what if the words in a book could take you to another place - literally?
Chapter Thirty-Four ~ Tasmin
Tasmin twirled the long, thin strands of spaghetti around her fork. She watched as they circled around and around the piece of cutlery, avoiding eye contact with anyone sitting around the dinner table.
The silence was excruciating.
Tasmin hadn’t spoken to neither her Dad nor Tori since that morning, when her Dad had revealed to her the truth about her mother. A truth that had created a burning hatred she felt for him, one that made her chest feel like it was on fire, setting ablaze her heart and turning it to ashes.
“Why is everyone so quiet tonight?” Michael asked, staring wide-eyed at the faces around him. “Is Tasmin in trouble or something?”
“No, honey,” Tori laid a hand on his arm. Tasmin felt her whole body twitch in response to her action - Tori had no right to touch her brother. She was a liar and a fraud. “Tasmin isn’t in trouble. We’re all just very tired.”
“Yes,” her Dad nodded. “Why don’t you tell us about your day, Michael?”
“Okay,” his whole face lit up at his request. “In class today we did craft.”
“What kind of craft?” Tori asked, showing interest.
“Well, Miss Cormack said that Mothers’ Day is coming up, so it would be a nice idea to make cards for our mums.” He replied. Tasmin almost choked on her water.
Michael continued talking, which was probably best, as Tasmin wasn’t sure that her Dad’s pale face showed any sign of knowing what to say.
“And I decided that I would make one for Tori, because you’re kind of my mum anyway.” Michael looked up at Tori with an endearing gaze. “Well, at least, you will be someday. Right?”
Tasmin put her head in her hands. No. No. No, this wasn’t right.
She rose from her chair with such violence that it was knocked over in the process, and then proceeded to storm away from the dining room and up the stairs.
As soon as she slammed her bedroom door behind her, she heard the recognisable sound of her father’s footsteps coming up the stairs.
“I don’t want to talk,” she said without turning to face him once she heard him enter the room. “There’s nothing to talk about.”
“There is so much to talk about, Taz,” her dad shook his head. “So much that I wish I had told you earlier.”
“Did you see Michael at the table just then?” Tasmin purposely kept her voice low so that the sound wouldn’t travel to downstairs. “He believes that Tori is someone who has replaced the motherly figure in his life, when really, she is someone who is trying to bring the motherly figure in his life back.”
“I know, I know,” he put his face in his hands. “Even Tori refused to help me because of how messed up the whole thing was.”
“Wouldn’t it just have been easier to tell us the truth?” Tasmin asked. “What did you think the outcome was going to be? That one day you would be able to break the barrier and then Mum would come back - what would you tell Michael? How would you explain something like that?”
“I have so many regrets, Taz. The biggest one is not being able to make the most important decision in my life without making a huge mistake in the process. I was devastated. I didn’t know if your mum was ever going to come back. I didn’t know what to do, Tasmin! It was either that, or to tell the truth and make me sound insane, or to tell you that she had disappeared and get the police involved in some huge investigation!”
“The police didn’t have to be involved!” Tasmin tried her best not to yell in frustration.
“Yes, they did!” He rebutted. “Fay has friends - what would they say? They would demand to know why I haven’t sent out huge search parties, why I wasn’t out there searching for her myself!”
Tasmin sat down in her desk chair, and gave her dad a hard stare. “There were other options.”
“I wasn’t thinking rationally, Taz. I was panicked. I was terrified. I was devastated. Nothing in our relationship has ever been easy, I’ll admit that. But it had all gone smoothly until now. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t have anywhere to go to for help.” He rubbed his temples in a circular motion. “People do strange things under pressure. It’s part of what makes us human.”
“Are we even human?” Tasmin said quietly. “Does this...power that we have - does that make us something else?”
Her dad put an arm around her shoulders. “I don’t know what it makes us exactly. All I know is this - we have a gift. It’s dangerous. It’s unpredictable. But we need to cherish it. And I am so, so sorry that it has turned our life upside down and crushed our hearts, but everything will turn out fine. I’m sure of it.”
“Do you think Michael has the power?”
“I don’t know.” He sighed. “When you and Ley were born, your mother and I immediately detected that you possessed certain abilities similar to our own, but in what would eventually be a much more powerful form to ours. That’s why we split you up in the first place. To avoid any danger that could possibly harm you. But when Michael was born...we detected nothing.”
“Is that part of the reason why you decided against telling us the truth?”
He nodded. “But it doesn’t mean that his powers won’t develop over time. You never know.”
There was a long silence. Tasmin immediately thought that this would be the perfect time to tell him about what she had done about the whole car crash fiasco, and about glimpses of a world without Natalie had caused the panic attacks, but something stopped her. She just didn’t feel comfortable telling him just yet.
“I still don’t forgive you,” Tasmin said, resting her head on his shoulder. “And I’m not sure whether I will ever forgive you. But at least I now know the truth.”
“I don’t expect you to forgive me,” he spoke softly. “I love you, Taz. Everything I have ever done has been to protect you. Not telling you to truth was me trying to protect you from something that wasn’t necessary to be protected from.”
Tasmin smiled. “Tell me about Leylina. What does she look like? What is her world like? Does she look like me?”
“Well,” her dad began. “I don’t really know where to start. Let’s see...she is very beautiful. She has long, pale blond hair that holds a strong resemblance with that of silk. Her skin is very pale. Kind of like porcelain. Her eyes are frightening, in a way.”
“So basically...she looks nothing like me?” Tasmin shrugged. “Makes sense. I’m guessing you don’t have a photograph of her...”
Her dad laughed. “No. If I took a camera into that world...things would end interestingly.”
“What is it like - over there?”
“Hmm...well, as you probably know, your mum is Queen of her kingdom, which makes Leylina the princess. They live in this palace, not too far from the city’s core. The kingdom is surrounded by mountains and forest and all sorts of stuff like that. It really is very beautiful.”
“Do you think I’ll ever get to go?” Tasmin asked dreamily. “Do you think the barrier will ever be broken?”
Her dad stroked her fiery red hair, pushing it behind her ear. “I hope so, darling. I really do.”

Keep Reading

Chapter 35

Chapter Thirty-Five ~ Author’s Note

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