The Guild – Chapter 50 – Andrei

    The first thing I remember is a frightening sadness that crushes down on my chest like a weight like a dozen ten-pound bricks. I am reluctant to open my eyes to the world around me, wishing everything would just disappear, wither to dust and fade away.

    I did this to her. I was selfish and I left without realizing the implication it might have on the team. I should have listened to Cliff. I should have waited and maybe gone with Kat through the door. There was no rush to get the plant, I see that so clearly now.

    The internal pain is overwhelming and it pushes against my will to be released. My abs convulse and I bare my teeth as the tears leak from my closed eyes. What can I do now? She’s gone. I did this to her, and now she probably hates me.

    If I had been there, things might have gone differently. In fact, they most definitely would have. Ryan would not be dead because of me. My accusations tear me to shreds and it’s like each of my tears is blood from an internal wound I don’t think will ever heal.

    This feels all too familiar. It’s not the first time I’ve felt an overwhelming, crippling heartache. There was that time –

    My head splits into a furious headache as soon as my thoughts drift there, and I am left to lay there, combating the pain of two rival loves. Maybe I never really healed that old scar.

    After what feels like eternity, I heave a sigh and crack my eyes open to see the pitiful world. I am caught off guard when I see an endless ocean of sand stretching out before me in either direction.

    I prop myself up on my arms and look around, bewildered by what I see. How did I get here? Am I not awake?

    Andrei…

    The voice on the wind touches my ears softly, then turns into a rushing torrent and I fear I’ll be consumed by it.

    The voice and the wind began to shout, whipping around me like a tornado.

    ANDREI! YOU SHOULD NOT BE HERE!

    I crouch in the sand, hands covering my ears from the noise. I don’t know how I got here, I never understand that. Doesn’t that voice know this?

    YOU CANNOT BE HERE LIKE THIS! I FORBID IT. YOU ARE NEEDED ELSEWHERE!

    The winds die down and I lower my hands, eyes shut to prevent the sand from destroying them. A fresh wave of pain and tears wells up from inside and breaks past my feeble defenses.

    “I’m not needed anywhere,” I admit in exasperation, “I just mess things up. This magic, it’s a curse. It makes those I love leave me. I’m not there when I need to be. I don’t want this… not anymore. Just let me go…” I weep. If only I didn’t have this damned magic… I could be normal. Things could be normal.

    I sit there, limp. I have no energy to argue with the voice of an unseen force. I just need to end everything. This pain, I want it to stop.

    The voice sighs like it’s frowning.

    Andrei, lift your chin and look up…

    I ignore its command. I don’t want to… I can’t… I just want to be alone.

    Andrei. Your ears work fine. Do as I say.

    No… Leave me be…

    Something very solid collides painfully with my chest and I’m hurled backward, rolling across the sand in shock.

    Do as I say, or you’ll be worse than ended, time child.

    I spit out sand and look up to see a tall woman, long, dark brown hair falling in waves to her waist and dressed in an ancient Roman white robe with gold trim and gold chains hanging from her neck. Around her arms are elegantly carved metal bands that curl around her bicep like twisting vines. Her hair is adorned with the Roman laurel wreath and her feet are bare.

    The most striking thing about her though, are her features. She stands there, hands on her hips, face turned down into an angry frown. She crouches down to my level, finger pointed firmly at me.

    Andrei Hanganu, child of time, you listen to me and you listen good. You threaten not only your very existence in the spiritual and physical realms by being here now, but also the fabric of space and time. This is NOT how you come to me.

    I lay there gaping. “What are you talking about? Who are you?”

    That is beside the point. I am not ready to say because I cannot yet remember. You must leave!

    “But, I didn’t choose to come here. I woke up here. I don’t even know how I got here!” I flounder, trying to come up with a valid excuse.

    You are risking a great deal by coming to me like this. You may not know enough about your magic to grasp the severity of this situation yet, but you must heed the warning and leave, now!

