Chapter XIX: Into the Mind of Fire (3/18)Mature

They were in luck.

Professor Hellshaw was sitting in the centre of the antique carpet, his legs were crossed and the room was dark, light given only by a slant of afternoon light through the closed curtains and a circle of candles surrounding him. In front of him was a basin filled with water, he traced his finger along the edge of the basin, resonating a high-pitched sound to which he hummed along with deeply. Incense burnt beside him, the scent of sweetgrass, and he breathed the scent in heavily. His eyes were set in concentration at the slowly rippling water, so set that he didn't hear Tayna and Will enter the attics and make their way up the stairs. They reached the top and peeked through the railing at him, uncertain when or whether to interrupt.

Tayna eventually plucked up the courage, 'Professor Hellshaw?' He was stirred so suddenly from his trance that he gasped loudly, his gaze snapped up with such a start that his foot kicked out and spilt some of the water.

'Great Goddess, you two scared me,' he said, chuckling and feeling his palpitating heart. 'You caught me while I was - while I was practising. Why - why are you here? Don't you have another lesson?'

'Sorry for scaring you,' said Tayna, she completed the stair ascent and stood before him, Will beside her. 'I was hoping you could help with something important.'

'Tayna, yes, of course.' He stood up and reached the edge of the circle, he murmured a few words and three of the candles next to him blew out suddenly. He crossed over them as if he'd created a gateway through an invisible wall. 'I heard what happened, is everything okay?'

'Hopefully it will be soon. I was wondering if, alongside divination and psychic skills, you knew anything about...memories and the past?'

'Well, certainly the past, it is vital to know the past to know the future. In order to know where one is going, one must know where they have come from. And as for memories, I'm not sure if I know what you mean, Tayna.'

'I mean, could you help somebody to remember something that's been suppressed?  Something that's been...not forgotten, but blocked out.' 

Hellshaw mistakenly looked at Will and his face morphed with regret, 'I'm afraid that if you intend for me to assist with your notorious memory hex, I am at a loss. Such a powerful spell would be -,'

'It's not for him,' Tayna interrupted, 'it's for me.'

'Oh, you, Miss Tayna. What can I do for you then? What is it you are struggling to remember?'

'Something that happened a year or so back, I've been having nightmares about it, and now it's affecting me out of sleep.'

'I see...well, I'll see what I can do. Both of you, come, sit, inside the circle with me.' They moved forward, trying to rise over the lit candles, but Hellshaw stopped them fearfully, 'not there, through the door, please.' They looked at each other with confusion, nonetheless they obeyed and sat down opposite Hellshaw, the basin in front of them also. 

'Are you sure it's okay that I'm here?' Will asked,

Tayna nodded and smiled meekly, 'of course. In fact, I don't think I can do this without you.'

The End

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