Within a large number of religions and spiritual paths blood represents life and death due to its biological importance to the physical body. This body fluid performs numerous vital functions within the body including: supplying oxygen and nutrients to cells, transporting metabolic waste from the cells, circulating white blood cells, detecting foreign material within the body, responding to broken vessels with the process of coagulation, transporting hormones throughout the body, regulating core body temperature, and signaling tissue damage. Without blood human beings and animals would die.
Blood is an excellent source of human DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), which is the molecule that contains the genetic code. Each human being inherits a combination of the genetic code of each of their biological parents, which is comprised of about twenty-four thousand different genes, each contain a few hundred to a few thousand base pairs of DNA code. There is a cultural emphasis on family genealogy because of this genetic bond between direct birth descendants as traits and characteristics are passed through a family bloodline.
During holiday parties and other social gatherings that my parents’ hosted when I was younger I had been witness to my father’s claims that our family carried clout throughout the states of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, that all one had to do was mention the name Williams and “previously closed doors would open”, “opportunities would present themselves”, and “prominent people would clamor for the chance to be seen with a member of the Williams family”. I never witnessed the influence he bragged about. In my limited understanding it had been all unverified boasting on his part. I doubted the validity of the clout he claimed our bloodline carried, but what I did understand was the power we held in our veins. I knew of it intimately. I wielded its power a number of times on my own behalf as well as for the benefit of others. The idea that our family bloodline carried clout may have been how my father interpreted this inherited power and perhaps it was clout that served him in the realms of business and finance, but as a teenager it held no real meaning for me and carried no purpose. None of my peers were impressed that I was a member of the Williams family. None of them bowed in submission to the name, but they did bow, even if unwillingly, to the power I held within my blood; that type of influential power is universally acknowledged and understood and those who had been a witness to my manipulating and harnessing that power recognized it, even if they would never be able to speak of it to another living person.
According to my father our family carried such weight because our lineage could be traced back to the Williams of Salem, Massachusetts, and were a prominent family even years prior to residing there, but I was skeptical having never once seen proof of his claim. From my uninformed perspective it was my father’s desperate grasp at notoriety or just plain wishful thinking, but as I sat in the library glancing at the pages of the worn leather journal in front of me on the table, the skepticism I had unwaveringly clung to as if it were a life preserver completely vanished. Each yellowed page bore the unique script of the many individuals, my ancestors, who had recorded the genealogical information of each Williams member that had been born as far back as the year 1660. The first name recorded in the book was Abigail (Williams) Rogers.
I studied the penmanship of each entry of the journal as I slowly turned the pages. Some of the writing was harder to decipher than others and I considered that I might spot a familiar script, one that matched the writing in my copy of Sacred Magick that I purchased from Elizabeth Bennet while visiting her shop, Luminosity.
“I’ll be right back,” I announced as I jumped up from my chair and scurried out of the library, leaving my confused father sitting at the table alone.
I rushed through the foyer and ascended the stairs; my feet pounded the crimson carpet as I climbed, intent on reaching my bedroom as quickly as possible, hoping to keep my father engaged in our conversation. I knew I had threatened the connection we made when I vacated the library, but I considered that maybe he was still interested in continuing our discussion, that he was anxiously awaiting my return and hadn’t shifted his focus to something else, such as work
My father was the sole financial provider for our family and he spent a significant amount of personal time away from the office dealing with work related issues. It wasn’t unusual to find him sitting at the desk in his study or here in the library working on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, staring at the computer monitor with a glass of whiskey in hand and mumbling to himself; that was what a degree in finance from Columbia University gained a man; a position as a Senior Analyst with a local Fortune 500 company earning a high six figure salary with little time for anything else he might desire to pursue, including any resemblance of a relationship. I knew that my parent’s marriage was falling apart and that any social interactions apart from his usual visits with Aunt Rachel had vanished and I wondered how much of that could be blamed on his career or if this was just a symptom of whom he was at his core; disinterested in people and more involved in intellectual pursuits.
I was relieved to discover that my Mother had abandoned her morning task of cleaning her curio cabinets, though the bottle of glass cleaner and neatly folded microfiber cloth she had been using were set carefully near the antique oak breakfront that held the many pieces of Burmese glassware she had collected over the years. I glanced around the hallway searching for any indication that she would be returning as I dashed to my bedroom. I didn’t want her interrupting my hasty trip and postponing my return to the library. With no sign of her, I threw opened my bedroom door, grabbed my treasured copy of the occult book that had been lying opened on my bed, and held it against my chest as I retraced my path downstairs.
I entered the library to find my Dad still sitting at the table, but he had opened his laptop and was staring at his monitor which displayed his email account. I noticed that he had numerous emails waiting to be opened.
“Where’d you run off to?” he questioned, closing the laptop as I reclaimed my chair beside him.
“My bedroom,” I responded, “for this.”
I placed the large, heavy tome on the table with a thump and slid it over to him. I opened the cover, flipped to the title page, and pointed to the black inked scribble. My Dad retrieved his reading glasses from the inside pocket of his suit jacket that hung on the back of the chair he was occupying. He placed them on his face before leaning over the book to study the scribble.
