Authors Note : This chapter has been updated since the change in location. Small pieces of information have changed, but nothing that will affect the plot of the story. Chapter 1 has been updated as well.

Chapter 2

Brody walked into the kitchen to see his mother sitting at the table cutting out part of the Alyag Daily Happenings for the scrapbook of her daughter.

"Whatcha doing Momma?" He asked clambering his way into a chair next to her.

"I'm cutting out the announcement of your sister's birth."

"Why's it in the newspaper?"

"Because we are proud parents and we want to let people know it."

"Was I in the newspaper?"

"Of course, we're proud of you too."

His eyes got big with wonder, and then he smiled and threw himself at Ciara. Wrapping his arms around her,

"I love you Momma."

He had wondered if his parents had loved him as much as they seemed to love Shayla. He didn't want to be, but he was jealous of her. She got everyone's attention all day and all night. Monisha hadn't had a day off, until today, since Shayla had been born, and that was two months ago. She even had to work through Christmas and New Years. Brody felt bad for her, so he had made her Christmas card extra special. He remembered that it had made her cry. He didn't mean for it to make her cry, he was afraid he had made her mad. But she hugged him really tight and told him she was crying "happy" tears. He didn't quite understand that. The only times he ever cried was when he hurt himself. Like the time when he tried to climb the big oak tree in the back yard and he fell off and scraped his knee. But if Monisha wanted to cry when she was happy, he wasn't going to stop her. He sat there and watched his mother for a while, as she cut out pictures and designs and placed them in the pages. She went through the miniature pictures dad had taken with his photo machine of Shayla and the family at Christmas, and was getting ready to start on New Years when his father finally came down to the kitchen.

Brody was starving, but knew they wouldn't eat until dad woke up.

"Hey sport. You hungry?" His dad asked tousling his already messy bed head.


"Well what do you say to a big stack of your old man's Smathin Toast?"


"Well come on, I'll let you help me break the eggs."

His dad said over his shoulder as he walked around the counter to the refrigerator.

"Don't you go and make a huge mess for me to clean up. I gave Monisha today off, so she won't be around to clean up your mess."

Ciara called out to them with out even looking up from the scrapbook.

"By the way Tristan, did you check on Shayla on your way down? She was still asleep when I got up."

"Yes I did Your Majesty, and our princess sleeps peacefully still."

Tristan said in a joking manner, grinning from ear to ear. Ciara looked up from her work to see Brody standing on a chair looking up at his father as they giggled uncontrollably at Tristans joke of calling her Your Majesty. Sudden feelings of great inadequacy welled up inside of her. She knew somehow that she would never be able to do things like that with Shayla. It had been hard enough to play with Brody before they hired Monisha. That was part of the reason for hiring Monisha, she simply didn't know what to do with children. It puzzled her as to why she felt so uncomfortable around them. She wondered if she was ever meant to have children, and what was going to be her punishment now that she had brought two of them into this world just to have someone else raise them? Tears started to well up in her eyes when she thought of her mother and how hard she had tried to raise them right. But things were different for her mother. Her mother had been blessed with a talent. She was just one of those mothers that had a voice you couldn't ignore. It was so hard not to do what her mother had told her. Her voice was so beautiful, you just stood there and took it all in. Just by speaking her mother, Maeve, could make every thing okay, or chill you to the bone when you disappointed her. She missed her mother so much, thirteen years later, it still ached so deeply to think of Mother, and everything that was taken from her. She was still angry, to this day she still hated her sister, Skyla for not saving her mother. So many had told her not to blame Sklya, that it wasn't her fault, but she refused to believe any of their lies. For six years she listened to people tell her to let go, to move on. So she did, she married Tristan, left them all behind and never looked back. That was almost eight years ago, and she hadn't spoken to her sister, or the rest of her family since.
The rest of the day was clouded by Ciara's memories. Tristan kept trying to get her to laugh, but all he get out of her were weak smiles. Even Brody noticed his mother's sad mood, and eventually stopped playing all together, and climbed in her lap. He put his head on her chest to hear her heartbeat, and wrapped his arms around her. Ciara hugged him back, and then tried to get him to go back and play, but he wouldn't budge. He didn't want to leave her alone when she was sad. When he was sad he just wanted someone to hug him and never let go. So in the end Ciara and Brody spent the rest of the afternoon curled up on the couch in the living room. They sat and stared out the huge window that gave them a gorgeous view of the rolling hills. The sun slowly started to disappear, streaking the sky reds and purples. Ciara brushed the hair away from Brody's forehead.
"Momma, whatcha singing?"
Ciara hadn't even noticed that she was singing. She continued for while, just letting the words come.
"It's pretty Momma, what is it?"

"It's a song my mother sang to me when she would tuck me in at night."

"Keep singing, I like it."

"Angels by day, and Angels by night.

Wings of comfort to hold you tight.

Hope in the morning, and strength for the day.

Peace in the evening when the sun goes away.

Angels by day, Angels by day.

Wings of comfort to hold you tight."

