Authors: Katie M John
Tags: #romance, #vampires, #urban fantasy, #adventure, #paranormal romance, #young adult, #college, #mythology, #forbidden love, #fairytale, #knights, #immortals, #mermaids, #arthurian legend
He nodded. “Yes. I know you
love Sam and you love him with all your heart but love isn’t finite
I stomped off, realising that I
had no particular destination in mind and that I’d at some point be
forced to turn back on myself. I felt unbelievably foolish and
angry, but in truth it wasn’t Blake I was angry with.
“Mina, where are you going?
Please don’t walk away, I’m sorry if I upset you. Please, Mina,
come back and talk with me.” Blake’s voice came closer as he jogged
to catch up with me.
He grabbed my arm turning me to
face him with more force than he probably meant to and I found
myself stumble. He instinctively caught me pulling me in and
holding me tight. His breath was on my neck as he lowered himself
to whisper in my ear, “I’m sorry I’m really sorry I love you.”
I pulled away wondering exactly
how I should punctuate his declaration and as I rolled the full
stops over the words, he dug in his jacket pocket producing an
apple, the most perfect apple I’d ever seen.
“Peace offering?” A smile
spread across his lips. “And if you don’t like apples we could
always use it to test out some of Newton’s probability
I took it and smiled back at
him. “Thank you but I think we’re already establishing that
theories of probability suck.”
I bit into it, it was the
sweetest apple I’d ever tasted but part of me couldn’t help but
think it was poisoned.
When I returned home, Mum was
clearly unhappy with me, and I felt bad that I seemed to be making
things worse for her than they already were. Unlike her usual
greeting, she was distant and cold. Usually we didn’t keep secrets
and I’d never had any cause before to make her worry, but I knew
that my feelings towards Blake were something that she wouldn’t be
able to understand. She’d simplify my behaviour to a simple act of
betrayal. Maybe she would’ve been right.
We spent the afternoon
revolving around each other on our own little satellites, me in my
room, her in her studio. I winged an e-mail to Uncle Josef and
arranged to meet Daisy on the Sunday afternoon to get an update on
the photo situation. The rest of the afternoon, I spent the surfing
the web, looking up any tangent that was to do with the Arthurian
I started with Morgan Le Fay,
half sister and nemesis of King Arthur. Myth portrayed her as a
dark and dangerous force and having met with her in the flesh, myth
seemed to have portrayed her pretty accurately. The Arthurian
legends were intricate; complex bloodlines and shifting
allegiances; personal vengeances, over-vaulting ambition and doomed
love affairs seemed to leave a trail of death woven throughout. The
tangled web of the myth pulled me in, and before I knew it darkness
A knock at the door announced a
conciliatory Mum holding a cup of tea.
“I thought you might like a
“Thanks. I lost track of time,”
I said realising that it was already six o. clock.
“Are you going to see Sam
“I’d planned to but I think
that I’ve probably left it too late”
Mum came in and sat on the edge
of my bed. When I was little she’d always done this at the end of
the day, taking time out to talk about my day but that was before
my life and feelings had got too complicated for me to talk about.
Now Mum seemed to take my silence as an act of coldness, not
understanding that I just didn’t have the right words. She picked
up Didi, my raggedy rabbit.
“Have I ever told you that your
father brought you this on the day you were born?” She tucked Didi
into the covers of my bed.
I smiled gently at her, “No.
You’ve never told me that before.”
“Oh strange, I thought I
Mum rarely mentioned Dad. When
she did, it was always in this kind of abstract way, not really
willing to commit herself to the memories. I never blamed her for
this. From the small amount of information I did know about him,
told to me mainly by Josef, I understood that the memories were too
painful for any human to have to carry with them.
Mum was only twenty three when
she’d had to watch the man she loved murdered in front of her,
before the masked intruders turned on her and beat her until she
was left for dead. They took with them a series of papers and
photographs Dad had been using to write an article on the British
Government’s involvement with arms sales to terrorist organisations
in the Middle East. Dad had been young and naïve; the main
requirements needed to make any real difference in the world. I’d
been at Granny’s, safe in my camp bed. I had just had my third
birthday. We moved from London shortly afterwards.
