“It’s in your blood, hun.”
His mother’s response to the announcement that he was leaving home echoed in his ears. He knew she would be supportive, but he never expected to feel both exhilarated and let down at the same time. They were close, and always had been, but a little part of him now felt she had already let him go years ago. Pushing that thought from his mind, Eric picked up his loaded backpack and set off for the adventure of a lifetime. With one last hug and long look at his old life, he began walking down the familiar sun-dappled path toward town and the bus station.
Eric still appreciated the quiet, peaceful beauty of the old trees as their leaves donned autumn’s colors, but his mind was elsewhere. His imagination conjured up images of vibrant city life, the music, the lights, the faster pace. He’d have to get a job, of course, and was prepared with various resumes. He couldn’t wait to begin his new, exciting life, and was so preoccupied with these thoughts that he didn’t hear the rattle as he stepped over the log. Eric braced himself for the rattlesnake bite that he knew was coming.
He looked down at the log expecting to see a coiled rattler poised to strike. But he was totally unprepared for what he actually saw. There, in a small wicker basket, was a baby, no more than a few months old, Eric guessed, rattle in hand, looking back up at Eric. The baby shook its rattle and then smiled up at Eric. Eric reached down and lifted up the basket. The baby looked healthy and, given the circumstance, remarkably happy. It even started cooing when Eric lifted it up out of the basket. And that is when Eric found the note attached to the baby’s diaper.
The typed note said, “I am a victim of incestuous rape and I am not fit to be a mother. I named her Tuesday, because that is when she was born, but who ever finds her can rename her whatever they want.” Eric being the genius that he was, realized that the baby was only two days old, because today was Thursday, or possibly it was a week and two days old, but he really had no idea and it could have been a few months old and two days. Eric felt that this was better than getting bit by a rattle snake, or for that matter getting hit by a javelin, but Eric knew that he did not want this baby and he would have to figure out something to do with it, so he could get on with his busy life. It was kind of a cute baby and he always liked that song Tuesday Afternoon. Eric wondered how any mother could not feel any emotional attachment for their own baby and that is when he crouched down to pick the baby up. As he grabbed the baby, he heard a voice say, “No stupid, you have give her proper support because she is still developing, so put your hands under the baby’s head.” Eric looked around and saw…
He put the baby back in the basket, blew a kiss and moved on,
“All the best, Tuesday! May you find a parent who deserves you….”
He had barely moved ten steps, when he heard the baby’s cooing again. Reluctantly, he looked back and found her smiling. She even managed to wave at him, or was she imploring to be picked up…. He was now sure that she was more than a month old, as she could communicate so well. But how had she survived for so long? Did the callous mother take more than a month to abandon her? He was imagining a face similar to the baby’s … maybe, the mother is young and beautiful, but callous … no helpless or .. innocent or .. what? Darn… it was not his problem to think about that.
Another cooing sound, and he had picked up Tuesday again. He looked into the baby’s innocent eyes, and knew that he was hooked. But how was he going to manage this?
There were only two options. One, go back to his Mom and seek her help. She might suspect something else, but it didn’t matter. Or look for the baby’s mother.
The thought of searching for Tuesday’s mother sounded hectic. Eric decided to take the baby home to his mom. When mom saw Eric, she was quite surprised by his return. She was taken aback to see a pair of tiny toes peeking alongside Eric’s shoulder. The baby’s cries filled the room. Mom quickly grabbed Tuesday in her arms.
‘I had doubted mom unnecessarily,’ thought Eric and smiled a sign of relief.
‘What’s your story?’ asked mom.
Eric quickly started from the rattle sound to the note in the diaper.
Mom’s eyes were clouded with tears. ‘The history repeats,’ she said to herself.
She remembered that day how Eric arrived at her. It was the time of sunset and she was having her usual walk along the neighborhood park when she heard a feeble cry. A day 1 old baby was found in a brown cardboard carton wrapped in a piece of bloodstained cloth. She frantically waited for an hour to see if anyone came to claim the baby. Finally, she took the baby herself and a homeless baby got a home and a mother too.
