The young redhead nudged the older of the two men who had arrived with her, both of whom were staring as if they had witnessed the second coming of Christ, and to them, it probably felt that way.
“See Asher, I told you it was the woman from the photos!” Bethany said to her husband’s uncle.
“Hadley! It IS you. How …?” Asher muttered.
“You’re my mom? Uncle Asher, is THAT my mother? HAILEY, is it her? Someone say something!” the younger man, Gary, demanded in complete disbelief.
“Oh boy …” Hailey sighed, Hadley next to her looked in no better shape, neither woman truly prepared for this discussion.
Almost 45 minutes later they all were processing what the stunningly beautiful woman with the fiery red hair and even more fiery temper had just finished explaining. She was Leeora, the witch who had risen Hadley from the grave, whom Hailey had called over to help shed light on the situation and answer some questions.
The older of the two visiting men, Hadley’s younger brother Asher, shook his head and spoke.
“Just to recap, so this is in fact my sister, returned from the dead by some witch spell? That is what you want me to believe?”
“I don’t care what you believe, friend, all I can do is tell you what I did. Anything else now? I have a boutique to run, remember?” Leeora’s tone was testy and annoyed.
“I have a question. Will she be the same as she was before? I mean, we have all seen movies where people came back from the dead and seemed fine but then turned into monsters … no offense.” Gary Jr. asked.
“Yeah, kid has a point – we all were wondering that. Those of us living under this roof may all be immortal, but we don’t need some Stephen King meets Tim Burton moments here. We have three toddlers. They may be Vamps but are still too young for the powers to have transformed them fully, so they are vulnerable.” Colton agreed with Gary.
Hadley and Hailey both shot Colton grumpy glares.
“What?! It’s a valid question! Just because she hasn’t done anything freaky yet and no bodyparts have fallen off, doesn’t mean that won’t happen in the future. I mean, nearly 20 years in the ground is significant!” he defended himself, his wife Maddie nodding next to him.
“He does have a valid point. I mean, she is practically a zombie, right?” she affirmed.
“Wow, thanks Maddie.” Hadley frowned, while Leeora replied.
“No Maddie, she is NOT a zombie. And no, I don’t see how she would turn into some monster from FICTIONAL movies. Let’s not confuse fiction and reality here, even though admittedly the lines may seem a bit blurry at the moment. Then again, this was the first time I did this spell on a human, and there aren’t many records of it having been done before, since it takes a very high-level mage with a very specific skillset to be able to do it successfully at all, otherwise cemeteries would be empty and redundant by now. I have performed it on animals many times before and all were okay, from what I have been able to research humans return being the same as they were before as well, not really surprising considering at the core humans are all part of the animal kingdom. Like I said already, the spell basically only resets nature to the last moment the person was whole, healthy and well.”
“That would explain why my son right there is almost 19 with a child of his own yet I was lactating for the first few days after coming back, and my girly bits were out of whack as if I just had a baby. Luckily, I healed fast, cos that was just extra-weird.”
“OMG – gross! TMI!” Gary exclaimed horrified.
“Well, bummer, but I cannot influence where you restore to. Only trigger THAT you do. That’s just the way these things work.” Leeora shrugged.
“Wait – so Hadley is still basically in her twenties now? Meaning, now I am the older sibling of a sudden?” Asher wondered.
“Yes and no. The spell restores, not rewinds time. I’ll give you an analogy you may better understand: your sister was a broken radio-controlled clock with empty batteries. My spell repaired what broke, then put new batteries in, she reset to noon, and now she will progress at a somewhat accelerated rate until she reaches her proper age again, presumably her early 40s, considering she is Hailey’s friend from high school and has grown children. Otherwise – if I had a spell for a fountain for youth, I would be RICHER than you could imagine, and no witches would ever age and die. There is no such thing, and that spell I used only works if it was an erroneous death, not due to old age or a disease that took you. Something went wrong during the birth that shouldn’t have. Otherwise, a lot of dead people would already have been back. We cannot cheat nature. Nobody can. Some of us witch folk have the power to ask nature to fix something. That’s why you never know if this particular spell will take. Just because WE think a death was unjust, doesn’t mean nature agrees and Mother Nature ALWAYS has the last word. We humans are merely marionettes.” Leeora explained.
