Mikaela woke up. She knew she wasn’t at home anymore. She sat up on the twin bed, curled up with the comforter thrown over her. She looked about the room. It was sterile, except for a few of her own pictures sitting on the desk. She recognized them and sighed. She remembered the blue cabinets on the walls, the countertops. How was she back here after all these years? And when did they put in rooms with beds?
A gentle knock came from the door. She pulled her comforter up, although she was fully clothed. She still didn’t know why she was here. “Come in?”
A short blonde woman entered the room. She looked familiar. “Sin, is that you?”
Sin stepped into the room. “Yes, it’s me. It’s been years. How are you?”
What a strange way to greet your old nemesis. Well, Mikaela never understood why she was Sin’s nemesis, but there was always tension between them. “I’m okay, but why am I here?”
Sin looked at the floor and back up at Mikaela. “We tried, we really did. Moe said not to involve you, it would be too difficult, but, well, I’ll let Lord James explain. We have breakfast ready in the mess and afterward, I’ll take you to see him. There are some clothes in the dresser for you and a shower through that door. I’ll be outside to take you there.”
Sin looked down as she walked out the room. Life had changed her, softened her it seemed. Mikaela put her feet down on the cold floor, still clothed in her outfit from the night before. The emerald ring on her pinky felt strange. The invisible tattoo was still glowing underneath, rejoined with its physical presence. She spun it around, hiding the gem inside her fist, and ran her finger over the scrollwork in the gold. Sadness filled her face as she switched her attention to her left hand and the diamond brilliantly shining as if it were competing for attention.
She stood up and walked over to the dresser, pulling out a simple black tunic and jeans, then headed into the shower to freshen up. As the water hit her back, tears fell from her dark brown eyes. Violet streaks came back in her irises after being hidden for years. It wasn’t time, her heart and mind knew this, but here she was.
She stepped out of the shower, dried her short dark hair quickly, and dressed. She gave her eyes a final check, making sure the redness had subsided. She was startled a little by the violet mixed in with the brown flecks, it had been years since she allowed the violet to show, but now would be the time. However, she couldn’t show Lord James any emotions or concerns, for it would not end well. He was all about peace and balance.
She walked out of her room and met Sin in the hall.
“Oh good. Let’s head over to the mess,” Sin said too exuberantly. “We have basics, eggs, toast, bacon, tomatoes, oatmeal, you know the drill.” Sin walked briskly down the hall to the cafeteria.
Mikaela was amused. Sin had a cadence similar to being in the military, both in her speech, calling the cafeteria the mess, along with the rhythm of her walk. She decided to make some small talk as they made their way down the long corridor. “Sin, do you know who picked out my things in my room?”
“Oh, that’s Frank. He’s really good at feeling people out. You’ll see him again, probably tonight or tomorrow. ” Sin smiled, paused and then walked through the door and waved off to the corner. “Moe is over at the far table. He’ll catch you up on what you need to know before you meet with Lord James. I can’t provide you much more information, but he can.” Sin’s face turned back to looking resigned and tired. “It was good to see you.” With that, she softly patted Mikaela on the arm, turned and walked away.
Mikaela waved at Moe, then walked over to the buffet to prepare a plate. She spooned a little scrambled egg, a roasted tomato, and grabbed a vanilla yogurt from the line. She spied some strawberries and pineapple chunks and spooned those onto her plate, then added ketchup to the eggs. Finally she made her way to the beverages, pouring some hot water into a cup, two sweet-n-low packs, and two sachets of tea. It wasn’t her normal London Fog or Chai Latte, but it would have to do for now.
She headed over to Moe. “Hey, it’s been years!” she exclaimed as she walked up. Moe stood up and gave Mikaela one of his famous bear hugs. She hugged him back. He’d experienced her as she worked through the worst times of her life, and she was grateful he let it stay there. “How’s the family?”
Moe and Mikaela took their seats and he regaled her with his travels and new life. They caught up on so many things in those brief moments. Then Moe turned serious.
“Mikaela, we would never ask you to come back, except, we’ve tried everything we know. We can’t make it through the wall though. You’ve made it through before, and we need you to do it again.” Moe looked shaken. “We’ve never seen it like this, and we need to get the path opened.”
Mikaela was confused as she looked at Moe. “Surely you’ve got more strength and pull. I don’t have that kind of….”
Moe held up his hand. “We don’t think it has anything to do with brute strength. We called on the strongest we knew, and that is no longer me.” Moe smiled, happy to pass that mantle on to others. “Others have tried, science, physics, explosives, water, fire….nothing broke through.” Moe paused, and looked at Mikaela’s hands. “By the way, I’m glad to see you wearing both sets of rings. It’s as it should be, for now. Should we go see Lord James?” Moe made air quotes when he said Lord.
She giggled at Moe’s air quotes. It was extremely odd calling James Lord. “Sure. We can.” Mikaela fiddled with the emerald ring, still uncertain about being back.
They stood up and dropped off their dishes as they left the cafeteria. When they stepped outside, the sun was high above and the clouds floated by. There was a slight chill in the air, which hit her bare arms, causing some goose bumps. She rubbed her arms to warm them up. Still, it was a beautiful day as they walked to the garden in the distance.