Category Archives: The Story of Matthew Crawford

The Story of Matthew Crawford

    

 

Matthew Crawford gets up the courage to come home again. He stays in a local hotel with his wife and twin sons, who are eleven. For some reason, his intuition takes him far away from his old house. Instead, the intense visions lead him to the Dratianos’, where he meets the family he never knew he had.

 

Matthew went alone to the house in his visions. Now he stood in front of the house on Sycamore drive, staring at the door. Why did his visions take him here? This house was miles away from his childhood home. How could his sister and her family be here? Adjusting his coat and taking a deep breath to calm himself, he walked up to the door and knocked.

When he looked up, he thought he saw her. Same red-blond hair, silver-blue eyes. Same height and smile. Everything was the same. “Melody?” He managed to whisper.

The woman stared at him, curious.

“Who’s at the door, Mommy?” The little girl that hung behind her mother’s legs reminded Matthew of his twin sister Melody at that young age.

“No one, Melody.” The woman kept her silver-blue eyes on him. “Go find your brothers and play for a while.”

The little girl obeyed. Matthew stared after her.

“May I help you?” The woman asked, trying to look into his eyes.

Matthew grasped her upper arms. “Don’t you recognize me, Mel?”

“Whoever you are, I’m not Melody.” The woman shrugged out of his grasp. She stared into his eyes, this time saying quietly. “Come inside. We’ll talk there.”

He was quiet as she led him to the kitchen table. “Sit, and tell me why you have the silver-blue eyes of an Ancient Mystic.”

“Ancient Mystic?” Matthew asked in a whisper. He looked up to her waiting face. “My name is Matthew Crawford.”

The woman gasped, stepping away from him. “That’s impossible.”

Matthew shook his head. “It’s true.” He took out his wallet, showing her his Driver’s License. She didn’t look, she only stared at his face. He put the wallet away. “If you’re not Melody, who are you? Is she here?”

The woman sat next to him, biting her lip. “My name is Adellandra Dratianos. Did your mother Angela ever tell you about the family?”

“How did you know my mother’s name was Angela?” He countered. “Listen, is my sister here or not?”

Slowly, Adellandra shook her head. He watched her take one of his hands. He could feel the familiar surge of energy in her touch, giving him the feeling of dread.

“Where is Melody?” Matthew demanded softly.

“Melody Crawford-Applebee died in an accident last year with her husband, Michael.” Adellandra told him. She still held his hand. “Did anything happen to you then?”

Matthew didn’t know what to respond. He just opened his mouth and began talking. “I was in the hospital for two weeks. They say I was in a coma or something, but I wasn’t. I felt something was missing, like a hole in the pit of my being. I wanted to die.”

 

At last, Adellandra let go, letting him bury his face in his hands to mourn the loss. She waited for him to settle before saying anything else. “She’s not totally gone, you know.” Adellandra told him, a hand on his back.

Matthew looked up with dismayed eyes.

“Her soul lives in my daughter, Melody Elizabeth.” Adellandra replied.

“How is that possible?” He asked.

“How is it possible for someone thought to have died at his high school graduation to sit here beside me, asking such a question?” Adellandra smiled.

He grinned at the logic. “Just like Mel. Always thinking.”

Adellandra tapped his back. “You tell me your side and I’ll tell you mine.”

He rubbed his hands together and began his story. He told her how he’d gotten away that night, using great Magic to let Melody know the lie of his death. He sold the car he was driving for an older model, using the rest of the money from it to live. While staying at a local motel, he worked at a factory for three years. Slowly but surely, he was making a life for himself. By the first year’s end, he was in an apartment of his own. Not a day went by he didn’t think of Melody and Michael and how happy they were, without him. Not a night went by he didn’t miss his beloved twin. To him, Melody had done him an injustice – choosing to love a man more than her twin. Sure, it felt like a betrayal at first, and it was in Matthew’s mind. He just wanted to move on with his life, forgetting he ever had a family or a twin sister. It was bad enough his mother died shortly before seeing the twins graduate from high school. He was all alone. His mother left him, Melody left him, he didn’t want to deal with that, so he ran. Three years of hard labor came and went like a breeze, quick and painless. He met the woman of his dreams and married her less than a year later. Nine months later, he was a father to his own set of twin boys. Every time he looked at his sons, he thought of Melody and himself together. When the boys showed signs of being different, it scared him. He knew about the special magic he held inside from his mother. He even practiced it with Melody at times. What he didn’t know is how to teach it.

“Jason and Jonas, my boys, are eleven now, quickly growing into their powers.” Matthew concluded. “I’m scared for them, and for myself.”

“Did you ever tell your wife about your magic?” Adellandra asked him.

“I didn’t want to scare her away.” Matthew said. “I just wanted us to be a normal family. I don’t think Jessica would understand how complex it is.”

“When did you begin to notice your sons acting different?”

“Jason was five. He began to glow bright blue and white around his body whenever he threw a temper tantrum.” Matthew explained. “A year later, Jonas began to float things to him just by staring at it.”

“Hmm.” Adellandra thought aloud. “About Jason, is he a good swimmer at all?”

Matthew was amazed. “Only the best at Huntington Middle School.”

“That’s what I thought. What about Jonas? Did he ever slam doors with his mind when he was mad?”

How did she know? “Yeah, why? Do you know something I don’t?”

“How much of the Ancient Mystic Magic were you taught from Angela?” Adellandra asked. “You had to have some control to be where you are today.”

