Monthly Chapter: April 2021 – Chapter 15

On the first of the month a new chapter is posted from an as yet to be released book. The current book is Tansy Moves In. This is the first book of the upcoming Oak Hill Series.

Chapter 15

Tansy allowed the tears to fall. Eventually they slowed and she sniffed and wiped her face with her shirt sleeve.  One hand still held Eunice’s note. Her eyes reread the first line.

“First of all, you aren’t going mad.”

A slightly hysterical chuckle escaped Tansy’s lips.  It was very much Eunice.  Tansy had no doubts about the letter’s authenticity.  Every problem she ever brought to her aunt, was dealt with in the same manner.  When Tansy was told her mother was extending her trip abroad, Eunice looked at her and simply said. “You’ll stay here.” Then once Tansy knew she had a place to stay, they made a list of all the things that needed to be done so that she could finish out high school in Oak Hill.

She had similar reactions to everything. A plain statement to address the fears and then a plan to follow. “And I’m not going mad,” Tansy said.  She felt intense relief at Eunice’s statement.  Eunice never lied.  She occasionally kept her mouth shut, lying only through silence, but if she stated something it was the truth as Eunice saw it. Tansy doubted that her Aunt would leave a lie to linger in a posthumous letter.

“And it sounded like she expected something.” Tansy wondered if Eunice saw painted ships move and splash water about.

The word magic danced around in the back of her brain.  It still seemed strange and she couldn’t quite bring herself to say the word out loud, but the idea seemed much less strange then it would have several days prior.

“And it explains Petra and the others keeping their distance,” Tansy said.  “They are waiting for me to make a decision.”

She was still a little unclear as to how the others would know but figured them knowing couldn’t be any stranger than the painting leaking. Tansy looked over to the bottom shelf of books.  That’s where Eunice said to start if she wanted to learn control.

‘Even if I don’t want anything else.’

 Tansy let Eunice’s letter fall to the top of the work surface.  She then moved to stand in front of the row of books.  It was a wide shelf and Tansy counted the spines.  There were fifty two books on the shelf.  They were of varying sizes.  Some were as thin as a magazine and others as thick as a dictionary. None had any markings on the spines at all. She took a deep breath.

“Well I read left to right so maybe I’ll start with the books on the left and then go to the right on the shelves,” she decided for lack of any other direction. Tansy sat down on the worn rug in front of the book case and reached for the first book on the left side of the shelf.  It was about an inch thick and while the spine was leather, the cover itself looked like beige canvas stretched over a hard backing. 

‘Maybe cardboard,’ Tansy said.  To her delight the number one was stamped on the front cover. She smiled pleased with her selection choice.  She opened the book.  There was no title information, just a blank page.  Tansy flipped the page and instead of a strange recipe found a bit of an introduction.  It reminded her of her history books where the author explained their methodology and their approach to the topic.  However this was no history book.

“In certain bloodlines, power is a natural part of the makeup.  It is as inborn as the color of eyes and hair.  It is a part of the person who possesses it. It is however a skill, like any other.  A person may be born with the potential to be a great sculptor but without practice and training the skill will lie dormant.  It is the same with the power of the blood.  It can be studied, used, practiced and honed into a skill.  It can be ignored and left to lie dormant. If a child born to power wishes to use it, then once they have made this decision and taken their first steps in that direction others of the community will gather to the neophyte and assist them in their journey.  Should they wish to turn away from that power then that aspect of the society will remain forever closed to them.  There can be no dabbling.  There is only involvement or non-involvement. Each person must choose.”

Tansy swallowed hard and glanced up from the book towards Eunice’s letter.  Her aunt said more or less the same thing but it sounded more authoritative in the book.  It was less like a decision and more like a commitment. Tansy frowned and looked back to the book.  If she was going to make a commitment of any sort, she wanted to find out more information before she made it.

She looked back to the book and continued to read. 

“Such a decision is an important one and cannot be taken lightly.  However in many, times of stress and change can bring forth the power uncalled for.  In this case, regardless of the choice a child of power makes, they must learn control.  The first lessons in this volume, each marked with the word ‘control’ at the top of the page, is designed to teach a person that control regardless of their ultimate decision.  At the end of these lessons is a marker. No decision needs to be made before that marker is reached.  Those lessons that come before it can be safely learned by all.  Moving beyond the marker will constitute acceptance into the world of power. Learn your control and then make your decision.”

Tansy let out a breath she hadn’t realized she was holding. She turned the page but the back of the page was blank.  The author clearly wrote all that he felt was necessary. At the top of the next page the word control was written in bold black letters.  All of the letters were capitalized and it was underlined for extra emphasis.

