“Gramma?” Sib said. She was sitting sideways in a chair right next to him but she didn’t seem to hear him. He stood up from where he had fallen. “Are we dead?”
“Ouch!” said Inchon. Sib whirled and behind him were the other Pathfinders. Hye-lin had just pinched Incheon on the arm.
“What did you do that for?” he cried.
“Just to make sure we’re not dead,” she replied.
“Where are we?” Sib asked them.
“We’re in your grandmother’s memory,” Willow explained. “Lily discovered that the pool is a penseive.”
Sib looked back at his grandmother. She was sitting up on a chair - not paralyzed - and she looked twenty years younger than he remembered her. She was looking right through Sib. Her mouth was moving, but there was no sound. He turned around. “Who is she talking to?” There was nobody in that corner of the room; just a bookcase.
“I don’t know,” Willow replied. “But she’s been talking for a couple of minutes now. Let’s look around.”
The others spread out around the room. Sib took in the space and assumed they were in a library. The room was octagonal with bookshelves on every wall except the one that held tall double oak doors and faced the chair that his grandmother was sitting sideways in. She was talking into the back left corner of the room. Sib looked up and saw that the ceiling towered overhead; the skylights and high windows bathing the room in light.
“Why can’t we hear anything?” he asked.
“I don’t know,” said Lily. “The Librarian didn’t say anything about that.”
“Is that how you knew?” Sib asked. “What did she…”
“Look,” said Hye-lin. “Someone’s coming.” The door to the room opened and a woman in a green cloak and hood entered the room. Her long braided black hair hung down from her hood on one side. Sib’s grandmother had turned in her chair and was now facing the woman. They started carrying on a conversation.
“Can anyone read lips?” Lef asked. The silence from the others answered her question. Sib’s grandmother gestured to the chair on the opposite side of her and the woman in the green cloak sat down, but didn’t push back her hood. Her face was still in shadow. The two of them continued their conversation for a while and then Sib’s Grandmother closed her eyes and the conversation stopped.
“The Librarian told me what it looks like when someone falls into a penseive,” Lily said, answering Sib’s question from before. “She described the misty liquid and how it looks like someone gets sucked inside when they touch the surface. It freaked her out the first time she saw it.”
“I know how she feels,” said Sib.
“Right. That lined up perfectly with what you saw in your vision, so when I told Willow, she got that look in her eyes and...well…” She looked around to make sure Willow couldn’t overhear her.
“I understand,” said Sib. He knew better than to argue with Willow when she was committed to something. “So you were just the last one in?”
“Yeah. I was waiting for you, but I was afraid I’d miss something, so I went. You got there the second I broke the surface and fell.” Sib’s grandmother was reciting something now. She looked to Sib like she was in a trance.
“Do you think she’s reciting the prophecy?” Willow asked.
“I guess. Fat lot of good it does us, though,” Sib said.
“Some of it looks the same,” said Incheon, who had been nearby, watching Sib’s grandmother’s face. “Her lips matched up with some of the words that were in the New York Ghost’s version of the prophecy.”
“But not all?”
“Nope,” he said. “And I now know that I am no good at lip reading.”
Sib saw his grandmother finish reciting the prophecy and a moment later, the woman in the green cloak got up and left. Sib’s grandmother turned in her chair and looked back toward the empty bookshelf in the back left corner. The entire room started to fade, but Sib swore he saw something move behind the bookshelf. He started walking toward it, but the vision was gone; the walls, ceiling and floor fading to white mist.
The seven of them were standing in a completely white space with no features at all. After a moment, log walls faded back in around them. This time, they were in a one-room cabin in the woods. Sib recognized his grandmother - still the same age as the previous vision - but laying in a bed, unmoving.
“Is that your grandfather?” Lef asked him pointing to an older man puttering about the kitchen of the cabin.
Sib nodded. “Yeah.” This time the memory had sound. Sib heard the clatter of pots and pans and the chirping of birds outside through the window. He didn’t remember his grandfather, as he had passed away when Sib was very young, but he recognized his face from the pictures that were in his cabin at home.
“Dang it, Teresa!” his grandfather called out. “Where’d ya hide the fryin’ pan?” He looked over at her and as Sib followed his glance, he saw his grandmother’s eyes move to a spot on the wall. Sib looked up to see the frying pan hanging from a peg on the wall.
“Well, I’ll be,” his grandfather said. “That’s a good spot for it.” He set the other pans back with a clatter and stood up, taking the frying pan off of the wall and setting it on an ancient stove. He grabbed some vegetables from the icebox and was cutting them with a knife while he was talking to her.