“Mom never taught us, really. She just told us about her Aunt Liza’s powerful magic as she grew up with Aunt Annabelle.” Matthew told her.

 

Adellandra stood and paced as he watched her. “According to the Ancient Mystic line, you are descended from Dorianne Jacobs. She would be your…let’s see…great-grandmother. Your grandmother wasn’t Elisabeth Jacob’s twin Melody, but Elisabeth herself. As far as I know from Dorianne, her daughters switched places on Melody’s deathbed when they were only sixteen. By that time, your mother Angela and Aunt Annabelle were already six months old.”

“How do you know so much?”

“I’ve studied the family for years.” Adellandra told him, shifting her glasses on her nose. She saw he opened his mouth but interrupted him. “I also happen to know Melody Jacobs died of heart failure.”

“You said my sister Melody wasn’t really gone.” Matthew replied. “What did you mean?”

“Just that.” Adellandra supplied. “When I was pregnant with my daughter Melody, your sister had her Ancient Mystic’s Destination Vision. That is, she saw her own death years in advance. I wanted to help her, but I couldn’t. I made her promise to keep it a secret from her husband Michael and her two daughters, Amanda Jo and Anastasia. When I had her, Melody’s control over her powers went to my daughter. Turns out, the two Melodys are the same soul as Melody Jacobs.”

“How is that possible?”

“When my daughter was born, your sister Melody lost control.” Adellandra tried. “My Melody didn’t cry a tear or utter a sound until she was nearly six-years-old.”

“Back up a minute. How?”

“Okay, I’ll try to explain.” Adellandra said. “Back when Melody Jacobs and her twin Elisabeth made a solemn vow on Melody’s death bed, they switched places for the last time. Elisabeth would be her own daughters’ aunt. When Melody died, her soul was reincarnated into your sister Melody. Your mother obviously thought it would be appropriate to name her after whom she thought was her own mother. Now, years go by, she’s happily married to her husband Michael when she begins to have dreams. She dreams of her own death, which scares her shiftless. She doesn’t know what to do so she calls me.

“I didn’t know this strange woman calling me at three in the morning until she gave me her name. Sure enough, it was Melody Applebee, the same woman in my own dreams, crying for help. I talked to her on the phone, promising to help her. All the while, I’m pregnant with my daughter Melody. The next day, I took my twin sons, Mark and Andrew to their Great-great-aunt Dorianne. I told her what I’d been dreaming and sure enough, she only confirmed my fears.”

“Which are?” Matthew was hooked, but he had to interrupt.

“She told me the story of her own twins and how she never taught them the Magic.” Adellandra continued, sitting next to him now. “Her husband Paul never knew she was an Ancient Mystic. He was oblivious and they were happy together without it. I asked her why she never told him the truth, to which she told me how much it hurt the ones she loved.”

“What about the Melodys? What did she tell you?”

“Apparently, Melody Jacobs was reincarnated.” Adellandra said. “First, into your sister, who learned more about her Magic until she died, and then into my daughter, who’s still learning hers.”

“If that’s true, wasn’t your Melody born before my sister could die?”

Adellandra nodded. “That’s what happened. The soul was split in two. All powers, or at least control over the powers, were brought to my daughter while my daughter’s voice and emotions were still with your sister. Do you understand?”

Matthew didn’t know what to think. “Who are you to me?”

“For clarity to the story that is complicated, I am your cousin.”

 

At that moment, nine children came in the room. There were two identical young women, three identical boys and a girl who looked like one of the boys. Little Melody, the girl who’d reminded Matthew of his twin, stood beside a girl that looked like a brown-haired version of his sister. A young boy held the hand of one of the identical boys. Two of the girls were Matthew’s own nieces, only he didn’t know it.

“Hey Adella, who’s that?” One of the reddish-brown haired girls said, nodding toward Matthew.

“Amanda Jo, meet your Uncle Matthew Crawford.”

Amanda Jo and Matthew stared at each other. “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

Matthew stood up to the girl. She was only a foot shorter than he was. Slowly, he began to remember when she was born, seventeen years ago. Michael Applebee was only a fourteen-year old boy taking advantage of Matthew’s twelve-year-old twin sister Melody. That’s what started Matthew’s hatred of Michael. From the day Michael raped Melody, Matthew stuck by his twin sister’s side.

“Believe this, kid.” Matthew told her. “Did your mother ever tell you about me?”

“Sure.” Amanda Jo shrugged. The other kids watched intently.

“Did she ever tell you how we used to hide in the barn during the summer, testing our powers?” Matthew stared at Amanda Jo, who gawked at the revelation.

Finally, Amanda Jo closed her mouth and swallowed. “No one would have known that but Mom and…you!” She pointed at her new Uncle.

“Children, go out and play.” Adellandra’s voice interrupted their staring contest.

Actually, Matthew had a grin on his face, his arms folded while Amanda Jo stared at him.

“How? I thought you died? Mom told us you died.” Amanda Jo sputtered.

Adellandra took hold of her young cousin’s arms, directing her away from Matthew. “That means you, too Amanda Jo. Go on.”

“But –”

“I need you to help watch the kids, now go.” Adellandra playfully commanded.

When she left, he stood staring after them.

“Those were my family.” Adellandra told him. “Follow me to the backyard and I’ll introduce you.”

