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Blind Sight: Through The Eyes Of Leocardo Reyes

Ermisenda Alvarez

Chapter FOURTEEN

LOST AROMA

BlindSightLeoBookCoverThe library was not a good place to find out about the royal family’s dirty history. Everything he found had shed the Dawsons’ lineage in good light, of happy childhoods and honest rulings. The only corruption he could find was about 1902 in a book about Edaion Council history. Rather than wasting time on the royals he decided to investigate more about the word ‘seer’ and the woman who had been murdered.

Once again every book he grabbed that was remotely what he was looking for had history painted in happy golds and pure silvers. The search for the word took him to an interesting find; there was a legend about seers in Edaion. The legend involved some kind of cat and mouse game between the seers and an unknown other, but it became all so fantastical, even for Edaion standards, that Leocardo lost interest.

If Theodore had investigated the word seer it would have been for the crude meaning of the word, an individual with the gift of foresight. Maybe he was not looking at seer at all, it could have been the word below that Leocardo had not memorized.

Leocardo rose in a state of irritation, and marched toward the help desk. Before leaving he thought he would ask the only living thing amongst the dead pages of history, apart from himself, in the room. The man at the desk greeted him. His acne appeared to have multiplied since their last encounter.

Leocardo hesitated. “There are so many history books here… This might be a stupid question but do you know anything about the woman who was murdered in 1902? She was involved in the royal family versus council fiasco.”

The young man scratched his chin, irritating the red raw pimples. “I don’t, but my sister loves Edaionien history. She would probably know. She comes back from her work break in ten minutes. Do you mind waiting?”

“Not at all,” Leocardo replied, enthused. Unable to sit still, he paced the corridors, running his fingers along the books or shuffling them to one side. After ten minutes Leocardo darted back to the help desk to find a woman in her early thirties with a badge on her sweater.

Leocardo rested his arms on the desk. “Hello, I’m Leocardo. Your brother told me you knew a lot about Edaionien history.”

“My name is Kate,” she smiled warmly, a pair of dimples emerged. “I do, what would you like to know?”

“1902.”

“Ah,” her eyes lit up and her fingers interlocked. “1902 was a great and terrible year.”

“I want to know specifically about the woman who was murdered. Who was she? I can’t find any books on her.”

“No, there won’t be any books about her,” she shook her head. “My memory about the details of that woman is a bit fuzzy. I know that story inside out from the council perspective. I studied it as part of my degree. Ironically, history has little information about the woman who was told by many sides of the story as the key to the council’s uprising.”

Leocardo nodded. “That is strange.”

“She didn’t have family here. She had been brought here by Edaion a few years prior to the scandal and had little interest in politics. The council interested her little, as did the royal family.”

“Then why was she in the middle of it?”

“Somehow she was dragged into the mess and she couldn’t get out. So, she chose her side.”

“The council side,” Leocardo recalled.

“Some say that, history claims that, but others suggest otherwise.”

“Why would she be on the Dawsons’ side? They were corrupt,” Leocardo said, craning in closer over the desk.

“Romance complicates things, as it always has in history. King Alexander and the seer were romantically involved.”

Leocardo held his breath. Kate had just not only revealed to him that this case was much more complicated than originally thought, but that this woman was a seer.

“Sorry? A seer?” He played dumb.

“Yes, apparently she was a seer. She could see the future. It is a rare gift, a dangerous gift. A gift many deny to have ever existed. Obviously both sides of the battle wanted her because she was the best tool at the time. Who wouldn’t want to see what their opponent’s next move was?” Kate raised her eyebrow. “She was a gift for warfare.”

“Was Alexander using her?”

“Possibly, it is unsure whether their relationship was pure or simply a means to exploit one another. You would have to ask her, but of course she disappeared.”

“I thought she was murdered?”

“Well…that is the most likely scenario. The grain of truth was that she disappeared.”

“Couldn’t she foretell her own disappearance? Surely she knew what was going to happen? Maybe she ran away? She couldn’t have been so stupid.” Leocardo’s stream of questions flew from his mouth, unfiltered.

