Authors: Debbie Kowalczyk
Amy felt her heart stop. ‘What earthquake?’
‘The night before Tom was born
there was an earthquake up near me. It was when all the electricity blew at the hospital. Apparently that’s
‘No one’s reported an earthquake!’ Amy said, her heart thumping as she remembered Adaizi’s words. She’d looked in the paper and listened on the news; she’d found no mention of one, which had become solid evidence that Adaizi was a liar.
‘It was only near me. Something weird was going on at that hospital for those two nights. I thought I had a poltergeist! They still don’t know how all the appliances came on in people’s homes, do they?’
‘No,’ Amy said, wondering if Adaizi lived near the hospital. Her mind had already concluded that Adaizi must have known about the event and used it for deceit.
Winston returned. ‘Do you want to see next door, man?’ he asked Amy.
Amy gave him a confused look.
‘I’ve not had chance to tell her yet,’ Jack said. ‘Winston’s bought next door too. We’re getting it changed into a play centre before you come back to work—that way you won’t need…’
‘Let me show you and then I’ll explain,’ Winston interrupted, keys jingling in his hand.
‘Leave Tom here,’ Jack said. ‘I’ll look after him.’
Winston smiled at Amy, walked to the door and held it open. There was something to his expression she couldn’t work out. She shrugged off the feeling and followed, giving a last glance behind her to make sure Tom would be okay with Jack, who, after jumping over the counter, stood in front of the pram blowing raspberries.
‘I won’t need what, Winston?’ Amy said, as his keys unlocked the unoccupied corner shop next door—a shop no one had any interest in until now.
‘You won’t need a child minder for Tom,’ he said. ‘You’ll be able to bring him here with you and we can all take turns looking after him.’
The door gave a huge moan upon opening. As she stepped onto the squeaky floorboards, the musky smell hit Amy’s nostrils at once. The place, one big, dusty empty square, looked twice the size of the café.
‘We’re gonna fill this whole area with kids’ stuff,’ Winston said. ‘I was thinking we could have a ball pit here,’ he smiled, pointing to his right. ‘And there,’ he said, pointing to the back wall, ‘a climbing frame with ropes and a slide. We could have other activities here,’ he said, pointing to his left. ‘And we’ll knock through and extend the serving counter so it comes in here. What do you think?’ His arms and afro were wafting all over with his gusto.
‘Err…yes.’ Amy loved how Winston said ‘we,’ as if the three of them were joint owners, but she wondered why any boss would be so enthusiastic about letting an employee bring their child into work.
‘You’ll need to keep Tom with you,’ he said, like he’d read her thoughts. ‘He won’t fit in with child-minders! He won’t fit into the norm at all, you know, ‘cause of his abilities!’
Amy felt the blood run cold in her veins. ‘Who are you?’
‘I’m Adaizi’s nephew! She bought this place!’
‘Oh, did she now?’ Amy’s eyes narrowed, her face turning red as a ball of rage grew inside her. ‘And where is the crazy bint?’ The words burst out of her like rapid fire. Amy had never been so rude in all of her life. No matter how much people had annoyed her in the past, she would never speak up for herself let alone call them names, but something powerful had taken over her.
Winston staggered backwards, his afro swaying. ‘You can’t talk about a member of the Divine Order like that!’
‘Can’t I?’ Amy snapped. ‘I suppose you’re a
as well, are you?’
‘I’m normal!’ he said. His hands rose defensively. ‘The whole family’s normal, except for her. She was born to normal parents like Tom was to you. Well, no, not you, ‘cause you’re the Protector but, you know, like other normal Guardians are.’
‘So you believe Adaizi has magical powers of light?’ she spat, her sarcasm screaming out in a decibel of its own.
’ he said like Amy was crazy.