Playing in various places in the backyard were children, everywhere. At the picnic table sat four adults, two men and two women. Adellandra introduced him to her husband Draconis, her own twin sister Adarra, brother-in-law Shane, almost-sister Aimee and almost-brother Aaron before pointing out the children. Amanda Jo was talking to her identical cousin Kelly and Kelly’s boyfriend Bradley nearby. Meanwhile, the children he’d seen in the house were all out here. There was Anastasia, Amanda Jo’s younger sister who was the female version of Adellandra’s twin sons Mark and Andrew and Adarra’s son Caleb. Meredith, Adarra’s daughter who was the brown-haired version of Adellandra’s young daughter Melody. With the girls was another little girl Adellandra introduced as Aimee’s adopted-daughter Angel. Lastly, hanging with the identical boys was a younger boy, Adarra’s younger son Logan.

After introductions, Adarra was excited. “Wow, I can’t believe it! Matthew Crawford, alive and sitting with us! This is exciting!”

Shane laughed. “Calm down, ‘Darra. Sure, it’s exciting, and unbelievable if you ask me.”

“Unbelievable, but true.” Draconis chimed in.

“Wait until Dorianne hears about this.” Aaron said.

“Dorianne Jacobs is still alive?” Matthew asked.

 

“She’s too stubborn to die.” Aimee said with a laugh.

“Where does she live? How old is she?”

“She lives atop the hill this city was named for.” Draconis said. “I’d say she would be in her eighties by now.”

“She may be old, but don’t try telling her that.” Adellandra said. “She looks and acts like she’s still in her forties.”

Matthew shook his head. “This is too much.”

“You’ll get used to it, trust me.” Adellandra told him, eyeing the other adults at the table. She stood. “Did anybody want anything to drink?”

While she was gone, Adarra asked. “So, tell us how you found us.”

“Would you believe dreams and visions?” Matthew began. “A few weeks ago, I had a dream about my sister being here. As I neared the house, those dreams turned into visions. I just followed them until I got here.”

“Sounds…” Aimee started, looking to her brother Aaron.

“Interesting.” Aaron smiled at her. “As with all Ancient Mystics, visions and dreams bring you back to your family.”

“You’re not an Ancient Mystic, are you?” Matthew asked him.

“Sort of.” Aimee answered for him. She showed Matthew her right wrist, which held a multicolored bracelet and a small scar. Aaron did the same. “When we were twelve, Adellandra, whose name then was Ariana, Aaron, and I made a blood pact. Some of her Magic flowed through our systems. Now, we hold the Unicorn Magic, the power of Earth.”

“Enough, you two. We’ve got to get together.” Shane said. “Having a family of your own is priceless, especially one like ours.”

“How long do you plan on staying in Hill View?” Draconis asked.

Matthew hadn’t thought that far. “I don’t know, a week maybe. We’re all staying in a hotel for now.”

“A hotel!” Adellandra came back with drinks for all, including lemonade for the kids. “Nonsense. You’ll stay with us. That way, you’ll get to know the family more and we’ll get to know the real Matthew Crawford.”

“Adellandra, we don’t have the room.” Draconis argued. “When we agreed to take in Amanda Jo and Stacy, the girls took the only spare rooms we had.”

“We’ll make the room.” Adellandra told her husband. “The boys can sleep in the same room.”

“The twins love being in separate rooms.” Draconis said. “Dare deny me my sanity, woman?”

“It’s only for a week, Love, and they’re family.” Adellandra said. “Besides, we have a spare bedroom for guests they can use. Matthew and Jessica can share it while his twins can share with ours.”

“You mean all these kids don’t live here?” Matthew asked incredulously.

“Goddess, no.” Adarra laughed. “Shane and I live across the street with our children while Angel and Bradley live next door with the Schmidts and Archers.”

“In case you’re wondering, my parents adopted Bradley shortly before we turned fourteen.” Aimee responded. “I adopted Angel when she was three. It’s complicated, but you’ll get it if you hang around Adellandra enough.”

 

Adellandra playfully slapped her almost-sister and Matthew couldn’t help laughing with them. He was homesick, though, thinking of his sister and the family he’d left behind when he was seventeen.

Later that night, he introduced his little family to the Dratianos’. Jessica and Adellandra gossiped until the late hours while he and Draconis talked. Jason and Jonas stayed in a bedroom getting to know their twin cousins Mark and Andrew until all four boys fell asleep.

When Matthew did sleep that night in one of the guest bedrooms, he dreamed a strange dream. He was twelve again, reliving the night of his twin sister’s lost innocence.

 

Matthew sat on a bench by a pond, throwing rocks into it angrily. He sensed someone above him.

“Go away and leave me alone.” He announced without looking. He threw another rock in, having it skip twice before dropping into the water.

“What bothers you, Young Dreamer?” An angelic female voice asked him gently.

Matthew finally looked. The woman was beautiful, in a shimmering white gown with red-gold hair. Her eyes sparkled when she smiled at him. When he stood, he saw the strange multi-colored pin holding a cloak on her shoulders.

He had the sudden feeling he could trust this strange woman with his life. “Who are you?”

She smiled. “Oh no, I asked you first.” She sat on the bench and motioned for him to sit next to her.

“I’m angry, mostly at the guy who hurt my sister.” He told her, not looking at her face.

“What did he do to her?” The woman wrapped a comforting arm around his shoulders.

“He raped her.” Matthew told the woman.

“How awful!” The woman whispered. “How old is she?”