“Your friend said she was gonna stop by tomorrow,” he told her as he chopped. Sib thought his grandfather sounded unhappy about it. “I ain’t sayin’ she’s not welcome, but I’m not overly fond, if you hear what I’m sayin’. What she can do...well, it ain't natural.” He set the knife down and turned back to the icebox to grab something. His hip brushed the knife handle and it tumbled to the floor at his feet, making a ringing sound as it stuck point-first. His grandfather looked down.
“How about that. Lookit, Teresa.” He held his foot up in the air. The knife was sticking out of the toebox of his shoe. “That knife landed and cut through my shoe, goin’ right between my toes. Just a smidgen either way would’a cut my toe right off.” He yanked the knife back out of his dirty shoe and went right back to cutting the sausages he had pulled from the ice box. "I suppose you want me to translate for her?" He looked up at Sib's grandmother.
"I figured. I'm half tempted to teach her Morse code myself so I don't have to babysit you." He was gesturing with the knife and he was flinging little bits of cut sausage around him.
'I love you.'
"I know it."
That must be the code that she had been using. Sib glanced at Willow and she nodded back at him in confirmation.
His grandfather finished chopping and put the vegetables and sausages into the frying pan. The smell made Sib’s mouth water. I guess I should've had lunch.
As the food cooked, Sib’s grandfather came around the counter where he had been working and sat down in a chair next to his wife. He reached out and held her limp hand. “Why would anyone attack you?” he said.
‘I don’t know.’
“It’s from hangin’ out with that shapeshifter, I’ll bet”
“No? Don’t you ‘no’ me, woman! She’s trouble, I tell ya.”
He sighed. “Dang it, Teresa. Alright, Wendy-go can come over.” He got up from the chair and started pacing.
“It ain’t fair.” He held out his right hand with a plain silver ring on it. “When you gave me this lucky ring, you told me that as long as I wore it, I wouldn’t suffer no harm. All this time, it’s kept me from gettin’ a scratch, but it seems that everyone around me takes the brunt. I’m sick and tired of havin’ everyone else get hurt around me.” He used his left hand to pull the ring off of his right, struggling to get it over his swollen knuckle. "Good thing I got some sausage grease on my finger."
“There!” he said, holding the ring up in the air after he had removed it. “This ring might’a been a ring of luck for me, but it was a ring of bad luck for everyone I cared about.” He tossed it in the air and caught it again. “You know I love you, but this ring can go to hell.” He leaned back and pitched it out of the open window. “You alright?” he asked her.
He sat down on the chair again. “You know, I’m feelin’ better already.” He leaned back in the chair, tipped backwards and flailed his arms and legs out to regain his balance, but it was too late; the chair crashed down with him in it. “Ow!” he called out from the floor. “That hurt.” The memory again faded to white.
“Did he say ‘Wendy Go?” Lily asked.
“Maybe that’s what she meant,” Willow responded. “Find Wendy Go. Do you know her, Sib?”
Sib shook his head. He had never heard anyone in his family mention anyone named Wendy. He was looking at the ring on his right hand. Could this be grandpa’s ring? His thoughts were interrupted as the mist coalesced into a new room. This one he recognized. It was his grandmother’s hospital room. She was propped up in a hospital bed and she was as Sib remembered her from the last time he had seen her. These memories were recent. A man in a black MACUSA uniform was sitting next to her.
“I hope your grandchildren are well,” he said. “I hear that young Sibelius is at Gampton Hall this year.”
“I also heard that he’s had a bit of trouble with the sorting hat. It seems it wanted to sort him into a house that doesn’t exist.” Sib’s grandmother just stared at him. “Look, Teresa, don’t you see how important that memory is? From what Hobilard says, it’s the fifth house...at Gampton Hall.” Again, he was met with a stony stare. “If this is about the accident, I’m truly sorry. You know I am. He was just trying to follow orders to retrieve that memory and he got a little carried away. How were we supposed to know that the damage was permanent?” His grandmother looked away.
“We can help protect the memory, Teresa. All of the magic world is relying on us. We have to ensure that the prophecy - your legacy - is properly protected from misuse. What would happen if the true version of the prophecy were released to the world?” Sib’s grandmother looked at him again.
“Yes, you’ll give me the memory?” He stood up in excitement.
“Wait, so you want it released?” He was angry now.
“Well that will never happen, Teresa." He turned and picked up his coat. "I think we’re through here. I tried to be nice about it, but I’m sure that my successor will be less pleasant. In the end, MACUSA will have that memory.” He turned and left, the memory fading to white.
Incheon looked at him. “That guard at the hospital wasn’t protecting your grandmother at all was he?”
“I reckon not,” said Sib as the hospital room faded back in. This time there was a new MACUSA representative.
