Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Chapter 13

That Monday in Mr. Kovacs’s class, they were all reminded that there were other tasks at hand besides defeating the Dark Power. They had an eight page paper to write on the Salem witch trials. Faith sat back in her seat and contemplated when she could finagle some time to get into the school library and do some further research. She had those pamphlets from the trip, but they all said pretty much the same thing and there was no way she could squeeze eight pages out of them.

Just then, Reese walked in late to class. He looked disheveled and disoriented. Concerned, Faith leaned over when he sat down and asked, “Are you feeling alright?”
His eyes were cold as he answered back, “I’m fine. Just leave me alone, ok?” His words were clipped and dripping with disdain.
“Fine. Excuse me for caring,” Faith replied making a note to find another seat away from Reese tomorrow. She looked around for any empty chairs and noticed that Luke, Layla, Justin, and Cole were all giving Reese odd looks. Something was definitely not right. Faith glared at Luke until he caught her eye. She gave him a questioning look that said, “What’s up with Reese?” Luke’s only reply was a shrug and a shake of his head. Hmm.

“Yes, Mr. Kovacs?”
“I’m happy to see that you have decided to pay attention. Could you please read the caption at the bottom of page 68?”

After class Faith grabbed the Three and pulled them aside.
“Did anyone else notice that Reese was acting weird today?”
“He wasn’t acting any stranger than normal. Are you only just now realizing that the guy is a loser?” Chase replied.
“I’m serious Chase. He seems…off.”
“He just looks tired. I’m sure that’s all it is,” Alex said shooting a glare at Chase.
“Faith, we’re going to be late to our next class,” Nick said.
“Fine, I’ll make this quick: we have to write these papers which means we have to go to the library sometime this week.”
“We have practice all week. We have a big game this Friday.”
“The paper is due next week. We’ll have to go to the library after one of your practices. Let’s just go today and get it over with,” Faith suggested.
“Sounds good. We’ll meet you there after practice.”

Faith watched the lacrosse team practice out on the field. You could tell that they were a championship team. They were all very precise and rarely made mistakes; however, The Three were poetry in motion. All three of them were effortlessly doing their drills, making the grueling exercises look easy. Although Faith kept tabs on each of her friends, her gaze kept wandering over to one in particular. What was she going to do about Chase? It was painfully obvious that he had decided to avoid her altogether. He had started out teasing her and looking for her to be a friend with benefits, but something had definitely changed. He now took every precaution to make sure they were never alone together and heaven forbid he touch her by accident. You’d think that he had just touched a leper.

Maybe it was better this way. Maybe they would be better able to fight the Dark Power if they were both able to completely focus on the cloaked man instead of each other.
But how could what they feel be wrong? She knew that Chase had to feel the same way that she did. She knew that they were meant, but how could Chase avoid her so easily? How could he look so disgusted when he touched her?

Faith sighed and decided that it was best if she stopped thinking about it until after they got rid of the cloaked man. There would be more time to think and try to figure things out later.

Faith looked up to see her cousin. “Hey Alex!”
“We’re just going to hit the showers. Chase is going to let me borrow some clothes from his room and we’ll meet you at the library, ok?”
“See you there.”
Faith grabbed her backpack from the bleachers and headed back inside.

Faith had already looked up a bunch of books on the Salem Witch trials and was placing her finds down onto a table in the library when the boys stormed in. The librarian shot the boys a look of death and uttered a harsh, “Shh,” before they could even say a word. Faith looked up and saw a look of alarm on all three of their faces.
“What’s going on?” she whispered harshly.
“Look at this,” Chase said, not bothering to lower his voice, and threw a small bag onto the table.
“I have one too,” Nick said quietly and threw another bag down that was identical to Chase’s.
“Oh,” Faith muttered nervously.
“What the heck are these? We found them stashed under our pillows. Someone managed to come into our rooms…what do they mean? There are rocks and leaves inside of them, what do those rocks do?” Chase demanded in a nearly booming voice.
“Settle down, Chase. I put those in your room.”
“What?!” All three of them exclaimed at once.
“They’re for your protection. I didn’t want the Dark Power to use your dreams against you and I wanted you to be safe in your rooms, so I put them there.”
“Why didn’t you tell us?” Nick asked.
“It was before you knew my little secret. And once you knew, I forgot to mention it to you. I’m sorry that I worried you.”
“Jesus, Faith! We nearly had heart attacks,” Alex said with an exasperated tone of voice. “Wait a second. Do I have one of those in my room too?”
“Yes, but leave it there; and you two need to bring those back up to your room. Every little bit helps, right?”
“Sure,” Alex motioned to the books Faith had placed on the table, “What have you got there?”
“We’re here to do research remember? These are the books were going to use.”
Faith pulled out a chair and motioned for the boys to do the same. “Let’s get cracking.”

