The thirteenth unicorn, p.35
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       The Thirteenth Unicorn, p.35
 

           W. D. Newman
CHAPTER 32

  A JOYOUS REUNION

  The Honda rolled to a dusty stop. When Charles hopped out, Ben and Casey rushed to his side and threw their arms around him. Charles pulled the kids close and hugged them tightly. George and Louise tried to wait patiently for Charles and his children to finish up with their hugs and kisses. Louise, however, reached a point where she simply could not take it any longer.

  “Okay, Charles, that’s enough! You’ve got to tell us what’s going on.”

  Charles let the kids go, swooped his mom up in his arms and spun her around.

  “Heaven’s sake, Charles, put me down! What’s got into you, son?”

  Charles set his mother down and put his arm around her and his father.

  “I need to eat a bite, first. I haven’t had a single bite of food all day today. I’m so excited it seems I’ve lost my appetite, but I know I need to eat something, because I’m a little light-headed too. Or maybe I’m just a little light headed, because I’m so excited, I don’t know. Let me scarf down a sandwich and then I’ll give everyone the good news.”

  “You don’t have to eat a sandwich,” said Louise. “We had a late supper and I saved you a plate. It’s your favorite too.”

  While Charles ate everyone plied him with questions, but he refused to answer a single one. As soon as he was finished eating, Louise whisked his plate away and everyone walked out to the front porch.

  “Sit down, Son,” said George, pointing to the old wooden swing. “Louise can put on a pot of coffee, if you like?”

  “No, Dad, I can’t stay and visit. I’m going to give you my good news now and then we will have to be off.”

  “Well, I don’t see why you have to rush off like that. You could at least have a cup of coffee with us.”

  “No, I really can’t. You’ll understand why in just a moment. But you and Mom and the kids need to be sitting down for this – it’s big.”

  George and Louise sat in their old rocking chairs and Ben and Casey plopped down in the porch swing. Charles stood between the porch columns, on either side of the steps, where he could see his parents and his children. He cleared his throat and took a deep breath.

  “Last night, about nine o’clock, I was in my hotel room getting ready for bed. I had a long exhausting day at work and I was dead tired. Just as I crawled into bed, and turned the lights out, the telephone rang. At first, I thought it was work related and I started to just lay there and let it ring. But then I started thinking that something might have happened to one of the kids and someone was trying to get in touch with me. You know how I am.”

  Louise nodded. “You always expect the worst.”

  “Well, anyway, I answered the phone and it was Newberry Downs calling about Carol.”

  George and Louise quit rocking and Ben and Casey stopped swinging. Time froze, and everyone’s attention hung on the next words to come out of Charles’ mouth. Finally, Ben spoke and time started back.

  “What did they say?”

  “They said,” Charles’ voice cracked and he paused a moment to wipe a tear from his eye. When he regained his composure he continued. “They said your mother is awake.”

  Ben and Casey sat there stunned. They heard their father clearly, but they were afraid to believe him. They were afraid it was all a dream and that they would wake up and nothing would have changed.

  “Did you hear me, guys? Carol is out of her coma now. She is awake and talking too.”

  Ben and Casey jumped from the swing and ran to their father. Charles dropped to his knees and the children sobbed on his shoulder. Louise and George came over and they too were crying.

  “Is it really true? Is mom really awake?” Casey cried.

  “It’s true, sweetheart. That’s why I’m here. To get you two guys and take you home. Are you ready?”

  Casey nodded.

  “Good,” said Charles. “Grab your suitcases and let’s go get your mother and bring her home.”

  George helped Charles and the kids load their luggage into the trunk. Ben and Casey hugged their grandparents and climbed into the Honda. Louise leaned down and yelled through the window as Charles was cranking the car.

  “You call me when you get home and give me an update, you hear?”

  Charles nodded and blew her a kiss. He then backed the car, turned it around, and sped off down the driveway, tooting the horn and waving his arm out the window. Casey and Ben waved at their grandparents until their car rounded the corner and disappeared into the woods.

  “I can’t believe it,” said Ben. “I have dreamed of this day for so long, I just can’t believe it’s finally happened.”

  “I know, son. I have been praying for this day for two years now. I have been praying the same prayer over and over and over. I’ve prayed the same prayer so many times that it has just became some kind of ritual, without any meaning or thought behind the words. Do you know what I’m saying?”

  “Yeah, I think so. Casey, are you okay? You are awful quiet.”

  “I’m fine. I guess I’m just kinda floored by the news. It’s been so long since we’ve had a mother and I’ve just been sitting here thinking and trying to remember what it was like. And I’ve been wondering what it’s going to be like. Is she going to be the same? Or will she be different now?”

  “She’s going to be fine,” said Charles, leaning over and patting Casey on the knee. “I’ve saved up a lot of vacation time over the past couple of years. I’m going to take some time off to help your mother get back on her feet. I’m going to need your help too. Both of you.”

  Soon, they were on Highway 11 and Charles pushed the little Honda up to seventy. After a while, Ben spotted a big sign – Sparky’s Fireworks was just half a mile ahead. He remembered his dad had promised to stop there on the way home, to buy them some fireworks. He didn’t want to stop now, though. He didn’t want to stop for anything and he smiled to himself as Sparky’s big metal building flashed by the car, on the left. Almost to the interstate now. Almost home.

  Back on the farm, George and Louise had watched Charles and the kids, until they were out of sight and then they went into the house to sit and digest this turn of events. Louise had been crying ever since Charles had given them the good news, and could not stop. George could not understand why she kept crying and finally decided that it must have something to do with being a woman, so even though it was now getting dark, he promptly declared that he had some work to do on his tractor and left. Louise pulled the last tissue from the box on the end table and wiped her eyes once more. She then pulled the necklace out from beneath her dress and yanked it from her neck, then went into the kitchen to fix a pot of coffee. She paused by the kitchen door and dropped the spell-catcher into the garbage can, and then took the carafe over to the sink to fill it with water. As the pot was filling, she looked out of the window at the bamboo. It was finally over and she had her family back. She smiled and then filled the coffee maker.

