran, I couldn’t tell you much about any of them.”

“What can you tell me about him?”

“He’s Chelle and Dee’s father. Got a brother. Somehow, all his kids claimed an inheritance because he was dead. Maybe I ought to say he was dead Rhydin style. Dead, but not really dead or like the case of my step-father, Judas, brought back. Much like the restaurant that was left in trust for Draven, AJ didn’t reclaim those stables. Well, he did and didn’t.”

“How’s that?”

“Story goes that someone calling himself Tex Hickcock showed up saying he’d purchased the deed. But … umm... it’s hard to purchase a deed from heirs that never signed it.”

“So, it was forged?”

“I suspect so, but I doubt it wasn’t his fault.”

“What happened?”

“He took the place over then disappeared one day. Not sure what all happened. Kydwyn’s dead, so we can’t ask her without a séance of some sort.”

“Who’s Kydwyn?”

“She was Mother’s childhood mentor. She died in Florida a couple of years back.”

“If she was your mother’s mentor, she must have been around a long time.”

“Yes, she was an Iceni warrior. She had been around since the time of Boudicca.”

“How did she die?”

She was quiet for a moment or two before answering. It was one of things that family only talked about among themselves. Cerridwyn, dubbed as Kydwyn by Colleen in childhood when she could not pronounce the name properly, had died first during the wars with the Romans. The woman had known first hand what it was to see a wall dividing the island of Britain. “She was decapitated.” Nicole’s hand moved to her throat as if in sympathy. “My mother took that loss very hard. She buried her privately, we don’t even know where her grave is.”

“Decapitation is not a very common means of death.”

“Unless you were a noble in France in the Eighteenth Century,” she countered.

“True.” He made several other notes in his records. “Were you able to record anything as I asked?”

“Yes.” She set an envelope on his desk. “My sister managed to help me get the faces to paper. I do design work, but sketching jewelry is a far cry from drawing details in faces. You’ll find my thoughts and observations in there as well.” She got to her feet. “I’m sure we’ll be hearing from you once you add all of this up.”
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 3:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

“Yes, you will. Thank you for coming in, Nicole.” Michael watched as she closed the door behind her. As it had been with her oldest sister, Nicole’s appointment had been the last for the day. He had no idea how willing any of the women or their brothers would be to talk. He learned a great deal from reading, people were sometimes less inhibited with their thoughts only being heard in their heads. Like Chrisy’s, Nicole’s writing read like a dissertation.

It came to my attention not so very long ago that I was not the only that had been drawn into my mother’s dreams. Four of my sisters have had similar experiences. What I have borne witness to is benign in comparison to what my younger counterpart and our younger sister have seen.

The one I am concerned about most, however, is my niece, Maggie. She has a bond with Mother that sometimes defies all the so-called rules. Like her own mother at that age, Maggie is wise beyond her years. What’s rattling in my head is whether or not what Chrisy has discovered happened all those years ago has had an effect on Mairead. What if what was to be for her was cut off as well?

Rhiannon and I were called upon to help Christina in her efforts to sort out what was being said in what she had seen. I find it strange that she knows no Greek and, yet, it’s into her hands that that vision has been entrusted. Rhiannon, the elder, has pointed out something that has validity. It is possible that our mother has unconsciously caused us to be drawn together. Is it possible that the goal is to get us to work together in some sort of odd test of cooperation?

I have seen the faces of my maternal grandparents and three of my great grandparents. After some suggestions from Dr. Fabares, I was able to concentrate and hear some of what they were saying.

Most of their messages were hopeful. They wanted remind Mother of who and what she is. She was once the last of her family line. Oh, there are plenty that claim to be and are descendants of the Bruce and Brian Boru, but it is her personal line that was nearly ended. Thanks to us, her children and grandchildren, this is no longer the case.

A message was offered by each of the elders. I don’t necessarily understand the what and why, but I now understand who each of these people are.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 3:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My grandmother, Eileen, was once the only heir to her family’s legacy. People that only see the vast amount of lands and great house that we have charge of, only know part of the story. The lands were entrusted to us in exchange for guarding one of the most precious and coveted of magical creatures, the unicorn. It is their home, we are its caretakers. We learned long ago how to gain the shavings of the alicorn, the hairs of tail and mane, and what is trimmed from the hooves without doing harm to these majestic and noble creatures. Having learned to safely extract the blessings from the unicorn, each of us in our way has been granted a healing gift. It also why we are well versed in the languages of our animal companions.

To stand guard over these beings often means putting our own desires and needs aside. I believe that is why these long dead ancestors have stepped forward now. Mother has stood watch for the better part of her life. I believe they are telling her that it’s time for one of us to take care of what has been her charge for almost five centuries. How will she choose and who? Are any of us prepared to face such a daunting responsibility?

