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He Thought He Saw – Part 56

He Thought He Saw redBrian’s had a bad day, seeing and hearing things that aren’t there. It’s very disconcerting and he’s very glad when school is finally over.

By the end of school, Brian was edgy and ready to go home. He smiled with relief when he saw Jordan at her locker and practically ran up to her.

“God, it’s been a day!” he said.

“Me too. I kept seeing weird shit,” Jordan said. “No one looked right. And there were shadows….”

“Like right here?” Brian waved his hands in the furthest reaches of his peripheral vision.

“Yes! I’m so glad it’s not just me. I thought I was going crazy! Not that it really should make me feel any better. It’s like all the shadows were gathering, preparing for… something.”

Brian shuddered. That was exactly what he’d felt. Having her say it somehow made it seem all too real.

Heath picked them up and took them back to their house. He tried to make it seem like any other day, but both the kids knew differently. He made small talk until Jordan stopped him. She and Brian described what they had been experiencing all day.

“Us too,” he said quietly. “Even Maribelle, as bad as her vision is, saw things. In fact, I think she saw more detail. It was as if the less we focused on it, the more we saw.”

“What do you think is going to happen,” Jordan asked.

“I don’t know, honey. But whatever it is, I think it’s going to be soon.”

Brian and Jordan spent a couple hours trying to do their homework, but neither of them could concentrate. They walked into the kitchen, looking for their parents, and found the three of them at the table.

“Hey, honey. Want to help Maribelle and me fix dinner?” Jackie asked.

“Sure! The men can bond over a game of pool or something,” Jordan said, going to the sink to wash her hands.

Brian and Heath looked at one another, resigned smiles on their faces.

“We know when we’re not wanted,” Heath said, trying to sound huffy. “We’ll find something to do.”

“Maybe we should knock out that wall you were talking about,” Brian said. “You know, the one in the basement?”

“Sounds like a great plan,” Heath said.

“No wall knocking allowed!” Jackie called after them, laughing. “No do-it-yourself anything!”

They trotted downstairs to the game room. A pool table and TV with game consoles took up most of the space. The laundry room was to the left and a closed door to the right.

“You like pool?” Heath asked Brian.

“Yeah.”

“How about a game?”

“Sounds good.”

Heath uncovered the table and racked the balls. Brian chose his cue, chalking the tip. They flipped a coin to see who would break. Brian won. As he leaned over to line up his shot, Heath stopped him.

“This is a good way to practice,” he said calmly.

“To practice what?”

“Your abilities. They need exercise in order to get stronger. You also need to get used to them. Focus on the front ball. As you draw back the cue, imagine it hitting the others in just the right spot to separate the balls. Can you do that?”

“I can try,” Brian said, leaning over once more. He aimed at the ball, concentrating on it. He hit the cue a little low. It nearly jumped off the table. “Dammit!”

Heath smiled, picking up the ball. “Try it again. This time, divide your attention between the cue and the other ball. You know where to hit it to get it to go where you want. Try again.”

Brian did. It was better, but not as good as it might have been.

“Again.” Heath racked the balls once more. “And this time, don’t hold your breath.”

“Could have told me that already,” Brian muttered.

“And spoil the fun? Just do what I tell you. Divide your attention, aim and breathe. Quit trying to make it hard.”

“Quit distracting me.”

Brian aimed again. Heath’s cue stick rapped his knuckles, commanding Brian’s attention. The smile was gone. His dark eyes were angry, frustrated.

© 2016 Dellani Oakes 

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He Thought He Saw – Part 55

He Thought He Saw redWith school the following day, Brian needs to sleep, but he can’t seem to find peace to do it. With the tape recorder in his room, he’s somewhat apprehensive.

Tossing and turning, he finally settled down and closed his eyes. He was aware of the recorder and that kept him awake for some time. Finally, he dropped off. Immediately, his mind was filled with horrific, nightmare images. He saw flames, explosions, blood and devastation. A big, black, nebulous something lurked in the shadows. He couldn’t see it clearly, but he tried to make himself describe it. Speaking in his dream, he hoped he would speak aloud as well.

The creature grew fangs, that lengthened and dripped poisonous looking green goo from them. Brian shuddered, cringing away from it. A large, warm body cuddled up next to him. He didn’t know what it was, but in his sleep, he clung to the warmth, holding it close.

The black thing lunged at him, attacking with claws and fangs. The teeth ripped into him. Brian screamed, but no sound came out. He woke in a sweat to find Zofia lying next to him. Her big head was on his shoulder and he held tightly to her collar. Before he forgot the images, he spoke aloud, describing what he’d seen.

“I don’t know what this all means,” he concluded. “But I have the impression that something really bad is coming soon. We need to be prepared.”

Brian fell asleep once more, this time without dreams. The images still haunted him and he felt the shadow lurking at the edges of his perception. Zofia lay beside him, warm, huge and comforting.

Heath drove Brian and Jordan to school. Brian told them what he could remember of his dream and warned them to be ready for anything. As he dropped them off, Heath cautioned them for the third time.

