There were sounds coming from the other side of the room. At first it was impossible for me to tell what they were, but, slowly, I came to understand that they were voices, and one of those voices belonged to my sister. I tried to open my eyes. Something was urging me to go back to sleep, that what I was hearing didn’t matter, but I ignored that. What I was hearing did matter. As I stopped trying to open my eyes I found it easier to focus. Obviously I only had the mental strength to be able to fight to hear or to see. It wasn’t until much later I worked out what had been done to me. Before I had a chance to learn who I truly was it never once crossed my mind magic of any sort might be real, so back then I couldn’t understand why everything was so hard. Had I known things might have worked out differently. Unfortunately I didn’t.
“I don’t believe what you’re telling me.” Keeley’s voice was full of uncertainty. “I… you want me to believe I have powers?”
“Back when I was first called on I didn’t believe it either, but it is true. Why else do you think we’ve been able to have this conversation without being interrupted?”
For a moment there was silence. I could almost feel her eyes on me, and then she must have turned back to the speaker. The voice was masculine, one I’d never heard before, but he was in our bedroom, trying to convince Keeley to believe she had powers. Had I been awake I would have tried to convince her she couldn’t believe a word he was saying. Later on I found out she could, because everything he said was true. As I lay there in my bed, something still urging me to sleep, I should have realised there was something more to what was going on. Honestly, although I hate to admit it, there was a part of me that didn’t want to believe it was possible. I didn’t want to believe I wasn’t strong enough to fight the spell on me.
“You want me to come with you?”
“Learning how to use your abilities will be easier there. The magic here is too weak. Had I not come to you you would never have found out the truth about who you are, and that, to me, would have been the very worst thing to happen. You have potential, Keeley, and I want to teach you to be the very best you can be.”
“What about Marie?”
“Only one of you can come with me. It’s not possible for me to take on both of you, and you are the one I’ve chosen.”
Her eyes were on me again. “Why me?”
“Marie is still asleep. Had she been the one she would have been awake right now, but she isn’t. You are the stronger of the two of you, which is why you’re the one who’s awake, and that is why I want you to come with me.”
“Even though that means leaving everything I know, and everyone I love, behind.”
“All of us have made the same sacrifices. I left my family behind too, and I don’t regret the choice I made. I did the right thing for me. The best thing you can so is think of yourself. What is it you want?”
“How am I meant to have an answer to that question?”
“Think. What would you regret more? Would you regret giving up the chance to learn magic? I’m not going to come back. You have this one chance to make a decision.”
Silence followed his words again, and I fought once more to open my eyes, to try to move, to do anything that would mean I could help Keeley. If I spoke to her I was sure she would say no to going. She would stay with us, and maybe she would end up regretting not taking the chance to learn how to use how power. Or, if things worked out the way they might have, we could have learnt together, sharing the both the good and the bad. When I think back to that moment, as I do so very often, I can’t help wondering how different things could have been. Before that Keeley and I were close. She was my best friend, the person I believed would be by my side until I was old. All I wanted to do was ask her to stay with me, because I couldn’t imagine my life without her. Until that moment I didn’t think she could imagine her life without me, but then there was a chance she hadn’t told me everything.
“Can I come back, to visit?”
“No, you can’t. Time is different there. The people you love will age, but you won’t, because time is much slower on Kalinia than it is here. Well, it is most of the time. If you come with me you will learn more about what it means to be living there.”
All I could do was hold onto the hope she would say no. She wouldn’t want to leave us. She wouldn’t want to leave me. “Would you regret it, if you hadn’t gone to Kalinia?”
“Yes, I would. My life is different now, far better than it could ever have been had I made the decision to stay here, and I am so glad I chose to leave the life I thought I was going to live behind.”
With every silence I pushed harder. I had this horrible feeling she was going to say yes, no matter what I hoped her answer would be. Nothing I did was good enough. I was still stuck in my bed, my body not willing to respond to me, and this urge still filling my mind - everything would be fine if only I would go to sleep. Of course I knew that nothing would be fine. I would wake up to find Keeley was gone, because she was chosen, while I was left behind. She wouldn’t do that. I wouldn’t have done that to her. I would have said no, shared what little I’d learnt with her, and then we could have worked together to find out more about Kalinia, about the power we were supposed to have, about all the things I later found out about alone.
“Please, Keeley. I know what I can feel in you, and you will regret not coming with me.”
“You’re certain of that?”
“Then I’ll come with you. I just…” She sighed. “I would like a chance to say goodbye to my sister.”
“Do you really think that’s a good idea? If my siblings had heard about what I was going to do I know the very first thing they’d have done was try to talk me out of it. Is Marie likely to do the same thing? I can’t imagine anyone would be willing to let their sister leave with a strange man.”
“She would, but… you’re right. This is my decision to make, and I’m not going to let her talk me out of this, because she will. She wouldn’t be willing to believe that magic is real. She’s not that sort of person.”
“Good.” Something happened. I could almost feel a breeze coming from Keeley’s side of the room. “In that case we should go now.”
The breeze faded away, and with it so did the spell that had been keeping me asleep. As I opened my eyes I looked at where Keeley should be sleeping in her bed. She was gone. My sister, my best friend, had left me behind, to go to another world in order to learn magic. Feeling tears well up in my eyes I slipped out from under the covers. I could feel the magic that had been used. A voice in the back of my head told me nothing that happened was possible, but I didn’t have any other choice but to believe it. One moment she’d been there, and the next she was gone. Logical explanations weren’t going to work. Magic, back then, wasn’t a logical explanation for anything.
Standing beside her bed hurt. If the man she’d gone with was to be believed she would never come back, and that thought was more than I could cope with right then. Wishing I’d been stronger, wishing I could have fought off that spell, I curled up under her covers, the bed still smelling of her, and let myself cry. It wasn’t as though I could do anything else. As much as I wanted to chase after her that was never going to happen. Time to grieve had to come first. After I’d have that time I could think about what my next steps were going to be.