She named him Eric, meaning Ever or Eternal.
Eric’s mother was quickly hard at work fussing over the baby. There was so much to do and first thing was to change the baby’s nappy as it was considerably wet and smelly after so many or few days.
Eric knew his mother was a good mother after all he had her to blame for being the man he was.
His thought of adventures in the city were put on hold as he and his mum discussed what to do. Tuesday would have to be handed in as his mum knew the mother would in time want to know where her child was.
They decided to put a lost child sign up on every post in the village. Surely someone would come forward.
After a week there came a knock on the door.
The man stood on the porch, taking off his hat when Eric’s mother opened the door.
‘I understand you are caring for an infant which I believe is my daughter. I’ve come to take her home.’
Eric’s mother distrusted him on sight, and rather than invite him in, decided to keep him on the doorstep.
‘Yes, we are looking after a young child temporarily. And who Sir, are you exactly?’
‘My name is Edwin Mallor, and I live in the next village. My fourteen year old daughter ran away with her sister some weeks ago, spreading malicious rumours about misconduct under my roof. I have come to claim what is rightfully mine, and will see to it that you are well compensated for your time and trouble.’
‘And what Sir, has happened to your older daughter? Has she been found and returned safely to you?’
‘Sadly no. Her body was retrieved from the river eight days ago. It is believed she had left the babe unattended whilst she bathed.’
‘And where Sir, might this have been?’
‘In the woods over yonder. May I take the child now?’
‘How old would your daughter be Sir?’
‘About six weeks of age.’
‘I am sorry Sir, but the child we are caring for is about a year old. I will bring her to you if you wish, but I am confident she is not your kin.’
‘That will not be necessary then, so I’ll bid you good day.’
Eric could not believe his mother could lie so blatantly to the man, and asked why she had done so.
‘Eric, son. You are a good boy, but you don’t understand these matters. Tuesday may well be his daughter. She may also be his grand daughter. How convenient that her mother drowned and cannot defend her actions.’
‘What are we going to do?’ Eric asked.
‘I want you to remove all of the notices in the village. I need to think of a way to keep this baby safe’.
Eric nodded. He did not quite understand how these things worked, just like his mother had said. However, he knew that little Tuesday would be safer with them. He blew a flying kiss to Tuesday, and ran off towards the village. He had to remove all the notices.
He returned in the evening. He knocked on the door. He heard his mother’s voice coming from inside.
“Mom, it’s me.”
“You know the password, Eric.”
Eric sighed. When he was a little kid, Eric had been fond of making makeshift tents inside the house. He would let his mom enter the tent only if she used a password he had made up. Eric spoke towards the door.
Mother opened the door to let Eric inside. To his shock, Eric saw an assortment of weapons laid out on his dining table. Bows, knives, swords, axes, it was a complete arsenal. He looked at his mother with questioning eyes.
“Mother? What is all this?”
Mother placed her hands on Eric’s shoulders.
“Child, you should know. Tuesday is no ordinary baby. Men will come to take her away. Evil men. We need to keep her safe.”
“But, mom what about the oath you took? And what do you mean by Tuesday not being an ordinary baby.”
Mother ruffled Eric’s hair.
“See Eric, we have a visitor.”
“A visitor?” Eric had been so annoyed with Mother’s password nonsense and surprised at the weapons he had not seen the figure sitting next to the fireplace. He watched as it unfolded from the chair rising until her head nearly touched the ceiling. She was thin, her face full of sharp angles and sharp eyes. The flowing amber-brown fabric of her dress fell from her shoulders to the floor, softening her bony structure.
“What…” Eric blinked several times. “Who are you?”
“My name is Laila. I am a fairy and Tuesday’s godmother.”
“A fairy godmother?”
Laila’s pale face might have been alabaster. She stood motionless, her slender fingers dangling from the sleeves of the gown.
“Tuesday’s fairy godmother? Some godmother you are. Aren’t you supposed to protect her?” Eric’s voice rose as he spoke, he clenched his fist and shook it at the being in front of him.