“Same as me, twelve.” Matthew said. “I feel it’s my fault.”

“Why would it be your fault?”

“I should have made her stay home.” Matthew replied. “She wanted to go out so bad, I couldn’t stop her. If I made her stay, it wouldn’t have happened. She wouldn’t have gotten hurt.”

“It’s not your fault, whether you believe it or not.” The woman told him, rubbing his shoulders while he cried silent tears.

He didn’t want her to see him crying. “If it wasn’t, why did I feel it, too?”

The woman didn’t answer, so he went on. “I could see and feel when he hurt her. She made me see it so I would feel guilty.”

“Everybody makes their own choices in life. Your sister chose to go out, even if she didn’t choose to be raped.” The woman tried to explain. “You tried to stop her, which is noble for a twin, but not even you could control her mind.”

“Who are you?” Matthew asked again, wiping tears with the cuff of his sleeve.

“I am known as the Lady Guardian.” She replied. “I help Dreamers with their nightmares and fears. I heard your emotional cries for help with a power called Empathy.”

“I can sense emotions, too.” Matthew replied. “Mom says its part of the Ancient Mystic Magic I got from her.”

The Lady Guardian sat back, examining his eyes. “What’s your name, Young Dreamer?”

 

“Matt Crawford.”

That’s when she disappeared and he woke up in confusion.

 

“Have you gotten used to being an Ancient Mystic, yet, Matthew?” Adellandra asked a few mornings later, pouring him a glass of orange juice for his breakfast.

“Slowly.” He replied. “The boys are having a blast with their new cousins. Jessica is being really supportive about it all, and I’m grateful.”

Adellandra sat across from him with her own glass. “Draconis was like that with me.”

“When did you tell him you were an Ancient Mystic?”

“He already knew.” Adellandra said. “Remember a few days ago, when I told you my relation to you, and how it was complicated?” Matthew nodded. “Well, I wasn’t kidding. Draconis, Adarra, Adarra’s first mate, whom you haven’t met yet and I are not what we seem.”

“What do you mean?” Matthew asked, taking a sip and listening.

“We are not from this Realm.” Adellandra stated. “We are from the Dragon Nations, and live in this Realm to raise our children with our families. Adarra, younger brother Anton and I were blooded by the Mystic Sister Enchantra and sent to this Realm as part of what they called Destiny. Neither of us knew anything about who we were before then until the End of the War of the Realms. The moment I reunited with Draconis, my true-mate and the Emperor of the Dragon Nations, I remembered everything.”

“Sounds romantic.” Matthew said with a grin. His face turned serious as he stared into his glass. “Can I ask you a question?”

“Anything. Shoot.”

“Have you ever heard of the Lady Guardian of the Dream Realm?”

“What about her?”

He told Adellandra his dream a few nights ago. “Does that sound strange to you?”

“Not at all,” Adellandra said. She stood and walked around the table to face him. Waving her arms in a circle, she magically changed her clothes. Instead of the robe and slippers, she wore a gown identical to that of Matthew’s Lady Guardian. “She didn’t happen to look like this, did she?”

Matthew surveyed her, noticing even Adellandra’s glasses were gone. “Yeah, how did you know?”

“Surprise! I’m the Lady Guardian.” Adellandra told him with a smile. She changed back to her robe and slippers, making sure to replace her eyeglasses. “What do you think?”

“I’m speechless.” Matthew said, still eyeing her as she sat back in her chair across the table from him.

“I’ll bet.” Adellandra laughed. “You know, I wondered when you’d bring it up. We had the dream three nights ago.”

“I didn’t want to sound strange.” Matthew said.

“He’s an Ancient Mystic afraid of sounding strange?” The two heard Kelly’s voice giggle. “Boy, have you got a lot to learn!”

“Kelly, be nice.” Adellandra playfully scolded her daughter. “Where is everybody?”

“Still in bed.” Kelly said, yawning. “I should be, too, but I was woken up by the feeling of Magic.”

“In other words, you were nosy.” Adellandra joked.

“Nosy. Curious. Whatever.” Kelly said. She kissed her mother’s cheek before helping herself to some cereal. When she sat at the table to eat it, she asked Adellandra. “So, did he tell you, yet?”

“Did who tell me what?” Adellandra answered.

“Did he,” Kelly pointed to Matthew with her spoon, “tell you his dream yet?”

“Just how many people know?” Matthew interrupted before Adellandra could speak.

 

“Only Kelly and I, that’s it.” Adellandra assured him. “You see, she’s the Enchantress. She’s the one to greet new Dreamers, sending them to me if they need my help. She’s the one who took over my Guardian patrols when I reunited with Draconis and became his Empress.”

“Lovely.” Matthew muttered. “How old are you?”

“Amanda Jo and I are the same age, seventeen.”

“I’m thirty.” Adellandra told him.

“So am I.” Matthew said, and was silent in thought for a moment. “That would mean…”

“You got it.” Kelly said. “She had me when she was thirteen. The twins, Mark and Andrew are the same age as Stacy.”

“Which would also mean Adarra, Aaron and Aimee are all thirty, too.” Matthew countered. “Right?”

Adellandra nodded. “I grew up with Aaron and Aimee in an orphanage in Shore Point, California.” She told him. “Aaron is Kelly’s true father.”

“Oh.”

“It’s okay if you don’t understand right away.” Adellandra said. “Take your time. You’ll get the hang of it.”

“Don’t even try understanding her story.” Kelly teased. “It’s a doozy!”

