"Margret, I think we have found something wonderful here!"
Margret turned to the man speaking, her colleague. She saw the thing he held, and went to his side. "What have you found there Edward?" Margret watched intently as he slowly and carefully cleaned the object.
"It's a bracelet." Edward said as he began to clean the dirt from the intricate design.
"My gosh! Look at the size of that stone!" Margret declared.
"Do you recognize the language?"
Margret shook her head as she took possession of the bracelet from Edward. "It's unlike anything I've ever seen before." She turned the bracelet in her hands studying the delicate inscription. "Definitely not anything that I would expect to see here. This is an unusual design too. I've never seen anything like it. It's small too; for a child perhaps?" Margret muttered as she looked over the odd piece.
"Looks like your hunch paid off." Edward said. He could only imagine what the bracelet could be a prelude too. They may be about to unearth something that could very well shatter their perceptions of history.
Margret gave Edward a nod, too absorbed in the strange object she held to fully listen to Edward. Margret paused in her inspection to look at the stone once more. The pristine white quartz seemed to have some touch of amber inside it like flickering fire. As Margret looked closer to catch the elusive glimpse of that amber, the quartz began to clear, and a vision of a great and foreboding temple flashed through her mind. Margret felt herself being sucked into a world never know to exist, and she was helpless to resist.
Then a shadow fell over her, and she was shaken from her inspection by a horrible pressure of power and promise of death.
Margret looked up to where the oppressive feeling was coming from to see a bald tall figure. He had unearthly golden amber eyes that matched the rolling sands. To look into his eyes was like watching the sands themselves shifting. He was muscular, she realized, and rather large. He wore a light Dashiki and a burnous.
Margret looked at him confused, but unable to speak. Her breath was shallow, and she couldn't tear her eyes away from the man before her. Margret was captivated by his eyes, and the feeling of unimaginable power that seemed to exude from his every pore.
The man looked down on Margret and the bracelet she held.
Unknowingly she had clutched the bracelet to her breast as if it would protect her.
"You will leave here at once."
Margret shuddered as the man's voice caressed her, and made her bones vibrate. She wondered that he spoke English, but was more struck by the words. She would later learn that the workers with them had all hear the man speak in their native language, but now all she knew was his words to them.
Beside her Edward eyed the man warily. They had just discovered something potentially great, and he wanted them to leave? He wasn't about to be scared off by some random guy. "I don't know who you think you are, but you can't expect us to-"
The large man tuned his gaze to Edward, and Edward's words lodged in his throat. He felt the sudden need to fall to the ground at the man's feet. He resisted, refusing to grovel to this unknown man.
The man turned his gaze back to Margret, and Edward felt relieved and a little guilty for that relief.
The instant the man had looked away from Margret, and those eyes of his no longer trapped her, her mind began to work again. She was trying to understand more than just where this mysterious man had come from, and that feeling of power, but also just what had she seen when she had looked into the gem on the bracelet. Once she was again the focus of the man's penetrating gaze, Margret was amazed to find that she could still think.
"What is it that you don't want us to find here?" She asked in voice that came out much stronger than she had expected.
"You have seen already."
Margret nodded once.
"Take the bracelet and go. Never return."
Once more Margret nodded. Then the man was gone.
Behind Margret and Edward whispers broke out. Margret heard the workers sudden burst, and knew that somehow they had been silenced. As she turned to them she could see in their eyes that they would never speak of this place, or ever return. Already, from their rushed words, Margret could tell they thought this place cursed.
"Get everything packed up," Margret said to the workers ignoring Edward. "We leave as soon as possible."
The men didn't even acknowledge her aside from scrambling to pack all the things they had brought, and saddle the camels.
"Margret! You can't possibly-"
Margret turned her unwavering gaze on Edward. "You didn't see what I did. What's here- it was buried a long time ago, long before we even imagined possible. It needs to stay buried."