‘Then you’re just as mad as she is if you believe for one minute—’
A massive, blinding bubble of light materialised in the centre of the room, shrouding them in veils of dust. The light vanished and there, in the middle of the vast space, stood Adaizi. Amy hunched, open-mouthed in astonishment. She looked from Winston to Adaizi, hoping one of them would laugh, say it was some kind of trick, a sick joke,
‘Sorry I’m late,’ Adaizi smiled, taking a step forward and dusting herself.
‘Stay there!’ Amy screamed, her hand up to protect herself. ‘Don’t put your…your…drugging power on me!’ Amy held her hands up, one towards Adaizi and one towards Winston. She couldn’t be sure who would do something to her first.
‘I won’t,’ Adaizi said, taking a step backwards.
‘Amy,’ Winston said, ‘we only want to help!’
‘Were not going to
anything to you,’ Adaizi said in her polite and calm manner. ‘I just needed to speak with you.’
Amy glared at her for a moment and then, after seeing sincerity in her eyes, lowered her hands.
‘Thank you,’ Adaizi said. ‘I’m here because we’ve had a vision that Tom will be meeting the Dogod soon.’
‘No, no,’ Amy said, shaking her head in protest, ‘there’s no such thing! You’re delusional.’
‘What did I just do?’ Adaizi asked, stopping Amy in mid rant. ‘What did you see with your own eyes? Do you believe
have powers of light?’
‘I…’ Amy looked at Winston as if for help. He shrugged in response.
’ Adaizi said, lifting her arm, a rain of white sparks falling gracefully from her fingertips. The sparks bounced and rolled along the wooden floor like weightless marbles, clearing the dust along their way. After a few seconds they seeped through the crevices, disappearing into the dark underside of the room as if returning to some netherworld.
Amy stared in awe, unable to compute. ‘Well,’ Amy said, her mind calculating that maybe Adaizi
kind of power, ‘maybe you can do some kind of weird voodoo! That still doesn’t mean you’re right about
! He’s no Guardian!’ Amy’s voice became hysterical again. She didn’t know if it was just her own innate protectiveness towards her child that wouldn’t let her believe this woman, but she felt the same deep and powerful need to protect her son as she had done in the hospital. ‘There is no evil Dogod after him. Powers or not, you’re still mad if you think I believe
! And if you think I’m letting you anywhere near Tom…’ She let the sentence trail off; she didn’t know how she could best threaten this woman.
‘That’s fine for now, beautiful. Can you hear me out, though?’ Adaizi waited for Amy’s permission before continuing.
Amy sighed, folded her arms and stood with an expression worthy of an infant.
‘Thank you. The child born at our hospital has begun to show signs he’s the Dogod. We’ll only know for certain if Tom cries in his presence because, as you know, Tom never cries…but he will in front of the Dogod.’
with his own father!’ Amy said, like she’d proved her insane but, as Amy’s face lit with triumph, Adaizi’s darkened with fear.
‘Tom cries with his father?’ Adaizi demanded.
‘He’s always cried with…
?’ Amy said with eyes as wide as Adaizi’s.
‘No, it can’t be!’ Adaizi said, turning to Winston, who stood looking as shocked as his aunt. ‘He can’t have
already!’ Adaizi paced from side to side, her hands patting her chin. ‘Maybe Luke
at the hospital on time. The Dogod and his mother were there when Amy was there. Maybe if Luke bumped into them…’ Her eyes shot to Amy’s, her eyebrows furrowed. ‘Have there been any changes in Luke?’
‘Not anything worth mentioning,’ Amy said.
‘Oh no,’ Adaizi said, as if Amy had told her he’d grown horns. ‘Tom should only cry when he senses dark powers. The Dogod was able to influence
this time! Please, Amy, I know this hard to accept, but you’re going to have to try. You need to protect yourself with the power of light as soon as possible. We can open a channel inside you so you can receive them on your birthday in July but until then, you and Tom are in danger.’
‘Please stop!’ Amy said. ‘I don’t know how you concoct these ridiculous claims, or what makes you think you can do this to me. Tom is not what you think. There’s no dark force after him and I’m no Protector!’
