Read Redefined Online

Authors: Jamie Magee

Redefined (page 4)

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I gave Draven a glare like no other. Under his breath he said, “She didn’t say not to ask others.”

I knew then he was prodding, trying to figure out how I had a past here, but apparently my parents were from some other distant world.

“Son,” August said, glancing at Landen, who was at the center of the table, “please take my grandson’s lead and never take anything we say or assume to be fact. We are merely rambling through ancient text and a sky that has now been altered by time, trying simply...to save each other...and the world we live in.”

Draven clenched his jaw, clearly not liking the fact that his question was avoided.

“I’ve seen how Landen has fought against you, and I respect him for that, trust me. But what you don’t get is that our battlefield is in a realm that is created with our thoughts, emotions. Right now, none of us have any idea if what my brother and Charlie witnessed in that realm today was a clue to how we landed in this twisted fate or if it was nothing more than The Realm taking fears and insinuations and bringing them to life. I have to know what I’m really up against here.”

Obviously, Landen and Drake both heard the clipped tone Draven spoke with because they glanced in our direction at the same time. Madison noticed the fear in my emotion, the instant desire for an escape. She pushed back from her seat then gracefully took Nyla’s seat across from me. Landen and Drake kept their seats and listened to the quiet conversations that were going on around them, but I felt them focusing their senses - whatever they may be - in our direction. I assumed Willow would have noticed the tension with her sense of emotions, but apparently she was doing everything in her power not to feel anything. The balance in the weather around us was telling me that.

“It was The Realm,” Aden said under his breath, trying to subdue Draven’s fears.

August cleared his throat. “I would have to agree. No doubt, each of you have old souls that very well may have crossed in the past, and those memories may twist. Dreams are symbolic. You have to find a way to unwind those symbols to understand the dream clearly. But even when you do, you will find that recent fears or life-changing experiences may have led you to see untruths. We toyed with your thoughts before battle and we should not have.”

“The Realm is a lucid dream, though,” Draven countered.

“Still a dream.” August glanced at Aden’s classic pensive stare. “I would advise differently if all members of the illusion saw and felt what you are questioning me about, but with one glance at any of your auras I know that whatever it was is indeed a play on internal trepidation.” He cleared his throat as he sat forward. “Charlie, were you shocked by what you saw?”

I shrugged. “It’s not now, so it doesn’t really matter, does it?”

August nodded as he glanced at Aden. “It concerned you. Still does.”

“I always worry about my brother. Hurting him would be hurting me.”

August raised his brow. “Whatever you saw was meant to hurt you, Aden, not Charlie or Draven.” He glanced at Madison. “Or you.” His hands folded before him. “On your course, each of you will be forced to overcome emotions that are deadly in some way. Concern, or rather worry, seems to be interlaced with your aura, Aden. It’s not a weakness. You’re a plotter; you plan your way around problems that are not tangible yet. When you feel yourself fill with that emotion, know that either you are being tested by your soul so you can rise and teach others how to overcome that emotion or that your enemy is using that emotion to push you away because you are getting closer to its defeat.”

His attention returned to Draven. “You aura is full of electric energy. Not only do you find yourself being surprised by life often, but you also often surprise life. Charlie shares this with you. Where you carry anger, she carries a degree of balance. Trust her, if she feels that what happened in that realm was not shocking, earth-shattering, or even believable, then it wasn’t. Someone was targeting Aden.”

“In order to target Draven,” Aden bit out, a bit too loudly.

At that moment, Drake politely nodded to those around him before standing from his place at the table and taking a piece of cake to Preston, who was a few feet from our end of the table. Drake then leaned against the post of the porch by his baby brother, keeping his dark, mesmerizing eyes focused on Draven, as if he were ready at any moment to protect and defend Draven, an act that brought me both comfort and anxiety.

I didn’t like these instant bonds that were forming with these people who were strangers before this day began. The four of us, Draven, Aden, Madison, and I, had been on our own in this for so long that it was hard to let anyone else in, trust them. Grayson had been around us for weeks and had barely broken through that barrier. I noticed that he kept his distance in this conversation, staring in the direction of Monroe, expanding his eyes to darkness every other moment as if he were reassuring himself that Monroe had not revealed another thought.

“Move forward. Do not let anyone toy with your thoughts. It is very clear to everyone here where all of your hearts are aimed,” August said sincerely.

I watched as Madison cast her eyes absently to her side, not daring to rise to meet Drake’s but exactly where they needed to be if she wanted to sense a reaction in him.

“Let me assure you,” August said as he glanced between Draven and Aden, “there is no light or energy connecting Charlie to anyone but Draven.” He noticed Draven’s stare and returned it. “Isn’t that right, Drake?” August said in an elevated voice, inviting Drake into this dangerous conversation, clearly noticing that out of all of our newfound friends, Draven trusted Drake the most.

Draven locked eyes with Drake. “He’s right,” Drake said, as if he only wanted Draven to hear it.

“I want to learn to see this light thing. Teach me?” Draven said to Drake, who nodded once in response.

“Do you really have to see it to believe it?” I asked with a quiver in my voice, not able to handle his self-doubt on top of everything else.

The tension around Draven fell instantly as he caught my stare, then reached to pull me to him. In my ear he whispered, “No, no, no,” repeating it softly. “I think it will help us see better. I think the colors have emotions so we would be able to see people like Bianca more clearly.”

I moved my cheek against his so my lips could reach his ear. “Tell your brother you trust him - love him.”

