The Moura's Cave. Chapter II Grandpa's letter
CHAPTER II “GRANDPA’S LETTER”
From the other side of the table, Brais, looks at me and smiles, he has been doing so all afternoon, after our walk through the Celtic settlement.
― Eva you haven’t touched your dinner, don’t you like it? – I look at Grandma and I deny with my head.
― Yes, I like it Grandma. I was just thinking, sorry.
― It doesn’t matter but eat, walks in the woods makes you hungry.
We finish dinner, Brais and Antonio say goodbye to us, Grandma accompanies them to the door. I take advantage and I start to wash the dishes.
― I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow – I’m startled when Brais speaks in my ear. I’m about to throw away the glass I have in my hand. My skin is bristle. He kisses me on the cheek –. See you tomorrow. – And he rushes out as Antonio calls to him from outside.
Grandma Emma looks at me from the kitchen door.
― What a boy … - she comes up to me shaking her head –. You didn’t have to wash the dishes honey, it’s your birthday at least for another ten minutes.
― What less, Grandma. Well, that's it. I think I’ll go put on my pyjamas.
― All right, I’ll go in a while to say good night to you.
The bedroom blind is still up and I can see the lights in Antonio’s house, I pull it down and take one of my pyjamas out from the suitcase. When I come back from the bathroom, Grandma waits for me sitting on my bed, with a box on her lap.
― Ah, hi, Grandma, what do you got there?
―Your present, wouldn’t have
thought that your grandmother wouldn’t give you anything?
― It was not necessary, it’s already a present for me to be able to spend the summer with you.
― Thank you my child. Actually, the gift, in part, is from your grandfather too –. I look at her surprised.
― Yes, you see, he had it kept for your sixteenth birthday, but he didn’t live until then and you didn’t come back. So, I’ve decided that now is the best time to give it to you. But well, open it, see if you like it –. I open the box, inside there is a purple wool quilt.
―Grandma, how beautiful, you made it, didn't you?
― Yes, to keep you warm in winter and for you to have a memory of me.
― But…I don’t see Grandpa’s present.
― Take out the quilt – I do what she say and an envelope falls to the floor, on the back I see my name written in Grandpa's handwriting -. Honey... Don’t cry.
― Sorry, Grandma, it’s just...
― I know, I miss him so much too -. She kisses me on the forehead, gets up and goes to the door -. I’ll leave you alone to read it. See you tomorrow, my child.
― See you tomorrow, Grandma. – She closes the door and in my hands is still the unopened envelope of Grandpa's letter. I run my fingers over the letters of my name with my fingers, pluck up my courage and open the letter. A pendant falls from inside, it looks ancient, two snakes coiled around each other. I read the letter.
Today is your birthday, so first of all… Happy birthday! You’re sixteen years old, you’re already a little woman and, as such, I think it’s the best time to tell you my secret, because it will be yours from today.
I’d better start at the beginning. When I was your age, many years ago already of that but, I can remember it as if it were yesterday. I went on a trip with my friends to the Old Celtic Settlement, sure you remember the legend about the Moura that I have told you so many times. The point is that while I was running through the mountain, I had a vision, yes, a vision, until that moment I had never happened to me and, since then, I have not stopped having them. But, returning to the subject of my vision, on it, I was in a dark corridor, carrying a torch in my hand, I going down a few stairs and finding a door full of engravings, when I opened it, I saw the greatest treasure you could imagine…”
My pulse is racing. Grandpa had exactly the same vision as I did.
“…When I came out of the trance my friends were grabbing me to prevent me from falling off the cliff, I told them what I had seen and, as young adventurers we were, we decided to undertake a treasure hunt. For a few years, we gathered clues and stories about the place but it didn’t help.
Later, we grew up. We got engaged, I met your grandmother and we got married. I didn’t remember the Celtic settlement or my vision again until the day your grandmother got pregnant.
