The letter could not have come at a better time. Four years of college, a degree in sociology, all that was missing was a job. I reflected on this as I made my way to the interview. I was near the coast, so was careful not to miss the entrance to the private road as per the instructions. I continued on for about 2 miles. After I drove around some sand dunes that caused a curve in the road, I saw the cottage. I parked my van, went up to the porch and knocked on the door. I noticed that the porch light had been left on. Since no one answered, I knocked again. The door opened. A very attractive women appeared at the entrance. Do come in, she said, I was expecting your arrival. As she spoke I detected a slight european accent. She carried herself well and appeared rather regal, aristocratic if you will.
I am Ms. Absinthe Rothschild, she said, and I presume you are Mr. Jonathan McTavish. Yes I am, I said. As I entered the cottage a rich aroma of coffee filled the room. I could not help but notice a vase filled with daisies, as she led me to a very attractive wooden oak table where she had set out a very distinctive silver coffee set. Every piece was laden with gold underlining. She served the coffee, as if it were a ceremony, every movement a full extension of the arms and fingers. She placed the setting before me and I paused while she poured hers, then took a drink. It was strong coffee, rich and full of aroma. She must have noticed and said, it is the best coffee that I have ever tasted. It comes from the middle east and yes, it is a bit pungent. She took a sip, then placed the cup back on the sucer, placed the saucer and cup back on the table all while remaining erectly sitted in her chair. I felt clumsly and awkward. I never knew that drinking a cup of coffee encompassed such eloquence. She produced a comforting, warm and friendly smile, then said, I supposed you are wondering why I asked you here today? Yes, I said.
I am the daughter of a very wealthy man. And it was here where I grew up with my father and my mother. My mother was a very nurturing and caring woman but became very frail after giving birth to me. Although my mother never discouraged my father from marrying again, she made one request. Before she died, she made my father promise that I would always be provided for. I am now the ony heiress to his immense wealth. However, the reason I asked you here today is not because of my wealth. It is rather complicated, and I would much rather tell you a little about myself, before I tell you what it is that I want to ask of you. Please do go on, I said.
I was 18 at the time and was sitting on the porch at this very cottage and looking out to sea. I was very surprised when I notice a young man swimming in the water near the shore. No one had ever ventured out this far because this is private property. I could not take my eyes off of him as he swam to and fro in the water. He soon noticed me and motioned me out to him. I did not know what to do, but found myself running out to him without regard. I stopped and hestitated for a while to see what he would do. He stepped out of the water, wearing only his underwear. then stretched out his hand and said, I'm Jake, and you, what's your name? Abby I said. Well then Abby, come in and have a swim with me. I told him I did not know how to swim. He said he'd show me, and took me by the hand. He spoke with such authority that before I knew it, he had me in the water and was holding me up with his arms in a horizontal position. He told me to hold my head up higher than the level of the water, to cup my hands, pretend I was a doggie, and propel myself with my arms and feet. After a while I could actually feel myself suspended in the water. I felt so happy, I could swim, like a doggie, but I could swim. We must have been out there 4 or 5 hours, but time went by so quickly, that I didn't even notice my father had arrived.
I could hear him calling, come out of the water. I waved hello, but he appeared concerned, and had a stern look on his face. I ran to meet him. He told me to go inside. Then he continued to where Jake was standing, still wearing only his underwear. I could not hear what they were saying, but I could tell my father was scolding Jake, probably for trespassing. Soon I saw Jake turn around, gather his clothes, turn to me and wave goodbye. He began walking back to whereever it was that he had come from. I followed Jake with my eyes until I could no longer see him. I hurried inside knowing my father was cross with me. He entered my room looked at me with a loving concern, but did not say a word. Sometimes silence cuts deeper than any spoken word. Later that evening he came into my room and expressed his concern that perhaps he was not attending to me properly, since my mother had passed on. I told him that I loved him so, and that I would always be his daughter. That seemed to relieve him a bit. Then I asked him about Jake. He told me that he had impressed him as being a bit brash. After remanding him for trespassing, Jake had said, that he could discourage him from coming on his land, but that he did not own the sea. There was a moment of silence, then he kissed on the forehead and retired to his room. I could not sleep a wink that night, but kept reliving the events of the day.
Another day now, and I could not think of any thing but Jake. I would not move from the porch until I saw him I said to myself. I kept looking in the direction that I had seen him leave the day before. I would look down the sandy shore but could see nothing. The rays of the sun on the sand were now producing ambered colored images on the shore that appeared like water vapors. Then I began to visualize shapes as if a person was walking on the shore. But the shapes never seemed to be getting any closer. They would just vaporized and disappear in the distant. Soon I began to think that he was not going to come back, and how I missed him.
