The Wizard Heart
David pulled out his cell phone and called 911 requesting an ambulance. With Gerald's help, David moved the injured boy over to Sherry's house. He figured this way there would be at least a few less questions the boy was going to have to answer. David knew he could clean the house back up so no one would know they were in there.
It didn't take long for the ambulance to arrive. Karen arrived about the same time with Melinda in tow. She quickly gave Melinda to David and went to work on the hurt lad. David took his niece over to where Sherry was standing and asked if she would keep an eye on the 3 year old for him. David really felt he needed to go to the hospital with the boy. He just wasn't sure what to do about Eli yet.
Watching how Eli acted in the house and now that the EMT's were working on Cody, David knew there was conflict there. Walking over and putting his arm around Eli's shoulders, he tried to comfort the boy the best he could. About that time Stephen came driving up. Turns out that Karen had called him about Cody's situation.
David started working out a plan, but he would have to talk to his twin first. Before David could deal with any of that he needed to figure out what the tension between Eli and Cody was. None of the things his mind was coming up with to help Cody was going to work if he couldn't solve the issues between the boys.
At first Steven said he was planning on taking Melinda back home with him, but Sherry could tell he really wanted to go to the hospital with Karen. He just had a feeling this abandoned boy was going to be important to him and his wife. Sherry told Stephen to go to the hospital and be with his wife, she would look after Melinda.
"Don't worry Dad, Melinda and I will limit ourselves to one ice cream! Right Melinda?" Sherry figured she would give the little girl something to look forward too, in order to help her deal with having to stay with a stranger. The cute little girl just giggled.
"Just as long as you don't spoil her!" Stephen laughed.
As the EMT's loaded Cody up into their ambulance, Karen and Stephen quickly talked about what was going to happen. Karen said she was going to ride in the back of the ambulance with Cody, to insure he was taken care of, not that she didn't trust the EMT's, but she was afraid they would just see him as the police told them. The police officer had told the EMT's the boy was a runaway, even though David yelled at the officer regarding the facts as Cody had told him. The officer still figured Cody had just run away for some reason. Stephen decided he was going to follow behind. David said he was going to bring Eli in a little bit.
The first thing David did after the others left was call Councilman Ben Smith. The councilman was the leader of the Council of Wizards by default as he was the oldest sitting councilman. The reason David called him was the councilman's strong believe in that the true future of the Wizard World was in the youth. He was a very strong supporter of protecting the young Wizards of today. David knew he would have the connections to help David get Cody into his twin's custody.
"Sir, I am sorry to be calling you today, but I truly need your help." David said once the elder Wizard answered the phone.
"David my boy, what's wrong?"
"Sir, I am afraid I have some disturbing news about one of our young Wizards. I found a 14 year old boy, today who had been horribly beaten, to the point where the ambulance just left with full lights and sirens to take him to the hospital. The story he told me before passing out is more than gut retching. Sir, the boy's father sold him into slavery, when he wouldn't do what they wanted they beat him almost to death. I need your help here with him." The teacher was trying to keep it together so he could help the boy.
"David, it is not a weakness to cry over a hurt child. Always remember that my boy. Now, I will call a friend of mine at the Department of Human Services and get her to take over this boy's case. I can assure you he will not go into foster care or go back to his parents. I do need some information on him in order to do this." The Councilman said.
"Well Sir, I was hoping he would go into foster care, at least for now." David started to lay out his plan, but was interrupted.
"David, there is no way I am going to let an abandoned young Wizard go into foster care. He needs to be, and will be placed in the home of a respected Wizard. I will not allow anything else."
"Good Sir! I was hoping you would see it that way. What I would like is for this boy to be placed with my twin brother and his wife, Stephen and Karen. Stephen as you know is a teacher and can help Cody get back on track with his schooling and Karen is a Registered Nurse and will be there for him while he heals. They have both talked about adopting before, and God knows he has the money to take care of at least one more child. The way I see it this is a win for everyone."