“Kelly!” Adellandra laughed with her.

Matthew couldn’t help smiling.

When Kelly was finished eating, she rinsed her bowl before putting it in the dishwasher. She left them alone a moment later, staring at each other.

“I’ve heard of Dreamers’ minds being in a younger state than their bodies, but I’ve never heard of an Ancient Mystic’s.” Adellandra told him. “Why did you see yourself at twelve years old again?”

“Again? Since then, I’ve always saw myself at that age.” Matthew told her. “I don’t know why.”

Adellandra stared into space for a moment. “I think I do.”

“Humor me.” He said. “Why?”

“You haven’t forgiven yourself for that night.” She told him. “Once you forgive and forget, your mind and soul can move on and grow.”

“What do you mean, move on and grow?” He asked.

“It’s hard to explain. All I know is only you can forgive yourself for something you couldn’t control.” Adellandra said. “I had to learn that painful lesson, too, so I know where you’re coming from.”

The two heard pounding down the stairs. Adellandra raced to see who it was.

“Goddess bless, children. You sound like a herd of elephants!” She cried.

“Sorry, Momma.” Melody and Kelly chorused.

“Sorry.” Stacy said with a yawn. “What’s for breakfast?”

“Whatever you make.” Adellandra told her, shooing them to the kitchen. “Is your sister awake, yet?”

Stacy nodded. “She’s reading a book.”

Adellandra shook her head and rolled her eyes. “That’s a switch.”

Two sleepy identical boys stood at the top of the stairway, side by side. Adellandra looked at them and smiled. Her eyes not leaving theirs, she cried. “Matthew, come here for a moment, please.”

Matthew paced and saw what she did. “Jason, Jonas, get down here.”

“We’re afraid.” The one on the left said.

“Of what, Jason?” Matthew asked.

Jason and Jonas both pointed to Adellandra.

 

“Me? Why are you afraid of me?”

The boys looked at each other, afraid to answer.

“You won’t let her punish us, will you, Dad?” Jonas asked.

“Depends. What did you do?”

“We kind of messed up Andrew’s bedroom.”

Matthew and Adellandra traded looks. “Let’s survey the damage.”

Adellandra led him to her son’s bedroom. As soon as she started up the stairs, Jason and Jonas disappeared. Knowing how her own twins hid whenever they were in trouble, she ignored it. When the two of them saw Andrew’s bedroom, Andrew and Mark were busy cleaning up.

“What happened here?” Adellandra asked her sons.

“Jonas.” Mark said.

“His telekinesis, I bet.” Matthew replied. Adellandra nodded her agreement. “I’ll find them and you talk to yours.”

“Not even you could do this damage, Mark Antony.” Adellandra said. “What really happened?”

“We were playing a game when Jonas got angry.” Andrew answered. “He was a few points behind me.”

“We got into a fight with Magic.” Mark said. “I didn’t know they couldn’t control theirs; honest, Mom.”

“I know, boys. I know.” Adellandra said. She sat on Andrew’s bed. “They weren’t taught the control you were.” She opened her arms and let her sons embrace her. “I’m not mad at you, not really.”

“You’re not?” Mark asked. “What about the misuse of Magic?”

“We’ll talk about that later.” Adellandra told them, giving each of them a kiss on the head. “Go downstairs and eat breakfast. Let me handle your new cousins.”

“We’ve gotta clean up.” Andrew argued.

“Do as you’re told, boys.” They heard Matthew’s voice behind them.

When they looked, he and his twins were standing at the doorway.

Andrew and Mark ran off down the stairs to eat. Meanwhile, Matthew nudged his boys.

“Go ahead.”

“We’re sorry, Adellandra.” They chorused.

“I didn’t mean to get so angry.” Jonas replied.

She exchanged a look with Matthew. “Well, what should we do with them?”

“It’s your house, Adellandra.” Matthew replied. “I’ll let you decide.”

Adellandra stood. Jonas and Jason cowered behind their father. “I want you to clean it up the way it was messed up.”

“With m-m-magic?” Jason stuttered.

Adellandra nodded with a smile.

“How?” Jonas asked.

“With the telekinesis.” Adellandra told them.

“I can only do that stuff when I’m angry.” Jonas replied.

“Let me show you.” Adellandra said. “Close your eyes and think of the ball of Magic inside you. It’s bright and colorful, packed with energy that only you can control.”

The boys obeyed.

 

“Now, as you grasp that with your mind, open your eyes.” Adellandra instructed. “Focus on what you want to move and do it.”

Jason and Jonas both held out their hands, directing an invisible wind to where their eyes focused. The wind moved all the books, toys, and games back to their original positions. When they were done, the twins looked at each other.

“Cool!” They cried. “We did it, Dad!”

“I see that. Good job.” Matthew smiled.

“How do we get it to stop?” Jonas asked, his eyes and wind still fixed on the middle of the room.

“Lose your concentration and let go of the ball.” Adellandra told him.

“That’s it?”

“That’s it.” Adellandra supplied. “It’s that easy. Why don’t you boys join the others downstairs for breakfast? Have Kelly fix you something to eat.”

With smiles and hugs, they raced downstairs. Matthew stood beside her, shaking his head.

“Thanks for teaching them.” He said.

“You’re welcome.” Adellandra said. “I can sense Draconis and Jessica are awake. Now, let’s go eat.”

 

“This is far and beyond unbelievable.” Amanda Jo announced.

