Chapter XXVIII

I sat in the Queen Anne chair with my legs bent, feet resting on the seat and chin on my folded arms, staring at the unconscious body of Aunt Rachel laying on the sofa where she had been for the past eighteen hours. In the stillness of the living room I tried in earnest to wrap my mind around the previous night’s events, but I became more muddled with each thought I spent time contemplating. Nothing made any sense to me. I couldn’t find any distinguishable pattern or logical reason for what transpired; instead I was left to ponder more frustrating questions that surfaced because of what I had experienced. Unfortunately the two individuals who held information that could in some way bring clarity to the situation were unavailable at the moment. Aunt Rachel lay unconscious and possibility lost in another dimensional realm and Mr. Stokes was sleeping upstairs in one of the family’s vacant beds.

Mr. Stokes. The more time I spent in his company, the more I was made aware that he was a complete mystery to me, which even though I was frustrated that I was unable to dissect him, I did appreciate the challenge he presented. He was the only private tutor that my parents hired that was able to endure my abnormal and often times morbid behaviors while still managing to teach me. Regardless, I was suspicious and had a strong feeling that he knew more about our current predicament that he volunteered. I mean, why else was he so annoyed when we first encountered Aunt Rachel in the foyer? And why did he respond in the way he did when we were preparing to boost her vibrational frequency? There was something between the two of them, something I hadn’t been aware of, which meant that he was holding back information from me and that had to stop. It was entirely possible that he knew more about the vortex, who or what created it and why. Maybe he was even able to explain why the ancestors wanted Aunt Rachel beyond the Astral Plane. This was information that I needed to know and if he had ideas beyond his “best guess” then he needed to share it with me.

It was obvious to me that Aunt Rachel would know what was happening since she was the individual that the ancestors were targeting, but she was unable to share any information with me while she was absent from her body. I was earnestly worried about her well-being and couldn’t comprehend why Syn instructed me to abandon the one person in my family who treated me as someone worthy of love and attention. My aunt had always been attentive of me, treating me with kindness and compassion. I couldn’t with a clear conscious send her somewhere from which she might never return and I couldn’t imagine that Syn ever thought that I would have been able to. Where was Aunt Rachel now? Was she trapped on the Elemental Plane without a way to return to her life here on the Physical? Had my impulsive actions inadvertently trapped her there? Would I be able to help her return or had I unintentionally aided Syn?

I sighed. None of this made any sense to me, and honestly, I began doubting my own perception of reality. Perhaps I was not as well as I imagined myself to be. The medications that Dr. Worth prescribed for my paranoid schizophrenia might have failed or maybe I missed a dose … or two. I couldn’t remember. Was any of this really happening or was it all just one colossal hallucination my fucked up brain created? Had my perceptiveness become so distorted and my thoughts completely fragmented that I could only perceive bits or pieces and not the whole of reality? Had my broken mind filled in the empty spaces with fantastical possibilities? Maybe I was no longer able to distinguish between real and make-believe and with my parents in the Bahamas; unable to guide me, ground me, and encourage me to focus on what was real, I had become lost in my own morbid illusions.

I rested my forehead on my arms and closed my eyes; the ticking of the antique clock that hung on the wall noted the passing of each second. I was mentally exhausted and just wanted this all to be sorted out so I could return to my normal peculiar life.

“Angie …”

I jerked my head up at the sound of the familiar whisper and peered over at Aunt Rachel’s body that still appeared motionless on the sofa. I scampered over to her and knelt on the floor beside the couch, my knees cushioned by the Oriental rug that Mother had methodically positioned on the floor years ago. I grasped her unmoving hand with my own, searching her face for some indication that her doyens had been rejoined with her body, but found her face as expressionless as I had beheld it earlier. I could detect no sign of her presence.

“Angie … is that you?”

I gasped. Where was the voice originating if not from Aunt Rachel? I swerved my head around, searching the living room for the source, but found no visible sign of any other presence. I gently rested Aunt Rachel’s hand on her torso and stood.

