Episode 14: Now I Wait
Squelching footsteps in the muddy garden pull my thoughts from the past. Old Castle Highmoor and New Castle Highmoor meld into one blur of ice and fire and Maddock’s voice cries to me from the edge of the Universe—but only in my visions. In the eight months since he disappeared, I’ve grown slow and sluggish as the child grows inside me, but I’ve neither seen, heard, nor felt Maddock’s presence. He’s gone and my visions and my common sense give me no hope he will ever come back.
“Another vision?” Maybelle La Croix’s raspy voice blends with the harsh calls of a dozen crows who live in the Rowan trees at the edge of the garden.
She presses her scarred lips together, a wistful gleam in her one blue eye.
Maybelle doesn’t have visions anymore. Whatever magical ability she enjoyed in the Time Before lies buried. Her twisted left side and the scars on her face attest to how close she came to death the night Lucia’s scourge of the Darkmore and La Croix families began.
Aunt Clarissa found her half frozen just outside the gates of Old Castle Highmore and took her to safety. A recluse since, scarred in body and mind, she did not attend my wedding at New Castle Highmoor even though Maddock begged her to do so. He’d been annoyed with her then saying it was ridiculous to let the past destroy the future. But if she’d been in New Castle Highmoor when it disappeared, I would have had no one to turn to. She paid her debt to the Darkmores by saving me keeping me safe since. As far as we know, we two are the only ones left. The few who fled with me either turned back or fled to the ends of the earth. The entire Darkmore and La Croix families are gone.
A solid kick jars my internal organs and reminds me of the third survivor. She kicks like a Spanish mule and will not be ignored.
“The visions are coming faster now. That must mean something.” Mayebelle avoids the worst of the mud by hopping from one tussock of brittle grass to the next.
“It means I’m closer to madness, I think.”
“It may.” She helps me rise, tugging my rumpled skirt and blouse snuggly over my bulging belly. “No use feeling sorry for yourself. The equinox is nearly here. Before long, birds will be singing and the tomatoes will be ready to pick. Just wait and see.”
I’m trapped in limbo—waiting for the baby, waiting for Maddock, waiting for some nameless thing to right a skewed world.
“I hope so, Maybelle. I hope so.” I trudge behind her, not bothering to avoid the mud.