Kate shrugged, indifferent. “Her gift had a strange twist. I am unsure what it was. You may want to ask what is left of the family who adopted her.”

“She has living family?” His eyes grew wide.

“Not biological,” Kate clarified, brushing her hair back. Leocardo did not care if they were biological or not.

“Can I have their address?”

“Yes, just be respectful about it all. They love to talk about what they have preserved of her memory. Most people call them con artists. They’re not.” She brought out a notepad and scribbled down an address.

“You know what her name was?” Leocardo questioned, staring at Kate squarely.

“Devna Sharma,” Kate admitted.

“Why did you tell me all of this?” Leocardo was surprised she gave the name so willingly. If this woman’s identity had not been revealed in the history books, why was it being released to him now, with no screening? He could have been a ravenous reporter.

A smile twisted her lips. “No one would believe you, or care.” Leocardo swallowed nervously. For a split second he imagined Odette’s name instead of Devna’s in the history books, with the same reasoning. Who would care? She was simply a means to an end.

*

The house sat plastered between two other buildings. The narrow, tall home appeared welcoming despite the impoverished garden. Before he knocked, a robust woman answered the door. He greeted her. The woman appeared to be in her sixties. She wiped her hands hastily on her apron and primped up her hair.

“How can I help you?” she asked, flustered.

“Kate at the library told me your family could help me find out more about Devna Sharma.” Leocardo explained, noticing the melting aroma of freshly baked bread wafting through the doorway.

“Oh,” her eyes dimmed. “Come this way, I’m the only one here today and I don’t know much.” she warned, her thick eyebrows knitting together.

Leocardo followed her lead and entered a house full of narrow hallways and a maze of rooms. He was baffled by how there could be so much space in the narrow household. They reached the kitchen where the woman introduced herself as Daisy. A plate of freshly baked bread and chocolate chip cookies was placed on the table.

“Take some,” she urged. Leocardo saw the glistening chocolate chips, soft from being taken straight out of the oven.

“What do you know about Devna?”

“I know little,” Daisy admitted. “My grandmother only talked about how saintly she was. I know that she had been called by Edaion from India. She lived in this very home until she disappeared. I know that she was beautiful and that she was cursed.”

“Cursed?” Leocardo could not resist and took a cookie, it melted in his mouth.

“She could see into the future. A rare gift yes, but she did not remember what she foretold. Alexander became infatuated by her. Fascinated by her, I don’t know if it was over lust, love or her gift.”

“Was he…bad?” He asked naively. Daisy took a seat beside him, erupting in a fit of giggles.

“I don’t know. He was a wondrous man, great and very powerful.” Her gaze dazed off momentarily. “If you ask most people he is shown as the corrupt leader. History has a way of manipulating itself. Maybe he was evil. Maybe the only reason he brought Devna to his manor in secret night after night was for her gift.”

“Did she want to go?”

“Well, from what I was told she appeared to love him. I think he was just hoping that one night she would slip, and that he would be there to listen.”

“Listen to what?” Daisy pushed the plate of cookies toward him.

“You must eat up. You’re a fine young man,” she urged, a twinkle in her eye. He took another cookie, not needing to be asked twice.

“Listen to what?” he repeated, trying not to spit cookie crumbs everywhere. He didn’t want to lose that question, let alone the answer.

“She couldn’t speak, but her premonitions were only ever in words.”

Leocardo frowned, his curiosity growing. “She couldn’t speak?”

“The poor woman was mute.” Daisy chewed on her fingernail. “She only spoke to reveal a premonition.”

Leocardo felt an iron fist grasp his heart. The cookie grew sour in his mouth. He thanked her for all of her help and excused himself without further discussion. The gravity of her words was too grand. Was she telling the truth? What kind of motive did Daisy have not to tell the truth? None. It had to be true.

After running two blocks from Daisy’s house, he slumped down onto a street bench. His head rested in his hands and he tried to think. Think. It was hard to think. All he could feel was a growing desire to run, to take Odette with him and just run. He wouldn’t lose her.