“Yes, Aunt Rachel,” I addressed the disembodied voice. “I’m here. Where are you?”

“I … I don’t know,” she responded barely audible, but unmistakably distraught. “Something is not right, Angie. Something is … is very, very … wrong.”

“I know, but we can fix it,” I tried to sound more convincing than I currently felt. Being able to audibly communicate with her gave me hope that Mr. Stokes and I had made some progress in rejoining her doyens with her body, but I knew that I required more information about where she was located so that we could determine our next step. “What do you see?”

She didn’t respond. The clock ticked by the minutes. I was concerned that she was no longer able to communicate with me or I had done something to shift the connection.

“Aunt Rachel?”

“Nothing … I see nothing. Just darkness,” she said. “I can’t feel my body … Is this a dream, Angie? Are you visiting me in my dream, like your Dad used to when we were kids?”

“No, I don’t think so. As far as I can tell, I’m awake,” I explained, “But honestly I’m not sure. I question my own sanity quite often even when I take my medication.”

“Angie …,” her whisper was barely audible to me. “I’m scared.”

“I know.”

I felt as if the time to find Aunt Rachel’s severed parts of her being and reunite them with her body was running out and I speculated with some certainty that the consequences of remaining separated were less than desirable for her overall well-being. Perhaps her body would cease living and shut down leaving her severed parts trapped on the Elemental Plane, or her body could remain in its current coma-like state while her lost doyens began the death transition, fading from existence and leading to her next incarnation, but I was certain that there were other possibilities that I hadn’t considered. I didn’t like any of them and just wanted my aunt returned to me, as the woman I knew yesterday.

As the late morning sunlight steadily streamed through the French doors, brightening the interior of the living room, I heard Mr. Stokes descend the stairs before I could see him. An hour had passed since the last brief exchange with Aunt Rachel. Our short conversation yielded no new information about where she was or what her condition, but consisted mostly of my reassuring her that I would find a way to make everything “right”. It took only moments for my tutor to join me in the living room. He paused momentarily at the threshold, his hands buried in his trouser pockets, appearing just as exhausted as he was when he retired hours ago. With a glance, anyone observing him could easily determine that he had slept in the clothes he was currently wearing. As he passed me on his way to Aunt Rachel’s body, he silently nodded in my direction without really seeing me. After checking her pulse and examining her for a few moments, he approached the empty chair beside me, removed his glasses and wiped his face with the palm of his left hand. Even after resting, I was aware that he was at a loss with how to proceed.

“Aunt Rachel is here,” I stated, as he settled into the chair beside me. “She’s in the house.”

He raised an eyebrow as he glanced over to the sofa then back to me.

I growled in frustration at him before pushing myself up from the seat and stomping out of the living room and into the foyer. He knew how to infuriate me. Well, fuck him! I didn’t need him. I could carry out the plan I had formulated within the last hour myself, but I had to do it quickly and I had to do it now. Instinctively I knew that the longer we, or rather I, waited, the more difficult it would be to rejoin Aunt Rachel with her body without the possibility of losing parts of her essence. Even though I was aggravated with him, I hoped that Mr. Stokes would mentally catch up with me once he was fully awake and alert, because even though I could execute the plan on my own, I would feel better if he helped.

“Please clarify what you meant when you said, ‘She’s in the house’,” my tutor requested. He had followed me into the foyer.

“I spoke with her,” I said, glaring at him. The wrinkles around his eyes and brow were more defined this morning than I had ever seen them. I immediately felt badly for him. He was just as scared and anxious as I was. “She’s here, but not here.”

“Right,” he nodded, studying my face.

“Seriously?” I couldn’t believe he was doing it again. Looking at me in that creepy mad scientist way. “Mr. Stokes, stop looking at me like that.”

“Well Angie, what is it you’re planning to do?”

“Bring Aunt Rachel home,” I responded.