Quest for a Cure: Part 1
NOTE: So, I’m on a week-long vacation and I realized I didn’t bring any of my outlines with me-which means I can’t work on Ashera or any of my other stuff. So, instead of leaving you guys with nothing, I decided to make a new outline for this short story I’ve wanted to write for a while. It’s going to be in three parts (hopefully all uploaded this week, but I may fall behind because vacation) so look out for those. Anyways, I hope you all enjoy!!
I sat at the foot of the hospital bed, staring up at the woman on it. She stared back at me, but there was no focus in her big brown eyes. They stared right through me, like I wasn’t even there.
“Who are you?” she asked in a dreamy voice. I winced. Today was particularly bad, even for her.
“Damian Khatri. I’m your son.”
“I have a son?!” she asked, astonished. She pulled my face close to her, trying to find a trace of resemblance. Dark skin, big brown eyes, messy black hair-I looked exactly like her. “You are too handsome to be my son,” she said in a thick accent.
“Thanks mom,” I said, a small smile coming to my face. I didn’t know how-even now-she could still make me smile. It was some sort of gift.
My mom went back to staring off into space, and I sighed and grabbed the book laying on one of the hospital chairs. My eyes skimmed the words, but my mind didn’t process them. My thoughts were of her.
My mom-Rani Khatri-had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's about three and a half years ago. It wasn’t too bad at first, and I thought we’d get through it okay. But then it got worse. Much worse. She had been living in a hospital for the past couple of months-too unstable to leave. I lived with my mom’s best friend-Lillith Osborne-who had been kind enough to take me in.
I visited my mom everyday after school. It was hard to see her like this-she had raised me on her own. Every memory I had was with her. And now….
“Who are you?” she asked in that same dreamy voice.
I sighed. “Damian Khatri. I’m your son.”
“I have a son?!” she asked, repeating the whole process we had been through, and again, and again, and again.
When it got dark, I made myself leave the hospital and started biking home. I hadn’t gotten half of my assignments done, but I couldn’t focus on a night like this.
I tried to quietly park my bike outside and sneak into the house, but Lillith was already waiting for me. “Why are you only getting home now? It’s 9 o’clock; you should’ve gotten home two hours ago!”
“I was at the hospital. It was a bad day for her.”
“You always say that.”
“Yeah, well it’s always a bad day,” I said, more angry than I meant to. I took a deep breath. “I’m sorry. It’s just-”
“I know. I love her too,” Lillith said. “Get some sleep, kid. You have school tomorrow.”
I nodded my thanks and made my way upstairs to my room. I laid on my bed, but I couldn’t sleep. I thought about my mom. I just wished that there was something-anything-I could do to help her. But there was no cure for Alzheimer’s. So, I’d just have to wait.
After school the next day, I made my way to my old house. I needed to grab some cardboard for a school project, and we didn’t have any at Lillith’s.
I unlocked the door and stepped into the living room. It felt so empty. The furniture and decorations were all in the same place. The paintings still hung on the walls; the TV still sat on its stand. But it wasn’t the same; not without mom.
I sighed and started looking through closets and cabinets, trying to find cardboard boxes. I searched my mom’s old closet and my eyes fell upon one that was about the right size. I cut the box open and dumped the contents out of it.
A heavy satchel thumped onto the comforter, leaving a dent in the fabric around it. An ornate amulet fell beside it and a scrap of paper fluttered down.
All thoughts of the box forgotten, I grabbed the satchel. It was heavier than I expected it to be and when I opened the drawstrings something sparkled back up at me. I reached in and pulled out a gold coin. Curious, I bit it and my teeth left a small indent in the corner. I gasped, dumping out the rest of the satchel. Hundreds of the gold coins stared back up at me.
“What in the-” I asked, shoveling the coins back into the satchel. This would be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars most likely-why had mom never told me about this?
I reached for the amulet and studied it. A magenta stone hung from a gold chain. The stone was carved with different symbols that I didn’t recognize.
Finally, still holding the amulet, I reached for the note. It was old parchment and the writing was messily scrawled on with black ink. I read:
My Dearest Rani,
I must admit, I am sorry that things didn’t end as well as I hoped. I’m sorry that you feel the way that you do. I’ve asked you if you can forgive me, but, as of the moment, there is not changing your mind.
However, if someday you do end up seeing my rationality, I give you these gifts so that you might return to me. There are 700 Pecunia in the satchel. Hopefully that should be enough to make your journey comfortable.
