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       Moonbeam, p.6

           Adrienne Woods

  Three weeks. We had been going on like this for three weeks. Elena wasn’t going to budge. She would never give up. I wouldn’t either. Not with Silho’s life at stake. I loved her too much. Without her, I wouldn’t be the man I was today.

  Yes, Elena had changed me, but Silho had taken me to another level. Silho had injected a whole new meaning into my life. I could fuck up everything around me except being her father.

  If only her mother could see it. But she wasn’t interested in my thoughts lately.

  I tuned out all the sounds around me. The past few weeks I’d tried. I’d tried to see a way to give Elena what she needed, but it always boiled down to one thing: one road, and a life without Silho. George had confirmed it today; he’d seen it. He’d gotten really good at seeing into the future. That had made my mind up. My answer would never change. Why had he seen a different outcome? He’d seen a different world, a different future.

  We couldn’t, we wouldn’t go back. Still, George had seen it.

  My door opened. At first I thought it was Elena sneaking in. She always gave up when she knew I wouldn’t change my mind. Ha! George’s vision had been wrong. But the minute I tried to read her mind, see her intentions, I couldn’t.

  My arm swung to my lamp. I gasped at what the light revealed.

  A familiar form stood before me, hands in the air as if to say he meant me no harm.

  Why would he? He was…me? I was staring at myself.

  I shut my eyes. You are dreaming, Blake. But when I opened my eyes again, he was still there.

  “I mean you no harm. I just come with a message.”

  His voice was my voice. He looked exactly like me. A bit older, but he was me.

  My heartbeat rose. “Why are you here?”

  “You know why.”

  “No, I don’t.” I pushed myself off my bed, not breaking eye contact.

  “May I sit down?”

  Unnerved, I nodded. I followed him to the chair, watching him like a hawk.

  “You need to go back.”

  I scowled. “Don’t ask me that. Silho won’t be …”

  “She is going to destroy Paegeia if you don’t. She’ll bring you more sorrow than you can handle.”

  My breath constricted. My legs became liquid and I sank into the chair opposite the man who looked so much like me. “What?” No, she would never. “Who are you?”

  “I’m you. You know that.” His peacock-blue eyes challenged me, and I nodded. I’d seen a lot of crazy things, and there was no other explanation. Especially now that I owned the ability to travel in time. I was meeting with my future self.

  “What I said about her, it’s the truth,” he insisted. He sounded so hollow. So tired. “Silho will destroy everything.”

  Silho…impossible! “No, she wouldn’t. Never. Not how we’ve been raising her.”

  He sighed. “You mean the way you’ve been raising her.”

  I squinted. A new fear tried to strangle me. “What do you mean, I?”

  “She is going to kill Elena. We all thought it was an accident, but it wasn’t. Silho is dark. Always has been. If you don’t listen to me, you will lose everything.” He looked so lost. “So please, I’m begging you, go back. Give your people a different future, one without heartache.”

  “When?” I asked.

  Mutely, he shook his head.

  “When is she going to kill Elena?”

  “I tried too many times to save her. It still always happens later or earlier, no matter what I do to change the timeline. I could never kill my own daughter…and the ones who tried met my wrath. I’m tired,” he said through clenched teeth. “Please.”

  I just sat there, numb.

  “Change the past, I’m begging you. Give our people a different future. Please.”

  He got up slowly and I snapped out of it. “Where are you going?”

  “Back to my time. Hopefully back to a better future where the love of my life still exists.”

  I looked at him again. He did look exhausted. Even angry. Angry at whom? Me. Himself.

  It was me.

  He paused at the door.

  “Wait,” I stalled. “Are you sure there is nothing we can do for Silho?”

  “We tried everything…There is nothing. You will always protect her with your life, even though you know the truth. You can’t help it. You love her too much. But she was never supposed to be born.”

  He left.

  My daughter, my adorable, sweet little girl…was going to kill her mother.