She finished her song and looked down at Brody to see him take a huge yawn and rub his eyes. Her song seemed to have the same effect on him as it did when her mother sang it to her. Except when Maeve sang, Ciara had to struggle to keep her eyes open until the end of the song, and most of the time she didn't succeed. She was puzzled as to why the song had worked so well when she sang it to Brody. The possibilities swirled through her mind. But she quickly pushed the nonsense out of her head. Her mother was the one with the gift, not her. She had denied the idea her entire life, why would it bother to surface now? It was simply a relaxing melody, and that was all there was to it. And with that she continued to gaze out at the darkening sky, her son falling asleep in her arms. As time wore on Brody grew more and more attached to his baby sister. He was there to give her her first taste of cereal, and watch her spit it out all over Monisha. He almost died laughing while Shayla cooed and clapped. He decided to see if he could get her to eat, and much to the astonishment of Monisha she would eat the cereal when he fed her. He liked to think it was their special bond. That somehow they were already communicating with each other. He enjoyed the time he spent with Shayla the most when they went outside. It was still quite cold; April was the beginning of spring, but there would sometimes be a sprinkling of snow covering the ground in the early morning. Monisha would bundle up Shayla, and then let Brody push her around in the buggy while she walked along. Sometimes they would stop under a large oak tree in the back yard so Brody could tell Shayla how he fell of it and skinned his knee. She would stare at him, and then look up at the tree, and then stare at him some more. It was as if she understood every word he was saying. He liked to believe that she did. He would stick his face right up next to hers and nuzzle her cheek. She would always nuzzle back with her chubby hand rubbing his other cheek. It was their little way of saying "I love you".
Spring came and went, and with that came Brody's excitement. He remembered that his birthday always came soon after the rain stopped, on May second. Of course Spring was over a month or two before May ever arrived, which made for a very long agonizing wait, especially for a little boy about to turn five. Which also meant that it was to be his first year of school this year, and was he ever excited. For his birthday he got all kinds of cool school supplies, a shoulder bag, pencils, paper, and a tin for his lunches. Soon it was time for school, the summer months had flown past. He had spent his days playing with Shayla and talking to her about all the neat things he would be doing when he went to school: making friends, coloring shapes, learning numbers and letters. It was all he could talk about. But in all his excitement, he forgot one very important thing: that Shayla couldn't go with him to school, he would have to leave her at home all day long. The realization didn't hit him until the day before he was to start school. He was laying in bed, wide-awake as can be expected for such an excited little boy. Suddenly he sat straight up in bed, his eyes wide with fear. Thoughts swirled in his mind, his imagination making him believe in all the bad things that could happen. He wondered who would feed her, who would take her for her walk, or sing to her when it was time for her nap? Who would read to her like he did every afternoon? What if something bad happened? Who would be here to help her? His stomach turned in knots as he lay back down, turning on his side, he clutched his teddy bear to him. He tried to comfort himself by reminding his mind that Monisha was here with her. Everything would be okay, Shayla had Monisha. Strangely enough, this did calmed him down just enough for him to finally drift off to sleep. But his young mind was plagued by mild nightmares. He tossed and turned in his sleep, the voices of his mother and father and Monisha screaming at him. Tearing him down for not being there to save Shayla, telling him it was his fault, he should have been there. He cried out for help, but there was no one there. He was alone, without Shayla, he truly was alone.

"Momma!" Brody yelled automatically as they climbed the stairs. "Story time!"
"Shh, Brody. Baby, your momma ain't here tonight."
"Where is she?" Brody asked very puzzled, it was story time. He was anxious to her one of his mothers stories, she knew how make up good ones.
"She's at Mrs. Bingley's, with the rest of the women playing bridge and gossiping."
"But Momma never misses story time!" Brody whined, pouting as they entered the nursery.
"I am afraid she does baby, you've just always been to little to notice that's all. But you just climb right on up here with Monisha and your sister while I tell you a story."
"Ok", he mumbled as he reluctantly pulled himself up on the large window seat in Shayla's nursery. Shayla put her hand out and touched Brody's check and looked up at him as if to say she was glad he was there. He smiled at her, and snuggled down deep in the blanket surrounding them. They all looked out from the second story window at the front lawn filled with moonlight. Brody found himself thinking of his mother as Shayla began a story about wizards and witches. He tried his best to pay attention, these stories were his favorite. But he couldn't stop missing his mother and wishing it were her here telling them this story. And tonight was the perfect night for a dragon story. The moon was full, but the sky was cloudy, giving the whole hillside eerie shadowy places. Shadowy places for goblins, and other nasty creatures like the ones in Monisha's stories, to hide in. He wondered if there ever really was such a thing as witches and wizards. He really hoped there were, and that he would met one someday. For the way Monisha made it sound, they could do all sorts of amazing things. He almost wished he was a wizard, then he could have a crystal ball or something and be able to see what mother was doing right now. How could she miss story time? She knew it was his favorite time, he would cuddle up with her, and she would take him to far off places and he would fall asleep in her lap dreaming of all the things she talked of. As it were, he was falling rapidly asleep in Monisha's lap. He didn't want to go to sleep, he wanted to stay up and wait for mother, but his eyes wouldn't obey. His last thought as his breathing evened out and he fell asleep was of his mother, and wondering where she was.

A woman with long black hair pulled a shawl around her head as she stepped off the porch and out into the night. The door closed softly behind her and she wondered when she would see him again. A coy smile played on her lips as she remembered his hands on her body, bringing her skin to life. A few precious moments stolen in time, precious moments never to be returned to her. As the moon slipped from behind a cloud and lit the road in front of her, she quickened her pace. Not realizing the consequences her actions would have, she played the night over in her mind as she slipped in the quiet