There is also this gift-the Amulet of Divitiae. I had Lazio enchant it with a simple spell. All you have to do is place the amulet upon you neck and say the words, “detrahet me in domum suam”. Saying these while wearing the amulet will briefly open a portal from your world to mine, and vice versa.
I hope you enjoy the gifts, my love. I hope that you do decide to visit-I know how much you love the spring here.
Until Next Time,
My mouth hung agape as I stared at the letter, specifically the signature. Leroy Khatri. Khatri. Khatri. He wasn’t my...no he couldn’t be…
Apparently I didn’t know as much about mom as I thought I did. Why did she never mention this letter or this man or any of this?
I looked back and forth at the amulet and the letter and something clicked. This…this place was magical! If what Leroy said was true-and I guessed it was-then my mom was from some sort of fantasy realm!
I set the stuff back on the bed and was about to walk away when I remembered something that mom’s doctor had said. “I’m sorry, Damian, there’s nothing in this world that could cure her.” Nothing in this world. But maybe in another…
I worked quickly, stuffing the heavy satchel of coins into my coat pocket. I set the amulet around my neck and read the note again. Detrahet me in domum suam. Detrahet me in domum suam.
“Detrahet me in domum suam,” I said as clearly as I could.
Immediately the amulet around my neck became hot-so hot it left a burn mark on my shirt. I swore loudly, reaching for the amulet. Light poured out of it, blasting my hand away. The light coalesced into a bulb in the center of the room, then broke apart-the tendrils snaking out. The majority of the light stayed in front of me, becoming what was almost like a doorway.
This was it. Before I had time to second-guess myself, I dove through the portal.
A second later, I tumbled out onto a dirt road. I heard a noise and whirled around to see a carriage riding right at me. I yelped and jumped out of the way, catching my breath as it drove by.
I surveyed my surroundings. A dense forest surrounded a narrow dirt road. I stepped back out on the road. I had no idea what kind of monsters were in those woods, and I didn’t want to, so I decided to take my chances with the carriages.
I came up with a plan. I’d have to go to some town and try to find this Leroy Khatri. I just hoped he was some famous carpenter or someone that everyone knew. Then, that way, I could ask him about my mom and he could direct me to this Lazio guy.
With a nod to myself, I started making my way down the dirt road.
Eventually, after a lot of walking, I got to a decent-sized town. Villagers bustled around a market square, and I started to make my way over.
I felt a tug from around my neck and when I looked down, my amulet was gone. “Hey!” I exclaimed, looking around wildly. I saw a hooded figure, quickly making their way away from the market square.
I followed them, forcing my way through people. They yelled various insults and curses at me, but I didn’t care. I pursued the thief until I got close enough to reach the back of their head. I yanked their hood towards me and caught a glimpse of their face. “You’re a-”
“-girl? I know,” the thief said.
“I was going to say a kid,” I told her. She couldn’t have been older than 13.
“I look younger than I am,” the girl said, still trying to fight her way out of my grasp. “Let go!” she grunted.
“No, you don’t understand. I need that amulet to get home! I’ll give you however much money you want! Just, please, don’t take the amulet.”
“Why do you need it so much?!” she asked, still fighting.
“It’s for my mom.”
The girl’s face softened, and she stopped struggling for a second. “What do you mean?”
“Here,” I said, handing her the note.
She read it quickly and looked up at me in astonishment. “We have to get out of here.”
“You can’t be out in the open like this! What were you thinking?! Here’s your amulet.” She handed it back to me and I set it around my neck. “Now follow me.”
“What? Why?” I asked, but she was already gone.
I sighed. I’d barely been here for a day and I was already getting wrapped up in some strange adventure. I followed the girl into a small hut on the edge of the woods.
“What was that about?!” I asked.
The girl pointed to the signature at the bottom. “Why do you have this?!”
“I-It was my mom’s,” I said, thrown off guard by her hostility. “Why does it matter?”
“Your mother is Rani Khatri?”
“Yeah. How do you-” I started to ask, but the girl had fallen to her knees. “Oh, are you okay? Let me-”
“I didn’t fall!” she exclaimed. “Do you seriously not know what this means? Did your mother tell you nothing?” She noticed my confused face and sighed. “Your mother is Rani Khatri-the lost queen of Desiderare. That makes you the prince.”
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