“Be careful today. Look out for each other. If you have any problems, look for Mrs. Finely. She’s the school counselor.”

“We know who she is, Dad. Don’t worry. It’s fine.”

“Take this salt and cumin. Sprinkle it wherever you go. Don’t take chances, Pumpkin. I love you.”

“I know, Dad. But if you call me pumpkin again, I’m seriously gonna have to kick your ass.” She kissed her father’s nose and hopped out of the car.

“Keep an eye on her today,” Heath asked Brian. “I don’t think she’s taking this seriously.”

Brian, who had some insight into Jordan’s emotions, didn’t say anything. He thought she did take it very seriously and the casual attitude was her way of coping with something that terrified her.

“I’ll watch out for her. Don’t worry. We’ll be fine.”

“Remember, sprinkle that salt and cumin around….”

“Heath, we got it, okay? I seriously have to go. I’m gonna be late.”

“Go! Be safe!” He watched the two teenagers meet and walk in the school together.

Horns honked behind him. Waving out the window, he pulled out and drove away, feeling that something loomed on the horizon. He only wished he knew what it was.

The first half of the day went well. At lunch time, Brian made a point to find Chase and Marissa. Along with Jordan, he told them what had happened over the last few days.

Marissa clung to Chase’s arm, her blue eyes wide with fear. “Do you think that he’ll try anything here—at school?”

“Probably not,” Jordan assured her, though she wasn’t really that confident that Deidrich wouldn’t attempt something during the day.

“We don’t think so. But if you get in trouble, text Chase’s mom and then the rest of us,” Brian instructed. “It will be okay, Marissa. Just be strong.”

“I have my faith to protect me,” she replied piously.

Jordan, who was feeling snarky, patted her hand. “Sure, you keep on believing that when the big baddie is breathing down your neck.”

Brian gave her a dirty look. “What Jordan means is that your skills will protect you more—just as much. Oh, hell. Marissa, just remember what you’ve learned. You’ll be okay.”

“I haven’t learned anything,” she protested. “My parents never taught me that—stuff! They said I didn’t need it, that my faith in God would be enough.”

“Well, they were wrong,” Brian said, trying not to be mean. “Pray all you want, it won’t faze Mr. D. Stick close to one of us, we’ll protect you.”

As they went to class after lunch, Brian didn’t feel quite right. The atmosphere in the school seemed charged. His skin tingled and he kept seeing things in the corner of his eye. When he turned to look, there was nothing there. Peoples’ faces didn’t look right. They were all distorted, grimacing. He constantly heard whispering, but no one was speaking. The voices spoke in another language. Covering his ears didn’t help. The sounds were actually louder because he blocked out everything else.

© 2016 Dellani Oakes 

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He Thought He Saw – Part 54

He Thought He Saw redBrian gets an additional shock when he finds out that his father has kept in touch with his mother while he’s been gone.

“She’s known where you were the whole time? And she didn’t tell me? How could you keep this from me?”

“It had to be this way,” Miles took his son’s face between his hands. “You’re in a very precarious position. If you knew too much, they would sense that. Remember the magic tricks I taught you as a kid?”

“Yeah. So?”

“Slight of hand and misdirection. As long as I can keep the focus on me, they don’t look at you too closely. But you damn near blew it when you challenged Mr. D. He’ll be back and this time, he’ll bring friends. Zofia is going with you. She’ll protect you. I’ll keep Janus with me.”

Miles embraced his son, holding him close. “You be careful. Do what you’re told and don’t go running off trying to be a hero.”

“Yes, sir.”

Miles hugged Jordan. “You’re his other half. Stay close. Each of you is stronger when you’re together and far weaker when you’re apart. And for God’s sake, don’t try to take on Mr. D. without help. Is that clear?”

Jordan’s gaze met his. “Yes, completely.”

“Good.” He hugged his son again. “I love you, Brian. Know that, remember it, believe it.”

“I do, Dad. I love you too.”

Heath pulled Miles into an embrace.”Be careful yourself, my old friend. Janus!” The dog barked sharply. “You watch over him, you hear me?”

The dog’s answering bark sounded a lot like yes. The dogs licked one another, almost like a kiss. Zofia went with Brian and Janus stayed with his father.

“He’ll be okay, won’t he?” Brian asked Heath as they drove away.

“Your dad is a survivor. He’ll be fine. At least he’s inside his own home. He’s safer there than anywhere else.”

“What did he mean about wards?”

“Wards are protective spells,” Jordan answered. “See, I do know something. They can be made from stones and metal, like the amulet you wear. Or different plants, like the charms Mr. Finley gave us. You can also use herbs and spells or a combination of all of them.”

“You were paying attention today,” her father remarked, proudly. “Did you recognize the twigs that Miles had woven in his hair?”

“Hawthorn and Rowan,” she replied with confidence. “And I noticed there are Hawthorn, Rowan and Ivy around the house. Just like Chase’s house.”