Edward stared at Margret as if she were insane. "You can't mean that. We are archeologists for heaven's sake!"
"We're leaving Edward. Just walk away and forget this place."
Edward shook his head. "I can't do that Margret. I can't believe that you can."
Margret continued to hold Edward's gaze. "You'll die if you attempt to stay, and he'll kill you if you try to come back." Without another word Margret turned away from Edward to help with the packing.
Edward bit his tongue. His gut told him to run away and forget the place just as Margret had said, but his mind couldn't let go of the discovery that could be made here. He sat down, and watched as everyone but he went about getting ready to leave. Edward wouldn't meet Margret's eyes. It wasn't because inside he was seething, and directing that anger at her, but that he couldn't understand how her eyes seemed to have aged years in a matter of minutes.
They had only been able to travel for a few hours before they had to stop for the night and make a small camp. Margret noted that it was enough to calm the workers. They were happy to be leaving that place, and so was she.
Margret glanced over to where the only person unhappy with the decision was sitting. She found the spot vacant. Margret straightened. She looked around for her colleague, but he was nowhere.
"Miss, Edward has gone-"
"Let him," Margret told the dark skinned man that had guided them to her chosen spot. "He will understand soon enough."
The man looked at Margret with wide scared eyes as she stared out over the seemingly endless sand. Margret didn't notice as he backed away from the foreign woman. With a sigh she turned to her tent, and retired.
As the night hours passed out of the desert came a soft song. Carried to the camp by a breeze the melody was haunting. Then men all prayed for their lives, and didn't notice the humming that joined the voice.
When morning broke over the little camp, Edward was back. His hair was no longer brown, but white. His eyes seemed to stare into far away distances, seeing what no one else did, and when he looked at anyone, he looked through them.
Margret, now with matching white highlights, looked at Edward. "You understand now."
Edward looked at her, the only person he ever looked at and not through from then after. "Yes," he replied in a dreamy voice.
Margret nodded once.
The rest of their journey to civilization went without interest. When it was over, the workers and the guide were happy to see the foreigners go. With the Orisha touched gone, they were free to live, and never again speak of what happened.
**Forty-five Years Later**
"Nana, will you tell me the story again?"
The young girl lay in bed. Her parents had gone off to take her elder brother, Dominic, to college, and left her behind with her grandparents. The girl didn't mind. She liked being with them. She loved the stories her grandmother would tell her of her days as an archeologist. Her favorite being the one of Africa, but her mother hated the stories. She said they were just over embellished fantasies. Her mother had gone as far as forbidding her grandmother to tell the girl the stories.
Margret chuckled at the small child. She was twelve, and had an insatiable thirst for knowledge in any form. She was more like Margret than her daughter had ever been. It was refreshing. Margret knew that she wouldn't live much longer, and she wanted to be sure that at least on descendant would carry on the legacy, and fulfill it when time came.
Shortly after Margret had left the only doomed expedition she went on she was filled with knowledge. She knew that she had started something that day, and it was up to her descendants to fix it one day. Only one of her blood could right what was done that day when she had gazed too deep into a seemingly harmless stone. Margret knew that she has stirred something terrible, and soon enough it would be revealed, and likely her young granddaughter would be the one that the responsibility would fall to.
Elita would live up to the name her mother had given her in more ways than one. Margret had known it since the girl was born, and looked at Margret with too knowledgeable eyes. It was only confirmed when Elita had been injured, and the scars left behind shadowed the design that Margret knew so well- one that mimicked an object she still had all too perfectly.
With a smile, and a glance at her husband Edward, Margret began, "I had discovered a lead to an ancient lost temple in Africa- one built long before the Egyptians built the first pyramid. Your grandfather and I mounted an expedition, and set off into the desert with several workers…"
Elita glanced to her grandfather, and their eyes met. He smiled, and Elita returned it before focusing back on the story that was already etched deep in her memory.
"Mother, you can't keep filling her head with delusions!"
