“Well firstly, you’re probably wondering what things like Helen are actually called. They’re certainly not witches or sorcerers. Or, should I say, they’re not just what are known as witches and sorcerers. Although in many cases they have been mistaken for either, and sometimes, in following generations the offspring could be classified as witches as they show similar tendencies, in for example their power of prediction, empathy, telepathic powers, even spiritual communication abilities. With practice these offspring also may possess powers to have some influence over the elements. They may even move objects or create illusions that work purely through the manipulation of others’ minds. However, these offspring are not nearly as powerful as the forces their parents possess. Energy harnessing auras, or Enerthas, as modern scholars like to refer to them – Nervusim potororis – the energy drinker.”
“Why haven’t I heard of this before? Why didn’t Helen show signs of this earlier, and where has it come from?” Michael was full of questions.
“The energy has been around for as long as existence has. But the accumulating concentration of energy, energy from the dead and buried, and energy from previous incarnations… that is the thousand year old mishap. Or, at least one of them, for all we know. Why has noone ever heard of them? Well they have been classified exactly as I had described earlier, as witches, wizards and sorcerers. Human beings are so stuck in their desire for the mysterious that we’d much rather believe in the supernatural, the magical and the unexplainable than we would in something, which… I don’t know… you could classify as perhaps an exaggeration of nature.”
“But, what was this mishap? Why did it happen to Helen now… why wasn’t she born like this to begin with, and how do you know so much about this? Where did you get this information from?”
Ray paused for a moment to examine Michael’s face, before he began deeply, “It’s a long story, are you still eager to write?”
“Yes” Michael nodded.
“I don’t know the entire details. There are still some things I need to find out, particularly in regards to how, why and when it happened, and who Helen really is. I can tell you that this thing is not necessarily hereditary, it is soul bound, thus the reason why one does not necessarily need to be born with these abilities in order to accumulate them. However, at certain points it has been known to have been passed through the family. But the form that we are seeing in Helen now seems to skip two to three generations, a long enough time for the previous possessor, Enertha, or as we would understand it, incarnation, to have died and been born again. As I described before, while the offspring may have some forms of power, they are not the full accumulation of the Enertha. What may also happen, as what is seen in Helen’s case now, is that the blood line is stopped, and Helen’s… the Enertha’s soul… is born into a completely unrelated body. Fortunately for us who seek to stop the Enertha is that they tend to have striking similarities in appearance, even if they have all been born naturally, as normal, healthy, and usually good, people.”
Michael just had to cut in, “Apart from the little strangling episode earlier today, why is there such a need to stop them… her?”
“Simply put, she could generate enough energy to rule the world – as superhero comic book as that might sound. Or, should I say, what is also most likely to happen is that she might generate enough power to turn the world into the under world, and the other way round.”
“You mean the dead…” Michael gasped.
“Exactly. You saw the clouds forming over Mable Falls didn’t you? And you did happen to catch the sunny gap right over my summer house?” Michael nodded in disbelief “Well, that’s just a piece of cosmetic show the Enertha chose to greet us with this time.”
“But, I’ll ask this question again…” Michael began shaking his head “…how do you know about this?”
“I used to have a friend, a very close friend in fact…” Ray’s speech stopped. He stared vacantly ahead, as if he had been caught for breath. His eyes were dry, but Michael could see that it was taking all Ray’s energy not to show his emotions.
“She’s… it is a she isn’t it?” Ray nodded. “She’s dead isn’t she, Ray?”
Ray looked at Michael sternly before continuing on. “We met back in England. We met at a small local theatre group for young people. Her widow mother owned a small Italian café… although she was French… she ran it with her two eldest sons… who looked just like their larger built Italian father. I used to walk two extra miles each day when I was coming home from college, just to ‘happen to be’ passing by her family’s café, just in case she may be out the front cleaning windows, or updating the menu blackboard.” Ray paused again, this time seemingly watching his memories and listening to his past conversations. “She was a good friend” Ray said under his breath.
“What happened to her?” Michael asked impatiently.
