Friday, December 22, 2017

Book of the Week: LONDON HOLIDAY


"Right, and yet not entirely." Angela took hold of my hand. "My dear Athena... How I wish you weren't so perceptive, that you hadn't inherited your grandfather's gifts and the responsibilities that come with them. And yet I know, from long years of experience, we are born to duties and burdens, and we destroy our souls if we refuse them." She took a deep breath, exhaled slowly, all the while gazing into my eyes. "First, I sent them away because there are things I don't want Bethany to hear. I'm afraid Doni will have to hear what I tell you someday. When she starts having dreams of her own.

"And that is the second thing. You are right. You are an appointed guardian of Neighborlee, and so shall Doni be, when she is older."

"Why don't you want Bethany to know?"

"Her bloodline has done enough already for Neighborlee. Her mother was another foundling, just like your grandfather, like Lanie Zephyr and her friends, like several others in our town."

"Her mom?" I shivered, the cold coming from deep inside, as I remembered when Bethany's mother died. We were only nine. Sometimes being young helped to make the heavy sadness fade, but other times it just made the impact worse, and last longer.

Then I knew. I understood. Fragments of those sad, confusing days bobbed up to the surface of my memories. They connected like they were magnets, drawing to each other, forming pictures without any effort on my part.

"Mrs. Miller... She didn't die of a heart attack, did she?" I whispered.

Angela gripped my hand tighter and shook her head.

Six years ago, there were strange buzzing sensations in the ground and an electrical storm that lasted nearly two whole days. Other people didn't seem to notice the electrical tingles in the air, in the soil, but Granddad sympathized with me and let me stay home from school, curled up on the couch with him, where we both kept our feet off the ground. Mrs. Miller had left the diner on an errand during a lull between lunch and dinner, and didn't come back. A freak storm had struck, sending people diving for cover, driving rain horizontally. When it cleared up, she was found collapsed in an alley between two stores on the Mall, drenched and white like all the blood had been drained out of her, cold and dead.

Part of me wanted to yank my hand free of Angela's and run away. If I tried, she probably wouldn't hold onto me, keep me there. Not with her hand, anyway.

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