It was an evening at the end of September, we had been married about ten days, your grandmother and I were sitting on the porch talking, suddenly, I saw myself with a baby in my arms, it had rosy cheeks. The baby changed and became a girl that I was holding by the Celtic settlement. She changed again and became a young girl with whom I was entering the Moura's cave. When I regain consciousness your grandmother was pale, it was the first time she witnessed my visions, I explained what I had seen and so we knew she was pregnant.
Nevertheless, the girl of my vision, was not my daughter. I took her to the Celtic settlement repeatedly in the hope that one day she would have the vision, but she didn’t have it. The years went by and, your mother became a woman. I had already lost the illusion and I forgot the Celtic settlement again, but then, your mother fell in love with a boy from the village (at least that’s what I thought).
He was a sullen person. He didn’t relate to anyone and spent many nights wandering around the mountain and roads with a flashlight, apparently looking for something he could never find.
One morning, your mother and I decided to go for a walk around the Celtic settlement to pick pine cones. There we found that boy sleeping on the ground, covered with a black cloak. At that time of the year, the nights were very cold and when I approached him worriedly to take his pulse, I had another vision. Everything went black, I could see nothing but snakes. Huge black snakes falling around me getting tangled in my legs and making me fall. I looked up and who threw the snakes was that boy. I jumped when I recognized him and the vision vanished. He woke up and looked at me baffled, then he saw your mother and discovered that she was my daughter, from that moment, he began to be interested in her and I began to worry, because I discovered that my friends and I were not the only ones looking for the Cave, but that there was another side, the Dark Ones, those who used black magic, the dangerous ones.
The boy used to interrogate your mother about me, about my visions and about the Old Celtic settlement. He was convinced that your mother had inherited my gift and he would not leave her side for a moment, waiting for her to had her first vision. One day, I had the vision again that I had when your grandmother had become pregnant. This time it was your mother that had become pregnant. She was only seventeen years old, I was furious and I went to look for the boy to his house, but when I arrived, no one was there. The door was open, so I walked in and what I found made my blood run cold. In what looked like a bedroom, the floor was full of black snakes, they were roaming freely and oblivious to my presence.
I walked over to the desk, on it was a bunch of glass jars, some had animal parts in them, but the one that scared me the most was the one with the label that said: “Miriam’s blood”. He had been taking blood from your mother and keeping it there, there wasn’t much so I deduced that he must have started a short time ago. On the wall, above the desk, there was a bookshelf full of books with the black backs, I took one randomly and read the title: “Black Magic”. It was full of evil spells, to cause suffering and pain in order to get what you want most.
Your mother, didn’t object when I told her that she couldn’t see him anymore, it seemed strange for me. But then, I found out that he wasn’t the one who got her pregnant. Let’s say the boy was acting as an intermediary to get your mother, that’s all. I decided to meet my best friend at the Old Celtic settlement, to talk to him about the situation that had me overwhelmed, I arrived before him so I decided to take a walk around the Celtic settlement while I waited and, I fell into a black, wet hole. Over my head I heard the malevolent laughter of the Dark boy and as in my vision the snakes began to fall on me.
Then I heard my friend calling me and shouting as loud as I could, I called him. The boy ran away, we would never see him alive again. Two days later his body appeared at the bottom of the ravine and everyone assumed it was an accident.
Months passed and your mother still refused to say your father’s name, so I decided to investigate on my own and it didn’t take long to find out who he was. He left the village a month before you were born. Your mother cried every day, she went to the city as soon as you were one year and soon after your father returned to the village. I know that your mother has not wanted to talk to you about him, nor tell you who he is, I am convinced that her reasons for not doing so are good, but you have to know that he knows that you are his daughter and that he has seen you every summer you have spent in the village. He’s still here, so I hope that one day he’ll have the courage to approach you. It’s not for me to tell you who he is, but with the information I’ve given you I’m sure if you do a little research you’ll find out.
On the other hand, if you are reading this letter I will probably no longer be with you. In my last vision I only see you, I do not appear. That is why I am writing this letter well in advance, I hope my vision is not true, but most probably, everything will happen as I have seen it.