"Sounds like you have thought this out, but my one big question is, have you talked to your brother about this?"
"No Sir, I wanted to know if it was even a possibility before I talked with them." David replied.
"Alright, give me the info on the boy and let me make some calls." To which David did. "Are you going to be at the hospital?"
"Yes sir, my son and I are getting ready to head there now." David let slip.
"SON? I will be calling you back." Then the leader hung up.
David knew he had made a simple mistake, but figured he would have to deal with that when the time came. David got Eli into the truck and headed out. He thought hard before he started to question his new Son about the reaction to Cody.
"Eli, back when you first saw Cody, you and he both had a weird reaction, to say the least. Before we get to the hospital I need you to tell me why! What happened that Cody was sorry about?"
The small boy sitting in the passenger seat didn't say anything for a while, just stared straight ahead. After a few minutes Eli turned to David with tears.
"Before he moved away, back in grade school, it was Cody who started me being picked on and made fun of. He used to beat me up at least once a week. He would also spread lies about me, like I still wet the bed, or that I still sucked my thumb. He would try and find the meanest things he could to say to me or about me. One time he told my teacher that I had killed his cat and he was scared of me. The teacher called the police into the school, my Mom had to leave work to come in and there was a huge meeting about it. I was forced to go to a councilor to get help for my issues. At least the councilor did help with the issues; she helped me deal with Cody! He was very popular with the other kids in school, so once he started in on me; it made it the cool thing to do." Eli explained to David the history.
"Are you going to have a problem if we stay in Cody's life and try to help him?"
"Honestly I don't know. I know he was telling the truth about everything that happened to him and that he was sorry for what he did to me, but it's still hard to forget. I will do what I can to forgive him, but I don't think I will fully trust him or be able to forget what he did."
"Eli that is a very mature outlook and response. Let me tell you what I have started and you tell me what you think, alright?" The boy nodded while watching David closely. "I called Councilman Smith; he is the leader of the Council of Wizards, a great guy. He is calling a friend of his who works for DHS, the Department of Human Services. She is going to remove him from his parents' custody and place him in Stephen and Karen's custody. They will, at least for now, be his foster parents. Are you alright with that?"
"Yeah, after all even if they adopt him, we will be like 6 hours away." To which David burst out laughing.
"I guess you're right there! I hadn't thought about that. You do know though, Stephen is my twin brother, and we are very close. I bet he and Karen come up to the farm more often than you might think. Same is true with us coming back down here. I know there is no love lost for this area for you, but I still have family in the area I would like to see once in a while."
"I know you said you have a sister, do you have any other brothers or sisters, besides Stephen?" Eli asked his new Dad.
"Nope, it's just Kelly, Stephen and me. I think after having twins my parents decided to stop while they were ahead." David laughed.
"Where does she live?"
"Kelly and her husband, Eric, live down in Florida on the gulf coast. I don't get to see her near as much as I would like, but we talk quite often using Skype™ and FaceTime. She has two kids, a 10 year old boy named Donnie, and an 8 year old girl named Cassie. Stephen and I normally make at least 2 trips a year down there. I really wish they would move up here, but Eric's family is from there so there isn't much of a chance they would."
"Um, Dad, why didn't you move down there to be closer to her?"
"Well, Stephen wouldn't move for one. He and I have always been very close to each other. When I was in the Navy, it was really hard on both of us being away from one another. When I got out, we made a pact that we would stay close by each other. Plus, he and I inherited our parent's estate after they were killed so I have been living pretty much rent free." David explained to his new son.
"Why didn't your sister inherit any of your parent's estate? I don't mean to pry, but I really want to get to know you and your family seeing how you're going to be like a father to me." Eli rushed saying while blushing. "I understand if you don't want to talk to me about it."
