Read Redefined Online

Authors: Jamie Magee

Redefined (page 2)

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Draven was tense, hard as a rock, only breathing through a locked jaw - which sounded more like a fierce growl.

“Don’t let me go,” I pleaded weakly, thinking that my life was being erased before my eyes.

From pure exhaustion, my eyes fell closed and my neck went limp. I felt Draven turn me in his lap as he wrapped his legs and arms around me as tightly as he could.

My head fell back against his shoulder.

“Right here, Charlie...right here.”

His lips kissed my neck. I felt him holding back, putting a wall up, doing his best to hold on to me and not cross a dangerous line. His embrace was so strong that it was trembling.

His lips moved up my neck, leaving a warm, humming sensation as a trail. Just under my ear, he whispered, “I’ve got you.”

My mind jerked me back again. My house in Salem was there again. My mother had a few less lines around her eyes. So did Nana and Madison’s parents. They were sitting in a circle in the den of my house with Evan, with the ghost of Draven’s mom and my father. Candles were glowing in the room as they all closed their eyes and a sphere of energy formed between them. In that energy, they were watching the lives of people I didn’t know - at least not all of them. Landen and Willow’s images were there, along with others and ours. Others that I was sure I knew but had not met would often flash into view. It was like they were watching the universe move warriors into place.

They aged in that circle, telling me this was done more than once. I even saw Kara and her husband sitting with them at some point. I heard the discussions on whether or not the path they had chosen was correct. They all adamantly agreed that not only should we remain in the dark, but that they had to play their role in not pushing thoughts into our minds, that we had to find our own way.

I saw my mother sealing the house. I saw her leave an envelope on the kitchen table with my name on it. A key was lying across it, and in an instant I could see what it went to: a safe in the floor of our basement.

I saw my father appear, put his hand in hers, and a light surround them. The vision didn’t stop. I saw them running through darkness. I could feel the dead all around them. They charged through a dark, mystic forest, and right before they reached what could only be a waterfall, I heard a boy scream, “Charlie!”

Both of my parents stopped and looked back at this boy, who looked so much like my father. My mother hugged him tighter than she had ever hugged me. My father squeezed his shoulder, then all at once that waterfall, the light around it, reached out and absorbed my parents.

I screamed through gritted teeth, feeling that fading wave wash over me. I didn’t feel the closing of one chapter of my life. I felt the beginning of a new book...my life had been redefined.

Before I could grieve or find anger for this supernatural light that had taken my parents, that home - the one that looked like it belonged in Chara but surely didn’t - came into view. My mind was trying to tell me that they were home, that they had honored my plea and set me free to live in the one place they would not have let their worst enemy reside in.

My chest was rising and falling deeply, but the rapid speed was faltering. Draven had leaned my head back and was staring into me, watching my hell. Hopefully, he understood it far better than I did. I was exhausted and confused.

I was so close to sleep and it scared me. I feared falling asleep and waking up in a new world, a world where I could not go home to my mom and sister, where I could not hear my father’s music guiding me.

Draven’s legs and arms loosened from around me. I reached to clutch his legs in a firm protest that he couldn’t let me go, that he was my anchor - the one and only anchor to my sanity.

“Shh,” he whispered in that hypnotic voice of his. “I’m going to get that key.”

“No,” I moaned as I tried to focus so I could do it myself, so I could see it all myself.

He adjusted one of my hands around his wrist and the other one against my stomach. “Play me a song.”

“No guitar,” I muttered.

“Pretend. Play in your mind,” he said just before he kissed my temple.

I didn’t move.

“Play,” he said, moving his wrist.

I started to move my fingers against his skin to a song my father had taught me to play.

“Beautiful. That sounds beautiful. Keep playing for me, Charlie,” he said as his hands slowly moved across my thighs. When he grew still, I knew he was seeing, that he had left to chase the visions that had assaulted my mind.

Safely in his embrace, my heart began to beat slower. The shock was wearing off. Fear was trying to settle, but I didn’t have time to be afraid. I kept trying to hold on to memories.

I could see it all both ways, I really could. I could see the life of seclusion that was lived by my family, and I could see a life that was lived center stage for the world to see. My parents as the famed musician and the powerful executive.

Something was telling me that the memory of my parents had been erased from the world I grew up in; that was my gut feeling. Nothing was robbing my memories again. They were showing me that they had gone…home.

Kara. I kept trying to see Kara in my mind. I heard conversations that I wasn’t around to hear in the recent past: Kara and Mom preparing to part for a short time, the two of them planning on making it seem sudden, rushed even, like they had no choice, no time.

Why? Why would they do that to me? Why would they not let me say goodbye the right way? I should be furious. If I was, then at least that anger would help me find a way to change this - but I was numb, numb with shock. I had to figure out how true this was, how real this was. If I knew where Kara was, I would move to her right now, but conveniently she was traveling to some unknown place with her husband.

Just as my breath came back to a slow rise and fall as I finished playing that phantom song against Draven’s skin, I felt him move. His arms went around my waist, pulling me against his firm body as he leaned his head toward my neck and slowly kissed the soft skin there before whispering, “I’ve got you.”

I held his arms against me, squinting my eyes closed, seeing flashes of that mental break in my mind.

“This dimension is making me lose my mind. We have to get out of here.”

He sat something down next to us then raised his hands to my heart. “This is home. Right here inside you is home.”

I felt a sharp pain in my chest as he said that. As if he could sense it, he pressed harder against my skin as his legs drew upward, surrounding me with his body.