“What is?” Adellandra asked when she and Matthew joined them.

“I have an uncle!” Amanda cried.

“Not only that, but Jessica told me her maiden name.”

“Valentine. So? What about it, Kelly?”

“One of our best friends’ names is Peter Valentine. What do you think, Matthew? Any relation?”

“Peter. I haven’t heard his name in years.” Jessica came in the room and greeted her husband with a kiss. “His middle name wouldn’t happen to be Wesley, would it?”

“Yep.” Kelly smiled. “Well? Are you related to him, or what?”

“I’m his aunt.” Jessica said. “His father is my brother, Brett. I haven’t heard from him in years.”

“He lives here in Hill View, not far from the Reading’s and Cavanaugh’s in the Rich District.” Adellandra said. “Perhaps you can visit them?”

Matthew hugged Jessica, kissing her. “Perhaps.”

“That is, if you don’t mind watching the boys for us.” Jessica remarked with a grin.

“It would be my pleasure.” Adellandra replied. “I love children. Can you tell?”

“I wouldn’t have guessed.” Matthew joked. “Do Brett or Peter know about the Ancient Mystics?”

“Only Peter does because he’s our Over-Seer’s Earthly Protector.” Kelly said.

Matthew shook his head, confused. “What?”

“Ever heard of the Dream Realm Crusaders?” Adellandra asked him, “Those chosen by the Guardians of the Mystic Realms to help Dreamers with their nightmares and fears?”

“Not really, but go ahead.”

“Kelly and Bradley are the unofficial leaders of their Crusader team. Their friend Samantha is what is called an Over-Seer, one who keeps watch over the Crusaders, feeling them with Empathy and healing whenever they need it. Samantha’s Earthly Protector is her own best friend turned boyfriend Peter Valentine.” Adellandra remarked. “Understand now?”

 

“I think.” Matthew remarked. “Wow. I haven’t been here a week and already I’m learning tons about the family. Stuff not even Mom knew!”

“Amazing what you find when you follow your visions, isn’t it?” Adellandra joked.

“Yeah. Amazing.” Matthew supplied. He kissed Jessica’s lips before telling her. “Go tell the boys what’s up, okay? I need to talk to my new cousin for a bit.”

“Sure thing, darling.” Jessica left them, winking at the girls.

“We know a hint when we get one.” Kelly remarked with a grin. “Come on, Amanda Jo.”

“Ah, man! I was just getting into it, too.” Amanda Jo grinned. She shrugged. “Oh, well. I’ll get it from you later, Adella. See you.”

“See you.” Adellandra laughed. She gestured for Matthew to sit down. “So, what did you want to talk to me about?”

“Just the family, like the truth behind everyone.”

“The family story, you mean?” Adellandra asked. “I don’t know everything, but I’m willing to try.”

“Tell me what you do know.”

“It all starts with our Great Grand-Uncle, the Master Orthos.” Adellandra began. “He and the seven other Originators fled to the Realm of Dreams in the Inner Realms in a time where this world could no longer accept them. Soon, between them, there was a War, known as the War for Province. O’Dell, Orthos’ twin and Lord Guardian of the Mystic Realms hated to see his brother go sour. Orthos stole Jezebel away from Maximaniac and the three of them fled to their own dimension once called the Dominion. The years fly and the Dominion’s Dark Tower stands tall. Jezebel and Orthos bear two children, both as evil and sadistic as their parents. Damian, who called himself the Merchant, and Sabrina, who called herself the Maiden. Now, the Merchant and the Maiden were involved in a second War, called the War for Power. By this time, Jezebel’s oldest sister, Enchantra had already bared three daughters of her own with O’Dell. Dixilynne, my grandmother, Dorianne, your great-grandmother and Sarabeth, the youngest. This is where it gets interesting. Orthos was jealous of the powers these young girls had, so he threatened to destroy them. O’Dell and Enchantra wouldn’t have that, so they sent them back here, to what they now called the Outer-Realm. From this, came three different stories, each of the now-Earthbound sisters. Which do you want to hear first?”

Matthew thought for a moment. “Dorianne. After all, she was the one to start my line, right?”

“Good choice.” Adellandra remarked. “Okay, Dorianne and her three sisters were now Earthbound. Being born and nearly raised in the Dream Realm, they knew nothing about this one. They were on the streets of California until they were adopted by an elder couple, the Stevens. By the time they were eighteen and sixteen, the three sisters had grown up beautifully, and powerful. Once graduating from high school, Dorianne was accepted at a college here in Hill View. This is where she met her husband-to-be, Paul Jacobs. As far as I know, Dorianne never told Paul about their magic, not even telling him when their three children started to show signs of being Ancient Mystics.”

“I thought Dorianne only had Melody and Elisabeth?”

 

“She also had a son, Paul Junior, known as Paully.” Adellandra said. “You already know what happened to Melody, so I’ll cut to Elisabeth. She was raped at a local party by your grandfather, Randolf Pritchard. She found out she was pregnant with his child. Not wanting to risk her mother’s wrath, she kept it between Melody and herself only. Dorianne wasn’t fooled. By her second trimester, Elisabeth was showing, big time. Feeling bad about not training her daughters in our brilliant magic, Dorianne agreed to help her during her pregnancy. Six months after your mother and Aunt Annabelle were born, Melody died. Three years later, Randolf comes back for a second chance, saying how much he loves Elisabeth. Of course, they’re married that same year and have your uncle Justin.”

