Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Mamelon - Chapter 11


In a boy’s bedroom overlooking a pretty garden in a Kent suburb, Gail Wright considered the unmade bed, posters on the walls, tee shirts and jeans thrown on the floor… and could not keep back the tears. “I told Peter  to tidy up this room before he went out!” she sobbed.
Tim Wright put both arms around her waist and pulled her close. “He’ll be alright, you’ll see, they both will, Beth too.”  She wriggled in his embrace and lifted streaming eyes to his. “They’ll be just fine, you’ll see,” he repeated lamely.
“It had to happen one day, I suppose,” she murmured, but he had no reply to that. She pulled away and went to the window. The garden always looked a picture at this time of year. Usually, it gave her a warm, comfortable glow just to see the flowerbeds a blaze of colour, watch sparrows and thrushes jostling for position at the bird table or even contemplate how badly the lawn needed mowing. Today, though, it looked a mess. She couldn’t help noticing how the fence they shared with the Martins was broken in several places. Her favourite rhododendron resembled a scrapping ground for cats and there were dandelions as well as daisies poking up through the grass.
A heavy weariness came over her. Gail closed her eyes and soon wished she hadn’t. She saw fire, heard screams. How could she forget? Why must she remember? “Dear God, the children!” She rounded on her husband. “Did you know? Is that why you came home early? Why didn’t you warn me? I would never have left them if I’d known! Never, never, never!” she screamed, burst into a new flood of tears and flung herself into his arms.
“I had a headache. I had no idea…” his voice tailed off miserably. A sob stuck in his throat. “I had no idea,” he repeated, “Galia, I swear…!”
She broke free again. Galia…? Who was Galia? She was Galia. “No, No!” she shouted at her reflection in the dressing table mirror, “I am Gail Wright. Gail, not Galia. Galia is dead!” But even as a voice she barely recognized as her own insisted on half-truths, the mirror image changed dramatically, confronting her with her own lies. For it was Galia who gazed back at her, ashen faced and imploring. Another face joined hers. Nor did the mirror lie this time either. “Timon…!”
Tim stood at her elbow, as transfixed as Gail by what they saw in the mirror and no more able to deny it than she. They had enacted a similar scene downstairs. but chose to ignore it, had even laughed and put it down to the hottest summer since records began; too much chilled wine; too many late-night TV shows; doing without a holiday because the boys needed this and that or wanted to go on school trips; worries about keeping up the mortgage repayments on the house.  It all made perfect sense. But they were in denial and both knew it. She had felt a sudden, irrational need to visit the boys’ rooms and flown upstairs, gone to Michal’s first, then Petere’s.
Tim had followed here more slowly. “Galia,” was all he said now, and held her close.
“You know what I must do,” she whispered and snuggled against him. The pounding of his heart was like a roaring in one ear. At the other, hers hammered away as if on an invisible door. But did it want to be let in or out…? She only wished she knew.
“You can’t do this, I won’t let you,” he murmured, stroking her hair.
Gail turned her head towards the mirror, eyes closed, praying silently (to God, Ri, whatever) that when she looked again it would all have been a dream.  Her lids flew open.  But it was neither Gail nor Tim that greeted her searching gaze.  “I must go back,” she told Galia of Mamelon. Beside her, Timon, Holy Seer, nodded gravely. “I must go back,” she repeated, “I can, for I am part elven after all.”
“And I am not so I must stay, is that what you’re saying?” came the swift, stinging retort, “No, Galia, we go together or not at all.”
“But that would be madness!”
“No more so than coming to the motherworld in the first place. We were mad to think we could get away with it forever.”
“I shall return in no time at all, and with the children, you’ll see.”
“It is too dangerous.” Tim was adamant.
“The children need my help,” she protested.
“They have help enough, for now ast least,” he added grimly.
“How can you be sure?”
He hesitated. “I had a dream.”
“A dream…?” She pulled away and stared at him, flushed with anger. “So you did know. Why didn’t you tell me? I’m your wife, their mother. I could have stopped them!”
“Quite,” he said. “It has to be, Gail. They are Mamelon’s only hope. Your father said…”
“My father…! You’ve seen him?” She was incredulous.
“He came to see me in the dream. He said Mamelon is dying and needs our help.”
“Our help…? Our children’s help, you mean!”   
“Yes.”  He nodded miserably.
“And you didn’t think to say ‘no’?”
“One does not say ‘no’ to Astor, you know that.”
“I would have,” she hissed. Tears filled her eyes again, but she resisted his clumsy attempts to embrace her.
“You must not go, Galia,” he insisted. “Astor forbids it. He says we must do what we can from here. We have the seer bowl so we can see what is happening to them.”
“See, perhaps, but not change!”
“Influence, then. We can reach their minds.”
“We can try, I suppose,” she conceded and was pensive for so long he thought she had fallen into a trance. “Alright,” she said at last, “I will stay. But if it comes to it that I have no choice…”
“Then you will have no choice,” he agreed. This time she did not resist the manly arms enfolding her with a fierce protectiveness. “They are my children too,” Tim Wright murmured unhappily.
Gail tried to put aside her own guilt feelings. How could she tell him whose faces haunted her mind’s eye? Calum, Nadya! The cries came from her heart but dare not reach her lips.

To be continued