“None of that can be real. It’s Bianca. She is messing with my head again.”

“It was real.”

I swallowed the tears that were encasing my throat. “You just saw Nana. Within this hour, you saw her talking to the police at my house. This is not real.”

“I went there. The brick wall around your home is in place, and everything is covered - the house was sealed. I took the note and got what she left in the safe, then moved to my house. It’s late there. Nana was asleep, sound asleep. I went to wake her and ask her what the hell was going on, then Mom appeared.”

Hearing the crack in his voice, I leaned back to look into his eyes.

“I heard her voice in my mind. She told me not to ask questions that they could not answer, that they had fought hard to untwist our past and lead us to today. She said we had to see our way to the end, that we would know and understand our path when we needed to, that they could not and would not explain what they knew, for their words had been sealed.”

“Sealed by who?”

“Creator. I don’t know what that means, but I heard that and I saw an astounding respect in her eyes.”

“This isn’t real. None of this is real.”

“You’re in shock. It’s okay; it’s just shock. We have been through a lot in the last seventy-two hours.”

“A lot? My entire life was just erased,” I bit out.

“Not for you, not for us - but for those that would search for us.”

“My family does not have the power to cover up something like this, to create something like this. Neither does yours. It’s not real...it’s just not.”

His eyes filled with an unstated wonder as I saw him reflecting the images of that eccentric home that my mind had opened up for me.

“I don’t know what heaven you fell from, but I’m glad that you are in the hell of my arms right now. I’m going to keep you safe, Charlie.”

“This is heaven,” I said as I reached my hand for his face. My skin was cool against the heat of his.

He furrowed his brow in disbelief as he slowly moved closer to my lips. Very carefully, he let his frame mine. I felt my soul reach for his, my essence. He must have felt it, too, because a cool sweat came to his skin as he pulled away and hissed through his teeth, “They have amped you up for sure.”

“What does that mean?” I asked as I tried to turn in his arms, but he held me forward, my arms in place. It was obvious that he knew I wanted to touch him that I wanted to feel his skin against mine. I needed an escape. I needed to feel my heaven.

“You’re glowing.”

“And you are in control.”

“Let’s keep it that way,” he said as he pulled in a deep breath.

He reached for whatever he had set beside us in a vain attempt to distract me from his failing composure. I didn’t look away until I felt the weight of it in my lap. When I glanced down, I noticed the smell of cedar for the first time and saw a wooden block in my lap. I thought it was a box at first, but there was no way to open it. On the outside, there were carvings and four rings, and divided by a line were surrounding spears. Triangles were behind and around this image, and words were written across the side of it, words I could not read: ‘multa ceciderunt ut altius surgeren.’

“That was the only thing in the safe. I checked for hidden doors, asked Mom if there was anything else. She said this would make us invincible.”

“A wooden block?”

He shrugged as he let his head fall back on the bed, squinted his eyes closed, and breathed in deeply.

I leaned away, wanting to give him space, but his arms clutched me against him. I reached beside him for the letter with my name on it. When I opened it, there were seven very thin sheets of paper in it, so thin that you could see right through them.

“She said the story is unwritten, that when we move forward words will come,” Draven muttered as he stared at me from beneath hooded eyes. He was exhausted, too.

“Seven pages...must mean it’s a short story.” I guess humor was my only defense right now.

He smirked. “After what we just saw our parents do across our childhood, I have a feeling that is no ordinary paper.”

The paper was short, barely as long as my hand, and it had an odd texture to it that I could not place.

“Seeing your dad and my mom sitting in some kind of meditation was the one thing that was telling me that this was not real.”

I heard a laugh deep within his chest as he rushed his hand across my skin. “Agreed. But then again, they have been married to ghosts for some time now.”

“I don’t get the charade. I mean, for the world, sure - but for us? That issowrong.”

“We’ll figure it out,” he said, moving his hand more slowly against my skin now. He trusted himself, which made me feel safe.

A knock at the door made us both jump, but we caught our breath when we heard Madison and Aden bickering on the other side of the door.

“Come in,” Draven said with a husky voice, not bothering to move the way either of us were positioned.

Madison charged through the door. “Where’s that ring?” she bit out harshly before she figured out that we were entangled on the floor, looking like we had just been to hell and back.

“Why?” I asked weakly as she fell to her knees in front of us.

She shook her head no once, telling me it didn’t matter. It didn’t take any effort for me to ‘see’ her. She had just watched Drake arrive for dinner and was having a wicked panic attack - but like always, she shelved her problems and was now trying to figure out what was wrong with us.

Draven’s grip tightened on me as he sat up a little straighter. I guess I wasn’t the only one terrified that I might vanish or be recreated the way my parents had managed to do.

Aden had followed Madison’s lead, only he was not as obsessive as Madison. He saw what he needed in my mind, then reached for the box - the pensive expression that he was known for absorbed me.

“Did you hear what she said?” Draven asked him in a raspy voice.

Aden nodded weakly. “I’ve seen this.”

“Where?” Draven asked quickly.

“Not the box. The symbol. I saw it in The Realm when that girl told me to shield my energy. I tried to think of armor, but this came to mind instead.

“What now?” Madison asked as her eyes returned to emerald and she reached for my arm to offer me some comfort.

“Rest,” Draven said. “We have to rest - and after we rest, we finish what we started: we set the damned free, end the hell of The Realm, and take down anyone who gets in our way.”

“You can add ‘joining forces with those that have the same vision’ to that list,” I heard someone say from the doorway.

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