Monday, September 15, 2014

In Plain Sight -Chapter 19

Phoenix
The day after the exorcism of Michael’s studio, she slept for a day and a half at her mother’s house. Her mother began to get worried after the first ten hours and threatened to drag her to a doctor.
“I’m just wiped out,” Ninah muttered, her face in the pillow. “I’ve been busy and I need a good, uninterrupted, sleep.” She did wake up long enough to eat the half burnt grilled cheese sandwich Eddie proudly held out to her along with a glass of milk. He was high-functioning in his Down’s syndrome, but cooking was still a mystery to him. Ninah was fairly sure it ran in the family –none of them could cook well, and they did a lot of eating out and delivery service.
After she ate, which she had to admit did help her to feel better, she lay back down again. Eddie curled up behind her, insisting that he was her Teddy Bear. She had to admit that also helped her to feel better. When he was little, he would climb into her bed often, telling her he was her Teddy Bear. He adored his big sister.
Standing in the doorway of Ninah’s bedroom, Sara watched her oldest daughter sleep. Eddie put a finger to his mouth.
“Shh.”
She gave him a smile and a nod, and turned away to go back to the living room. Ninah never slept that long or that hard. Had she been sick? She wasn’t pale, her skin felt temperature fine. She picked up the phone and called 411 for New Babylon.
After taking down the number, she waited to be patched.
“Dr Allen, please. No, I’m Ninah Adams’ mother. It’s a personal call. Thank you.” The office put her on hold while this doctor-boyfriend of Ninah’s was fetched.
“Dr Allen.”
Well, he has a pleasant voice, she thought. “This is Sara Fierro, I’m Ninah’s mother.”
“Yes, Mrs Fierro. Is Ninah alright?” His surprise was clear in his voice.
“Well, I’m not sure.” She told him about the championship sleep jag her daughter was going through. “Has she been sick?”
“No, not that I’m aware of,” he said, sounding somewhat surprised. “Does she have a fever?”
“No, her temperature is normal. She got home from that exorcism for Michael Black the other night, I assume you know about it, and has been asleep practically since them. Her little brother brought her a sandwich, she woke up long enough to eat, and went back to sleep. She’s done exorcisms before, but never reacted like this after.”
She could almost hear him blinking in more surprise at her acceptance of Ninah’s ‘extracurricular activities’. “Huh. Alright, let me call a friend of ours who is in Flagstaff. He was going to see if she needed help with the exorcism, which she didn’t, and I think he’s just site-seeing, at the moment. His name is Irra; I’ll have him drop by. What is your address?”
Sara gave him the address and phone number, thanked him, and hung up.
It was three hours later when a knock came at the door. On the other side was a man Sara would never have let near her children. Black leather jacket, boots, and black leather gloves which he was taking off and putting under a strap at his shoulder.
“Mrs Fiero? I’m Irra. Severance sent me.”
A growly, furry voice. She had never heard violence in a person’s voice, except her ex-husband when he was drunk, and yet…
“Um… could… would you mind if I asked for ID?”
Without raising a black eyebrow, he pulled out his wallet and handed it to her.
Irra Reiter, New Babylon, Washington
Strange name. And it was certainly him in the picture on his driver’s license. She handed it back to him.
“Thank you.” She opened the door and ushered him in.
“Is she still asleep?” he asked quietly.
“Yes. She didn’t even move when her brother left the room. I’m very worried about her.”
He looked around at the modest home. Sara Fiero had decided to keep the home her family had grown up in, and make a few renovations, instead of buying a larger house with the money Ninah had given them. There were bookcases everywhere filled with books, DVDs, and CDs, along with framed photos of the family and school awards. A new, 60in flat-screen television dominated one wall where a cartoon was paused.
“And she’s never done this before?”
“No, never; she rarely sleeps more than six hours.”
“You and your other kids? Everyone feeling alright?”
Sara lifted her hands. “We’re all fine.”
He looked at the two teenagers sitting on the top stair. Sixteen and seventeen, if he remembered right. Both the kids looked worried. “Do you both feel alright?” he asked them. They assured him they felt fine.
“Is her room up there? May I?” He pointed up the stairs with his thumb. Sara shook herself and led the way, shooing the kids aside.
At the top of the stairs, off to the left, he looked in at Ninah’s room. It was neat, somewhat orderly, a bookcase filled with books from childhood and current reading, a small personal altar in the far corner. The curtains and the walls were cool shades of blues and aqua. She lay in bed, curled around a pillow, her hair scattered on the sheet.
He sat on the edge of the bed and put the back of his hand to her forehead and cheek. No fever. This didn’t feel like sickness to him, though. He looked at the family at the door. “You are aware of her… magical life?” he asked. They nodded.