“Would you like me to take you
to the hospital? I’m happy to. We could talk on the way.”
I thought about what a relief
it would be to talk to Mum - to tell her how I felt my heart was
being ripped apart and pulled in two directions; how the pain of it
was so intense that it was making me doubt my own sanity. I wanted
to ask her how I could possibly move forward without hurting the
people that I loved, but I knew I couldn’t talk to her about any of
I got up from my chair and sat
down next to her on the bed, taking her hand, “Thanks Mum, that’d
be good and there are some things that it would be good to talk
about.” I smiled weakly at her, planning carefully what I would
“Good. Drink your tea and we’ll
On the ride to the hospital Mum
seemed peaceful and it was nice to be close to her. I told her
about the conversation with the consultant and about the mysterious
lady visiting Sam. I was pleased that she would be with me this
We arrived later than we’d
planned and with only half an hour of visiting time left and the
hospital was quieter than usual. Mum reached out and held my hand
like I was a small child again and it felt nice to be mothered. As
we approached Sam’s room, I was surprised to see that Mum was as
nervous about meeting the mystery woman as I was. It was with a
mixture of disappointment and relief that his bedside was
“What do you think we should
do?” I asked her.
“I don’t know Mina. Did the
doctor say that she came every evening?”
“Without fail,” I nodded and
then remembered the one night she hadn’t and who I’d found in her
“Then we’ve just got to wait
and see. Move away from the door.”
We sat ourselves behind it so
that we were out of sight. Time passed slowly. Eventually, we
resigned ourselves to the fact that she wasn’t going to show and
Mum left me to say a private goodbye to Sam.
It was as I was bending down to
plant a kiss on his cheek, that the room suddenly filled with the
sweetest smell of honeyed wildflowers. It was the smell of summer
and seemed as if it had come in on the current of a breeze.
Tensing, I turned and looked straight into the face of one of the
prettiest women I’d ever seen. Instantly I knew that she was of
Blake’s world; nobody that beautiful could be truly real.
Dressed in dark, slim jeans and
brown riding boots, she tried to pass herself off as any other
fashionable and attractive woman but there was something about her
that made you stop dead in your tracks. The green silk of her
blouse was the same green as her eyes and they were the colour of
dark pools. It was clear that she’d walked in not thinking anybody
else would be here and she didn’t seem happy at being caught. For a
brief moment a glimmer of panic flitted through her eyes and I was
immediately reminded of a woodland creature not used to the
presence of humans.
“I’m sorry,” her soft voice
rang out. It was the voice of lullabies.
“I didn’t think anybody else
would be here. Not at this time of the evening.”
“No we were later than …” I
stopped, unsure of how to finish. How could I explain that we
intentionally set out to confront her?
“I suppose it had to happen
sooner or later.” She took a deep sigh, steeling herself for a
difficult conversation, “You must be Mina; I’m Vivien, Blake’s
mother,” she smiled holding out her hand. “Boy, am I going to be in
so much trouble.” She let out a light laugh, indicating that she
would be easily forgiven. “He made me promise that I wouldn’t get
I liked her immediately.
“Blake? Sorry I don’t
understand how …” I nodded my head, frustrated that my usually
reliable brain seemed to have lately taken a holiday.
She didn’t answer immediately,
choosing her words carefully and when at last she did speak, it was
with the uncertainty that maybe she was betraying a trust.
“Blake is very fond of you,
Mina, and he knows how dear to your heart this boy is. He worries
for you both.”
“So why are you visiting Sam?”
I asked, still no clearer about the connection.
“Sam is in a far away place.
It’s a terribly lonely place and it is easy to lose your way. I
come to try to convince him to turn around and come home to you but
it isn’t straightforward.”
“Why? If it’s a matter of
choice then why won’t he listen to you? Why won’t he come home?” I
asked her urgently.
