Umbra

Umbra: Latin for shadow, shade, dark, dust, ghost.
During a solar eclipse the world becomes the area of Umbra… the area in total darkness, but isn’t the eclipse what everyone wants to see, the rare beauty and intriguing flaw? The sun, necessary to the world’s life, completely hidden and everyone wants a bit of it, even though certain death would be imminent.
The earth is caught between the contrasting moon and sun… Will it go for the sun- survival, life, warmth- or the solar eclipse- chilled, different, and ghostly?
But of course, it’s not as simple as that, there are forces working against the world and things are not as simple as saying so.
Umbra…
What will she choose: is there a choice when it’s destined?

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9. Chapter Nine

 

After a few minutes with no talking at all, just simply being around each other, Gracelynn came to here senses and decided to call Diana to notify her of the adventure she and Zeph would be taking during the summer.

"Mum?"

"Gracie, goodness me. Sweetheart is that you back at school?" Diana's voice became relieved and wispy, finally hearing from her daughter after several days.

"Yes mum. I have to te-"

"That's brilliant I have some amazing news to tell you." Gracelynn could tell she was probably prancing round her office like some excitable pet. She wasn't too sure however, whether her own news could destroy the delightful mood. But it needed to be said.

"So do I. Mum I'm staying at Zeph's family's summer house in Oxford this summer." Her eyes squashed up as she ripped the plaster and her face morphed into an awkward position. Diana could very well have gone in any direction: pleased about her independence and happiness or mad about the brash decision.

"Okay, well it's just that I managed to get you an internship here. You know after what happened. But I'll go let Ingrid know that you'll be unable to do it." It was ten times worse than any of those options; she was disappointed. Every son and daughter knew for a fact that nothing could beat disappointment, for she had no reason to be angry with Diana for not allowing her to do as she pleased, yet she couldn't celebrate with her.

"Right."

"Yeah."

"I don't know mum, you don't sound too happy. I'm confused I thought you liked him?" Gracelynn chewed at her fingernails until it stung and bled.

"I did."

"Did?" she questioned the past tense.

"I do. But how long have you known him? Huh? Gracie, I thought we were being careful this time."

"A month mum and not once has he treated me nearly as badly as Will. Do you honestly not think I'm in control now? Plus I'm only an hour from London." She tried keeping her words soft as to not appear volatile but she could feel a landslide begin to explode, frustration growing.

"Gracelynn." She muttered, searching for some form of hope.

"Mum?"

"Go then."

"Th-thank you mum." Gracelynn could feel shivers palpitate over her skin. Something was beginning.

"Okay love. I need to go soon we have a pitching meeting in twenty minutes. I'll call you during the week... Stay safe."

"I promise."

 *         *          *

The week couldn't seem to go speedily enough, but it eventually arrived. The suitcases were packed up for Zeph's mother to arrive to pick the three up.

She took in tow one of her suitcases that she had brought with her on that first day, her priorities just the same. Books took up a large portion, clothes, toiletries and money taking second place. Clusters of school pupils floated by as they headed for their parents cars, heaving bags behind them.

Gracelynn however was left alone with none as Zeph flexed his arms with hers also in hand. Ceire walked along side them, keeping slight distance as to not intrude. She looked as feline as ever: slim, wisps of charcoal hair coiling in the wind and a commanding look upon her face.

He guided her towards the lofty car, which resembled a mini bus, much more. She could see in the front seat, as she edged towards it, an ashen skinned woman with contrasting hair to Zeph and Ceire's: strands of angle dust, a slightly bronzed ivory.

The car was spacious and sleek: she couldn't stop noticing how precise everything was, as the door slid to the side to let them in.

"This must be Gracelynn. Don't just stand there Zeph, introduce me to her." The woman looked into the back via the mirror her lips pursing together to a small smirk.

"This is my mum, Emmeline. Mum, Gracelynn." His eyes rolled back under his eyelids as he grew frustrated at his mother, helping Gracelynn in as he talked.

"Nice to meet you." She smiled forward to his mother, keeping especially quiet and reserved.

"You too, I hope Zeph here has been looking after you well." Her face creaked around her shoulder for her to raise the nose at him to test his honesty.

"Don't worry, he has." She shuffled closer to him. Perhaps if they were alone she would have edged in for a kiss but nerves seemed to stiffen her up right towards her extremities. Plus, Emmeline wasn't someone you'd wind up. She was sophisticated, clearly motherly, but the glint in her eye seemed to pounce out at you.