“Eric,” his mother said placing her hand on his shoulder.
“I led you to her. You required guidance holding the babe,” Laila said.
“It was you I heard?”
Laila slowly closed and opened her eyes. Her chin dipped a fraction in acknowledgement.
“What do you mean you led me to her? Me? Why me?” Eric shook his head.
“It is as foretold by prophecy.”
Laila’s eyes closed again and though her mouth didn’t move her voice filled the room.
“You have a restlessness young man but your conscience will always lead you to do what is difficult but right”.
Eric was mesmerised by the softness and timbre of her voice; she seemed to speak in echoes. His mother had stopped fussing and even the baby was silent, hushed by Laila’s melodic voice.
“The note was written that way to pull you in, once you read its contents you would want to take this child and give her a safe place” Laila continued, gently touching the baby’s forehead.
“Eric, you have a destiny. You know this; unconsciously it’s been simmering in your psyche” Laila moves a little closer to the fire as she speaks and Eric sees sparks bounce off her lips.
“I had to protect this child from the evil sent to retrieve her. That man who pretended to be related to her, he was in good disguise but your mother spotted it immediately. I thank you Madam” and Laila bows and her gown rustles like leaves falling on an autumn day.
Mother smiles shyly and nods, “Yes I felt he wanted to destroy the magic, he had a muddy, streaked aura that was quite menacing”.
“Indeed he was not here for the benefit of this special child, the girl he mentioned was not his daughter though she was this baby’s mother. She was ill and had run away to save her child, sadly her body was too weak. I protected the child while waiting for you to appear Eric.”
“There is a prophecy you see…..
Heed the owl on a full moon night.
Tell the mother hold on
until the owl passes over town,
or the caul will be torn
and the child have no sight
behold the transparent veil
the mystic cover
remove with care
there’s magic beware”
Eric stood and cried. Those words he had heard in his nightmares. All his life he had had the same recurring dream. He would have to face the Nighwatcher. In the dream, he travelled through the darkest parts of the forest at night, with only a special candle to find the Nightwatcher who appeared in the form of an owl. The Owl would sing to him the same words that Laila had just told him. Only the Nightwatcher knew the rest of the prophecy.
“Mother, you need to keep the baby safe, Laila will help you. They will come for her, she is the Lightchild. You remember the nightmares that I’ve had since I was small? You used to cradle me in your arms and sing to me until the memories of those terrible dreams faded. In those dreams, I was told the words to that prophecy and I was given a mission. I think you know all about it. You must give me the candle.”
His Mother’s eyes went vacant suddenly. “What candle? I don’t know what you mean by the candle.”
“Those horrible dreams told me you would have the candle. Only that candle will light my path to the Nighwatcher and only he can tell me what I must do next. I am the Pathseeker and I must return the Lightchild to her rightful place, only then will the evils of the world, released by Pandora all those thousands of years ago, be returned to their box and the world will be at peace again. I know now what our family secret it. You are a Witch, and Pandora was your ancestor. You have a black candle and I must have it.”
“Eric you don’t know what you’re saying. A black candle is a wicked thing, made from the rendered fat of an infant. I would never have such a thing!”
“Mother, I know you could never make one but nonetheless I know you have one.”
The tears ran down her face as she nodded her head. She ran upstairs and he could hear her open the door to the attic. There was a lot of weird stuff up there, he remembered sneaking up there as a child. After a lot of noise of boxes being moved, his mother came back downstairs. She held out a black satin bag as if it was a venomous snake about to bite her.
“Here, Son, take it. I could never bear to see it, not after my Mother told me what it was. It has been passed down the female line in our family. Use it soon. I fear time is short. Once lit, the candle will only burn for six hours. The wax never burns, but it will not light again until it receives fresh blood to recharge it.”
Laila smiled at them. “You have discovered your destiny. I am the guardian of the child, you are the Pathseeker. Your Mother and I will keep the child safe but you must go tonight to find the next part of the prophecy. There is only one more thing you must know…………………..”
The Story Died Here 😦
This story was created by:
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