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Srebrna, Skald Arkadii (and thoughts on writing)

Archive for February 2017

Splinters 18: Journey to the past

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In the end, they didn’t really tell Henry all that much. They explained that August was a friend of his grandparents and he would help them all find the family. They left the details about fairies and magic for some later occasion, when he would be able to understand the nuances better and keep the secret.

They also didn’t tell him about Elsa’s being no longer a relative, as Emma felt it was not relevant at all and would only serve to upset him. Elsa felt some weird relief, as Henry was her favourite thing in the world and she didn’t want to lose the connection she had to him – being his guard and protector from crazy nurses and overzealous teachers – because of the things they had learnt about their past.

The change that occurred was on Elena’s initiative, as she dragged home a thick tome of Nursery Stories and Fairy Tales.

“Is it Andersen?” Elsa asked innocently, peeking inside the covers.

“No way. Andersen is way too depressing. The girl with matches, dying in the snow, brraugh. I’m not going into these. No, this is a baby-level standard of slightly-optimistic, mostly-happy-ending stories from different corners of Europe. There may be some Andersen remakes here, but not his own stories directly.”

So they put Henry on a steady diet of fairytales and provoked discussions about them, usually between themselves, to see what would be his reaction to questions like “What would Cinderella use to get home from the ball in US in XXI century” or “How do you think Red Riding Hood would dress?”

Sometimes Henry joined the fun, suggesting Prince Charming riding a bike – like August’s – or saying seriously that Sleeping Beauty would be better off as a patient in a modern hospital, not asleep in a castle overgrown by brambles. Sometimes he just laughed when they made their crazy suggestions or corrected them when they tried to make wild changes to the known tales.

Based on what August had told them, they tried matching the “facts” to the tales they knew and quickly understood that even the best research into available material was not going to prepare them for the actual meeting with the inhabitants of the Enchanted Forest. The tales they knew – or read for the first time now – were all very contained and unlinked from each other, and of course none of them mentioned anything but a Happily Ever After, without details, and they already knew that this was what the Evil Queen took away from everyone.

So apart from delving into theoretical past as re-written by Brothers Grimm or Charles Perrault, they decided a little delving into their own much more recent past was in order.

“I was wondering when you three would show up” Annabella Hanners peered at them from over her glasses. “And who is that young gentleman?”

“That’s Henry” Emma hugged him tightly as he pressed himself into her side.

“I see. And you two, nothing…?”

Elsa reached for Henry and ruffled his hair.

“Henry is quite enough for the three of us, I think.”

“Ah. So, what brings you here today?”

They looked silently at each other and finally Elsa spoke up.

“Why did you do this?” she gestured to the three of them. “Why did you make us sisters?”

Annabella Hanners sighed.

“I’m guessing either one of you needed some medical procedure and you found incompatibility or the boy managed to find you” she stated calmly. “Well, in any case, I did it because you already were sisters by the time we shuffled the papers. I couldn’t separate you from them anymore than I could separate them” she gestured towards Emma and Elena. “You probably don’t remember it, but you twisted an ankle when you were three. Both Emma and Elena cried from the moment it happened, showing all the typical reactions of the so-called twin syndrome. Which is not taken very seriously by psychologists, but I’m not a psychologist. And my great-grandmother was a Scottish witch, or so they said. They say my family line always inherited a bit of a shine – or a touch, or a sight, whatever you want to call it. I just knew you three belonged together, and everything that happened seemed to confirm it.”

They sat in silence for a moment, Henry still holding tight to Emma and Elsa working very hard on breathing deeply and evenly.

Even then there was something at work she thought and dared a look at Elena, who was biting her lip in concentration.

“It wasn’t only that” Emma suddenly stated. “What aren’t you telling us?”

They looked intently as the older woman bit her lip and considered the question.

“There were people adopting little girls” she finally said. “And killing them. Because it happened all over the country, there was no reason for single state to see more than one or two cases and so the authorities in the system…” she snorted. “Well, they didn’t see any reason to block adoptions, even temporarily and even ones matching only certain characteristics. Specifically, blond girls born around the same time as the three of you. It ended when one girl survived and was able to tell her story – as much as an almost-four-year-old can. There was investigation, but the actual culprits fled long before police located them.”