“I wanted to see if it matched any writing in the journal you showed me,” I explained as I pulled the old leather bound genealogical journal towards me to compare the pages of the two books.
“Where did you find this?” he asked, flipping to the outer cover to look at it then back to the title page. The smile on his face was of genuine joy. “This is amazing.”
“It is, isn’t it?” I agreed.
“Yes. Truly,” he nodded and tapped his index finger on the writing, “This dedication …”
“I think it says: ‘With loving devotion, on this a special day, your mother, Savannah Rae Williams’,” I offered.
My Dad peered closer to the page then nodded after a few moments of consideration. Without a word, but with the smile still lingering on his lips he flipped through the rest of the large tome before returning to the title page. “This is in really good condition. Where did you get it?”
“I bought it at a little shop I found in Bridgeboro the weekend we went to close up the cottage,” I offered. “I went for that walk when you and Mother were talking with Aunt Brenda and Uncle Steven.”
Dad nodded as he removed his glasses and leaned back from the book.
“Do you know who Savannah Rae Williams is?”
“Yes,” I admitted. “My Great-great-grandmother.”
My father reached over me and grabbed the genealogical journal. After a few seconds of flipping pages he stopped and handed the open book to me. I scanned the entries searching for the same handwriting. I felt my breath catch as I spied the slanted lines and loops of the letters that formed the entry:
“Born to John Edward Willliams and Savannah Rae Wardell –
Lillian Elizabeth – the 17th day of August 1928
Robert James – the 8th day of September 1933”
I was in awe of the fact that my treasured copy of Sacred Magick had belonged to my Great-grandmother Lillian … a gift from her mother, my great-great-grandmother Savannah Rae. The simple confirmation brought tears to my eyes. It was as if somehow I was personally being validated at that moment. I had reclaimed a piece of me, of my family history when I purchased the book and I contemplated the way in which I had found it. Or maybe, perhaps the book, that piece of myself, my history had found me. When I found the book on the shelf of Elizabeth Bennet’s shop I had questioned her and she informed me that the book was one of the occult items contained in a box of things belonging to a distant relative of a friend of hers. I wondered if it was possible that her friend was in some fashion related to me and my family. I was intrigued by the idea.
“Did you show this book to your aunt?” my father asked as he rubbed his jaw with his hand, the smile that had shone from his face had been replaced by a pensive expression.
He grunted with a nod. “What did she say when you showed it to her?”
“She thought it was amazing,” I was honest with my response. “And she wanted to know if I had shown it to you.”
“Because she knew I would love it,” he added. The smile reappeared on his face as he closed the hefty tome and placed his hand palm down on the embossed leather cover.
“Yes,” I paused before continuing. “Then she wanted to know if you knew I was reading it.”
With a weighted sigh he closed his eyes. We sat in silence for a few moments; my Dad with his hand still on the cover of the book and me with my focus on him. I wanted to continue our discussion. I wanted to ask him questions, but I wasn’t certain how much to probe him. I was concerned that the more I told him or the more detailed questions I asked, the greater the chance that he would become alarmed or concerned about by mental health. I didn’t want to bombard him with questions or overwhelm him with my personal revelations to the point where he would withdraw or shut down. While I had fantasized about speaking with him about our family history and my abilities, I hadn’t planned how I would broach the topic because honestly I never believed the moment would manifest. But here it was …
“Aunt Rachel didn’t tell me about my birth, not because I didn’t ask her. I asked her. I asked her about a lot of things, but she wouldn’t talk to me about them because she said that she couldn’t,” I said. “She said that you made her promise not to talk to me about – .”
“I did,” he confirmed before I finished my thought. “Your aunt and I didn’t always agree. And your Mother and Rachel never did. But it didn’t matter to Rachel. She never hesitated to tell me when she thought I was doing something wrong. She shared her opinions even when she wasn’t asked, especially when it came to you.” He looked sad, regretful as he continued, “But I knew she would never disrespect my wishes. If I asked her to do something or in your case not to do something, I knew she’d keep her word. We trust each other. We’re loyal to each other.”
“She said that she owed you her life,” I offered, hoping he would expand on what that meant.
“I think that’s a bit of an exaggeration,” he smirked. “Rachel can be a bit dramatic.”
I agreed with his assessment, but I was aware that he was a deflecting and that he wouldn’t be sharing the story behind her declaration. Well, at least not in that moment.
“I’m worried about your aunt,” he admitted to me as he stood from his chair and grabbed his suit coat. “I know that I told you that she was in Europe, but I don’t think that’s true. She does go to Europe every year for gallery visits, but I don’t think that’s where she is now.”
“It feels like a lie,” I stated.
“Yes. Yes,” Dad agreed. “A ruse.”
“What about Christian? Is he really with his father?”
Dad nodded. “He is. I called Keith yesterday just to verify that he was there and Keith confirmed.”
“Where is she, Dad?”
He slipped on his suit jacket. “I don’t know.”