14 Research (14)

I woke up exasperated. Fragments of the nightmare were still fresh in my memory. The dead look on Finn's face, the guide board on the road and those two men. I groaned and fell back on the bed, rolling over, I snuggled in the pillows. It was still dark outside but I was nowhere near sleep. I was too uncomfortable. My dreams and nightmares and have somehow made me edgy. The most terrible part was, I can't even recall them completely and properly, only the fragments remain embedded somewhere in my subconscious. About two things I was absolutely positive. First, someone was trying to kill me --- I didn't know who and why, but someone was out there, waiting for the perfect opportunity to erase my existence. Second, the only person who can get me out of this is Finn Marshall. The only person I can run to.

Around six I gave up, I sat up and my head spun for a minute as the blood flowed down and all that was in front of me were bluish and blackish patches. First things first, I had a day ahead of myself and I can't ruin it by entertaining my ridiculous speculations. I dragged myself out of bed and grabbed a towel. Shower didn't took much long as I hoped it would. I changed into new clothes and threw the older ones into the laundry. Next I decided to clean my room. After all, a messy room can add to everyday stress, anxiety and sleep. But I knew better.

I stripped my bed and changed the sheets and pillow covers. Arranging my books in a proper manner, I cleared my desk of all the clutter covering it and wiped the surface clean. I emptied half of my closet into the laundry and by the end of closet cleaning, I've filled the hamper with three loads of laundry. After my room was done I moved down stairs to the kitchen and made myself a bowl of cereal for breakfast. During my breakfast which lasted only for five minutes, I checked my phone. Three missed calls, one from Cee and two from Grace. Two messages, one from Cee and the other one from Grace.

"You've left your jacket in the car." Cee' text read.

"Don't forget to bring it Monday morning." I texted her back.

"Why aren't you picking up your phone? Call me kooda 9 tomorrow morning or I'm Taking the first flight back to Portland" Grace's text read.

I checked the time it was still eight.

"I'm fine Grace. Cee and I went out shopping yesterday and I was too exhausted so I slept early and forgot to check my phone. Don't worry I'm okay." I texted her, hoping she didn't cancel her work because of me. Though I wished she was really here right now. Being alone in the whole house did nothing other than to bother me with constant unpleasant thoughts.

By twelve I had finished all my homework and assignments including the weekly article that I wrote for the school's e-zine. Padding down the stairs, I dropped down on the sofa. Everything was done for the day. I was thinking about what to cook for lunch when it hit me, the amulet. What was it ? I stormed into my room and dug into the drawer till I found it. Switching on my laptop I opened the search engine and typed the word.

"Amulet."

The results popped up. There was a lot to sift through --- from movies to animes, tv shows and books and a lot more.

When I finally found a promising site I clicked on it and it took me to another page. The site greeted me with the descriptions and I read carefully through them, looking for anything plausible.

"Amulet, also called Talisman, an object, either natural or man-made, believed to be endowed with special powers to protect or bring good fortune. Amulets are carried on the person or kept in the place that is the desired sphere of influence—e.g., on a roof or in a field. The terms amulet and talisman are often used interchangeably, but a talisman is sometimes defined as an engraved amulet.

Natural amulets are of many kinds: precious stones, metals, teeth and claws of animals, bones, plants, and so on. Man-made amulets, equally varied, include religious medallions and small figurines. Among believers amulets are thought to derive power from their connection with natural forces, from religious associations, or from being made in a ritual manner at a favourable time."

I clicked on the highlighted word Talisman, which took me to another page.

"A talisman is any object ascribed with religious or magical powers intended to protect, heal, or harm individuals for whom they are made. Talismans are often portable objects carried on someone in a variety of ways, but can also be installed permanently in architecture. Talismans are closely linked with amulets, fulfilling many of the same roles, but a key difference is in their form and materiality, with talismans often taking the form of objects like clothing, weaponry, or parchment inscribed with magic texts.