Margret looked at her daughter patiently. "They are not delusions child-"
Elita peeked around the corner wishing that Dominic was still around. She missed him. He always knew how to make Elita feel better when her mother and grandmother fought.
"She has a hard time coping as it is, and you telling her fantasy stories is only making it worse! If you don't stop I will be forced to not allow visitation anymore!"
Margret's eyes became cold and angry. "Just because you never believed my history doesn't mean it isn't real."
"She dreams of Africa! She plays as if she was in Africa! She wants to grow up and save the world from demons in Africa for god's sake! It's not normal or healthy!" Lana pointed a finger at her mother. "It's your fault that she's like this. Ted and I have never encouraged such play, and asked you not to. Yet every time she is here you fill her with your stories, and let her play as she would. You don't respect our wishes, and I am sick of it!"
"So you'll strip her of the grandparents she loves? What will that do to her?"
"Don't you get all self-righteous on me. This is all your fault."
"Just because she doesn't play house like you did doesn't mean there is anything wrong with her despite what you and your husband think. At least she has the imagination to think of things beyond her little world and the horizons. There is nothing wrong with that or her."
"She will never do those things!"
Finally Elita had had enough. She stood from where she was hiding just around the corner, and moved into view. Tears were streaming down her face as she screamed at the two arguing adults, "Stop it!"
Lana moved to go to her daughter, but froze when the girl glared at her.
"You stay away from me! I am not wrong. I will do those things! I will save the world from what grandma wakened! Eshu told me I will, and I will!" With that Elita turned and dashed away ignoring her mother's calls.
Lana turned to Margret behind her with a glare. Margret didn't look at her as she turned away. "Don't glare at me child, I accept her for who she is, and I don't think she is wrong in anyway. You only have yourself to blame for this, after all you are the one with the narrow mind that can't love her child the way she is."
"I want to see her!" Elita screamed.
Lana crossed her arms as she glared at her teenage daughter. "I will not pay for you to fly halfway across the country to see that woman."
Elita glared at her mother, and Ted behind her. "Let me get this straight. Grams is sick, and I am on summer break. While you will pay for me to go East to see Domi, you won't pay for me to see my elderly ailing grandmother?"
Lana narrowed her eyes at the tone her daughter had, "That's right."
"So is it about her or is it about the money?" Elita shot back.
"I will not pay for you to see her, and that's final." Lana said.
Elita smiled suddenly, and instantly Lana's guard was up. "So you don't want to use your money. That means that I can still go see her."
"That's a fair assumption…" Lana said slowly.
"Great! So I will be going to see Grams as soon as I can book a flight." Elita said as she turned to go to her room to her computer, and do just that.
"Wait just a second young lady." Lana's voice stopped Elita midway up the stairs. "You have no way to pay for it and you won't get it from her."
Elita turned to her parents with a vicious smile. "Oh no, mother," she began with a sneer, "I will use my own money."
Lana visibly started, and Ted quickly jumped in, "What money?"
Elita laughed. "You are always so consumed by dear Domi to even notice your daughter. Think for once. All of that babysitting I do, all the yard work I do, hell even the allowance you give me for my chores, where does that go?"
Ted answered once more. "You go to the mall all the time with your friends."
Again Elita laughed. "Have you ever looked at what I've bought?"
The two parents floundered. They had seen clothes, but nothing more than that, and they could tell there was something more to it than the surface by the way their daughter was acting.
Elita took one step down the stairs toward them. "Perhaps if you actually paid attention to me once and a while you would have notice that everything I have bought was marked down clearance items. I have never bought full price. As it stands, I have a substantial amount of money saved up. More than enough for a round trip plane ticket, and two cab rides." Elita felt so triumphant. When her parents were silent, she whirled and disappeared up the stairs, but paused by the top.
"We have to let her go."
"She can't buy plane tickets with cash. She needs a credit card. So let this go, and she will be stuck anyway."
