Please read Chapter 25 here.
Chapter 26: Magic is Real Only If You Believe It.
Nina was living in John’s house. She had been staying there since John’s disappearance, four-months ago. Nina refused to believe John was dead. Everyone else was sure he had passed on when he saved Nina’s life after Talise poisoned her.
Nina had begged John’s parents and brothers to hold off on the funeral. They had agreed for four-months, but after John or his corpse hadn’t turned up, Edith decided to visit Nina at John’s home and talk with her regarding the situation.
Nina welcomed Edith and asked her to sit down in John’s living room on a comfortable couch. She sat opposite of Edith on the same couch, feeling Edith was about to tell Nina something she’d rather not hear.
Edith clasped Nina’s cold hands between her warm ones. She appeared sad but sturdy as she had always seemed to Nina.She could see Edith had been crying. Her eyes were bloodshot from a recent bout of tears.
“Nina,” Edith said calmly, ” We can’t keep living our lives like this, searching the Sirene, and hoping John will come back to us. Jordan and you told us Talise admitted curses have a magic to them beyond the powers of the sea witch who cast them. I don’t believe Talise after casting the curse on John, would’ve been able to save him by lifting the curse that awful night. She didn’t have enough understanding of magic to do that, she said so herself.”
“I don’t blame you Nina,” Edith said gently, “You couldn’t have changed John’s mind to save you. He loved you far too much to change his mind and he did the right thing as far as I’m concerned.” Edith sniffled and wiped a tear away. She gripped Nina’s hands tighter in solidarity and to give herself strength.
“John’s death was part of the curse. If he fell in love and with love sacrificed himself for you, the woman he loved, the curse would break. John doesn’t have to live wondering what terrible event will happen around him next. It hurt John immeasurably, living with a curse which was a danger to his family and to you Nina.” Edith’s voice trembled but she put her hand up and brushed Nina’s wayward blond hair off her cheek in a motherly manner.
Nina wasn’t prepared to accept John’s fate yet.”Curses which are broken have happy endings, Edith,” Nina exclaimed for the hundredth time. “John sacrificing himself out of love was supposed to mean he got to live a normal life with me. It shouldn’t and doesn’t mean he died. I’m certain somewhere out there, John’s alive Edith. He wants to come home to us. I can feel it in here,” Nina said her fist against her heart. Edith sighed sorrowfully.
“Maybe, John’s out there somewhere. But we’ve no way to find him. We don’t know where he could be. We’ve searched his regular hangouts, John’s vacation spots, and his brothers know where he went when he needed to be alone.There’s nowhere left to search for him, we don’t even know where to begin looking.”
“I believe he’s gone Nina.” Edith affirmed.” It isn’t logical that he survived sacrificing himself, as Jordan and you explained to us after that night. John’s in heaven; he is home.” Edith said with finality.
“It isn’t easy for any of us, for me to have to say this, but we’re going to have a funeral on Saturday. We need to have peace and let John have peace. John is with God now Nina.” Edith murmured reassuringly.
Edith only frustrated Nina. “For your family’s sake, of course I’ll attend Edith. I’ll sit through John’s funeral. But I’m not saying goodbye. The curse is a special magic and I’m confident it will bring John home to us again. I will wait for him for as long as it takes.” Nina vowed. Edith shook her head at Nina’s stubborn belief.
“I want to be wrong Nina. I really do,” tears slipped out of Edith’s sapphire eyes. They were John’s eyes.”You can wait as long as you like but one day you’re going to have to let go and move on with your life.”
“You need to find yourself a good man one day, John wouldn’t have wanted you to remain alone. He willed you his house, paid for in full. It’s your home now, dear girl.” Edith said smiling. Nina wondered when John had time to rewrite his will to include Nina in it.
“You don’t want his house?” Nina questioned Edith, ” Or the money from it?” Edith shook her head. “Too many memories here Nina, too many good and bad memories. We have enough money in retirement savings and from our boys. John knew you loved it here on the beach of the Sirene Lake. If anyone were to find John, it would be you Nina. You never gave up on him ever. Not even now.” Edith said crying.
Nina hugged Edith hard. They remained embraced for a few minutes before they both arose and Nina walked Edith to the front door. Nina would see Edith at the funeral on Saturday.
Edith turned before walking out onto the front porch,” You’re always welcome at our house Nina. Please don’t be a stranger. You’re the closest thing to a daughter I have, both you and Rianne.” Nina felt a tear trail down her cheek.
“Okay Edith. I will visit whenever I’m can,” Nina affirmed and Edith smiled gratefully and walked to her car parked in the front driveway.
