DD – This morning, Aunt Axi served breakfast on the hidden patio where Grayfast had interrupted my dinner visit. Back when I barely knew Paul. The patio table was beautiful with blueberry pancakes and fresh lemonade. I managed a bite and a sip.

Aunt Axi was like a fairy godmother today. “There is much you need to know but I won’t barrage you with information, I will let your questions guide me. And I am always comfortable in silence. Do try to eat.”

“Why is this house safe? Did you cast a spell?”

“Unfamiliar technology can seem like magic. Security here is keyed to my thoughts and instincts.” She smiled at my reaction. “This will make more sense after I have helped you to learn about the Everweer, which we will begin when you are ready.”

“Now that Alcatur has followers, will they attack here?”

“Here and elsewhere. War is coming, I fear.” She gave me a look that said she was ready for whatever came next. “And that is why you must eat a good breakfast, my dear.”

I forced another sip and bite.

“After Paul turns, will your house let him in?”

She always answers my real questions, even when I don’t know them. “In turning, Paul accesses more of his nature. He will still be our Paul and he will come back to us. The cat is a powerful ally. They will survive.”

After that I didn’t have to force myself to eat.

We washed the breakfast dishes in companionable silence, like Paul and I used to share. Then she led me up a ladder into a loft full of windows and cushions. It was a room I had admired on my first visit, but Aunt Axi wouldn’t let me explore it back then. She said, “Here in the heart of my home, let this be your private solace.” She touched my cheek, then left me.

This room feels good. Even when I think about all the bad stuff. But it’s hard to keep thinking when I’m in here. Mostly I’m watching little birds hop from branch to branch outside. – sE


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