On the way to Aunt Rosalind’s house, Talia wished Michael would say something to calm her nerves. He looked deep in thought and avoided looking at her. His gaze was fixated on the road and Talia held back a sob.
After she had stripped him of his powers three years back, Michael had started to forget who he was and although she had been relieved at first, she had missed sharing this part of her life with him. This was who she was now and Michael had to accept all of her.
He had taken it pretty well, especially after she had told him about what she had done to him. He was there when she needed him, even taking her at odd times in the day to do her work. But now his silence felt almost like a betrayal. Michael knew her powers were getting stronger, but she wished he had told her it was not her fault, rather than say nothing at all.
It was only when they reached at Aunt Rosalind’s that he spoke. “Do you really want to tell her?”
Talia took a deep breath and nodded. “I need her guidance.” she said, but what she really needed was for Aunt Rosalind to tell her that she hadn’t killed a man today.
She got out of the car and closed the door behind her. She pulled her jacket closer to her and hoped that her Aunt was home. She should have called first of course but somehow her senses told her that Aunt Rosalind was at home.
She knocked on the door and was relieved when her Aunt appeared at the doorway.
“Talia!”she cried. “How nice to see you. I was just about to call you!”
Her Aunt was dressed in an elegant silk blouse and a pearl skirt and Talia groaned. That meant that Aunt Rosalind had company. Her Aunt usually dressed in casual jeans and a sweater and her hair was always tied up in a pony tail. But today, she had let down her hair in ringlets. After her divorce, her Aunt had lost custody of her daughter Mila, and her enthusiasm for life. The only way Talia could help her Aunt out her depression was getting her interested in fashion and clothes, and ever since then, her Aunt was an avid viewer of all modelling shows.
Talia hugged her Aunt and winced as she heard voices from her living room. “Are you busy? I could come by later.”
Her Aunt smirked at her. “It’s your mother.”Didn’t you recognise her voice?”
Talia felt her heart sink as she heard another voice. It belonged to her mother’s boyfriend Sam. She had avoided meeting him, making excuses about her studies, but today she was trapped. Talia smiled inwardly. Considering what her job was, she thought at least she wouldn’t have to face the burden of having a bad day. But here she was having the worst day of her life. Where was her counterpart when she needed him or her? Wasn’t it their job to ensure she had a nice day every now and then?
“Talia!”her mother said, appearing beside her Aunt. “How nice to see you.”
“Mom, hi.” She said awkwardly and hugged her.
“Ms. Silverwoods.”Michael said coming from behind Talia.
“Michael, how nice to see you.” Her mother said and gave him a brief hug. Talia walked in and prepared herself to meet Sam.
“Sam’s in the kitchen. He’s making lunch.” Her mother said and led her to the kitchen.
She saw a tall man with sandy hair and dark eyes stirring something in a pot.
“Sam.” her mother called and the man immediately looked up. His sharp features melted into a smile and Talia felt she could understand why her mother had fallen for him. He looked the complete opposite of what she had imagined when he smiled and although she had felt she would feel some sort of awkwardness at meeting him, she couldn’t help but smile back as he shook her hand.
“This is my fiancé, Michael.” she introduced and Michael offered his hand.
She turned towards her mother who was looking at her expectantly and she smiled back at her.
“I hope you like spaghetti.” he said as he walked back to the stove.
“Sure.” she said and took off her jacket.
“Sam’s a great cook.” her mother said as Talia took a chair. “He’s opening his own Italian Restaurant next week.”
“Ours” Sam corrected and sprinkled salt into the tomato sauce.
Talia turned to look at her mother. “I’m one of the partners.” She said.
Talia looked down at her hands. Sam didn’t really look like the kind of guy who would exploit people, but her mother should be more careful.
“We were going to invite you for dinner.”Aunt Rosalind said, taking a seat at the kitchen table. “Sam wanted to meet you for so long and said he would cook lunch and dinner for us.”
“Were you in the area?” her mother asked and sipped some water from her glass.
Talia looked at Michael who leaned against one of the kitchen counters and looked at her. Why was he still so quiet?
“I...was just shopping here. Couldn’t find what I was looking for.” Talia said and looked at her Aunt. She hoped her Aunt would understand how much she desperately needed to talk to her.
When her Aunt started to chat with her Mom about the new handbag she had seen in the store the other day, Talia sighed.
“Aunt Rosalind.” she said, interrupting their conversation. “You said you had the sweater I wanted to borrow. It’s in your room right? Could you show me?”
Her mother looked puzzled and Talia realised she couldn’t have been any more subtle. The guilt inside of her seemed to be building.
“Of course, come right with me.”Aunt Rosalind said getting up from her chair.
Talia felt her chest feel lighter. It would feel so good to finally talk to someone about her secret life and put her mind at ease.
She quickly followed her upstairs into her room, and once there, closed the door behind her.
“What’s wrong?” her Aunt asked sitting on her bed. “You look really anxious about something. If it’s about Sam...”
“It’s about my job.” she said and sat down on the bed beside her Aunt. “Something went wrong today.”
“Well, this usually does happen. “Her Aunt explained. “You are expected to do your best everyday and complete your assignment on that very day, but you are given a leeway. You can complete it tomorrow.”
Talia felt a tear roll down her cheek and she wiped it off with her sleeve. “He’s dead!” she said.
“What?” her Aunt asked and Talia told her everything. Her Aunt listened to her patiently as she related the events of her day and when she was finished telling her, waited for her Aunt to say something comforting.
“I was afraid this would happen.” she said and got up. “Your powers are getting stronger.”
“But I didn’t do this!”Talia cried.
Her Aunt walked towards her desk and opened a drawer. She took out an old newspaper and brought it to her.
Talia took the newspaper and unfolded it. “What am I supposed to be looking at?”
Her Aunt tapped an article on the bottom, with her finger and then let out a sigh.
Talia read and at first couldn’t comprehend the contents of the article. It was about a patient from the mental asylum who had died due to bizarre circumstances. It was only when the name of the patient was revealed that Talia felt her jaw drop.
“Stanley!” she asked.
Her Aunt nodded and took the newspaper from her. “It happened last week.”
“He died?”Talia asked, unable to believe it had actually happened. Her nemesis had passed away and she could feel nothing but a strange calm descend over her. Stanley had tried to murder her and if it hadn’t been for Aunt Rosalind’s spell and amulet, she would have died and never repeated her life.”But then why was Aunt Rosalind showing her this?
“Stanley was found in his bed dead.”Aunt Rosalind said. “Through my sources, I learnt that Stanley looked as if he had his soul sucked out.”
“What are you implying?”Talia said and choked on a sob. “You think I’m doing this?”
“Your powers are getting out of control.” her Aunt said. “You have twice the powers than you should have had and it was all because you had a repeated life.”
“It’s not my fault.” Talia interjected. “Besides, my life was nothing like it was before. If I was really become that powerful then I would have been able to restore al lot of things from my previous life. I used to have so much fun then. Now it’s like I’m stuck in a rut!”
Aunt Rosalind put her hand on Talia’s shoulder. “This is what I’m talking about. You shouldn’t be able to remember anything about your previous life, but lately, you’re starting to remember every single detail.”
Talia rubbed her temples and shook her head. “I’m not killing people with my mind, if that’s what you’re inferring.”
“The man you were supposed to work on died and so did Stanley.”
Talia started to cry. Why did no one believe her? “It wasn’t me!” she said and burst out crying.
“Then who’s doing this?”Her Aunt asked.
“I don’t know.”Talia said. “I know it’s not me. But Talia felt she couldn’t even convince herself. What if it really was her?