“And ours. I’m surprised you hadn’t noticed.”

“They’re covered with snow,” she replied. “Cut me a little slack, Dad. I didn’t know their significance until today.”

“You’re forgiven.”

They got back to Jordan’s house to find the women fixing dinner. Music was playing and they sang and danced as they moved around the kitchen. Brian didn’t recognize the band, but Heath did. He joined in, twirling the women under his arms as they danced around. Neither seemed the slightest bit perturbed that a huge dog had joined them. She yipped and skipped as the women danced.

Brian finally got a good look at his mother’s eyes. They looked better, clearer. The haziness was almost gone and the clarity of her gaze was returning. She smiled at him, patting his cheek.

“You’re still fuzzy, but you’re coming back into focus. Thanks to Heath and Jackie, I’m getting better.”

“Oh, Mom!” He hugged her, sobbing with joy.

Maribelle buried her face in his shirt, crying softly. They stayed like that a few minutes until Maribelle pulled away, wiping her eyes on the corner of her apron.

“If I keep that up, I’ll wash away all Jackie’s hard work.” She sniffled.

“Nonsense,” Jackie said, sniffling herself. “Tears are good for you. Now, if you will excuse us, we’ve got a meal to fix. Jordan, want to help?”

They had a great dinner and went to bed early. Brian and Jordan didn’t know what they might face at school the following day. Heath had set up the recording device. Brian wasn’t sure he liked the idea of someone being able to hear what he mumbled in his sleep, but he knew it was important for them to know what they were up against. If this could give them an edge, then he had to man up and get over it.

© 2016 Dellani Oakes 

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He Thought He Saw – Part 53

He Thought He Saw redThe teens find out more about themselves and about their parents. Jordan scoffs that it’s like Last Air Bender, only to have her father say that it’s very much like that.

“My mind is officially boggled,” Jordan said, holding her forehead. “This is like something out of a weird paranormal novel. I still don’t know what I am.”

“You’re another one like Miles, a combo,” Heath explained. “You’re a Caster, like your mom, but you have my Receiver abilities as well. You have no idea how powerful that makes you. You and Brian together will make an amazing team.”

“I just wish you were older,” Miles said. “A marriage bond always strengthens the gifts.”

“What?” Jordan held up her hands like stop signs. “Marriage? We’re fifteen.”

“We all knew at fifteen who we were destined to marry,” Heath replied. “I knew your mom was going to be my wife before I even knew her name. Miles and Maribelle grew up together. From the time they were toddlers, their parents saw they would be together. It’s like that for us. We find one another. Think of it as your soul mate.”

Brian and Jordan looked at one another, frowning.

“So, you’re saying I’m gonna end up married to this goon?”

Miles and Heath laughed loudly.

“Yes, honey. I’m sorry. This goon is my future son-in-law,” Heath teased.

“I’m sitting right here, you know,” Brian said, his tone disdainful. “Who says I want to marry Jordan anyhow? She hits me with pillows.”

“Better than her fists,” Heath said. “Don’t worry. That’s a few years down the line.”

“Of more immediate worry is what do we do about Mr. D.?” Miles changed the subject abruptly. “He’s decidedly on the offensive and he’s getting stronger. The last time I fought him, I almost didn’t succeed. If the dogs hadn’t helped me, he would have killed me. As it was, I was so drained afterward, I almost died. That was right after Maribelle lost her sight.”

“Can anything be done for her?” Brian asked.

“I’ve been working with her since we got here,” Heath said. “I imagine she and Jackie are working on that right now. She’s improving daily. But she may never have her whole eyesight back.”

“Some is better than none,” Miles said, sighing heavily. “I blame myself.”

“It’s not your fault. You all knew the risks.”

“I thought I could control it….”

“No use getting upset about it again,” Heath said rather sternly. “It’s done and over. Nothing can change it. What we need to do is make some plans. The kids will have to go back to school tomorrow and they will be vulnerable there.”

“Why?” Brian asked.

“It’s a public place. Anyone can go there. Unlike a private residence, no one has authority over it. You can bind evil and cast it from your home or a privately owned business. You can’t do that with public property like schools and city buildings.”

“We’ll figure something out. Dora Finley works there. She’ll be able to keep an eye on them.”

“Meanwhile, I think we need to get back to the house,” Heath said, glancing at his watch. “The women will be worried. You coming?” he asked Miles.

Brian’s father shook his head. “No. I’ll be fine here. Keep Maribelle and Brian with you another night. I have to ward the house. They got broken somehow. I still haven’t figured it out.”

“There was that bear,” Brian said. “Could it have caused some trouble?”

“A bear?” His father looked and sounded puzzled.

“Yeah, a few nights ago when it started turning cold. We had a bear break in through the back door. It didn’t get in the house, but it made a mess.”

“That wasn’t a bear,” Miles said. “That was Mr. D. He can use animals as an avatar. But that still doesn’t explain how he could breach the wards unless there was a hole for some other reason. I’ll have to see what I can find. Meanwhile, you all go back over to Heath’s.”