You must not be afraid, honey, you are not alone, my best friend knows all that is necessary to guide you, he has always been by my side and will continue to take care my family. You know him well, he’s Antonio. Your grandmother has learned many things about our gift over these years, don’t be afraid to ask her your doubts. You will need all the friends you have, what awaits you is very hard, but it will be worth it, here the real adventure begins… You will entered at the Cave.
Right now, all this will be overwhelming, but you will have in your possession something essential to start the search, my notebook. Your grandmother must have given it to you, keep it well and do not show it to anyone, well, except Grandma, Antonio and ... now Brais must be at your side. He is the most valuable, do not separate yourself from him, he is your Protector.
Soon you will know the village and its people well, most of them are good and calm people, but don’t trust, among them are still the Dark ones, they want the treasure, but to find it they need someone with our gift, don’t let them discover you have it or you will be in danger.
Well, my child, Eva, I think I have scared you enough for today, I just hope that you will be able to achieve what I couldn’t. Take care of your grandmother and your mother. Don’t suffer, we’ll see each other again and we’ll be all together. I love you. Your Grandpa.
P.S.: Along with the letter, I send you my present, it’s a Wuivre. It symbolizes the strength of the earth. It provides love and power to the one who possesses this symbol, as long as the sea water doesn’t touch it.”
I fold the letter and put it back into the envelope, I’m a little puzzled and perplexed. All this… is it real? Legends, black magic, treasures… I pounce on my backpack, looking desperately for Grandpa’s notebook and sighing relieved as I pull it out. I am tired, too much information for one day, I keep Grandpa's letter between the pages of his notebook and, hugging it, I fall asleep.
It hasn’t been a good night, I’ve been dreaming with yellow eyes again, I’ve woken up with the noise grandma makes in the kitchen, I look at the clock on the bedside table, it’s half past nine, I raise the blind and blink convulsively, trying to get used to the light. I clumsily walk to the bathroom, after the shower I brush my hair and let it air dry. I take out of my suitcase a pair of short jeans and a black tank top.
The Wuivre is on the bedside table, I hang it around my neck and look at myself in the mirror of the wardrobe, the truth is that it’s very pretty, I like it besides it’s from Grandpa, reason more not to take it away ever. I make the bed and place my luggage between the wardrobe and the chest of drawers in the room. Satisfied with the result, I sit on the bed, with the grandfather’s notebook in my hands, I finally decide to open it.
It’s full of notes, about the Old Celtic settlement, popular legends, drawings... It can’t be. One of the drawings shows the yellow eyes that I dream of so much, below written in Grandpa’s handwriting: The Moura’s eyes, dreamt of by Emma since 1950.
I keep the notebook under my jeans in the wardrobe and run to the kitchen, looking for more answers.
― Hi, honey. Good morning.
― Good morning, Grandma.
― Would you like some muffins? They are freshly made.
― Yes, thanks, they smell great.
― Coffee, tea, milk, cocoa…?
― Cocoa, please.
― Coming up, but sit down –. I do what she tells me and sit against the wall, so I can watch Grandma as she finishes preparing my breakfast and study her reactions.
― Tell me, Eva, did you sleep well?
― Well…more or less.
― How’s that? Was it your grandfather’s letter?
― No, it wasn’t that, it’s just that I’ve been having the same nightmare for some time now–. Grandma looks at me and smiles.
―Nightmare? Don’t worry, nightmares are just bad dreams.
― I don’t think it’s just a bad dream, Grandma. I dreamed of the yellow eyes that you dreamed of… - Grandma looks at me pale and drops the spoon for my cocoa from between her fingers, I get up and stand next to her –. Grandma, are you okay?
― Yes, have you dreamt about her?
― I’ve only seen yellow eyes.
― When did you start dreaming about them?
― I’m not very sure, earlier this month, I think.
― Well, then we still have time – Grandma sighs and caresses my cheek –. Come on, let’s have breakfast.
― But… What do you mean we still have time?
― You have breakfast, then we’ll talk about it, but it seems that your grandfather’s gift is not the only one you’ve inherited; you’ve also inherited mine.
― Yours? Which one?
― That of premonitory dreams.