“Mom told me what happened while she was growing up, but she didn’t tell me whatever happened to her sister Annabelle.”

“That story is complicated, as I know it only second-hand.” Adellandra responded. “As far as any story I know goes, Annabelle Jacobs-Pritchard died on her way to Italy for school. She died on a boat during a storm.” Adellandra replied. “I know for a fact she didn’t die. She was rescued by an Earthbound Companion of the Dream Realm named Chase Moondancer. He brought her back from the brink of death, helping her with her own dreams and visions.”

“How do you know?”

“She is living in Romania with her Dweller-kin mate and is leader of the Dweller Kin-Clans.” Adellandra supplied. “Adarra, Draconis, Draconis’ twin Drakkar and I are all a part of their Prophesy of Peace against the Stalkers.”

“I’m sorry, what?” Matthew was confused.

Adellandra smiled and shrugged. “The life of an Ancient Mystic is always complicated; especially when the ones in question are a pair of Draconians from the Nations.” She watched as he shook his head in confusion. Now was not the time for the entire truth about them. Ah well, she thought, and said out loud. “You’ll learn soon enough. I know how much you want to know your line, and all their loves, losses, adventures and private demons, but I can only tell you so much. Maybe Dorianne would be able to tell you? She’s the one who takes care of all the Earthbound Ancient Mystics.”

“Do you know about Dixilynne’s line, since you’re one of them?”

“I was only blooded one, and adopted by Susan, Dixilynne’s daughter, but I know all of Dixilynne’s line.” Adellandra said with a smile. “Dixie and Dorianne were twins before Dixie died. Sarabeth was the youngest, and always sick, according to Dorianne. What did you want to know?”

“Why did Dorianne leave her twin so long ago?”

“No one knows.” Adellandra shook her head. “Maybe because she saw what hell her parents made her go through, being Earthbound and all. I couldn’t tell you. Again, that’s another story left best to Dorianne herself.”

“Another thing I was wondering is why you and Adarra look so much like Melody?” Matthew asked. “And why Amanda Jo, Mel’s older daughter, looks like Kelly, your older daughter.”

“I call it the Triple Cousin Effect.” Adellandra grinned. “Dorianne and Dixilynne were identical twins, as are Dixilynne’s daughters Susan and Sharon. Susan’s my adopted mother, and Adarra and I are identical twins as well. As for Dorianne, Melody and Elisabeth were identical, as were Annabelle and Angela. It would only seem natural for the four of us to look alike. Since your sister Melody looks like me, Kelly looks like Amanda Jo, not to mention we all share birthdays. Kelly and Amanda Jo have an August birthday while Adarra, Aaron, Aimee, you and I share an October birthday. The Triple Cousin Effect.”

“Amazing.”

“Not really. Logical.” Adellandra said. “If you’re going to see your brother-in-law, you’d better get ready. I’ll watch Jason and Jonas for you.”

“Jess talks about Brett all the time, and I have yet to meet him.”

“Just be sure not to talk about the Ancient Mystics, unless you’re alone with Peter.” Adellandra replied. “Strange enough, he understands it all.”

“Why is it strange?”

“Kelly describes Peter as an annoying intellectual.” Adellandra remarked. “I know him personally, and think he tries to be perfect because he himself isn’t.”

 

“Good enough.” Matthew looked up to see Jessica and his twins standing above him. “So boys, do you understand the rules around here?”

“While we’re gone, Adellandra and Draconis are in charge.” Jessica said.

“Yes, Mother.” They chorused.

Adellandra laughed, standing to hug her cousins. “We’ll have lots of fun, won’t we, boys?”

“I’m not so sure about that.” Jason whispered.

Matthew and Jessica laughed, leaving then.

 

When they arrived at the Valentine’s, Jessica was the one to ring the bell.

“I hope he’s home.” She said softly. Matthew gave her waist a hug.

“Relax.” He said, kissing her.

When the door opened, there stood a young man, about Kelly’s age. He had stringy brown hair and thick eyeglasses. Around his neck was a Quartz Crystal jewel, which Matthew had recognized as being a Protectors’ Pendant. Only, the one he was protecting wasn’t an Ancient Mystic.

“Are you Peter?” Jessica stared at him. “Peter Valentine?”

“Yes, that’s me. Who are you?”

“You don’t remember me.” Jessica replied softly. “Matthew, he doesn’t remember me.”

“Well, introduce yourself then, Jess.”

“Jess?” Peter asked, brown eyes narrowed. “You wouldn’t happen to be Jessica Valentine, would you?”

“I was. Now, I’m Jessica Crawford.”

Peter looked to Matthew. “I’ve heard of the Crawfords. Jack was married to Angela Jacobs-Pritchard, having a pair of fraternal twins. You couldn’t be Matthew, could you?”

“That I am.” Matthew smiled. “Is your father here by any chance?”

“He’s out of town on business.” Peter said. He ushered them in. “How rude of me? Come on in. We’ll catch up on the times. For one, are you just like Kelly and Mrs. Dratianos?”

“What do you mean?” Matthew asked him.

“Ancient Mystic.” Peter said. “Yeah, I know all about them. Kelly, Amanda Jo, Mrs. Dratianos, Mrs. Morehouse, they’re all Ancient Mystics, you know.”

“We just came from there.” Jessica said. “My, you’ve grown, nephew.”