“So, why…?”

“Because it took more than half a year in total” she explained darkly. “And there were people trying to get one of you all the time. They were getting confused seeing three girls, and never asked too much, but someone was going to notice that one of you is available. So I asked my hacker friend to deal with it, and she did. She changed Elsa’s entry to match yours, and so she disappeared from the potential list of victims. I never knew what it was that these people were after – just any random blond girl or if they were looking for some specific girl and if so…”

Elsa looked at her sisters with one brow raised. Emma nodded shortly.

“You think they were looking for a specific girl and that specific girl was, in fact, Elsa?”

“I know it sounds awful, but that was my feeling. Remember, witch for a great-grandma, I get these flashes of knowing from time to time. And every time I read about one of the cases, I saw you three in my mind’s eye.”

Elsa shuddered and Elena covered her hand with hers.

“It’s good that you’re here” their host added. “There was that other thing I wanted to show you, and I’ve had the worst of luck with it.”

She raised and took a big cardboard box from one of the shelves.

“This was stuck in a bank vault for ages and by someone’s idiotic… Well, they removed the deposit box from the list of ones we’re allowed to access, even though we did have the key. Later I was ill, and so, time passed and nobody could get the box. Only two weeks ago I managed to remove it from the bank and kept it here ever since. I kind of guessed you’d be coming around sometime soon.”

She raised the cover and unwrapped first layer of paper.

“When you were found in these baskets, you were not just lying there naked on the wicker, you know” she smirked. “You had these on” she shook out tiny, baby-sized dresses. “If a child comes to the home with something more than standard romper set, I try to keep it – maybe someday they will be able to find their family with it? Or at least keep it as a souvenir? Well, here you have it. This one is Emma’s, this is Elena’s and this is Elsa’s” she pointed one by one. “You were also wrapped in blankets…” she sighed. “I kept them, despite some people’s ideas to put them to daily use, and then wanted to give you when you left, but you were pushed out before I came back from that PT month, so…” she shrugged. “Now, the funny thing about these blankets, you see, is, well. This one is Elsa’s” she handed her a thick piece of woven wool with “ELSA” painted in fading blue in one corner “This one is Emma’s” and the second blanket was knitted, with purple “EMMA” embroidered across one side “…and this one is Elena’s”.

What Elena actually was handed was not a blanket. It was, in fact, a big ball of white yarn with a tiny piece of paper stuck into it.

Her name is Elena. Make sure she gets this and knows that we didn’t expect her, but we still love her.

Elena’s voice broke on the last word.

“One of the reasons I hid them was that they were so… different” Annabella said. “Someone would have picked up on it and there would be no way to disprove that Elsa is not your sister. Also, it seemed unfair for Emma and Elsa to have theirs when we couldn’t provide one for Elena. I’m a terrible knitter, I’m afraid.”

Emma nodded slowly.

“They also would have gotten dirty and torn” she added. “I’d much rather have them now, when we can try to use them to – maybe – track down our families, than at the time. It’s not that we had no link to our parents at all – we had each other, so it’s not like with these kids whose only link are the clothes they were wearing.”

Elena turned her wool ball a few times and sniffed it carefully.

“I think I will keep it like this” she decided finally. “I can knit, but I’d much rather have it as it came with me” she stuck the piece of paper where it was very carefully and hugged the whole non-blanket to herself.

“But…” Elsa started, looking at her. “If this paper says you were not expected, then maybe these people who were looking for little girls were not looking for me?!”

Emma blinked in surprise.

“Right. Because if our parents weren’t expecting Elena, then whoever else knew about the coming child would only be looking for me. Not for twins.”

