Octavian rigidly made his way toward the balcony looking as confused as she felt. She let him know that wasn’t funny but he said nothing, just kept moving forward awkwardly.
When his feet reached the threshold and he was a mere few steps to the railing, she began to panic. “Octavian! Stop!” she yelled.
He stopped. He stood frozen in his place as she rushed over to chastise him for scaring her nearly to death; but when she saw his face she became more worried and confused. He looked terrified. His eyes were open wide and shifting back and forth.
“Octavian?” she had whispered.
His mouth opened but he didn’t speak.
“Octavian, answer me!” she screamed. “What were you thinking? What is wrong with you?”
“You.” he muttered.
“Me?” she asked. “What about me?”
He still hadn’t moved and he didn’t answer her this time.
Kelly was beginning to worry very much about her brother’s sanity. “Octavian, you stop this at once!” she declared. His body relaxed and he looked around before making eye contact with her.
“You tried to kill me.” he said. Then he turned and ran out of her room. She thought about going after him but shock held her in place. What just happened?
Her parents came to her to ask what the matter was with Octavian. She couldn’t tell them everything so she told them they had argued about Edwin and left it at that.
They looked as though they felt sorry for her, which she hated. It was their looks of pity at the mention of Edwin’s name, however, that let her know that her brother had spoken the truth.
A few days passed without so much as a glimpse of Octavian. His food was being delivered to his room. She thought he was being a brat after their fight, locking himself away in his room like that. He was keeping himself out of her company as punishment. He knew it was the one thing she couldn’t stand for him to do.
After a couple more days, however, her parents had come to her room and told her that Octavian had been sick this whole time. They had thought it strange that she hadn’t asked after him even once, which led to her telling them that she thought he was staying away from her on purpose.
They told her that he had been bedridden and unable to speak. They told her that at first, they expected him to recover, but now it didn’t seem likely. They were hoping to keep her away, least she catch what he had. But now they hoped she would visit him and talk him into getting better.
They had done that as children when the other fell ill. They had never been sick at the same time, to everyone’s amazement, but one was always sick right after the other. They took care of each other.
She readily agreed. As she nervously approached Octavian’s door, she began to worry that a visit from her might make it worse instead of better. The last time he spoke to her, he had accused her of trying to kill him.
She told herself not to be silly; he had been coming down with some strange illness that had caused his odd behavior. That was it; it had nothing to do with her at all, really.
She made her way to his bedside. When she saw his face, she broke. She collapsed onto the edge of the bed and began to cry hysterically.
This person wasn’t her brother. He couldn’t be. He was pale and skeletal. His hair stuck to his sweat-soaked forehead. He looked as though he was already dead. She threw herself across his chest and cried harder than she ever had in her life.
This couldn’t be happening! He couldn’t die! The last words between them couldn’t be in anger! This can’t be real!
Kelly screamed in agony at the thought of losing her brother. She begged him not to leave her. She demanded that he be healthy and live. “You have to live, Octavian!” she had shouted.
Suddenly he sat up and threw her from him. They were both horrified. She picked herself up from the floor and started to run toward him, unable to make herself care what just happened or how. He was okay and that was all that mattered.
But he put his arms out in front of himself as if in defense and backed away from her. She couldn’t believe it. He was afraid of her.
She was devastated. She began to cry again and beg him to please just let her hug him. She was sorry for their argument and he had been right in defending her honor with Edwin. She said she didn’t care about any of it any more. She told him she was only glad that he was alive and she just wanted her brother and best friend back.
Octavian stood frozen in his place, looking afraid. Tears began to stream down his face, the only insight of his feelings beyond his fear.
Kelly stood crying before him and for the first time in their lives, he didn’t rush to comfort her.
Their parents rushed into the room and asked what had happened, what that noise was. Then they saw that Octavian was up and looking like he had never been sick a day in his life.
They grabbed him and held him and cried, all the while he and Kelly just stared at each other. The shift between them was a palpable thing that could be felt in the air. Nothing could ever be the same with them again.
Their parents seemed to finally pick up on the tension and became concerned. They demanded to know what had happened.
And the guy who used to be her brother and best friend said the words that would change all their fates forever.
“She is a witch.”
* Copyright©2019 Jennifer Treece*
*Tune in next week for Part Three!*Subscribe to get stories in your inbox!*