“I want to stay here with you,” Brian begged his father. “I have so many questions and I haven’t seen you in ages. Does Mom know you’re here?”

Miles shook his head. “I want to keep it that way for now. She’s very vulnerable at the moment. She needs to be around Heath and Jackie so she can get back her sight. She’s got to concentrate on that.”

“Dad, she’d want to know you were here and okay.”

“She knows,” he replied. “Your mom and I don’t have to be together to talk. We’re always in contact with one another.”

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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He Thought He Saw – Part 52

He Thought He Saw redBrian is stunned to find out that his father is home. When he asks where Miles has been, he discovers his dad has been fighting Deidrich, whom he cautions them to refer to as Mr. D.

“Yeah,” Brian said. “So, it’s extra bad.”

“Bad to the nth degree,” Miles replied. “Doesn’t begin to describe it.”

“I saw you fight him,” Brian said shyly. “When I was holding Lester, I saw you.”

That took a little explaining. Between him and Heath, they gave his father the details.

“That was a few weeks after your birthday,” Miles explained. “If it hadn’t been for those two,” he pointed to the dogs. “It would have been a totally different story. They saved my bacon more than once over the last few months.”

“You need to tell him about Maribelle, Miles,” Heath said.

Miles bit his lip, turning his head away. Tears formed in his eyes and he wiped at them angrily. “She was helping me and it went bad. It blew up in our faces.”

“What did?”

“A spell. She was casting it with the help of the Finleys and me. We should never have tried it without the others, but we had no choice. There wasn’t time to get everyone here for a full circle. So we tried it and we lost control. Maribelle got the brunt of the backlash.”

“Why didn’t you tell me any of this? I could have helped.”

“Your gifts were just waking. It was far too dangerous. Had we involved you in that spell, instead of Maribelle going blind, you could have been killed. You’re too important, Brian. We can’t risk you.”

“We don’t want to risk any of you,” Heath added hastily.

“Why’s Brian so special?” Jordan sounded offended by Miles’ comment.

“He’s a Dreamer,” Miles said, as if that explained it all.

“So?” Jordan replied.

“Once every hundred years, a Dreamer is born. They have visions, premonitions, prophetic dreams—whatever you want to call them. They know and see things that no one else can even hope to perceive. They are powerful and dangerous if they aren’t controlled. And more precious than any treasure. Not to belittle anyone else, because we’re all important and unique, but Dreamers…..” His voice faded away and a distant look came to his eyes.

“I didn’t want this for you, son. I would never have wished any of this on anyone. But it was inevitable, I suppose, given that the last Dreamer was Edgar Cayce, my distant kin. It’s in the family line. Most of the Dreamers in the last thousand years, have come from this line.”

“What can I do besides dream?” Brian asked.

The men exchanged another enigmatic look. Heath took up the narrative.

“Because of your mother, you have other powers. You’re not only a Dreamer, you’re a Caster.”

Jordan held up her hand, waving it for attention. “Whoa. I’m lost. Pretend for a second we don’t know any of this. Cause—we don’t. Caster? Dreamer?” She shook her head, holding her hands out, asking for information.

Heath sighed. “There are three basic categories of skills—Caster, Receiver and Charmer. The Caster, like the name suggests, casts spells. The Receiver channels energy from the elements, feeding it to others and using it to heal. A Charmer makes and casts charms and wards. There are different combinations of skills here. One person might be dominant in fire energy, another in earth, air or water. Just depends on when you were born and what your parents can do. The skills are genetic, to a degree, although two fire wielders can give birth to a water wielder.”

“You know this is all very Avatar, the Last Air Bender,” Jordan said, her sarcastic tone returning.

“That’s because they based a lot of their elemental magic on real skills. A Caster usually has two elements they manipulate well. Sometimes they are compatible energies, sometimes they are complete opposites—like fire and water.”

“Those people are the strongest,” Miles interjected excitedly. “Your mothers can both handle opposite elements. Jackie is earth and wind. Maribelle is fire and water. Really powerful Casters can manipulate them all to a degree, but generally can’t master more than two.”

“So, Brian has Caster blood in him as well as being a Dreamer?” Jordan looked puzzled. “What about me?”

“I’m a Receiver, pure and simple,” her father replied. “Miles is another unusual combination. He’s a Caster who is also a Charmer.”

“Don’t let Heath fool you,” Miles said with a grin. “He isn’t just a Receiver. He’s the most powerful one I know. He’s also a healer. That’s usually a companion skill to Receiving. They can channel energy from the environment into a person to heal them.”

© 2016 Dellani Oakes 

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He thought He Saw – Part 51

He Thought He Saw redThey decide to explore the house and look for more secret hiding spots. Heath takes the basement while Brian takes the top floor and Jordan explores the ground floor.

Brian was halfway through his exploration of his parent’s room, using a combination of the stud finder and tapping on the walls, when Heath called his cell.

