This is now the 26th chapter of “Of Wind and Wings”. See the table of contents here.
Note – I posted two chapters that did not follow one of Sue’s prompts. Here is a brief overview in case you don’t have time or inclination to read them (or you can skip to today’s chapter):
Chapter 24, To the Other Place – The Grubb and Ed are climbing on a steep ledge to find an entrance to the land of The Others. Ed discovers it is more of a different Universe than a place. The Grubb gets distracted and falls. Ed feels that the fall must be fatal, but before he can get to the boy, a strange man tells him that The Grubb will be OK, that Ed needs to leave immediately and get help.
Chapter 25, The Hospital – Ed and Liza rush to the hospital. Ed discovers that Mrs. Grubb, Martha, is Mr. Brown, Winston’s, sister making The Grubb Mr. Brown’s nephew. The doctors come out and are baffled. The Grubb is in a very deep sleep, a coma, but has no major injuries. As Eda nd Liza go home, Ed remembers his own deep sleep after he fell and wonders how badly he was truly injured.
Onto the story!
“Come on, let’s go.”
They had only been at Liza’s house for a half of an hour or so when she stuck her head into Ed’s room.
“Here, take this.”
“This” was a large basket.
They drove for a while. At first Ed wasn’t paying attention, but after a while he realized they were going to the more mountainous area where he and The Grubb had explored the day before. Before getting to the mountains proper, Liza took a slightly different road and so ended up near the mountains instead of in the middle. “Sometimes it is easier to see a mountain from a valley than from the top.” For some reason that silly thought crossed Ed’s mind.
Liza pulled over and Ed grabbed the basket. They walked for a short distance before finding the perfect setting for a picnic. The ground was soft yet dry. There was a perfect view of the mountains just to the west.
They ate in relative silence, just a few words and a little small talk breaking it up. Afetr the long day and worry, Ed was content to enjoy his surroundings and Liza seemed lost in thought, as she had been since the day they had spent at Gossenmare Park. But as they nibbled on dessert, Ed felt a need to chat.
“Have you ever met one of them?” he asked.
“Them?” Liza was facing slightly away and watched him out of the corner of her eyes.
“Yes, them. You know, hobgoblins, elves, fairies, sith, The Others?”
She turned fully towards him. “Maybe.” She then turned back to the scenery. The sky was beginning to color.
“Maybe? I would think you would remember that…”
“That’s just the problem, isn’t it? Old memories that I had totally forgotten have been coming up. And old memories that I knew as truth have been shown to be lies.” She shook her head. “You reminded me of my mother’s lullaby. I had forgotten it. But I remembered it and thought it was the truth. So this memory of The Others, is it truth or another lie? Was it a dream? Another story my mother told me? I don’t know any more.”
“Why don’t you tell me anyway?”
“She looked at Ed again. “Did you wonder why your great uncle’s book is called ‘Of Wind and Wings’? No? The wind should be obvious, though it is calm today. The wings, ah, now there is a story…”
Liza turn back towards the mountains. The sun was almost at the top of the peaks, slowly lowering. The sky burned as it went down.
“I was young, perhaps 12. I was walking through the moor. A man, I thought immensely old at the time, but in memory he must have been perhaps 20 at the most, rose up in front of me. I recognized him from Mother’s song. He talked to me about life and everything. It was deep for a 12-year-old, let me tell you! He told the story of the dragons invading the land of the wind. The liked it here and settled down. The thing is, after a few generations of being settled on the ground, they lost their wings. A few more years and the grew to look just like people. Isn’t that funny?” She turned towards Ed again. He nodded. She turned back towards the setting sun.
The sun was below the highest peak and the glow of the western sky even brighter. Liza’s face glowed red in the last rays.
“I never knew if it was a dream or really happened. After that I would occasionally see him or others out of the corner of my eye. This is when the idea of ‘destiny’ took hold. I knew that some day I would meet that dragon prince again. Only I didn’t. I met others and should have fallen in love, but that idea was always there. But the man, the dragon prince, never was. Until you showed up, with the dragon blood flowing so obviously through your veins.”
The sun set was at its most glorious when Liza put her head into her hands.
“Was I wrong? Did I miss my life waiting for something that was never to come? Or perhaps for something that was always here? Or someone?”
Ed moved closer and put his arms around her in what he hoped was a comforting gesture and not a sexual one. She snuggled closer and cried for a few minutes. Ed watched the setting sun until it was almost dark.
Liza pulled away a little and looked up after a few minutes. She smiled.
“And why do you think I am wrong about this destiny thing? And don’t lie, I know you have felt that way and have a reason.”
Ed felt a little uncomfortable, a pit unsettled, to have to answer the question directly, but he knew he must.
“The entire idea was that our two lines would interest and create a new one from the union of the two of us, right?” She nodded. “Well, didn’t that already happen? Isn’t that who you are, that new line? And more than that, not meaning any disrespect or anything, but, how do I put this? Uhm, we are supposed to have children, and, uhm…”
She laughed. “I will save you from your dilemma. I am too old to have children. I am not Sarah, am I? And are you an Abraham? Don’t worry, I know how old I am and take no offence at you pointing it out. I am not of childbearing age. I thought about that too. But I guess I assumed that maybe I really was a modern Sarah. And I understand I was being unfair to you, looking only at what I believed was my own destiny and not thinking about your wants, wishes or even your destiny, for that matter.”
She looked back at the aging sunset. The last few embers were still glowing.
“And in my pigheadedness, I drove away my own daughter.”
For a brief second Ed heard Laurens voice in his air and flinched. Liza, smiled at him, as if feeling that flinch.
“It is time to gather everything up and get back down to the car before it is too dark.”
Ed started to get up, but felt Liza’s hand on his shoulder.
“And Edward? Thank you.”
The got up and quickly filled the basket. Ed took one last look at the silhouettes of the mountains, grabbed the basket and headed back to the car.
They drove back in silence, but it was no longer a tense silence, but one that spoke many words of a new relationship at a higher level.