My grandfather wanted Mother to know that he had regretted having to leave her behind. He knew she and her sister were in safe hands. I have the suspicion that there is more to his death than she knows. Mother will tell people that she believes that he died of a broken heart, but it is a rather romantic notion. While it is possible to fall victim to depression on such a level that the body begins to fail and the mind loses touch with reality, I must wonder if he hastened his own passing. It wouldn’t be the first time such a thing was done.

My great grandmother, Christina, named for the sister of Robert the Bruce, was a wealth of knowledge. I was able to listen and learn. Some of it I already knew, like how the lines of ancestry cross more than people probably know. She knows where all the family ties link together. There is much to be said for oral tradition and the keeping of such history.

Mother has always said that Irish and the Scots long had their feet in the royal lines of England, but the English tend to not want to discuss that. Maybe it’s something to do with pride. It is interesting to hear about the Houses of Scotland leading back the ancestral chain to Irish roots. Dermot MacMurrough was instrumental in bringing the English to Ireland or least that’s half the truth. It might be said that MacMurrough sold his daughter to get his lands back.

My ancestors apparently had a fondness for the name Isabel and its variant spellings. I’m going all over the place with this. However, when one must piece together bits and pieces of knowledge, it can get bogged down in digression and side tracking.

Great grandmother Christina was representative of the Scottish part of the family. Or that’s what one would believe since she says that she is a descendant of Robert the Bruce. I’ve seen some of the long and complex charts that lead to my Mother’s birth! What I find interesting and always have is the Stewart line of kings leads back to, you guessed it, Ireland! The short version is this, Marjorie Bruce and Walter Stewart, the parents of Robert II of Scotland, both descended from Aoife, daughter of Dermot MacMurrough, and her husband, Richard de Clare, commonly called Strongbow. History is important and we must learn from it. I had always known that my mother was descended from the man known as Brian Boru, but how had I managed to missed the tie that bound her Irish kin to the Scots?

Perhaps, what she wanted me to see most was that Marissa, who was adopted by Kirin, is a quite possibly blood kin through the Mar family name. Not that it matters. Marissa is my sister just as much as Mara has always been. Blood is not always the tie that binds, sometimes, it’s who you chose to love and who chooses to love you. Maybe that was what she was trying to tell me
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 3:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My great grandmother, Catriona Kerrigan, didn’t say much. I must admit, I found her to be strikingly beautiful. However, she appeared not as an elderly woman, but as a youthful faery creature. It became clear to me why Mother had been named for her. She had the same smile and certain mannerisms were echoed in her countenance. I am still uncertain what she was trying to say. Perhaps, Mother will be able to fit it together once the larger picture is in place.

And then there is my great grandfather … He is a strong presence. It is no wonder my mother has taken inspiration from him and found strength and solace in his words despite the fact that he has long been dead. There is something about him that causes me to feel comfortable and safe. I feel much like I did as a child when wrapped in the warmth and safety of Mother’s arms when I had wakened from a night terror. There is a sense of peace in his company, indescribably calm.

It took some time, but I learned why he didn’t care for my mother being swept away by Da. Like other young noble women of her time, my mother was a potential bargaining chip. My father had passed himself off as a man of affluent background and breeding. However, Da had never revealed the truth of himself to Grandfather Michael. Had he done so, I believe things would have been very different and opinions would have been swayed in his favor.

Having a wife, (I say having because it is how he speaks of her, in the present tense) who had been born among the Tuatha Dé Danann and a mother who was gifted by the faire folk with magic, he would not easily be able to dismiss that other such beings existed.

Three potential unions had been considered for my mother. Two matches were offered for her sister, Celia, who eventually married a Scottish lord. By all accounts, the union was happy until her untimely death in childbirth.

As the elder sister and heiress to an ancient bit of land, my mother was considered as a wife for James V of Scotland, who was four years of age when she was born. There had been talk of a marriage between her and an heir to English throne. Even though she had spent time in the English court around the age of thirteen, she returned to her grandparents’ home. While it was put down to variety of maladies, I believe that even at fourteen my Mother could see the proverbial writing on the wall. Anne Boleyn was not held in high regard and was seen by some as the usurper of Catalina de Aragón, daughter of the monarchs of Spain that set Cristóbal Colón on an unsuspecting hemisphere. The judgement for those events is a matter for history and the gods to debate.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 3:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A third family, the MacLeods staked their claim for my mother’s hand. Given that she carries that name, it’s rather obvious that a link of some kind was forged. He wouldn’t talk about it. He said that was another story and someone else’s to tell.

What I do know is this, there are stories told of that clan that spin like tall tales. There are tales of men that died in battle and rose up again like Christ on the third day. I cannot deny that such folk have been found in Rhydin, but they do not necessarily bear that name or come from Scotland. Then there are the tales of the Clan MacLeod and their connections to the faire folk. When I asked my Mother’s grandsire of those tales he winked at me and asked, “Are there such things as bansidhes wailing, kelpies in the sea, selkies shedding their skin to walk among humans, and leprechauns what promise wishes, my girl?” But I know that answer, they do indeed live among us.


