~The Celtic Wizard~

Chapter 29  

Kevin sprinted towards the house at full speed.  Taking the stairs two and three at a time, he halted in front of his old bedroom door. 

Cautiously he opened the door not wanting one of the females in the room to slam it shut in his face again.  Kevin sighed slightly with as his grandmother sat in the straight back chair waiting for him.  Glancing around the room it, it was empty besides the three of them.

In his own mind, he asked his grandmother if Catherine was going to be okay. 

A verbal answer came from his grandmother as he gazed at Catherine.  “I’m trying grandson, but the rest is up to her.  She seems... afraid.”  A paused sigh followed.

Quietly, Kevin walked to the bed.  Catherine lay on her side with a pillow next to her, much the way he had left her hours ago.  The blood had been cleaned from her body.  Her hair seemed damp as he touched it.  They had washed and combed her hair.  It was neatly pulled back in a ponytail.  A smiled crossed his face as the full impact of her youth hit him. 

His finger traced the butterfly bandage on her face.  Catherine’s cheek had been spilt slightly. 

“She’s such a pretty thing,” his grandmother clucked from behind him as she fussed over her patient.  

Kevin’s hand stroked Catherine’s arm, down to her hand.  Trailing his fingers over her knuckles, he smiled slightly.  Catherine’s fingers were still grasped tightly around the amulet.

A gnarled hand came to rest on his.  “You were right, she was untouched.  I gave her some medicine to ease her pain and to make her sleep.  She will not wake up until tomorrow evening.  I wanted to bandage her hand but she won’t let the talisman go.”

Kevin’s arms raised, his hand reached to the back of his neck.  Untying the knot around the leather cord, he removed his own amulet.  He had never removed it from his body since the day he received it.

A burst of cold air swooshed into the room, the words were loud and clear.  “Kevin, you can not do this!”  His father was extremely angry with him over this.

“I can and I will.”  Kevin placed a hand on the headboard of the bed; he pressed the amulet that he had just removed from himself into Catherine’s free hand.  “Take it baby, come on,” he whispered as Catherine’s fingers twitched at the object.  Kevin was hoping with the disc being the same in all aspects as hers that Catherine would automatically latch onto it, thinking it was hers.  Murmuring in Gaelic, “My leannan.”

Bit by bit Catherine’s fingers wrapped around the talisman, suddenly her digits clamped around the object.  “Good girl,” Kevin reached to the bedside table.  Pouring fresh, warm water into a basin, he grabbed a cloth.  Dipping the cloth into the water, he moved it around, soaking it liberally, and then he squeezed the excess water out of the cloth.

Sitting on the side of the bed, he moved her arm until it rested across his legs, her hand in his lap.  With great care, he touched her fingertips as he spoke to her.  “It’s okay Catherine, you have mine in your other hand.  Come on, open up baby,” as he pulled at her fingers.

Catherine’s fingers opened gradually with his aid.  He plucked the amulet from her and set it on the bed next to him.

The amulet was quickly snatched off the bed.  It seemed to dance in the air and then it was promptly dropped around Kevin’s neck.  A new length of leather attached to it and it was re-tied around his neck, in effect an exchange of sorts.  “Happy now Dad?”  Kevin spoke never taking his eyes off Catherine’s hand.  Mulling it over, he wondered if the charm had saved Catherine’s life.

“We’ll leave you to tend to your lady now,” his grandmother spoke as the door shut quietly.

Kevin had done the forbidden, however his father was not going to leave him unprotected.  Hence, Kevin now wore the charm that he had given Catherine.  Kevin had also heard the small chant that his father had uttered as he stood by the mirror.  Even though his Dad was not visible to Kevin’s naked eye, his words were heard.  “Circle of reflection, circle of protection.  May the sender of all harm, feel the power of this charm, So Mote It Be.”

Sighing heavily, Kevin was still sorting things out in his head.  “Professor, if I would have known, I never would have touched you.  I wouldn’t have let him either, but I think in the end... this still might have happened, but down a different life path.  Maybe this is for the good of all, we are to do no harm.  I don’t think you could harm a single thing.”

Tenderly he worked the torn skin, silently thanking his family that she couldn’t feel the hurt. “He’s a sick man, he’s evil.  He knew what you were Catherine way before you did and he has known for a long time.  I’m afraid he was going to use you in some way baby, in a bad way.”

Patting her hand dry, he reached for the old jar resting on the table.  Picking it up, he held it out, “Oh this stuff is nasty, I skinned my knee once, it burns like hell.”  Unscrewing the lid he sniffed, he nose wrinkled up, “Still stinks too.”  Applying the salve, he massaged it into the torn parts of her skin.  “I’m glad you’re not awake for this Catherine.  I think you would slap me for this.”  Kevin watched as the skin began to close.  “Magick is a blessing.”

Setting her hand back down, he reached for the gauze.  Methodically he wrapped it around each finger, over her palm, and wound it around the next.  Ending the white fabric at her wrist, he held it with his thumb.  Grabbing the tape, he pulled the roll as the end rested between his teeth.  Tearing off a piece of the tape, he then placed it over the end of the gauze.

Lifting her arm, he placed it next to her side as he stood up.  “Sweet thing, I’m really confused.”  He pulled the sheet back knowing that they had stripped her of her clothes and cleaned the blood off of her.  He saw the bandages on her back.  The gauze was wrapped around her from front to back.  Leaning over Kevin spotted small pieces of tape under her breasts that held the dressings in place.