I could not understand this feeling inside of me, and how much sorrow it was causing me. Then all of a sudden I heard my name, Abby, it's me Jake, I'm in the water. I got up and started running as fast as I could. I did not even stop, but ran right to the shore then flung myself at him. He caught me in mid air and held me tight, and then let me down gently into the water. I was ready to follow him anywhere. The only other person that made me fell this secure was my father. But with Jake there was an exciting new feeling inside me that I had never felt before. We spent the day together playing and having all sorts of fun, but today I noticed that Jake never came out of the water. Even when he said it was time to leave, we said goodbye in the water. As as far as I could see him, he remained in the sea. This became our daily routine beginning in Spring and into the Summer, until one day.............then Ms. Rothschild stopped, and for the first time since I had met her, she appeared vulnerable. I noticed a quiver in her lips, and that her eyes had welled up with tears. She drew out a handkerchief to dry her eyes, and remained silent for a few moments as she tried to regain her composure. She apologized for the interruption, and I could only nod in understanding. Finally, she was able to speak again, and asked, you are probably wondering what this has to do with you? I said yes, I am. Well, she said, his name is Jacob.
As soon as I heard Jacob, something inside me clicked. It was a mixed feeling of elation and then anger. He is my older brother, half brother, I said. He used to take me to the sea, where we would fish. We used to go in the afternoon, after school. No one could cook fish like Jacob. He would clean the fish, soak it with lemon juice then set sit on a stone and let the sun do the rest. In the meantime, we would splash and play in the water. He would carry me on his shoulders and fling me out to sea. What happy times we had. Then before it got late he'd take me back home. Any extra fish he caught he would give to me to take home for mom to cook. We had happy times together. I must have been 5 years old. My father was always telling him to get out, that he wasn't wanted there, and that he didn't belong. Matters only became worse until one day, Jacob left. When I asked about him, my father would tell me that Jacob didn't want anything to do with us, and he had left never to come back. I did not believe my father, but after so long, I couldn't understand how he could have left us like that. He had always taken care of me. I felt hurt, and erased him from my mind. It will be 18 years, this month since I last saw him. Ms. Rothschild was again wiping tears from her eyes. Then after a long pause she exhaled, and said, yes it will be 18 years this coming Thursday.
I remember it well. I was sitting on the porch on that very day. The sea had become very turbulent. As I was thinking on this, my father arrived to say that we were to stay in the city because there was a tropical storm bearing down toward shore. I told him that I could not leave until I saw Jake. My father said, that Jake would not possibly risk coming over the waves today. Of course not, I said, but he'll walk along the shore. My father looked as if he wanted to tell me something but dared not. Then I had a horrible thought, had father forbidden Jake from coming out on our land? Is that what Jake meant when he said, you don't own the sea. I turned to look at father, but he was unable to look at me. I went to get a pair of binoculars, and began to scan the sea, but could not see anything afloat in the water. It was getting dark, and the waves were very dangerous. I was praying that he had not come out today. I began to panic and started crying. My father noticed and came to me. I fell into his arms for support but could not help feel that he was responsible. The rain was pelting down on us, and the winds were raging so that my father demanded that we leave before we came into harms way. I knew that I must leave if I wanted to see Jake again. I told my father that upon arriving in the city, he must make every effort to locate him whatever the cost. He assured me that every resource available would be used to find Jake. After the longest night in my life, I readied myself to go out to the cottage again. My father said that the forcast called for another day of heavy rains, and that flooding was now there biggest concern. We would not be able to leave. He told me that he had acquired private helicopters to run up and down the coast, and report all observations. Then my father gave me something to calm me and I fell alsleep.
When I woke, I felt groggy and tired, but soon my senses came back. I rush to my father, who I found slumped down in the sofa next to a walkie talkie, and the telephone. I woke him. I asked him if there had been any news about Jake. He said, no, but that the search had intensified now that the rains had stopped. He told me I had slept for two days and it would have been useless to wake me. I told him, that I must return to the cottage now. He did not put up a fight, he got up to shower and readied himself. I too, did the same. The shore was full of debris that had washed on shore by the storm. When we arrived I got off the truck and immediately started searching for any sign that might lead me to Jake. I ran inside the cottage and searched all the rooms, but there was nothing. I went around to the front of the cottage and noticed that the chair was missing. I sat on the stairs and stared out to sea. I wanted to see Jake. My mind started to relive the fun we had just splashing and playing in the water. He had built a raft so we could ride the waves and drift about in the sea. We would lie in the sun entwined in each other arms, and................then a dreadful premonition overpowered me and I began to sob bitterly. My father came, sat next to me and embraced me............
My father has sinced passed on and I have travelled the world extensively in search of anyone who could possibly tell me anything concerning Jake. I have spent a fortune contacting seers, mediums, psychics, witches, wizards, readers, black magic, white magic, spiritualists, every craft and science imaginable trying to make contact. I was ready to give up, when one day while travelling through a middle east city, I noticed an old blind man sitting on the ground. I have always made it a point to help people in need, so I went to him and placed alms in his hand, gently padded him on the shoulder and turned to leave. But he uttered some words to me, he said, "the sea waits for you". I asked him to please explain what he had meant, but he only repeated the same words to me, "the sea waits for you". I pleaded with him. I told him that this meant more to me than my very life. He sat motionless for a moment, then stood up and said, I cannot give or take life, but I will show you what you must do. He made known to me an ancient ritual, which I will undertake tonight at midnight, however, there is one vital ingredient missing, Jonathan, and that's where you come in.