“Nothing… at least nothing at this stage… just be patient, you’re trying to jump over the story. Anyway, she had this way of charming me, charming anybody really. I mean to say that before I met her I was convinced I was gay… and after her for that matter. I haven’t before or after been attracted to anyone who was anything…” Ray paused again in a moment of realisation “….anything like her”, and again silence. The two sat for a moment, without saying a thing before Ray continued. “She was so lively, and into everything that moved. She also happened to be obsessive, and there was one thing she was absolutely stuck on, and that was diaries. She loved diaries. She enjoyed ‘getting inside other people’s heads’ as she preferred to put it. She wasn’t entirely keen on keeping her own as she did not want anyone to read her private thoughts. This explained why she would create paintings and collages, decorative ones, to reflect her thoughts and moods. I remember this one painting she had hung above her bed…”
Michael’s eyebrows raised, “In the same house as her widow mother and brothers were living?”
Ray shook his head “Don’t be so meagre. Well, this painting appeared to be two horizontal, parallel waves, one of aqua green and the other of hot pink. Almost a yin yang type image. Helena…” Michael’s lifted his head “that was her name… Helena explained to me that they were side-ways tears, a strange kind of sadness that she felt when everything was great. She also told me that underneath the forms lay the emptiness she felt regarding her father’s early death, the ‘life goes on feeling’ that drove her to not feel the absence of those who were no longer with us.” Again Ray paused.
“So what happened?” Michael couldn’t see the relevance.
“We fell in love. I got this job over here. Helena followed me, luckily having been accepted into the art programme in which I was teaching. Things were pretty normal, or as normal as they can be with two eccentrics in the house… Helena had always mentioned her belief in reincarnation, and lives she fancied that she had previously lived. She even mentioned how before she would die, even in these early years of her adulthood, she would leave messages around the place to communicate with her future incarnation.” Ray laughed “She had written a letter and placed it at the bottom of a brass tissue box holder that she kept on her dressing table in England.” He then shook his head “But when we arrived over here she started looking for her own clues. She obsessively went to second hand bookstores and antique shops, searching for diaries. She didn’t bother with photos as she felt that people would be biologically different every time they were reborn anyway. She had this strong feeling that she would find something in one of these bookstores. This was a feeling she had never had back in England. Until those last days, our morning walks would incorporate scavenges of those dusty, mould infested stores.” Ray’s face turned serious once more.
“So, what happened in the last days?” Michael inquired.
“We had travelled back to England on holiday. Helena decided to stay a few days at her family’s house, and I stayed at my mother’s. It was the longest we’d been apart in quite a while. While we were there in our home land I thought it would be special to make our relationship official. Instead of calling her for morning walks, I decided to search for the ideal engagement ring.” Ray paused for a while to reflect over what Michael considered to be menial information. But still, Michael allowed Ray to reminisce. “I finally found one. It was a thin gold band with a tiny diamond encrusted in it. I knew that Helena preferred silver, but she was allergic to it… so gold it had to be.” Ray stopped and stared into space as he breathed in deeply and casually let the breath out through his nostrils. They both sat in silence until Ray got the energy to resume. “I drove my old yellow Hunter around to Helena’s family’s place. As I was turning the corner to park my car in the back alley behind their row house I was angered to see Helena’s ex-boyfriend’s car already parked in my space. I parked my car directly behind him, and seeing him get out of his car only moments before me, I ran over to him and rammed him against the neighbour’s cast iron fence. I couldn’t believe that he was there. I don’t know why I was so enraged, I should have known that she was with me now. I also knew that they were good friends still, but something just clicked… After yelling at him I stood back, took the ring box out of my pocket. Then took out the ring and threw it at him. I got into my car and tore off to a pub some distance from the city.”
“This sounds pretty tragic. And you’re not sure why you did it?”
“Not really” replied Ray in exhaustion “I just somehow felt in that moment that she was mine and that I couldn’t stand anyone else being with her… I couldn’t stand the thought that she would give anyone else her time… Quite pathetic I know.”