“And they must have lived in some pretty rural area if the first moment they knew there are twins was when you two were born” Annabella added. “At the beginning I thought you were born in some weird religious community and maybe out of wedlock – or they thought twins are brought by demons, or whatever else. But now that I see this all together…” she shook her head. “I’m positive, and I’m saying this as a descendant of a girl who escaped burning, point one, your parents – both sets – left you in that forest because that was safer, somehow. And point two, these people were looking for one of you. Maybe Elsa. Maybe Emma. Logically, it couldn’t have been Elena, but still… They were only looking for a single girl. So once you became a set, they lost your trail. Even when you were modelling, nobody came asking for you.”

“You muddied the trail” Elena provided quietly. “Thank you.”

“Well” Annabella shrugged. “Did what I could. Now, this is the last part, and if blankets can’t tell you much – I wouldn’t really expect them to – this may have more value. Both monetary and information-wise.”

With this she pulled out three ziplock bags full of glittering trinkets.

They spent some time sifting through the jewelry in utter silence, as Annabella looked at them curiously and Henry stole a tiny figurine of a unicorn from Emma’s stash and played with it on the table quietly.

“I must say” the older woman said slowly “You seem – I don’t want to presume or to be patronising – uncommonly well-adjusted. We have a lot of children coming in much later than you did, already socialised, and then leaving unable to take care of themselves. We try as much as we can – and as we’re allowed but the law – but most cases we just can’t help at all. You three not only managed to stay on the right side of the law, get education and graduate, but you have actual jobs… and you have an actual family, with Henry. I must admit I am a little surprised.”

Emma smiled, looking at Henry’s dark head.

“The education part was your doing, so it’s not so much of a challenge. Most kids don’t have money for college, and you managed to get it for us.”

Annabella snorted.

“If you hadn’t had proper grades in the school, no amount of money would have helped you. Most other kids have been submitted for financial aid and scholarships, but even the ones who managed to get them mostly dropped off a year or two after leaving the home. I have a feeling we’re not preparing you all too well for the realities of life, but…” she sighed. “We’re not really allowed to. The System doesn’t care, as long as you’re clean and fed until 18th birthday and out of the list the day after.”

“I think that’s because there are three of us” Emma suggested. “If I was here alone, I would never have had good grades… I see myself running away, or doing stupid things, like other kids. Like the ones that got shipped back from their ‘families’ after the first offence. There were so many of them, leaving and coming back. If I got sent back like a faulty package, I would have been a bit resentful, too.”

“And I only function socially thanks to these two” Elsa added. “Otherwise I’d have ended up on some couch – or as a drug addict – simply because I can’t really work well with people.”

“And they two balance me” Elena pointed out. “I know I’m volatile, because I can compare myself to them. Also, Emma has excellent aim and a well-thrown bottlecap is a great reality reminder if I get too involved in something.”

“So, I suppose you could say that we’re sane, stable and in a reasonable situation in life because you put the three of us together” Elsa smiled slightly. “Who knows what might have happened to us if had grown up separated.”

Written by Srebrna

2017/02/20 at 22:42

Posted in Splinters

Splinters 17: At last I see the light

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“I was thinking” Elsa paused and seemed to be very carefully stirring her coffee.

“Dangerous habit for a lawyer.”

“Yeah. Funny. But. You remember how August said that the magic thinks? Or at least that it makes things happen in a certain way?”

“Yes, that it will help us find Storybrooke if we let it. So what?”

“I was kind of thinking of another thing. How, if we look at all our lives, there were things happening to us that were so damn random and overblown. Like, when a normal person goes to school, there is no weirdo teacher trying to run experiments on them. But we had to come across the only idiot in the county who did. Like, when you don’t have documents, police normally agrees to let you find some, even if you have a gun – and they let you show the gun permit! And we got arrested and Elena was suspected of being illegal. How, actually, the very fact they called Immigration is a bit too much, considering Boston is a sanctuary city! Normally if they have someone with doubtful immigration status, they let them pass, unless there was a crime committed – and Elena was not being accused of any crime, so they should have let her go.”

“So you think that the crap that happened to us…”

“Including that crazy nurse in the hospital?” Emma suddenly looked much more awake.

Elsa nodded.

“I think it’s all because of magic. Even if none of us is actually using it, it may be affecting us. August said that this world was supposed to be without magic, but if we assume he’s telling the truth – and Emma, you said he was – then there is actually some of it everywhere…” she trailed off.