Michael read over Nicole’s thoughts. He had been handling cases of multiple personalities, memory loss, and other complaints for years. This was the first time he had seen, firsthand, what it was like to get a rational viewpoint from someone that knew the line between normal and insanity was a thin one. Nicole’s perspective was unique, she was living proof of the existence several cultures and that one person’s myth was another’s life story. Unlike many others, she understood it and that was what made her different. There were more people to talk to, and the next day was going to be interesting to say the least!
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

((Told from the point of view of the younger Nicole Brock.))

Chapter 3 - Nicole the Chef

When he started the journey into the mind of one Colleen MacLeod, Michael hadn’t prepared for anything more than an attempt to bring healing to a woman’s life. And maybe, just maybe, bring her some peace of mind. Five hundred years of memories was a lot of time lost. He had no idea that she was connected to each to her children in ways that would frighten a human being. But she wasn’t human, that link had been a blessing and a curse. Her children were able to fill in some of the blanks for him, but all of them that could be found had been born after her arrival in Rhydin.

Her children’s bloodlines were muddled at best. Each one had a flavor that was uniquely their own. The younger Nicole Brock was no exception. Like her older counterpart, she had been gifted with various talents, magical and divine. She was quite vocal about explaining the difference to others. When she arrived at Michael’s office, she was wearing black suit with a gold blouse. Used to being on her feet a good part of the work day, she wore low heeled shoes. The outward appearance gave an impression of being sensible and having a rather direct personality.

“Won’t you sit down, Miss Brock?” He gestured between the couch and the chair closest to his desk. “You can stretch out on the couch if you like. Some people find it be more relaxing.”

“Given the busy day I had at the restaurant, stretching out might not be a bad idea.” She sat on the couched, took off her shoes then stretched out. “I warn you though, I could doze off.”

“Wouldn’t be the first time someone did that.” Michael smiled and opened one of the folders on his desk. “You mentioned on the phone that your dream has to do with a housefire. Is there some reason that this dream,” he paused a moment, “or nightmare connects to you? Your sisters seem to feel that each piece of this puzzle has been sent to them for a reason.”

Nicole answer began with a little grin and a low chuckle. “You mean dove in headfirst and are asking questions now?” She closed her eyes and rested her head against one of the pillows that been placed on either end of the sofa. “I’m a fire tamer, Doctor. At least that’s the best way to put it.”

“A pyrokinetic then?”

“Yes. They discovered it when I was two. I was sick and terrified, so, I unconsciously defended myself. It ended up with the curtains in a doctor’s office being set on fire.”

“What happened?”

“From what I’ve been told, my father stayed close to me after that incident. My mother was told to stay clear until they knew whatever had made me sick wasn’t contagious. Despite her protestations, they succeeded in keeping her at bay. She was pregnant with Rhi at the time.”

“I mean how did they handle your newfound ability? Your parents, I mean.”

“They took it in stride since one is a magical adept and the other had divine gifts.”

He paused in writing his notes. “Most people might say they’re the same thing.”

“Most people don’t have to life with both side of things tugging at them, either.”

“Point taken.”
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 5:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

“Rhiannon, the elder, opened what she refers to as a dueling academy for children. She just enjoys working with kids. I think, though, that she would rather these talents in children be nurtured productively rather than have them be afraid of who they are.” She turned her head to look at Michael. “Do you have any idea how many kids in Rhydin end up that way? Afraid of who they are or what they might do because they have no one to help them along?”

He just shook his head.

“The orphanages are filled with them.” Nicole sighed. “Some of those kids were left behind because their parents are clueless as to what to do. Talk about abrogating one’s responsibility.” She drew in a slow breath. “Makes me glad that Mother never shirked hers.”

It was interesting for him to hear the viewpoints of the offspring regarding the parent after having heard the mother discussing her children. Colleen had been concerned that she hadn’t done enough by her children. Michael made a few notes to discuss that. “You had a good childhood then?”

“All things considered, I’d say so.” She nodded once. “Mother avoided bad mouthing our father to us after he left, but we knew she was hurt.”

“You knew?” His brows raised.

“Empathy knows no age limits. We didn’t know what was wrong, but we knew something was amiss.” She sat up with her legs still stretched out. “It isn’t always as simple you feel it and you know it all. It takes time to sort that all out.” A little smile appeared. “Ask Maggie when you talk to her, she’s learning all about it. Her gift is growing quickly. It works better when someone is close to you. I’m sure that in very near future Maggie will be able to read her sister, her brother, and her friend, Doran. Children connect on levels that we adults sometimes forget about as we get older.” Green eyes swept over the psychiatrist. “Some of us don’t lose that, but it’s a case by case thing.”

His head lifted and his pen stopped moving as he jotted his impressions in the folder. His secretary would transcribe them later. “How so?”

“You ever heard of twin connections?”

“Yes, but not being a twin, myself, I’ve never experienced it firsthand.”

