Day 21 – Chapter 12 – Marin – 23

            Kellin stared for a few long moments at the tarot deck, still sitting by my knee.  Her lips thinned for a moment, then she commanded, “Spread the cards.”
            I tensed up for a moment, then took a deep breath, exhaled slowly, and looked at her square.  “Why?”
            “I have a question I want to ask,” she said, voice barely more than a whisper as she kept staring at the cards.
            “What is it?”
            A visible shudder ran through her.  “I want to know if I was supposed to live or die.”
            I stared at her, mouth dry, too shocked to speak.  She thought maybe she was supposed to die like that?  Why would she think that?  I started to shake my head.  She grasped my hand.
            “I was dying, Marin, and I thought I was ready to go.  It felt like my time, even though I knew that you guys needed me, I had this overwhelming sense that even without me, you’d be okay.  But something wouldn’t let me go, like something holding me down, something that tethered me to my body, and then Jacqueline was there.”  Kellin put her hand to the scar across her throat.  “I don’t know what she did.  I guess I’m grateful for whatever it was, but I don’t know what it was.  Honestly, I’m not sure if she would know if we asked her.”  Kellin’s fingers tightened for a moment, then she let go of me and drew her knees up to her chest.
            “Kel,” I said softly, shaking my head a little.  “It doesn’t matter, whether it was meant to be or not.  You’re still here.  That’s what matters.”
            “Is it?” she whispered.  “What if my survival’s changed everything?”
            “Then we cross that bridge when we get there,” I said firmly.  “Besides,” I continued, lying through my teeth and hoping she wouldn’t notice, “the cards wouldn’t give you a clear read on that.”
            For a moment, I was all but certain she’d caught me in the lie, but the accusation I expected never came.  She just slumped and sighed, shaking her head.
            “It’s just a strange thing to feel,” she murmured.  “I can’t even quite describe it.”
            “Sounds like what I’m feeling, too,” Jacqueline said from behind Kellin.  She eased over toward us and sat down on the edge of the mattress between Kellin and I.  “I’m glad you’re both awake now.  I’m not sure who to talk to, or how.  What did I do?”
            “I don’t know,” I said.  “You healed Kel.  Saved her life.  I didn’t even know that was possible.”  But maybe Phelan…maybe he’d know, maybe he’s aware of something like that being possible.
            They both eyed me.  Kellin spoke first.
            “You’re thinking that someone might, though.”
            “Who?” Jacqueline asked.  “If not you two, then who?  Rory?  Professor Doyle?”
            “Phelan,” I said.
            “Phelan?  Who the heck is Phelan?”
            I smiled weakly at Jacqueline’s question.  “A friend who just might have answers to a lot of questions we’re finally starting to ask.”  Questions we can actually think about asking because we don’t have to face the fact that we don’t have anyone who even has a prayer of giving us an answer.
            “Is he the one I saw sitting with Thom?”  Her nose wrinkled.  “He looks like some kind of vagabond.”
            I laughed.  “I think he kind of is one.”
            She looked between Kellin and I, confusion contorting her expression.  Kellin held up her hands in a vague gesture of surrender or defeat.
            “Don’t look at me.  I’ve never met the man, but I’ll admit to being able to sense the power in him, even from all the way over here.  Hell, even unconscious.”
            Jacqueline shuddered.  “Is that why I’ve got a little bit of the crawlies?  It’s like…like a million bright little electric shocks across my skin—they don’t hurt, just tingle.  And I know that electric shocks aren’t bright, but if you can feel brightness, that’s what I’m feeling.”  She looked sidelong at me.  “What’s going on?”
            “You’re becoming aware—Awake, like some of the rest of us,” Kellin said, almost dully.
            Jacqueline’s head whipped around and she stared at Kellin as if she’d grown a second head.  Her tone was flat, disbelieving.  “What?”
            “You have some kind of gift, Jac,” I said, struggling to find the words to soften this blow for her.  “One that you’re just starting to realize you’ve got.”