All this information meant danger. Devna Sharma was mute, and yet foretold the future through speech; Odette Reyes was blind and yet she had suddenly became an artisan. Devna Sharma was not a key to the solution. She only revealed what history did to seers. They were manipulated and murdered. If not murdered, they disappeared. They didn’t last long once people knew what they were.

Would Odette be sucked into the same political mind games like Devna had been? Would Odette have to choose what side she was on? Who was privileged to see Odette’s foresight? Could Odette choose?

Leocardo thought about Ana. She already had the drawings. The royal family had already grasped what they had taken in 1902, knowledge and possible control over the seer. Odette had not chosen whose side she was on. She had fallen to the Dawson family. Who knew if the Dawsons were honest? They had secrets, they liked to veil things. Leila or Tatiana had taught him that.

Ana. He remembered squeezing her hand in the hospital after Odette’s first seizure. She had been there for both of them. She had taken Odette under her wing. She had helped him research both his and Odette’s condition in the Dawson library. She cared about them, right?

The infatuation with Ana had to be stopped. He couldn’t fall for her. She was a Dawson and she could just be another player in the whole political mind game. What if she was Alaya’s key player? What did he know? Nothing, and that was the problem. Leocardo felt like he had been fed a line and now he was thrashing wildly trying to make sense of it. Maybe Ana was trying to help them both, or maybe not?

*

Leocardo spent his workday stacking and sorting boxes in the stock room. His shifts grew increasingly dull as the workload mounted. Previously with Nate, they would halve the workload and chat afterward. It was not the same with Elizma or Cameron; the two of them shared most of their shifts together. Leocardo never realized that Nate had been his only real work friend, but now it seemed more obvious than ever. Leocardo wanted to ask Peter to bring Nate back but he feared losing his job too much to dare.

A young man walked into the bar and slid onto the bar stool. He ordered a beer and kept looking around the bar as if searching for someone. Then he yelled, “Nate!”

“He isn’t here,” Leocardo offered, cleaning cups.

“He’s my favorite bartender. What a shame. I’ll just have to come back in a few hours.” He sighed dramatically, his voice dripped with sarcasm.

Leocardo sighed to himself. “He doesn’t work here anymore.”

A cacophony of laughter erupted from the single man. The beer spilled onto the tabletop. Although he appeared clean cut and sleek, he definitely lacked manners. Leocardo’s eyebrow rose.

“That idiot, only thing he has that’s worthwhile is that peppy princess. Why she bothers with losers is beyond me.” He took a large swig of his beer before smacking it against the tabletop.

“Who are you?” Leocardo demanded, trying to restrain his irritation. It didn’t bode well with Leocardo that this guy was insulting his friend.

“Zach.” He spat. “A noble, what about you, bartender?”

Leocardo gritted his teeth. Zach smirked. The history between Nate and Zach was beyond irrelevant because without having to consult Nate, Leocardo already detested the arrogant noble.

“Excuse me, I have plans.” Zach left his unfinished beer on the counter and left Green’s Tavern without a second glance, chuckling to himself as he went.

Leocardo tried to shake off the teenager’s judgmental blue eyes. Who cared if Nate and Leocardo were bartenders? They were good people. Leocardo didn’t even have a choice in the matter. If Nate’s dream was to be a bartender, then why not?

When his shift ended he hopped on the bus and stared out the window. The raindrops clung to the slippery glass. Each storefront had a different name and business to advertise. Maybe he could swap jobs? Maybe he could make a real career here in Edaion, like he had planned back home? There was little he could to do escape, Edaion had caught them both but he could still live within her grasp.

As Leocardo stared out the window, he noticed a couple outside in the rain. It was not just any couple, it was Ana and his insides knotted. The young man was cradling her face. He was leaning in. Ana and the young man were staring at each other but the details were hard to discern. The bus turned a corner and they disappeared from sight.

