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I know if has been a super long time since I have been on here. I am glad to see the community is still THRIVING! Life, in the last couple of years have been super rough. this month marks the 2 year anniversary since COVID took my mom and my aunts (her 2 baby sisters) from me....all around my birthday, which is on the 16th. Then next month will be the 1 yr anniversay of my father's passing from cancer. Needless to say, I lost my fire, but now I feel like the little spark is back. With that, I am going to start slow with posting some shorts that I have already rewritten several times over. I have plans to expand this one, but have not mapped anything for it yet. So please enjoy it as it is. 

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

In Dreams, They Come




"What is the most important rule of dream walking?" her father asked.


"No one is who you think they are until they say they are," she answered.


"What is in a name?"


"A name defines the soul and binds it into existence."


        'Fifteen,' Gaetan's voice drifted into her consciousness. Sharp pain pierced the muscles of Aasefi's back. The weight of crafting the spell construct, in the middle of the tumultuous dreamscape that belonged to Jael Duvernier, was taking its toll and she was running out of time. She was trying to secure the middle layer of the spell without shattering the illusion she projected of making a snack.


       The kitchen was an open space in the middle of a flower field, free of any other supporting structure. The missing roof should have left her exposed to the shifting elements, but she remained untouched.


       Above, the sun and moon played a game of celestial tug of war. One moment, daylight flooded the space, in the next the moon illuminated the kitchen. Snowstorms, violent rain, turbulent hail, and followed by clear skies with gentle breezes glitched over the surrounding landscape in continuous succession, but none of it spilled within the confines of the kitchen.


       It was a testament to the power Jael would come into once she crossed her first awakening in the real world. The Duvernier family's magic was elemental. A magical family was only as powerful as their primary power. Jael didn't just have power over one prime element, she controlled all of them. She was a fifth element. An extremely rare gift. The glitching landscape was just a glimpse of what she could do. It would mean environmental disaster for the physical world, if Aasefi couldn't expel this thing.


       Gaetan, Jael's father, kept pace with time in the physical world. Their mental connection brought reverberations of fatigue and exhaustion from the prone body she left in the middle of her bedroom floor. Gaetan slowly fed power into her personal magic circle to keep their connection active while she worked.


'You have to move faster,' the urgency in his tone grated her nerves.


       'You come do it, then' she pushed back. She had a lot to lose too. As a dream walker, Aasefi had protection, but even she wasn't invulnerable.


       As a licensed psychic therapist, she usually shed her personal problems like a coat in order to help her clients. It's what she did. She helped trauma victims, typically veterans with PTSD heal their subconscious emotional wounds, by walking their dreamscapes with them and purging what bothered them. Jael wasn't her usual client. She stayed away from pediatric cases because of her unresolved issues, but Jael was a special case. She was a child in desperate need of help. She was her child in need of her mother's help. Not that Jael knew it. She understood his stress but refused to give him the emotional quarter.




       Jael was the result of an unsanctioned union between Aasefi and Gaetan. Their elopement violated the tenuous compact that kept the hate between the feuding Selbeni and Duvernier families from spilling into the public.


       Youth and hubris fueled their passionate forbidden affair. Aasefi and Gaetan believed the depth of their love would shield them from the fallout their union manifested. The illusion of their invulnerability failed them during the last trimester of Aasefi's pregnancy. The first spark of their unborn child's inherent power overwhelmed her magical circuits. She started losing gaps in time under the weight of the combined powers of the Duvernier and Selbeni clans brewing in her womb. Gaetan crafted a magic circle that forced Aasefi into a coma.


       The inflexible pride she inherited from her father pushed Aasefi to make Gaetan promise he wouldn't go to James for help. His portion of the vast Duvernier fortune failed to secure him a solution that would save his wife and baby, so he broke his vow.


       Fortunately, James's love for his daughter superseded his disappointment in her choice of a mate. Aasefi was a Selbeni. Their family's ancestral magic was only rivaled by the Duvernier clan. The two families were the most powerful magical families in the southeast. A bitter rivalry festered between them for decades. James couldn't help but hold Gaetan responsible for his daughter's condition, but he could never turn his back on blood.




       The childlike figure behind her sat happily at the kitchen table drawing on a white sheet of paper, humming to herself.


       'Seal the corners...' her father's voice slithered across her thoughts as another memory with him surfaced. James Selbeni drilled magical lessons into her since she could hold her first silver and graphite spell pen. As a Selbeni heir, her father's tutelage was severe. Whispers of his lessons slithered across her subconscious at the most inopportune times, disrupting her focus.


