As Ember squinted to make out the things she was seeing, she realized that she could hear muffled conversations. Walking along, she became so lost in trying to figure out the images and sounds that she didn’t realize she no longer held Elpis’ hand. She didn’t feel her presence in a real sense… she laughed out loud at her own thoughts, “real sense? I don’t even know what is real anymore.”
Oddly, for the first time in a long time, she didn’t feel alone or worried. Even though she knew Elpis had gone, she still felt connected to her.
“I am always with you.” Ember heard the whisper in her head and smiled. She stopped now and considered her surroundings. She wondered who she was going to meet now.
“Elpis said they had waited a long time…. I wonder who they are. How do they know me? Have we met before? Are they human?”
As if in answer to her questions, an impossibly tall man with longish pale blonde hair streaked with red approached. As Ember noticed him, he smiled broadly. It was a smile that brightened the space and lit up his eyes, which were a bright cornflower blue. She instantly felt connected… drawn to him. He stopped in front of her and held open his arms. Instantly, Ember walked into his embrace. He felt like home.
Ember knew she should question this… him… even herself, but all she wanted to do was stay in the safety of his arms.
“Hello, firefly.” His voice was deep and rich like Wyndel’s.
The nickname sparked a memory that she couldn’t quite grasp. When she leaned back and looked into his eyes, she knew. The shock and joy was overwhelming. She was afraid to speak; for fear that it would shatter this beautiful illusion before her.
He smiled down at her, as if knowing her thoughts, yet he patiently waited for her to come to grips with who he was.
Barely a whisper escaped her lips, “Daddy.” His nod was almost imperceptible.
“But how is this possible? You died. Oh! Is mom…?”
He stepped back and motioned to a bench Ember hadn’t realized was there. On the bench sat a plain but striking woman, that reminded Ember of Fossy, but softer. Not that Fossy was harsh, but the woman before her had a gentleness to her; less of the take charge demeanor her sister exuded. Ember looked from her father to her mother for a few moments before going to her mother. As she approached, Marissa stood. Her eyes, that were a mirror of Ember’s warm brown, had a hint of tears as she embraced her daughter for the first time in twenty-five years.
“Look at the beautiful woman you have become. I have waited, what seems like an eternity to see you.”
They sat down on the bench holding hands. Another bench had magically appeared next to them and Ember’s father, Grant, sat down on it. Again, Ember looked back and forth between her parents, too mesmerized to form words. They sat patiently with Ember, as they watched the joy of seeing them and turmoil of what to ask first crossed her features. A few times she looked as though a question was about to burst forth before another thought skittered across her brow.
“This is so overwhelming,” she finally let out, “but in a good way, a wonderful way. I have dreamed of you my whole life…wishing…. I was afraid I had forgotten who you really are, or if my dreams had made a new version of you. But you are here. You are real. You are real, aren’t you?”
“In this realm we are real,” her mother said quietly before explaining there current existence. “There are many journeys. Each person or entity has a path to follow. When your father and I left your physical world, our journey led us here. This is where we must remain, until the great all, decides a new path for us.”
“So you are like a ghost. Do you visit us, see how we grow?”
Grant smiled at the question, though his eyes held a sadness. “For us, we are confined to the Dew. There are those who are spirits that can transverse different realms and visit those from their former human lives. It is your mother and my journey to help those that sent here. For some, like us, this is out existence, for others this is a transitory place and for others this is a place to learn before continuing their path.”
“So you are stuck here? But why? Can you not visit Aunt Elspeth? She sees spirits all the time.”
Marissa laughs, “Ah Elspeth, my sister is quite the character. We can not visit her, as we are unable to leave, but she does manage to visit us on occasion. She fills us in on how you are all doing, your achievements, and your challenges. It is one of her many gifts to be able to see those on other planes and converse with other forms and beings. Your father had this gift when he was alive,” she added looking over at Grant.
Ember’s brow furrowed as she realized how sad it must be to be stuck in this place away from loved ones. “Do I have the gift? Is that why I am here? Will I be able to come visit you now? Oh… wait am I stuck here now, too?”
Again, Marissa laughed. “Elspeth said you like to ask a million rapid fire questions; that your mind is always racing and analyzing everything. I do not know if you will develop this gift to migrate through realms. I know your brother, Wyndell has the gift. Your aunt says he is too flighty and on the go to develop it yet. He likely does not know who and what he is, just as Misty and you do not. Well, you are starting to learn. Fossy was the only one old enough when we passed from our earthly life to know. She was only a child of nine but had already begun manifesting her gifts.”
“So Fossy knows what we are? What you were?” Ember asked. “She has never said anything. Surely, she didn’t, doesn’t. Believe me she is the most straight-laced, boring person… I mean, she has many talents and the most beautiful heart, but there is nothing magical about her. Nope, definitely not witchy material; she’s a real stick in the mud.”
Grant roared with laughter at the description of his oldest daughter. “Ember, do you expect her to appear like the characters from story books and movies? There are many types of witches and even more types of magic. We will help you understand it all more, but first tell us about you, your life and your brother and sisters. We have missed so much.”
Ember paused. She had so many questions; she was so confused about so many things, but looking at her parents, and feeling like this was the first time she was actually seeing them her heart and mind filled with all the memories of growing up they had missed. She regaled them with all her stories as hours flew by.
Now that she has met her parents, Ember will learn why she has been sent to the Dew to meet them...