Was the young man leaning in to whisper, or kiss her, Leocardo didn’t know, but he felt sick. Was it jealousy that churned within his stomach or happiness? The less interested she was in him, the more their chances of romance decreased. That was exactly what he wanted, was it not? The reason she bolted out on their date was probably because of this other man. It made sense, and Leocardo tried to be content rather than letting merciless jealousy tear him apart.

The gloominess of the sky reflected in his eyes as he stared out the window at the snowfall on the way home. Once he was at home, he dropped his keys on the counter and called out to Odette, but not a sound greeted him in return. Was she still giving him the silent treatment? No sound, no movement, nothing. It felt ominously quiet. Even if she was ignoring him, he would have expected to hear her moving around.

He was afraid to break the deafening silence, as if the walls would begin to crumble if he did. “Odette?”

Still he received no response and he realized, not even a bark from Cielo. Odette had not informed him of any plans before he left for work and had not called since. She had not said anything at all since coming home from spending time with Ana, but it was a possibility.

“Odette?” he questioned again, trying to take his mind off Ana. “What do you want for dinner?”

No response. This all seemed too familiar. Without hesitation, he moved to her room and opened the door; it was unlocked and offered no resistance.

As soon as the door swung open, Leocardo found it hard to not fall to his knees, feeling like someone had just punched him in the stomach. The air was sucked from his lungs and he struggled to breathe. Although Odette was absent, something else had taken her place. Numerous notes, papers and posters had been stuck, stapled and glued onto the walls, furniture and even the floor.

These white papers had enough black ink, marker, and pencil across the pages that her room appeared more black than white. What looked like hundreds of grungy, detailed and abstract drawings loomed over him as he stared up at the ceiling. Like winged demons, they flapped hauntingly, ready to encircle him at any moment. Faces, so many faces were all staring at him from the pages. They had different features including age and race, but they were all male and all stared down at him, judging him.

Why were they all men? Leocardo’s mind went down a dark and horrific path as he feared for Odette and her recent experiences. Was she trying to tell him something had happened to her? Among the faces were other drawings that were hard to discern; some looked like buildings, others as simple as flora and fauna. Others looked like mathematical patterns and mazes. At first, he thought he had walked into the set of a movie where they had finally discovered the mysterious room of a psychopath. Leocardo’s insides were cold. A twisted knot made it hard for him to breathe and he leaned against the door for support. Where was she? Had someone been watching her?

Leocardo shut his eyes, unable to look at the pages for a moment. Soon, they were wide open again. He felt he was going to be sick as he stumbled backward out of the room, but he had to find her. What did this mean? What was Odette trying to tell him? Through the open door, the men stared at him. They stared and would not stop. He wanted to rip the pages and tear off their faces. Some smiled, some looked angry and others had no expression at all which somehow made him even more uneasy.

“Odette…” he could only manage a hoarse whisper. Shock had frozen his body, but adrenaline was quick to warm his limbs. He slammed the door shut and received some sense of satisfaction seeing it slam in the faces of those perverted men. He blinked several times, trying to erase their expressions from his mind, but the images were burned into his memory. He tried to concentrate as he scrambled for his phone. He needed to call someone, anyone, Ana, Theodore, Nate, Claudia, even Cameron if there was a sliver of hope he would know where she was.

He tried Odette first, not wanting to get anyone else involved if she had just gone for a walk and he was simply overreacting. It went straight to voicemail. Leocardo hesitated to ring Ana. She was part of the royal family. She could be trying to exploit Odette like the royals did in 1902. He concluded quickly that it didn’t matter at this point. All he wanted was Odette to be safe.

Shrugging his coat onto his back, he called Ana first.

“Ana! Please tell me Odette is with you,” he whispered as he sprinted down the hall and out onto the streets of Edaion. Where should he start?

“Leo, what happened, what’s wrong?”

“That’s a no, that’s a no, isn’t it?” he asked, feeling the tears start to blur his vision. “Dammit. Where is she? I can’t find her, I can’t see her. I don’t know where she is.”

