There are two rocks in the field not far behind the cemetery. Everyone calls them the “Spirit Rocks” because they believe on every Summer Solstice, when the barrier between our and the spirit world is at its weakest, spirits would cross into our world to complete their businesses.
What kind of business? I have no idea. I know one thing. I don’t believe in spirit, at least not until I see them.
So that’s what I’ve set out to do this Solstice. Unfortunately, my nemesis of a brother has other things in mind. Oh, did I mention? We’re witches, at least, that’s what everyone seems to believe, we have some kind of magical power.
“Face it Olivia,” Jake taunts as he stalks me through the cemetery. “You are just too chicken to unleash your power.” He’s not entirely wrong. I’m afraid but mostly, I just don’t know how. Our parents disappeared when we’re young and our grandparents were diagnosed with early stages dementia. In my mind, I’ve always pictured witches to be immortal and ageless.
“Leave me alone!” He chases me through the cemetery and all the way to the rocks. I stop and it’s then I see it. The barrier, the great light between the rocks, the spirit world. Unfortunately, I didn’t see this coming, my brother sneaking up behind me, adding to the fact that I didn’t see him with his smug, villainy grin and hands raised like a maestro directing an orchestra. I scream while a sudden great wind hurls me toward the barrier as rocks and sand pelt at my face.
Sometime later, as I have once again regain my consciousness, I find myself nestle among enormous tree branches on the ground. I am in the woods, my inner voice tells me while another voice says, thanks for stating the obvious.
I look up at the sky, it’s dark. It was dusk when Jake hurled me across the barrier. How long have I been out?
I sit up. Ugh, my head hurts. I look around and the longer I scan my surroundings, the more frantic I become. Uh oh, where’s the barrier? The light? Am I too late? Will I have spend an entire year here? I’ll die without food, water, and cell phone.
Frantically, I pull my phone from my back pocket. No signal, of course.
I get up and begin to explore, trying to find my way out. “Hello?!” I yell, hoping for the company of one of those friendly, lonely spirits. “Hello!”
“Olivia?” I stop walking. That voice, it can’t be. “Olivia, is that you?”
Slowly, I turn around and gasp. “Mom?” She is just as I remember, brown wavy hair that is always kept at lengths between the ear and shoulder. She is still wearing the clothes I remember she wore the day she and dad disappeared although they’re not dirtier than I remember. The longer I look at her, the more emotional I can feel myself become. “Is that really you?”
She steps forward and with tears in her eyes, she nods and wraps her arms around me. “It’s really me, Livy.” It makes me cry harder when she calls me by my nickname.
“I’ve missed you.”
“I’ve missed you too.” We continue to hug for what feels like eternity before my mom suddenly holds me at arms length and narrows her eyes. “How did you get there?”
I scoff and shriek. “Jake! He’s evil these days.”
“What happened? Tell me.” I tell her of how we find out we’re witches and of how Jake abuses his power and literally blew me out of our world and into this one. Mom sighs afterwards. “I swear, he will be in such big trouble once we get out of here.”
“And how are you going to do that? Are you spirits?”
“No!” She shrieks. “We got here the same way you did, through the barrier. Ten years ago, on Summer Solstice, your father was chased by his brother. He chased your father through the cemetery, probably the same route you took. I tried to help but I’m not exactly a fast runner, you see. Finally, I caught up only to encounter this great wind. We couldn’t see anything, your father and I. So I hung on to each other the best we could and just like you, we landed here.
We’ve been trying to get out for ten years now but it seems like our power isn’t adequate here. Maybe with your power combined with our, it might work.”
“And where is dad?”
“Right this way.”
We walk through the woods. The terrain is rough, not one inch of the ground is leveled and there is branches running everywhere but my mom seems to know the way. She seems to be able to tell one tree from another, even in this darkness. “You really know your way around.”
She chuckles, “I better, I’ve been here for ten years.”
“So have you stumble across any spirits?”
“Of course. We’ve seen a few since we’ve been here. They’re scattered. Apparently witches like to be in solitude in death.” I raise my eyebrow. So spirits are real? “And we have arrived.” She announces. I raise my brow again. Where? There’s nothing here but then she grabs my hand. “Bennett, look who I found.”
I enter what looks like an invisible bubble. It’s fill with warmth and wonderful smell unlike the rest of the woods. Dad, still the same as ten years ago except for the scruffy brown beard, gets up, walks over and hugs me. “I missed you, pumpkin.”
“I missed you too, dad.”
“Apparently, your son has inherited a few of your brother’s qualities.” Mom says. “But with Livy here, we might have a better chance of opening the portal and finally going home.”
Dad lets go of me. “You really think so?” Mom nods. He claps. “Well then, what are we waiting for?”
“Um, guys, did I mention I don’t know how this mystical power of ours work?”
They stare at me unblinkingly for at least a minute and then at each other for a few second before they begin conversing among themselves. Mom shakes her head, “she doesn’t…”
Then dad shakes his head, “Nah,” he strokes his beard, “well,” and finally shakes his head again, “Nah.”
“What is it?” I ask impatiently.
“It’s okay, honey,” mom says rubbing my arm, “we just need to access your power.” She turns to dad, “Okay, let’s take down the protective shield first.” Dad raises his right arm and looked up to the sky. I watch with amazement as he inhales a sharp breath and then a bright ball of light glow in his hand.
“Now what?” I ask after Dad lowers his arm and turns back to us.
“Now, we do this.” Before I can react, mom places her thumbs on my forehead and begins mumbling in a language I don’t understand, in a tone that can be described as a song played in a minor key.
I can feel my heart racing and the cold and darkness enclosing me, even though a fire is still burning brightly behind me. Then I feel the ground beneath me vanish and I fall. I fall as though I am frozen. I want to close my eyes but can’t and when I can suddenly scream, I’m already so far into the abyss that I can only feel the air and see the darkness around me.
“Ah…” I scream as I at last land on something soft. Breathing hard, I sit up and glance around for a long time before I realize I’m back in my bedroom. Was that real? Did that happen to me? Or was everything just a dream?
I hear hurrying footsteps and before long, my bedroom door is open and the light flicks on. My mom rushes into the room, wrapping her bathrobe tight around her body. “What’s the matter? I heard you scream.”
“Oh my god, mom. I think I’ve just had the worst nightmare. You and dad disappeared and trapped in the spirit world and I was trapped there by Jake, and…” I breathe, trying to calm my hysteria.
Mom sits on the bed next to me and rubs my arm. “It’s just a dream, Livy.” She smiles, “we’re all here, safe.”
Still breathing hard, I say, “then why do I have such a weird dream?”
“Probably because it’s the solstice and your brother’s ridiculous spirit talk.” Mom yawns. “Come on, sweetie,” I rest my head on the pillow as mom tucks me in, “go back to bed.”
I give her a small smile, “Okay, mom.”