Late Night Musings
Driving back to the airport was a quiet endeavour. Owen had stopped the truck once to see how Brooklyn was fairing. After quickly wrapping and dressing his wound, Brooklyn assured him that after he had a good sleep he would be fine. The traveling truck continued east. Shortly after the sun had risen ahead of them, Shou dozed off; his head leaning towards Amaya. Smirking at the child, Amaya closed her eyes as well.
Nicole studied the road map in her lap.
"If you take the next exit on your right, we might be able to cut off another fifteen minutes from our travel time."
Following her instructions, Owen turned on the next inner pass. However, an accident up ahead had caused a standstill with more than fifty cars in front of the truck.
"So much for the shortcut."
"It is alright Nicole. It is hard to predict changes like this."
Turning towards her, Owen caught something. "Nicole, look at me for a moment."
She turned to face him. Carefully, he held her chin. "Owen-?"
"Your eyes are different," he explained after a short pause, "There is now a ring of dark brown around your pupil."
Nicole moved away from Owen's touch to look at her eyes in the passage side mirror. She was surprised to see that the green eyes she had all her life had developed a thin line of brown on her iris. "I've never noticed it. It must have just happened recently. I can ask Amaya about it when she wakes up."
Owen hummed as he continued to watch her. A horn from behind brought him back to reality.
"Jeez. Someone is impatient," Nicole huffed.
Shou stirred in his sleep. "Are we almost there?" He yawned as he rubbed his eyes.
"We still have another hour or so," Nicole informed him. Amaya's eyes fluttered open. "Amaya, I was wondering if I could ask you something."
"Owen noticed that my eye colour has changed slightly. I've noticed that you have a ring of gold around your pupil. Have you always had that?"
"No actually. Shou noticed it just as you arrived with Kunio. He came to me later and told me about it."
"Your eye colour also changed when you had a vision," Shou reported. He explained to her what had happened.
"How curious. That has never happened before."
"I wonder what would have caused it," Nicole shrugged.
"I'm sure it's not a big issue. Being the impressive beings we are, it must just come with being ourselves. It is a good thing Mr. Burnett noticed," Amaya eyed Owen.
A faint blush rose on Nicole's cheeks as she continued to stare out the window. "Oh look, there's the sign saying the airport is about forty minutes away."
"Forty five minutes," Owen corrected.
Amaya lightly chuckled to herself as the truck continued down the highway.
Brushing past the crowd of waiting tourists on their way to England, Nicole led the way towards the gate. She had her bag in one hand; her boarding pass in the other. She turned to wait for her companions.
Owen walked briskly behind her, his normal lack of emotion showing. Amaya was close behind; gripping the small woven bag she had brought with her. It contained few items—some medicine, clothes, a prayer book, candles, several photos and passports Amaya had obtained years earlier for Shou and herself. "It's always a good idea to have some official identification" she had said. Shou was trailing behind. He took momentary pauses to take in his surrounding's with awe. He carried nothing as his bow and arrows were the only checked luggage among the group. Amaya urged him to keep moving.
"What is that drink on that block?" he asked as he pointed to several snack and drink machines.
Shou tilted his head in interest. Nicole walked him to the machine and taught him how to use the machine. When a plastic bottle rolled out from the bottom, Shou cautiously grabbed it. Nicole twisted the cap off for him. Tentatively, he took a sip. Cool bubbles popped on his tongue.
"This is yummy. Do you American's drink this all the time? Is it like water?"
"Some people drink it often, but it's not something to have all the time. There's a lot of sugar in it."
Shou continued to take slow sips; savouring the new taste as they made their way to the gate.
Owen had just shut off the seatbelt sign when Nicole brought out the map again. Opening it slowly, she laid it on her lap. She pushed her hair out of her face. The page was still blank.
"How did I get it to work before?"
Nicole's mouth formed a thin line as she brainstormed.
"You had sighed before the map changed," Owen remembered as he crouched down in front of her.
"Oh yeah! I wonder if it will work again." Nicole breathed on the map. A spiral came from a single dot in the middle of the page before it branched out, revealing the land masses. A dot appeared just off the coast of Japan.
"T-that can't be right."
"It's showing where Amaya is," Owen noted; stroking his chin.
"But where's my other sister?" The term was still strange sounding to Nicole, but she paid no mind to it. By this time, Amaya and Shou had reached Nicole's seat and were thinking. "What do I do?"
The quartet remained silent. Owen snapped his fingers. "I have an idea".
He took a step back. Taking off his glasses and placing them in his coat pocket, he took a deep breath. He began to spin on his own. Shou and Nicole looked at him in amazement. Amaya simply smirked. The twister's colour's turned from deep blue to various bright colours. Once he slowed down, Owen was no longer there. Only Puck stood; beaming. Amaya and Shou stood in silence.
"Oh, don't mind me you two. Owen will explain everything in a quick second."
"What are you doing?" Nicole raised her eyebrow.
"Well, unless you happened to have smuggled some matches on the plane, I thought my powers would be more useful."
Puck snapped his fingers to reveal a flame on his pointer finger. He brought it close to the map.
"Are you nuts?" Nicole snatched the map away from him. "You'll burn it to a crisp!"