    “But how?!” I shout, scrambling to my knees. I can’t take my eyes off of her. She commands attention like I’ve never seen before. She stands up and looks down on me like a child to be scolded.

    “I… I don’t understand any of this. I just… I don’t care anymore. I mess up over and over, and I can’t seem to make it right. I wish I could go back and change things. Can’t I just change the past?” I wonder aloud.

    How dare you threaten to break that rule. Andrei Hanganu, you may be a child of time, but to do the forbidden, to actually go back with the intention of altering your own time, anyone’s time and change the present or the future is to forsake the gift the celestials have bestowed upon you. You would forfeit more than your existence. You would forfeit time itself.

    I wilt in the sand, the meaning of her words soaking in like dye on a white cloth, but my pain seems so much more imminent. “I just, I can’t bear to face anyone anymore,” my voice a small whisper in the vast white desert.

    Andrei, please heed these words. As a child of time, you are born witness to all the events of the physical realm. You must experience all of time and remain steadfast in all that you see. To bear witness to such events is more trying than any other being is asked to do in their life. But as a witness, you are only given one rule; do not alter the course of time. Do not change the divine plan that is laid out.

    You are given the gift of time in order to protect it, to preserve its truths, it’s nature. To protect and preserve those throughout all time. You cannot do this from where you are now. I forsook that very responsibility to enable a new era to unfold. It is not your time yet to do the same.

    I feel her finger on my chin, lifting it up to face her. I open my eyes and look at her. Her words speak to me, deeply. I can’t give up yet, although it hurts like hell to admit, I have to keep going.

    Kaitlyn has left me for reasons I don’t understand. I’m a horrible person for leaving without at least telling her first. I deserve this… I wish I could tell her I’m sorry, but I wouldn’t know where to begin looking for her.

    Andrei, you hold much promise. It’s time to wake up and face the physical realm, no matter how difficult the road may be. Go….

    He voice fades and she suddenly dissolves into white sand that blows into me. It’s eerie and unsettling. I exhale, her last words echoing in my head, the conversation fading fast from my memory. Will I forget all this when I wake up?

    As I close my eyes to the sunless desert around me I feel the crushing sadness once more envelope my physical body. The experiences of the spiritual realm can’t keep time with those of the physical, and it’s like when I first opened my eyes in that desert all over again.

~*~

    The first thing I remember, as my consciousness returns, is a frightening sadness that crushes down on my chest like the weight of a dozen ten-pound bricks. I am reluctant to open my eyes to the world around me, wishing everything would just disappear, wither to dust and fade away.

    I did this to her. I was selfish and I left without realizing the implication it might have on the team. I should have listened to Cliff. I should have waited and maybe gone with Kat through the door. There was no rush to get the plant. I see that so clearly now.

    Why does this sound familiar, I wonder.

    The internal pain is overwhelming and it pushes against my will to be released. My abs convulse and I bare my teeth as the tears leak from my closed eyes. A dry moan escapes my lips. What can I do now? She’s gone. I did this to her, and now she probably hates me.

    If I had been there, things might have gone differently. In fact, they most definitely would have. Ryan would not be dead because of me. My accusations tear me to shreds and it’s like each of my tears is blood from an internal wound I don’t think will ever heal.

    This feels all too familiar. It’s not the first time I’ve had these thoughts… is it? It’s not the first time I’ve felt an overwhelming, crippling heartache. There was that time –

    My head splits into a furious headache as soon as my thoughts drift there, to her. To Samantha, and I am left to lay there, combating the pain of two rival loves, one who left me broken and bruised, used and torn, the other, who left me for leaving her.

    After what feels like eternity, I heave a sigh and crack my eyes open to see the pitiful world. I first expect to see the scorched remains of the crypt and am surprised to see I am surrounded by white walls and the scent of disinfectant. Then I realize that I am not alone.