“It has its pros and cons, Doctor.” She flip flopped her hand in a half and half motion. “You are never lonely, but you sometimes feel like you never have any privacy.” Her eyes closed again. “I guess it’s just as awkward for twins of the same sex. There are times when you want to close the world out and when someone is that deep into your head and your heart, it’s hard to shut them out.”
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

“I suppose that could be awkward at best,” Michael remarked. “You were saying about the connection between your ability and the nightmare?”

“If it had been my own dream, I would have put out the fire. It wasn’t. There are unwritten rules that Mother taught us. You can’t interfere in someone else’s dreams unless they ask for help.” She was quiet a moment before continuing. “Shouldn’t, I suppose is a better way to phrase it.”

“There’s a code of ethics for these things then?”

“Something like that, yes. I guess one’s morals have a great deal to do with it. For instance, had it been one of my nieces or nephews having a nightmare with similar circumstances, I would have stepped in.”

“Why?” He studied her as she responded to the question.

“Children sometimes believe dreams are real. Didn’t you when you were young?”

Her question took him off guard. “I suppose I did.” He smiled to himself. Much like her older counterpart, she’d questioned his methods. The younger woman, however, had been more subtle in her approach.

She sat up and put her shoes back on. “Walking in someone else’s dreams can be a weighty experience. Their very soul can be bared. With children, they tend not to have a great deal to hide. At least nothing that might be called unforgivable. Adults, though, there’s a huge trust factor involved. We carry things around with us that we don’t want people to know. Not even those we trust most.” Nicole folded her hands in her lap. “Maybe that’s why she’s not willing to listen when we tell her what we’ve seen or heard. Fear of what we might have learned that we shouldn’t have. It’s a grave responsibility to be allowed into someone’s mind as I’m sure you know. The subconscious, that requires an even deeper trust. ”

“If I’m understanding correctly, you see more than what the sleeper is dreaming about.”

“If you know where to look, yes. You see, that’s why Mother laid down ground rules. Unless the person has asked for help or is unable to ask, we are to watch and not interfere. Children are a special case because one sometimes drifts into their dreams to soothe a night terror.”

“How are your younger brothers and sisters sleeping?”

“To my knowledge rather well. Draven and Mir could sleep through an explosion.” She frowned a touch as she remembered part of the nightmare.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

“The fire,” he met her eyes, “is that how it starts?”

She nodded ever so slightly, “Yes, in the stable closest to the house. Could have been anything, it was a dream after all. Horses kick over things all the time.” She had started to become uncomfortable. “I should get back to the restaurant, my back up chef called in sick.” She pulled an envelope from her bag. “I brought what you asked for, but it’s not overly coherent. Dreams often aren’t.”

“I’ll be in touch after I talk to the others.”

“Oh, I’m sure you will be.” She smiled wanly as she headed out the door.

Michael opened his laptop and connected the microphone. “I’ve spoken to three of the daughters, so far. Each has a different piece of the puzzle as Christina MacLeod aptly put it. The three oldest daughters hold links to the past. One sees the death of her mother in a previous life. The second daughter I spoke to discussed her mother’s childhood and what was learned from her grandparents. I have yet to speak to Rhiannon Harker, however, I’m assuming it will be quite enlightening. Nicole Brock, the owner of Lasher’s Italian Restaurant, is connected to the element of fire. I’m about to read her … shall I call it testimony?”

He turned a page in his notes and read a few things before going on. “Nicole’s remarks on the younger group of children were somewhat telling. She said that her two youngest brothers could sleep through an explosion, but made no such remarks on her youngest sisters.” He poured himself a cup of coffee. “The female children seem to be more sensitive to what’s best described as a psychic link. End notes set.” Once the laptop was closed, he opened the packet from Nicole.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have enclosed a rough plan of the house to give an idea of how the main house and surrounding area look. The private stable, where the family’s mounts are housed, is on an offshoot of the main driveway. The rear section serves as a carriage house. There’s a loft section with storage and office/sleeping area. When one of the horses is sick or in labor, someone stays up there. It’s really quite comfortable.

I have no idea how this fire in my, no, her nightmare starts, but that it starts in the stable seems to be a ruse for another target, the house. The stable is too far away for a fire to spread that easily on a windless day. It isn’t the loss of the house that would haunt my mother. It’s the loss of or harm to those of us that live within it.

That’s what it’s about you see. Loss, but who, I never see. She’s either shielded me from that or can’t see it herself. Maybe, she’s afraid to see what could be a premonition of her own ending. Or worse, the death of two people she loves. My mother has always put her family before herself. I know she still weeps over her premature and stillborn son that’s buried behind a rose and ivy covered lattice trellis in the main garden.

What I can tell you is that I feel the heat of that fire as if someone struck a match and held it against my cheek. The blaze is as vividly colored as an autumn sunset. Incidentally, my mother’s hair often shows those hues of red and gold. Maybe, the fire is a symbol for her.