“Elsa?” Elena prodded her with her spoon.

Elsa only stared ahead, raising her coffee cup slowly to her lips and her eyes were rounder than ever.

“Emma. Emma knows when someone is lying” she stated slowly. “She didn’t have it before, only when Henry was born. And all fantasy books say people with magic gain more skills during some breaking points in their life.”

Elena frowned, looking at their third sister.

“Emmy, when was the first thing you remember that your lie detector worked?”

She shrugged, grimacing.

“Not sure, but it might have been that crazy nurse, actually. I remember feeling the wrongness when she handed me these papers and tried to make me sign Henry away. I’m almost sure I’ve never had this feeling before, so… Are you saying the labour caused me to get magical powers?”

Elsa made a face.

“I’m grasping at straws here, but I’m guessing it might have. It was an important event, you were at risk, Henry was at risk, maybe your powers waited for this kind of spark to wake up. No idea. And that is all assuming August was right.”

“Well, he was telling the truth. The question of right and wrong is something separate. He might have been lied to and someone managed to convince him to sell the lie to us – innocently.”

Elena sipped her coffee.

“I’m…” she started and though for a moment. “Elsa, August said you were also using some magic, right?”

Elsa nodded and made a vague gesture.

“But you didn’t notice anything happening? Emma knows she can tell who’s lying, but you can’t, so it’s not the same kind of magic. But… did you notice something? Anything? Maybe you have more luck than others in the office? Get stuff done better?”

“The only thing I see is that I don’t get freaked out by Judge Perry. He loves to see the things done quickly, so he opens all windows before the session and has the AC turned down. Most people get so chilled they want to get out of there as soon as possible, but I’m OK, so I usually get my guys out or at least, well, not worse off than they came in. Celia actually assigns me every time we have a first hearing with Perry, because she said my statistics are way better than others… What?”

“Elsie, what are you drinking?” Emma asked very calmly.

“A coffee?”

“No. You’re drinking an iced coffee. What are we drinking?”


“Yes, lattes with hot milk. Do you see some trend here?”

Elsa eyed her glass silently.

“You hate hot chocolate so you drink ice tea. Even in winter.”

“But you like chocolate, just like us. But only the candy, not drinking it.”

“You prefer salads to warm dishes.”

“You usually dress in one or two layers less than us – remember when Henry tried to make us not put a scarf on him, because he argued you aren’t wearing one?”

Elsa put the cup on the table and stared intently at her hands, which were shaking slightly.

“Yes” she whispered slowly and a tear slid down her cheek. “I’m a cold freak.”

In an eye blink Emma was behind her, enveloping her in a hug.

“If you are, you are our cold freak. What I meant – and what Elena meant, I think – is that maybe, just maybe, your magic is represented by your cold resistance. Maybe it’s what you don’t do, because it’s just inside you. That is why you don’t actively see it, like I see the lies being told – because it’s always been with you.”

“Even when we were small” Elena added. “You remember, you were always way overheated in summer, when we were quite OK. And you always tried to run away when they dressed us for outings in winter.”

Elsa swallowed visibly.

“So you think I’ve always had it?”

“At least far longer than I can remember differently.”

“So why didn’t August feel it then?”

Elena shrugged.

“Maybe he didn’t know it was it? In the forest he must have been dead on his feet, and in the orphanage they didn’t mix the age groups a lot.”

Emma swallowed the rest of her cup contents.

“Also, he started turning into wood only recently” she reminded her sisters. “And he feels that thing only in his wooden leg.”

“Yeah. That too.”

“Now… I assume we’re all accepting finally that August was, in fact, right and we’re not from this world and we are – at least Elsa and me- magical, yes?” Emma grimaced and looked at her sisters nodding slowly. “Now, help me to work out how to explain it all to Henry.”

Written by Srebrna

2017/02/19 at 22:41

Posted in Splinters

Splinters 16: On the brink

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“You look like hell.”

“Love you too.”

Elsa did look like hell. Her normally spotless professional makeup was absent, her hair looked like a bird’s nest and her eyes were bloodshot.