August was right before: I don’t know how he picked that up about Aden, but Aden was the planner - the one that saw every curve in the road. He always seemed calm because by the time we reached that curve, he had figured out a way around it. He was tripping over what he saw in The Realm, thinking that he and Draven would have another fight over me. But years had passed since that first one, and Draven and I had been through too much to let something trivial stop us - at least not for long.

His arms tightened around me as I lowered my head to his shoulder.

I heard Nyla say, “What am I going to do with all of you?” I glanced up to see her standing behind August with her hands on his shoulders. “Every time I walk away, the energy around all of you dims. Music, that’s what we need. At least if you’re playing, August will not be able to bore you with his love of philosophy.”

“My fault completely,” Draven said as I rose from his embrace.

Nyla smiled at him, but he didn't notice, he was staring at Aden, begging for forgiveness without a word. Aden nodded in the direction of the yard, asking Draven to leave the table with him.

“We are going to get some equipment. Playing sounds awesome,” Draven said as he cleverly made an excuse for himself and Aden to leave the table.

I decided to help clear away the plates. Almost everyone had gotten up, and I was afraid that I was about to be pulled into another uncomfortable conversation. Before Madison could follow me, Beth, Drake’s mother, and Stella, Marc’s soul mate, took the empty seats by her and began a simple conversation about random things that I knew Madison could care less to speak about. She knew just like I did that they were probing her, trying to make her feel comfortable around all of them, thinking that she was the answer to so many lost questions.

I decided that I would take in the dishes I had in my hand, then find an excuse to pull her away from them. I promised her as much with a glance as I passed her to go into the house.

I was quickly scolded for cleaning by Rose - I think she was Willow’s grandmother - and a girl who I thought was Felicity, Brady’s soul mate, for helping. They took my dishes then encouraged me to go outside with everyone else.

As I walked toward the entry hall, I caught a glimpse of light in the den that was off to the left. It was a crystal willow tree on the mantel. The setting sun shining on the crystal had caused the room to be illuminated. I stepped curiously into the den. The swimming reflections on the wall were dominated by the colors of red and blue. Instantly, images of what I’d seen in Monroe’s thoughts at dinner rushed through my mind; the emotions of what I saw, how ominous it was. I’d learned the hard way that her messages were never crystal clear, but they held more truth than first glance would allow you to believe.

When I couldn’t stand thinking about it anymore, I pulled myself out of my thoughts and turned to go to the porch - but standing in the threshold of the den was Landen. Holding my gaze, he stepped forward, pulling the double doors closed behind him. Then, slowly, he stepped closer to me, allowing his blue eyes - which seemed as deep as the ocean - to cascade over my mesmerized expression.

In my mind, I kept seeing the powerful energy wave over him, that Phoenix flying into his soul. His energy was so dominant now that I could not help staring at him. I knew that something or someone very powerful had saved him just hours ago, that he had a purpose beyond the borders of my imagination.

My mind was making every point not to let me forget that my parents were gone and had lived a secret life while they were here. I remembered seeing Landen and Willow’s image within that circle of meditation. Distance from that shocking revelation allowed me to believe that I should be right here, that searching for Landen for so long was a worthwhile quest.

When he reached my side he gently touched my arm, and with his touch I felt a calm ease through me. It was clear to me that he shared Willow’s gift of emotion, which right now he was using to calm me down for some reason. I had no doubt I was proving to be difficult to subdue. Anxiety was the air I breathed, at least lately.

He tried to smile, but something would not allow him to. “Charlie,” he said quietly. “Am I right in thinking that you have a hard time lying? If I asked you a question…would I hear the truth in your voice?”

Fantastic. Madison lies to him, and now I’m in the hot seat. Oh well. Sure, why not? I’ll let him know that he is currently sharing his essence with not only Drake, but also a freaking Phoenix. I’d put my own personal trepidations on the backburner for now. Maybe when I dared to approach them again, I would find a way to understand them.

At that moment, the only thing I could hear was the pounding of my racing heart. Adrenaline was taking over the anxiety. That was good...right?

 

 

 

Chapter Three

 

 

Landen must have given up on making me calm or thought I was calm enough because he let his hand fall from my arm. He tilted his head and smiled slightly, revealing his dimples, which made him look less fierce, more approachable.

“Why is talking to me making you uncomfortable?” he uttered so silently that I barely heard him.

“I’m shy,” I answered, careful to take any hint of a lie out of my words.

He nodded once in response. “Charlie...what happened to me? What did that realm do to my family? My soul?”

“Look, I’m not a doctor. I heal the damned, that’s all. I really don’t know.”

“Tell me,” he said as he lowered his head down so I could see into him.

I let out a jagged breath. “Listen, I’m not the best at seeing. Draven is. Actually, anyone beyond me would be able to see, to tell you what you went through.”

“I’m asking you to tell me what you saw, not what you can see within me.”

I swallowed nervously. “You are fiercely protected.”

He grimaced. “I was told how my absence troubled Willow. It’s not her fault. She had unlocked new powers just before I was taken, and she hadn’t been given the chance to learn to control them.” He glanced away, trying to hide the regret in his eyes. “I should have stayed in Chara that morning, helped her through that breakthrough - but she showed me your image, Madison’s, and all I could think about was that I had taken a wrong turn, that I should have come for all of you the instant I was told you were seeking me.”

“She’ll get it. She seems to have control now.”

“I know she will, that in some forgotten past she has faced this and overcome it.” He sighed. “What I need to know right now is how to overcome or accept what happened to me. Every fiber in my being is screaming at me to ask you, not the others. You had to have seen something.”

I felt an instant empathy for him. I knew how it felt not to know what had happened to you, how insane that could make you, and I knew he needed to be as sane as possible if he was going to be the answer this family assumed he was.

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