“She’s done that kind of stuff for years,” Sara assured him with a hand wave. Ninah looked much like her, he noted; same pixie face, dark hair and brown eyes, same pointed, stubborn chin.
“Good. I do it, too. I’m going to try a little astral excursion, so please stay quiet.” He could do it in the middle of a hurricane, but he didn’t want them asking questions and interrupting him.
They nodded.
Hopefully, she didn’t drag back any of that thing from Michael’s studio. There was nothing dark around her, though, so he doubted it.
Center, up, and out. Having done it for years, he could jump up and out quickly, which he did. Once released from his form, he turned and surveyed the room below. The first thing he noted was the lack of any dark malignancies hovering around her. Her aura was its normal forest greens and browns, as was most animists he knew. Okay, so she didn’t bring anything back with her. Good.
Turning his attention to the other members of the house, he was relieved to see that Mom and the teens were all clear. They were also all showing hints of Talent. Standard empathy. That explained Sara’s call to Severance; mom-power in action.
He looked closer at Ninah. Her aura seemed a little pale around her heart. Her energy levels were in the gutter. What did she do? And why was her mind muttering in some odd, foreign sounding words? Her third eye chakra was pulsing slightly in light blue. He was fluent in six languages, had been all over the world, could speak a smattering of several more, and had never heard whatever it was her mind was ruminating in.
*Ninah?* he called silently to her. *Can you hear me?*
Her mind was sluggish in responding. *…mmm tired…*
*Yes, but people are worried about you. Why are you so tired?*
All he heard were mental snores.
He dropped out of the over-world, took out his cell phone and dialed.
“All I’m getting is low energy levels.”
“Again?” Severance questioned, puzzled. “She was low on potassium before. I’m wondering if she’s using magic a little differently than we are, and it’s causing this drain. Alright, get her awake and on a high-potassium meal. You can’t take her to the nearest hospital and tell them to hang a banana bag, so do it home-style. I’m Fed-Ex-ing you a kit on over-night delivery. I’ll send it to her home.”
Irra put his cell phone away and looked at the family. “She’s been having a small problem with potassium,” he said. “Severance had to put her on a drip a while back. This may be more of the same problem. He wants her on a high-potassium diet. Fish, yogurt, sweet potatoes, that kind of thing. Wake her up and make her eat. Mash it up and spoon-feed her, if you have to. He’s sending a care package over-night, so you should get it in the morning.”
He ushered them back downstairs and sat on the couch, leaning forward, hands dangling between his knees as he thought hard for possible reasons for the potassium issue. The different language was odd, too. “Does your family speak a language other than English?”
Surprised at the question, it took Sara a moment.
“A few words and phrases of Spanish,” she said. “This is Phoenix, after all, but nothing else. Why?”
Definitely wasn’t Spanish he was hearing; Spanish was on his list of languages.
“Curious,” was all he said.
“Will my thithter be ah-wigh’?” the boy, Eddie, asked. He sat on the edge of a chair, breathing heavily through his mouth.
“She’ll be fine, buddy,” Irra said to the boy in a gentle voice very few people ever heard. “Do you know what potassium is?” In his research of Ninah, he found the surprising age difference between Ninah and her siblings, along with the fact of her brother’s Down’s Syndrome. Sara and young Ninah must have pulled together immediately upon discovering the new baby’s genetic abnormality; there was no sense of the emotional upsets that frequently plagued families with special needs children.
“No.”
“It’s a mineral in some foods that help give you energy. Ninah needs more of it. So I’m going to help your mom put together the foods your sister needs so she can get more energy.”
Eddie’s small eyes sparkled with happiness. “Good!”
“Will she really be alright?” Laura asked, biting around a fingernail.
Both teens had the same dark, thick hair as Ninah. They were also both were highly curious, which told him they were intelligent. With all the books in the house, he wasn’t surprised.
Although not a kid person, he was fairly comfortable with teenagers, having been around Severance’s four kids for many years.
“She’ll be fine,” he told her. “She’s been very busy, and has probably been neglecting food and rest.”
The kids were satisfied, for the moment, so Sara sent them to find something to do. She then turned to Irra, her arms crossed. He got the same look from Ninah, once in a while, when she was about to put her foot down.
“What’s going on up there?” she demanded. “She’s running a bookstore and waiting for her house remodel to be finished. What is she doing that is causing exhaustion?”
He sat back, wondering how much to tell her.
“Have you heard about the strange wisps of energy that people have been complaining about? Some of the news sites have been reporting on them.”