“You planning to go to the office like this?”

Elsa stared absently at the wall and shrugged.

“Called in sick. Never needed to do this before, so my sick days accumulated nicely. Celia was actually concerned for me, but she said I’m more use to her healthy on Monday than sick on Thursday, so I have my boss’s order to stay at home, hydrate and get some rest.”

Emma sat vis-a-vis her at the kitchen table and sighed.

“You know that nothing changed, right?”

Elsa rolled her eyes expressively.

“Everything changed” she mumbled. “We no more…”

“Oh, do shut up” Elena joined them with her own cup. “You’re being dense. Yes. We have more knowledge about our origins. But you’re still our sister and that doesn’t change and never will. Whatever that guy says – and I’m still not sure it’s all true, because half of it sounded a lot like fever dreams of a lonely kid in need of some explanations – we are sisters and we’ll not allow you to isolate yourself because you feel you’re somehow different. You’re not.”

“You’re Elsa Swan and that’s it” Emma said forcefully, gripping Elsa’s hand. “Whatever he says, you are Elsa Swan and all fairies from all worlds won’t change this.”

Elsa didn’t sniff, because it was not in her nature, but she did sigh with that kind of broken, stuttering breath that meant she was almost crying.

“Even if all he said is actually true and he has no idea where you came from, we already know some things – assuming we believe what he says.”

Elsa managed do catch her breath and looked at Emma quizzically.

“Making that big assumption – and I’m telling you, he’s utterly convinced of what he told us – we know you’re from some place that uses magic. If our parents used the magical tree or wardrobe or whatever, then yours had to use something like this, too. Maybe a box, or some other tunnel to this world. We know you’re like a month older, so whatever happened, they managed to take care of you for a while and only then they had to send you away. It can even be from the same world as we came from, actually. It has to be a planet, wherever it is, so it would have to be Earth size, to support compatible life. Even with magic. So it’s big. Continents and oceans and everything. If we’re from some storyland, than maybe you’re also a piece of a fairytale, too. August says we’re Snow White’s kids…” Emma coughed “And he felt it very deeply. Like it was a basic thing for him. Sky is blue, grass is green and we two are Snow’s and Prince’s HEA. We’re the sequel to the nursery tale.”

“The x-rated sequel” Elena snorted.

Elsa pressed her lips into a thin line to stop an emerging smile.

“Why x-rated? We’re not doing anything nasty! At least, not now.”

Elena tapped the side of her nose.

“But they had to. You know, at least once…”

Emma rolled her eyes.

“That’s our supposed parents you’re talking of!”

“Yea, and they fact they became parents means…”


All three looked towards the door guiltily, trying to recall the exact wording of the conversation in the previous seconds.

“My throat is scratchy” Henry mumbled, pressing his face into Emma’s hip. “Can I have some water? I don’t feel so good.”

“Come here” she pulled him up and tested his forehead with a kiss. “You don’t feel warm, but if I send you to school like this, I’ll be picking you up with a fever. I think we’ll be all skipping school and work today then. I have home office days from last month, so I can do my coding on the laptop, Henry can stay in bed and read, Elsa will sleep off the night…” she looked at Elena questioningly.

“I’ll actually go to my office and work like a normal person” snorted her more awake sister. “You make sure the kid doesn’t incubate something more deadly than a case of sniffles and she doesn’t do something idiotic” Elsa gave an undignified snort “like trying to leave.”

“I’ll sit on her, don’t worry.”

“I’m right here, you morons.”

“We love you too, Elsie.”

Written by Srebrna

2017/02/18 at 22:39

Posted in Splinters

Splinters 15: A whole new world

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“You were four when they moved me to that country house. Apparently if a kid almost coughs out his lungs, there are people in the social care system that pay attention and only after four years of observation they decided that either the pollution or something local is getting to me and so I was transferred out. Anyway, it didn’t help. It all happened only after my second bout of pneumonia, so I’m kind of blaming this, not any actual allergen in the group home. Anyway, I spend eight years stuck in a country house with a bunch of other sick kids and that was probably for the best, considering the foster homes everyone had stories about.”

