01-20 A Miracle?

After eating a magic apple, prepared by Missy to get rid of her, Taïga falls in a deep coma like sleep…

… see Part I – Chapter 19


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Granny stands looking down on Taïga, whose breathing is calm and regular. She’s sleeping deeply, there’s no way to wake her up. Granny has tried everything – from the first aid in the hall with mouth to mouth and cardio massage, to magic. Nothing…

Taïga has now “slept” for almost 15 hours, and Granny has watched over her. Filled with remorse, Missy has tried to be useful, spending time reading up on magic apples. So far the only thing she has come up with is the kiss of true love.

‘It worked for Snow White!’

‘Missy, just think! Taïga is too young to have someone love her like that!’

As a matter of fact, Granny knows how to wake Taïga, but she’s scared… She knows of a potion, a dangerous potion, but it has never been tried on a child before. It could as well cure her… as kill her…

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But she also knows she can’t live with the knowledge she hasn’t tried everything. As the full moon rises over the mountains, her decision is made. She starts by casting a protection spell around Taïga’s bed…

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Protection spells are her specialty, and this is the most powerful she knows of. Chanting the potent words puts Granny into a trance…

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Casting those kinds of spells is wearing, and after making sure her granddaughter is protected from evil, she stumbles into the bathroom and throws up from sheer exhaustion.

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Granny prepares to make the dangerous potion, but she has difficulty to relax and open up to the magic.

‘Please, please let Taïga survive the cure…’ She tries to concentrate, closing her eyes. ‘Spell book of my ancestors – open up…’

Granny swallows and tries again, ‘Spell book of my ancestors – I command you to open up – SHAZAM!’

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A wind blows through the room, and with a rattling sound the pages turn. Trembling she starts to read…

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OhMyGod, I can’t do this! Oh no no no… She closes her eyes and tries to breathe calmly… The thud of the grimoire closing, pulls her out of her misery... but I have to succeed, or Taïga will surely die!

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Get a grip on yourself, Granny! Open that darn book and get going! Time is running out…

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I can do this… I must do this…’

She sings the words like a mantra while she starts to pour the ingredients into the old kettle, hesitantly at first, then with more and more frenzy!

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She murmurs the secret latin words of the spell as she mixes the ingredients…

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Only one package of lembas left… She puts some in a wooden mortar.

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Now the most important…Carefully she opens the lid of a little silver box and empties the content onto the lembas in the wooden mortar.

Dust from the wings of fairies. There are only a few ounces to be found in the whole world, and Granny is holding them in her hands…

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Granny powders the potion lightly with grinded lembas and fairy dust and watches how the color changes from musky brown to electric blue…

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She taps the precious blue liquid into a bottle which slowly lights up from within.

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I have enough to fill two bottles. It must be sufficient to cure Taïga…

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While Granny is occupied with the making of the antidote, Old Missy is sneaking into Taïga’s room…

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She’s surprised by a burning sensation behind her eyelids, she isn’t used to crying. But at the sight of the young girl lying pale and vulnerable under the soft bedspread, the tears burst forward…

‘… and it’s all my fault… I’m so sorry, I never meant to… to… harm you like this. I just wanted to scare Granny to leave with you and that … that horrible dog…’

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She doesn’t hear the door open on her sister.

‘What are you doing here?’ Granny’s voice is like ice.

Guiltily Missy spins around. ‘Err… I just wanted to check on her…’

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Granny can feel the anger welling up inside her. She hasn’t talked to her sister since the “incident”, being careful to avoid being alone in the same room.

‘Haven’t you done enough already? I don’t want you near her. Do you hear?’ she hisses.

‘But I just wanted to tell her I’m sorry!’

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‘Tell her you’re sorry? You can’t always go around hurting people and then just apologize!’

‘Well. Not accepting an apology is rude!’

‘You almost killed her, Missy! And IF she NEVER wakes up from this deep sleep, I swear to the Goddess you’ll pay for it!’

Missy’s tears turn to rage. ‘Why delay? Let’s do it now! I’ll wait for you on the sacred grounds!’

She stomps out of the room, leaving her sister who tries to calm down before administering the potion to the sleeping child.

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Corpes sleeping and dreams that are black –

from death-like sleep I command you to come back…

Granny drips the precious liquid, drop by drop into Taïga’s mouth. Murmuring the spell over and over again, she massages some potion into the soft skin of her granddaughter’s forehead and on the eyelids.

She walks from one window to the other, pacing nervously. Waiting for a sign that the potion is working – one way or the other…

A raspy whisper pulls Granny out of her thoughts.

‘Waaa…ter…’

Thank God! Granny rushes over to the bed and helps Taïga drink a little more potion. She puts the bottle back onto the bedside table and kisses Taïga’s now feverish forehead.

‘Rest now, my child, I’ll be right back…’

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The old churchyard is deserted at this late hour. Old Missy is pacing, wringing her hands in despair, glancing towards the entrance every other second.

When she sees Grannys grim figure approaching, she’s seized by fright. ‘How is she? Is she…?’ She can’t bear to say the dreadful word.

Granny just stands there, scrutinizing Missy’s face, trying to judge the honesty of her emotions. ‘She’ll make it…’

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A huge sigh of relief escapes Missy.

‘So you see? Everything is going to be alright!’ Missy is gushing and the words tumbles out of her mouth.

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‘Oh, no. You won’t get away with this so easy! You wanted a duel, and you’ll get a duel!’

