Seeress (Runes series Book 4)

By: Ednah Walters

“Wet, drenched through, and shivering cold, despairing of ship or boat, we lifted up our eyes as the dawn came on,” I read. “The mist still spread over the sea, the empty lantern lay crushed in the bottom…”

I studied my father’s face and my heart squeezed. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville was one of his favorite classics, yet even that couldn’t hold his interest anymore.

“You stopped,” he said slowly, his voice low and whispery.

“I thought you’d fallen asleep,” I said and cleared my throat before adding, “Do you want me to continue?”

His eyelids lifted and I stared into eyes the color of muddy pond water. The same eyes stared at me in the mirror every morning, except his were lackluster.

“No, pumpkin. I think Captain Ahab will have to wait until tomorrow. Get Femi, okay.”

“Okay.” I reached for his hand, but he jerked away, cringing from my touch. His eyes sharpened in reprimand and for one brief moment, I saw the father I’d known before the cancer ate up his brain. “Dad?” I protested.

“No more, Raine. You cannot keep trying to see my future when there’s nothing to see. Accept it.”

“I have.” I meant to say it matter-of-factly, but my voice came out shaky.

A film of tears brightened his eyes, but his gaze didn’t waver from mine. “I love you, sweetheart, but you cannot touch me anymore. The anguish in your eyes every time you do it is too much. You must stop.”

My hand fisted and fell to my side. I tried to tell myself he was right, but it still hurt. He was my father, the man who’d pushed me on swings, wiped my tears when I fell, and read me books about Norse pantheon when I was young and naïve and didn’t know they were real. Now I couldn’t touch or hug him because I was a Seeress. He closed his eyes, long lashes forming a canopy over gaunt, pale cheeks.

“Go,” he urged.

An ache spread across my chest. I stood, stepped away from his bed, and placed the book on the table, my hand shaking slightly. Tears weren’t far, but I fought them. I hated crying. He wasn’t dead yet. I hated that I was a Seeress, yet I couldn’t see his future. Hated that I knew magical runes, yet I couldn’t heal him.

What good was magic and abilities when you couldn’t help those you loved? The pain my father was enduring was too much. It wasn’t natural. Somehow, I knew the Norns were behind it.

“Do you want the TV on?” I asked.

“Not right now. Just get Femi.”

I left the room. Femi was in the kitchen looking up something online. Femi Ross wasn’t your regular nurse. She was an inked, smart-mouthed Immortal who’d fought more battles than the amulets and charm bracelets weighing down her arms. Looking at her spiked black hair and smooth brown complexion, you wouldn’t guess she was Ancient Egyptian. Half the tats on her arms were hieroglyphs, including the ankh, the symbol of life.

She looked up and smiled. She had the same startling blue eyes as the boy I was madly and unequivocally in love with, except Torin’s were brighter and sexier and had the ability to make me go soft and gooey inside. Hers didn’t look bad on her either, just unusual for a brown-skinned person. I had no idea where Mom found her, but Valkyries and Immortals seemed to be everywhere these days.

This was the world I lived in now. The world of soul reapers and those they served and those who helped them: Valkyries, Grimnirs, Immortals, Seers, Norse gods and goddesses. Even my best friend Cora was part of my world, although I doubted she had a title. Soul Whisperer perhaps? She helped souls find closure. I was the Seeress who couldn’t see anything. An epic failure as far as I was concerned.

“Are you two done reading?” Femi asked in a voice made raspy from screaming at concerts. She’d attended many, from rock-n-roll to rap. Personally, I think she used to be a smoker before smoking became uncool.

“For now. He wants to see you,” I said.

She hopped off the chair and hurried toward me. Something about her often reminded me of Pink, the singer. She had the same rough around the edges look and personality. She touched my arm. “You okay, doll?”

“Yeah.”

“If you want to talk, I’ll be back once I etch some pain runes on your father.”

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