In agreement Michael continued quizzing “So you left her.”
“Yes. My life, my soul, I left her there. I didn’t realise however, that I would see her so soon afterwards. Her and Peter, the ex, turned up at the Green Woods pub where I was stewing over my tenth glass of whiskey, in between chatting up an attractive blond just out of spite…” Ray paused once more as he re-called “At about eleven pm, through the corner of my eye I saw Helena step in through the entrance, closely followed by that Peter. I could see that she was approaching me with a desperate and confused look on her face but all I could do in my pig-headedness was clutch on to the blond, kiss her, then nastily I grabbed her by the hair as if to hold her on display for Helena. I shouted ‘See, I’m getting on with my life!’ Helena didn’t reply, she just turned and ran out of the pub in tears. I could see that Peter was equally confused and just followed Helena like a… shadow… I really don’t know why any of this happened, but I pursued them both as if they were mice. I let them go to Peter’s car before I went to mine and I gradually turned on the ignition moments after they had already taken off. Then with all my anger I accelerated at full speed behind them. I was so angry that I even rear-ended them at high speed. Peter sped up and I could see Helena frantically looking in the mirror she had on the visor above the passenger seat. This went on for minutes until I noticed the back of a lorry, parked in the dark only meters ahead of Peter and Helen. I slowed right down hoping that they would do the same. But there wasn’t enough time. I watched them plough straight into the back of the lorry. Half the car just disintegrated before my eyes. I knew that there was no hope for either of them. Part of me died too as I coldly drove away from the scene, knowing that before long someone else would find them.”
“So you left them there?” Michael was quite astounded.
“Yes. And nobody knows about this, so please, if you could, do not tell anyone.” Michael shook his head partly as a reassurance to Ray and partly in disbelief. “But they didn’t leave me. I was utterly obsessed with Helena, which was part of the reason why I was driven to such extremes. I heard of Helena’s death officially through her mother, who rang me at my mothers. She wailed on the phone as she delivered the vivid details of the way the truck driver had found them. It was she who apologised to me for what happened, without knowing that I had been there witnessing the event. I attended Helena’s funeral as one does when their beloved dies. I didn’t know what to express… anger, grief… sympathy for her family… or my own self pity. Straight after the funeral I began to carry on where Helena had left off. I knew she had left the note and clues for her ‘future’ lives in her house, and throughout the city. I now needed to find what she was searching for in regards to her so-called previous lives… I started scavenging the second hand book stores and antique stores around central England before returning to Maine where I continued her search for the diary. Helena hadn’t been certain of what she was looking for, but she was certain she would know it when she saw it.
“One day I walked into a real dump of a junk shop. I was certain that I was in the wrong place. The owner of the store confirmed this belief. He was a short, scrawny man with greasy hair and beady brown eyes. Although I wouldn’t have given him two seconds if I had passed him on the street, there, where he held me captive in the shop, I couldn’t help but wonder whether he was crazy or a genius. He seemed to have read me as I entered the store. No sooner had I entered and begun the task of drudging through the discarded and neglected books, than he had grabbed my jacket sleeve and pulled me close to him. ‘I bet I know what you’re after’ he said in a snake-like cockney accent. ‘You’re after a diary, a very special diary if I must say.’ I wasn’t sure as to whether it was special or not. All I knew was that Helena had searched for some kind of journal or diary ever since I had met her. ‘Come this way’ he said, as I followed him into the small asbestos-lined back office in which he must have usually sat, monitoring the store through a two-way mirror. ‘Have a look at this’ he said as he passed me an old, hard cover note book, which must have been nearing eighty years old… at least. I looked at it as he told me to tell him what I saw. I opened the pages and told him, ‘I see nothing… hang on…’ as I flicked through more pages I started noticing that every second page had been written on, ‘Actually, there is writing on every second page.’ ‘Really?’ was his response with genuine surprise. The man’s eye brows had lifted towards me in interest. ‘Then you had better take this with you.’ ‘But how much is it? I don’t know whether I can afford it’ I lied. ‘It’s for free’ he assured me as I pulled the diary closer. ‘What do you mean?’ I had queried as I clutched tightly onto the dusty book. ‘I mean that you can take it’ he replied simply.