“Come downstairs. I think I’ve found something.”

“Be right there.”

Brian gave the wall a final tap, satisfied he hadn’t discovered anything else. He and Jordan met in the kitchen. She followed him down the stairs. Brian trotted down, mindful of the low ceiling at the end of the steps. He ducked his head sideways and noticed the couch was no longer in front of the door. Wondering why Heath had moved it, he came around the end of the stairs and stopped suddenly. Jordan, who was on his heels, nearly fell over him. He caught her automatically, his eyes riveted on the sight before him.

Seated on the couch, calmly drinking a beer with Heath Barrett, was another man. The man’s face was gaunt, sallow. His hair was long, bushy and tangled, with bits of twigs braided in it. His face was covered with a thick growth of beard. He stood slowly, as if his joints were stiff, holding out his arms in greeting. His smile warmed Brian to his very core. There was no mistaking the twinkling eyes.

“Dad!” he gasped, stumbling forward.

“Hello, son,” his father said, his voice harsh and rough.

Brian rushed to his father’s embrace with a cry of anguish. It hurt to see him like that, almost a shell of himself. He hadn’t lost his strength. His arms wrapped around Brian in a crushing hug.

“Did you know he was here?” Jordan asked her father.

“I suspected when we came in. He left a few signs around and about. The twigs and leaves on the floor by the back door—oak, ash and hawthorn.”

“That’s why you took the basement. You knew he was down here.”

“Easiest place to hide out.”

“Where have you been?” Brian asked his father. “We needed you—we—I missed you so much!”

“I’ve been following Mr. D. He gave me the slip the other day when he went to Jordan’s. He’s getting smarter, laid down a false trail. Even the guardians were confused and nothing rattles them.”

They all sat on the comfortable, old basement furniture. When he sat down, Brian realized that two huge dogs were curled up on the rag rug behind the couch. He gasped with delight.

“You brought them!”

“They brought themselves,” Miles said with a chuckle. “Those two don’t do a damn thing they don’t want to. Kids, meet Zofia and Janus.”

The dogs hopped up when they heard their names. They practically tackled the teenagers in their enthusiasm to say hello. The room was full of happy yips, slurps and laughter as they all got to know one another. When the greetings were finally concluded, Heath and Miles grew solemn.

Miles scratched at his beard. “I can’t wait to shave this off. It’s driving me crazy. Been nice in the cold, though.”

“Where have you been, Dad?”

“Around and about. From Texas to Florida and everywhere in between. I’ve been tracking Mr. D.”

“Deid—?” Brian asked.

His father held up a hand in warning. “Don’t over use his name. He can track those who call him by name.”

“Sort of like Voldemort,” Jordan said with a smirk.

“Yeah, well, he’s fictional, Jordan,” her father said. “This guy’s for real and he can pull your bowels out through your nose with a thought, so keep that in mind before you make fun.”

“Sheesh, Dad. Just trying to lighten it up a little.”

“It’s okay, Heath. She’s trying to understand. Yes, like Voldemort, Jordan. If that helps you comprehend how bad he is,” Miles Casey replied.

“So this Mr. D,” Brian said quietly, trying to stay calm. “Is he the main baddie or are there others?”

“Do there need to be more?” Jordan asked. “Sounds like he has it covered.”

“He’s a scout,” Miles replied, taking a sip of his beer. “He goes ahead, tests the defenses. If a group successfully defeats him, he goes away and nothing else happens. If you fail against him, all Hell—quite literally—breaks loose. So far, he’s been defeated. But this is a pivotal year. Heath says he explained about that.”

© 2016 Dellani Oakes 

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He Thought He Saw – Part 50

He Thought He Saw redBrian discovers he’s what’s called a Dreamer, a very rare gift from their lineage. While watching the tapes, he learns that the doctor was able to take away the dreams so he wouldn’t be afraid. But when he turned 15, the dreams would start again and couldn’t be contained.

“What I intend to do is two fold—I will block the memories of the dreams so he won’t be haunted by them. I will also take away the fear of sleeping.”

“Can’t you keep him from dreaming?” Miles asked.

Beauchamps glanced at him, shocked. “If I do that, he’ll go mad. A person must dream. I can’t stop them, nor would I, even if I could. But I can do what I said. He’ll grow to be a man without the fear. Once he matures, the ability will come back. Then nothing can be done. He will learn to master it or he’ll lose his mind.” The doctor spread his hands, shaking his head.

“Do what you can,” Maribelle Casey said. “Please! I can’t listen to him scream another night. I can’t bear to sit with him at night, having him cry himself to sleep.”

Dr. Beauchamps nodded. He dimmed the lights. “Sit over there.” He pointed to the far side of the room, deep in shadow. “Brian, I want you to look here,” he said softly, his voice dropping an octave.

Brian focused on an object that the doctor held. It was a bright, clear crystal similar to the one he wore under his shirt. It caught the light, refracting it into brilliant spectra and light-birds.