“Thanks, I guess.” Peter said. Matthew noticed him playing with the crystal around his neck. “I’ll be right back. Make yourselves at home.”

Matthew and Jessica sat on the couch.

“First my family, now yours.” Matthew supplied. “Wonder what would happen if we got them all together?”

“One word: disaster.” Jessica laughed. “Brett wouldn’t know what to do with the Ancient Mystics. Maybe that’s why his son Peter does.”

“Maybe.”

Peter came back in the room, with a woman behind him. She had long black hair, braided into a French twist. She had a Quartz Crystal around her neck, too, but it was shaped like a rose.

“Very beautiful necklace, my dear.” Matthew stood to touch it. “Where did you get it?”

“You’re an Ancient Mystic.” She announced. “One of the Unknowns.”

Matthew was shocked. “You must be the Over-Seer Adellandra told me about. What’s your name?”

“Samantha West.” She replied. “Peter and I are engaged.”

 

“That’s wonderful!” Jessica said. “I’m Peter’s aunt, Jessica, and this is my husband Matthew Crawford.”

“Crawford, as in Jack and Angela?”

“Those were my parents, yes.” Matthew said. “How do two non-Ancient Mystics know so much about my family?”

Peter grinned. “It comes from being a Crusader.”

“Not to mention best friends with not one, but two of them.” Samantha giggled. She turned to Peter. “Why didn’t you tell me about them before?”

Peter shrugged. “I didn’t know.”

“You called me an Unknown.” Matthew said. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“No one knew what happened to you.” Samantha said. “It was said you died in a car accident at your high school graduation. Once I looked at your ties, I knew that wasn’t true. Since it was only here say, we called you an Unknown.”

“Ties?” Jessica asked, looking to Matthew. He only shrugged.

“Ties, meaning the psychic ties between each of your family members to yourself.” Samantha said. “I’m an Empathic healer. In your mind, just as in Kelly’s, there are literal ties that bind you to your family. You cut yourself off from Melody, your twin, seeing how much she hurt you. If you don’t make peace with that memory, you’ll always be an Unknown. Ask Mrs. Dratianos. She’s the one that taught me.”

“We did have the same dream three nights ago.” Matthew explained to the couple and Jessica what he dreamed.

“That proves the theory, Mr. Crawford.” Peter replied.

“Call me Uncle Matthew.” Matthew said.

“Fine. That just proves the theory of family ties that bind.” Peter repeated. “Once you forgive yourself for that particular time, you will stop beating yourself up for it every time you dream.”

“How do you know so much?” Jessica asked.

“I spend a lot of time alone, Aunt Jesse.” Peter said softly. “Every time Dad went on business trips, I would stay home alone. I would read everything in his giant library, soaking up information like a sponge. Until Samantha came back from New York two years ago, I was lonely. When she did, and she ran to me for advice, I was happy.”

“It was only recently during the Crusade that we bonded like more than best friends.” Samantha took one of his hands, making him blush.

“How romantic?” Jessica kidded.

They talked until the sun went down, and Peter announced he was ready for bed. Jessica and Matthew headed back to the Dratianos’ in silent thought.

 

They were bombarded by kids as soon as they walked in the door. Jason and Jonas took the lead. Young Melody, Mark, Andrew, Kelly, Amanda Jo, Angel, Bradley, April, Little Zander, Grace, Caleb, Logan, Meredith, and even a few children he didn’t know, but he knew they were Ancient Mystics.

“What is all this?”

“A welcoming committee.” Came a male voice. It wasn’t Aaron, Draconis, Shane, or even Scott. It was someone different.

“Who are you?”

 

“Derrick Reading.” Derrick held his hand out for him to shake, which he did. “I used to be Ariana’s husband until she reunited with Draconis. I’m mated to his sister, Dracora, the Countess of Monarch’s Glen.”

“Dragon Nations?”

Derrick nodded.

“And Ariana is Adellandra?”

“Yep.” Derrick smiled. He turned around to let the dark-haired woman and another male who looked like Draconis by him.

“Nice to meet you.”

“So you’re the new Mystic in town?” the male who looked like Draconis grinned.

“Uh yeah, I guess,” Matthew was nervous, for the look in the male’s eyes scared him.

“Scar!” They heard Draconis’ voice cry. He came up to Derrick and his twin. “Is he misbehaving again, Karrath?”

“When is he not?” Derrick answered.

“Karrath?” Matthew was ultimately confused.

“That’s his name in the Nations,” Dracora supplied sweetly, hanging on her mate and kissing his cheek. “Just as my name here is Shylee.”

“Okay.” Matthew said slowly.

Dracora laughed. “In time, it will all come to you. Until then, enjoy yourself.”

“While you can,” the man Draconis had called Scar said with a sarcastic grin.

“Drakkar, do stop teasing the man.” They all heard Shane’s voice announce. “Forgive him, Matthew. He forgot his manners in Mek’anar.”

Before Matthew could respond, Draconis came into the room. “Don’t everybody crowd at once. This is a party, after all. Linger, get to know each other.”

“That’s right.” Shane took charge behind him. “Everybody, outside to the pool. Let’s Party!”

The kids filed outside, following their parents. The only ones to stay behind were Jason and Jonas.

“Go with the twins.” Matthew told them. “It’s all right, sons. They won’t bite.”

“Andrew doesn’t like me.” Jonas supplied. “I can tell.”

“It doesn’t matter.” Jessica replied. “Go, now.”