The drive continued with her and Ceire continuing to jokingly irritate Zeph with an endless line of questions and secret sharing, as Gracelynn sat holding onto his hand precariously. She was surprised by his strength, no cracks were visible on his smiling face. They asked such things as "did you pick a poesy of flowers to woo Gracelynn?" and "how much stalking of this poor girl take for her to agree to go on that picnic?". Gracelynn, also took it in her stride, if anything it was a complement that they felt so comfortable around her, to be able to make such jokes and so the atmosphere seemed to melt after some time.

They strolled in the car through the delightful British countryside that she had grown to love so much; the sweet flowers blossoming at the roadside, the sun leaking through the trees like liquid gold and quaint farms framing the car at the side. Oxford, however, seemed to meet the balance of Quinciple and home. The buildings were large, but the architecture refined. The bustle that lingered in the air was as mild as a buzzing bee.

Soon enough the car neared towards the summer house: it appeared to morph closer to Cheshire that she adored. The air was infused with a honeysuckle scent that filled her nose as she breathed deeply; the air from the open window caught her treacle tresses and spun them around; the chirp of Goldcrests and Zitting Cisticola left a tuneful streak in the air as they bobbed up and down in the sky like dolphins in the sea.

"It's beautiful." The enchantment around her sparked the words from her lips as a smile filled with felicity beamed across her face.

It seemed to quickly transfer onto Zeph's face as he leaned into her ear, "Welcome."

She lowered her arched neck towards his face so their noses touched and shared their smiling faces. It wasn't until a demure cough came from Emmeline to knock them back into reality.

He had explained that the summer house was grand: with six bedrooms, two acre grounds and a swimming pool. It was his favourite of his three houses, and soon enough, Gracelynn knew why. It was like being introduced to Quinciple all over again. She was left speechless, biting at her lip, wiping off her rum coloured lipstick. It was the perfect setting for an adventure like the one they had sworn to each other.

"Is this Robert Louis Stevenson standard?" He said while clenching her hand.

"I... I think so." She held on tightly back.

The driveway lasted for several minutes until they reached the main building which stood majestically, ivy spindling around each corner.

They entered the house hand in hand, Gracelynn feeling nothing other than mesmerised. Ceire on the other hand appeared dazed, earplugs firmly shoved into her ears. At an archway near the front was a man with glossed over charcoal hair, threads of silver shining through displaying his middle age. He dressed in a lavender shirt, buttoned up to the top, which matched his violet skin tone perfectly and his eyes shone a peppery grey colour.

"Hello Gracelynn." His head cocked to the side with the same mesmerised look upon his face as Ceire had. His hand held out to clench onto hers tightly, in a quick grip. Her insides squirmed as she did so, nervous as to how he would perceive her, though the smile on his face and the touch of Zeph's hand on her shoulder diffused it slightly.

"Hello." Her smile shivered.

"I'm Gabe, it's nice to meet you." He appeared to be a very matter a fact man who, although dazed, seemed to be honest and blunt. His traits, along with Emmeline's, seemed to be measured out into different quantities to their children. Zeph and Ceire both had his honesty and dark hair; Zeph had his smile and her humour; Ceire her mother's dainty features and her father's spaced looks.

"Gracelynn, sweetheart why don't you go drop your bags up in your room?" Emmeline came round the side opposite to her son and pouted her lips into a cheerful face. Her eyes wrinkled and left a warm, cared for feeling in Gracelynn's heart. "Second on the right."

She nodded to her and carried her hold all with Zeph tagging behind, another case in hand. The building charmed her through and through as her eyes skimmed round each inch. The corners were laced with concrete motifs. The walls themselves appeared to have magic cemented between them.

"This place, it's amazing." She turned back to Zeph and shook her head in astonishment, eyelids fluttering.

"I love it here, it's was my Grandmother's but my mum inherited it when she died. There's a small lake down the edge of the garden, why don't we go there after you've dropped off your stuff?"

"I'd love to."

She reached her room and she gave him a small peck on the lips before he slinked towards his. She could understand why he loved this place, she knew she would too. Her room was luxurious: gossamer curtains draping over a chaise longue beside the floor length window and a plush bed with layers of silken sheets piled upon one another. At one end was a small balcony, looking out to a distant farm; it was just what she needed, fresh and light countryside air to calm her nerves and soothe her after the long car journey.

