The choice was unanimous.
We all loved the house on the hill.
Samantha helped us make the move easier.
Once we got to the new house she hugged us and told us she was only a few blocks away, if we needed anything.
Apparently we had some extremely rare gem spires at our house in Lucky Palms that sold for over $38,000 each!
I had no idea! Between selling the three gems and our house in the desert, we were off to a great start in our new town.
Our favorite place was the pond and gazebo.
Whether it was fishing,
reading a good book,
being inspired to paint,
or joining the bullfrogs in an evening melody,
it was always the place to relax.
I really enjoyed the diner I was working at.
(At first glance, it looked a bit dreary, but it must have just been the weather.)
It was a replica of a boat discovered in the bay 10 years ago.
After about a month in the new house, the girls heard a noise outside.
“Meew. Meew. Meeeew.”
They both ran outside to investigate.
The “Meew’s” were replaced with “Awe’s”.
Followed only by “Daddy, can we keep him? Pleeeaassee?”
“You know that cute little kitten is going to turn into a cat, right?” I asked, half jokingly.
“Of course, Daddy.” Bianca chuckled.
I am such a sucker.
“Yes, you can keep him. But he is your responsibility.”
“Yay! Thank you!!!”
I’ll admit, he was pretty dang cute.
Especially when he played in the big fish.
And Bianca took excellent care of him.
“Who’s a good kitty? Corwin is a good kitty!”
Before I knew it Victoria Graduated High School.
She was now a beautiful young lady.
It was a perfect day for a summer festival.
Of all things to participate in, Victoria joins a hot dog eating contest.
She then decided to congratulate the 2nd place winner, Fausto.
By giving him her phone number.
My children were getting older.
And so was I.
I pretended they weren’t there.
Pretend as I might, I guess it really got me down.
“What’s the matter Marcus?”
“I guess age is really sneaking up on me.”
“Oh, Marcus. I understand.”
“Look at me. I am not getting any younger, either. You are still dashingly handsome, though.” Pandora flirted.
“Our second child is about to become a young man, but he still has the hottest mom around!” I flirted back.
“You think so?”
“I know so.”
And so it was, Victor was a young man.
I came home one evening to find him giving flowers to a young lady that looked very familiar.
“Victor? Was that Jasmine’s daughter, Sandra?” I asked after she left.
He seemed unnecessarily embarrassed. “Yes, father. I hope you aren’t upset with me.”
“Upset? Why would I be upset?”
“Um…because she is a little older than me?”
“Well, I think I had a crush on her when we lived in Lucky Palms, but now…now, I love her.”
“Victor. I am very happy for you.”
Victor’s dream was to become a magician. He had grown up around witches, and although he had no “magic powers” of his own, he was incredibly talented.
Bianca was so supportive and went to many of his “gigs”.
When he got his Magic Box, Pandora let him practice with her…
A few sword pricks on her legs…
..and it was a long time before she got in the box again.
He got much better and often drew a crowd.
It was an ordinary day.
I went to the pet store to pick up some catfood for Corwin.
“John? Is that you?” the lady behind the counter asked me.
“No, you must be mistaken. My name is Marcus.”
“I’m quite sure I’m not mistaken. I never forget the way someone smells.”
Did she just say ‘smells?’
“Then one night there was a horrible fire. His house and belongings demolished in the flames. Everyone assumed John burned with it, but I know-his body was never found.”
“How long ago was did that happen?”
“It’s been about 30 years. I searched for my friend for 5 years…”
For some reason I felt compelled to tell her about my life as I remember it…waking up in Lucky Palms with no recollection of who I was.
I had no idea how close her and “John” were, but I made sure to mention my beautiful wife and children.
She listened intently.
When I was finished she said,”Your- I mean, John’s, house was next to the waterfall. Maybe going there will help jog your memory.”
“Thank you. I might just do that. It was nice to talk to you.”
“It was nice to see you again. I am glad you are happy, and look forward to seeing you again.”
I got in the car and headed for the waterfall.
It started to sprinkle.
Even so, the waterfall was majestic.
I stood there for a while, but nothing came to me.
No rush of memories.
I was about to leave.
And that’s when I saw it.
A rusty old telescope.
I was curious.
I looked through it.
I turned the telescope through a clearing in the clouds. The stars were amazing.
What is that?
I zoomed in.
Chills went through my entire body.
Every strand of hair stood on end.
“That’s enough, human.”
I turned around.
There was no one around.
I was alone.
But I heard the warning.
I got in my car and looked at the clock.
Pandora was almost done at work. I needed to talk to her.
I drove to the park and waited for her.
When she saw me she immediately knew something was wrong.
I told her everything and her face grew pale.
“Come, let’s look in the crystal ball.”
“Marcus, this isn’t good. Please. Leave your past alone. Nothing good will come of searching.”
Her words confirmed my gut.
I took a deep breath. “Let’s go home.”
That night I had a horrible nightmare.
Although my past kept nagging my mind, the warnings were clear enough for me.
With Bianca about to graduate, I felt old age within my grasp.
It was time to have a sit down with the kids.
I began. “As we all know, your mother and I are getting older. You are all three equally special to us, and we are so proud of all of you.”
“We want to talk to you today about our future.” Pandora jokingly added.
“While I know you all have this you want to accomplish in life, I want one of you to commit to fulfilling your dreams here.” I said.
“We want to pass this house down to one of you, and your children’s children children.” said Pandora.
“I’ll do it.”