  Pain stabbed through my heart as I tried to imagine the type of sorrow he spoke of. How much pain my child had unleashed on me. Murdering her mother. Those delicate hands raised against her mother. She couldn’t. She wouldn’t be able to.

  I fell to my knees as the pain expanded, stronger and stronger. Waves of grief crashed on the shore of my being. I wouldn’t be able to live without Elena. I wasn’t as strong as her father. I would never find another love. I was a dragon. She was my Dent.

  I got up from the floor and rushed to my wife.

  I sat at the windowsill, looking at the moon. It was so bright tonight.

  A knock on the door made me jump. I climbed down. “Enter,” I said. An older, blonde woman opened the door.

  She gasped as she saw me. I’d never seen this woman in my entire life. Yet she knew me. She was wearing a staff uniform.

  “Can I help you?”

  “Sorry to bother you, Princess,” she said and closed the door behind her. My heart beat harder as she came over to me. Who was she?

  She came to a halt and bestowed upon me a beautiful smile. Her dark eyes shone.

  “I never thought I would see you again.” She threw her arms around my neck.

  I hadn’t expected that, not one bit.

  “Okay,” I said as I tapped her back awkwardly. “Do I know you?” Was this some escaped patient from an asylum?

  “Not yet,” she whispered.

  I frowned. “What did you say?”

  “Morgan,” Blake’s voice called from outside. I looked at my closed door and back to this woman.

  “How do…”

  “I’ve got to go. Everything will work out the way it’s meant to be. I promise.”

  She ran to the door and left.

  Dumbfounded, I just stood there blinking at where she’d disappeared. Who the hell was this Morgan? How did she know me? Then whatever glued me to the floor let go and I rushed after her, opening the door. I found nothing.

  My heart raced. Anger boiled inside of me.

  A bright flash lit up the evening sky, then it disappeared.

  Not yet… I thought about her words. I looked at the sky again. It was filled with stars and a beautiful moon. It couldn’t be…?

  My door opened again and Blake ran in. He didn’t say anything. He was deranged. He cried. I got a dose of images from his thoughts. He was in a full-blown panic. Silho. Sobbing, he flung his arms around me.

  “You’re scaring me! What about Silho?” I asked.

  He didn’t respond. Pain and darkness emanated from him. His body shook in my embrace.

  “Blake, please,” I begged. “What about Silho?”

  Then I saw it. Someone had visited him. Another Blake. He had a conversation with his older self. A self that was weary, broken. He’d begged. He’d revealed a horrible truth to Blake about Silho. She was going to destroy the world one day. She was going to kill…me.

  I gasped and pushed him away.

  “You weren’t supposed to see that,” he cried. “I didn’t want to believe him, but he said she was never supposed to be born.”

  She killed—will kill—me. Why?

  “We need to go back. If that is what it takes for the future to be brighter, we must go back. We need to set this right, Elena.”

  Hot tears flowed over my cheeks. Silho was going to be the price we were going to have to pay.

  My baby girl was destined to become evil. How? Why? In all my what-ifs, I’d never considered
this possibility.

  “Was it really you?” I asked.

  He nodded.

  I believed him. Somehow. Crazy as this all was. I sniffled. “So…Morgan?”

  He cocked his head, awkward in my arms. “Who?”

  “There was a woman earlier. Just now. She didn’t make any sense, just hugged me and then told me she never thought it was possible that she would ever see me…” I gasped. “She never did, because Silho killed me.”

  “Shh, you weren’t supposed to see that, Elena. I tried so hard to hide it, but my emotions…I’m sorry.” He hugged me tighter. “It will never happen. I promise. We will change it. You are not going to die.”

  We spoke to everyone close to us.

  My father didn’t understand our reasoning at first. He was scared. But the minute Blake told him about the visit from his future self, he understood. Sadness pervaded him. Sadness, but not resistance.

  We had to make things right. Not just for the people, but for Silho, too. She would have peace in the afterlife.

