Blind Sight: Through The Eyes Of Aniela Dawson
The internet search for keepers left Aniela as confused as ever. She attacked her keyboard with the same frustrated vigor she had seen Tatiana use against the piano. Not sure how to refine her search, Aniela scrolled through pages about police equipment, clothing brands, storage companies, and care for the elderly. Nothing enticed Aniela to click on the links. She then turned to books, which much to her dismay, were just as useless. As she slammed the volume shut, dust and the resulting coughing fit added insult to injury.
If it had not been for Tatiana’s smug, silent bragging, Aniela might have waved it off. With a heavy sigh, she settled back into the plush library chair. With furrowed brows, she watched Theodore walk past her to some shelves further in before she sprang out of her chair and followed him. The twins told each other everything; he would know.
“Theodore, what are keepers?”
“What? Who told…nothing you need to worry about.”
If he intended to dampen her curiosity, that was not the way to do it. “What are they? Why did Tatiana imply I have one?”
For the first time in her life, Theodore ignored her.
“Theo, I’m seventeen.” She was not going to let him get away with ‘you’re too young,’ again.
“Aniela, leave it alone.” He marched into his office and she heard the soft click of the lock.
He turned more into their mother with every passing day. Frustrated, Aniela went to the last source she could think of.
Once she was in her father’s office, her fingers curled around the chair even though he was the only family member who could not telekinetically lift her out of it. After asking him the same questions she had Theodore, she watched his expression intensely. Except for the upward arch of his left eyebrow, it was placid. She let out a curt huff before she won the staring contest and he explained.
“Keepers are just a fancy name for magical protection. It’s complicated so no need to worry about the details. Just do not take it for granted.”
Aniela continued to sit. That was it? That was all he was going to tell her? Why were Theodore and Tatiana allowed to know the details?
“Does this mean I cannot get hurt?” She knew from experience it did not keep her from skinning her knee or stubbing her toe, but she had never broken a bone. Was that luck or because of this magical protection?
His lips curled into a frown. “Why? Do you think someone is trying to hurt you?” His eyes held a different concern than her mother’s.
Other than Tia? “No.”
He relaxed with a sigh. “You still need to use common sense. Do not abuse it by sticking your finger in a light socket; that is not how it works. It just keeps you from needing bodyguards. More discreet.”
Glad for a straight answer, Aniela decided Tatiana had been messing with her and Theodore had blown her off because he was busy. It made perfect sense given how hard their family had worked to blend in with the populous, not wanting to mimic the disconnect of Marie Antoinette.
Aniela ran through the snowflakes before the chilly wind could work its way through her layers. Alaya referred to court observation as “part of being dutiful members of society,” something along the lines of jury duty. Only Theodore took the responsibility seriously. At seventeen, Aniela could only observe minor cases, so she checked the schedule at the front desk, ignoring any cases involving the abuse of magic.
Her finger ran down the list and stopped on a line that read: Breaking and Entering. The courtroom was empty, save for a few people dispersed here and there in the benches. Wanting to keep out of the way, she slid to the end of one of the benches in the back.
A door to the side of the room up front opened and a boy around Aniela’s age came out looking scruffy. It took her longer than she would have liked to recognize Zachary with the stubble on his chin. Her eyes widened and her leg stopped bouncing impatiently as her mind ran through the list of possible offences he could be standing trial for. He was lucky to only get caught for breaking and entering. Was Odette not the first girl he had groped? A judge entered from chambers behind the bench where she would sit for the trial. Zachary seemed very calm considering there was no one standing with him. Aniela knew he could afford excellent representation…so where were they?
“Zachary Reynold,” the steely-eyed judge droned. Her tightly kept grey bun and thick glasses suggested she would not be lenient on the young miscreant. “How do you plead?”
Aniela looked around for a lawyer, but Zachary remained alone, looking pretentious. “Technically I was not breaking, just entering, seeing as how I hopped the fence.”
The room was so quiet it was as though every person in it was holding their breath. No one talked to a judge that way. Aniela knew Zachary thought himself occasionally above the law, but this was beyond reckless.
“Do you find these proceedings amusing?” The judge looked down at him, her expression stoic and impossible to read.
“No ma’am, just wanted the courts to get the facts right.”
For a split second, Aniela though she hallucinated the smallest tug of a smile in the corner of the judge’s lips before her face was back to a blank untouched canvas. “Would you like to tell the court what you were doing hopping the fence?”
“I was hot; the pool was closed. Now I realize it would be dangerous to go swimming without a lifeguard on duty so I just wanted to stick my feet in the pool.” He added a shrug as if to play up that it was no big deal.
“Two hundred hours of community service.” The gavel slammed down with a thud and a collective exhale filled the room. “Court will be taking a recess before the next case,” the judge announced.
People spoke in hushed whispers as they stood to leave, but Aniela did not go with them. Going out for fresh air would only make her that much more miserable when she had to return. She knew the point of this was to watch the judicial system in action and have a presence here, but that did not make it enjoyable. At the sound of footsteps approaching, she looked up. Zachary really did look different with stubble growing undisturbed.
She clenched her jaw together and nearly bit her tongue. She had told him she would deal with him later, but while she wanted to be inside for the confrontation, the courthouse was not the audience she wanted around when she did. If she slapped him, she did not want anyone with handcuffs around to witness it.