The doctor spoke in a soothing baritone, speaking in a language that Brian didn’t know. The image of the boy stared at the crystal, watching as it swung and spun in Dr. Beauchamps’ hand. A happy smile wreathed his features as he gazed at it, wide eyed. Soon, a joyful sigh escaped him. Dr. Beauchamps put the crystal around his own neck, dropping it under his shirt. He straightened up, his face serene.

“He’s unafraid now,” he told the Caseys in a quiet, gentle voice. “He’ll sleep on the way home in the car and wake without any knowledge that he was here. When he wakes from his nap, he’ll feel happy and free from fear. Bedtime won’t scare him, nor will the dreams. Though he’ll continue to dream, they will not disturb his slumbers.”

“Thank you,” Maribelle said quietly, not wanting to startle her son. “How can we repay you for this?”

Dr. Beauchamps smiled at them. “When the time comes, help train my boy. He’s four years older than Brian and has quite an affinity for telekinesis.”

“Really?” Maribelle smiled. “Wonderful! Miles can help with that. It’s one of his gifts.”

“Excellent. Everything should be fine, but if you notice anything unusual about his sleeping habits or lapses of memory, call me immediately.”

“We will. Thank you,” Miles said, shaking Dr. Beauchamps’ hand.

The family left. The doctor walked over to the hidden camera. Reaching for it, he turned it off and the screen went black.

Brian expelled a breath he hadn’t even realized he was holding. “Wow!” He couldn’t think of another way to express what he was feeling.

“Now you know why you can’t remember your dreams,” Jordan said quietly. “But you still have nightmares.”

“My dreams are incredibly vivid,” Brian admitted. “I don’t always have nightmares, but they seem to be more frequent now. And he was right. They started the night of my birthday.”

“Do you think you could train yourself to remember and write them down like Edgar Cayce did?” Heath asked.

“No idea. I never tried. I guess I could. Maybe I should put a voice activated recorder in my room when I sleep.”

“I have one of those,” Heath said proudly. “I use it for client interviews. We can get it from my office and set it up.”

“That would be great,” Brian admitted. “But it still doesn’t get us any closer to how we fight Deidrich or if he’s the main bad guy.”

“Maybe your dad said something in his notes,” Jordan suggested.

“Maybe so. I keep wondering if that was the only hiding place. I can’t imagine my dad putting all his valuables in the same spot. Things he didn’t want even my mom to find, for example, might be somewhere else. We need to check all the walls for another spot for that key.”

“Why do you think that they’d all be hidden the same way?” Jordan asked.

“If something works, stick with it. Even if the hiding places are revealed, who says the combinations are the same? I’m willing to bet there’s more to it than just that one place.”

“Do you want to start up here?” Heath asked.

“I don’t know,” Brian admitted. “What do you all think?”

“We could each take a different floor,” Jordan suggested. “One in the basement, one here and one upstairs.”

That sounded like a good suggestion. Jordan put the key back in its hiding place and they each took a flashlight and struck out for different parts of the house. Heath volunteered to take the basement, since Brian and Jordan weren’t too keen on being down there alone. Brian took the top floor while Jordan examined the ground floor. If they didn’t find anything, they’d explore the attic together.

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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He Thought He Saw – Part 49

He Thought He Saw redBrian is quite disturbed to find out that Heath has actually seen the tapes of him sleeping. Full of trepidation, he sits down with the others to watch himself.

“Will you be in here, Daddy?”

“I’ll be right here the whole time,” Miles replied.

Brian felt his eyes water. His father had always been his rock, his security. Once the sensors were in place, Brian went to bed. His father sat with him, reading books and singing to him until he fell asleep. Miles stayed by the bed, a pen and legal pad in hand.

“I’m writing down the times that he speaks and as much as I can of what he says, in order to document this in written form as well as the video.”

Brian mumbled, tossing and turning under the blankets. Miles leaned closer, listening. The sound was muffled somewhat by blankets, but the recording picked them up.

“October thirty-first, Halloween night—twenty-twelve. The boy shall see things unlike any in this life. He shall run at first, but soon he will stand up and take charge. He will dream dreams and see visions. And the guardians will watch over him.”

Watching it now, Brian realized that his six year old self had seen him fight off the wraiths in the fog on Halloween night. It was obvious the child didn’t know he saw himself nine years in the future.

They watched a while longer. Each dream narrative was as confounding to Brian as the first had been. His phrases were clipped, abrupt and frightening.

“I don’t remember any of this,” Brian said. “Why can’t I remember?”

“I wish I could tell you,” Heath said. “I don’t know.”

The last tape showed Brian in an office. He and his parents sat in front of a large, wooden desk, waiting. There were no wires or sensors, so Brian assumed that this was a meeting rather than another sleep session. A man in a suit and tie walked in. Miles rose, shaking his hand. Brian clung to his mother.

“Mr. and Mrs. Casey, Brian.” He smiled. His eyes were sad, but his smile was warm.

