This Wednesday's words are once again revealed at Elephant's Child but are provided by Hilary Melton-Butcher.
Those words did not inspire me at all. Sorry Hilary Melton-Butcher, but luckily I had already written something, and I could, with some work, insert Juniper and Weeds. Some of the rest of the words - Drips, Stream, Disdainful and Treasure - are better suited for the continuation of Return to Unicorn Farm ... to be written.
This chapter actually happens before Birch Manor 4 - Return to Unicorn Farm. But I did not want to create confusion with
the numbering of the chapters ;) And then maybe I did anyway - There's
one more chapter logically taking place between this one and Return to
Unicorn Farm. Maybe I'll later do a re-numbering.
The last Saturday before moving, Susan and Knud went to Hundested. It was closer to their old home than it would be from Birch Manor.
Everything was packed and ready. Tuesday, all children and grandchildren would came and help carry the many crates and furniture into the moving lorry. Tomorrow and Monday they would take apart the last of the shelving and oversee the professional moving men who would come to move the piano. Their oldest daughter would be on duty in Birch Manor to let them in and show them where to place the piano. But today nothing demanded their attention. The sun shone from a largely cloudless sky and the warmer weather had finally arrived.
"We need some sun and to look at some water," Knud said.
"You mean we need to find Fiona and see how she is doing?" Susan teased. I'll go fetch my small, brown suitcase. "
Almost faster said than done, they rode their faithful bikes towards the station.
Arriving in Hundested, they got off at the small, oldish station in town.
"We have to have an ice cream first," said Susan. "You can't go to Hundested without eating an ice cream."
Fortunately, Knud agreed and a little later they sauntered towards the harbour. each holding a large ice cream cone with jam and everything.
"Where does Fiona have her stand?" Susan asked.
"As far as I understood, she is together with a few others in one of the old wharf buildings furthest out on the larger pier."
They walked slowly along the waterfront. There was enough to look at, woodturners, painters, glass blowers, various yarn and textile artists, recycling stores and other more or less artistic shops. In some the art seemed to consist mainly in selling the stuff to the tourists, and in some Susan and Knud caught a genuine spark of creativity.
"Oh, I don't hope Fiona has changed," Susan said.
"Not changed? It is inevitable. Have you not changed you since you were 15, maybe?"
"It is not what I meant," Susan answered sharply. "It's her spirit, the interior. Do you remember the broom race. How she flew and fooled everyone else to think she wasn't quite as good and then she overtook them all at the last leg of the racing track. And the Easter fire. She just wanted to jump through. Even with broken arms and leg. And she did it. That's how I hope she is still. We need such a fighter."
Susan popped the last of her ice-cream cone into her mouth. She always took tiny bites from the cone while eating the ice, so that she ended up with a teeny ice cream cone. Knud had long since eaten his, even though he had more ice than Susan. She was always slower.
Susan dried her hands in a napkin and looked for a waste paper basket. "Look at that painting," she said, sticky fingers and napkins forgotten. The paintings she looked at were held in the same dreamy hues, and the symbols often used by alternative healers, but even so they were completely different. There was a unicorn on one of the paintings. "Look," Susan, "it looks like the painter has actually seen a unicorn before. This is not a sweet-laden, harmless Pokemon-thing. It looks wild and dangerous, just like unicorns should look. Proud and free. And as I said dangerous!"
"Do you like my paintings," a youthful voice asked from the building. A slim lady stood in the door . Her hair was long, chestnut-brown and her dress was sunshine yellow with fabric printing of red tulips and blue violets all over. The printing looked unprofessional, but the cut and fit of the dress were unparalleled.
"Yes, I admire that unicorn. It looks alive. Not a glossy picture like those you usually see," Susan said. "And that dress. It is unique. Did you make it yourself?" Susan didn't know why she asked this.
"Yes and no to the dress. My youngest daughter's kids have made all the flowers with potato prints, but I have sewn the dress. I love it!" replied the lady enthusiastically and tossed her head so that the hair danced. The movement was so characteristic of Fiona that Susan was almost scared.
"Did you also paint those flowers?" asked Knud. "I can't read the signature in all the green."
"No, the woman answered. Birgit, one of the others here in the Glass House, is master of that picture. My signature can be seen there, a merged F and S for Fiona Sørensen. Come inside, there are more to look at," Fiona said smiling. "I can sense that you like my paintings."
"Indeed we do," Susan said and followed her into the big, sunlit room.
