My daughter Alice called me in a tizzy because she’d seen Snow almost die in her visions of the past. I reassured her that everything was fine now – no it wasn’t, my son was an evil psychopath. How could I have gone so wrong with him? But I didn’t tell Alice that, though she did press me.
At least Snow was recovering. She’d been discharged from the hospital after an overnight stay. That’s a nice thing about living in a supernatural town – the hospital is staffed by doctors, some of whom know how to mix healing draughts.
“Hey, Gran, I just wanted to say you did a great job with your good luck aura out…there. You know.”
“Thanks. I only wish it could erase what he did…make him my son again.”
“In a way, I think it did. You gave him good luck, just like you gave all of us. It was…well, it was probably how he got away.”
“So you’re telling me I’m the reason As-As-As – ” I couldn’t say his name. I couldn’t. “So I’m the reason he is safe? I mean, still out there?”
“Yes, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have brought it up. Are you okay?”
“Yes,” I lied again. How many more times would I have to say that before it became true?
Claus ran away again. I’m not sure what his reasoning this time was. Maybe he was scared of him. But I thought it was probably more likely invisible llamas were chasing him or something. Either way, I sort of miss Claus. I felt a little safer with him around, despite his crazy.
Cameron and Snow have decided to stay here for the time being with their son Angel and their daughter Hope. Their house sustained some pretty heavy fire damage, and they’re thinking of moving to a new place. Neither has a job yet, so they don’t have to worry about missing work. It’s unspoken, but I think we all feel safer with strength in numbers.
We’ve been keeping busy with teaching the toddlers. It does help with distraction. Holly’s decided to stick around too, for protection.
When Snow felt well enough, she sat down with Angel. “Hey, honey. Are you okay?”
“Yea. You okay?”
“I am now.”
“I miss you.”
“Missed you too, munchkin.”
“Mommy! I stuck again!” said Tasia.
“I can see that.” I smiled. It was the first smile I’d had in what felt like forever. “Are you going to get unstuck?”
“No. Need hep.”
“Wait…shift the ball another five degrees to the left,” said Jesme.
“What’s five degrees?”
“You know. Five degrees.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about!” said Yoshi.
“My butt is wet but I’m ridin’ high!” yelled Merik.
“Yoshi! Come back! I want Mom to take a picture of us with Mrs. Prissy!”
“There’s no way I’m associating myself with that thing. It’d ruin my image.”
“Stupid. You don’t even have an image!”
“No, but I will! When I’m a teen.”
“Loo, Mommy! Deah!”
When I turned around, all I saw were dear tracks. “Ohhh.”
“So how’re things? You feeling better?” I asked Snow.
“Yep. How bout you?”
Well. I supposed if I was going to ask that question, I’d better start getting used to hearing the same directed at me. “I’m all right.”
“I know you’re not, Elena. I’m not really, either. I keep having nightmares, and I can’t stop thinking about…well, yeah.”
“I know what you mean.”
“So anyways,” she added. “Are you sure it’s all right that Ronny and I and the twins stay here for a bit?”
“Yes, I already said it’s perfectly all right. In fact, I’d rather you guys stay here than leave. You’re welcome as long as you like.”
“Thanks, but I don’t think we’ll intrude on your hospitality forever. I know you need the space for your kids. Ronny told me about your challenge.”
My challenge? That felt so distant right now.
I sat down with Tasia after I’d ate. How could I continue my challenge after what I’d seen? My son was clearly beyond help. Had I had a hand in how he turned out? Of course I had. I was his mother. So therefore some of what he’d done had to be attributed to me. Right?
I looked at the kids. I had raised fifty-four mostly sane, healthy children. Only one had turned out for the, well, worse. Did that make me a bad mother? I started thinking about all the warning signs I’d seen with my other children. The kids who talked to thin air. The kids who scared people for no reason. Were they out there now, committing murder?
No. Richelle might have been a bit odd, but she had never hurt anybody. Nor had Selena, though she occasionally chased me to say, “Boo!” Serpent and Carrie might be on the wrong side of the law, but I knew they would never harm anything worse than a wallet.
I had to conclude that it was not me, but Aston. He made the choices he did. I did not tell him to kill his brother.
So I was in the clear, right?
No. I had to do better by my kids in the future, so that there would not be another repeat. I couldn’t just ignore the warning signs anymore.
I started by making sure to spend some quality time with Ira as well.
When I was able to get him away from Holly. She seems to have taken a real shine to him, and him to her. I wonder if I’ll be having great-grandchildren soon?
“Hopie, you want up on Mommy’s lap?”
“No! Floor good!”
“I know what she’s doing,” said Yoshi. “There’s lots of funny little dust bunnies under there. She’s probably eating them.”
“Bad guy die!”
“No, Angel,” I said firmly. “No bad guy die. Nobody should ever die.”
“Daddy dead. Hopie dead.”
“They’re not dead. They’re living ghosts. Dying is not a game. Okay?”
“Dying not game. Kill bad guy. He hurt Mommy.”
I wasn’t sure how to proceed from there.
“Hide from bad guy. That good?” said Hope.
“Yes. That’s good,” I said.