“I guess so no one mistakes it for anything else. “

Curious, Tansy flipped a few of the pages over.  Sure enough the first few pages each had the word control clearly written across the top.  Tansy’s flipping then took her to a page that would not turn.  She looked at it.  Written in the center of an otherwise blank page.

“A decision must be made before moving beyond this point.  If you wish to continue speak the words listed below.”

Tansy looked below the sentence and words seemed to flicker in and out as though the page was a television screen with poor reception. She tried turning the page but it wouldn’t turn.  She tried opening the book to another page deeper in the volume, but the book wouldn’t open.

“I guess I haven’t made my decision yet,” Tansy said.  She looked to the books on the upper shelf and wondered why she could open them but not this one.  The book holding the ‘recipe’ to find lost things opened easily enough.  Tansy could see it on the shelf.  She set the book she was attempting to flip through down and reached for the book she previously opened.  It slid off the shelf and she settled it in her lap.  This time when she tried to turn the pages, they wouldn’t move.  They were all stuck together as though glued.  It was less a book and more a solid book shaped lump.

“Well so much for just trying to find my car keys when I’ve lost them,” Tansy said.  She meant the words as a joke, but they came out a bit breathless.  She knew she had been able to open the book before, but now she couldn’t.  ‘I guess more than just Eunice’s friends will know when I’ve made a decision.’

The thought brought to mind Eunice’s letter and the mention of things that weren’t human. Images danced in her head, some from fairytales and others from horror movies. She shook them away.  Her hands were shaking slightly as she slid the recipe book back on the shelf and went back to the introductory book.

“If nothing else I need to figure out how to keep the bill boards from moving around when I drive back to the city,” Tansy reminded herself.  She shoved the images, both fantastical and horrific away for later. 

“I’m safe in this house,” Tansy reminded herself.  “Eunice said so.”

The thought lend her courage and she turned to the first lessons in control. Surprisingly they weren’t exactly sequential.  They weren’t labeled Lesson one, two, three and so on.  They were grouped by the senses.  There were lessons that dealt with hearing, both sharpening it and dimming down what the author referred to as ‘momentarily extraneous auditory intrusions.’ There was another section on smells and one for tastes.  There was a section for touch and one for sight. The book recommended that the beginner pick the category that they were having the most issues with and start there.  There was a small reminder set out right below the recommendation.

‘Just because manifestation begins with one sense does not mean that other senses might grow to be affected. While you may start with the sense currently giving you the most trouble, be aware that you might need to return to study control of other senses at a later time.

“Well that’s a cheery thought,” she said. She wondered if she would start smelling the salt air from the ship.  “I suppose it could be considered extra advertising if I smelled the food from a restaurant billboard.”

Tansy thought of the ship moving and the posters set into motion. “Starting with sight then,” she decided ignoring the thought of potential ‘extraneous intrusions’, be they auditory or olfactory. Tansy flipped to the section dealing with sight and began to read.

The reading was interesting and Tansy found it hard to remember that she wasn’t reading some sort of fantasy based scientific text.  It was laid out logically and seemed very rational as she read it, even if the topic was somewhat fantastical. Her fears about billboards coming to life and speaking to her faded back as she read the lesson.  The issues she was having with her sight weren’t, according to the book, going to happen with every image she saw. According to the passage she read only images created by those with power would be affected.

“So someone with power painted the ship and because my power is waking up I saw the power behind the paint,” she said.  That seemed to be the general gist of the description.  The control she would learn from this section would keep a wall between her power and that of others.  It would keep the two from interacting.    Tansy frowned.  While it made sense the way it was written Tansy also remembered the way the tassel in the bank’s promotional poster moved.  The lesson in control only discussed images like paint on canvas and carvings like statues.  It didn’t mention printed posters at all. 

“And it looked like a mass produced poster,” Tansy thought.  The bank was a local branch, but it was part of a national chain of banks.  Tansy was certain the posters were mass produced for all the banks in the chain.  “They might not even be made in Oak Hill.”

She wasn’t entirely certain what that meant for the billboards she would have to drive past and her relief faded. “Still if I learn control then they won’t be an issue regardless of why they are an issue now. After all if I can block out the images like the ship then it would work on all images, even the posters.”

It seemed like a rational thought and Tansy continued to read.  The lessons in control were less about placing a mental wall between herself and the residue of another’s magic, but more like pulling a curtain and adjusting over a window so that she decided what she saw. Once she learned control she could look at something like the oil painting and know that someone with magic created it, but it wouldn’t move about unless she decided to allow it to do so.

Tansy wasn’t certain why she would want the oil painting to move around, but she was happy with the thought of being able to keep it in place.  With the thought of making things that she thought should remain static stay in one spot, Tansy began to work on the lesson.

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