Brian looked at the man, searching his face for something familiar. The man raised his glasses and Brian shivered with recognition, but not in a bad way. There was something special about this man. He had mocha colored skin and his eyes were a silvery color that glittered like metal.

“He looks like Andre,” Jordan said in an awed whisper.

“I’m Doctor Beauchamps,” he said, his voice lilting with a Creole accent. “You were referred to me by my colleague, Dr. Rufus, in Natchez.”

“Yes, sir. He said maybe you could help us. Our son—sees—things,” Miles said slowly, gauging the doctor’s reaction.

“What sort of things, Mr. Casey?”

Brian’s parents exchanged a furtive glance. They weren’t sure how much to share with this unfamiliar man.

“Mr. and Mrs. Casey, Dr. Rufus is a close friend and mentor. He also—bears the mark.”

Brian’s parents gasped. Dr. Beauchamps took off his suit coat and rolled up his left sleeve, showing them something hidden there. Brian assumed it was his own mark.

“Anything you tell me will be in strictest confidence. And I assure you, I will believe you.”

“Brian dreams,” Maribelle Casey said, stroking her son’s hair. “He has such horrific nightmares that he wakes up screaming. He’s terrified to go to bed.”

“Does he always have them?” The doctor asked.

“No,” she replied. “But his dreams are so real to him. He can’t sleep. He’s scared, Doctor. I want my son to stop being afraid to close his eyes at night.”

“I see.” Dr. Beauchamps nodded, steepling his fingers under his chin. “Brian, can we sit over there a moment so I may look at you?”

Brian grinned, nodding. He regarded the doctor with complete trust. Dr. Beauchamps led him to a leather couch and sat next to him. He gazed intently into Brian’s eyes. Without relaxing his gaze, he spoke to Brian’s parents.

“I can take away the fear and dull the memory of the dreams—for a time. When he reaches the Age of Awakening, the dreams will resume. Quite possibly with more intensity than before. I can’t stop that. Anything I do now will last only until his fifteenth birthday.”

“We understand, Doctor,” Maribelle said. “But we have to do what’s best for Brian. He doesn’t understand what’s going on and we don’t either. We don’t know anyone who can train him.”

“I don’t either. The Dreamers are rare, as you know. But I can take the fear away. Shall I proceed?”

“What else will it affect? Will he remember us? What he’s learned in school?”

© 2016 Dellani Oakes 

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He Thought He Saw – Part 48

He Thought He Saw redHeath tells them that they are descended from Druids and gives them a little more information about their origins.

“How many families are involved?”

“Eight in every key location. We’re in one of those spots. There’s another one in the Spokane area of Washington, one in Peru, another in New Zealand—all over the world. If we were to trace you back far enough, you’d find that somewhere in the family lineage was a Druid or other magic wielder.”

“This is getting more far fetched by the minute,” Brian said. “Ancient Druids? Really?”

“Scoff if you want, but it’s true.”

“Who is Deidrich?”

“We aren’t exactly sure. He shows up when there’s big trouble brewing. We don’t know if he’s the ringleader or a flunky. He’s powerful and pure evil. He’s the reason your dad left. He showed up around the time you and Chase turned fifteen. He was afraid he’d come to cause trouble. It appears he was right.

“When Jordan started seeing things, Jackie and I didn’t want to believe she was the one. We have five kids. I always hoped that the burden would fall on one of the boys.”

“Nice, Dad. Wish this on someone else.”

“You are my only daughter,” Heath replied. “I’ve got your older brothers and I love them dearly, but you’re my baby girl. If I had to pass this on to someone, why not one of my boys? But fate chose differently. That’s why we moved back here after your fall. We knew we’d be needed and you’d be safer with the others around.”

“Is that why I’ve always taken gymnastics and martial arts? My friends all took ballet. I took kick boxing.”

“Exactly.”

“How did you know it was Jordan?”

“I know this sounds like something out of a Fantasy, novel, but she has a mark. I bet you have one too.”

The teenagers lifted their left arms, gazing at the underside of their biceps. Each of them had a peculiar strawberry mark. They were nearly identical in shape, size and color. Heath lifted his arm, pulling up his sleeve. He had the same mark.

“It appears when you’re chosen,” he told them calmly.

“If you know all this stuff, why are you reading through it all with us like it’s new?” Brian asked suddenly.

“It’s always good to have a refresher,” Heath replied. “And we have to make sure you actually do it. We haven’t forgotten learning it ourselves. It’s not exactly Donkey Kong.”

“Meaning it’s not a video game? Or meaning it’s not much fun?” Jordan asked.

“Both. Smarty. Admit it, if we weren’t taking you through it, you’d have ignored that family tree.”

“I still don’t get why that’s such a big deal,” Brian said. “So I’m related to some weird guy who had visions.”

“Not just some weird guy,” Heath replied, somewhat exasperated. “He was a prophet. He had visions that were very accurate. His dreams were written down and are referred to even today. He foretold this time. He knew it was coming and he tried to tell people to be prepared. Unfortunately, those who actually believed him were considered just this side of crazy.”

