Chapter Six Hundred and Twenty: Can you help?
Chapter Six Hundred and Twenty-Two: Maggie and her friends

Chapter Six Hundred and Twenty-One: Hysterics

CHAPTER SIX HUNDRED and TWENTY-ONE

“I leave you alone for one moment and you pick up some half-wit fairy,” Mari said.

“I could never replace you, my love,” Otis said. “I am simply irresistible to the females.”

Mari laughed, and the fairy shook herself head to toe.

“You’re stronger than you look,” Mari said.

“Who are you?” the woman asked, angrily through her clenched teeth.

“Princess Marigold,” Mari said. She gave a slight bow, touching the Princess Blade to her forehead. “Queen Fand’s realm. And you?”

“That’s the Princess Blade,” the woman said, her voice laced with awe. “I’ve only seen it in books.”

“What books?” Mari asked with a sniff.

“It was a long, long time ago,” the woman said. “I was a young girl.”

“Hmm,” Mari said. “Who are you?”

“I am Nixie,” the woman said. “I’m from no realm.”

“You’re one of the lost fairies,” Mari said, under her breath. “Edie.”

Princess Edith appeared wearing her full fairy armor and carrying her heavy blade, the “Head Remover.” She looked around and then gave Mari an irritated look.

“What?” Edie asked.

“A lost fairy,” Mari said.

Edie turned to look at the nurse.

“She says that she’s ‘Nixie,’” Mari said.

“Where were you born?” Edie asked.

“Who are you?” Nixie asked.

“Princess Edith,” Edie said. “I am the head of all of the fairy realms.”

“Big whoop,” Nixie said. “Why should I care. . .?

“We have joined the three fairy realms,” Edie said. “We’ve returned the fourth fairy queen to her throne.”

“We’ve been searching for fairies like you,” Mari said.

“Like me?” Nixie asked.

“Exactly like you,” Edie said. “It’s a very long story. If you’d like to come with me. . .”

“No,” Nixie said, irritably. “Look around you, princess.”

Nixie said the last word with a bit of a sneer.

“People are dying,” Nixie said. “I use my gifts to help. What do you do?”

Edie opened her mouth to say: “I just saved the entire world, little fairy,” but decided against it. Nixie turned to see Otis sitting on Sam’s bed.

“What is he doing?” Nixie asked irritably. “If he dies, it’s on me!”

Edie raised her eyebrows at Mari.

“He’s a healer,” Mari said. “He comes from a long line of healers going back to the beginning of time. That man in the bed is our friend.”

“Why not heal everyone?” Nixie asked. “You heal only this man because he’s your friend? That’s morally irresponsible.”

Mari raised her eyebrows and glanced at Edie. The sisters nodded together.

“Otis?” Mari asked.

He looked up at her.

“Come to me,” Mari said.

He walked toward her.

“Come, Nixie,” Edie said. “Take my hand.”

With Otis in front of her, Mari held out a hand to Edie and to Nixie. The nurse took Edie and Mari’s hands. They formed a circle around Otis.

“Now what?” Nixie asked.

Mari nodded at Edi. A pulse went out from the fairies through Otis and through the hospital. Everyone in the entire building was affected by the burst. Edie nodded to Mari and stepped away. She and Nixie disappeared. Mari wrapped her arms around Otis and disappeared.

“What just happened?” the ICU nurse asked.

A doctor jogged into the area. He looked went from patient to patient.

“They are getting better,” the doctor said.

The nurse and the doctor stood back for a moment.