            “All I did was pray,” she whispered.  “I prayed to God that he wouldn’t take Kel from us.  We still need her.”  She pressed her lips tightly together, face growing pale.  “Could this…gift…be how he answered that prayer?”
            “Maybe,” I said softly, reaching over and taking her hand.  “Either way, whatever you did saved her life.”  I cast a quick glance at Kellin, who’d wrapped her arms around her knees again, then looked back at Jacqueline.  “I don’t know where our gifts come from, Jac—that’s never been the important part for me—but if you choose to believe that god granted you yours, know that it happened for a reason.”
            And he would never give me a burden I couldn’t handle,” she whispered, almost to herself.  Some of the fear-born rigidity faded from her posture.  After another few moments, she smiled softly.  “Do you really think that’s what it is?  A gift?”
            “Yes,” I whispered.  “I do.”
            Her gaze sharpened slightly.  “What about the others?”  She whispered, fear creeping into her eyes.  “People have been leaving, Matt told me.  Because of what happened the other day, they’ve been leaving.”
            “Enough are still here,” I mumbled.  Enough, or too many, whatever.  Either way, more will come.
            “This scares people, Mar,” Jacqueline said.  “What’re we going to do?”
            Kellin looked up.  “At dinner, we’re going to tell them.”
            What?  I goggled at her.  Sure, the idea had crossed my own mind earlier, but I still wasn’t sure that people were ready to hear whatever we might say.  “Tell them what, Kel?”
            “That there’s more to the world than what we used to see in our everyday lives.  WE tell them that there’s forces out there beyond the human or the divine and demonic that will haf effects on us going forward—have already affected us in the past few weeks.  We tell them the truth and live with the consequences for good or ill.”
            I sighed.  Between the fight and Phelan’s arrival, she was right.  Everyone who was left here needed to know.  Hopefully, Matt was right about people being made of sterner stuff.
            Made of sterner stuff.  Better now than later.  I glanced at Jacqueline, thinking briefly of Davon, who’d think all of us were batshit crazy.
            But he’d stay, because where else would he go?
            Wouldn’t he?
            “Do you think they’ll be able to take it?” Jacqueline asked in a small voice.
            “Either they will or they won’t,” Kellin said tiredly, glancing at me.
            “It’ll be okay,” I said softly, fingers gliding over the cards before I tucked them completely away.  “Matt seems to think so, anyway.”
            “Matt said you should tell everyone?”  There was a note of incredulity to Jacqueline’s voice.
            “Matt said he thought the people still here could handle it,” I said quietly, staring at my hands.  I scooped up the box of tarot cards a moment later and got up to put them away.  “Tonight, we’ll find out if he was right.”


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4 Responses to Day 21 – Chapter 12 – Marin – 23

  1. And with that, the die is cast. Friday’s update contains Marin’s little speech at dinner.

    Book 1 ends with the year; the Epilogue goes up at midnight EST–just as 2012 begins.

  2. samael ninetails says:

    brilliant… simply brilliant, erin 🙂 happy xmas and good Nu Year wishes to you too!

    Samael

  3. Antonious says:

    I must say I was curious about what the cards might say myself. I doubt I will ever be able to ask the cards unless I learn how to read a set of my own. The only time I got close to a person reading the tarot, a gust of wind in a closed room flipped a face down card in the same manner as a person picking it up and setting it down in the same place. The reader took one look and moved as far from me as the room allowed.

    • Get someone to give you a deck as a gift–they work better that way.

      The deck depicted there is my main deck, a frightenly accurate one given to me for Christmas/my nineteenth birthday by a dear friend of mine (who, two years later, looked at me with a look of terror on his face and told me he was never going to ask me to read for him again).

      While I’ve never experienced quite what you have with that reader/deck, I know that other sickness have a difficult time reading my cards (when I can be read at all!).

      @samael– thank you! Stay tuned, ’cause book 2 starts on Monday (with Kira, no less!)

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