“Are you comparing my dreams to his?”

“Edgar Cayce trained himself to remember and record his dreams. None of us knew how to train you because none of us had visions the same way. Your folks tried, but you were so afraid of what you were seeing, you blanked them out. The only way to document your dreams was to film you when you were asleep. Some of these tapes I’ve seen, but I had no idea where Miles kept them.”

“You’ve seen tapes of me talking in my sleep?” Brian was horrified.

“Yes. I’m sorry. I wouldn’t have, but it was important.”

“What did I say?”

Heath paused. “I think it’s important that you see for yourself. My telling you won’t make as much of an impact. But be prepared for…. Well, be prepared.”

They took the tapes into the living room and Brian set up the VCR. The tapes began with a date stamp at the beginning. A man’s voice narrated, doing a sort of voice over, until the action focused on Brian. He saw an image of himself. He looked about six. He was dressed in his pajamas and a technician was sticking sensors to him. His father sat with him, keeping him calm.

© 2016 Dellani Oakes 

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He Thought He Saw – Part 47

He Thought He Saw redNot only to they find a safe, they also find the video tapes as well as a stash of money.

“But your mom can use this.”

“She may know it’s there,” Brian said. “So we leave it.”

“Okay.” She put the money back in reluctantly.

Other items followed. A packet of pictures was in an envelope at the bottom of the stack. The color prints were faded and brittle, as if they were old. A few fell out onto the floor. Jordan picked them up, dropping them with a gasp.

“That’s you!” She pointed accusingly at her father. “What are you doing in pictures in Brian’s house?”

Heath picked up the pictures, smiling fondly. “Wow, that takes me back a few years. Yes, that’s me,” he admitted. “And that’s Brian’s dad and Clifford Finley. We went to high school together.”

“Is that Mom?” Jordan stabbed the photograph.

“Yes. And there’s Maribelle.”

“Why did you act like you’d never met her before? You never said!”

Heath sighed, holding the picture fondly. “I’d almost forgotten that summer. That was the year we all turned fifteen. My birthday was in March, your mom’s in June. This was at Miles’ party in May. Born just about the same time as you,” he said to Brian.

“The day before,” Brian replied quietly. “And mom’s birthday is in June, just like Jackie’s.”

“Oak, Ash and Hawthorne,” Jordan whispered. “Just like us. Dad? What’s going on?”

Her father didn’t answer right away. He put the things back in the safe and removed the key from the wall. He handed it to Brian. When the key was removed, the hole closed.

“Let’s put up the picture. At least now we know we don’t have to move it every time,” Heath suggested.

“You still haven’t answered my question,” Jordan said. “What’s going on?”

“That summer, things changed. Stuff started happening. And this stranger came out of nowhere—a bum in the woods. It was rumored that he was breaking into houses and stealing things. No one could prove it, but the police did their best to run him off. It wasn’t until our parents got involved that they finally got rid of him. No one saw him again for almost twenty years. Until he showed up at our door.”

“Mr. Deidrich?”

“Yes.”

“How did he get in? Didn’t you recognize him?”

“I did, but by that time, he was already inside. Your mom never saw him before,” he told Jordan. “She invited him in when I wasn’t there. By that time, he’d gotten his shoe in and influenced all three of us before I realized what had happened.”

“How did you fight him off?” Brian asked. “He didn’t have nearly the hold on you he had on our mothers.”

“I didn’t drink his tea, I just pretended. And I used the same charm you did later. The salt was a nice touch.”

“Mr. Finley gave that to me.”

Heath nodded. “Cliff Finley always had a way with charms. He was better at them than the rest of us. Your mother was the one who had an affinity for stones and metals,” he told Jordan. “Maribelle always had a way with plants. Her tisanes and potions are amazing.”

“Charms? Potions? Dad, you make this sound like something out of Harry Potter. What are you guys, witches or something?”

Her father didn’t reply. Instead, he sat at the table and folded his hands in front of him. He waited for the teenagers to join him. They sat, leaning forward expectantly.

“For lack of a better term, you could call us witches, but Druids might be more accurate. Our families know about the old ways and keep them alive. When we reach fifteen, a sort of floodgate opens and we start to see things and have unusual experiences.”

“You call having fog creatures stalk you—unusual?” Jordan asked angrily.

“I don’t know what to call it,” Heath replied. “We never had stuff like that happen. But you have to remember that this is a pivotal year. This is the year everything changes.”

“Because the Aztec calendar says the world is going to end?” Brian’s suggestion was somewhat sarcastic.

“Not entirely. It’s not going to end, but much will change. It’s like that every hundred years or so.”

“You’d think it would be in the year two thousand instead of now,” Brian said.

“Not all calendars are the same and there are discrepancies. Who knows how it originally started. Anyway, your great-great-great grandmother was born in 1917, five years after the last major upheaval. There’s a special child in each generation of each family.”

© 2016 Dellani Oakes 

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