“Let’s hope it continues,” the doctor said and jogged out.

~~~~~~~~

Thursday morning — 6:01 a.m.

Blane knocked on the loft door. When no one came to the door, he opened the door and went inside.

“Hello?” Blane asked from the door, but the cloth face mask he was wearing kept the sound from moving.

Feeling uncomfortable, he quietly walked across the floor. Jacob and Jill’s door was opened. He peeked inside.

Jill was fast asleep.

Blane cleared his throat and Jill sat up. She grabbed the cloth mask off her bedside table and put it on.

“Sorry,” Blane said.

“What’s happened?” Jill jumped out of bed. She picked up his phone and look at it. “Did you hear about Sam?”

“No, this is something else,” Blane said.

He stepped into the doorway. He held the hand of a six or seven year old Native American girl and an infant in his arms.

“You remember Ooljee?” Blane asked. He gestured with the infant in his arms. “This is her brother. I don’t know his name. . .”

“Bidzil,” Ooljee said.

“But they call him ‘Ben,’” Blane said.

“They just told you that because you’re white,” Ooljee said.

Blane grinned at her.

“What’s going on?” Jill asked.

“I wondered if you could check them,” Blane said.

Jill got out of bed. She came over to Blane and knelt down to Ooljee.

“Hi, Ooljee,” Jill said. “Would you mind if I touch you?”

Ooljee gave Jill a long look before giving her a slight nod. Jill touched Ooljee’s face, throat, and torso.

“You seem hungry,” Jill said.

Ooljee nodded.

“My Mom is on a trip and my grandparents are sick,” Ooljee said. “We ran out of food.”

“How awful,” Jill said. Her eyes flicked to Blane, who looked as horrified as she felt. “Why don’t we get you something to eat?”

“And my brother too?” Ooljee asked. “He’s sick. Is Katy here? My cousin?”

Jill reached out to Blane and he set the child in her arms. Jill instinctively cooed to the young boy.

“Your cousin?” Blane asked.

“Paddie?” Ooljee said. “He’s about this big. . .”

She held out her hand above her head.

“Has white hair?” Ooljee asked. “White skin?”

“He’s here, but he’s sick,” Jacob said.

“Katy?” Ooljee asked. “She’s probably not sick because of her mother’s gift.”

“Her what?” Blane asked trying to play it cool.

Ooljee pointed to herself, “I’m on the spirit way. I can see what people are by looking at them. Like you, Uncle Blane, have new skills from your new blood.”

“Okay,” Blane said with a nod. “I believe you.”

Ooljee gave him a beautiful smile. She was a small girl, but her mother, Margaret Peaches, was small in size. The girl’s skin was the color of milk and coffee. Her long hair was perfectly brushed into braids, and she wore clean clothing.

“Where’s your mom’s husband?” Blane asked.

“He’s on some kind of lockdown,” Ooljee said and shrugged. “Something Irish. Plus he said all of the kids were here so I asked to come here.”

“Joey and Maire are here,” Jill said, still focused on the child in her arms.

“And Paddie,” Ooljee said with a nod. “The older kids are still at home, but they mostly take care of themselves.”

Ooljee nodded.

“You don’t mind that we’re here, do you?” Ooljee asked.

“Not at all,” Jill said. “Happy to have you. Everyone’s been having a lot of fun.”

Blane just nodded in agreement.

“Your brother’s quite ill,” Jill said. “He needs to see the doctor.”

“I thought so too, but Uncle Blane wanted to see you first,” Ooljee said. “Am I sick?”

“Not that I can tell,” Jill said.

“Okay,” Ooljee said, with a nod.

The door to the loft opened, and Delphie came in. She noted that Jill was still in her pajamas.

“I came up to see if Ooljee wanted some pancakes and eggs,” Delphie said. “I’m making them. Do you eat wheat, Ooljee? Any food issues we should know about?”

“No,” Ooljee said.

She skipped away from Blane, Jill, and her brother. Delphie looked at Jill, and Jill nodded.