"It's an old mast shed, with a nice high ceiling. I have healing cabins in there, but you do not seem to need that."
"No, we're doing well," Knud said. "How about you?
"I have long thought I had found my calling as a painter and healer here at the harbour," Fiona replied. "But it's as if I'm missing something. And why do I tell you this? I don't know you at all."
"Possibly because you are the person, you are," answered Knud. "Don't you have some tea or soft drinks? It's thirsty work to look at all the art. "
Fiona studied Knud and Susan. Susan retaliated gaze and Fiona went behind the curtains.
"It's her," Susan whispered to Knud. "I'm absolutely sure. That move of her head and hair, it's so much her."
"Fine, let's move on," whispered Knud back and add a little louder. "Here is a wonderful nature painting. It looks somewhat familiar, don't you agree?"
Susan went closer. "At least it is beautiful. I like those who don't look like tame pictures. There's too much kitch here at the harbour, but that painting, it has an edge. It's like something, not dangerous, but strong, is lurking just below the beautiful surface. I don't feel scared when I look at the picture but tense, waiting even. How is it called?"
Knud bend down and read, or attempted to read the cramped letters.
"What do you think about it? asked Fiona. "Its my latest picture. It is called 'Easter Saturday'."
"It is exciting, said Knud." As my wife constantly says, it is not as glossy as much art here at the harbour."
"Glossy. It is a good description," Fiona laughed and tossed her hair again.
They sat down at one of the small tables in the room and Fiona poured them a soda. "You seem a little nervous," Fiona said. "I'm sensitive, you know, I can feel people, mostly."
"Yes, I'm nervous," Susan said. "I have something I would like to show you. But first I have to ask you a few indiscreet questions."
"You are weird," answered Fiona, "but you are honest. OK, fire, but I don't promise to answer everything."
"Do you have many children?"
"Yes, 5 if you think it's many."
Yes, more, and even more on the way "
And you're married Sørensen. Was your maiden name Andersen?
"Yes, but only a few know that."
"And you had a big sister who died in 1982?"
Fiona nodded and bit her lip.
"If she was called Veronika, you are the Fiona we are looking for."
"Yes she was. But if it's something religious, like the Witnesses or Moonies or something, you have come to the wrong person."
"No, nothing religious," Susan said smiling. "I just want to show you something special. She opened the suitcase and pulled out her nicely folded skirt.
"It looks old," said Fiona, "exciting, may I touch it?"
Susan extended the skirt toward her "Pray do!"
And the moment Fiona touched the skirt, something relaxed inside her. Her facial features changed. Not much, but enough for both Susan and Knud to noticed. Then without a word she fainted. Knud caught her.
"Oh bugger, we should have been more careful," Susan exclaimed
"Now let's see," said Knud. He put Fiona down on the floor, checked pulse and breathing. "There is life in her, fine life," he said.
"She's probably just sensitive, as she said herself," Susan smiled and put his hands on Fiona's head. "She did not go with Tristan and Torben, did she?"
"Tristan, is he here!" Fiona opened her eyes and looked around terrified.
"No. He is not here. He and Torben and David died many years ago. They can't harm you any longer."
"They were pure devils," Fiona said in a thin, shaky voice and sat up, leaning heavily against Knud. She opened and closed her eyes and shook her head " ... and it was them, they killed Veronika. Did you know? They were also out to get me. I couldn't recognize them but Veronika could. She ... but who are you? "
"Susan," she replied, "and Knud, the most hopeless flyers from the Unicorn Farm."
"Yes you were horrible," said Fiona, "how you ever passed ... But it is long ago. I'm completely confused. Where did you come from ... "
Susan filled Fiona's glass and handed her it. She emptied it in one go, and looked from Susan to Knud and back again. "Yes, now it all makes sense. I remember it all, the last night, and the time after. Now I understand why Torben and David were looking for us ... or rather no. I don't understand it anyway. They should not have not been able to remember. " Fiona sighed deeply and sat up. "It's getting late. I'll close up for today, and then you must go home with me. We have a lot to catch up."
Susan and Knud helped Fiona take paintings and dresses inside, Fiona locked the door and hung the "closed for today" sign on the door. On the walk to Fiona's car, they went to the seafood place and bought four servings of today's takeaway menu. "Then there is one for my husband as well, when, he gets home. He's at a meeting in Copenhagen, he will hopefully be late so we can talk a lot."
They were silent on the relatively short ride to Fiona's house.
Susan began by telling about the moving clean-up and the brown suitcase and the clothes. Then she asked Fiona to tell about Torben, Tristan and Veronika.