Sara frowned, her eyes searching the inner database. “Yes, I think so,” she said. “Something about odd occurrences of rugs moving, doors opening, things like that. Poltergeist activity.”
“Well, it isn’t poltergeists,” he said. “We have no idea what it is only that it’s been acting up everywhere. So far, no one has been hurt. It hasn’t been much more than annoying, really. Our group takes care of local spots whenever someone calls for help. We just dissipate the energy; send it on its way.
“Ninah’s been helping, but honestly, she hasn’t been over-worked. Severance has been pulling on his hair quite a bit trying to figure out why she’s been so drained. He’s run all the lab work, and nothing is coming up.”
Sara’s response was to pick up the phone and hit the speed dial. “Sabrina, it’s Sara Fierro. Does Dr Hayward have time to see Ninah? Oh, I see. Yes, she’s in town for a visit. She’s been very tired, and her doctor up in Seattle says she’s been low on potassium. No, none of the labs are coming up with anything. Yes, I’ll ask him. What’s your fax number? Thank you.”
She handed a scrap of paper to Irra. “Please ask Dr Allen to fax those labs to this number. I’m getting a second opinion. No offense toward your doctor.”
Second opinions were always a good idea. He texted the number and request to Severance. He also warned Sev that Ninah’s stubborn nature didn’t fall far from the tree.
Before excusing himself, he sent out another inner poke toward Ninah. Still asleep. He gave Sara his cell number and excused himself.
In the morning, the care package arrived just after 8am.
“Severance Allen.” He held out a hand to greet Ninah’s mother. There was no way anyone would look at Ninah and Sara and come up with any relationship other than mother and daughter.
“You do Fed-Ex deliveries, too?” she asked. Her baby was no longer dating boys, she was dating men. He was a little older than she expected, but he handsome. Thick, wavy hair was longer than she had seen on most doctors, and the goatee was also unusual on a medical professional. He looked a bit tired, but he did just come in on the red-eye. He smiled. Dimples, she noted.
“Only when necessary.”
She showed him in and offered him coffee, which he gratefully accepted. “I brought potassium, which has worked before, but if your doctor is going to order another round of labs, I will hold off giving it to her. Did she wake up, yet?”
“We got her awake long enough to eat,” she said with a sigh, sitting opposite him at the kitchen table. At least he didn’t sound irritated at the thought of a second opinion. “She ate a piece of tilapia last night, got some milk in her, and she had a baked sweet potato and yogurt about an hour ago. She’s back to sleep, but I don’t think it’s as deep as it was.”
Sensing Ninah above him, he sent a mental probe her way. *Ninah? Can you hear me?*
*Mmmm… Sev?*
*How are you feeling?*
*Okay, I think. I’ve been so tired.*
“She should wake up soon,” he said to Sara while he spoke silently to Ninah. “She was down for just a couple days before.”
Sara leaned forward on her elbows, hands clasped around her mug. “Your friend, Irra, said she’s been helping with these energy motes, whatever they are. But she’s been cleansing space for years, and this has never happened before.”
Somewhat surprised at her acceptance, he gave a nod. “I’m honestly not sure what’s causing it. I can say that we’ve all been feeling a little drained lately, and yet labs have been clean for all of us.”
She blinked. “Who is ‘us’?”
Gods, now he had two of them doing it… He gave her a rundown of the group. “All I can think of is that she didn’t replenish her own energy after three cleansings within a few months. All three were major exorcisms. I was with her for the first one, and I had to remind her to keep a little energy for her own well-being.”
Ninah’s mother seemed to be taking all the magic talk in stride, so Severance began to relax and not worry about watching his words. According to Irra, Ninah’s mother and siblings were all empathic.
“Well, she always was a little gung-ho.” Sara refilled their mugs and pulled a bag of bagels from the refrigerator. Sev picked out a cinnamon-raisin.
A teenage boy shuffled into the kitchen. Ninah had never said her brother had Down’s. He blinked at the strange man seated at the table.
“Who ah you?” he asked, rubbing his eyes.
“I’m Severance, Ninah’s friend.” He shook the boy’s hand.
“Oh. Are you Ewa’s fwiend, too?”
Getting around the slight speech problem, Sev confirmed he was Irra’s friend, too.
“Ewa has a motorcycle. Do you have one?”
“I do, but I don’t ride it much.”
“Please tell me my daughter isn’t riding a bike,” Sara requested, her hands pausing over the toaster.
“No,” Sev said with a smile. “She’s happy taking the keys to Jeeps and cars from whoever is nearest to her at that time.”
The bagel popped, and he slathered cream cheese and orange marmalade on it.
“So.”
He took one look at Sara’s face, bagel paused halfway to his mouth. Uh oh. Interrogation time.