She slid her hand into her pocket to pick out her phone to call Diana. The luminescent screen flashed up: no signal. Gracelynn knew for certain Diana would be panicking, not being all too positive about her staying in Oxford during the summer in the first place. Her lips stretched out and curled into her mouth in exasperation, not sure of her next move and spun round. There he was patiently waiting. Zeph a smile on his face, diagnosing her home sickness from a glance at her face.

"There should be a signal out at the lake, I can get one there." He walked towards her out at the balcony, a swing in his step.

"I just know she's going to be worried." She tried to appear happy, but unable to shift Diana from her mind, was mainly unsuccessful.

"The sooner we get there, the sooner you can call her, right?" He collected her empty hand in his and crooked his head downwards.

"You're right," She shook her head in an attempt to get rid of her worrying thoughts. "Show the way then." She held out her arm that Zeph was holding onto, letting him guide her.

They charged down the stairs and burst out into the luscious grounds, a gust of whistling wind catching their faces. They moved into a waltzing position spinning round and round in a high filled with ecstasy. Here, for some reason, everything was free, whispering in the sky.

"Yoo hoo." Called a blunt voice from a side window. Ceire was lurching over the window cupping her mouth with her hands to holler. Gracelynn cringed, her face flushing like the colour of the poppy patch near by, and covered the evidence with her hands.

"Shut it, Ceire." Zeph turned and balled up to her in a half joking manner, her fingers fluttering a wave. Turning back around, he rolled his eyes and bit at his mouth.

Gracelynn tilted her head sympathetically with a smile creaking up the side, "Come on." Her voice trembled, completely wonderstruck by the moment she was in. Her hands gripped onto his, goosebumps revealing themselves up and down her arms.

They shot back off like a pair of unstoppable dragonflies until the small lake was in reach. It was a small replica of the one at school, a small heard of swans gliding along the celadon green water.

"It's stunning." Her voice still jittering and eyes taking long looks at the scenery.

"Yup." His eyes not moving from her awe-filled face.

"So..." She noticed him starting and began looking back at him, "I should give my mum a call. I'll be back in a minute." She pressed her hands against his torso before, somehow, dragging herself away to beside a bush.

As he said, there was a signal, flashing up on her phone. Stress drew out of her pores as she set up the phone to call Diana. It only took three rings coming down the line before a classic 'Diana greeting' was heard.

"Mum, just to let you know I got to Oxford safely." She chewed at her nails not knowing how her mother was feeling, coping, reacting.

"Oh sweetheart, I'm so glad to hear from you. How's the weather?"

"It is England. But the sky is gorgeous, there's no gray like in London. The sun has never been so beautiful."

"I'm so glad you like it Gracie," It was the words she had been begging to hear, that her mum was able to cope especially now that her father, Robin, had passed. She could feel two arms slip down off her shoulders coming together in a clasp at her waist. He muffled a kiss in her ear dropping down onto her neck.

"Stop it," she giggled down the phone, gently shaking him off.

"Oh I see what's going on Gracie. I'll leave you to it." Diana teased.

"Mum!" she squealed at the thought, "No... No. I'm down by this little lake with some swans. I can't believe you at times." Gracelynn pressed at her temples at her mother's eccentric behaviour.

"Uh huh. Well, thank you for the phone call, it meant a lot Gracie," Diana's voice abruptly became choked up as the subject changed. "I best let you go enjoy yourself, work’s calling me in. Again."

"Thanks mum, bye."

"Bye bye Gracie-"

"Mum?"

"Yes?"

"I- I love you."

"And I love you so much too." She became stifled again, more than before.

A sigh was punctured out of Gracelynn's lungs, the stigma that had been surrounding their relationship coming to an end. "Okay, I'll call you later."

"Bye."

Gracelynn turned to Zeph who had by now let go of her shoulders but was standing patiently behind her waiting. "Great going, getting my mum all nosey about what you were doing there." She slapped him playfully on the arm with a mischievous look on her face.

His eyebrows arched upwards before scooping her up at the legs and swinging them around his torso. "What ever do you mean?" Zeph twirled speedily, creating a nauseating churn in Gracelynn's stomach that wasn't as unwanted as perhaps it should have been.

"Stop it!" She squealed, while brushing her fingers through his hair.

She was as light as a doll in his arms. She could swear she was soaring with song.

Carefully he placed her back onto the plush grass before smiling with bliss and taking her face into a cradle.

