Chapter 28 - Rythe: Life Lessons

 

I wake up feeling confused, a little cold but covered in blankets. This is the couch, but I can’t remember how I got here. Last thing I remember was walking to my bedroom. Why was I watching Andy Griffith? None of this seems, like something I would do.

“Ah, you’re awake. Stay right there,” Tituba pats my foot through the blanket and heads into the kitchen.

I don’t try to move, I just feel like body wouldn’t move if I wanted it to, so I don’t try. I just try to focus on the television. This isn’t my favorite show by a long shot and I hate greyscale television, but my eyes aren’t focusing. I feel as if my entire body is rejecting itself. I thought Ci-Ci said Jonah’s illusions were only mental. I feel all the physical pain I should have felt earlier. Maybe this is another illusion. I’m a dark elf, I generally run pretty hot temperature, why am I so cold?

“Here, stay down, drink this,” Tituba holds a tea cup to my lips.

The whole drink is harsh with just enough chocolate and mint flavor to make it digestible. At times it feels like tea, and milk at others. I’m not even sure I trust her, but I don’t have a choice, I can’t fight back. To some degree it does help. I feel a little warmer and my vision seems to have cleared up for the moment.

“Do you remember what happened,” she asks cautiously I finish the last swallow of her drink.

“I was arguing with Ci-Ci, and then I turned to my room. But she called me and,” I can already reach the conclusion. “She forced a transfusion on me, after knocking me out, with sleeping powered. She’ just doomed us all.”

“What are you talking about?”

“I can’t control myself. The drugs are to keep me in control.”

“I don’t get it.”

“The magic, it’s too much for me.”

“You’re not making any sense.”

I force myself to my feet and witness my bandaged wrists and bruised shoulders. I’ll take blame for the shoulders but no doubt she’s the one that slit my wrist. I don’t care how much power she has over blood she could have killed me. Tituba reaches for me as I stand; she’s unsure if I’ll fall or not. I make my way to the small foot stool near the doorway, and lift the top. Nothing is inside but a pair of running shoes. Inside the kitchen, I crack the cupboard above the microwave, and there’s nothing. Last stop, I remove the lid from the toilet and look into the tank. Even the fairy dust hidden there is gone.

“Please sit down, you’re hurting yourself.”

“You don’t understand. I can’t make it without it.”

“I do understand. You are not just recovering from the transfusion, but addiction,” Tituba leads me to the couch.

“It wasn’t an addiction. I knew what I was doing.”

“Maybe you did. But now you have to find a new way to adapt.”

“She had no right.”

“I know,” she covers me in the blanket again. “She was greedy, and it was wrong of her. But we can only move on now.”

Tituba changes the channel to Judge Mathis, at least I won’t go insane with that. I’m not sure if the drink she gave me or the magic is warming my body, but I can feel it. My temperature is going up, and my nostrils have cleared. I’ll be back to normal in no time, and when I am, I’ll deal with Ci-Ci. I can just hand her over to Jonah. She’s the one he wants anyway.

“Stop,” Tituba says to me without looking.

“Stop what,” I ask.

“You’re angry. You’re always angry even when you don’t show it. I feel the rage coming off you. From what I know about you, the rage is justified. But you need to let it go.”

“Are you preaching to me at a time like this?”

“What better time, you can’t get away,” she smiles. “Look, you’ve been done wrong in life, probably a lot more than what I saw earlier. You can’t let it define you. Look past it.”  

“How do I do that?”

“Well, you have to do a few things. You have to start with accepting things you can’t change. The transfusion is done. Nothing you can do now, especially while going through withdrawals as well. But you can take control of your life. You seem to just let things happen. We did take over your apartment,” she chuckles. “The next thing you can do is recognize you are bigger and better than you think you are. You put this whole thing together. Sure, she’s done all the fighting, but you made it all possible. From everything I’ve heard and seen you were the key to the escape every time. You’re a smart man, more than a pencil neck. Paper boy. Act like it, and don’t let anyone minimalize you.”

After a moment of silence, I can only ask her, “Am I dying?”

“We’re all dying boy. Some of us faster than others. You might feel like you’re dying but I figure you got a lot of living left.”

“Are you dying? This talk seems like a conclusion to something.”

“Oh yeah, the devils made of snow are coming for me,” she pauses and stares out a window. “But I’ve got time before then. A lot of time. I’m just trying to pass on some knowledge to a younger generation.”

“Well thank you, I don’t think anyone has ever been kind enough to just pass on knowledge to me.”

“People rarely live to be as old as me,” she laughs. “But you’re an elf. I hear some of you still live to be close to 200, even if it’s rare.”

“I don’t know if I want to live that long.”

“You just need to find your reason to keep living.”

“How do I do that?”

“It’s different for everyone, but it might have been right in your face or under your nose the whole time.”  

“I’ll keep it in mind. Want some cookies?”

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