Check out chapter 10 draft!
Zoran’s stomach is in knots as he unlocks Kalera’s door, waiting for Musfall to push it open. Tiptoeing inside without conversation, memories of Kalera enter Zoran’s mind. He and Musfall had been detained in Peru for eight weeks. It is unsettling, the thought of the unknown. By now, anything may have happened to her. All Zoran wants is to get her back.
Musfall’s emotions were in turmoil. He has not meditated nor called on his powers since Machu Picchu. As a voodoo priest, he is a man of great influence in his family. He has followed in the footsteps of his great grandfather, his grandfather, and his father. In fact, his powers had not failed him since his training in South Africa began long ago.
Nearing the fireplace, Musfall gazes upon a picture of Kalera as a young girl. The photo is the only one she has of her troubling childhood. As he stands there a feeling comes over him and he hears the voice of a child begging her mother for a pair of ritual pearls.
Musfall places a book on the counter noticing a woman who seemed lost.
“Ma’am, I can help you with those if you like.” He suggests.
“That obvious huh?” She responds.
“A little. Here you are, our best healing herb.” He replies.
“My mother will kill me if she finds out I am here. I am a Christian you know.” She claims.
“That is what they all say” He replies with a smile.
Turning to the child, Who is this curious little one?
“This is my youngest daughter Kalera. And yes she is curious.” She responds.
“Kalera close your eyes. Now, I want you to focus on the thing you want most. The one thing you want right now. Now, open your eyes.” Musfalls directs.
A pair of ritual black pearls were around the girl’s neck.
“Thank you sir!” Kalera smiles.
“That is so nice of this gentleman, but I don’t have enough dear.” Her mother responds while taking the pearls from around Kalera’s neck.
“That’s okay. They are on the house. Special pearls for a special girl and her lovely mother.” Musfall offers.
From that moment on Fredreeka and Kalera made trips to the museum. Musfall became Kalera’s favorite guide even after he later opened his own shop. And as Kalera grew older she would visit on her own.
On a dreadful day Kalera’s stepfather found her at the shop and began beating her. Musfall would often ask Fredreeka about bruises and whelps, but she would never give a straight answer. Today he learns why. After calling the police, he intervenes punching the stepfather in the face. He was lying on the floor refusing to get up when the police arrived. They took one look at Kalera and did not arrest Musfall, but took the stepfather to jail. The man did not leave quietly. He yelled about how he would be back with a lawyer and get Musfall deported.
Six months later, Fredreeka had separated from her second husband and began dating Musfall. Kalera’s brother and sister hated the idea. They missed their father regardless of what he had done. Kalera; however, embraced Musfall. She even taught him to write properly in English. In return, he taught her some bright magic as he called it.
Fredreeka and Musfall dated for four years but never married. Every time he would ask, she would say no, so he decided to end the relationship. Not long after, Fredreeka began hanging with a man named Mark. Mark was not of good character. He introduced her to heroin. Eventually, Hella and Gotfry, Kalera’s siblings were placed with their aunt by social services. Kalera moved in with her paternal grandmother who was very poor. Musfall would take her shopping and he kept food on the table. He pushed Kalera to finish high school with honors.
Molly hears as she opens her eyes to see two Kales standing over her.
Standing too quickly she falls to the ground and crawls a short distance before one of the Kales leaps in front of her.
“My Lady you are safe. We do not wish to harm you.” He assures.
“Where am I?” She asks.
“The northern edge of the Dark Forest.” The Kale responds.
“I don’t understand.” She says.
“My kinsman and I found you as two men tried to ravish you. We killed them and brought you here.” He claims as he reaches for Molly’s hand.
She takes it and he lifts her to her feet. The second Kale offers her food and water. After walking for a bit she takes in the sight and sounds of the magical forest she had long forgotten existed. Her rescuers offer her a seat in front of the flame. She sits taking the food and water given to her as she remembers trying to go back for the mysterious man that happened upon her and Kalera. For all she knows, her actions may have gotten her husband killed.
Staring into the flames she recalls Bram and her narrow escape, but deeper into her mind long dead thoughts awaken. The stories her nurser friend would tell her about the great dragons and the Dawns who guarded the realm as their ancestors had before them. She spoke of their love and care for the people and how they ended slavery in their time. She spoke even of the last Dawn, Queen Palera who ruled Zaylen with her dragon Brogo.
