“Ow!” Eana cried early the next morning as Carlos rapped her hand and forced her to drop her sword. She threw her fencing mask off in a huff. Carlos laughed heartily. For an old man, he was young at heart and in most features, excluding his crow’s feet and dark gray hair.
“Eana, you are not guarding yourself well.” he said with a heavy Spanish accent.
“I know!” Eana answered angrily.
“No, you do not, or you would be applying yourself.”
Eana sighed with frustration as she and Carlos climbed out. Her knee long golden hair swung from side to side as she walked. She angrily flicked a strand of it over her shoulder, which proved the unruly hair could not be tamed even by a metal-pronged hairbrush and a thick ponytail holder.
She and Carlos argued a little more and Eana finally stormed off to change. Carlos fondly watched her go. He loved Eana so much, and he knew she loved him, too; she just showed it a little differently. Eana changed quickly and returned to Carlos.
“Sorry. I’ll work on it.” She sighed and added, “And not argue so much.”
Carlos smiled. “There will be no chance of that for another hundred years.”
A smile tugged at the corner of her mouth, but she gathered up her equipment and organized it on a rack in the mud room. She walked alone down to the lake behind Carlos’ house and sat on the dock with her chin on her knees to think. For a while, her mind was blank.
Find Daddy. He’ll take care of you, her mother’s last words flew in suddenly. She shoved them from her mind as silent tears started to fall from her eyes. I’ve tried. I can’t find him. And he hasn’t taken care of me.
Footsteps thudded on the boards behind her. She quickly wiped her eyes. Carlos sat beside her, observing the sunrise.
Eventually, he spoke. “Do you know that I had a wife and a daughter?”
“No.” Eana sat up. She noted the word ‘had’.
“They died before I came to
“Oh.” Heartbreak and trouble. Ugg.
“How’d they die?”
“She had a ballet recital.” Carlos sighed. Memories could be painful. “
Rosa drove her, but the automobile died half way there. Rosa found the nearest telephone and called me, but I was busy. Eventually I went, but they were not there. They had fixed the machine and continued on their way. When I found them, they were being loaded into an ambulance. If I had just come when they wanted me to, they may still be alive right now.”
Even more silence.
“Do you think my dad left because of me?” Eana whispered.
“Why would he?”
Eana shrugged and turned her head away.
Eana stumbled through a dark forest. She looked over her shoulder. Was someone – or something – following her? Something brushed up against her shin and slit it to the bone. She cried out in pain when something hit her elbow, and suddenly a bright light shone around her; she couldn’t see anything, but frightening noises echoed around her.
Eana shot up. Surrounding her were four white walls and she was sitting on a bed. Her bed. She sighed with relief as sweat poured down her forehead. What was wrong with her? That was, what? The fourth, fifth, sixth time she’d had that dream?
She grabbed her flute, slid off her bed and climbed out the window. Luckily, her room was at the back of the house. She sprinted the thirty or so yards to the dock, where she sat when she was troubled. The lake looked slightly spooky in the dark with the moon reflecting off the ripples.
She brought the mouthpiece to her lips and played a song her mother had taught her, called Dancer of Dreams. When she had played it over again three times, she set it down beside her and pulled herself into her favorite position; chin on her knees, and arms around them. The minutes slowly passed, pulling her eyelids down lower, lower, and lower.
Suddenly, they were forced open by an eerie scream. A disfigured hump rose out of the water and slid back in again. The hump appeared closer. Then again even closer. Run, run! her conscience shrieked at her. She leaped to her feet and ran up the dock as fast as she could. She paused at her window to see the hump slip off the dock, back into the water it came from.