       A line wavered in the construct's mid-layer before she quickly got ahold of it and secured the corners of the spell with saltire crosses. Intersecting parallelograms were anchored by Gaetan's private power sigil in the center.


       'Thirteen.' Gatean's voice was a little more subdued as he counted down the time to the closing of the veil on the night's witching hour. She formed the lines of the final layer before slowly imbuing them with energy. Even in her astral form, her wrists ached under the strain of the task. Her magical circuits throbbed beneath the veins in her forearms, carrying the dull ache all the way up her elbows. Not good. Aasefi tried to steady her trembling fingers when a distorted voice caught her attention.


       "What are you making, Mommy? I'm hungry," the childlike figure asked. The voice was a dyssynchronous harmony of high and low tones, like a chorus of flutes and horns playing simultaneously off key. This wasn't Jael's sweet, melodic lilt, but she tried hard to keep her appearance. Aasefi couldn't flinch, though she desperately wanted to.


       'Zubricht,' the pet name her father used to call her surfaced: sweetling. 'Remember who you are. Never show what you can do...not until the time is right.' She hated that his little words of wisdom floated to the forefront of her mind. He wasn't wrong. She had to steel herself against her nerves.


       "I want to play," she complained but in the next breath, she demanded to be fed and the world outside, flipped from day to night.


       'Nine! Now or never, Aasefi,' Fear and agitation took up agency in Gaetan's impatient plea. He was helpless in the physical realm. His power no longer lived up to the infamous Duvernier reputation. He sacrificed his primary magical circuits, years ago to protect his wife and unborn daughter.




       Aasefi's body struggled to contain the new influx of power flowing through her. If she and the baby survived, they would be genomorphetic. It was a deformity that plagued beings of power. Magical circuits, the veins that grow in those with access to magic, controlled the ebb and flow of magic a user possessed. The unguarded circuits of a fetus would become corrupt and atrophy. The backlash of the baby's power could permanently damage Aasefi's circuits as well.


       James and Gaetan went to the Del Montes family for assistance. They dealt in ancient magic that lived firmly in the grey. Their matriarch, a powerful seer, explained that the unborn child would have access to more latent magic in both the physical and dream realms than had been seen in centuries.


       A significant sacrifice was required to save mother and daughter and to prevent the war their survival would ignite. Without hesitation, Gaetan sacrificed his principal elemental circuits-the mark of his status of heir to the Duvernier family-to save his wife and child.


       James sacrificed the powerful second sight of his third eye to erase all known knowledge of the union between Gaetan and his daughter. All who were in the knowing were in the dark. All except James, Gaetan, and Aasefi.


       When Aasefi awakened in her childhood bedroom, her baby and husband were gone. James, in a newly weakened state, pleaded with her to see reason. It was for Jael's safety that Gaetan took her away and raised her as a widower. She quietly moved out the next day.




       Jael showed up on Aasefi's doorstep three nights ago, behind her father's back, begging for help with the darkness that haunted her dreams. Internally, she seethed with unchecked rage that Gaetan hadn't told her sooner. She told him as much when he came to her, furious that she had contact with Jael. So, when a panicked Gaetan showed up at her door at sunset with a fevered, unconscious Jael she jumped to immediate action.


       'Eight,' the quiet panic in his tone caused a tight ball of emotion to constrict in her chest. She had eight minutes to complete her task before the closing of the veil on the witching hour. Children of power were most susceptible to supernatural attacks during their turn of their birthdays.


       When midnight struck, Jael turned nine. To make matters worse, she was nearing the time of her first awakening. It was archaic but it was basic magical science. Her first blood would quicken the path to her awakening to amplified power. There were few things greater than the ability to create and carry life. That energy magnified power to dangerous levels. It was a beacon for all the nasties in the night to try to get a piece of the action.


       Thunder clapped, followed by a flash of lightning. Sporadic droplets of rain began to splash the white linoleum floors. The darkness that had a hold on her child was losing patience.


       Aasefi's breathing strained as she pushed the last frisson of binding energy into the construct and sealed it.




       The child continued to flip flop between wanting to go out and play and eating a snack. Each demand was punctuated by a change in the weather and time of day.


       She turned her projection to face the child, as she continued to work. Aasefi had to be careful. To call the darkness by Jael's name would solidify its connection to her.


       "I am making myself a sandwich. I didn't make you anything yet because I don't know what you like."


       The day stopped shifting outside the walls of the kitchen and settled on a late Spring afternoon. Birds chirped softly in the distance and a breeze danced through the field of flowers surrounding the kitchen, kicking up colorful petals.