“Sam…” she stopped, searched my
eyes deeply, “Mina, do you really want to hear this? I mean is it
essential that you know because sometimes the truth acts like a
blade and where it cuts, it hurts – it badly hurts?”
“Mina, please,” she implored me
to change my mind but she read the determination in my face. “I
have no intention of breaking your heart.”
“It’s already broken. I just
need to understand what’s happening.”
“As you wish, but before I tell
you I need you to know that it is not your fault, that you are
absolutely not to blame. You are not responsible for any of this,
Mina.” She reached out stroking the side of my panic stricken face.
Her touch was motherly and tender.
“He thinks that I don’t love
him, doesn’t he? He thinks that he’s lost me. That’s what caused
him to have the accident isn’t it? Please, tell him it’s not true,
tell him I love him. Ask him to come home to me,” The hysteria rose
out of me.
“It’s not that easy honey. Sam
knows more about you than you do yourself. It is obvious that you
and Blake…” she paused choosing her words carefully, aware that
what she was about to say might not be received well, “…are on a
certain path. Call it destiny for sake of simplicity. You’ve been
foretold and once written it is almost impossible for it not to
“What do you mean ‘once
“Remember when Blake told you
that he had been dreaming of you, even though he hadn’t met you?
Well it’s because he had met you, he’d met you in his future. I
know this will make no sense to you, Mina but there is nothing more
I can tell you at the moment because the prophecy is not yet
complete. All you need to know, even if you don’t yet understand,
is that yours and Blake’s names are written in gold on the tomb at
the stone chapel. So you see Mina, there is nothing that you could
have done differently. It truly isn’t your fault.”
impossible. So there’s a chance it may not be?”
“A figure of speech, a clumsy
use of words, I should have said once written it
impossible not to be. The future is set.”
“I’m sorry but I don’t believe
that. I love Sam and we’re going to build a home together - that is
what is meant to be.”
“You can spend your time
fighting it – and it is a noble thing to try – but understand this,
Mina, Blake loves you and you love Blake, you just haven’t accepted
it yet. You think you love Sam, and you do - truly you do but it is
not in the same way as you will love Blake. Sam is as a brother to
you and as your brother you love him with a pure heart. With Blake
it is already different.”
“No, really it’s not.” My voice
came out in a croaking whisper. Even as I denied it, I knew that
she was speaking truth.
“Sam knows this but he needs
time to come to terms with it all, and he will. When he’s ready
he’ll come home to you but it will be as your brother and not your
The ward bell buzzed,
signalling the end of our visiting time. Smiling, Vivien took my
hand between hers and held it tight. It was a warm and affectionate
Sleep that night was like the
slow-motion act of drowning in cold, deep waters. Strange feelings
of panic wrapped their ice-cold tendrils around my heart and
smothered my breath. When eventually I gave in and allowed myself
to be pulled under, I found myself standing in the burnt remains of
Charred stumps erupted out of
the earth like broken needles and beyond this mangled labyrinth lay
the expanse; a freezing land where fog swirled in eddies giving the
effect of water. Nothing lived here. It was a silent place, a place
that had been ravaged by a battle for which there had been no
victor but Death.
The only other feature of the
landscape was a large cairn built as a guide for weary and lost
travellers. Huddled in its shelter, shielding himself from the
splicing wind, Sam was cowering tightly in the ball of his own
Falling in love is exhausting,
especially when it’s against your will. There’s a theory that love
is nothing but a seven week chemical reaction based on primitive
animal instincts. If this is to be believed, it means you could
fall in love with someone new every seven weeks and we’d all be as
free and easy as a lion on the savannah. We wouldn’t have cities,
universities, shopping malls or families – we’d all be too busy
indulging our raging hormones with virtual strangers - but we would
Thankfully, for the sake of
human civilisation, some bright spark way back in history, invented
two wondrously interconnecting ideas called love and marriage,
designed to stabilise humanity. For me this was Sam and it
wonderful, a dream full of cottages, children, happiness