  We were going to change the past.

  Nobody had ever gotten that opportunity before. We were going to try.

  “What if you don’t listen to us?” I asked my father. Déjà vu crept into my gut.

  “Then make us listen, Elena. Goran had a militia stationed on the northern side of the castle behind the forest. Tell me they will be there.”

  “Dad.” I sighed.

  “Make me believe you.”

  “What about Mom?”

  “Your mother is out of the question, Elena. She was lost. She wouldn’t even see you. I’m sorry, sweet pea. I doubt you will see your mother on this trip.”

  Disappointment filled my chest, but I nodded.

  He looked worried. His eyes shone with tears.


  “It’s Goran, Elena. Just try to be as gentle as possible.”

  I got what he was saying. Goran’s betrayal had been a hard blow back when it had happened. Hearing it from someone’s mouth before it even came to pass would be even harder.

  “I will try my best. Promise.”

  A layout of the old castle before my mother’s wing burned down lay open on the table between us. He was showing me all the hidden passages. If anything went wrong, we would at least be able to get away safely.

  I said goodnight and returned to my room.

  Blake was playing with Silho on the bed. He hadn’t attended any of the evening meetings with my father. He knew what would happen when we got back to our own timeline.

  Silho wouldn’t be here.

  I climbed on the bed. She turned her face toward me and smiled. She was so damn beautiful. It was hard to imagine that her future was so dark.

  I bent and kissed her temple. My lips lingered as tears welled up in my eyes.

  She clutched one of Blake’s wristbands in her tiny fist. Her chubby arms swung wildly. Joyous cackles spilled her mouth. She crawled over to Blake and fell on him as she kissed him.

  Blake rubbed her back and my leg with his other free hand.

  It was so unreal to think she would become someone evil. Someone who would destroy our world.

  We spent the entire night with her. When Simone arrived to give her a bath, I sent her away. I wanted to do it myself.

  Blake and I wanted to spend every minute we could with her. Every last, precious millisecond.

  When we returned, everything would be changed. Whether my mother would be here or not, this present moment would be different. My father would be different. Sammy and Becky, everyone.

  I just hoped it would be for the best.

  Silho slept with us the evening before our departure.

  I sobbed in the bathroom. My breath came in gulping waves, salty with crocodile tears that wouldn’t stop. I couldn’t imagine life without my baby girl. Even if she was destined to be evil, she was my daughter. She would always be my daughter. But she couldn’t have this life. I couldn’t allow her to have a dark future. I could change it. Her mother and father had the ability to change it. I believed with my entire heart that we would see her one day again in the afterlife. Surely timelines converged there. She would understand.

  She would have to understand. I hoped.

  My cries echoed throughout the night.

  The next morning, I packed a bag with some essentials—water bottles, bandages—just in case we ran into trouble. We all had breakfast together. Everyone came, even Sammy. Displaying the most emotion I’d seen in her for years, Sammy begged us not to go.

  Silho was going to stay with my father until everything changed. I wondered what it would be like for them.

  I hoped it would be easy, that they’d be waking up with no knowledge of what they had lost. If they were all going to remember this past, this world, it would be hard. But Ralph had said it would be impossible for them to remember our version of things. So it would only be Blake and me who would remember this life, this truth…and Silho.

  Saying goodbye was the hardest. Especially when it came to Constance and Annie.

  “You know you will always be my sister, no matter what happens,” I said, hugging Annie.

  “I know.”

  I looked at Constance. “It’s not that you weren’t a wonderful mother. You are the best…”

  “Shh, Elena. You don’t need to explain. I know. A mother always knows. And it’s time that you meet your own. Make them see. Make them believe.” She hugged me tight. “I know you can do it.”

  Blake carried Silho in his arms. She was happy. This was how I wanted to remember her. A happy baby.

  My dad was next. I kissed him and he swept me into an embrace. “I will try my best to be as gentle as possible, Dad.”