I must say, I don't understand all this, but please, tell me that which you must ask of me. She said, you and Jake share the same life force. It is a phial of blood that I require. It must be me that must draw it out from you. I would not ask it, if I were not willing to give up, not only my fortune, but my very life for it. I looked at Ms. Rothschild. I could not deny Jake had been a good friend, and even better brother to me. I knew that he had not left me. It was the sea that had taken him. I will do it for Jakes' sake. I owe it to him...............
When I passed the sand dunes, and around the curve, I stopped the van. I could think only of the ritual she'd spoken of. I decided I would be a witness to the event. As I climbed over the sand dunes I could see the cottage once again. The moon shone bright against a cloudless sky, so I needed a place to hide. I saw a rock about 50 yards from the shore. I went to it positioned myself behind it, lifted my head over its rim, and noticed the alter had already been erected. Draping over the altar was a dark luminous linen cloth. On the cloth was a gold tray, two figures and two phials of blood. Ms. Rothschild was wearing a cloak of the same material embroidered with mysterious symbols throughout. She reached into the cloak and drew out a small wand, sruck it and flames erupted. She lit the figures, one a man, the other a woman. She lifted her arms to address the sea and the sky and began the chant. It was the opening invocation, inaudible at first but crescendoed throughout the incantation. The sea was at a dead calm, and there was no wind at all. She paused, then arranged the figures face to face, stretched out her arms and began a second invocation. During this incantation, a dark mist emerged from beneath. It hovered to about 100 feet above the sea, then branched out in all directions blanketing the heavens. The moon and the stars hidden behind the thick mist. She look the phials of blood, bathed the figures with blood and the candles flickered, as the blood mingled and gathered in the tray. The third invocation resonates into a haunting darkness, and the winds begin to howl and shreik above, and the sea churns and bellows out a mighty roar. She brings her arms down to welcome those who have been evoked. She places the two figures together and the flames become one. She chants the fourth incantationi, and my body is pulled and tugged. My blood rushes to the surface, my hairs stand on end as a chill runs through me. I was jolted and drawn forward, but instinctively I took hold of the rock. The fifth incantation, lightning flashes, the winds intensify, whipping and lashing violently above and below, funneling water spouts digging into the uttermost depths, drawing volumes of water, as the sea swells and churns in labor, then with a monsterous roar, delivers its secret from the deep. The wind shreiks out in horror and in rage. The sixth incantation, the winds slice between me and the rock, pulling my flesh from my bones, tearing me from my rock, drawing me into its vortex. The sea spewing water into the air, the winds thunderous howls, lightning cracking in every direction and the sea and wind locked in battle. The fury of the wind against the deep of the sea, crashing, cutting, ripping, into each other while tugging at my very life force. The seventh incantation, and utter darkness consumes the light, a hellish shrill emits from the wind plummating my body now suspended in mid air, lifting me, the mighty sea roaring, as the winds shear and cut into my flesh, swirling about my hands and arms tugging and pulling at my flesh. My skin being stretched from my very body, my bones popping from their joints, O God give me strength, I hear myself yelling out, my hollow voice echoing in a fathomless vacuum. I feel myself losing my grip, my teeth gnashing and grinding against each other in the utter darkness, my jaw locked in place, as I hold on for dear life. The wind and the sea engaged in a raging war of titans. Flashes of light eminate from the mist and I notice a monsterous swell in the sea, a colossal wall of water shearing and swallowing up the mist as it dives into the shore. I close my eyes. Then when I think all is lost, I hear a thunderous deafening crash upon the shore. My ears burst out with pain and my body drops to the ground as the elements release their death grip. I have survived the mighty battle. My hands still holding on to the rock, the immovable rock. There is a great silence as the calm returns. Darkness is unmasked. The heavens open up and the shore and sea are alight, as the faithful witness shines it light upon the earth. The sky and the sea are again at peace. I lay there to gather my strength. With the rock as my support I am able to stand. As I venture closer to where Ms. Rothschild had been I notice a gaping crater. The mighty wave has crushed and swallowed up all matter under its cataclysmic weight. I stand there motionless staring into the vastness of the sea. The moon having made its way across the sky is now dipping into the horizon. As it disappears, a greater orb is just rising in the eastern sky. Its first gleasoning rays of amber shining over the sandy shore and majestic sea. I make my way back to the cottage and as I open the door, the room is filled with daisies, and as I turn and take in all these wonderful sights, I think to myself, yes....................this is where I truely want to be.