“I asked him why he demanded that I tell him what I saw. He told me that the book had been waiting for someone, or in fact, two people who could read it. ‘The journal had been written by a maid who was well-known to the locals around a place called Mable Falls. The maid had served in a large white mansion located on the outskirts of suburbia. It had been known that she had had an affair with the master of the house which resulted in a miscarriage. What was also known, and somewhat more peculiar, was that the house had in fact been owned by the woman’s family. Elizabeth Radcliff was her name. Her parents were Lord Erwin Radcliff and Lady Ophelia Radcliff. They had moved to America with their families for the same reason as everyone else… to increase their wealth and prosper in the new found society. There were rumours that people were terrified of Lady Radcliff due to her peculiar abilities of being able to harm people from afar.”
“You mean…” Michael interrupted.
“Yes” Ray slyly grinned “Just the same as Helen. This Lady Radcliff was known for harming people through thin air. The man told me that as rumour had it, Lady Radcliff had died during childbirth, or at least, shortly after giving birth to Elizabeth for some unknown reason. After that, Elizabeth’s grandmother, who had already been serving as a maid to her daughter and son-in-law… apparently of her own will… had drawn Elizabeth with her into the basement. Lord Radcliff moved away from the house several months after the event, due to disturbance, and Elizabeth and her grandmother went on to serve the following sets of owners, right up until both Elizabeth’s grandmother and she had perished.”
“But what about this diary?” queried Michael “What is or was so important about it?”
“The man told me of how Elizabeth had written it during her adulthood, and that she too was known for doing some pretty extraordinary things. The man finally got around to explaining that after Elizabeth had passed away at the age of seventy-five, they found this diary at the bottom of her wardrobe. There was also a note attached to the cover reading ‘To my mother and father’.”
“But weren’t they already dead by this stage?” Michael was a little unsure about what Ray was describing.
“Well, yes… but the strangest thing was that the man in the junk store had told me that until then, noone had seen anything on the pages of that note book.”
“Yes” continued Ray, “apparently I was the first person to have seen or read anything on them. I didn’t quite believe what the man was saying myself. But as I was about to turn and leave with the book the man hurriedly scavenged through his desk drawer to pull out an old black and white photo. He hastily pushed it up to my face… ‘Do you know this woman?’ He asked brashly. I stood for a moment looking at her features. She was immediately familiar, yet I knew I couldn’t have known her as the picture was too old. ‘Do you know this woman?’ he repeated insistently ‘Yes, I do’ I replied automatically without thinking. ‘It’s Helena’, and it was Helena. It was exactly her. She was around the same age though with longer hair and a fairer complexion. There was also something extra in her eyes… something that I had never seen in Helena’s, but I just couldn’t describe it, even to myself.”
“So you had found out who Helena was… the whole past life thing was real?”
“It seemed so” Ray continued. “The man had then added that he had been looking for me, I was of course a little surprised as I couldn’t work out why he would have even possibly known about me. But he began to describe how Elizabeth had written the journal only for her mother and father to read. It was the only way that she could get free of the source.”
“Source? What source?” Michael butted in.
“The source… the Enertha force. The man did not go into any extreme detail but he had told of how Elizabeth’s family had been cursed, or blessed, with certain abilities, but that Elizabeth had somewhat broken the chain. Firstly by not giving birth to another of their lineage, and secondly by somehow capturing and dispersing whatever had caused her mother to do the extraordinary things she had done.”
“So, you mean that you are her father?”