“Do you have a mask?” Delphie asked the girl. “We have virus here.”

Ooljee shook her head.

“We’ll get you one downstairs,” Delphie said.

Delphie held out her hand to Ooljee and they left.

Jill heard Ooljee asking if Ivy was there. They heard the low mumble of Delphie’s voice.

“Good that she came,” Jill said.

“Does he need the hospital or just the doctor?” Blane asked.

“I was just trying to figure that out,” Jill said. “I don’t think it’s Covid. It’s something else. I think.”

“Fin and Tanesha are downstairs,” Blane said. “They are getting ready to go in to work the ER.”

“Bidzel needs a doctor,” Jill said. “Do you know when Dr. Bumpy opens?”

“Soon,” Blane said. “By the time we’re dressed we can be there.”

“I can take him,” Jill said. “You have to get to Lipson.”

“I need to see Heather,” Blane said. “Hecate brought the children and Gando. He’s sick but Mike’s with him. Hecate and Heather are having a raging argument.”

“About what?” Jill asked.

“No idea,” Blane said. “They are speaking in a language that. . .”

Blane lifted his shoulders and shook his head.

“No idea,” Blane said. “Mostly, it seems like Hecate is freaking out and Heather’s trying to calm her, but that’s just what I see. I brought the kids upstairs just to get away from them.”

“Good plan,” Jill said.

“I am not stupid,” Blane said. “So, get dressed. I’ll check in. We can head to the clinic.”

“Good,” Jill said. “Thanks.”

Blane held out his hands for the boy. She set him into his arms.

“I’ll send Tink up to take care of the kids,” Blane said.

“Thanks,” Jill said.

Blane left the loft. Jill changed out of her pajamas and into jeans and a long sleeved T-shirt. She grabbed a sweater that Delphie had knit for her. She checked on her boys before checking in with Katy. She found Katy, standing in the middle of her room, whispering into a walkie talkie.

“Ooljee’s here,” Jill said.

“Is she sick?” Katy asked.

“She’s not,” Jill said. “She’s downstairs helping Delphie make pancakes. I have to go to see Dr. Bumpy for Ooljee’s little brother.”

“He’s sick?” Katy asked.

Jill nodded.

“Tink is coming up,” Jill said.

The loft door opened and Tink rushed in.

“She’s here,” Jill said. “Try not to be crazy while she’s here.”

Katy laughed. She waved to her mother. Jill heard Katy update Paddie over the walkie talkie. Jill grinned at her daughter’s response and turned to Tink.

“I know the drill,” Tink said. “Paddie’s still sick.”

“He’s getting better,” Jill said. “Connor’s in with the boys. If I were you, I’d wake them up rather than have them discover that you’re here.”

“Good thinking,” Tink said with a grin. “Katy?”

“She’s dressed,” Jill said. “You can send her down to have pancakes if you want.

“She’s not going to want to leave Paddie,” Tink said.

“True,” Jill said. “I won’t be gone long. I just need to take the baby to see Dr. Bumpy. I’ll stay in touch.”

Jill was at the door when she turned.

“Keep track of your hours,” Jill said. “We’re happy to pay for your help.”

Tink gave Jill a braces filled smile, and Jill left. Jill worried her way down the long stairwell to the kitchen. Once in the kitchen, she was distracted by the smell and the people. Everyone was wearing masks. The back door was open for ventilation. Delphie was laughing at something Valerie had said. Joey, Maire, Chase, and Beau were milling around Ooljee.

Jill grinned at the chaos and went to find Blane. He was standing near the door with the child in his arms.

“Any progress?” Jill asked.

“If you mean, ‘Did Abi come down and it got worse?’ Then yes,” Blane said. “Let’s get out of here before they decide to end the world or whatever.”

“You don’t think we should stay and help?” Jill asked. Grinning, she added, “With the world in the balance?”

“No,” Blane said, severely.

They got to Jill’s sedan and got inside.

“I was kidding,” Blane said.

“I know,” Jill said.

They laughed.