"What?" She questioned his look of drugged happiness.

"I don't know. That's the problem." His head shook in disbelief.

Slipping out of his grip she pranced, gazelle-like, away from him, "Are we going on this adventure or not?" She bent over pulling him with her magnetic grip. He followed over to her as she headed for the stone, countryside wall, which cornered off the grounds.

No longer was he the one being pulled by a force. Gracelynn found her eyes growing, not blurrier, simply more unclear: out of control. A thumping grew in the cavity of her chest. Something rotten. Her ears began to ring out.

So quick.

Quick.

Quickly.

Each of her senses getting knocked out one after another, until -somehow- she wasn't herself.

It only took a caught glance of despair whiplashed across Zeph's face for her to fear the next moment.

Blackout.

She came to her senses in a world, where everything was not quite there including herself. Her body floated to her feet from the withering grass. Her stature was faint like water the lighthouse illuminated only momentarily. Death? Death. It could only be that: this place was so illogical that it was the only possible answer. She glanced down her body towards her feet, a thin stripe of shimmering scales trickling lining her. Then the water, ever so high and rich blue indicating its vast depth, swashing round the small perimeter of grass that was growing ever smaller.

Death still hadn't truly sunk in and her mind continued to puzzle out an impossible escape route. Her father: why was he not there if she had died? Her mind was as transparent as the rest of the world as she tried to recall her last moments. Zeph's look of sheer shock and concern was one thing that could not slip her mind.

She attempted to scream, but nothing other than a whispering breath escaped. Becoming more and more trapped, the land becoming smaller, her voice failing to react, she knew if she were not dead already she would be soon. Her hand clenched around her neck in a last movement before the inevitable.

The last second of air was about to approach before a young woman glided out of the enveloping ocean. Her hair a fiery red, curls slicking up into flames; eyes turquoise green, ever so familiar; body draped in material blended together from the water, scales like Gracelynn's embossing her delicately. So many questions flooded Gracelynn's mind but only one thing was necessary to be said: help. Something she had always despised to ask for, the sign of weakness that was strung along with it. Her mouth gaped open to speak, but nothing came out.

The woman's hands glided up towards her mouth, an index finger hushing her attempts. The fingers were unusually long and nails had the now familiar scales draped upon them.

"It's coming."

What was coming?

"Fate."

My fate?

"Remember: beautiful voiced, graceful as a waterfall."

All so familiar. But all so distant, as if it were a lullaby sung to her while she were an infant, aware but unable to grasp the memories.

"It is time," The woman placed the elongated finger that had been pointing towards Gracelynn upon her lip, before slicing the nail on her hand. She wanted to react, but the muteness that had struck her, and the past, had left her simply staring at the seeping blue blood, pooling up in her palm, with awe. "Take my hand."

Gracelynn had every reason to not trust the curious woman, who had attacked her hand, dressed beyond eccentrically and had inhumanly features. But then again, who other than her was there to trust in the ghostly limbo? Her hand stretched out to hers and the cocoon that they were encased in disintegrated like sand slipping through the gaps of fingers.

If she wasn't dead already, surely she was now. Gracelynn's head and body numbed as everything, including the woman evaporated, until darkness attacked.

"Gracelynn, Gracelynn!" A voice called out to her in a screech, stretched out as if it were coming from a distance. All that was able to escape was a tiresome groan. But she made a noise. Noise. Alive.

"Zeph," Her eyes burst out their sockets and her body catapulted out into his arms which had been jolting her back to reality. "I don't know what happened, what- what was it? What happened? Please." Her hands shuddered at the lack of knowledge surrounding what had just occurred.

"I... don't know either," His words seemed to blur, hitting the line between truth and lies. "Let's just get you to bed." As much as she wanted to, Gracelynn struggled to believe his words. The look upon his face shivered away as he tried to keep the blind spot the view in her eye. And for some part she did.

But there now was a corner of her brain that wanted to scream for help. Falling out the tree; the stone disintegrating the window; fire catching to the rug; now this, the collapsing without any explanation, the fear of death. All within the space of a month. A new life had appeared to not equate to a drama free one.

"Sure, just get me away from here," She panted, rubbing her eyes in disbelief to such an extent that it caused them to sting. His arm gripped onto her elbow with commanding, yet fearful, strength, guiding her over the grassy, unassuming landscape. The haste had no effect on her other than concern. It scared her how much she was turning into Diana, turning a blind eye to everything. Slowly, they began to calm down as they entered the interior of the house and his grip eased off.

