“But why?” Melissa looked into his face so that he couldn’t evade her gaze.
His eyes sparkled furiously. “Why don’t you kill me, witch? That would be easier to bear than this. Why do you dig up things best forgotten?”
“Because I want to understand you.”
“There is nothing to understand. I have killed my mother, and that’s it.” Lips pressed to a thin line, Djarret watched his father carry the baby and his dead wife from the room.
“Your mother’s death wasn’t your fault. Breech births are dangerous, particularly without the help of a midwife or a doctor.”
“I have carried something dead into the room. That broke the magical blessing and killed my mother.”
“There was no magic in the room.” Melissa was sure. “I would have felt it. What happened to the baby?”
“Kervaal? I killed him too, but much later.”
The room changed imperceptibly. The plastered walls were also whitewashed but the room was bigger and rounder. Melissa and Djarret stood in front of a flickering fireplace.
“Where are we now,” Melissa asked.
“You are the witch.”
“My magic steers the vision but it uses your memories as a starting point. So, where are we?”
Djarret turned away from Melissa. “This is father’s bedroom.” He stared into the flames silently.
The room held a bed with a little nightstand and a chair. Two colored carpets adorned the otherwise empty walls. Several candles were fastened to projections on the walls. They suggested a coziness that did not fit with the strained silence Melissa felt in the room. She stepped toward the bed. Djarret’s father lay in it, but he had aged a lot.
He opened his eyes and looked at her. With his left hand, he made a sign to avert evil. “What do you want? My time has not yet come.”
Melissa did not answer. Surprised, she retreated back to the fireplace. Her heart pounded in her chest. It was the first time somebody in a vision had noticed her.
Djarret had given up staring into the fire and stood with his back to the flames. One of the carpets Melissa had taken for decorative wall hangings was shoved aside. A young man, looking like a younger version of Djarret, entered the room and asked, “you have called, father?”
The old man straightened up with difficulty. “Sit with me, Kervaal.”
Kervaal shook up his father’s cushion and stuffed it into his back. Then, he pulled the chair closer to the bed and sat down.
The old man looked at him lovingly. “I have seen the Messenger of the One. She is as lovely as your mother was. I will go with her tonight.”
Kervaal bit his lower lip.
“Look at this crawler.” Djarret pointed to his brother. His voice was filled with hatred. “It wasn’t enough that father always preferred him. No! He also plays theater at his deathbed to badmouth me.”
Melissa silently shook her head. She saw that Kervall truly fought his tears, and the old man noticed it, too.
“Don’t cry for me, Kervaal. Soon, I will be with the One to whom I have dedicated my life. I will rest at the chest of my mother and walk at the hand of my father in the timeless heart of the One who loves us all.”
“I will miss you forever, father.” Kervaal’s voice shook.
“Where were you at that time?” Melissa looked at Djarret inquiringly.
Djarret pointed to one of the carpet doors where Melissa heard rustling. It moved as if someone stood behind it. “I was on my way to father. I couldn’t come faster because I was just back from hunting.”
The old man took Kervaal’s hand.
Melissa looked at Djarret. “Why didn’t you go in?”
“Why should I tell you?” Djarret bit his lower lip.
Melissa smiled and touched Djarret’s cheek gently. His resistance was no longer as strong as before.
Djarret shook her hand off. “I thought father wanted to see me, wanted to make amends before his death. But when I noticed that Kervaal was there already …”
Melissa looked at father and son who sat silently beside each other.
The father’s eyes were full of love and pride. “I will always be with you. You are the light of my heart. Now, time has come to place my office in your hands.”
Kervaal protested. “Djarret is your first-born.”
Djarret’s mouth fell open as if he didn’t believe what he had heard.