  He smiled. “Be careful, Elena. Goran was extremely powerful, even back then. Don’t let him get suspicious.”

  “I won’t.”

  Then it was Silho. My daughter. My heart. I took her from Blake and just held her tight. Tears poured down my cheeks. Her bright eyes went round with childlike wonder at the wetness on my face.

  Blake rubbed my shoulder as he bent over to kiss her on her raven-black curls.

  “I love you, baby girl. So much. I will always love you, forever and ever.”

  She toyed with my necklace, not understanding a single word. I pressed my lips on her head. My heart felt too heavy to move on. She will be happy, Elena. George saw it.

  He showed me the vision that George explained to him. She was happy. So happy. Playing in a beautiful garden surrounded by loving people, Cara among them. I knew it was heaven.

  That gave my soul a modicum of peace.

  I gave her to Constance. Blake disrobed and changed into his dragon form. I bundled his clothes up for later.

  I could barely speak past the stranglehold of grief. “See you soon.”

  “You bet on it, sweet pea. Now go save your mom, and good luck.” My father gave me one last hug. “I know you can do it,” he whispered into my ear.

  Shouldering my backpack, I nodded and climbed onto Blake’s wing. I didn’t look at my family again. It was just too hard.

  So where to, Elena?

  I don’t know. Something tells me jumping back in time is a Rubicon thing.

  He laughed. It wasn’t an out-of-his-belly type of laugh, and it wasn’t a chuckle either. It was something in between.

  Okay, so let’s try this. He started to calculate everything. The speed he’d flown that night we’d gone back in time, the distance, what he’d been thinking… No, that one wasn’t really necessary; he’d been having fun. It wasn’t connected to anything. He hadn’t been thinking about the past.

  Hold on!

  I wrapped his tendrils—which I sometimes teased him by saying they looked like catfish whiskers—gently around my palms. When I gave him the go ahead, he darted up into the sky and flew up into the air. His speed took my breath away. The whipping wind stole the tears from my eyes.

  He zipped back down and up again. We carried on like that for at le
ast twenty minutes. Nothing happened.

  There was no bright light, no passing back in time.

  I don’t know what happened, Elena. I don’t know how to do this.

  It’s okay. We will get there. Just be patient.

  Frustration colored his thoughts. Maybe it was a night thing. I think we should camp until nighttime and see what happens.

  I hoped he was right about this and it wasn’t some sort of a mental thing.

  It’s not a mental connection, Elena.

  I sometimes hated that he was so married to my thoughts.

  I love it.

  I chuckled. He broke the wall of my grief for just a moment. But it settled back on my shoulders, heavy and implacable.

  We landed on Mount Likwa and waited underneath one of the trees until night came.

  “So,” he spoke out loud as I was resting with my back against his chest. He was still naked, but we were both too grief-stricken to be stricken with lust at the moment. Our fingers were intertwined. The sound of buzzing insects were as loud as a sledge hammer on a busy road.

  “I think we should not introduce ourselves to your father as ourselves.”

  “You mean pretend to be other people?” I asked, confused.

  “Yes. It’s the only way for Goran not to suspect anything.”

  I sighed. My father had warned me not to let him suspect anything, that he’d been powerful, even back then.

  Silence shrouded us. How were we going to get my father, Sir Robert, and Goran to trust us?

  I advocated for keeping our true forms, me a Dragonian and Blake the Rubicon.

  He didn’t think it was a good idea, since no two Rubicons existed at the same time and his father might get worried.

  I argued that my father, in his curiosity to know me—a rider of a Rubicon—would keep Sir Robert at ease. We would come in peace, even if I had to say it a thousand times for Sir Robert to not get paranoid and do something stupid.

  Blake didn’t like this at all, but it was the only way to pique their interest. We hoped to get an invitation to stay over at the castle, even just for a night.

  I would do anything to meet my mother, anything.

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