‘How are you going to fight if you don’t invoke the light?’ Winston chimed in.
Amy turned to him, astonished. ‘Fight?’ she spat and then looked back at Adaizi, who gave him a reproachful look. ‘I’m not a fighter! I won’t
want to fight and I certainly won’t help train my child to fight, if that’s what you think!’
!’ Adaizi said.
‘That’s different…I’m not who you think I am. In fact…
…let’s say I am the Protector…I quit! How about that?’ Amy said, hoping this would persuade the woman to leave her alone.
‘You don’t want
?’ Adaizi asked, knowing exactly what she was doing with her fake, innocent tone.
Amy’s face hardened as fury burned inside. ‘I
want Tom. He’s my son!’
‘He’s our saviour,’ Adaizi said. ‘A marvellous creation. Born brighter than the Decision Maker himself. As benevolent as the Dogod is evil.’
‘Stop!’ Amy snapped. ‘You’re talking about him
as though he’s some kind of magical weapon! I won’t have it! He’s a baby! A
‘You have fire in your belly. An inbuilt
instinct!’ Adaizi said, undisturbed by Amy’s tone.
‘Enough!’ Amy snapped, her patience past its limit. ‘You need to leave us alone!
even got Jack living with you,’ she shot to Winston. ‘I’m telling him!’
‘I’m sorry, but that’s against the rules,’ Adaizi stated. ‘If you tell him anything, I’m afraid I’ll be forced to take his memory.’
Amy stopped dead, her tone lowered. ‘You…can take
‘Yeah,’ Adaizi said. ‘But I don’t want to have to do that.’
Amy looked for a flicker of a lie in Adaizi’s sparkly eyes but once again they remained honest.
‘I…want you…to stay away,’ Amy said, tears welling in her eyes.
‘Sure,’ Adaizi said. ‘I’ll let you alone for now, but when the time comes, when you realise the truth and are ready to claim the powers that are waiting for you, and certainly if you and Tom are in any danger, be sure to shout my name.’ A bright bubble of light opened around Adaizi and, after the bubble contracted, she was gone.
‘She always does that, man,’ Winston said in a jolly manner. Amy glared at him. ‘She’s cool really…once you…get to…know…’ His voice dropped to a mumble.
Amy stared at the space Adaizi had just occupied and concluded that Adaizi may well have been telling the truth about herself, but the rest of it was ludicrous. The evidence didn’t matter, the validation mute, the fact that she had to believe Tom was a magical being who had to fight an evil soul—a Dogod—and that her precious baby was destined for a life of pain. She just couldn’t and wouldn’t accept. Adaizi was wrong and she would prove it!
As weeks passed, Amy’s ability to be aware of her surroundings grew stronger. There was nothing she didn’t take note of, no sideways glance she didn’t catch. Studying Tom’s behaviour dominated most of her time. Amy noticed that Tom was wary about Luke at a distance and scared if he went too near, and that he was never relaxed while he was around—which, thankfully, he wasn’t much of late.
Luke had lost his job but was still out of the maisonette all day. He was also out each night. He said he was looking for a job, but Amy wondered how he’d impress anyone looking the way he did; he’d lost all interest in his appearance. Though she still didn’t believe he was influenced by dark powers, there was a definite change. Amy felt herself becoming more attached to Tom and focussed on their relationship and less invested in her own relationship with Luke. Luke’s hours away from home and Amy’s investment in Tom left them little, if any, time to converse with one another. She wasn’t sure if she even wanted to speak with Luke. He was distant and withdrawn, and his nonchalant attitude toward Tom made Amy shirk away from him.
‘I don’t want to go in,’ Luke said, stopping at the bottom of the cobbled drive of her parents white thatched cottage, looking anxious. Amy didn’t want him to go in either. She felt embarrassed to be taking him for Sunday lunch. ‘Your brother will be on my case about losing my job!’