Rhodes to Magic by Carly Wakefield by Carly Wakefield - Read Online

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Rhodes to Magic - Carly Wakefield

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:)

Prologue

Daniel sighed as he stood on the beach on the last day of the best holiday of his life. In all his almost thirteen years, out of all the various beaches around Western Europe his family had visited, this quaint Cornish beach had become his most favourite place. Even on the few grey days, like today, there was something special blowing in the sea-salty wind. He imagined himself a pirate for a moment with adventures on the sea, mysterious island stop offs with large fires on the beach, all the clues figured out with maps to find treasure just like The Goonies. He was jolted out of his daydream as his younger brothers barged passed him, knocking him onto the damp sand. They took their last bucket of shells and crabs back to the beach house where his Mum and Dad were trying to return their summer holiday abode into its former pre-Rhodes invasion/annihilation state before they all left for the hellish car journey back home. He would miss the place where all of his siblings got along, well a lot more than they did at home anyway.

As the noise behind him disappeared, he took in the view one last time and committed it to memory. Closing his eyes to savour the salty air, he took a deep cleansing breath and frowned as the salt smell seemed to disappear and was replaced by a grassy, no, floral smell. It was like the wild meadow he and his brothers loved to trespass on playing commando back home. The back of his eyelids turned from black to red as the sun made a monumental effort to break through the grey clouded sky. Opening them, he could see three strong rays of golden-yellow had broken through and reflected off the water. His mind seemed to be having a brain fart. He could see the water, feel the sand beneath his fingers and making his bottom wet where he sat. Yet his nostrils were full of flowers.

He stood and looked around. There wasn’t a flower in sight. He knew there were some window boxes back at the house but they were neither big enough or near enough to be smelled from his current position on the edge of the beach and there was no one in sight. Shrugging off the occurrence like any thirteen year old boy, he began to make his way back up to the house to help with the big pack-up, check that Charlie hadn’t snuck anything alive or revolting into his bag and to change his trousers. The eight hour car journey with six confined kids from age seven to fourteen would be bad enough. The last thing he wanted was a soggy bum all the way home or an uninvited holiday souvenir in his backpack.

Chapter one

Arianna Scott believed in magic, fate and fairy tales. At age six, she believed if you wished on the right star your wish would come true. She believed that out in the world somewhere was a young prince charming waiting to one day find her. But, not being the most patient six year old and not quite having the ‘come true’ ratio she would have liked, she had moved on from fairy tales.

By age nine, it was magic.

For as far back as she could remember, her mother and grandmother had-along with the standard fairy tales-told her legends of descendants with mysterious gifts, potions and spells. The summer Arianna turned nine, she was regularly spotted down at the bottom of the garden, stock piling various flowers, leaves and spiders. Nanna Rose had rooted out an old tin bucket as a makeshift cauldron and the biggest wooden spoon she could find for Arianna to brew her potions. Arianna was a passionate child and preferred the proactive approach magic gave. She threw herself in whole heartedly. When the summer months passed and the days grew colder, she studied any and all books from the local library listing her favourite spells and their ingredients. She became quite proficient and made various herbal remedies along with her potions under the watchful eyes of her Nanna Rose, who looked after her while her mother was working.

As her tenth birthday neared, Arianna began having vivid dreams. At first, they were mostly filled with bright colours and blurred faces. Sometimes the blurry face would rush towards her and startle her out of her fitful sleep. A week before her birthday, she snuck out of bed and watched the most beautiful sunset she had ever seen. She watched the blue sky fade from blue, to lilac, to pink then to the warmest orange that was flashed with golden yellow. As the sun disappeared entirely below the horizon, she looked away to the blackening sky. The moon was full and shone with a yellow glow from the intense sunset and it seemed to give her an inner peace. Yawning, Arianna took herself back to bed and hoped the blurry faces would stay out of her dreams tonight.

Her dreams differed that night. Amidst the colours and a few blurred faces, she could make out a more definitive shape.

