Sure my stomach still tossed and turned after that gut-wrenching, nauseating swirling-colored-tunnel effect of the movement. Granted, the grey stone hadn’t been the wall I’d aimed for.
But I’d made this happen. On my own.
My arm raised to pump my joy, my toes tapped. I opened my mouth to express my victory…
“No you didn’t,” a husky, feminine voice whispered in my ear.
I turned so fast I lost my balance. As I struggled to stay upright, I took in more of my surroundings.
The hand on my arm stabilizing me belonged to a strange, but in some ways familiar, plump face framed by dark auburn tresses; I stood in an unusually large room with a massive fireplace and oil sconces placed at intervals that didn’t quite light the room enough to make out details.
“Where…” I stuttered
“The Keep. Welcome,” that deep voice thrummed recognition deep within me, but I knew, with a certainty, I had never heard it used before in my presence.
“Who…” gee, I was getting to be the master of unfinished sentences.
“Come on Aspen. You can do it,” that first voice urged me. “How can you forget us?”
My brain finally stopped spinning, letting me access memories without feeling the after-effects of not only the fast turn, but especially the teleportation. “The Keep? Like in Evermore?”
“You see Leticia—Aspen just needed a few moments to gather her wits. Yes, Aspen, you are in my study at the Evermore Keep. Leticia has been watching you attempt this teleportation idea all afternoon. I approved her request to intercede, rather than leave you frustrated any longer,” he moved just enough to let me see his shadowy figure in the winged chair by the fireplace.
“Magi Silvius? But you are figments of my imagination. Just acharacter in my Chronicles? Aren’t you?”
Leticia chuckled. “Sure honey. Figments of your very fertile inventiveness. Didn’t you say once your story characters are more real to you than the real people you meet?”
“You heard that? I said that years ago, trying to apologize for my inability to remember names of people I meet. I’m dreaming, right?”
A velvety, foreign-sounding voice joined the conversation. “Aspen, child, we decided your frustration levels would hinder your descriptive capabilities. As Leticia has remained near to your heart, we decided to use her teleportation technique, unsettling as it seems, to bring you into our midst.”
“Esmeralda? I don’t remember writing any scenes where you and Silvius meet.”
“Of course we meet child. Regularly. You have us both On Call at the ParaLeague Clinic. We need to discuss our patients, their treatments. And of course, we work together training Leticia’s wizardly attributes. Do you not remember?” Esmeralda rolled her rrr’s.
“It’s such fun to watch you method write Aspen,” Leticia laughed. “Acting out your scenes, regardless of whether your family can see you. Catching the ‘exact’ way a scene should sound, no matter where you are, or what you’ve been doing. Seeing you drop everything and rush to your computer to write it down. I even remember you staying up till three in the morning writing that one scene, because you wanted to see how it ended too. All the while knowing you had a background acting gig first thing in the morning that required a long drive through rush hour traffic.
“So, when you spend a whole morning and most of the afternoon trying to teleport, going through the whole aspect of memorizing the area where you want to end up. I did what any self-respecting vampire/wizard character would do. Especially when I’m the main focus of the scene. I came to my mentor, got permission to help. And Voila!
“Will this experience help to write that scene?”
“We do aim to help you as much as possible, Aspen,” Silvius agreed. “Our very lives hang on your abilities.”
“Oh yeah,” I sighed happily. “I don’t remember ever reading about other authors’ characters diving right into their writer’s consciousness to assist.”
“Perhaps their characters haven’t the same vested interest,” a tall, almost stick-figure of an old man entered the room. “We depend on your mental visualization agility to capture your concepts. We will willingly undertake any actions to ensure your inspiration makes sense in this created world of yours. It is, of course, the world we live in.”
“Barnabus?” I squeaked. “Um. Hi.”
He bowed slightly. For some strange reason I half expected him to click his heels together.
“See? Her mind’s taking all this in now. Just needed a few minutes to get over that rather rough landing, Leticia,” another person entered the room behind Barnabus. “I know that feeling rather too well. Hi Aspen. I’m Rand. Colby’d be here if he could. But duty calls. Can’t get enough Weres to join the force. Especially out in the wilder parts of Alberta. Thought we’d better meet so you can see the real me. After all you’ve written a whole book about my life.”
“Oh my. Actually meeting you all. Seeing the Keep. Oh yeah. This helps. I mean, it really brings you all into focus.”
“We are pleased to meet you in person as well Aspen,” Silvius glided close. “Anytime you need our assistance, do not hesitate to call. I am sorry Gareth could not be available on such short notice. He so wanted to greet you in person. Another time perhaps?” she spoke, Silvius’ face loomed large in my vision. Larger and larger, snapping into sharp focus before blurring.
“Keep those fingers limber. Goodbye for now, child,” his eyes stared at mine, through mine.
I overbalanced, my nose pressed hard against the red brick of the front of my house, catching myself by my fingertips before the rough surface scraped my skin.
“Hey Mom? What are you doing out here?” my daughter came around the corner of the house.
“Well. Wow. I’m not sure. Writing a scene for my book. Maybe.”