Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Dark Heart ~ Part 36

Jackson took a sip of tea. “After what I saw today in my store, I believe magic is real and that Emberlyn has … um … talent with it.”
“She does indeed,” said Alister. “Second term, sometimes that magic gets away from her … for example the storm outside and what happened to your friend Genna.”
Jackson shook his head. “Now that is what I’ll have a hard time coming to terms with. I can’t have people getting hurt on my account.”
Alister gave Jackson a half-smile. “That’s what I like about you, always thinking of others, but I’m going to ask you to be a little bit selfish. Your friend, Genna, she’ll be alright, correct?”
“Yes,” answered Jackson.
“And she has Mr. Hearst tending to her?” asked Alister
Jackson nodded.
“Good,” said Alister. “Now, knowing your friend will be okay, focus on how you feel about Emberlyn. Now what she’s done, but who she is to you.” Jackson opened his mouth to answer and Alister held up a hand. “Don’t speak yet, just think about your feelings and listen.”
“You’re not about to put a spell or something on me are you?” asked Jackson, his brows furrowed.
“Oh, Jackson,” Alister said with a sigh. “You are already under a much greater spell than I could cast. True love is a universal magic, nothing that can be harnessed by the magic of witches. Your path. Emberlyn’s. The two of you being together was put in motion long before I was born and I have lived a very long time.”
“But she has had other loves,” said Jackson. “The young man at her family’s place the day it burned. Her old fiancée.”
“Loves, yes,” agreed Alister. “True love, no.”
Alister’s eyes crinkled. “When do you figure out the old place in the woods belonged to Emberlyn’s family?”
“About half an hour after I came to terms with the fact that I had just witnessed a monsoon in my surf shop,” said Jackson. “I remembered how she traced the names on the graves and how a sadness came into her voice.”
“She lost just about everything that day,” said Alister, his heart sinking. “That is one time I wish I could have read the evil man’s mind and been able to stop the fire. I knew he was there, but thought he would follow Emberlyn and her young courter. I was just as shocked and horrified to find the house ablaze when we returned.”
“What happened to the young man? Her young courter, you called him,” asked Jackson.
Alister shook his head. “He never showed. We found out later that he had been knocked unconscious by the arsonist, but Emberlyn was too brokenhearted over her family to go to him. I didn’t force the issue, he was just fleck of love, a hint of what was to come.”
“Did that come with her fiancée?” asked Jackson.
Alister pursed his lips. “I wish I could say yes. The fact is that Emberlyn wanted love so badly she failed to see what she had with Charles Russell was not true love. She loved him, but he, as you know, was only using her.”
“Wait,” Jackson shook his head, “Charles Russell was at the party. He’s the guy I punched in the garden. I thought he was dead.”
“He’d like the whole world to believe that,” said Alister, taking a sip of his tea. “He is a con man and swindled a lot of people out of money. He tried to do the same with Emberlyn. She exposed him for the con man he was and he lost everything. The car crash was staged, but as you could tell from your encounter in the garden he is very much alive, as is Emberlyn’s former assistant. I believe she lives in Minnesota now.”
“So why was he here?” asked Jackson.
“Charles Russell is only after one thing,” said Alister. “Money.”

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