“Well…” Ray laughed “It seems that way… imagine me a father to someone who perhaps died not long after I was born. But because of my desperation to get Helena back, I decided to listen to the man, take the book, and try to find out whatever I could about it. I also wanted to take the photo with me, to… I guess… reinforce the realism in what was happening, to have perhaps found out more about this woman, or maybe to have just stared at Helena for a while longer. However, the man did not let me take the photo from the shop. He said that it was valuable to him and that he preferred to keep it. Thinking of the information I now had of this so-called past life I let it be, bid the man farewell and left the shop knowing that I could always do more research about this Lord and Lady Radcliff, and the house that Elizabeth’s family had supposedly owned.”
“So you had this informa…” Michael was cut off by the ring of telephone. He stopped in mid-discussion to see who was calling. There was no number on his display so he knew that the call was from abroad “it must be Jane” Michael remarked to Ray before answering it in a fake casual voice. “Hello?”
“So, did you find her? Is she OK?” were the first words Michael was greeted with.
“Hi Jane, yes nice to hear from you too” Michael replied out of context, and then added “yes, actually we did find her. I actually did see her, but she was in a bit of a bad mood so I decided to give her some space.” Michael wasn’t exactly lying but Jane wouldn’t be pleased with the truth.
“Some space? After all this? And so I suppose she’s already on the plane and will be exiting customs when I’m due to pick her up in three hours?” Oh shit, Michael had forgotten that Helena was supposed to have flown to Fiji that morning.
“Well, honey, there’s been some complications and she won’t be able to make it.”
“You mean she’s not on the flight?” Michael could hear that Jane was ropeable.
“Not really sweetie.”
“Well it was nice that someone had told me that, even though I figured as much.”
“I’m sorry honey” Michael tried to apologise, “but I…”
“That’s alright” Jane abruptly replied “I figured as much. That’s why I booked myself a flight back home. I’ll be there the day after tomorrow to find out what the hell is going on.”
“Jane, you didn’t have to be that rash. You could have trusted that we’ve got everything under control.”
“Yeah, but you haven’t have you?” was Jane’s quick reply. “Pick me up at the airport at eleven thirty-five in the morning. I’ll be arriving on United. I don’t expect you to be late.” Jane was pissed, and hung up straight away.
“Well that went well” Michael added sarcastically as he rested the phone down on the table in front of him. “So now what? What happened once you had left the junk store and started researching?”
“Well, it didn’t take long until I had found the house the man was talking about. I had gone to the town archives and looked up the names. Sure enough, Lord and Lady Radcliff had owned a house which was located on the outskirts of Mable Falls, I also discovered that it was then presently owned by a Mr James Watergate. I drove to the house in my pint-sized mini and was taken aback automatically when I had approached the gates. ‘This is my house’ I thought as I spotted the white washed walls of the front façade through the thick iron bars of the gate. I stopped the car, got out and walked over to the intercom directly pressing the call button. It took a while for anyone to answer and when they did I discovered that it was the butler who told me that Mr Watergate was away on business and would not be back for several weeks. I lied to the servant and told them that I was an historian who had travelled from England especially to research Regency inspired architecture in the new found land. I begged as to whether I could please enter the property to take notes for my research. Naively, or so I thought, the butler, had opened the gate, I quickly ran back to the car, grabbed the diary, for some unknown reason, and started walking down the driveway.
“Oddly the diary felt warm… at least I felt a warmth radiate from the book that was separate from the warmth from my hands. The object inside my left palm almost felt lifelike, as if it were made of flesh. I looked down at the diary as I walked to see that it was still there in the same hardcover shape as it had been when I found it.
“As I approached the house I took out a pen from my pocket as if to pretend that I would take notes when I was inside. I took every single inch in of what I saw. As I neared the front steps the door slowly opened. A tall Arian type man, with a chiselled build and longish hair opened the door. He was in his late twenties, early thirties and took his time to look at me carefully. I introduced myself once more as I extended my hand. The butler looked at it and coldly responded that I had five minutes to look around and then I needed to go.
“I asked where the owner was, ‘Mr Watergate is away on business,’ I heard a faintly Scandinavian tinge in his accent.
“‘When will he get back?’ I queried hastily.