"No, it's alright I don't mind. Kelly wasn't part of my parent's will. There had been a major falling out between her and my parents after she had tried to kill herself. As soon as she could, she went away to school as far as she could. That is where she met Eric and they fell in love. My Father didn't like Eric because he came from old money and lived down in Florida. When they announced they were getting married and the wedding would be at Eric's grandparents place on the coast of Florida, my parents refused to attend. This really upset my sister and she never spoke to them again. Both Stephen and I tried to split the estate with her, but she refused to take a dime. She said she wasn't going to benefit from their deaths when she wasn't allowed to deal with them while they were alive." The conversation was curbed at that point as the two had arrived at the hospital.
As they walked into the waiting room, David saw his brother talking to a large woman. He had a stack of paper in his hand and was pointing to it. When Stephen saw David he waved him over.
"I take it I have you to thank for this?"
David was a little taken back thinking he had possibly over stepped his boundaries.
"I can't tell you how much this means to me that you would step up to help Karen and me with this, David! Mrs. Everhart had already done all the paperwork which has given Karen and me custody of Cody. Karen told me he woke up on the ride here and was a bit scared. She told me he calmed down quickly after she explained who and what she was. He was still awake when they got him here. She thinks he might have to have some surgery still, but that he should make a full recovery." Stephen told his twin.
"That is great news about him waking up. I am not surprised he might have to have surgery after the way he looked back at that house. Oh what I wouldn't give to get my hands on the man who did this as well as that boy's so called father." David said getting angry again.
"Well, from what the officer told me, the body of the man who they think was the boy's father, was found a couple of weeks ago. He told me it was the worst condition a body has been in the 30 years he has worked for this county." The older twin told the other. "They have no info on who killed him or why. I have a feeling we will find out more when Cody can tell us about the people who he was sold too. I hope he will be able to lead the cops to them so they can be brought to justice."
"I know bro, I know. Just don't push him to hard to remember right away. There is quite a lot going on right now without him having to relive his beatings or being sold as a slave. I know that in itself would really mess with my head, let alone a 13 year old boy. Eli told me Cody was the one behind the start of all bullying he has endured. Apparently it all started when Eli was about 6. Cody was the most popular boy in school, so when he started picking on Eli, it made it the cool thing to do. When we were at the house next to Sherry's Eli couldn't believe the boy was Cody, but when Cody saw Eli, he kept apologizing to him for everything. The last thing he said before he passed out was how sorry he was for everything he had ever done to Eli. Eli told me he used his Truth gift to see if Cody was being honest, looks like he was. I don't know what caused the bullying to start, but I do know there are a lot of hard feelings between the boys. Both of them are down on the same boy and are having a hard time forgiving him. I am sure you and Karen will have your hands full with this one. Now, as you know in a week we will be moving out to the new place, so the boys won't have to deal with each other all that often. I am sure with time they will learn to get along, but I do not want what is between them to affect our relationship."
"Don't worry bro; there is nothing that will come between you and me!"
While Stephen went back into the treatment area to check on how things were going Eli came over and sat next to David. He was just looking at the older Wizard with a bit of a strange expression on his face.
"What's up buddy? You look like you want to ask me something?" David asked.
"Can I ask you some questions?" Eli asked and continued when the older Wizard nodded his head. "Well, if Cody and I can't get along and it causes problems between you and Stephen, are you going to leave me?"
"NO! Eli I meant it when I claimed you as my son. We will work something out if it comes down to it, but I am not going to leave you."
"Thanks, but you say that now, but what if there are…"
"Not going to happen Eli! I have no clue what the future holds for Cody, but you are as much a part of this family as Melinda is. I will kick my little brother's butt from here to London if he were to do something as stupid as leave you and your Mother because you and Cody don't get along. I really hope you and he can put the past behind you and become friends, or at least get along, but I am not going to force the issue. If you two can't get along, then we will just have to keep you apart. How about for right now we don't worry about it until at least Cody is out of the hospital. Oh, they just took him into surgery; they said he has a minor tear on his liver they need to repair. We should hear something in a few hours." Neither Eli nor David had heard or seen Stephen walk up to them before he stepped in to answer Eli's question.