“You know you could have gotten in much more trouble than that?” She kept her voice casual when she assessed him. The way he shrugged off the charges did nothing to help his image in her eyes, but it did not confirm that he had done anything to Odette either.
“Not really; if you plead guilty to charge minor enough that only one judge presides over your case, the worst you can get is community service. More judges, more serious offence.”
“You seem very knowledgeable about the punishments for petty crimes.”
“Always know the possible consequences. Then you know whether it will be worth it.”
“Was it?” She was asking about the current charge, but her mind thought back to Odette.
“Well, two hundred was a little steep, but yeah.” One side of his mouth curled into a lopsided smile, and his eyes bore into her, assessing her right back. “You sure are angry with me over something.”
Hours later Aniela’s cupped hands shook quickly before she let the die drop onto the game board. She, Viola, and Harmony counted aloud for Odette’s benefit. Aniela was impressed by Odette’s ability to fit in, participating in the things the girls had always done together. All of them figured out ways to keep her included and Odette never complained about being at a disadvantage. Aniela’s piece landed on a trivia square and Harmony grabbed the corresponding card.
“When was the first queen of Edaion…”
“No fair!” Viola interrupted. “Of all people to draw that card…”
Aniela stuck her tongue out at Viola as Harmony cleared her throat. “When was the first queen of Edaion crowned without a king?”
“1767,” Aniela answered without having to work to recall the date.
“Correct, not that you could have missed it. Didn’t your mom name you after her?” Harmony teased.
“Yeah, Cordelia is my middle name.” Cordelia was Alaya’s favorite monarch, setting the precedent that the oldest child regardless of gender took the crown. Even when Alaya married James, she was head of state and he took care of the family. In the case of twins, the ruling monarch picked.
“Odette, your turn.” Viola picked up the die and touched it to Odette’s hand.
Odette rolled, and Viola moved the piece for her and picked up a talent card. “You must balance a spoon on your nose, and if an opponent interferes, they pay the penalty instead.”
“I’ll get one for you,” Harmony offered.
Odette did not manage to balance the spoon, but ended up winning the game anyway.
“That’s three out of three; you guys aren’t letting me win….” A suspicious tone suddenly found its way into Odette’s voice.
“No, trust me,” Aniela answered, “Viola is competitive, she’d never lose on purpose.”
Odette’s victorious smile returned. “Well, I’m afraid that’s it for me, I have to study for my history exam on Monday.”
“I think my brother said he’s in your class. If you’d like, you can come over tomorrow and study with him, our family is having a study marathon this weekend. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind; he’s in choir with you too.”
“Alright,” Odette sounded unsure, but Aniela knew she would be in good hands with Viola’s family.
Aniela offered Odette a ride home. Just as Odette pulled her backpack up off the floor, the zipper fell open and its contents spilled out. Aniela ran around the car to help as some of the papers tried to make an escape. She had never seen Braille before and hoped she didn’t mess it up somehow when she stepped on the paper to keep the wind from catching it and blowing it further down the street. Odette had her backpack back together by the time Aniela had collected all of the lose pages and returned to the car.
“Do you need any help getting into the apartment?”
“No.” Odette sounded a little cold, but Aniela brushed it off as frustration rather than a personal attack.
She waited to make sure Odette did not drop anything more on her way into the apartment complex before getting back in the car. Her foot slid on a paper still on the floor, and she was about to rush after Odette when she paused. There was a drawing on it rather than the Braille on the other pages, but it was definitely not something from Odette’s bag. She examined the picture more closely. It was an outline of a male in different poses and sizes spread over the page. Some of the outlines were darker than others as if the person was in more than one place at once.
“Marcus, was someone else in the car today?”
“No, why do you ask?”
She showed him the paper, but he shrugged. She could not imagine anyone giving a drawing to a blind girl so in the end she abandoned it, dropping it in the trash on her way into the house.
“Aniela,” Alaya’s tone was unwelcome and stern as Aniela closed the front door behind her.
She sighed. What had she done now? “Yes, mother?”
“You were out late, were you at your uncle’s bar again?” Alaya did not even allow Aniela the chance to answer, “Let me smell your breath.”
“Excuse me?” Aniela practically shouted, indignant at the accusation.
Alaya started to walk over, but Aniela took a step back. She was not going to humor her mother’s unreasonable behavior.
“Alaya,” James walked over and Aniela could feel his calming presence diminishing her outrage. “Ana, go to bed.”
Aniela did not argue. She went to her room and closed the door. She was not tired, but she was not about to leave her room and enter the war zone outside until James had a chance to talk to his wife. She was certain her mother knew that when she went to the bar she did not drink. If she did not, she had certainly pretended to ignore it until now. Aniela wondered what this was really about.
Next Chapter – Coming Next Week
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 Aniela Dawson. This volume is told from the point of view of Odette’s friend who thinks she’s a medium channeling spirits. The companion novel, Blind Sight Through the Eyes of Leocardo Reyes tells the same story, but through a different point of view. Odette’s brother Leo is convinced Odette is having premonitions and cannot be convinced otherwise. Who is right? Whose eyes will you read through?
You can also learn more about our novels on our page, Ermilia Books.