“‘In several weeks’ he answered, and then added ‘he spends quite a lot of time away.’ I saw him quickly spot the diary as his eyes turned down in a split second. The butler looked back into my eyes, and after a short pause continued ‘I have a feeling that he’ll be putting the house on the market soon.’
“‘Oh really?’ I was curious. Although I was unsure as to whether I could finance the purchase, I knew that I needed to attempt to get a hold of the house.
“‘Yes…’ after another pregnant pause the Butler then asked, ‘I hope you don’t find this rude, but may I ask where you got that book from?’
“‘It’s my notebook’ I lied.
“‘It looks as if it’s around a hundred years old… and you’re sure you use this as a notebook?’
“‘Well, I did just happen to buy it from an antique junk store not long before coming here. Why? ’
“‘People had been looking for a book just like that a few years ago. An old man…’
“‘…balding and weasily looking, with dark beady eyes and oily skin’ I completed.
“‘Yes, he had turned up at the doorstep asking about an old, green hard-covered book that might have been left in a wardrobe somewhere.’
“‘How did he know about the book?’ I asked.
“‘He said that his grandmother or some relative had worked here as the help. They’d written a diary, but there were chances that noone would be able to read the text anymore. That’s why it might seem as if it was an empty book.’ With that Ray lifted the book towards the butler and opened the pages in front of him. Ray was surprised to see the butler nod and say ‘That’s the one,’ without noticing the text on every second page.
“‘So was it still in a wardrobe when you, or whoever, found it? ’
“‘No,’ the butler answered ‘…when Mr Watergate moved in he had been very eager to tidy things up. So he went through all the rooms and attempted to get rid of anything that didn’t look stylish. Fortunately also, Mr Watergate is rather fond of money and never knowing what will be valuable, he stashed the book along with other things like old clothes etcetera in the back store shed. When the man had spoken to Mr Watergate, he was ushered out towards the back shed. The man’s eyes widened when Mr Watergate opened the shed door, revealing what was behind it.’
“‘So he saw the book straight away?’ I questioned.
“‘Not just the book, but everything. The man was interested in buying everything. You could practically see dollar signs in Mr Watergate’s eyes. And the sum he was asking from this man was unbelievable. I thought there was no way he would possibly be able to pay for this stuff. And the book, the book was the most expensive of all. Can you believe Mr Watergate had the gall to ask for a flat out one thousand dollars?’
“‘And he paid it?’ I was interested.
“‘He paid it without any sweat or questioning, what so ever. This stinky little slime bag, who drove the heap of junk I spotted outside the gate, paid a total of six thousand dollars as if it was gasoline. And you?’ he now turned the story towards me ‘How much did you pay for that book?’
“‘Absolutely nothing’ I answered, both flabbergasted and relieved.
“‘Hmm,’ the butler sighed ‘now that is odd isn’t it? And now you’re back here with that book.’
He pondered a little while but before he moved on to the next subject I jumped in, ‘But you said that Mr Watergate was planning to sell?’
“‘Yes I did’ the butler answered.
“‘Here’s my business card with my work and home telephone numbers. Please tell him to give me a call as soon as he can. I need to leave now.’
“‘But would you like to see more?’ the butler asked in astonishment.
“‘I’ve seen enough’ I answered, even though I had barely entered the front door. My plan had been set in motion. ‘Thank you again for allowing me to see this excellent example of Regency architecture in the new land,’ as I said this, the Butler gave a cheeky smirk knowing that I was lying ‘have a good day.’
“‘Thank you, the same to you’ the butler replied politely.”
“So, this was the introduction to your house” Michael broke in.
“Yes” Ray answered.
“And, obviously you managed to buy it?”
“Yes,” Ray replied again “the process didn’t take long. Fortunately, for me Mr Watergate had died peacefully in his sleep of a heart attack while visiting a relative in New Orleans. This was naturally a relief for me as I had very little savings, and at this time my wage was laughable. If that old gent could charge one thousand dollars in the early 1970s for a book noone could read, what the hell would he have charged for a beautifully restored Regency style mansion?”
“And then what?” Michael wanted to press on.
“Helen.” Ray answered.