My mind was pleasantly overloaded with an overwhelming amount of intriguing information that I felt as if I was intellectually lost within an intricate symphony. Just like the opening sonata, my questions formed, shifted, and then faded only to be immediately replaced by a more complicated movement. I was lost in the wondrous implications that hummed in my imagination, but was unable to be sustained within relative reality, so remained purely fantasy. Perhaps the diaries that Mr. Stokes had mentioned earlier that afternoon would provide me with the necessary data required to resolve this personal dilemma. He had assured me that after my parents had returned from their trip, he would bring me to meet the woman who was currently in possession of the diaries and that I would be able to read the documented accounts pertaining to Abigail Williams, my ancestor, myself. The prospect of such an experience excited me to such a point that I could barely contain my enthusiasm. I barely was able to focus the rest of the afternoon as we finished our weekly lessons. If I had been able, I would have found a way to see the diaries that very evening and it frustrated me that I was behooved to someone else’s will, and that because of him, I was required to wait.
Following our usual routine I watched my tutor pack his textbook and iPad into his leather messenger bag as he explained my weekend homework assignment. I acknowledged him with a nod, promising that I would have the assignment done, as I casually walked around the table to join him on the opposite side before escorting him to the front door. We had only taken a few steps into the foyer when I became aware of my Aunt Rachel’s presence; she was standing silently in the middle of the foyer, her overnight bags laid abandoned by front door, which stood agape. She stood facing us, but looked beyond us; her eyes focused on something unseen by Mr. Stokes and me. Her jaw hung opened, as if she had just been surprised by what she had observed, but the rest of her facial expression did not confirm the same conclusion, instead it suggested that she was curious by what she saw. Though the air was usually still in the house, her long floral skirt danced around her ankles while the sleeves of her bohemian style blouse fluttered around her wrists and her wavy, chestnut colored hair moved around her head and shoulders as if she were floating in a pool of water though she stood firmly on the tiles of the foyer.
I had difficultly comprehending the image my eyes were conveying to my brain; the scene was surreal. I glanced over to Mr. Stokes who was standing beside me, hoping for some practical explanation as he was usually realistic and logical about weird or unusual things, but he, too, was seemingly mesmerized by the strange scene before us. Though, I must admit that his expression was confusing to me; he seemed to be troubled and irate. What was making him angry? If I had been more prepared, more focused on the moment and less preoccupied by the idea of reading the diaries, I would have seen the portent for what it was, but in my distracted state I was oblivious and would later experience the consequences of my temporary ignorance. My curiosity was peaked even further as I watched a trickle of blood flow from my aunt’s right nostril onto the pristine foyer floor. I took few tentative steps toward her not knowing what else to do, but feeling as if something should be done.
“Aunt Rachel?” I called as I reached out my hands, intending to grasp hers, which hung limply by her sides. This was seriously freaky. This whole situation felt like something out of a horror movie.
Mr. Stokes roughly grabbed my left arm, causing me to stumble backward. “Angie, don’t!”
“Are you kidding me?” I asked, scowling at him then glancing back to the only woman in my family who actually acknowledged and valued me as an individual with unique ideas and thoughts. “I have to do something. She’s my aunt. I can’t just stand here staring at her.”
“You have no idea what you are getting involved with here. That, right there,” he said, pointing to my aunt with his free hand, while glaring at me, clearly hoping to convey how serious the situation was with not only his words but his facial expression, “is a power vastly beyond you, beyond anything you might have inadvertently experienced.” He paused before he continued. “It isn’t simple telepathy, Angie. It’s beyond those immature abilities. Don’t fuck with it. Leave it alone. Let this play out as it should.”
“What?!” I snapped. I felt as if my brain was going to explode. What was Mr. Stokes saying? Power beyond me, beyond what I might have inadvertently experienced? Really? If he only knew what I was capable of, what I had already done in my relatively short lifetime. And how did he know what was happening here with Aunt Rachel? Obviously there was more to him than he was offering. Did he possess something as unique as I did, is that how he was able to know what I was thinking just hours ago? Was he implying that it had been telepathy that we had experienced? I would have to question him about these things at a more opportune time, now wasn’t that time. Now I had to do something about Aunt Rachel. I yanked my arm away from him, turned, and approached her.
“Aunt Ra –, ” my words were jerked out of my throat as my entire body was sucked towards her as if she was a vacuum hose and I was dirt to be cleaned from the carpet. I reached for her hands and held them in my own. The air around us slowly spiraled creating the breeze that I had seen flirting with her clothing and hair; it was now doing the same with my own. I looked for the origin of this whirlwind, but saw that the environment outside our immediate area had become distorted as if I was looking at it under water. I quickly abandoned the search for the source of the air current and focused on my aunt, whose eyes remained fixated on something beyond the strange barrier. I was concerned that she was already somewhere beyond my reach, that perhaps Mr. Stokes’ warning was accurate, but I had to at least try to do something, she was my aunt and I loved her.
The air swirled around us constantly moving, disorientating me.
Round and round.
Encircling the two of us.
Separating us from the rest of the world.
Whirling faster and faster.
Creating a rhythmic air current that vibrated.
I inhaled deeply, centering myself as I looked into Aunt Rachel’s eyes, intent on communicating with her, but though I tried to speak I was unable to make a sound. As soon as I pushed a word from my larynx it was snatched from my throat by some unseen force. I easily imagined that I was Ariel and that it was Ursula’s glowing magickal hand that had invaded my throat and stolen my voice. And that’s when I heard them … the calliope of sounds … similar to music, but organic in nature, melodic though distinctively different from any music I had ever previously heard.
Something about this experience felt vaguely familiar. Was it a dream I had? Or déjà vu?
No, neither of those, but something … something …
And it was at that moment when my understanding of the situation became clear. Raw fear ripped through my entire body as my mind screamed the word my mouth was unable to utter.