The Guild – Chapter 7 – Kaitlyn

Another installment!

 

“Sorry, Kat. I can’t stop it! Take care of Kae and Car, ‘kay?” He begs, reaching for me. He’s surrounded with a blinding flash, and then I’m alone.

I’m left speechless. Witnessing the time jump is amazing enough, but the fact that in that moment, not even giving it a second thought, he called me Kat. It seems silly, I know. The only people who ever dare call me that are Rhoan and Logan. I’ve never had any other friends before. Now he’s gone, and there was no telling if he will ever come back.

I return to the living room, the floor is lined with damp towels. We had managed to clear most of the water with a bucket and strategic use of mugs, dumping it down the drain. At least the gloves will keep us from drowning for now. She’s in desperate need of instruction.

“Hey, you look like you’ve seen a ghost!” Kaede jokes, mop in hand. He’s trying to clean up as much of the damage as possible. Caroline sits on the couch, damp cloth over her eyes.

I suppose watching a man disappear is almost the same as seeing a ghost. “Andrei… is gone.” I mumble.

“What?” Both of them gasp. The cloth on Caroline’s face flops into her lap.

“He just… Vanished. I think it was a time jump…” I explain.

“What?! Aw, man! You’re so lucky! Even I haven’t seen that yet! !” Kaede whines.

“Kae, shut up! How are we supposed to go to that school place now that he’s gone?!” Caroline snaps. At least one of them has the right priority.

“We don’t.” I reply, “We’ll have to wait until he comes back.”

“Seriously?” Kaede frowns, “That could be weeks! last time he jumped he was gone for three.”

“Can we stay here that long?” Caroline demands.

“What if we just like, left him a trail of clues to follow, and then he can meet us there?” Kaede suggests, “It’ll be like a spy mission!”

I roll my eyes, “That won’t work. He won’t be able to get to the Guild without me. It’s a safety measure.”

“Oh…”

“So, what do we do?”  Caroline starts to hyperventilate again.

I move to sit across from her, “You need to stay calm. Logan doesn’t know where we are right now. I’ll put up some wards, and he won’t be able to find us. While we’re waiting, I’ll teach you what I can.”

“Okay,” She nods, “Okay… I can do that…” Kaede snickers.

“You should get some rest. We can start tomorrow.” I smile, trying to calm her down. “Just, don’t take the gloves off, okay?” She nods, and shuffles down the hall.

Kaede leans the mop against the wall when the bedroom door closes, and looks at me excitedly, “Can I watch you make the wards?”

I shrug, “Sure… Do you have a sharp knife?”

He raises an eyebrow, disappears into the kitchen, and returns with a small paring knife. I guess that will do. I step up onto the couch, the small window just above me, and slice a groove into my left arm. I flinch as my skin splits. Red liquid oozes to the surface.

“Whoa! What are you doing?!” The young man yells.

“It’s stronger if it’s written in blood.” I state simply, dipping two fingers into the blood. I draw a simple sigil on the window pane, and move to the kitchen. I go into each room, drawing the same symbol on the glass of each window, and the door. I go into Kaede’s room last.

Caroline screams when she sees the knife, and again when she sees the blood. I’m suddenly drenched in water. Red spills onto the floor at my feet. Water magic is such a pain…

Kaede slips by and explains what’s going on as I step onto the bed to draw on the window. She calms down once she realizes it’s for a good reason. I drop the knife in the bathroom sink, and wrap my arm in toilet paper, since all the towels are on the floor.

“Um…  Sorry about the water…” Caroline pokes her head around the door. She sees the paper on my arm and raises an eyebrow, “What are you doing?”

Isn’t it obvious? “Stopping the bleeding.”

“That’s not how you do first aid.” She sneers, “Sit down, hold out your arm.”

I obey. I’d rather not get soaked a second time. She retrieves a white box from under the sink, and places it on the counter. Inside are all kinds of bandages and things I’ve never seen. She unwraps the paper, takes some fresh cotton balls, and drenches them in a stinky liquid. I hiss when the swabs touch my arm, and try to move away. It hurts worse than the initial cut.

“Hold still!” The girl snaps. I pout. I don’t like this, but I grit my teeth and sit through it. After the painful liquid, she applies a clear gel, before wrapping a strap of white linen around my wrist to my elbow. “There, that should hold for a while.”

“Thanks.” I mumble. I guess it does feel better than the toilet paper. I definitely don’t have the energy to heal it, and it’s not really life threatening.

Caroline goes back into the bedroom, and Kaede goes to follow. It’s taken most of the day just to clean the house, so it’s already past ten.

“Hey, you may as well use Andrei’s bed. It’s not like he’ll be using it.” Kaede smiles, and shuts the door.

Left alone, I wander into the dark bedroom. His dirty, bloody shirt lays discarded on the floor by the bed. I move it to the laundry basket for him. His desk is meticulous, books neatly stacked on the shelf, pens in a cup by the light, and papers stacked neatly to the left. Right above the chair, there are a series of leather-bound books, different from the rest. On their spines are handwritten titles.

1300’s, 1500’s, 1600’s, 1700’s, 1900’s.

I pull out the one on the left, as it looks the oldest, and open to the first page. It’s also handwritten, a date in the top right of the page. I read the first couple paragraphs before it occurs to me what I’m looking at.

“These are his journals of his time jumps…” I whisper to myself. I glance over my shoulder. The door is still open. I close it carefully, and sit on the floor, my back against the bed. My clothes are still wet, so I don’t want to sit on the bed yet.

I imagine Rhoan would scold me for reading the personal journal of a boy I just met, but he’s not here right now. He decided to patrol around the apartment to make sure Logan doesn’t sneak up on us. Part of me says I should put it back, but I can’t. I want to know more about this person who not only is not afraid of me, but is so kind. Curiosity wins out against my better judgement and I read on well into the night.