Elsa leaned back, Henry fast asleep in her arms. Emma had covered them with a blanket and Elena provided two fat cushions to surround and support her. As Emma prepared tea, they sat in silence, both sisters watching August and August watching Henry with perplexity. Then, visibly having forced himself to relax, he started talking, telling them of the life in the “home” as he remembered it from their early childhood.

“The lady who runs the place entered you in the computers as triplets. She explained to me that some men from the system – probably her higher ups in social services – would be quite ready to get Elsa adopted and separated from you and so she had someone fix up the records and make it look as if you were sisters. Elsa is like a month older than you two, they said. You two were newborns, so they counted the day I ‘found’ you as your birthday – correctly, even though our calendar doesn’t match the one here at all – but Elsa was harder to pinpoint – when a kid is a month old, it’s impossible to be specific about a day. So they first wrote exactly a month earlier, and then corrected to the same as yours.”

Emma slipped into the empty space beside Elsa and caught her hands. “You will still have birthday with us.”

“Or she can have two” Elena provided. “She could grab some gifts for the first go and then get a second round with us. I’m sure Henry would love two cakes and we could have a chocolate one for Elsa’s day and the lemon tarte for the shared one.”

Elsa smirked weakly at Elena’s suggestion, but only silently hugged Henry closer to herself.

“Can you tell us about that whole curse? Why is this crap even happening? I mean, didn’t the wicked stepmother get properly killed in the story?”

“Ah” August sipped his tea “That’s the part where the cartoons and our actual world are a bit different. The cartoons – and the stories, and the legends – tell you the perfect story. They have a moral, evil gets punished, good gets rewarded, prince gets a princess as a prize and then they live happily ever after. We rarely see a princess’ mother or any other details. In our actual world, well. Let’s say that not every villain gets their due – or, rather, most of them don’t. Just remember, I was only a kid when they dumped me here with you – even if I’d been a kid for a long time by then – so all I remember is what Father and Blue Fairy managed to cram in my head just days before the whole thing went down.”

Emma nodded and poured some more tea into his mug.

“The way I remember this…” he pursed his lips in thought “It all started sometime when Snow White was a kid. She did something – no idea what, I’m afraid – that made Regina very angry at her. Regina then became her stepmother, by marrying the old King. Then the King died and so Regina became the actual Queen of our land, which made everyone scared, because she was a strong dark magician. Then Snow White turned out to be a bandit – there were posters with a price for her head everywhere. Somehow, she managed to get herself a man – that would be prince James, from next kingdom over – and a veritable army of creatures despised by Regina. And they managed to win the war. Don’t ask me for details, I was stuck at 6 years of age and Father didn’t share a lot with me. He himself was more into building stuff than politics. So then Snow and James were getting married – beautiful wedding, that much I remember – and Regina showed up, even though she was banned from the kingdom. She just crashed the actual wedding, cursed everyone and promised them doom, and left. Disappeared in smoke, just as your father threw a sword at her.”

“Threw a sword?” Elsa asked dazedly. “What kind of a world do you guys come from?”

August shrugged.

“Comparing to the works of contemporary literature – hard fantasy. Dragons, swords, lots of logical magic, lots of swordfighting, lots of death. Crappy healthcare, unless you are a noble. Maybe closer to Norton’s “Witchworld” than Pratchett’s “Discworld”, if you get my meaning. Small towns, lots of villages in the middle of nowhere. And lots of forest. And lots of magic-born creatures” he pointed at his own chest. “Continuing. The wedding done, all peaceful, Rumpelstiltskin in a cell, everyone as happy as can be. Your mother gets pregnant. Everyone is even happier. And then it turns out – and I have no idea why, remember, six years old – that the kid will be able to save everyone in the kingdom from the curse, but only if they manage to get her out before the curse hits. So my Father built that fabulous wardrobe out of a very magical tree. And it was supposed to transport two people out – so they thought they could put Snow and James in it and make sure the little one gets all care she needs. But my father negotiated for more magic, as a payment for his help, and the fairies made that three, so that I could get out, too. He was afraid I would die the moment the curse came, because I would have turned into wood then. So once the wardrobe was finished, he pushed me in and then they were supposed to get queen Snow, but…” he sighed. “Something must have gone wrong. I’m guessing she was already in labour and then it turned out there are two of you! So, I’m guessing, they put both into the prepared basket and so used up all the magic to transport both of you out. And then… You were here. And, i suppose, the curse hit the kingdom and took everyone here, too. But under Regina’s control”

They drank tea silently for a moment.