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Talismans have been used in many civilizations throughout history, with connections to astrological, scientific, and religious practices; but the theory around preparation and use has changed in some cultures with more recent, new age, talismanic theory. Talismans are used for a wide array of functions, such as: the personal protection of the wearer, loved ones or belongings, aiding in fertility, and helping crop production."

My stare lingered on the laptop screen a few minutes after I finished reading. I had no thoughts. None. Just a complexity of questions tangling inside me. I put my laptop away and stared at the amulet Finn had given me.

Is it true? Does it contain magical powers of some sort? I thought.

Whatever theories I had about Finn crashed as the word "magic" flew through them. 

Throughout the site, I found hypertexts like "Fairies and Witches." I clicked on "Fairies" and it took me to another page. 

"Myths and stories about fairies do not have a single origin, but are rather a collection of folk beliefs from disparate sources. Various folk theories about the origins of fairies include casting them as either demoted angels or demons in a Christian tradition, as deities in Pagan belief systems, as spirits of the dead, as prehistoric precursors to humans, or as spirits of nature.

The label of fairy has at times applied only to specific magical creatures with human appearance, magical powers, and a penchant for trickery. At other times it has been used to describe any magical creature, such as goblins and gnomes. Fairy has at times been used as an adjective, with a meaning equivalent to "enchanted" or "magical". It is also used as a name for the place these beings come from, the land of Fairy."

I scrolled through the entire site reading things that till now I've only thought were a part of fantasy. Fairies and changelings and protective charms and so much more was there to get me exhausted. I closed the page and taking a deep breath, clicked on "Witches."

"A witch is a person who practices witchcraft or magic. Traditionally, the word was used to accuse someone of bewitching someone, or casting a spell on them to gain control over them by magic. It is now also used by some to refer to those who practice various wise crafts such as Hedge witch. Witches usually used spells for personal gain.

Although most indigenous peoples throughout history have had some beliefs about spirits and people believed to have power through herbs or spirits, these were not called 'witches' until contact with western ideas. Neither did they always have negative connotations."

So Finn Marshall was either a fairy or a witch. I thought to myself. I scrolled more through the site. 

"In Europe, the panic over witchcraft was supported by the Malleus Maleficarum, published in 1487 by Heinrich Kramer, a German Catholic clergyman. It taught the prosecution of witches and was greatly promoted by the new technology of the printing press. It saw 29 printings before 1669, second only to the Bible. The book says that three elements are necessary for witchcraft. These are the evil intentions of the witch, the help of the Devil, and the permission of God.

Many women in South America and throughout Europe were killed by witch hunts. The exact number is debated because of a lack of record keeping and different opinions on the time frames and regions that ought to be included. Since the entire persecuting legal system, "judges, ministers, priests, constables, jailers, judges, doctors, prickers, torturers, jurors, executioners" were nearly all male and the victims were overwhelmingly female, the witch hunts are considered by many to be a "gynocide". In the documentary The Burning Times, Thea Jensen calls this period in history a "Women's Holocaust"."

Along the lines, I found a highlighted word Witchcraft. It took me to another page and the results were scary. 

"Witchcraft is the practice of what the practitioner ("witch") believes to be magical skills and abilities, and activities such as spells, incantations, and magical rituals. Witchcraft is a broad term that varies culturally and societally, and thus can be difficult to define with precision. Historically, the most common meaning is the use of supernatural means to cause harm to the innocent; this remains the meaning in most traditional cultures worldwide."

When I was done reading I finally put my laptop away and dropped on my bed. Staring at the ceiling, I engaged myself again in my thoughts. It seemed like witches were considered the harbinger of bad luck and evil. All the results about them gave a negative connotation. 

It was all crystal clear now. Finn Marshall is a fairy while the other two guys were witches. The amulet was meant to protect me from witches. I still wished that it was all a dream and I will wake to find things normal and usual like before. But it wasn't and there was still a burdening question. Where do I stand between fairies and witches? 

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