River of Shadows – Chapter 3

“I will find you.
In the farthest corner, I will find you.”
– Mary E. Pearson

**

They made a few stops once in a while, to eat, rest and take baths. Ella had no idea where she was going but she felt free for being able to walk and walk, not knowing where she’s headed and not having to go back either. No obligations nor people trying to force her to remember things she simply cannot. Not having people around expecting her to be someone she can not give to them. And instead of ending up feeling miserable for not being able to give them what they want, she’s here. Not truly happy, but free.

She didn’t ask Caleb anything about him or his life. Because if she did ask, she would eventually have to share things about her as well which she wasn’t ready to say and lying to him, again and again, wasn’t also an option she was comfortable with. She had a feeling he might feel the same way because through all the way he didn’t ask anything either.

When the night came, Ella marked her arm with a star. Like a tattoo created with the help of her powers. Several nights went by, each one leaving a mark below her elbow.

**

In the starlight, Caleb’s hair looked beautiful. Not white nor grey. It nearly blinded her by staring so long and deep into it.

Without noticing what was happening, she’s being shaken by Caleb, who waves his hand in front of her eyes. She doesn’t even blink at the sight of them.

“What?” She shouts.

They were in the middle of quite literally nowhere. The fire was warming them as the spring breeze left chills in their bodies. The sky so full of stars lighting their path.

“I don’t know what happened, your eyes went blank. You couldn’t see my hands moving in front of you.” He told her.

“Blind.” She says.

“Yeah, something like that.” He goes back to his seat.

“Your eyes nearly drown me, your hair… blinded me.” She spoke so low he barely heard her.

“What are you saying?”

She repeated the words, louder this time making sure that he hears her properly. She expected him to look shocked, even call her names and say she was losing her mind but he didn’t. She can barely sense his magic, the little he has he might not even be aware of it. And yet, he’s not surprised by what she just said.

Caleb remained calm and his expression impossible to read.

“The first time it happened, you thought it was your own power didn’t you?” She nods. “It’s not. It’s mine. I’m actually unsure of why this is happening again. It shouldn’t be happening to you. What happened with your powers?”

“What do you mean?” He got closer, this time seating beside her.

“A power likes yours…” he shakes his head, “you should have that shield up. Prevent yourself from getting harmed by others. And yet, ” he pauses staring into her eyes, “I can put it inside of you, do as I please. I should have a hard time penetrating your shields, but I don’t,” he pauses again searching for something, “they are not even up.”

As hard as she tried to remained serious, she fell into a loud laughter. A smirk forming on his lips, “really?”

“I’m sorry,” she says trying to gain back control, “but you really know how to choose your words.” He’s laughing now too and she can see something different on him, his eyes. There’s a new spark that wasn’t there before.

When they are both calm, he speaks again. “I’m serious. What happened to you? I’m pretty sure that you are aware of the powers you have.”

“I can’t remember.” No lies, just the honest truth. “Some sort of accident, I have no idea what happened but I lost my memories and my ability to control my powers. That’s not the only thing though…” He waited for her to keep going, listening carefully, hopeful even which puzzled her. “I feel like something was taken from me.” She pauses. Both wait, for something they don’t know.

Ella speaks again, “How much power do you even have? I could barely sense it in you.”

“A shield. The same you should keep up. A lot of harm can be done to you if people can so much sense how much power is inside of you. It’s easier to go blank.”

“Teach me.” His eyes go wide and a smile forms on his lips, nearly reaching his eyes.

“Alright.” He replies. “I can try the basics, other things will depend on how powerful you are.”

The night settled in. She could barely contain her excitement now that she was going to learn more about her abilities. And since she knows now, she was able to see for the first time the extent of Caleb’s powers. What he allowed her to sense anyway.

He created a tent for them to sleep in. Each move came from his song. So that’s why his voice sounded so beautiful the first time she heard him. He is a singer indeed, his voice is where his magic comes from. Like a chanting, he says words she can’t understand until a tent appears, they sleep inside of it and she hasn’t felt this comfortable in a very long time.

Ella stares at the tiny stars all over her right arm and the hint of silver in them. “So many nights and only now you decide to create this. My back resents you.”

Caleb laughs and after a while, they were both asleep. No dreams.
They wake up to the sound of birds flying above them and singing. The smell of the flowers is so intense that it makes her sneeze the moment she steps outside.

“The bad part about being in constant Spring.” He comments.

Things looked different this morning.

“Was this part of your work?” She asks but he simply shrugs and makes the tent disappear.

“Can you remember what sort of elements you could control?” He asks while they eat breakfast.

“Not really.” She replies. “I’m guessing I can do pretty much everything. Control people, I… I can paralyse your body. I just can’t control my power any longer.”

“Everything?”

She nods.

They begin with the basics after breakfast. It all comes down to Ella understanding and knowing herself. What lives on the inside of her, moving through her veins. Breathing as one. As she keeps going and trying, something inside of her comes alive.

“Here, we all have magic,” He begins to explain, “some express it in different ways. My power uses my voice as a way to be released. Through spells, all I have to do is speak them out loud and things happen. Others might use parts of their bodies like their hands. A few movements and signs and you got magic happening. Magic needs a conduct, a way to allow it to manifest. Some people use objects too. Whatever works for them.”

She waits for him to say something else. When he notices the look on her face, he goes on. “You, it’s like your mind is your own conduct. Your thoughts are enough. You want it, it happens. It’s like you are pure magic. Most of us just have a little taste of it. You have it all.”

“I… I don’t know what to say.”

“You don’t have to say anything. Let’s just keep working.”

They continue to practice until it was time to move. To where she still had no idea. But being with Caleb felt right. Her powers were getting under control again.

The stars began to fill her left arm now too. Black ink with hints of silver, tiny and beautiful. Marking every night she spent by his side. Every night that she has felt free.

“Thank you,” Ella says while they are both lying on the grass watching the night sky. The weather never really changes around here, the weather was becoming her favourite part. Never cold nor hot, just comfortable.

“For what?” He asks minutes later.

“Teaching me, travelling with me even though you certainly did not have to. I should be afraid, I should have told you to stop and just let me find my own way towards another land. But I’m not afraid. I never was. For some unknown reason, I trust you.” She turns, changing her position and holding her weight on her right leg and arm. Tears were rolling down her cheeks, Caleb reached out to wipe them but she didn’t let him. “It’s ok,” she says.

“I trust you as well. It’s been fun, spending time with you. Teaching you and making sure you don’t get yourself killed even though we have encountered zero dangerous situations.” He laughs. “Even though I have no idea where I’m taking you.”

“Who knows.” It’s all she replies, resting her head on his chest. She can hear his heartbeat.

She drops the shield, sensing his magic because he dropped his as well. Magic is everywhere. In the sky, the birds, the flowers and the trees and most of all, it’s in them.

That night there was rain.

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