“So… what are we supposed to do – or what is Emma supposed to do?” Elena leaned forward and looked at him intently. “We don’t know a thing about magic, and even if you feel these two have been using it, I’m betting my salary they can’t say what it was they did and how they did it. So, how do we break the curse?”

August shrugged helplessly.

“That they didn’t tell me. The Queen and King were supposed to be here, with you! They just told me to be there in case something happened. And that something obviously happened. But they didn’t teach me whole history of the kingdom, or anything even near it” he raked his hair with both hands. “I only know that magic is, well, a bit sentient, and if you show up at the right place, at the right time, it may actually lead you where you need to go.”

Elsa finally sat up and looked a bit more focused.

“You say right place, but I still don’t know how we’re supposed to find that place. You’ve never been there, right? You have no idea where they ended up?”

“No. Although I’ve been making some research, and with my stupid leg serving as a compass I can give you the general direction. As I said, it itches like hell when someone uses magic, and that place is apparently running on magic, or Regina is using it, a lot. Either way, it’s in Maine.”

Elena snorted.

“Maine is a big place, you know. We can’t just ride down each country road and try finding a magicked place.”

August squirmed in his seat.

“I’ve had someone scry for more details” he finally admitted. “There are magicians in this world, just like in ours, they are simply a bit more subtle than Regina or Rumpelstiltskin. They said the name of the town I’m looking for is Storybrooke and the only way to find it is to already know where it is. But they do know it’s at least twenty miles from anything else, which makes it a bit easier to eliminate some areas.”

“Very amusing” Elena rolled her eyes and leaned back on the couch. “So we can’t get there until we know it’s there…?”

August shrugged and looked down.

“I know it’s not much. But, as I said, I learned enough about magic to know it has its own mind and will most probably try to lead you there. Things will happen to get you on the right track. Do you know how I managed to find you? Not through the orphanage, no. My leg hurt so I was trying to buy some painkillers – they dull it a bit, but not much – and in the clinic there was a lady telling someone that she’d seen three identical women talking to each other in a cafe and she had a problem understanding who was who because they all had names starting with E. I followed her a bit, discreetly, and identified the cafe. On the day I went inside because of a freak rain, you all showed up, too.”

Elsa frowned.

“That was a week ago” she said slowly. “Why are you here only now?”

“I couldn’t just approach you there” he explained honestly “And I really didn’t want to be arrested for stalking you, so it took me a week to track you back home. Sorry.”

Emma just shook her head and yawned.

“I’m very sorry, August” she smiled weakly. “It’s a bit much to take in. Can we… Can we just have some time to discuss this? I can’t promise anything until we’re all in agreement.”

He rose stiffly.

“Sure. This is my cell number” he handed Emma the card. “If you think you need something else and if it’s something I understood properly, I’ll be glad to talk. Please, do consider finding that place. If not for the sake of the whole kingdom, just for your own – and mine. Our parents are stuck there. Also…” he turned to Elsa “there are probably some magicians there who could help to trace your origins. And there are many ways to travel between worlds, not only magical cupboards. So you could, probably, find your family too.”

Elsa’s lips were pressed into a thin line, but she nodded.

“I will leave you, ladies. I’m staying in Boston for the foreseeable future, so we’ll meet again, I suppose.”

Only when the door closed and Henry was safely transported to his bed, Emma’s brain caught up with the fact that August had mentioned many names he never explained. One of them stuck in her mind and she was mulling over it as she fished out the laptop from her bag and sat down to googling fairy tales.

Written by Srebrna

2017/02/04 at 22:24

Posted in Splinters