A Journey Worth Letting Her Take
A Journey Worth Letting Her Take
It was a terrible time. Zeke had passed over three years earlier, and still Ruby couldn't come to terms with his death. She sobbed in my arms. Thunder shook our tiny apartment, and the lights went out. I lit the stove, and hoped that would keep us warm. Pacific Coast Highway had flooded the day before, and Id seen a man canoeing down the street.Cade, my husband, worked late again, and I wished he were home. He’d grown up so much from years before, and really turned into the person I hoped he’d become.
I sat and held Ruby again as I begged the storm to not wash us away.
“Why did he leave us, Mama? Why?” I couldn't believe how she could ask such hard questions, even at the age of four.
“He wasn't meant for this world. But we have a new baby now. We have little Sky and everything will be okay.”
“I love Sky. I love her, Mama, but I love my brother, Zeke, too.”
“Hush.” I held her closer, and she clung to my arm. “How old would he be?”
She cried hard. I think it hurt her more since they would have been close. “I don't understand. Why didn't he wake up? Why did he go away?”
I wanted to tell her it's because life is hard, because life isn't fair. It's because I couldn't keep my baby, no matter how hard I wanted to. But, even though I wished I could tell her all that, I didn't. I remained quiet for a long time. We listened to the rain, and saw the shadows the flaming burners cast on the walls. I thought of telling her the truth, about pain and sadness, but instead I didn't. I cooed to her, sang into her golden curls. That's when I told her Zeke's story one more time.
“Once, in a faraway land, there was a strange castle. It had painted walls that changed, animated message bottles, passageways that led to the enchanted ocean. In that castle lived some very special children. They were named Ruby, Zeke and Sky.”
“Were Ruby and Sky pretty?” she asked.
“And Zeke . . . did Zeke love us?”
I nearly choked on a sob. “More than he could say.”
“I like this story. Can Zeke stay with us this time?”
“I wish he could, but that's not how the story goes.”
She hesitated. “Well, then, I want to go with him.”
That made my heart tighten. I hugged Ruby. I couldn't imagine her following her brother--couldn't comprehend losing her too.
“Tell me the part about when the witch comes,” Ruby said.
“Well, one day, a deadly, powerful witch found the castle. She was cunning and wise. She knew how amazing all of the children were, and that's when she decided to take one of you.”
“But I was too smart.”
“Yes, you were,” I said. “You outwitted that witch. She tried to take you, but you could draw things that came to life. That's how you tricked her.”
“And Sky did too?”
I nodded. “Because Sky could see her own future.”
“He had to go away.”
“Why, Mama? Was it because the witch was too smart for him?”
“Oh, no,” I said. I always had to breathe deeply when I got to that part. “Zeke let her take him.”
“But why? Because he fell in love?”
“Maybe, but mostly because he knew how to really defeat the witch. He knew if he went, he'd bring about her doom. You see, she thought she'd take his life, but he knew better. He knew that, if he went, he'd get to meet pirates, mermaids. He'd have sword-fights and battle sea creatures.” I looked at the stormy sky. It reminded me of my conflicted emotions. Somehow, every time I told the story, I saw something symbolic to Zeke's months on Earth. “Adventure awaited him.” I sighed. “If he went with the deadly witch, then, and only then, could he truly live.”
“I want to go with him.”
I almost cried.
“I want to go! Get to the part where I see him again, Mama. Tell me that part. I know it's coming. I just know it!”
I wanted to see Zeke, too. Couldn't she understand how much her words stung. “We'll get there someday, Honey, but you have to be patient. It's not our time yet.”
“But, Mama, I want to see him, too.”
“So do I, Honey.”
“I'll fight that witch if I have to.”
My heart stopped at her words. “Really? You're awfully brave.”
“Zeke's worth it.”
I don't know what overcame me, but for the first time, the story changed. I sat up straight and wiped my eyes. I knew I could be brave like my little girl. I couldn't hold onto her and protect her forever. “You want to meet the pirates and mermaids?” I asked. “You want to save your brother from that witch?”