“Legend has it that Palera was pregnant and gave birth to a baby, but that is where the legend ends. We hope that one day a Dawn will arise bringing us freedom from the horrors we now face.” Cried the nurser.
Little Molly would pretend she was a Dawn every morning before eating the slop she was so privileged to eat. She would swing wooden sticks while imagining riding a great dragon though she had no idea what one really looked like.
She would often get into trouble for daydreaming. Placed in sweat boxes, beaten on a rack, burnt with hot coals, and left to the elements during the night. Molly became known as a little dreamer, and she would continue to sneak and listen to her friend’s stories of the Dawns.
“Wait and see. I may not live to see it, but a Dawn will rise again.” The nurser claims.
Her assessment was factual. For on that day, the frail woman was taken before her master. One in her midst told of her stories for a piece of silver and one night’s freedom. Pleading guilty, the woman believed Master would go easy on her. After all, this was her first offense. Nurser was sentenced to die. What a cruel sentence it was. She was stripped and burnt at the stake. But not all at once. Master ordered that she be kept alive for days so that her agony and torture could be witnessed by all, including Molly who at times still hears the screams of her friend.
“You must eat.” The Kale suggests.
After hours of turning up nothing, Musfall removes the Seer Stone.
Placing the stone in his right hand, raising it he calls on the Inca. In his pocket were small beads or tokens of some kind. He spread them over the kitchen table and begins to beat in rhythm as striking a drum. His eyes roll back into his head as he begins to jolt.
“Here we go.” Zoran thinks.
Musfall deliberately moves toward Kalera’s bedroom. Entering, he heads straight for a white container sitting next to the bed. Zoran didn’t understand for they had already searched it, but he doesn’t interrupt. Musfall sits on the bed pointing to the container, so Zoran drags it to the middle of the room, dumps all its contents, shaking and smelling the items. But nothing.
The stone again glows brighter as Musfall moves toward Kalera’s bed a second time. Zoran moves the bed to find several pieces of floorboard out of place. He runs to the garage and grabs a hammer. He returns to find Musfall has already pried open the boards with his bare hands looking wild-eyed.
Zoran moves closer and drops the hammer as he beholds a woman, lying under the floor with four petrified stones atop her.
“Musfall are you seeing what I am seeing?” Zoran whispers.
“Yes. A woman is lying there.” He replies.
“Is she dead?” Zoran asks.
“I don’t know.” Musfall replies.
Zoran moves in closer. He lowers his head to her face. Turning, he listens and looks to see if her stomach is rising and falling. It is not. She is not breathing. He and Musfall begin CPR reminding Zoran of the time he saved Kalera’s life. Forceful compressions and direct breaths continue for four minutes and then …
The woman begins to rapidly breathe as she slowly opens her eyes to see Musfall and Zoran looking down over her. Beginning to struggle and scream, the woman frantically jumps up trying to run. She loses her balance and catches the floor. Zoran approaches her with his hands in the air as to assure her.
“Miss. Please calm down. You are okay. We will not harm you.” He says as he kneels down to help her up.
Zoran reaches for her hands as she glares into his eyes. She then turns to scan unfamiliar surroundings. Perplexion befalls her as she turns to Zoran again.
“Jessup.” She calls him.
Zoran should have been shocked, but he is not because that name is familiar to him.
Musfall walks over and they both swat down in front of her.
“What is your name, Miss?” Zoran asks.
“Molly. My name is Molly.” She replies.
Zoran bolts to the garage. He returns with a box insulated with towels, thick gardening gloves, and a pair of thongs. Musfall watches as Zoran uses the thongs to pick up the colorful stones and placing them into the box. Picking up the box, he brings it to Molly.
“These were on top of you. Do you know what they are?” He asks.
Molly stares into the box and looks to Zoran.
“You called me Jessup. My name is Zoran. Do I remind you of someone?” He asks.
Zoran beckons Musfall to the door.
“She called me Jessup. That is the name of the man Kalera told me about. She is from Zaylen. If she is from Zaylen. Those are dragon eggs.” Zoran states.
“How is this possible?” Musfall asks.
“How is any of this possible?” Zoran responds.
They turn to my Molly standing and glaring at the stones.
Zoran slowly walks towards her as she glares upon him.
“Dragon eggs. Elementos is what they are called. She whispers.