I watch as people set the horses free. The mix of anger, horror, and sadness that comes from my mother is almost overwhelming as a tidal wave in the echos of a tsunami. Nature is a powerful force, especially when it’s angry. Funny thing about that … my mother has often been described as a force of nature.

With most of us distracted, no one has eyes on the house. We hear screaming and yelling. I never see, but I assume Darien’s in the house helping to corral the kids because an adult male voice is loudest. While I watch from my place as a dreamer, I see my older brothers, Chelle, and my dream self continuing to fight the fire, the brigade must have been on their way as they do arrive later on. Mother and Rhi go in. I see Draven running out with Mir. Dee Dee’s hot on their heels with Rhi yelling after her.

It’s hazy for a while, sooty air and feeling like I’m choking. That’s when the dogs run out. I see Rhi, who feels of terror and relief at the same time. She is carrying one of the twins in her arms, but I can’t see which one. By then the barn fire is out and the brigade had been hosing the house down. Rhi hands off our baby sister to me. As she heads back toward the house, it dawns on me that our mother, our sister and her father are still in there. I never get to see which two of the adults leave the house. But when the fires are out, the house a smoking shell, and we ought to be relieved that it’s over, that’s when two body bags come out with the fire brigade. Clearly, it’s one adult and a small child.

I can see why she wouldn’t want to know. The implication are clear enough. Herself, husband or two of her children lost? No matter how strong she is, she is first and foremost our mother. Seeing that would tear her to pieces.

I really have no idea what else to write save that I understand why she has seemed so tormented.


He tucked the notes into the subfolder marked Nicole Brock in drawer marked Colleen MacLeod. Michael sighed. He just kept hoping that it really was a step closer to healing not just Colleen, but her family as well.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 4:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chapter 4 - Diana

He had been expecting Diana to show early and she did not disappoint him. Her life, to some extent, was ruled by military regimen. She was methodical in her work. That was to be expected of one that spent hours, days, and months building and rebuilding delicate engines and their parts.

For her appointment, she wore a black suit with pants and a red blouse. Michael had taken careful note of each sister’s style of dress. Diana’s clothing was simple, but well tailored.

“Good afternoon, Doctor,” Diana said as she sat in the chair in front of his desk. “I brought the information you asked for.” She held a large envelope in her lap. “Please keep in mind that due to the nature of some things that were found where Mother was held captive that I have only included what particularly might have had or might still have an effect on her.” She flipped the envelope slightly forward and back. “There’s a list of all the drugs, herbs, and compounds that we found. They’ve been tested, cross referenced and so forth by my Chief Medical Officer as to known names, effect, and components.”

Michael listened as Diana went on to explain Geraldine’s cataloging system. “Has she ever shown any aftereffects?”

“Not that I’m aware of. I told a couple of people at the house to keep an eye on her for signs of any type of withdrawal symptoms. Believe me, I would have heard if anything was noticed.” She inhaled slowly. “Some things, though, might not have had symptoms that we would consider noticeable. There are subtle to drastic differences in how people of various races react to drugs and herbs.”

The psychiatrist was silent as he ran several possibilities through his mind. “Diana, have you considered that these nightmares might be a result of those concoctions that were forced on your mother?”

“Yes, I have. That’s the main reason I agreed to provide you with all of this.” She slid the envelope across his desk. “As I said, subtle differences. The person most likely to notice even the smallest changes in my mother’s behavior is her housekeeper, Vicki. She’s been with her for years.” Diana smiled faintly. “Story goes that Vicki’s been mother’s good right arm about the house for so long that she knows Mother’s pregnant at least a week before anyone else.” A soft chuckle escaped before she sobered. “Unfortunately, she’s not empathic or able to dreamwalk. That means whatever goes on in her dreams, Vicki isn’t likely to know a damned thing.”

“This explains why you and your siblings have taken up the cause.” He jotted a note on the file marked Diana Lasher Kidd. “What about her husband? Has he said anything?”

“No.” The answer had been delivered with a nearly imperceptible head shake and a slight frown.

“Hard to believe that a man wouldn’t notice odd behavior from his wife.”

Michael was testing the waters and Diana’s answer revealed that she was onto his tactic. “Doctor, to my knowledge Darien Fenner is human with no augmentation. So, much like Vicki, he could only go by what he sees and hears. I suppose there’s also the ever popular gut feeling, but from what I understand, he’s not a fan of magic.” Diana was quiet for a bit as she rested her hands on the curved wooden chair arms. “Have you heard of Proposition 37, Doctor?”

“That movement a few years back to require magically gifted people to register with some agency or other? Yes,” Michael scowled for a moment, “I’m all too aware of it and how it had an effect on some people.”

“He was one of the movement’s supporters.” Diana did a bit of quick calculation in her head. “I seem to recall Mother was under your care at the time.”

“She was, yes.”

“I think she was in your care for a few months after that and then stopped coming until after what she now refers to as the incident.”