A boy sat facing away from her, his dark hair blowing in the dream wind. She found herself drawn to this boy. Usually things appeared to be rushing to her and she had no control of movement. She enjoyed the seemingly floaty feeling of the movement towards the boy. As she neared, the boy stood. He was tall, not her age, probably a few years older. As the boy started to turn towards her, something shifted in the air. She ignored the changing scenery and concentrated on the boy, willing him to turn faster. The outlines of his body started to blur and Arianna raised her head in hopes of seeing his face before everything merged back into the colourful spectrum that was her usual state of dreamland. His dark hair and height served as a partial shield against the brightening colours and as her gaze reached his face, she locked onto the most spellbinding eyes she had ever seen. A pair of hazel eyes looked down on her. So in focus, she could make out the lightish brown colour with lots of flashes of gold, green and grey. They couldn’t be classed a specific colour. Never before had she seen anything in such high definition in her dreams and she was mesmerised. Although the face was far from defined, she knew from the eyes he was smiling. As she returned the smile, she was pulled sharply away and began a free fall through the rainbow surroundings. Faster and faster she fell, seeing the blackness below grow until she was almost surrounded by it. Wake up. WAKE UP!

Arianna came to with a start. She struggled to free herself from the tangle of the thin blanket from her bed as her eyes grew accustomed to the darkened room. Everything was as it should be. Her lace curtains moved effortlessly with the breeze that blew through the window. Her favourite cuddly toys still sat at the end of her bed, if not slightly lopsided now from the frantic way she had woken. While her breathing slowed, she decided that if the dreams got any worse than this she would have to tell her Mother about them.

For the next five nights, the beautiful hazel eyes dominated her dreams but always in the distance. The face never came into focus and, try as she might, she could not get close enough again. The day before her birthday as she sat with Nanna Rose pruning the weeds in the herb garden, Arianna decided to confide in her grandmother.

Nanna Rose, can I tell you about something?

Of course dear. You know you can talk to me or your mother about anything. What’s on your mind?

Arianna put down the hand shears and took a deep breath. She had never before felt nervous or unsure talking to her beloved Nanna Rose. Sensing the girls unease, Rose took off her gardening gloves and sat back on her heels, placing a gentle hand on her granddaughters arm. She added softly,

You really can tell me anything; I will never judge you or make you feel silly. She smiled affectionately.

Arianna raised her eyes from the dirt, seeing all the love in her Grandmother’s eyes. She hoped it would still be there after she confessed about the strange dreams and the boy with the dark hair and hypnotic eyes.

I... erm, well. I have been having these dreams. She paused, took another breath and decided to just get it all out. At first they were just lots of colours. Then, there were all these blurry people trying to get close to me, but last week they kind of changed. It’s still all the colours of the rainbow but most of the blurry people have gone and now it’s just one person, still blurry except for his eyes. He has the most lovely eyes I’ve ever seen. I wish I knew who he was…. she trailed off a soft pink blush staining her tanned cheeks. She was glad she had left her hair loose and dropped her head, letting it fall like a veil to hide her embarrassment.

Rose gave her arm a gentle squeeze and brought Arianna’s attention back.

Well child, she said with awe, remember those stories I told you about our ancestors, the ‘gifts’ I talked about? Arianna nodded her head in assent, Rose continued, It seems that you have been blessed with one of those gifts. Dreams have always been a powerful phenomenon and sometimes through dreams, messages can be carried and shared. From what I remember my own Grandmother telling me, if you were lucky enough to be blessed with a gift, it would not manifest-or come out-until the person was ready to sustain it. I think that the powers that be believe that you are now old enough to own your gift. At this, Arianna couldn’t define the array of emotions that swirled throughout her head and stomach.

Be proud child. Only a chosen few are lucky enough to be blessed. Don’t worry yourself over them for the time being. When the time is right, you will know what messages are trying to come through and you can help them along when it becomes clearer. As for these ‘lovely eyes’… Rose watched her Granddaughter blush a deeper shade of red than before and chuckled under her breath, well, this boy must hold some significance. I am sure when the time is right it will all become clear.

Arianna wondered why she had ever worried about talking to her Grandmother. After all, she had the best and most understanding one in the world. She didn’t feel like a freak like she thought she might after her confession. Instead, like her Nanna Rose had said, she felt proud and blessed. Now that she thought more on it, super excited came to mind. She had wanted to be a ‘real’ witch for ages now and, from what Nanna had just said, these weird dreams just bumped her up to witch status in her book. And it wasn’t even her birthday until tomorrow. An idea hit her then. She would need all her notes on spells for her birthday wish. With hopefully a little magical help, she would find out who this boy was from her dreams. She was sure of it!