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They don’t notice the shadow sneaking up on them and hiding in the bushes…

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‘Do you really find it necessary? I mean, now that Taïga is recovering, we can just go home and I’ll make us a nice cup of blackberry tea…’

Granny doesn’t answer, but her hands are clutched so hard her knuckles are white.

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What are they arguing about? Uh-oh…

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What the…??? Are they going to throw sticks at each other? Hahaha… old fools…

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Oh. My. God!!!

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This cannot be real!

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Seeing the two witches dueling is too much for the shadow to take in. His eyes roll backwards and he faints…

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‘That’s cheating, Missy! You’re not supposed to aim the eyes!’ Granny rubs her burning eyelids.

‘Oups! I’m sorry!’

Granny and Missy look at each other…

‘”Oups” huh? Hmpf… You’ll never change, Missy…’

‘Err…’ Missy shrugs, and looks at her feet.

Granny shakes her head. ‘Let’s go home, check on Taïga and get ourselves that cup of tea…’

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Back at home Taïga stirs and wakes up. She lies a moment and watches the shadows dance on the ceiling, but thirst makes her sit up and reach for the bottle on the bedside table.

That was a strange dream… I’m so thirsty… My head aches… There’s something to drink on the bedside table…

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She stands up, but she’s still weak and her legs give way, making her stumble and gripping the bedside table for support. She focuses on the ornate bottle…

‘Ohhh…’ The precious bottle slips from Taïga’s trembling fingers and breaks, spilling potion all around her.

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Wow… A beautiful light envelops her and she feels warm and lightheaded. She’s not even thirsty anymore!

She closes her eyes, giving in to the prickling sensation in her limbs, and the world starts spinning.

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The brief feeling of bliss gives way to a terrible nausea. She hardly makes it to the bathroom in time…

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The Grey sisters find Taïga deeply asleep.

With a frown, Granny replaces the broken bottle at the bedside table. The whole bottle at once… dangerous… could even be lethal…

She takes turns with Missy watching over Taïga, who continues to sleep soundly for three more days. Missy seems to truly regret her gesture, sitting in the rocking chair, staring at her sister’s granddaughter with unseeing eyes.

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Granny watches for signs of potion poisoning as Taïga slowly recovers from her little “apple mishap” as Missy calls it. As soon as there’s no risk for Taïga’s life, she’s back to her usual, selfish airhead self.

Taïga has to take the different elixirs Granny makes for her, the Cure Elixir is especially important… But even though Taïga loves blue, the potion tastes like something extracted from a roadkill.

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Taïga takes a swig directly from the bottle. To her despair it doesn’t empty fast enough…

Yuck! It tastes like??? Yuck!!!

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Missy doesn’t like her new role as a nurse. Or cleaning lady. Or both. If only Taïga could stop throwing up everywhere…

‘Taïga, if you throw up the elixir, you’ll have to start over again. You know that?’ Missy pinches her nose and holds out a paper towel roll.

‘Yes, Missy…’ The young girl starts cleaning up after herself, fighting the urge to retch.

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Granny doesn’t mind having her grandchild sleep with her as Taïga is still weak and haunted by feverish nightmares…

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Shasta and Leonardo are overseas, on tour, when unexpectedly Shasta goes into labor, almost a month early.

Leonardo throws a fit! This was definitely not on his schedule! He was supposed to meet with the mayor about a reward, the city council wants to make him an honor citizen of Twinbrook because of his success as a magician. And now this…

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It’s nearly midnight when the phone rings in Midnight Hollow. Granny hurries up to answer, suspecting it’s Shasta – she’s in the beginning of her eight month and Granny knows her daughter is accompanying Leonardo on his “Dazzling Dazzler” American tour…

‘Congratulations, Leonardo! And how is Shasta?… Good!… Difficult?… Uh-huh… Uh-huh… The principal is that she’ll recover without any significant means… And what’s her name?’

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Granny’s smile fades. She must be mistaken?

‘A boy? You said “boy”? As in B-O-Y? Garçon? Ragazzo? Niño? Junge?’ …

Oh my God… Dazed Granny hangs up and sits heavily on a chair.

Shasta almost lost her life, but thanks to Leonardo’s connections she was rushed by helicopter to the state’s best hospital, and the rapidity of the intervention saved her life. She was hemorrhaging so badly it took a whole team to operate for more than four hours…

Granny hides her face in her hands and lets her herself give in to the terror of almost losing her only child, and the relief that she didn’t…

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It takes a while for Granny to compose herself, then she returns upstairs to share the news with her granddaughter.

‘Wake up, Taïga… You’re a big sister now, the baby came a couple of hours ago…’

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After discussing for quite some time with her granddaughter, she returns to her study and locks the door behind her.

A boy… Well. He’s entitled to the Grey ragdoll, boy or not!

‘Mecca lecca hi, mecca hiney holl… Come forward ragdoll!’

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‘I wish to make this doll come to life…

I wish to make it breathe and think…

I wish to make it walk and talk and move…

I wish to make it be real, to have a life and soul…

Make my desire come true…

Make it real…

Make it true…

So it be!’

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‘Now – Stand up!’

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Granny carefully wraps the doll in a box and puts it in the mail box for the postman – destination: her grandson in Monte Vista.

We’ll see if he can play with it…

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The mailbox seems innocent enough, but if you look closer, you could see slight sparkling that slowly diminishes as the day breaks…

Part I – End of Chapter 20

Next Chapter

 

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