"Nicole, think about it. This map belongs to Merlin, known as the greatest wizard who ever lived. He created a being that can likely admit fire. If he didn't fashion all his possessions to be fireproof—including this map—then I don't know the sorcerer".
Nicole gave him a sceptical glance before she held the map out in front of her. Puck flipped his hand palm down. The flame hovered directly over the centre. The map immediately erased itself. A new mark appeared on the page. However, instead of spiraling out like before, the lines on the page made a zigzagging motion to the edges. The world was inked on the sheet. A dot formed just over Eastern Africa.
"More specifically in the North Eastern area of Kenya," Puck pointed out. "It does make sense that the being of fire would be in a normally hot climate. Here's hoping she's not hot headed. Get it?"
"Puck? Maybe it's time Owen made an appearance."
Puck frowned. "He is my secret identity you know. I created him. And if I want to stay around longer then-"
"While you being here is a nice change, Owen still has to explain to Amaya and Shou what's going on. Besides, if Oberon senses you're using your powers too often, you might be in big trouble. Isn't that what you told me?"
Puck turned towards the two Asians on board. While Amaya was neutral about the situation, Shou was in a defensive stance in front of his guardian.
"Oh fine. I guess I do have some explaining to do. I hope next time this happens I can actually stay long enough to "spread my wings" as the saying goes." Puck frowned as he transformed back into Owen.
"Now tell us what happened," Shou demanded as he straightened up; his fist still clenched.
Owen explained his origins, his true self and how he had become Owen Burnett. Throughout the entirety of his storytelling, Amaya watched him with fascination. Shou's expression shifted from that of defense, to interested, to captivation.
"I am unsure to why I've suddenly been able to change into my original form. I doubt Oberon has gained a forgiving heart, but I shall not ponder too much on the matter."
"What an enthralling tale!" Amaya beamed.
"I must agree with Obaasan, you certainly have an interesting history," Shou complimented.
"Thank you. Now, if you would excuse me, it would be best if I returned to flying the plane." Owen excused himself. Sitting in his seat again, Owen took a hold of the controls. The private jet glided through the air with ease.
Turning on the auto pilot after hours of flying, Owen took a deep breath. The sun had set a few short hours ago; leaving a dark, yet cloudless sky. Turning to the seating section, he noticed that everyone was asleep. Shou was lightly snoring beside Amaya—who had a look of peace on her face. Nicole had fallen asleep with the map in her lap and her overhead light on.
Owen quietly strode towards her, stopping in front of her seat. He watched her chest rise and fall with every breath she took. Her hand was loosely gripping the map. Owen felt his glasses slide down his nose. Taking them off, he slipped them into his coat pocket. A sudden, impulsive idea came to him. Moments later, Puck stood where Owen once was.
Bending down to sit cross legged, Puck placed his chin on his fist. He stared up at Nicole. She was truly an interesting woman.
"I can't seem to figure you out," Puck whispered.
She admits that she has feelings for me, but could they be only for Owen? I've interacted with her more in that form only because I couldn't at any other time. If the spell Oberon had never been casted, could I have been able to be my true self more often? Would she like this side of me?
Puck sat still thinking. While he did enjoy playing as Owen Burnett, he did yearn to be himself more often. He had created that persona in order to live differently; from a different point of view. He even had thoughts like two different people, just to keep up the charade.
From now on, I will think as one person. My mind should only be for Puck.
Nicole sighed in her sleep. Puck perked up. When she didn't wake up, he in turn heaved a sigh.
I could watch her sleep forever.
The thought brought on memories of recent events.
Nicole is almost immortal. Her aging process is much different from that of a normal human. I wonder if she would isolate herself in order to become younger. She could live forever if she wished. But then there is the issue of her sister. She's the closest family she has and eventually—years from now hopefully—she will pass on. Would Nicole want to age in order to be with her sister? And is it possible for her to die of old age?
Puck sat in silence. Lifting his head from his fist, he let his arm drop to the floor. Tilting his head, he thoughtlessly lifted his opposite hand to cup Nicole's face. She unconsciously leaned into it. This brought a smile to his face.
"You really are a beautiful maiden."
Carefully—with his hand still in place—he stood. Bending down at the hips, he planted a soft kiss on her forehead. Stepping back, he transformed into Owen. He moved the map to the side and turned off her light.
Taking the controls again, he guided the plane through the night sky; with the moon and the stars to keep him company.
I wrote another chapter while on vacation. It's a filler for sure, but it's a nice progression. I know in previous chapters I had written Puck's thoughts as being two separate people. I now felt this no longer stayed true to his real character, so his thoughts will now be from a one person view point.
I think I will need some time with the next chapter. I have a ton of research to do on the next area of interest and I hope to include more characters with interesting back stories. You will most likely get a glimpse of who this new 'sister will be, but time will tell.
Don't forget to leave a lengthy review guys. I love to hear from you. I especially want your opinion on how I've been writing Owen/Puck. His personality/behaviour will be a big part in chapters ahead, so I want a good idea of how to write him right away. Feel free to message me if you wish.
Until then, enjoy your summer and stay cool.