Elita snickered, and went to pack. Dominic had a credit card, and said he would book the tickets for her. He knew her love for their grandparents, and also saw the havoc that their parents disregard for her caused. Dominic knew Elita was good for the money, and had readily agreed when she had conceived her little plot to see her Grams.
Elita would see her Grams, and her parents could say nothing now.
Lana watched as her daughter packed her car full of her things. She made no move to help her as her daughter labored to fit everything. Lana just stood by and watched thankful her husband was at work. He would have wanted to help their daughter. He felt guilt about Elita. Lana harbored no such feelings. She only felt a blinding rage in her with every encounter with her daughter. It was just the same as what she had felt when she was growing up, and had a disagreement with her mother. Elita was like a clone of Lana's mother, and Lana abhorred it.
"Going to live by her?" Lana suddenly spoke the question that was more of an accusatory statement.
Elita didn't pause in her work, "Perhaps, but then if you paid attention to me at all you would already know what was going on."
Lana narrowed her eyes. Elita was always saying that Lana and her husband never paid attention to her. It may have been true that they had worried about her when she was younger, and maybe focused more on her brother when the professional help did little for Elita, but that didn't give her the right to act like this- like Lana's mother.
"You're just as predictable as she is," Lana said with disgust coloring her voice. She never denied the hurtful words- after all they were true.
Lana couldn't deny that she had always loved her son more than her daughter. He was normal child. Elita, even as a baby, wasn't ever normal. She had been quiet as a baby, sleeping through the night when she was just weeks old, and always so independent. Elita never wanted help. She always wanted to figure things out for herself. While she was exceptionally bright she was an oddity. She never wanted to be coddled and loved like Dominic had.
Elita place the last of her things in her passenger seat, and turned to her mother. She studied the hateful woman for a long time with a curiosity. "I wish it could have been different," Elita said finally.
Lana started at the unexpected emotion and softness in Elita's voice. It stirred emotions in Lana she didn't know she had, but she could help but wonder if this was how she spoke with Margret. Even though a new wave of rage was elicited at that thought it was spurned by the churning of other emotions in her. Lana heard the plea in her daughter's words, and all the years of pain. Sorrow swelled up inside Lana.
Slowly Lana shook her head, "I don't think it could have been any other way."
Elita nodded, and Lana was surprised at the old look that came into the girl's eyes. "I know mama. It was destined this way. It was how it had to be, but I wish it could have been better. All of us had to pay for Gram's mistake." Elita sighed as a single tear slipped from her eye. "I know you never believed, and never understood like I did, but trust me on this mama."
Lana wanted to rebuke her daughter, but the pain in the girl's voice, and that tear- the only tear that Lana had ever seen her daughter cry- stopped her from doing so. "Will I ever understand?" Lana had to ask; she had to know if she would ever been in on the secret that her mother and daughter seemed to share.
Elita nodded, "When it wakes, you will know- the whole world will. When you believe, you will understand."
Lana watched as her daughter approached her, and hesitantly hugged her- the first hug since her twelve year old child had told her to stay away from her after hearing the last conversation that Lana had with her mother. Lana's heart broke as her child pulled away and went to her car and opened the driver's door.
Elita met her mother's eyes, and gave her a single nod. "There is a box on my bed for dad and you. It will give you a clue of where I went." Then Elita got in her car and left.
As Lana watched the car drive away she whispered, "Happy eighteenth birthday Elita."
Once the car was gone from sight Lana went up to Elita's abandoned room. On the bed was a shoe box. Lana sat beside it, and slowly lifted the lid. Inside were more than a dozen envelopes. As Lana picked up the first one she couldn't help but note the return address. Inside each envelope was an acceptance letter to different colleges.
Lana began to cry. She didn't even know that her daughter had applied to colleges let alone twenty, and been accepted to all of them. The realization crashed down on Lana that she had no idea where her daughter was, or even who she was.