~~~~~~~~

Thursday morning — 5:45 a.m.

Blane and Heather were sound asleep in the pullout bed in their little basement apartment in the Castle. Blane had morning appointments and would catch up with Jacob in the afternoon. They were hoping to sleep in a bit before the chaos of the day started.

Hecate appeared in their apartment with Gando Peaches, his grandniece, Ooljee, and a toddler. She stood at the end of the bed and sighed.

“Well, get up,” Hecate said, in some language.

Blane shot out of bed, but Heather gave her friend a dark look.

“We’re sleeping in,” Heather said, in the same language.

She turned over away from Hecate. Confused, Blane looked from Heather to Hecate.

“These children and my beloved are sick,” Hecate said. “There’s a pandemic on, Hedone. You know what that means.”

“That I sleep more,” Heather said.

Sensing the tension in the room, Blane went in to wake his sons.

“How about this,” Blane said, pulling on his pajama pants. “Why don’t I take the children to see Jill and get Mike for Gando?”

Hecate and Heather glared at each other. Neither goddess responded to him.

“Good that we agree,” Blane said. “Come on, boys.”

He picked up Wyn and shuffled and arm to carry the child in Hecate’s arms. He looked at Ooljee.

“I can walk,” Ooljee said.

“Me too!” Mack said. “Bye-bye Mommy.”

When Heather didn’t respond, Mack just shrugged. Blane opened the door. Mack ran out of the room, and Ooljee followed. Blane gave the goddesses one last look before heading into the hallway.

“What is wrong with you?” Heather asked, in the same strange language.

“I am. . .” Hecate started.

Her lips opened and closed like a fish out of water. She dropped Gando onto the bed.

“You know what’s wrong!” Hecate screamed with such rage that magic flew out of her in a rainbow.

She held her hands out sideways. Between them there was scene after scene of Hecate being burned at the stake, drowned, her head cut off, and other forms of torture. There were images of her followers being brutalized by “Christian” men. The images flowed out of Hecate like water from a spring. When Heather looked up at her friend, Hecate’s face was covered with tears.

There was a knock on the door. Mike came into the room. He looked at Hecate and then caught what she was showing Heather. Without saying anything, Mike picked up the still unconscious Gando Peaches and left the room without comment.

The women looked at the door when it closed.

“What about this?” Heather asked.

“Most of the dragons have gone into hiding already,” Hecate said.

“Bestat?” Heather asked.

“She’s waiting for her rider to return from his trip,” Hecate said. “Every one of her family, all of her offspring, and their children have already gone into hiding.”

“You’re saying that we need to return to Olympia?” Heather asked.

“No, we won’t be safe in Olympia,” Hecate said. Her eyes were wild with fear and anger. “You remember the time that Zeus turned me over to. . . over to. . .”

Heather reached out to touch her friend’s hands rather than see the more than hundred years where Hecate was tortured. It was only stopped by Perses arriving to save his daughter. The ensuing blood bath was so traumatic for Hecate that it took Heather years to bring her back.

“We have to find somewhere safe where no one will find us,” Hecate said.

“Like Mars?” Heather asked.

“Mars won’t work!” Hecate said. “There are something they call a ‘probe’ and little computer things up there.”

“You’ve checked Mars?” Heather asked. Her face reflected her doubt.

“Of course I did,” Hecate said. “They. . . they. . ..”

Hecate began to sob. Waves of energy and magic flowed out of the basement. Abi arrived moments later.

Suddenly, Hecate and Abi were in a raging argument while Heather continued to sit on the pull out bed, in her pajamas, wondering what to do. Blane arrived in the middle of that chaos. He gave Heather a compassionate look, and she shrugged. He changed quickly, grabbed his jacket, and left. Neither Hecate or Abi was aware that he had been there.

As the door was closing behind Blane, Perses, Hecate’s father, arrived. He took one look at his daughter and scooped her up. In a split second, he reached for his first wife, Cleo the cat, but Cleo hissed at him. He and Hecate disappeared.

Heather sat on her bed for a long moment. Cleo walked gingerly across the bed until she sat in Heather’s lap. Heather looked at the cat.

“Sandy’s okay?” Heather asked.

The cat rubbed up against Heather.

“You should risk traveling like that,” Heather said. “You’ll wear yourself out.”

Cleo settled on Heather’s lap.

“You did it for your daughter,” Heather said. “I understand. You probably called Perses, too.”

Cleo meowed.

“Is that Cleo?” a child’s voice asked outside the door.

Heather got up and opened the door. Rachel Ann, Sandy and Aden’s daughter, came into the small apartment. Before Heather could say anything, the child grabbed Cleo off the bed and left the apartment. Heather swung the door closed.

Heather used the bathroom. She was in the process of crawling into bed when she heard, through her mind, Hecate call her name. Sighing, Heather set her human body down on the bed and went to see what her rightfully hysterical friend needed.

Denver Cereal continues next week...

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