  On the interstate, Charles pushed the Honda up to eighty. He wasn’t worried about getting a ticket, because even though the speed limit was sixty-five, everyone was driving seventy-five and eighty. Even at that speed it seemed to take forever to get to Newberry Downs, but they finally made it. Charles did not even bother to park the car. He pulled up to the front of the building and killed the engine, right at the steps leading to the front entrance. All three raced up the sidewalk and burst through the double doors, into the waiting room. There was Carol, sitting in a wheelchair across the room with a suitcase at her side. Charles and the kids froze, as Carol put her hands on the arms of the chair and slowly rose to her feet. A tear slid down her cheek as she smiled and opened her arms to her family. Charles ran to her and swept her off her feet. The two clung to each other tightly and then Carol pulled away and motioned for her children. Ben and Casey ran to their mother and flung themselves into her arms. After many tears, and many hugs and kisses, Charles led his wif
e over to a sofa to sit. Ben sat beside her on one side and Casey sat beside her on the other side. Charles pulled an old wingback chair out from the corner and dragged it over so that he could sit in front of her.

  “How do you feel, Mom?” Ben asked.

  “I’m a little weak, but other than that I actually feel pretty good. The doctors are amazed at my recovery and wanted to keep me for a couple of days to observe me, but I wouldn’t have it. I’m ready to get out of this place.”

  “Do you know how long you’ve been here?” Charles asked, picking his wife’s hands up and squeezing them gently.

  “Two years,” Carol answered. “Two long, miserable, horrible years.”

  “What do you mean by that?”

  “I don’t think I was in any kind of coma, Charles. I was aware of everything that went on around me, I just couldn’t respond. It was more of a paralysis than anything.”

  “You could hear us when we talked to you?” Casey asked.

  “I heard every word, honey, but I couldn’t move a single muscle. I couldn’t even open my eyes. If you guys had not come as often as you did, I would have gone insane in just a few weeks.”

  “And the doctors still don’t have an explanation for what happened?” Charles asked.

  “None. All I can tell them is that one moment I had no feeling anywhere in my entire body and the next moment, it was like someone turned on a switch and every nerve, every fiber, every cell within me cried out; I’m alive!”

  For a few moments, everyone sat there in silence. Finally, Carol spoke again.

  “So what do we do now?”

  Charles stood up and pulled his wife to her feet.

  “Come on, sweetheart, let’s go home.”

  “Home,” Ben whispered. There was more magic in that one word than existed in all of Camelot; Home.

  THE END

  *****

  BOOKS IN THIS SERIES

  THE THIRTEENTH UNICORN

  Book #1 in the Ben Alderman Series

  While spending the summer with their grandparents on a remote farm in South Carolina, Ben Alderman and his sister Casey uncover a hidden world of magic; a world their grandmother is secretly visiting. It is a world where elves and dwarves are locked in mortal combat against a witch who is trying to free the last surviving wizard from exile. The witch has been defeated once before but with the combined power of the wizard, no one will be able to stand against them. Much to Ben's dismay, he learns that he is the one foretold in the ancient elfin prophecies to bring about the downfall of the witch and save this exciting new world from destruction.

  THE BLACK DRAGON

  Book #2 in the Ben Alderman Series

  With the witch defeated, the elves begin preparations to once again take up their vigil, guarding a black dragon from Crag named Zoltan. Merlin's last enchantment has kept the dragon asleep for centuries, but when Gabriel brings Hob along to inspect the dragon, the bumbling dwarf finds Merlin's staff and accidentally breaks the enchantment. Gabriel and Hob escape from the dragon into a cave that leads them into Kahzidar; the dreaded gnome mines, where they are captured by the mad gnome king Ringwald Stonebreaker. Ben, Casey, and their Grandma must join forces once again with Amos, the shape shifter, to save Camelot from the dragon that's bent on destroying it. But first, they must rescue their friends from Kahzidar

  THE FINAL PROPHECY

  Book #3 in the Ben Alderman Series

  It's spring break and a visit to the Alderman farm leads to another exciting adventure in Camelot. Marcus, the elfin mage known as the Keeper, has been captured by Bellator, the mightiest of the twelve Immortals. Bellator is holding Marcus for ransom until Excalibur, the sword blessed by the Creator, is returned to him, but no one knows where the sword is located. Was the final prophecy of Venus given to provide hope in times of darkness or was it intended as a warning? Is Ben really the chosen one? Will he save Camelot... or destroy it?

  A NOTE TO THE READER

  I hope you have enjoyed reading about the adventures of Ben and Casey as much as I have enjoyed writing about them. If you did, please send me an email and let me know! My email address is dale339@bellsouth.net and I answer every email. Also, if you’d like to help me out, here are some things you can do:

  1)Be sure to rate the books and leave a review. Reviews help other readers decide whether or not to give a book a chance.

  2)If you have an account on www.goodreads.com, look up W. D. Newman and become a fan; it’s a great promotional tool for authors.

  3)If you have a Facebook account, look up The Thirteenth Unicorn and “like” the page.

  4)Lastly, and most importantly, tell your friends about the books! Nothing encourages an author more than a lot of happy readers.

  ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  W. D. Newman is the penname for William Dale Porter. Dale and family live on a farm that is located in a small valley in the beautiful lake and mountain county of Pickens, South Carolina.

 
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