“Also true, but I don’t follow your path here. Care to elaborate?”
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 4:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

“Imagine, if you will, someone born into a world where magic is believed to be a myth. And then, not only being tossed into another world where it’s commonplace, but,” she made a side to side gesture with her hand, “after fighting against it for so long to find yourself under the spell of someone who isn’t just magically inclined, but … is magic.”

“Are you saying she cast a spell on him?” Michael frowned.

“Not in the sense you’re thinking.” Diana smiled wryly. “In every mythology, there is one magic that can conquer any person, no matter their station in life. Simple everyday magic.”

Michael’s furrowed. “Is there such a thing a simple magic?”

“How simple is love, Doctor?” Diana smiled, but this time, there was no guile in it. “It’s as simple or as complicated as the people involved. Think about it. You know it’s true.” Diana pale blue eyes met the those of the analyst. “I’ll wager at least half the cases you handle relate right back to love or hate which is often love gone wrong.”

“You’re an astute woman, Diana.”

“I have to be. Lack of attention to details in my line of work can get you killed.”

“Point taken,” he murmured as he wrote down more entries in his notes. “Can you travel in the astral plane?”

“The astral plane is more of a spiritual thing. Walking in dreams can be being drawn into our own subconscious or finding the pathway between our own dreams and those of others. It isn’t as simple as some people would like it to be.”

“I’ll rephrase the question. Do you have the ability to walk in the dreams of others like your sisters?”

“Yes, but it’s limited. My father had always told people that magic didn’t have any effect on him. I suspect that I have traded off having been born with certain enhanced abilities for lesser arcane gifts.”

“Limited in what manner?”

“Unlike, say, Nicole, for example, I can’t make my way into just anyone’s dreams.” Diana straightened in her seat and rested her hands in her lap. “I have found myself in the dreams of siblings or, maybe, they were in mine.” She tipped one hand upward. “I can travel into the dreams of my sibling unless they bar the path. If I ever have children, I’d be able to cross into theirs.” She paused a moment. “Your next question is whether or not I can step into the dreams of my husband. I don’t know, I haven’t tried.”

Michael smiled to himself. She had anticipated what his question would have been. “Do you play chess?”

To someone unfamiliar with the intricacies of the game, the question might have been a non sequitur. To Diana, however, it was not. “I play well enough to know that pawns are far more useful some people even know.” She studied Michael’s face. “Do you know what the puzzle of the eight queens is, Doctor?”

“I do, but to tell the truth, I’ve never really solved it.”

“Try the knight move and bend it.” There was a challenging expression on her face.

“I’ll do that when I get the chance.”

“If you have questions about that dossier, please, contact me.” Diana stood.

“I’ll do that.” He nodded. “I’ll set up a meeting with you, if need be, after I talk to everyone.”

“Fair enough. Good evening, Doctor,” Diana said quietly as she closed the door behind her.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 4:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

He yawned and headed for the coffee pot. There was no one waiting at home but his pampered Siamese and she preferred solitude for her early evening naps. He stretched out on the couch with his shoes off. He was propped up by pillows and had his coffee in reach. There were dozens neatly prepared pages of the lab reports of what had been found in blood work within forty eight hours of Colleen’s recovery. There had been no less twenty individual drugs and herbs found. Michael found himself wondering what had been introduced, but disappeared within that timeframe or had been used previously..

Those pages were just the tip of the iceberg! Like her Commander, Dr. Geraldine Pickering was also quite particular about her work and it showed in the detailed cross reference tables of possible interaction between drugs and herbs.

These documents represent approximately 6000 man hours in laboratory and field work. We reassembled the small lab unit in one of hangar bays. I have yet to fully identify two of the substances that were among the samples taken from what is being referred to as the Warehouse Collection. I have isolated one plant substance from the mandrake family and another from the nightshade family, but they were apparently cultivated and crossbred with other plant matter by the subject identified as Vickers.

It is my professional opinion that painstaking efforts were made when creating the combinations in the provided samples. There are two that result in a light sleeping state where one is mentally aware of their surroundings, but the body is in a state of minor paralysis. Four of the twenty identified combinations are geared toward producing hallucinatory states. This would clearly explain why Mrs. Fenner, a known empath and telepath, could not distinguish her captor from her husband. Under normal circumstances, i.e. a lucid mental state, she would have had other tools to aid her in the distinction besides visual recognition.

Recordings of Vickers' nefarious deeds regarding the abduction were made available to the team for study. Also present in the video recordings is what appears to be a young adult female subject. She was subsequently identified via mitochondrial DNA as Mrs. Fenner’s genetic offspring. Said female, named as Celia in reports by Vickers, is now deceased. Initial discovery of this genetic connection is attributed to Dr. Bridget Dillon, the Head of Riverview Clinic’s Forensics Department. When our autopsy and lab work were completed, the body was released to the family for burial.

Cross referencing and charted data is provided for comparison notes.

Geraldine Pickering
Chief Medical Officer
Misfit Squadron

Michael read through page after page of chemical compounds and the effects they had been discovered to have. His laptop was handy, so, he recorded a few notes for later transcription.