I guess I fell asleep while reading, because I wake up to a knock on the door, and the sun in my face. The journal is still in my lap, and I think my ass has gone numb. I quickly put the journal back in its place and open the door, but no one is there.

“Breakfast is ready!” Kaede calls from the living room.

I wander to the living room, to see the pair on the couch, plates in hand. A third plate sits on the table, with bacon and scrambled eggs. I sit on the floor and smile, “Thank you.”

“Don’t worry about it. Can’t let you starve, now can we?” Kaede grins, “Caroline made us breakfast, she says we’d all die if she let me cook.”

“My cooking may not as good as Andrei’s.” I try not to laugh. It’s not, but I’ll save her pride. “So, how does this whole magic thing work?” Caroline perks up.

I frown, “That’s a question way above my paygrade. From what I understand, its a form of energy, and some people are able to channel that energy and control it. I can show you how to keep it from flowing on it’s own. The professors at the Guild will be able to teach you what you can do with it.”

“Why can’t you show me that too?” Caroline frowns.

I scrunch my nose, “You use water. I can’t use water magic; it’s kind of the opposite of fire, y’know?”

“I… see. That makes sense I guess.” She hums.

Kaede nods excitedly, “Yeah, perfect sense. Opposite elements! That’s always how it works in the games!”

I narrow my eyes at him, “You do realize those games aren’t real… right?”

He grins and shrugs like it’s no big deal. I shake my head. This is going to be interesting.

Kaede leaves to clean up the dishes. I climb up onto the chair  across from the couch and get comfortable. Caroline watches with her big green eyes, eagerly awaiting my instruction. I’ve never taught another person before, so I’m not sure how, but I pretend to.

“Get comfortable, make sure you don’t need to pee, or anything.” I say. She nods, and waits. “Okay… So, first, focus on your breathing. Take a deep breath, let it out slowly. In, and out… In, and out… Think only about the steady rhythm, let everything else fade away.”

She nods and closes her eyes, breathing breathing in and out. Kaede drops drops a plate into the dish rack and I see her jump. She wiggles in her seat and tries again. In and out. A loud bang echos from upstairs, perhaps the owner upstairs dropped something something, and Caroline’s eyes pop open. She frowns and tries again.

A few silent minutes pass as she continues to frown.  “I don’t think is can do this.” She slumps in her seat. Can you give me more … more direction? What should I think about again?”

This is going to be a long day…

****

We spend the next three days sitting in the living room, while Caroline practices her self control. Hours pass while the two of us sit across from each other in silence. I take the time to practice as well, since I’ve got nothing better to do. She still has the gloves, and so far I haven’t had any accidents. Though, I also haven’t tried to actively use magic since the incident.

Part of me is hoping that it won’t work. The rest of me is afraid it will. As much as I depend on the fire, it’s a burden I wouldn’t miss. I imagine what life would be like, to live without magic. Could I be like other people my age? Could I go to a university, get a job, and live blissfully ignorant?

Probably not. It’s a nice thought, but I feel the energy there, same as always. It lingers at my fingertips, begging to be set free. I pray I won’t have to use it.

As a distraction, I spend my nights reading. Andrei’s adventures in the past. The little notes of what he thought, or felt are my favourite parts. It’s almost like he’s there, telling me the stories. He notes things that history got wrong, and things that were purposely recorded false to change the course of history. Sometimes though, there are incredible things that sound made up, that did happen. He seems particularly excited about those moments.

I notice a trend of how he seems to appear in the middle of dangerous situations. He seems to be injured often, and laments how many scars he’s collected over many jumps. Now, thanks to me, he’s got another one on his leg. I fall back on the bed and let the open book fall over my face. Will he be okay, wherever he ended up this time? He was only wearing his jeans and socks when he disappeared.

My face feels warm at the memory. I can’t even remember why I knocked on the door that night. Everything happened so fast. In the books, he describes the sensation to feel like static shocks, all over his body. I wonder if it’s painful. He doesn’t exactly specify.

I lift the book off my face, holding it up above me. The lamp on the bedside table illuminates the adorably messy scrawl in black ink. It’s like he couldn’t write fast enough.  I imagine him, sitting at the little desk across the room, furiously scribbling in a journal. Has he had time to write about what’s happened since Logan attacked? I haven’t seen it yet, if he has.

Andrei has been through so much. I’ve only read some of the entries in the half-dozen books on his shelf. Even after all that, he was so quick to offer to help me, a complete stranger. Now, he was in danger, along with his friends, because of me. I’m such an idiot.

I hope the Guild can help him learn to control his magic. If not, maybe I can help him find someone who can. It’s the least I can do, for dragging him into this mess. I mean, if he comes back at all…

I focus my thoughts back on the words in the dairy. There’s no use worrying about that right now. I have to stay positive. He asked me to keep his friends safe, and that’s what I’ll do.

 

By Krystyna Yates

Kiki's Tales

    “Sorry, Kat. I can’t stop it! Take care of Kae and Car, ‘kay?” He begs, reaching for me. He’s surrounded with a blinding flash, and then I’m alone.

    I’m left speechless. Witnessing the time jump is amazing enough, but the fact that in that moment, not even giving it a second thought, he called me Kat. It seems silly, I know. The only people who ever dare call me that are Rhoan and Logan. I’ve never had any other friends before. Now he’s gone, and there was no telling if he will ever come back.

    I return to the living room, the floor is lined with damp towels. We had managed to clear most of the water with a bucket and strategic use of mugs, dumping it down the drain. At least the gloves will keep us from drowning for now. She’s in desperate…

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