"Go lie down in your bed Lili. I'll get you something to drink."

"Don't go," She called out, his head whipping round, "Please, just stay," He turned back to the door, considering what to do. "Please?" She sat up while folding over a part of the sheet. Déjà vu hit her like a train on the track: that muttering November’s day when the wind of her life changed direction. The day she and Adrian first kissed. The day she chose to let happiness in her life. The day she moved on. The day she promised something better for herself. Was this it, happiness?

"Sure." His face softened, feeling Gracelynn's concern. Sudden warmth enveloped each other as they held closely, their lips colliding together. All her worries drifted away into a hidden desert, a sandstorm fleeing the terrorised village. Zeph was the haven and time was spent well.

"I'm ready." Gracelynn breathed, the air hitting his lips. Nothing hit the pit of her stomach to tell her, 'you'll regret this', not like that day with Adrian where the same situation arose.

But that same look of uncertainty slapped Zeph across the face, as if a bad memory sat prettily at the back of his mind, "Are you sure?"

"I don't think I've been so sure of anything before."

The sun came in through the glass doors which opened onto the balcony leaving them both warm but shaking. The world dropped into silence, nothing else in the soundings but the panting and kissing.

Yes, Zeph was the haven. Adrian was the sandstorm.

Time past all too quickly, as they sat measuring each others heart beats, counting the number of times they both breathed in.

Gracelynn turned to observe the clock that sat on the nightstand, each minute went by as if it were a second. The bliss that she was surrounded by took her concentration momentarily before the violet envelope stole a fleeting look. Small flowers were scattered upon it: lavenders. Her hand reached out, causing Zeph to take notice and she spotted another unwelcome sight, the look of fear. The look of suspicion. What was he hiding? A blue liquid read on it, 'London Bridge is falling down". A seemingly innocent nursery rhyme, to soothe the young. Oh how it was failing now.

"Did you put this here?" Gracelynn turned, sitting up and grabbing a handful of the soft sheets. His fear grew stronger as he feebly attempted to hide it.

"No, I've been here with you the whole time. How could I?" He had a point. Her guilt exploded again, her failing attempts at loving those who cared rushed into her head in an infinite list.

"Sorry," her head bowed down. "Don't you think it's funny? How fast everything's gone. Not that it's a bad thing. It's great. Two months ago, I'd never met you, and look where we are now."

"We practically lived together for month. But I guess you just know when it's right." He was right and it was completely out of character for Gracelynn who would, at any chance, push away anything positive. Perhaps this was the realisation she needed. What she needed was the man who made her the best woman possible.

The vibrate of her mobile, which sat in the pile of her clothes on the ground, jittered through the room. Leaning over she caught a glimpse of the caller ID: Julia, her aunt and Mia and Lucca's mother. Gracelynn couldn't comprehend what was the reason for the call, but a tornado somehow whipped up inside her, at the possibility of it being related to the envelope.

"Julia." She sat up, back propped up against the goose feather pillows. Her empty hand took place at the side of her ear to cancel out any background noise: she was almost certain this was news she had to hear. Looking to Zeph for comfort she saw him swallow a lump down his throat and his neck stiffen in her direction.

"Gracelynn." Her voice had flutters of tears diffuse into it causing her to stutter. Julia normally so confident, bright and delightful to be around had transformed from white to black.

"Julia, please what is it? Have you been crying?" Time was beginning to stretch out, Zeph's aware face warping it even more.

"Your mum, Gracelynn you need to get down here as soon as possible."

"What about her." Her voice was sharp.

"She's been in an accident. A really, really bad one. London. It's the bridge- Gracelynn London Bridge has collapsed," The next words became all too unimportant. Either Diana was dead or in critical condition and that envelope had something to do with it. "She was on her way to a meeting, the sky, the Thames."

"How fast can I get there?"

"Well, I think the hospital can send over one of their helicopters immediately, which could get you here in an half an hour."

"Please. Please can you get it here as soon as possible? I refuse for her to go before I'm there." Every muscle had tensed up. The envelope; Zeph; her mother at the brink of death.

Bitterness consumed her, like the cuts upon her arm.

"Okay. Bless you Gracelynn."

"Thanks."

She felt her jaw clench up. Within two years life had gone from perfect to her being a mental patiant and an orphan.