I expect my next meeting regarding this case to be a rather short one. The plan is to meet with the Brock brothers. Their gift, according to their eldest sister, is psychometry. End report.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chapter 5 - The Brothers Brock

Psychometry, like other psychic gifts, had its own set of unique of quirks and patterns. The brothers Brock had begun to show promise in that area when they hit puberty. Like the other children of the direct demigod bloodline, several of their gifts manifested early. In Garrick’s case, under his father’s tutelage, his abilities to change form and communicate developed in infancy. Several objects were recovered in the warehouse where their mother had been held prisoner for weeks. Michael expected to be discussing their impressions from what was found. He had other questions, but whether or not he’d get to ask them remained to be seen.

“Gentlemen,” Michael said as he directed the brothers to the chairs near his desk, “I have a few questions before we discuss your findings.”

The elder of the pair spoke first, “Since we’re both here it’s best if you call me Rick and my younger brother, Garrick.”

“Works for me,” Garrick said as he settled in.

“That’s the first question,” Michael took his seat behind the desk, “how exactly does that work? Pairs of certain offspring in the same place.”

“You’re asking how we got here?” Rick watched the analyst’s face as if attempting to read through the cover of a book. Certain levels of telepathy and empathy were like that, peeling away layers.

“Yes. Your mother sometimes refers to it was having children in stereo. I’ve never really asked her to explain it, just accepted it was so.”

“The interesting thing about it is that our nieces and nephews or children, as the case may be, understand it perfectly without being told.” Garrick smiled a touch. “I think was Rachael’s daughter, Limelenath, that first explained it as having two of the same people in the same room; one isn’t just steps ahead, but years.”

“How old is she?”

“Melly is nine,” Rick answered. “To her, though, this is normal. It’s how life is. Maggie gets it, too, Rick and Catie don’t fully understand the whys, yet. They don’t seem bothered about it, though. They just know there are a lot of people they’re related to that happen to have the same names.”

“Keep in mind, Doctor that the children in question think of the unusual as usual. Maggie, for instance, thinks it’s perfectly normal to chatter at a monkey in the zoo and be clearly understood. Her mother’s gift with animals surfaced when she was young as well.” Garrick checked his watch.

“It’s fairly simple, really.” Rick gestured with one hand. “There are six pairs of offspring with the names: Diana, Rachael, Draven, Rhiannon, Nicole, and Garrick.”

“Three other names were mentioned,” Michael interjected, “who are Mara, Marissa, and Kirin?”

Garrick fielded part of that answer. “Mara and Marissa were adopted into the family.”

Rick smiled slightly. “Strictly speaking, Doctor, you’ve been talking to Kirin. You see Kirin is an alias that was used by our mother. Strictly speaking my mother since the two of us came from what would be or what might be.”

“How exactly do those sisters, for lack of better word, fit?” Michael found himself feeling a bit out of sorts. This was a first for him in a session, two people, exactly the same, but different and not twins.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

“Mara,” Garrick answered, “is the natural child of Cassandra Viskan also known as Kitten. She grew up thinking of Judas Lasher as her dad. You see, Mara was taken as an infant by LeeAnn Montgomery. She was possessed by the spirit of Cassandra’s dead sister, who shared the same first name. Long story short, LeeAnn cast a spell on the infant Mara and aged her to her early teens. Kitten was prepared to raise a baby, but she didn’t feel ready to raise a teenager. She asked Mother and Papa Judas to raise Mara as their own. Seemed only natural that it was them since Kitten had always been thought of as a daughter. Mara always knew that she had two mothers, it was never kept from her.”

Michael had been listening as he jotted down notes. “So Mara had no childhood?”

“No,” Garrick shook his head, “she didn’t. There is nothing that anyone could do to replace that. Mara had and still has a gift for music, Doctor. That was where she has always found her place and peace in life. One year, she asked for help to buy a piano. She wanted to earn it. Mother and Papa Judas were agreeable and told her they would match whatever she earned to pay for it. Mara made an earnest effort and impressed them so much with her desire that they bought the piano and gave it to her for Christmas that same year. I seem to recall that the agreement was that the money Mara had earned was to be banked for the future. Mara wasn’t unhappy about that. She’d proved something to herself, she could earn her way. She also learned that, in some fashion, her parents rewarded hard work. She still has that piano; she writes her music on it.”

Rick picked up where his brother had left off. “What happened to Mara is relevant to why we returned. LeeAnn kidnapped a man named Sam Custer. He was a teacher and, later, Headmaster at New Camelot. That kidnapping lead to the birth of a daughter, Amber Custer, who was ultimately raised by Sam and his wife, Ani. LeeAnn Montgomery was innocent of what happened. To be honest, I don’t recollect if she regained her own mind before Amber was born or not. I do remember that she did feel guilt for happened even though she wasn’t really the one responsible.” Rick took a drink from the bottle of water in his hand. “The elder set of us were part of a group called the Misfit Society. Amber was the first to find her way back through a tear in the time barrier. Amber meant well, but her telling people how things were where she came from had started changes to happen when we were. Some of us had other reasons for returning. Diana came back to find her father. Rhi came back because Mother was ill and she needed to prevent the cause. Nicole was the last of us to come back; she hasn’t told any of us what happened. We all learned the risks of going back and why people need to be careful about … stepping on butterflies.”