Everyone quietly processed her words.
“What I would like to know is how to reintegrate her into society. She’s officially dead. Her records reflect that, we can’t hardly go into a courthouse yelling “Psyche!” and have them adjust their records, issue her a new ID and driver license so she can have a bank account, a job and a home and – well – an independent life of her own. I don’t mind her staying with us for now, but this can’t be permanent. It’s neither a fix, nor a solution, it’s a Band-Aid.” Chase stated dryly.
Leoora, who was Chase’s cousin from what at the time used to be an illegal and illegitimate union of Chase’s uncle Caelan, a high-ranking Vampire, and her mother Seraphina, the leader of the Magic Realm, shrugged at him.
“How would I know? Like I said, Hadley was my first human. Animals don’t come with so many strings attached when resurrected. Besides, wouldn’t that be right up you Vampires’ alley, with all your smoke and mirrors and all? Before you were made public after having been nothing but myths for centuries you were masters at fake identities and such to blend in and hide in plain sight. And I happen to know from the horse’s mouth – being my father, Caleb’s son – that Caleb has his people installed EVERYWHERE now, to spy on the mortals but also for things just like this situation. So, talk Caleb into helping, he can very much have her records adjusted back into the land of living. You know Chase, our grandfather may not be able to resurrect anyone, but no doubt he knows how to bring someone back from the dead on paper, pun fully intended, considering Hadley isn’t the only one technically considered dead in this room.” Leeora smirked.
“So, you go do something unnatural and crazy like raise people from death and then just leave us with the mess to figure out?” Chase sounded annoyed.
“Unnatural? A VAMPIRE complaining about something being unnatural? You are just on a roll this afternoon, aren’t you Chase-y? And yes, I AM leaving you all to sort this out. Not my business or my problem, my dear sweet cousin. I am sure you can come up with something to explain the inexplicable, while Grandpa Caleb fixes the administrative side of it. Fix it yourselves, you always do. I have faith in you. Besides, looks like 3 members of Hadley’s family already know the truth, makes them just as involved as you guys. Make them help you break it to the rest of the family and friends. On that note, it was nice meeting you two gentlemen Asher and Gary and you too Bethany, good luck to you Hadley, I suggest you start thinking about your future, so you don’t squander your second chance on the same bullshit you have wasted your life on before, I will see the rest of you fun people whenever I see ya. I need to get back to my store now. Good luck with this circus.”
Leeora snapped her fingers and was gone.
“Oh great, another one with those gimmicks. Maybe Blaine and she can have a chase someday. Popping up random places like a real-life game of whack-a-mole.” Colton grumbled.
“Ugh – to think YOU dated that witch – and it’s not even an insult calling her that. Gross!” Maddie nudged Colton.
“We were teens! Teens do dumb shit! Don’t you go blaming me for crap I did before you and I had even met! And trust me, I never regretted anything more than dating her, no offense Chase. I know she’s family to you, but she’s also a reminder that you just can’t choose who you’re related to!” Colton countered.
“Speaking of family – I don’t know what to say or think here. I feel overwhelmed and confused and a little guilty. When Bethany kept insisting she had seen my dead sister Hadley very much alive, I thought … things.” Asher mumbled.
“You thought I was nuts, just say it. So, did you, didn’t you, Gary? I am NOT crazy, I KNOW what I saw, namely my own husband’s dead mother very much alive. They were standing right over there, right under that picture of them together before she had died. I have excellent vision!” 18-year-old Bethany ranted at her also 18-year-old husband Gary, Hadley’s son during whose birth Hadley had perished and who had never actually met his mother for that reason.
Asher took the floor again.
“Bethany, come on now. You have to admit, this is bewildering at best. Hadley, how is this supposed to work? Are you gonna shock the whole family by showing up at your kids’ doorsteps or just ignore we even exist and start over without us all? Or do you expect ME to go break this insanity to them? To think I was at your grave, mourning you, only yesterday. I feel like a fool. This is too much. Gary, Bethany, I need to get out of here. Unless you want to stay and find your own way home, I am leaving.”
“Asher … Gary .. I …. ahem .. I am sorry.” Hadley tried to find words to make them stay.