Willow inhaled suddenly. “It’s him!” she said. It was the man who had confronted them after they had extracted his grandmother’s memories. He was standing above Sib’s grandmother, his wand in his hand.
“Mrs. Hooplandlander, you’re going to give me that memory. You know what happened to Maria when she refused to cooperate. You’ve managed to withhold it from everyone else, but I know how to convince you. Your son has an upcoming trial, did you hear?” The man appeared spiteful as he told her. “I have the power to grant him leniency. Think of that, Mrs. Hooplander. Your son could be free and all you have to do is give me that memory.”
“We need to control the message, Mrs. Hooplander. You of all people should understand how easy visions are to misinterpret.”
“I see. It seems you’re willing to sacrifice your own son to hang on to a damaged, useless relic. Perhaps I should investigate your grandsons?” Sib’s grandmother’s eyes grew wide with fear. “Yes, I see we’re communicating better now. Perhaps my ultimatum should be crystal clear so that there’s no misinterpretation. Give me the memory or I will find a way to make your grandsons suffer. I haven’t chosen which one yet...I’ll leave you with that to think about." The vision faded to white and Sib felt himself getting lighter.
“Whoa!” called Lef. “What’s happening?”
“It’s the end of the memories,” called Lily, floating upward somewhere to the left of Sib. A second later, he was standing at the side of the pool, the six others surrounding it. The pool still swirled slowly with mist.
“Okay,” said Willow. “We need to find somebody named Wendy Go.”
“We need to go back in,” said Sib.
“Why?” asked Lily. “Did we miss something?”
“The first vision. I need to go back.”
“But it was broken,” Willow complained.
“Just do whatever Lily told you to do with the memories,” Sib told her. “I’m goin’ back.”
Willow turned to Lily and made a look that said ‘what do I do now?’
“The most recent memories should be near the top,” Lily told her. “So just pull them out until there’s only one left. That should be the first one.” Willow knelt down by the edge of the pool and used her amulet to scoop memories from the pool, starting with the ones that were swirling closest to the surface. As she pulled the first one out, it dangled off of her amulet in two pieces and she poured them both into the crystal vial where she had been keeping them. She did it again and a second memory went back into the vial.
“Okay,” she said, standing up. “There’s only one left. It should be the library. Do you want us to stay here?” she asked.
“No,” said Sib. “If what I think is true, I need y’all to see it too.” He reached down with his hand and touched the surface of the pool and felt the familiar pull as he was dragged back into the memory.
He stood looking at his grandmother. She was still talking to the bookshelf behind him, but he saw her in a new light. She was vibrant and alive in this memory. And MACUSA took that from you. All because of the vision. It ain’t right. I’m gonna make sure that prophecy gets released...I promise you, Gramma.
“She’s talking to a bookshelf,” said Incheon.
“Look behind the books,” said Sib, not bothering to turn. He knew what they would find. The shapeshifter.
“Oh yeah,” said Lef. “Look, it’s a black cat.”
“Weird, though,” said Willow. “I’ve never seen a cat with glowing grey eyes.”
Incheon looked at Sib. “Yeah,” Sib said in answer to his unasked question. “She didn’t say ‘find wand go’ or ‘find Wendy Go’. She wants us to find the Wendigo."
"A shapeshifter that eats people?" asked Incheon, reciting the storybook definition of the creature.
"How do you know that's the Wendigo," asked Willow, pointing toward the bookshelf where the cat was hiding.
"I've met her twice before. Once in the north woods when she had us running for our lives last year and again in the alley outside of Miss Chantrix's shop. The glowing grey eyes are the same no matter what shape she takes."
"But a mage can't transfigure into more than one animal," protested Incheon.
"Unless she isn't an ordinary mage," said Lef.
"Or it isn't a mage at all," muttered Incheon.
"Quinta, what are you doing?" Hye-lin asked. Sib turned to see that Quinta was sitting on the same chair as Sib's grandmother, and was curently occupying the same space as her, making it look like she was a creature with four arms. Quinta wasn't looking at the bookshelf and instead was staring intently at the woman in the green robe.
"Quinta, are you alright?" Lef asked.
"I don't think so," she replied. She pointed at the woman across from her. "This is my mother. Maria Rodriguez."
"The MACUSA man," Quinta continued. "What did he say about her?"
"You know what happened to Maria when she refused to cooperate," recited Incheon.
"Quinta," said Sib. "What happened to your mom?"
"She's gone," she said. "She disappeared over a year ago." They stood in silence as the green-robed woman rose and walked out of the room. The Quinta-grandmother creature split as Sib's grandmother turned back to speak to the cat in the bookshelf and the room faded to white.
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