“Bradbury? Michael asked.

“And our oldest sister, Chrisy,” Garrick murmured.

“Ah,” Michael made a sympathetic noise. More notes were made in each of the folders before him.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

“As for Marissa, she was adopted by Kirin,” Rick explained. “Marissa’s birth mother, Lydia, and Kirin were best friends. In fact, Marissa’s middle name is Kirin and my mother is her godmother. When her parents were killed in a crash, Marissa came to live with us instead of her parents’ siblings. I don’t really know the reasons behind that choice. All I knew was I had another sister and I’ve always been good with that. Speaking as an adult, now, I figure there had to be good reasons for any mother’s choice when entrusting her child’s life into someone else’s hands. Marissa was never cut off from her birth family, Doctor. Much like with Mara, the situation was open. They grew up with the love of a large family surrounding them. I like to think the parents did a good job all the way around.”

Michael listened to some bantering between the brothers as he gathered his thoughts on what else he should be asking. He referred to previous notes to help him along. Garrick and Rick were laying out several objects and pictures on a table as they chatted.

“What did you bring?” Michael queried as he looked over the array of items spread on the table.

“Photographs, jewelry, and a number of other small items,” Rick replied. “Some of the photos are of large items that we examined but couldn’t bring in.”

“Our sister, Diana, gave us access to a couple of places in the warehouse before they were dismantled. This group in particular was disturbing,” Garrick said with a bit of disgust in his tone. He had pointed out a group of photos and jewelry. “While the culprit thought he had paid attention to the details well enough, he missed a few tricks. The body in the casket, for instance. To a drugged and addled mind it probably looked normal. However, it looked to me like the culprit wanted to present the supposed deceased as a much smaller man than the one we know.”

Rick picked things up at that point. “There is also the possibility that it was never meant to be seen close up and only to be photographed to convince our mother that her husband was dead. Best guess is that Vickers never entertained the possibility that she wouldn’t believe that Fenner was dead without actually seeing the body. Between us we picked up our Mother’s grief over what she had been convinced was her husband’s body. She felt contempt and hatred toward her captor. I sincerely doubt this was by any means a case of Stockholm Syndrome.”

Fabares picked up the set of photos and looked them over. “The photos that show your mother in them, how were they taken?”
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 5:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Garrick paused in his review of another item on the table to answer Michael. “They were pulled from some digital video. Diana never told us what happened down there. She didn’t have to say much after we got hold of this stuff.” He held up a bracelet that had been found on Cecilia’s body. “This was a gift to our mother from Rhiannon’s kids. They picked out the daisy pattern and Nicole did the engraving work. It had vibrations from our mother and erstwhile unknown sister. He put both of them through hell.”

“So you have no idea what happened to Vickers?” Michael looked between the brothers.

“He’s dead and not coming back. That’s good enough,” Rick said with undisguised hatred in his voice.

“We weren’t given touch access to his body,” Garrick added. “The only thing we know is the bastard was shot until he had no face.”

“Our sister might have been protecting someone by not letting us have that access.” Rick was fingering the silver band that rested in the palm of his hand. “She might have blown him away. She’s always been the one with a unique sense of justice. This is our mother we’re talking about.”

The brothers looked at each other and nodded. Michael wasn’t privy to their thoughts.

You know as well as I do that Dee got there after the guy was dead, she told us that much. Garrick’s thoughts were projected to his older brother.

Yes, I know, came the mental reply, and we both have thoughts and speculations on who did what. If Fenner killed him as we suspect, this guy doesn’t need to know. If someone comes forward looking to dredge up trouble, you can’t answer to what you don’t know. Doctor and patient confidentiality has some limits.

Garrick cleared his throat as he set down the photos. True, but that we know of, Darien has never been this man’s patient and that bond, even second hand, isn’t guaranteed.

“I understand you’ll be meeting with Rhiannon and Mairead soon.” Rick made a careful study of the psychiatrist. “Have you ever … visited with children before?” There was a warning in his tone, intentional or not.

“Yes, but it’s a rare event,” Michael murmured. From everything he had heard about Maggie Harker, he was looking forward to meeting with the girl.

Garrick had pocketed his Mother’s bracelet to return it to her. As he left, the other things were left on the table for Michael’s perusal.

“Piece of advice, Doctor. Be careful to not down talk to Maggie. She’s very bright for her age, but she’s also been brought up with company manners. You really don’t want the squirt going home and telling her parents that a grown up doctor made her feel less than she is.” Rick tipped Michael a two finger to the temple salute and left.

Michael followed the brothers out. The paperwork would wait for once.
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