Not long after Edith left, Rianne stopped by John’s (now Nina’s) house, with groceries. Nina hadn’t been eating much again and Rianne knew Nina’s habits when depressed and consumed by thoughts of John.
“I bought enough food to stock your fridge for the week. After that, I’m assuming you’re going back to work at Wilus. We’ll be having our normal lunch dates when you go back to work too?” Rianne hinted to Nina.
Nina smiled, a shadow of her former smile. “Of course Rianne. We’ll go to The Chilly Burrito first day I’m back from my leave of absence.” Nina promised.
Changing the topic Nina said: “You know, in four months, you’ve never told me what happened to you that night Talise kidnapped me. All I heard was someone knocked you out and stole your ugly lime purse.” Rianne wrinkled her nose at Nina.
“I loved my lime Kate Spade purse. Jasper bought me a brand new Kate Spade purse though.” Rianne smiled lifting her arm to show Nina her candy apple red tote.
“I like it but it’s not my lime one. Your iPhone was in my purse when it was stolen as you recall. I assume you replaced it with a new Iphone since we’ve been talking on the phone a lot?” Rianne told Nina.
“Yeah, next model up. My contract was almost over so I didn’t end up paying out too much for a new phone . . . So, what happened when you got knocked out? Who saved you from getting hurt or left for dead by the Chinese food place?” Nina said, starring Rianne down. Rianne sighed and settled on the couch opposite of Nina’s.
“There was this homeless man. He poured water on me from his water bottle and the water woke me up. I had this dream Nina. I didn’t want to tell you about it . . . Well, because, it almost happened. I dreamed you were at the beach in the shallow water but you wouldn’t come out of the water and play in the sand with Sam and Eric. I knew you had a fish tail, I don’t know how. . .”
Nina gasped. “Your dream was like a couple of nightmares John had. He mentioned them the night we were all at Edith and Robert’s for supper, I think. One nightmare, he dreamed Talise was carrying him out to see to kill him and I kept following. I couldn’t swim, so I was going to drown myself.” Nina explained.
“He dreamed Talise was going to stab me through the heart too. Either his heart or mine, she said in the dream. I’m glad your dream didn’t come true Rainne.”
“What did the homeless man say to you? It seems coincidental to me that he was there at the right time. And that someone knocked you out when I was being kidnapped by Talise.” Nina said thoughtfully.
“Well,” Rianne said. “My bag getting stolen and me getting knocked out wasn’t coincidental. Jasper and I were able to get ahold of footage from security cameras in the Chinese Food place. I guess Chau, the owner, has had a few robberies of her own occur.”
“Jasper went with me and we asked if we could look at his security tapes from around 10:00 pm to 2:00 am that night you were kidnapped. I wasn’t knocked out by some random thief or homeless man. It was Malcolm.” Nina gasped and Rianne continued talking.
“Malcolm didn’t even bother hiding his face. He bashed my head against the back wall of the Chinese food building and grabbed my purse. He pulled out your phone and he looked as if he were going to throw my purse back but read the label on the bag and decided to keep it. Some lady in Georgia now owns by lime Katespade.” Rianne recalled.
“Oh my . . . Malcolm knocked you out? The same Malcolm who almost ran me down in his red pickup truck?” Nina asked and Rianne nodded.
“We found the red pickup truck. Malcolm sold it to a car dealer in Adare and bought a new truck. I’m positive Malcolm was bewitched Nina. Jasper pulled him aside one day at the end of work and questioned Malcolm about Talise. Malcolm became nervous because Talise disappeared four-months ago and he of course, hasn’t heard from her.” Rianne said elaborating.
“It turns out, around the time before the fundraiser at Mergers, Malcolm met Talise at a bar and brought her home with him. They got along well and she was staying with him.” Rianne explained.
“Malcolm remembers going to the fundraiser with Talise. His last memory of her was her freaking out at his place and somehow causing objects to fly in the air and crash. This was after, Talise returned from the Farmer’s Market — our special place Nina, I might add.” Rianne emphasized.
“What then?” Nina asked Rianne. “Did Talise bewitch Malcolm? Does he know what he did when he was bewitched? I remember my actions, so he must?” Nina said. Rianne shook her head.
“Malcolm told Jasper he has no memory after Talise going crazy until the morning Jasper and I brought you and Jordan back on John’s sailboat. Malcolm admitted to Jasper it was if he suddenly woke up from a deep sleep with no memory outside of what he was doing at work.” Rianne said.
“Malcolm said he wasn’t able to find his beloved red truck when he woke up, which is how we knew it was him who tried to run you down at the Eric’s house. Malcolm didn’t recall buying a white truck.”
