Chapter 14: Beginning

While we were in Madame Verdi’s vanishing shop, not much time seemed to have passed. It wasn’t night, and I could still hear the police raid on the Dead Rabbits gang in progress.

Rose made me turn around and pealed off the bandage she had put on my back- there was nothing but smooth skin now. She stroked her hand across the spot. “I’d give anything to know what was in that medicine. You were shot and now there’s no sign of it at all.”

“Shot? It hurt- but I didn’t think it was so bad.” It hadn’t hurt on my back as much as it had hurt to breathe.

She draped my arm around her shoulders and put hers around my waist. “Shot. But you aren’t now.”

I turned us away from the raid. “I think we should go home now.” For one thing, I wanted to find out if Will had gotten his sight back. Besides, I was barefoot and shirtless and while I didn’t really care who saw me or what they thought, it wasn’t late enough in the spring to be completely comfortable yet.

We walked home quietly, just being together. Later, I would be quizzed about everything, I knew. Since I didn’t have to keep secrets anymore, I didn’t mind that but, for now, just being together was enough.

 

Maggie’s relief was almost tangible when we walked in at the door.

“Thank goodness you’re both safe! Should I even ask what that was all about?”

I looked at Rose and she looked at me.

“Unless it’s going to drive you crazy not knowing, probably not.” I told her. I started up the stairs to put on a shirt and some shoes but she stopped me.

“Wait a minute- you look different.” She peered at me closely. “What happened to you?”

I laughed. “The spell is broken.”

“Um. Thorne? Maggie might not know about the spell.” Rose said quietly.

It was Maggie’s turn to laugh. “Of course I knew about the spell. You go to bed one night looking like a collar-ad man and you wake up the next morning all scarred up with tattoos? What else could it be? But you haven’t changed back- you’ve changed but not back to the way you looked before.”

“Look, let me finish getting dressed and I’ll explain it all. To everybody, now that I can. Where’s Will, by the way?” I asked casually enough but I was eager to see if his sight had been restored yet.

“He was upstairs listening to the game a few minutes ago.”

 

I left Rose and Maggie comparing notes in the kitchen and bounded up the stairs. I’d get dress later.

Will was listening to the TV- eyes closed as usual so he could concentrate. I squatted in front of him.

“Will!”

“Hi, Thorne. I heard you come in, no need to shout.”

“Will, look at me.”

“Funny.” He opened his eyes anyway. Later, he described it as wiping away layers of Vaseline from his eyes. First he could see light, then blurry shapes and then he could see me, right in front of him. “Oh SHIT! Thorne?”

“It’s me, buddy.”

“Oh shit! Thorne, I can see!”

I barely managed to jump out of the way in time because Will was up, dancing around the room. When he calmed down a little, I promised that I would explain everything in the kitchen as soon as I could.

I went back to my room and got a shirt, then a thought struck me. I went to the mirror and, though I didn’t see anything but my own reflection, I said “Thank you, Madame Verdi.” into it. There was a slight green flicker, like a curtsy, to let me know my thanks had reached the one they were intended for.

 

Will’s recovery was the most exciting thing that day but not the only one. I’d just about finished my story- very detailed with lots of interruptions- when there was a knock on the front door. Maggie was making more coffee- we’d finished the first pot- so I got up and told her,

“I’ll get it.”

When I opened the door, there were three men outside. Two young men, perhaps in their early twenties and an older one who looked to be their father.

“Beg pardon, but are you Thorne Mallory?” asked the older man. His accent was quite thick.

“I am, can I help you in some way?”

“Yes, I’m Liam Teague. You wrote me about Maggie?”

“Yes, yes, I did! Please come in, I’m delighted that you’re here.” I ushered them in and called “Maggie? Maggie- it’s for you.”

She came out of the kitchen wiping her hands on her apron. “Who is it, Thorne?” Then she saw her family and stopped in her tracks. “Liam? Am I dreaming?”

“No, Maggie-girl, you’re wide awake as always.” Liam said. “I’ve come to tell you I was wrong and ask  you to have me back. I’ve changed my ways and there’ll be no more fightin’.”

Maggie’s answer wasn’t in words and I slipped away to let them reconcile in private.

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