Bailey’s Gift

As soon as David showed them the bottle, Bailey knew what it was. They could even guess why Rebecca had killed herself. David’s distress was palpable, but it was mixed with hope as he, too, seemed to recognize what he had found. Julia’s crystal, however, prevented Bailey from doing anything about it. Phillip’s refusal to help made the situation more dire.

Bailey hated their own talent. Dealing with bodies and with the dead had always been upsetting. They wanted to study the elements and weather, but their master would not hear of it. He had determined Bailey’s aptitude and refused to consider alternatives. That disagreement had ultimately led to Bailey leaving before the end of their apprenticeship. Rebecca had been the one to help them move on from the experience.

Now Rebecca was in need of help. Help Bailey could offer if they could access their magic again. The charm had taken it away, even prevented them from thinking about it. With Julia’s crystal suppressing the charm, they remembered their magic, but it, too, was rendered inert by the crystal. As much as Bailey had tried to distance themself from their own gift, Rebecca’s life now depended upon it.

With the charm suppressed, Bailey knew Marie had been responsible for it, so she ought to be able to undo it. Bailey stared at her and waited for her to admit it.

“I . . . I can’t.” She stammered. “The Elder said you were too dangerous.”

“Right now, I’m Rebecca’s only hope.”

“But . . .”

Having watched silently until now, Sarah finally interjected. “Marie, at the moment, the Elder is gone. We are here. If Bailey can help, you must let them.”

Marie hesitated for another beat before relenting. “Alright. I don’t know how long it will take.”

“Then we should get started,” Bailey replied.

They laid down on the bed, and Marie got to work. Bailey could feel her poking around in their mind. It took a great deal of effort not to resist her every move. The nature of the work exposed them both. While Marie, with the Elder, had already been through Bailey’s mind, Bailey was now able to get glimpses into Marie’s. For the most part, they tried not to pry. However, memories of Rebecca were rather vivid and all around. The two women had been close friends for most of their lives. The Elder’s presence had disrupted all of that.

Bailey redoubled their efforts to shut out the memories; they felt as though they were intruding on something intensely private. Instead, they tried to distract themself by going over the necessary pieces to bring Rebecca back. Going through the rituals was uncomfortable, but they focused on why this had to be done.

It was not immediately clear how long it took to undo the charm. Upon checking the clock on the nightstand, Bailey discovered that two hours had past. Without knowing the specifics of the spell Rebecca had used, there was no way to know how long until she might be lost for good. Time was against them.

“Okay. Let’s take her back to her rooms in your house. I’ll need some of the materials there.” Bailey addressed Sarah.

Sarah nodded, but before they could move the body, Marie interrupted. “You can’t take her!”

Bailey turned on her. “I need her lab to work. I don’t have any tools here. You freed me to save her. You have to let me.”

“Then I’m coming too.”

“Wait . . .” Sarah began to object, but Bailey stopped her.

“Let her come. David, please make sure she keeps this on her at all times.” Bailey held up the blue crystal Julia had given them and thrust it into Marie’s hand. “Okay?”

Both Sarah and Marie nodded. David helped Bailey carry Rebecca’s body through the portal.

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