“Doesn’t make sense,” Nina murmured to herself. “He has to have some memory of Talise before the night she died and after the Farmer’s Market?”
“Malcolm doesn’t have a clue. John showed him my picture and he had no idea who I was. He didn’t know he sold my bag on eBay either. He was alarmed by all the things Jasper said he did.” Rianne admitted.
“Jasper made up some story about Talise being in some sort of drug ring and keeping Malcolm drugged up when he wasn’t at work. I don’t think Malcolm believes Jasper but he is willing to take the ‘out’ Jasper provided him with.” Rianne said.
“There’s one thing I’m still wondering about,” Nina began. “The homeless guy being there. You said you could see him on the footage from the Chinese place?”
“Yeah, he arrived around 1:00 am and noticed me lying in the street. He took a closer look at me and swore. I guess he saw the goose egg on my head. Then he poured water on me and I woke up as I’ve said.” Rianne repeated.
“And this next part you told me.” Nina recalled.” The homeless man helped you up, told you you’d been mugged, and all he wanted was our stale Chinese food. He wouldn’t take the watch your Mom gave you and I’m glad he didn’t. But I wish we could find this man and thank him.” Nina elaborated.
“We could give him some money and maybe, Jasper could get him some kind of job at Mergers? I don’t know what, but you never know I’m sure this homeless man is smart and educated in something?” Nina mused. Rianne stretched out on John’s grey couch and sighed.
“I’m tired,” she stated bluntly.
“Sleep if you want, there’s a couple of guest bedrooms so take your pick.” Nina offered Rianne.
“Yeah, in a moment . . .We searched for this homeless guy. Jasper couldn’t find him. But that’s no surprise homeless people often move around. We hoped he could tell us something more about him finding me that night but this man hasn’t been to any local shelters or places that serve meals for the homeless. I’m so thankful he woke me up Nina.” Rianne said emotionally.
“I was scared when I walked into your condo and you weren’t there. I knew you wouldn’t go to your Mom’s out of the blue like the note indicated. And you hate Heather’s late night guests.” Nina giggled but she felt Rianne’s worry.
“I called Jasper and Jordan to come over right away that night. The guys agreed, even though it was dark, we needed to take the sail boat out and find you. Jasper thought John would be in the harbour area as well. He talked to John on his phone before John’s phone cut out. ..” Rianne said haltingly.
Nina sat at Rianne’s feet and comforted her. “John found me. Talise’s magic wasn’t strong enough to search the whole Sirene for me once I broke her bewitchment spell. I’m not sure how I broke it but you know the rest of the story . . .” Nina whispered.
“I’m suddenly tired as well. It is 10:45 pm . . .”
“Let’s sleep Nina. There are other Saturday nights to do stuff. I hear this is your place anyhow now?”
“John and Nina’s place,” Nina stated, “Not only Nina’s house. I sleep in our bed.”
“Are you sure you want to sleep there among all John’s things? It’s been four-months now. Do you actually believe John’s not dead?” Rianne said. She sounded worried.
Nina rubbed her eyes feeling extremely lethargic and frustrated.”There’s this quote in Alice and Wonderland,” Nina asserted, “it says: people want magical solutions for their problems yet people don’t believe in magic.”
“I believe in magic. I experienced it with John and Talise.” Nina argued.” I have to believe, if there’s a dark side to magic there’s also a good side. And if there’s a good side, then there has to be a happy ending to John’s curse.” Nina trembled as she spoke.
“This isn’t the end for John or for our relationship. I believe in magic and I believe in God. I have to believe God wouldn’t take John from me, after all we went through. I have to believe there’s a magic that is restorative, which makes right the darkness it causes.”
Rianne gazed at Nina assessing her. “I hope your right Nina. If you believe in magic, I believe it too. I hate that we have to attend John’s funeral Saturday. So, I hope you’re right. Sam and Eric miss their Uncle John and we haven’t told them anything yet . . .”
Nina winced. “Poor little guys. I just . . .right now I need sleep. We both do. And then I need to figure some things out. Find more information on curses or something. I can’t explain knowing something in my heart. I just know; John’s alive.”
Rianne nodded and yawned. She chose the first guest room she came to and Nina ambled to John’s bedroom. She grabbed a shirt he’d worn before he left for Talise’s cave.
Nina slept on John’s side of the bed wearing his t-shirt. She prayed to God to bring John back to her, before sleep took her under in wings of darkness, and dreams of sapphire blue eyes invaded her sleep.
Please Read Chapter 27 here.
©Mandibelle16.(2016) All Rights Reserved.