Thanks Nanna. I do feel proud. I can’t believe I’m a real witch! With that, Arianna jumped up from the dirt, almost knocking Rose down with the force of the hug she gave. There’s something I need to do, if that’s ok? She was jumping from one foot to the other, now itching to get going.

That’s fine child. Off you go now. Do what you need to within reason obviously. Rose waved the girl off with her regloved hand and watched as she skipped her way back to the house.

For the rest of the day, Arianna poured over her books and notes that she had made over the last twelve months. She pulled bits and pieces together until she had come up with what she deemed the perfect spell to find the face that belonged to the eyes that haunted her dreams. With a list of ingredients ready for the morning, she said goodnight to her parents and was eagerly in bed before her usual bedtime. She was impatient for her dreams and her birthday.

~

…Happy birthday to yooouuu! the chorus of voices faded away. Arianna could not contain her smile. She was having the best birthday. Presents had been plentiful, including new flowery notepads with matching pens and pencils, a large variety of seeds to plant in Nanna Rose’s greenhouse, some new books and a beautiful floral party dress that she had chosen to wear for her birthday tea party with her parents and grandparents. After opening her gifts this morning, she had painstakingly gathered just the right ingredients and carefully wrote the words she hoped would help bring the face of her dreams into reality (or at least focus). As requested, dinner had been held on the garden porch. Arianna had brought her trusty ‘cauldron’ and left it within reach of the table. Her family urged her to make a wish. Closing her eyes and clutching the dry concoction wrapped in the spell paper and bound with string, she recalled the words from the spell in her head.

Birthday wishes, dreams come true

Colours fade enhance the view

She concentrated on a vision of the eyes strong in her mind and, much to the horror of her father’s parents, proceeded to place the ensemble over the naked flame of the large candle clearly stating she was the big 1-0. As the dry blend came alight, she drew in a large breath and blew out all signs of fire. Swirling the smouldering bundle in a figure eight in front of her body and repeating the spell once more, she placed it in her tin bucket/cauldron for safety and conclusion of the spell. The porch area filled with a misty floral aroma, like a wild meadow fire, as the bucket released the last of the smoke. Starting with Nanna Rose, a procession of hugs and kisses followed with her father being the last one. He scooped her up into a mammoth bear hug and rained kisses onto her cheeks and face.

Happy birthday my unique and beautiful girl. I love you all around the world.

Tranquillity settled over Arianna. She knew that one day she would meet the owner of those eyes. It was meant to be. She could feel it in her heart, almost see it in her future. The fates (and hopefully her spell) would bring them together when the time was right

Chapter two

Thirty-eight hours and still counting.

That’s how long Daniel and his four housemates had been awake so far, in the aim of completing dissertations before Friday’s deadline. Boxes of Pro-Plus had been stocked up in advance, along with crates of Red Bull, jars of coffee, microwave meals and food that could be eaten cold and/or straight from the packet.

Cassie had been wise enough to, at least, make a start and had knuckled down well. Jay and Stu were currently taking bets on Cassie peaking too soon and flaking before the end. They were currently on a twenty minute playtime and used it to ‘shoot some hoops’ on the indoor plastic basketball set in Stu’s room. The ball had long since seen its demise, being lost through the third story window of the Victorian house when the nights were long and icy. Since this was a student house there was usually a substantial amount of trash laying around and about that could be condensed down to the right size and launched across a room, so play was never hindered for long.

Daniel sat in a faded and scuffed sofa chair sipping on a Red Bull. His housemates’ chatter a welcome distraction from the silence of his room. He had it under control, using the hours well and already over four thousand words in. He just had to stay in the zone, which is why he sat watching his friends play and snacking on cold pizza, while he mapped out the next thousand or so words.

Emma wandered into the room rubbing her eyes and rolling her shoulders.

Hey babe, She stopped in front of Stu and dropped her head to his chest. …can you rub my neck, please? Stu complied, earning a groan of appreciation from his girlfriend. Who’s idea was this marathon dissertation drive anyway? she complained, easing her head from left to right while her boyfriend’s fingers worked their magic.