"Lili? Lili, are you okay?" That look of knowing hadn't shifted. How could that lethal letter that sat beside her, that predicted the future, possibly have gotten into the remote grounds?

"Turn the news on please."

"Lili, what's happened?" He pleaded, hands reaching out to her.

She refused to give up to his begs and sat with her body rigid, "Just turn the news on please."

He sat up and pulled on his clothes before heading to the television and flicking to the relevant channel. The television burst from static to reveal the carnage that was almost tangible to her. An aerial view of the Thames and the London Bridge, or the remains of it. Sirens so loud were slightly audible on the camera's microphone, as were the blades of panicking helicopters and the bloodcurdling screams.

"An update on what the press are referring to as "the Fair Lady catastrophe" after the seemingly innocent nursery rhyme that has prophesied the current situation. Some witnesses have claimed a large current demolished the foundations of the bridge with a hurricane like cloud attacking the top half. Police are looking into this claim, but predict some form of terrorism is involved. Currently fifty-six fatalities have occurred, with forty in critical condition and around two hundred with minor injuries. Approximately seventy-five are missing but are most likely to have drowned in the supposed current. We will keep you as updated as possible." A solemn looking reported dictated, her violet eyes close to secreting water. Fifty-six dead, numerous families in despair.

"Lili?" He took the hair from her eyes and tried his best to console.

"My mum's been involved. She's in hospital. One of the forty in critical condition." She stared right through him. Gracelynn heard clearly enough the prediction of terrorism. Was the letter a threat, designed to puncture her happiness?

"They'll be doing all they can, I'm sure she'll pull through."

"Did you just see what I saw? Half the bloody bridge has collapsed into the river, and I don’t know if you saw that, but it has almost turned completely black? And the rest of it has been covered in rubble. You think someone can survive that?"

Zeph's mind grew blank realising the truth. As much as Gracelynn begged in her heart for consolation, it would be a lie. Just like her happiness. The cheerful facade had well and truly disappeared with the discovery of the Fair Lady catastrophe. It was all a lie, artificially made by doctors and physiologists and medication. It had been a long time since she wanted to drain her veins as much as she did now.

"One more thing? What is this envelope doing here?" She flung it in his direction as if it were rubbish.

"Shit." Zeph croaked almost silently but it was enough for her to catch.

"Are you some kind of fucking monster? A terrorist? You get close to me, get me into bed then kill my fucking mum? A couple hundred innocent people. You know what? I thought I was actually falling in love with you."

"I- I never sent that." His heart genuinely appeared to shatter, but of course he was in her drama class. Gracelynn wasn't about to get thrown about like a childlike ragdoll.

"Your face certainly does paint a picture that you didn’t."

"We need to get away from here as soon as possible. There's only one place we can go. Trust me." He came up close to her, but no, she stumbled backwards laying the sheets that covered her back on the bed and put her clothes back on.

"No. The only god damn place I'm going is to see my mum, in hospital. Away from you. I should have listened to Lucca." Adrian had just proven himself more than ever. Stupid child. Stupid, stupid child driven by lust and disaster.

There was no time to collect her other belongings other than several into a handbag. Leaving as soon as possible was the only answer . She ran to the back garden, Zeph in tow. He looked more terrified than ever, so very different to the confidence and joy that ruled him when they first met. They both were very different.

"Zeph, the hell do you want."

"Gracelynn, come on."

"No!" The pitch of her voice was escalating higher and higher.

"I need to tell you everything. It's dangerous, going to London, it's... it's a really bad idea." His hand leant out to her. He almost got her folded arms to release. Trusting him could only be described as bittersweet. Shakespeare, so true when scripting: the course of true love never did run smooth. Her life had become a midsummer night's dream, however sometimes they can turn to nightmares.

"Look Zeph, my mum's in critical condition. I'm going to London. We can talk about this later. We need to talk," Her voice soothed understanding that he deserved to explain himself. She wasn't about to let crucial information slip out of her reach. "I think you should go, the helicopter should be here soon. Tell your parents thanks for letting me stay. Let them know that I've gone to witness the Fair Lady conspiracy."

"Okay." His hand slumped to his side, his soul genuinely appearing to slip away. The guilt that had recently began to consume Gracelynn flooded her again. There was, of course, the possibility he was trying to save her. That the letter was not his.

He and Diana never once escaped her mind as she sat waiting for the helicopter, which once arrived, broke her thoughts. What possibly was it she was going to witness in old London town? That was a thought that truly haunted her.

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