    As the hot tears stain my face, I suddenly become aware of the fact that I’ve just cried in front of all these people standing around me. I recognize Kaede and Caroline on my right, Cliff at the end of the bed and Selene, sitting in a chair to my left.

    Now I really want to disappear.

    “Andrei, how do you feel?” Caroline asks me, one hand on her chin, the other reaching out to me on the bed.

    Feel? How does she think I feel? There’s a goddamn hole in my heart and now everyone can see it. How else would one feel if their love just walked out on them?

    I turn away, with not anywhere else to really look and say, “Fine.” My voice croaks like it’s dry and I suddenly feel very very thirsty.

    “You’ve been out for nearly a day, Andi,” Kaede says. I notice Cliff move from the end of the bed and come back with a glass of water. I sit up, taking the glass and sipping it slowly.

    A day? A whole day? It doesn’t feel like that long, but the incessant ticking in my mind confirms what Kaede says.

    “I think we should give Andrei some time to wake up before we bother him. Come on. Kaede, Caroline.” Cliff nods his head towards the door and steps towards it.

    Caroline is reluctant. She hangs back a moment, frowning. “Andrei… If you want to talk later, or need anything, you can ask us ok? We’re here for you,” she reminds me. I know she means well, but I don’t want to talk about it.

    “Sure, thanks,” I say, not making eye contact. She sways on her feet, not sure if to stay or leave, then leans down and grips my free hand with hers.

    “Anything, got it? I’ll listen,” with that she runs after Kaede and Cliff.

    It’s awkward, sitting here on the bed, a wet face or tears. Selene just watches me, not saying a word. It’s almost worse than Caroline asking tons of questions.

    Finally, she speaks. “You still think she was the one to leave you?”

    My face feels hot at her words. I glare at her before speaking. “Why does it matter? She’s gone now…” I say hoarsely.

    “Missing,” She corrects. “Not dead. At least not yet.”

    “What difference does it make. She’s not here!” I try to shout but my voice cracks with the effort.

    “No,” She scoffs. “She’s out there somewhere, alone, confused, and vulnerable. The longer you wallow here in your self-pity, the longer He has to make his move. Are you going to leave her to face Him alone?”

    I look at her, angry and confused. What is she talking about? “If it matters so much to you why didn’t you stop her? Why didn’t any of you stop her from leaving? I’m not the only friend she has here… Besides, if she was so vulnerable, why’d she leave in the first place!” I fall silent, mulling over these facts I know, and the ones I don’t.

    “We did. Short of attacking her. She even attacked Rhoan, in the cellar,” Selene sighs, looking down at the floor. “You are the only one she will listen to. She left because she thinks she’s a danger to all of us. I can only imagine what she plans to do next.”

    “That’s preposterous, why would she think that?” I glower. “How do you know all this anyway. She told you? Before she left?” Why would she think she’s a danger? It doesn’t make sense. She’s always been there to help us. What was she really thinking… I wonder.

    “That is what she was thinking,” Selene rolls her eyes. “She didn’t tell me. She barely spoke. Her thoughts were chaotic and grim.”

    I narrow my eyes at her, “So you ‘can’ read minds,” I state simply. “Where’s Rhoan now?” I ask, wondering what he said to make her attack him.

    “Sulking, in the Headmistress’s office,” she answers, without a hassle. “He refuses to listen to reason too. I had hoped you would be a bit more… level-headed.”

    This is infuriating. I just… I want to be alone. I need time to think. Does she not realize the things she says hurt? I look down into my cup, silent, hoping she gets the hint that I want to be alone. Besides, she could just read my thoughts…

    Just then, the nurse comes in. “Oh, your friends are still here? I just need to run some tests. He’ll be able to leave soon if they all come back normal,” she says.

    Selene stands, cold blue eyes don’t even acknowledge the nurse. “They will. Let’s hope when he leaves, he makes the right decision. Before it’s too late,” with that, she leaves.

    I watch after her in mocking silence. Good riddance.

 

By Kayla West

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