Turning his head away, he looked at the stand next to the bed.  It was covered with blood soaked rags.  Then the sudden realization hit him.  It wasn’t torn rags he was staring, it was the remnants of Catherine’s shirt.  The bile rose in his throat, swallowing it back, he turned towards her.  Lifting the sheet higher, his eyes traveled down to her hips, past the juncture of her thighs down to her toes.  He saw that her tangerine nail polish was even chipped she had fought so hard. 

Kevin saw no indication upon further inspection that Catherine had been violated, her back was marred and there were a few stray marks on her backside.  Kevin pulled the sheet up to her shoulders.  Standing up, he tugged the well-worn coverlet from the bottom of the bed.  Tucking it under her chin, he touched the bandage on her face once more.  “You sleep, “ he spoke, as he bent and kissed the top of her head. 

His hand grazed her forehead, checking to see if she was warm with fever.  If she did become ill from infection, he knew his grandmother would handle it.  Bending to her ear, he whispered, “You’re safe here, he can’t hurt you.  I love you.  I’ll be back in a bit, I need to talk to my family.  They’ll help me sort this out.  I can always come home for help.”

In his heart, he wanted her to stir so he knew she had heard him.  Kevin also knew it was best if she didn’t.  Kevin was torn, should he send Catherine home with her parents?  Should he send her home to Los Angeles and let things be?  Or should he keep her here and enlighten her to all things wonderful and beautiful in his world?  Teach her his ways, teach her to defend for herself.  He wanted her safe and tucked neatly next to him every night as man and wife.  A slight chuckle erupted as he thought it over, may the powers that be have mercy on them both if someone would teach her to cook.  In the end he knew it should be her choice, that free will thing hanging over his head again.  He had made mistakes in the past that he had no intention of repeating.  The last thought left him unsettled, “Maybe you can’t make these choices clearly Professor, I just don’t know.”

Opening the door, his Aunt Eleanor stood in front of him.  “Your Mama wants you to eat.  I’ll stay with her.  There’s some Hot Brown down in the kitchen for you.”

Grasping his forearm, she squeezed it to get his attention.  “Don’t make any decisions yet, Kevin.  Let her be involved in the process.”  She had read his doubts and knew that in the past Kevin ran on the premise of what he wanted, he got.  The one problem was, in the end, he got nothing.

A flat smile graced his face as he pulled on her hand.  “I won’t Aunt Eleanor, I won’t.  I’ll be back in just a bit.” 

Blowing out a long breath, he headed to the kitchen fully expecting it to be bursting with people, his confidants, his friends, and family. 

“Where is everyone?” he asked as he sat in his usual place at the table.  The same place that he had occupied since he was old enough to sit at the table.  His grandmother came from one side of the huge kitchen setting a large glass of milk in front of him. 

His mother came from the other of the room, she set a plate of food in front of him.  “They’re over at Tim’s honey.” 

“I could really use a beer...” he stopped speaking as his grandmother set a napkin in his lap.  His mother began to hand him his silverware.

“He’s a grown man ladies,” his father laughed as he joined him at the table. 

Kevin was trying to hide the smile as his mother played with his hair while standing on one side of him and his grandmother patted his cheek.  “But he’s our grown-up baby,” his mother smiled.

Kevin’s face grew red, as his father laughed even harder as he talked, “Kevin, always in trouble, always needing to come home, always the baby.”

Jerald eyeballed Kevin’s dinner, it had been a long time since he had eaten that dish.  “Looks good son.  I wish I could have some.”

“Hell Dad, give it shot, we’ve broke enough rules as it is, and we’ll never get to Summerland.”  Kevin’s laughter filled the kitchen.

A dinner plate heaped with Hot Brown was placed in front of him, Anne now stood behind him.  “Thanks sweetheart,” Jerald grinned at Anne as his arm shot out to pull her close to him.  “I miss you.”

“You should stay awhile,” Anne smiled. 

“Depending on how good this is, I might spend the night,” Jerald dove into the food. 

Her heart skipped a beat at the mere thought that he may stay, it had been a long time and against the rules.  Jerald had always justified it by saying, 'You can’t stop true love.'  "Do you think we could get our boys to bed early?” she winked at Jerald.  “It’s been a long time.”

Kevin’s grandmother sat next to Kevin.  “Even longer for me, I say go for it.”

“Paaleeezz, I’m sitting right here,” Kevin groaned.

“Well son there were many times that you were so....”

“Unaware,” Anne added as she danced across the kitchen floor.

“That would be the word,” Jerald chuckled as he watched his wife dance around the room, gloriously happy at the idea of a ‘reunion’. 

“How about skyclad?” Kevin’s grandmother offered her suggestion.

“Oh Jesus!”  Kevin choked on his food, really wanting that beer now.  Then he heard A.J. begin to laugh as he told everyone that Mr. and Mrs. R were going to go skyclad and dance by the silvery moon. 

Kevin’s Aunt Eleanor hurried into the room, “Kevin, Catherine needs you, she’s waking up.”

“Impossible, she has enough laudanum to sleep until tomorrow,” Kevin’s grandmother waived her off.

Kevin shook his head in disbelief, “You gave her laudanum!”

“Yes dear...,” she blinked.  “Best medicine in the world, works great on just about everything.”

“For crying out loud, the woman doesn’t even drink or get high!”  Kevin shot out of the room and back up the stairs.  Bursting through his door, Catherine sat in the bed, her eyes wide with fear, clutching the amulet, yelling at him, “You can’t have it, It’s mine.  He told me never to take it off, even if he asked.  You asked, YOU ARE NOT KEVIN!” 





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