Be My Hero(5)

By: Linda Kage

"My turn next," she begged, her mommy's blue eyes making it impossible for me to say no. "Please, Daddy."

But from the house, the sliding glass door opened and the woman—Tinker Bell—appeared in the opening. She wore a bright red t-shirt that bulged over her very pregnant belly, but she radiated with a jovial glow that made everything inside me brighten.

"Pick!" she called. "Julian. Skylar. Time for dinner."

And just like that, the vision was gone. In the next, a paper mask over my mouth and nose caused my hot breath to moisten my cheeks as a prickly cap wrapped snug around my head itched my scalp. When I realized I was wearing surgical scrubs, I arched an eyebrow. What the hell? Was I a doctor now?

But that voice—her intoxicating, amazing, love-filled voice—from the bed next to me had me turning until I saw her. My Tinker Bell lay on a hospital bed. Her face was flushed and damp but her tired eyes were lit with love as she grinned up at me. Cradling a small, wiggling bundle in her arms, she lifted the infant.

"Pick, come meet Chloe."

A sense of peace and joy filled me.

Before I reached for our child, I cupped my wife's cheek in my hand and just looked at her, trying to convey to her how much I loved her. "You did good, Tinker Bell."

I was about to reach for my daughter, our little Chloe, when the darkness sucked me back in.

I cried out, scrambling, desperate to return to any of those visions, but I found myself back on the cold, wet ground in the witch's front yard.

Madam LeFrey released her fingers from my eyes and I flopped limply to the ground, shuddering from loss and confusion. Keeping my lashes closed, I panted, willing myself back to wherever she'd just taken me. But the pain in my ankle kept me grounded to the bitter present.

Shuffling beside me told me Madam LeFrey was standing up and moving away, but I didn't care about her anymore. My brain was jumbled, shifting between the pain in my leg and the memories stirring in my head.

"There. You have your hope back now." Her ragged old voice angered me.

I opened my eyes and managed to glance up at her. "Wha . . . what was that? What did you do to me?"

"I gave you a glimpse."

"You gave me a what? What the hell is a glimpse? What does it mean?"

"Mean?" She cocked her head as if confused by the question. "Maybe nothing. Maybe everything. It shows you what your life would look like if you lived it to your heart's content."

My yearning heart thumped hard in my chest. "So . . . so that's going to happen to me? That's my future?"

Shit. It didn't seem possible. I had never done anything good enough to deserve a life like the one I'd just had a glimpse of. Elation roared through my veins until the fucking witch shook her head.

"No. It's only your future if you live to your heart's content," Madam LeFrey repeated solemnly.

"So…" I gulped, wanting to deny it. "It's not true then? It won't really happen?" More tears filled my eyes. Would I never meet that girl? Would I never have a beautiful backyard with plush green grass? Never have three perfect children who meant the world to me? Never belong to a family?

"The future is not ours to know. I only showed you what could happen if you lived happily ever after. It's up to you to make that happen."

"But . . . " I reached for her, desperate for answers. "How do I do that? I don't even know that girl. I've never seen her before in my life. How do I find her?"

The witch had been busy picking her shotgun off the ground. But she paused at my frantic questions. "Girl?"

"Yes! The girl. The girl you kept showing me. Who is she? Is she even a real person?"

With a confused shake of her head, the old bat stared at me as if I was crazy. "I showed you only you. Five glimpses of you. That's all. If you saw another in one of your visions, that means you love that person."

"But I . . . she was in all of them, not just one."

Stepping closer, Madam LeFrey eyed me as if I was a new species she'd never heard of. "Can it be?" she whispered in awe.

"What?" I demanded, almost panicking. I wanted to know more about that girl and how I could live that life with her where I'd been so fucking happy. I'd never been that content before.

Madam LeFrey shook her head as if unable to believe what she was about to tell me. "A soul mate," she rasped. "How very rare."

"What? She's my soul mate?"

I was a little giddy over the idea. A soul mate sounded good. Soul mate, someone to love me, a happy future, a place to belong. Family. Now, all I had to do was find her.

Except the fucking old bat looked concerned. She grabbed my arm. "Find her," she told me, urgency lacing her voice. "You're not complete until the two halves come together. You're only half a soul."

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