“His name is Avery Rune. Currently he lives in London, England, but from my research on him – he’s a seasoned traveller.” Grandmother Takana said before Alexis’s departure the following day. “Someone who’s that flighty can’t be trusted, Alexis. Keep an eye on him,” with that she handed over a white envelope to granddaughter, bowed and wished her a safe trip. As much as Alexis agreed to allow her stranger of an uncle to take custody of her, she had not expected preparations to be made so quickly. Barely a day after her grandmother asked her about where she wanted to live, she was packed and shuffled off in a muggle car to the international airport. Muggle transportation had been decided for her, a safer way until those behind the murders were caught. Having never left the country before, Alexis nervousness increased as she was sent along her way.
Suki and Hichiro came with her, both wanted to see her off. They made the long car ride more durable, entertaining even as both tried to keep a smile on everyone’s face. No-one knew when they would see each other next, but Skype was always an option to stay in touch, if the twins could get a good wifi reception at the temple. Magic and muggle technology never went together smoothly, but the youth of the day always seemed to find a loophole or patch to make it possible.
“Are you going to open it?” Suki asked, all three glancing down at the sealed envelope in Alexis’s hands. She had not made up her mind when to open it, afraid of what could be inside. Her grandmother didn’t give any hints, and for all she knew it could be something that would make her cry once more.
“Suki, she should open it when she’s ready.” Hichiro said, condemning his sister’s curiosity. “It’s probably some memento of the shrine, or a talisman.”
“It doesn’t feel like a regular talisman.” Alexis said, feeling the stiffness inside the envelope. If she had any guess, it felt like a folded up letter, or a photograph. The shuttle arrived at the airport, the three were nearly at the end of their time. As the driver unloaded her bags and trunk, Alexis ripped the envelope open. If this was their last time together, she wouldn’t hide anything from them.
Both Suki and Hichiro bent over Alexis’s shoulders, as she duped the content of the envelope out. It was a photograph, and old one, that showed two young boys. One was clearly older than the other, at least by five or more years, but there was a twinkle in his eyes that captivated Alexis. Both boys had the same silvery-grey eyes, the Rune eyes as she called them. Then suddenly, the older boy in the photograph winked and jumped out of the side of the photo, the young boy on his heals.
“That’s a wizard’s photograph.” Hichrio stated. Alexis raised her eyes to her cousins, a troubling feeling coming over her. She flipped the photo over and there, in writing was the names “Avery and Wesley”.
“I thought your dad was a muggle.” Suki said in a soft voice.
“What does this mean?” Alexis asked, her heart beating wildly. The two boys appeared again in the photograph, this time with a large black crow that perched itself on the older boy’s arm. This was her father’s secret? That he was a squib? She didn’t understand – why would her father hide something like this?
“You’ll find out.” Hichiro said, his voice full of confidence. “You’re going to meet Avery, you’ll learn more about your father and find the answers you’re looking for.”
“Then you’ll come back to us.” Suki put in. “Promise you’ll return.”
“Of course. I’m to be the next Takana shrine priestess… remember?”
The two said their last farewells as the glass doors closed behind Alexis. She barely took five steps inside the airport terminal before she began to second guess everything she knew about herself, her father, and her decision to leave Japan and her only family behind.
“You life, is about to change and you must be strong.”
The voice of the fox spirit woke Alexis up just as the seatbelt sign above her flashed back on. The flight was long, and terribly boring. She was crammed into this tiny space with almost a hundred or more other muggles. There had to be a better way to travel, she wished her uncle or grandmother would have used a portkey to get her to England, or better yet, a side-along apparition. But, ‘too many things could go wrong’, had been her uncles reasoning. Alexis sighed as she leaned back in her seat, at least they were finally here.
Below her, the clouds began to vanish as the ground beneath them came back into view. Alexis wrapped her arms around her chest in a self-hug. She had just had that dream again… this time it was different.
She had found herself in a dark hallway, with vintage looking wallpaper that was faded and torn away in places. Photographs were lined up and down the hallway, of all different sizes, of different people and different times. There were cobwebs in corners, old pottery, mirrors, basically everything you expect to see at some wealthy mansion, except it all looked abandoned, unkept and uninviting.
Everything around Alexis cast long shadows, candles flickered along the hallway, shining some light, but quickly going back into darkness until the next one appeared. For a moment, Alexis feared she was in one of those loop dreams, that she would find herself walking past the same pictures, the same artifacts, over and over… but before that happened, the scenery of the hallway changed, a staircase revealed itself before her. One step at a time, she climbed to the second story of the house, until she suddenly found herself back in the same bedroom as before.
But something was different this time. It was empty. No old man laid on the bed, there was no argument, or fight to witness. It was just as if the room had been waiting for her, or for someone else.
There was a crash. Alexis jumped and turned to see the younger figure from her dream. His back was towards her, as he moved through the room, smashing everything in his reach. Bottles, vases, drawers, and mirrors. Alexis could understand the warning the Fox Spirit gave about him, in this state, he acted as if possessed by some evil spirit. He continued to ransack the room, pulling the bed apart, ripping the curtains. It almost appeared he was looking for something, though rage had taken over causing him to destroy everything in his reach.
Alexis, now gripped with terror in the dream, tried to flee the room, only the stairs weren’t there anymore and she felt herself falling into some dark pit.
That was when she woke up, that was when the Fox spirit’s words echoed into her head. She was shaking, filled with a new nightmare. The Fox spirit’s prediction came true, things have changed for her, she wondered what else of it would come to pass.