“This is ridiculously boring. Why did Kovacs have to make it eight pages?” Nick griped.

Faith agreed with Nick, she’d already looked at five different books and it was getting difficult to find any new information to add into her paper. She picked up the next book on the pile and was intrigued by the cover. It was an old leather bound book with a Celtic triquetra seared into it. In the center of the triquetra where the loops met there was a small round stone that was small and gleaming. She ran her fingers over the clear stone and felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand up. Interesting, she thought. She lifted the cover and looked at the front page. It had yellowed with age and the writing was hand-scripted and read, “A History of New Jerusalem.” Faith turned the page and read the preface:

After the persecution of the good people of Ipswich and Salem villages, it was decided by the church elders to relocate the parishioners to a new area where life could be started anew, away from the evil that had held the townspeople in its grip. This new town was to be called New Jerusalem and it was first settled by the Godfreys, Pruitts, Martins, Warrens, and the Andrews; however, many of the other families soon followed suit to find new land and a fresh start. Sadly, the evil they had sought to escape found its way back into their lives. Shortly after settling in the Godfreys were mauled by wild coyotes leaving their infant son orphaned. Three townsfolk went out into the woods and rid the settlement of the coyotes. Some say they made a pact with the devil, but others say they were blessed with God’s divine hand because from that day forward not one coyote has found its way back into New Jerusalem.

Faith flipped back through the pages to find out more about the author. The title page read:

Anthony Godfrey, Ph.D American History, Harvard University, 1909

Anthony Godfrey? Wasn’t Godfrey Reese’s last name?, Faith thought to herself. And one of the family names that first settled New Jerusalem was Godfrey. Another was Andrews. Wasn’t that Cole’s last name? They must all be connected, she concluded and began to skim through the book

As far as books go, it was a quick read. She hadn’t found out much in regards to the Salem witch trials, but she did learn that the founding families had been powerful in Salem and it was believed that is the reason they moved. They didn’t want the greedy townspeople of Salem to accuse them of witchcraft just so that they could get their hands on more land. The rest of the book was worthless; all it did was extrapolate on who moved in and what land they settled. Boring. The only part that really intrigued her was the preface.

“Have any of you ever seen any coyotes around here?” Faith asked the Three.
“I’ve never personally seen one, but I’m sure they’re around,” Alex answered absently.
“I was just wondering. This book says that our ancestors rid the town of them after they moved here from Salem.”
“Let me see.”
Faith handed the book over to Alex.
“It’s written in the preface.”
Alex flipped to the front of the book and read the preface to himself.
“Now that I’m thinking about it, I don’t think I’ve ever even heard a howl. That’s strange. What about you guys?”
“I can’t recall off-hand. I don’t really pay attention to that kind of stuff,” Chase answered.
“Neither do I,” Nick said in agreement.
“Is it just coincidence? Or did they cast a spell of some sort?” Faith wondered aloud.
“I don’t know. Let’s check this book out. Did you find any other books that would help us on our papers?” Alex asked all three of them.
“I have a few,” Faith said picking up her small pile.
“Me too,” Nick chimed in.
“I just found this one,” Chase said holding up his single find.
“Well, let’s check these books out and get these papers done. Kovacs better not give us lower grades because we’re all using the same books. It’s not like we have much of a selection here. Anyhow, we have enough to worry about as it is.”
“I’m sure he’s already anticipating that most of the class will be using similar stuff. Don’t worry about it, Alex,” Faith assured her cousin.

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