It was Jay’s babe. Stu answered her, finishing the rub and kissing her on the forehead. "And what an idea it was. I’m quite enjoying this Pro Plus and Red Bull buzz we’re hitting." He added with a grin that twitched at the edges.

Well, I’m so over this already. I can’t cope with anymore caffeine in my system. Look, Emma held her hands out, palms to the floor and watched as they shook like a car on a gravel road. Daniel would’ve laughed except he was about one more can away from that kind of reaction himself. Instead, he remained quiet and finished his second slice of cold pizza. He hoped that the sustenance would leave his body able to handle his next hit of Pro Plus without too many side effects.

With his pizza and can finished, Daniel took himself back to his room, via the kitchen, grabbing a pint of water and a couple of the tiny potent tablets to keep him going through the next set of hours and thousand or so words. Daniel worked diligently between breaks. He could hear Emma shouting herself back into the zone every few hours. Stu and Jay randomly challenging each other. The stakes steadily increasing as the caffeine worked its magic over and over.

On a break at around sixty hours, Emma had commented that she hadn’t seen or heard anything from Cassie for a while. The four housemates made their way to the top floor of the Victorian house and Cassie’s room. No sound came from the room and very little light. Emma pushed the door open gently, calling Cassie’s name as she entered. The boys each held a five pound note in their hands as they entered behind Emma. Inside they found Cassie slumped over her laptop snoring softly.

A loud Yes! from Stu startled her awake and caused Cassie to jump up from her seat and squeal almost as loudly. Jay begrudgingly handed his note over to Stu, who did a victory dance then kissed Emma loudly. Daniel tried to smother his laughter at the sight of his fallen housemate, but failed as he took in the sight of the usually pretty girl with a bed head that rivaled Medusa’s snakes. Black bags, which could be classed as suitcases, under her dulled green eyes and a bright red crisscross pattern on the right side of her face that matched the keyboard on her laptop.

Oh my god! You scared the crap out of me! Cassie exclaimed What time is it? I don’t even remember falling asleep. How many hours left? she asked on a rush then held her head and groaned. I feel like shit. She mumbled. Daniel left the room to get Cassie a large drink of water while the girls helped her get back to the reality of having just under another full day to complete their dissertations before their time was up.

Everybody knuckled down then. Even the two lively lads had to reign in the games to make sure they finished on time. The house quieted as everyone gave their all to complete the task at hand. With four hours to go, Cassie was the first to finish, even after her flake-out break. Daniel was the next, an hour later, followed quickly by the sound of Emma celebrating as she finished.

The rush of joy from finishing quickly ebbed and left Daniel exhausted like he’d never been before. His body felt heavy, his eyelids being the densest part. The spots in his vision left him less and less inclined to fight and push his one hundred pound eyelids back open. There was still too many hours left until the library opened its doors to him and the masses of other students on the last-minute-express train to printing and binding. He had nowhere near enough energy left to keep himself alive long enough to get to the library, let alone go through the rest of the process and get the finished copy to the right building. A power nap was definitely in order, but then he was worried that with his body on shut down he wouldn’t be able to wake up after just an hour or so when he felt like he could sleep for a day, maybe even a week.

Daniel scoured the house for spare alarm clocks, including his own phone. He ended up with three separate alarms. He placed them strategically around his room, too far to reach and snooze without moving, but not far enough that the noise would go unnoticed.

So he thought.

He woke three hours later on his bedroom floor, alarm clutched in his right hand and a foot poking him in the ribs. Cassie looked down at him with an understanding look in her heavy eyes.

I overslept too. Good job I thought to check on everyone before I left. I actually thought I was the only one left in the house. She held a hand out to him and pulled him to a standing position with some difficulty wincing at the stench that came off him.

Oh god, Daniel groaned, I thought that smell was the carpet but it’s really me, isn’t it?

Cassie took pity on him, You have the time it takes for me to make you a coffee to shower and change. Then we are leaving. She left his room repeating tick-tock as she went and Daniel scrambled to the shower. Three minutes later he emerged in clean(ish), creased clothes and