       "You know what I like, Mommy," the darkness attempted to smile but the mouth looked disjointed. When it called her "mommy" it was Jael's pained voice that filtered through. She was pushing back. The child's appearance glitched between Jael's and a frail old woman.


        Construct completed; she faced it head on. She concealed the spell behind a glamor to make it look like a sandwich on plate.


       "I know what Jael likes. I don't know what you want," Aasefi explained with a simple smile. She approached the table where the child sat, still coloring while staring at her.


       'Three!' Although time moved slower in the dreamscape, she was still running out of time in the real world.


       Thunder clapped before lightning flashed again, but the sky did not darken. The child's height fluctuated for a moment and Aasefi barely caught a glimpse of the old woman again. The darkness still couldn't settle on a look. Without total control over her, it clashed with the power of Jael's consciousness. Smooth dusky cheeks flanked a wrinkled mouth with chapped, dry lips. The smile was all wrong.


       She felt no malice when she settled the sandwich between them and took a seat at the small kitchen table. No malice was good, but there was a resentment that rolled off the child's form that Aasefi couldn't quite place.


"It's me," the distortion was back.


"And you are?"


       "Don't be silly, mommy," the distortion was stronger. Balls of hail slammed through the invisible ceiling and crashed against the floor. The child threw the crayon and planted her hands flat on the table between them. Twin Duvernier sigils flared on the back of her hands.


        Aasefi's stomach lurched with revulsion. Gaetan knew something was happening wrong with their daughter. The sigils, similar to her family's, were one of protection. She had expected one, but not two. This meant the darkness was closer to fully possessing Jael than she initially thought.


       "Two!" Gaetan's panic was overwhelming, but she couldn't feed off that. Aasefi made quick work of duplicating the construct. Now that she had a basis for its dimensions, a magical copy and paste was not a problem, but the effort shorted one of her circuits, based on the numbness in her left hand.


       Two 'sandwiches' were now on the table between them.


       "If you know who you are, then you shouldn't rely on me to tell you," Aasefi calmly explained.


       The child contemplated her words for a few moments. Jael's visage flickered again before stabilizing for an instant and then glitching.


       "Mommy, I want to," the child sat back down but kept the small hands on the table. The voice was more Jael's childish lilt but it was not quite right. The darkness was adapting-learning to let just a little bit of Jael to shine through.


'One! Aasefi, move your ass!'


       "You can't decide if you want to play or eat. These sandwiches are delicious, but I don't make a habit of feeding strangers."


       "I am The Becoming, and I will eat her soul. When I am done, I will come for yours!" The bass in the distorted voice shook the room. Before the child could lunge, Aasefi locked her hands on the child's wrists and slammed it over the hidden constructs.


       "Then let's say grace and be undone with it," a savage grin crossed Aasefi's lips as she ripped away the illusion and pushed the constructs over the small hands in her tight grip. The layered spells that fueled the construct, locked onto Jael's sigils.


       "Kwaiba!" Aasefi quickened the spells with a power word of undoing to dissolve the hold that The Becoming had on the young girl. The lines of the construct spread over the child's hands and over her body. It moved quickly to engulf her small body and settle beneath her skin to separate her from the old woman.


       Frissons of power, fueled by the sigils on Jael's hands, allowed Aasefi to yank her across the table and into her arm. She held her tight against her chest as a portal opened, pulling The Becoming inside before snapping shut.


       Lines of power surrounded Jael and receded into the mark of her twin sigils. Aasefi took deep breaths of Jael's sweet scent before she was jarred out of the dreamscape and back into the real world.




       "I really hate alarm clocks," she groaned and flexing the stiff muscles in her aching back. Aasefi blinked hard to refocus her vision in the dark room. The persistent buzzing of her cell phone's alarm drew her attention to the small sleeping form in her bed. The poor child was right to be afraid.


       Gaetan shoved offered her hand to help her get up when her left arm crumbled under her weight, but she ignored it. Aasefi struggled on her own before finally standing on weak legs.


       "You had no right to keep this from me," Aasefi whispered but she knew he heard her from the stutter in his movements when he leaned over the bed to check on Jael. He remained silent.


        Gaetan used his familial power to reach out and check over Jael. A deep, relieved sigh deflated him when he saw her sigils were intact and settled beneath her skin.


       "Let her rest a bit before taking her home. There are spare clothes and clean towels in the adjoining bath," Aasefi explained, finding it difficult to meet his troubled brown eyes when he looked at her. She turned her back on him and limped towards the door. Her left arm would be useless for a few days. The instant duplication spell on a construct that complex had definitely fried something.