She started by asking if they were totally sure that Torben and Tristan were dead.
"As sure an humanly possible," Knud answered. "We have read about their death in old newspapers, seen their obituaries, and read a little about the funerals."
"Yes, after that party ... I remembered it as a failed rabbit show and horse race in the local 4H," she smiled, "we went back home. I remember that you called us the 'Flower power girls' and we lived in a commune in Rødovre. That autumn a new family moved in, man, woman and son. The woman, I am not sure who she was, she was called Teresa. She kept to herself very much, and only rarely contributed to the community. But father and son, they were called Arne and Frederik, they said at that time, but now. Now that I remember all from the Unicorn Farm, I can see that they were Torben and David.
"I think that the Mondrian, or possibly the renunciation of all memories did not work as well on the adults, as on us," said Knud. "Martine was able to remember a lot."
"Martine, she's still alive?" interrupted Fiona.
"Yes," Susan replied. "She was the first one we found. More about her later. She had met with Thora regularly before she died and they had been able to Remember a lot from the Unicorn Farm. But they were not able to do magic. But please continue your story? Then we can fill in with more afterwards."
"Torben and David and let me just keep on calling her Teresa, stayed in the commune. They were angry with us children. Not just Veronika and me, but also the others. They used every opportunity to harass us and destroy our things and even steal from us. It created bad vibes in the commune. And one day a guest arrived ... It was Tristan," Fiona stopped and breathed deeply. "My parents did not like him, but a few of the others were quite crazy about him. He had big plans. He wanted to create a chain of water parks, and take over the market. I think he was a bit crazy actually. He always raved about dominion and power, but only over those water parks. He would become a millionaire, and promised us all a brilliant future if we just helped him both financially and practically with the water park chain scheme of his."
"It's tragicomic," said Knud. "Instead of world dominion, or the post as prime minister, he stroke to become a great man in the water park business. The king of water parks." Knud smiled.
It split up the commune," Fiona continued. "A few persons, among those David, Torben and Teresa, would go with him to somewhere. We and another family would not. So we decided to take over the commune. But then someone messed with our car. And it was Veronika who drove it on that fateful trip. No one could prove anything, but they ... he ... Torben, had done such stuff before. I think he hated people who lived a normal life and were happy. It was at least apparent that he hated us most of all." Fiona looked out through the window for a while, and Susan and Knud sat quietly and waited. "The collective dissolved, and mother, father and I moved here t Hundested, where my grandparents already lived. The rest is quickly told. I went to High School, met Mr. Sørensen He was a painter, we married, had 5 children and later I too turned painter and healer when the kids no longer took all my time, and I didn't have to work so much." She sighed. "You met Martine?"
"Yes," Susan replied, "she is the only one of the teachers still alive. She also was the youngest, she will be 80 in a few days, and she needs your healing abilities. I assume that they now, you've got your magic back will be even better," Susan said, and Fiona smiled so broadly that it was like watching the sun break from hind a cloud. "Martine did not die in her traffic accident," Susan continued. "She had both legs amputated, her back is crooked and her arms crippled. But I'm sure you can help her. She will be of great help. Our plan is to reopen a school in magic and she will be a great help - and so will you."
"I'll need my magic wand; I wonder where it went?" Fiona said.
"All the magic wands broke that last evening," Susan replied, Fiona's smile turned off abruptly, and she looked immensely sad. "Don't lose your courage, Fiona," Susan said. "Thora taught some of us to sing wands, I'm one of them. And I can do it! I already have a little practice. Knud, Martine and I've got new wands."
"My Goodness!" exclaimed Fiona. After a short break, she looked through the window in a very meaningful way. "So, that's why I always loved that tree. There's a giant witch hazel out there in the garden. Behind the juniper. It was the first thing I planted when we moved in here. Mother thought I had become crazy, but she let me have my way. I later believed it was its healing properties that had attracted me, but it is because it is the wood my magic wand was made of."
"And your sparks are golden as sunshine?" Susan asked.
Veronika nodded: "We'd better go for a walk in the garden right away. Don't mind the weeds."
"I hate to interrupt you," said Knud, "but there is a car coming up the driveway. How do you think Mr. Sørensen will like having a wife who is a witch?"
"We'll just have to find out," Fiona said. "I'll go out and give him a loving welcome." The three magicians smiled and Susan and Knud sat back down on the sofa. Susan got up immediately after and packed her things back into the small, brown suitcase.