“No, I am the one who is sorry, but I can’t with any of this right now. I have known Hailey since I was a child, her eventually dating a Vampire and then becoming one herself were a tough pill to swallow, but now my own sister is – whatever you wanna call this – that’s almost too much to ask of me. I need to think, reflect on this insanity here. Were any of you even gonna tell us anything at some point had we not stumbled upon it ourselves? I thought we all were friends here; did you think you could hide my sister here for all eternity?” Asher directed the last part at Hailey.
“Asher, this is hard on us too. Bringing her back wasn’t my plan when I went to visit her grave that day either! I didn’t even know that was a thing! I just had a rough time with the memories, one of those moments when I missed my best friend so much it was paralyzing me, I couldn’t stop crying when Leeora walked by. She consoled me, offered to bring her back, I wasn’t thinking straight, let alone about consequences. I was made an offer I just couldn’t refuse! Think of me what you will, truth be told, all of you can be mad at me all you want, but I regret nothing. I am glad she’s back and I am sure we will figure something out here. With or without you, preferable with, but if you can’t bring yourself to expand your horizon for the sake of having your only sister back, then so be it.” Hailey ranted, Asher shot right back at her.
“Don’t make me into the bad guy here, Hailey! I didn’t say I don’t WANT to have my sister back; I do! I said I needed time. I want to be spontaneous and open about this, I want to be able to just embrace these news, but right now I simply can’t! It’s just too much. Way too much. That should be VERY understandable too!”
“Asher, Gary … would a hug be okay?” Hadley said out of the blue, nearly sounded like she was begging for acceptance at the worst moment imaginable.
Asher stared at her, then shook his head.
“I am sorry. Too soon. I need more time. I can’t hug you. Not now. Not yet. Maybe eventually.”
He turned and rushed out, followed by Gary and his wife Bethany.
Hadley looked on the verge of crying.
With a sigh, Chase wrapped his arm around her shoulder.
“Don’t cry Hads, he just needs some time. Cut him some slack, it is very understandable, and you have us, we’ll help fix this. Like Leeora said, we always find a way and being Vampires, nobody in his home is in any position to point fingers at something that shouldn’t be but is. Just give Asher the time he needs to wrap his head around it, Hads, he’s your brother, he loves you. I am sure he’ll come around eventually. You both grew up very conservative and this is everything but.”
“Yeah, I know. The worst thing is, I am SO glad I am back, even if nobody else may be, except maybe Hailey and you. I feel so guilty for feeling this way, but Gary seems like a perfect stranger to me, not my own son.”
“Ahem … Hadley … Gary is kinda iffy around you cos I think he used to blame himself for killing you when he was born. Took a lot of trips to the shrink to get his head realigned. And as harsh as this is gonna sound, he may be your son, but he doesn’t know you other than from photos and what everyone told him about you. Don’t expect more than the boy can give, he still so young and definitely overwhelmed. And you’re wrong. Colton and I are glad to have you back too.” Maddie said.
Hadley looked at Maddie, remembering how strained their relationship used to be after Hadley and Maddie’s father had fallen in love despite a huge age gap, which ultimately ended his marriage to Maddie’s mother. The fact that Maddie stepped up and raised their son, her half-brother, after both of his parents had died when Gary was still a teen showed how big a person she was. A wave of gratitude overcame Hadley.
“Can I hug you, Maddie?” she exclaimed emotionally.
“Goddamn woman, were you always such a needy bitch?” Maddie asked half-amused, half-surprised.
“Yes, Maddie, she was! Always! Needy and a total trainwreck, that’s our Hadley, then and now. Some things really NEVER change.” Hailey said, giggling.
Her chuckle turned into laughter when during the brief, slightly awkward hug with Maddie, Hadley stuck out her hand in Hailey’s direction to flip her off.
The following weeks brought good news. Caleb had not been thrilled by the request, after a long rant though, he had assisted getting Hadley’s official records adjusted, had someone go out and make her grave disappear, until every record of her tragic death was nothing but a faint memory to some. Since Hadley had married straight out of high school, her vital records and the hospital records were the only ones that needed to be fixed, no employment history to speak of.