       Gaetan held Jael close and watched Aasefi lean heavily on the right side, her singed left arm, lame at her side.


       "Thank you," he whispered.


Aasefi didn't face him, but she nodded her acknowledgment before she exited the room.




       The dark sedan waited for him just beyond the gates of the estate. To the typical eye, the car and the man alongside the road's shoulder blended into the rows of towering Florida elms and flowering dogwood in full bloom. Gaetan cut off his lights and pulled over to the shoulder, just past the other vehicle. He eyed Jael through the rearview mirror. She slept peacefully for the first time in months. The cool breeze caused an errant curl to sweep over her sable cheek. She murmured incoherently before snuggling deeper into the blanket. A small smile touched his lips but did not quite reach his eyes.


       James Selbeni reached through the open window and swept the curl off her cheek and tucked it behind her ear before whispering inaudibly into her ear. The sigil on her exposed hand glowed softly before settling in, invisible beneath her skin. James tucked a teddy bear into her side, shapes - identical to the constructs Aasefi made, at the bottom of both of its feet for her added protection. Exhaustion prevented her from waking, but she tucked the bear into her side and nuzzled it before settling down again.


"Happy birthday, da moin" he said softly. My blood, he called her.


       Leaning on the driver's door, Gaetan had a clearer view of James as the slivers of moonlight pierced through the tree line. His white button-down shirt was soaked in sweat, though the air was unseasonably cool from the recent autumn rain.


       James expended a great amount of energy, nearly frying his magical circuits to maintain the telepathic link to Aasefi. It was getting harder to guide her, in the shadows of her mind, without revealing his presence. James saw Gaetan watching him as he straightened to his full height, just over six feet.


"Every year gets harder," Gaetan said.


       "Next year will be worse. Her awakening will come." Apprehension settled thickly in the air between them. Gaetan followed James' gaze to the house at the end of the lane that he had just left. The moonlight shined on her bedroom window on the second story. The breeze disturbed the sheer curtains, but no other movement was spotted.


       'She must be exhausted too,' Gaetan thought to himself. A ball of emotion tightened in his chest, and he leaned back against the car, his arm over his eyes to prevent the tears. His exposed forearm carried marred and puckered skin as evidence of his double-edged victory and failure.


"She should be with her...with us...with-"


        "-Never!" James cut him off and made an irritated sound in the back of his throat. "It is part of the sacrifice we made," When Gaetan met his gaze, he leveled the younger man with a hard stare. Hot energy sparked through his weakened circuits.


       "The only reason I didn't hand you to the family, all those years ago, was because you did the right thing." James' expression softened a touch as he could see the emotional weight that settled over Gaetan. He gripped his shoulder softly and offered a weak smile.


       "You sacrificed your principal channels to save da moin,"


       "She is your blood, but my life is hers," He didn't stop the silent tears from falling this time. He hung his head, dark hair falling over his forehead to shield his face.


       "We avoided a war and unnecessary bloodshed," Moments of silence passed between the two men. The night's symphony softly filled the space between them.


       "She calls me to her dreams. I know she doesn't mean to, but she does," he quietly sobbed, while staring at the simple silver band on his left hand.


       "I hide my face from her, but she calls to me, and I go. I will always go."


James sagged against the car in defeat.


"It is the only time for you, in dreams. Reality would be more of a nightmare."


"She should get to raise her."


"She does. Every year, for three days, in her dreams...even if Jael doesn't remember."


       "It's not enough," Gaetan whispered weakly. A strong gust shook the trees, littering the ground around them with dogwood blooms.


       "It will have to be. She's a Selbeni and you're a Duvernier," James failed to hide his mild disgust when he said Gaetan's family name.


"And Jael?"


       "She's an innocent who will be made to suffer a hard and sad road, but she will survive because she is kwa moin," Our blood. "It is the way of it."


       The men turned to Jael, still sleeping peacefully. Dogwood flowers settled over her hair like a crown. Gaetan returned James' sad smile before getting in the car and taking off down the dark road.



Chapter End Notes:


Da moin - my blood Kwa moin - (actual Taino word- wa moin) Our blood Kwaiba - (actual Taino word - Guaiba') go/leave...but used in the context of the story means to be undone. Ttakaya, Naichi - (actual Taino words - Taicaraya nanichi) Good night, my love/ my heart.

So, my mind put me in a bit of a writer's exile. These classes have given me back a bit of my spark so I thought I would spread the love. Thanks ya'll!

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Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.