“I can help you look, when did you last see her?” He was relieved to hear her willingness to help.

As he walked blindly down the street, he tried to look around but saw only strangers. He could not see his sister and his sobbing started. “I don’t know…I do—don’t know. Last night she came ba—back.” He stopped talking and tried to compose himself. Tears ran freely down his cheeks and his nose and into his mouth. All those men…were staring, not at him but at her. Watching her, he dreaded to think what else. “She came back last night but barely spoke, and I left for work early and I saw her eating breakfast. I went to work and when I came back she wasn’t home, neither was Cielo. I think she followed Odette. And her room—” He stopped abruptly. “Her room,” he whispered hoarsely.

“I will go to the school, you check restaurants, the parks, anywhere she liked to frequent. I will call Nate and tell him to look. We will find her Leo; she could not have gotten far.” It helped so much to hear her words, to know that she was helping.

“I have to find her. I won’t sleep until I do,” he said. Odette was all he had, the only thing that felt genuinely real in this fantastical world.

“I will call the police; do you have a picture of her? They can cover more ground than the three of us.”

“Yes, I do, but I’m not at the apartment anymore, I’m on the streets looking for her,” he said. His teeth chattered and the moist streaks that had ran down his cheek prickled as they turned to ice.

“I will take care of it.” With those last words, Ana hung up.

He clung to her every word and the knowledge that she was helping. It gave him newfound strength and he jogged through the streets, running through his own white puffs of breath. He would periodically yell for Odette or Cielo, but there was never a response. As he ran down a narrow street toward the lake, he felt his mind skip time as one moment he was running down the street and the next he was at the end, his head spinning.

He felt he needed sleep, to lie down and flush his system of anxious emotions so that he could unwind, but not now. Every moment that passed, he dreaded seeing an abandoned walking stick or a ripped piece of her clothing. He hoped Cielo would recognize his voice and come running to him to lead him straight to Odette. He wanted Odette to be sitting in a lovely café drinking pineapple juice with a dead cell phone. He wanted her to have missed her bus or lost track of time, but he feared the worst. He shut his mind to the male faces that whooshed past or froze right in front of his vision with their calculating expressions.

No matter where he ran, she was nowhere to be seen. As the older sibling, he couldn’t help but think he had let his poor sister down. Could he have avoided this? He found himself on the far east side of Nevaeh, but only one house looked familiar.

He remembered dropping Odette off at this house before. One of her high school friends lived here. He remembered her name, Samantha. Maybe Odette had sought refuge at her house? He was worried if he rang the door they would slam it in his face as disheveled as he looked, but he had to try.

“Yes?” Samantha answered.

“Is Odette here?” Leocardo croaked.

Samantha shook her head and the moment she heard Odette was missing, she threw on her coat and agreed to help. She shot off in one direction and he another. He ran. In his panic, he became disoriented, his vision seemed to jump. One moment he was at one end of the street, the next he was at the other end. Was he losing his mind? He couldn’t give up. He couldn’t stop. What would he do if he lost his sister? Odette was all he had left.

“Please let this be over in a few hours, please let me wake up tomorrow with Odette close and safe,” he begged, and prayed even though he had never been particularly religious.

The vibration of his phone in his pocket alerted his already hypersensitive state. He grabbed it and saw it was Ana. As soon as he pressed the answer key, Ana’s voice froze all the toxic emotional sludge that had been pulsing through his veins.

“I found her.”

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FROM THE START (ProloguE)

Blind Sight is an urban fantasy series about a blind girl who develops the ability to draw. You are reading Blind Sight Through the Eyes of Leocardo Reyes. This volume is told from the point of view of Odette’s brother who thinks she’s having premonitions. The companion novel, Blind Sight Through the Eyes of Aniela Dawson tells the same story, but through a different point of view. Odette’s new friend Ana is convinced Odette is a medium channeling spirits and cannot be convinced otherwise. Who is right? Whose eyes will you read through?

amazonbutton-purchaseYou can also learn more about our novels on our page, Ermilia Books.

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