Hadley’s family was carefully and slowly introduced to the idea of her return, and painfully slow began to rebuild a relationship with her.
At some point a few weeks after Hadley’s return, she and Hailey spend much time trying to find a new direction for Hadley to reboot her life to be more self-sufficient and independent.
While browsing employment boards on Hailey’s laptop, Hadley looked up at Maddie mixing herself a drink.
“That’s it! You guys could teach me how to mix drinks! I could be a barkeep. That sounds soooo interesting – and cool. Working nights, listening to people complain about their problems, watching people hook up, flirts, maybe some live entertainment. And since you have so many parties here, I could be the barkeeper for you then too. Oooh, that sounds really nice!”
Hailey gave her a look.
“Hadley! You? A barkeep? Working nights? Talking to hordes of drunk strangers and people wanting to unload their problems on you? Seriously now? Did the worms nibble holes in your brain?! I am gonna give you a big, fat no on that one. Next idea! Start looking into evening classes too. Get your degree while you’re getting your life together, then you have better option for jobs.” Hailey told her.
“Okay, but YOU keep telling me to think outside the box. Barkeeper would be WAY outside my box. Getting a degree would be back in that box, it’s what I was gonna do had I not gotten knocked up with the twins barely out of high school. I was so – SOOOO – conservative all my life and I was miserable. As a barkeeper I would meet new people all the time. You all told me I needed to get out there. I always envied you for your interesting lives. Oh my God: I could work for your band, something in the office maybe- ooooooh oooooh – you could turn me into one of you and I’d be a Vampire too. Hailey & Hadley forever – literally!” Hadley began to squeal excitedly.
“NO!” sounded nearly simultaneously from Chase, Colton and Maddie, along with disapproving groans, while Hailey just stared at Hadley.
“The worms REALLY have chewed up your thinking cap, Hads! How is any of THAT supposed to work out for ANY of us? I need a drink!” Hailey sighed.
“Oh, I can make it for you! Get me some training in …” Hadley offered undeterred, unclear if she was teasing her friend or serious about her job idea. They bickered a little more.
14 thoughts on “Chapter 412) Back To Life”
Well, this is quite interesting. Not surprised her family is weirded out. Of course Caleb fixes things for Hadley but has to rant. I can totally hear him chewing out every single one of them first. Lol. So very Caleb. But eventually her family will come around, or not and she’ll need to move on. Sounds like she’s dead set on remaking herself starting with bartending. She is just 20. Why not? Guess we’ll see.
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She is 40.
Leeora explained that she has been caught up with where she should be. Not quite that weird.
Her family’s reaction is understandable. Who wouldn’t freak out?
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Well, she is 40, but wasn’t she 20 when she died? That’s what I’m meant. So she is going to age quickly?
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She was in her mid-20s when she died and yes. She is now at the age she should be, 41 years old to be exact, in body mind and appearance. 🙂
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Ohhhh. I misunderstood that. I thought she was still in her 20s. So she quickly aged. Like that piece of lore. I thought she would just age faster.
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Or she has already caught up?
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She has. 🙂
She has. 🙂 The behind-the-scenes explanation is simple, she has family in game and otherwise she would have children older than her (her oldest are twins who are 23 ATM). The game does not allow that and it would mess up the family tree, probably removing her thinking it’s an error.
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Ohhhh. Makes sense game wise!
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They are not played characters normally, just NPCs because when she was young, Hailey befriended her even before she met Chase.
Obviously, I had to play her now to fix everything (tedious) after testing that spell out and liking the result too much to undo it. Self-inflicted chaos, then again, the game is hard-wired to be weird at time, with ghosts and aliens you can’t turn off, sooooo … why not? Like Hailey, I regret nothing. 🙂 And I always really liked Hadley and Asher.
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Ahhh. Yes. It was way cool.
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I’ll admit. I did tear up a bit when she talked to Asher, but I understand where he’s coming from. If my own sister had come back from the dead, I’d need time to process the information too. Loved this chapter! ❤ I always felt Gary did blame himself for killing her, but now that he knows he wasn't to blame, he'll need time to wrap his head around his mom being back. He's a lot like Asher to me. Both need time to wrap their minds around the whole situation.
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