She nodded, more excited than I'd seen her in weeks. “Well, one day after Zeke left, you knew you had to go after him. You drew yourself a boat, one that had talking sailors painted on the sides, and a glass bottom that let you see into the ocean. You took Sky and that boat, then you went to find Ophyrus, the orange sea dragon.”
She grasped onto every detail, ready to save her brother and defeat the witch of death. So, that's how the tale about “The Sword of Senack” really began. I told Ruby the story every night, then I told Sky, when she got old enough. It was scary because I never knew where the story would go. It got so perfectly plotted and detailed, one day I wrote the whole thing down, and turned it into a full-length book. For years, I read the story to my kids almost every night. They loved everything about it, except that I couldn't tell them the end.
They'd always grow quiet, and clutch onto every word. When it was almost their time to meet Zeke, they'd stay perfectly still.
“But the deadly witch was there too,” I said the last time I read it. “And, even though you'd both mastered your gifts, she had the confidence of immortality.”
“And we couldn't meet Zeke unless we defeated her first,” little Sky said.
“So?” Ruby asked. “Do we beat her? Do we finally get to see Zeke?”
I smiled, finally knowing the ending. “You'll have to wait 'til tomorrow, Sweethearts. I'll tell you all about it then. You might meet Zeke this time.”
“Really?” They were both so excited.
I tucked them into their beds, and sang their favorite songs because, somehow, I knew everything would be okay. I couldn't wait to read them the ending. I knew it would be something they'd never forget, something I was finally ready to let go of.
You can find Ec and her book here:
Wayman Publishing: waymanpublishing.webs.com
Author Site: ecstilson.com
Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/ecwrites
And here are the book details:
Aliya Fisher knows nothing about her true heritage until a vindictive sorceress kidnaps her brother and sister. The young adventurer must take up her birthright, battle strange creatures, and find the Sword of Senack if she hopes to best the witch. But even if Aliya finds the famed weapon and survives the perilous oceanic journey, the enchantress is far more than she appears. How does one defeat an immortal who lusts for revenge?My Review:
I have always, always loved the water. I feel at home within its cool embrace, so this book was right up my alley. It was about a family that had fled Earth because it had become polluted and over-populated to start over on a new alien planet. The family bought a castle overlooking the ocean. They had five children that were all forbidden to go near the water or talk to the natives. So as you could imagine, life was probably a bit dull. Until the youngest of the crew revealed a terrible secret. She had answered the door when someone had knocked and let in what she thought was a kind young woman. But the woman began to change towards her and Indy became afraid. So afraid that she tried to warn her older sister about her and what was going to happen. But Indy's secret came to late to save her. She was taken right in front of her sister and there was nothing she could do about it.
We jump five years after the disappearance of Indy. Her mother has withdrawn inside herself and her father is rarely at home. Aliya is tired of watching her family fall apart around her. Her father disappears inside of his study for days and no one was allowed in. Jack, her oldest brother, had made plans to leave with a girl and had sailed out of her life that very morning. Aliya watches er father enter the study and close the door behind him. Unable to take the stress anymore, she plans to confront her father and have a talk with him. But as she opens the door, she is shocked to find the room totally empty. And here begins an amazing journey for Aliya, Skye, and Vander.
This book was filled with many creative, lively, and unique characters. EC opens up a new world under the ocean. The children must follow a certain path to not only save their youngest sister, but their father, oldest brother, and their world as well. In this fantastical world nothing is as it seems and its hard to tell who is the bad guy and who isn't. It was hard to pick a favorite character but out of the pack I was most taken with the Rock King. All the children are delightful in their own way. This book is going to be a series, but how long of one, I know not. I will tell you this, it was an absolutely delightful read!!! I enjoyed the imagery and the array of characters thoroughly! My only regret is that the second book is not available, for I can't wait to read it! Excellent work EC!!