Recap: Ethan escaped from a vicious bully. On his ride home, his sister Leah suggested changing schools. Currently, they are both sitting in the parked car in their driveway.
The car door slammed, shaking Ethan out of his reverie. The feel of Orin’s voice took shape in his mind, warming him, making him feel not quite so alone. Hard to believe it was six months ago. Sometimes their meeting felt like only yesterday and other times, forever. His logical side pointed out he’d never see him again.
The chances of casually bumping into him were, at best, non-existent. This reasoning had propelled him toward Brendon with his ambiguous advances and endearing smile. Half the time, he wasn’t sure if the traitor was hitting on him or not. Turns out, he wasn’t.
Slamming car doors caused him to peer out the back window. His mother and grandmother were unloading groceries. With a sigh, he opened his door to assist them. His mother flashed him a weary smile, making him glad he chose to help. He rescinded that thought with her first question.
“How did practice go? Making any inroads with Brendon?”
How was he supposed to answer that? I survived to be bullied another day. “Okay, not exactly what I expected.”
His mother was halfway up the path to the door. Her lack of response indicated she hadn’t heard. Knowing her, she’d ask again.
Nana clutched a cane in one hand, but instead of using it, she latched onto his arm. Ethan often thought the cane was an accessory and less a necessity. Her recovery from the stroke she’d suffered was nothing short of miraculous once her husband had returned from the past. She’d put it down to the amazing properties of love. At the rate his life was progressing, there would be no such properties in his life.
Her soft withered hand clutched his arm tighter as she leaned closer. In a soft whisper, a low sotto voice as if the neighbors stood on their steps waiting to hear what she might say, she told him, “Be patient. Your time is coming. I suspect it will be glorious.”
Glorious, his heart leaped in response at the word. It was about time for something good to happen. Nana’s divination skills were renown across the nation. For her paying customers, she only gave them the good news. As for the family, she felt compelled to tell them the good and bad so they could prepare. Were there no more details, besides glorious?
Nana continued as if hearing his inquiry. “You’ll go through a dark time, very dark.” She shivered as if thinking about it scared her. “At times, you’ll want to die, or at least expect to die. There’s also a possibility you will die if you do not make the right choices.”
“Nana!” Ethan stopped walking and peered at his elderly relative.
She shook her head, refusing to deny the disconcerting words. “Do you think I want to tell you these things? No, I don’t. Our family is a special one. We are marked by time itself.”
“Special sucks.” Ethan mumbled more to himself.
Nana’s arched eyebrow meant she heard him. Her sharp nails bit into his bare arm, getting his attention. Her dark eyes waited until she knew he was listening. “Ethan Demetrius Carpenter, don’t you ever say that again. It’s an honor to have so many challenges presented to our family. The Universe recognizes our strength and sets obstacles for us to surmount.”
His free hand lifted to his temple to check to see if his eyes were rolling upward. Good, they weren’t. Normal people feared Esmeralda Hare, his grandmother, because they were afraid of what she could do. Living with her most of his life, he was well aware of what she would do. That was enough for him to school his face into a respectful demeanor, even while listening to the hardship is good for you lecture.
The lecture occurred on a weekly basis, sometimes twice a week. Non-pagans thought witches conjured whatever they desired; put hexes on people they didn’t like, and flew on broomsticks. His family moved a lot to escape persecution and worked hard for what they wanted. Often, they still didn’t get it, but, Nana would point out, they got what they needed.
Still, all these obstacles and possible death stuff wasn’t doing it for him. “Don’t some people die trying to surmount the obstacles?”
Planting her cane on the pavement, she tugged on his arm indicating her desire to go forward. “Yes, some do, but that is only their current life. They have many more to pass through.”
“I’d kinda like to stay in this current life. I’m only fifteen. Can’t say I’m done living yet. Haven’t really done anything yet. Can I get out of this obstacle thing?”
Nana look horrified. Her head swiveled right and left. Holding a finger to her lips, she shushed him. “Lower your voice. You don’t want the fates to hear. They design your destiny and can cut it short if they will. What will happen has to happen. I only want you prepared.”
More soon. The chapter continues.