The boy was about to ask David another question when an extremely tried looking Karen came out to join them.
"Man I need a cup of coffee. Anyone want to go down to the cafeteria and get something to drink?" She asked as she walked up.
David told the other two adults to go ahead and he and Eli would catch up after a while. David knew the boy still needed to talk and he didn't want to postpone it any longer.
David waited until the others had walked away before he asked Eli what else was on his mind. While he waited he studied the worried face of his new son. He could tell there was something that really was bothering the kid; no kid should have that much worry showing on their faces.
"Okay, spill it. What is bothering you so much?"
"Well, I overheard Mom and Grandpa talking about you and me. Mom was asking Grandpa if he thought you and I might have gotten little too close too fast. I wasn't sure what they were talking about, but I heard Grandpa ask if Mom thought that you might have mistreated me somehow, but she assured him you hadn't and wouldn't. But, it did get me thinking, and she is right about you and I getting really close in an extremely short amount of time. I know of a couple of kids who after years still don't call their step-parents mom or dad. Yet, I have known you for less than 2 days and to me you are Dad, not even Step-Dad, just Dad. After thinking about it, I am really scared that it's not right, or not real and things are going to fall apart. This is the happiest I have been since I was 6 years old at my birthday party, and I don't want it to go away." Eli tried hard to explain to David how he was feeling without water works; but not really succeeding.
David paused and thought about what Eli was saying before replying the boy. He knew deep down he needed to get this right, for this could make or break all aspects of their relationship going forward. After a few moments of silence between the two, David saw Eli getting even more upset. He knew the boy was thinking the worse.
"First off, I have never felt as strongly about a person as I do for you. To me you are my son, just as if I had a hand in creating your life force. I know it sounds quite strange, seeing how little time has passed since we first met, but I truly feel it was meant to be. There is a word for what you and I have; it is an ancient word that is very seldom ever used in the Wizard World. Even though it is not used, it is known to all Wizards, as it would be a high honor to be a part of it. The word I am referring to is Mintanka. Mintanka refers to a special bond between a young Wizard and his trainer. This bond is extremely rare and only happens; maybe once every few hundred years. It basically means our souls are joined as teacher and student. To be the Ietanka, or teacher, in a Mintanka is the highest honor known to the Wizard World. If, and it is a big if, we are part of a Mintanka it would have happened the first time our chests were connected. Like when I hugged you because you were upset. This bond is unbreakable and lifelong. Once we can announce who you are, there is a test that the Council of Wizards can perform for us that would tell if we are a bonded Mintanka. Traditionally this would be done when one Wizard, the Ietanka, felt the bond form, but in your case it will have to wait. This is the only explanation that I can come up with for how close we have become so fast."
"Does this bond, Mintanka, give us anything special?"
"Well, there isn't a lot written about the bond itself in the ancient scrolls. There is one account where the Ketanka, or young Wizard, was able to always know where the Ietanka was. There is only one other account ever written about, and that was by Keisha, the wife of the Wizard King. She said that the Wizard King could always tell what his Ietanka was feeling. Some of the historians think that each Mintanka pair has different abilities that go along with the bond, however, no one knows for sure."
"Oh, so this is something else that will make me stand out?" Eli said sounding a little down.
"Well, I really do not think it is something to be looked down upon. I for one would be honored to be known as the Ietanka to what I think is going to be the greatest known King of the Wizards."
"But, what if I don't want to be the king?"
"Then you simply give complete control over to the Council of Wizards and live your life. No one is going to force you to become what you don't want, but I truly feel in my heart and soul you very well could be the most powerful, compassionate, and well respected ruler our world has ever seen. You have already shown your compassion to me as you dealt with Cody. I will not put pressure on you to step up to be King; however, you must train, learn, and master the natural gifts you have no matter what you decide."
Eli still did not look happy about any of the information he had received from David. The man did not know how to put this very old 11 year olds mind to rest. After a few quiet moments with both of them in deep thought, David decided to try a different tactic with the boy.
"Listen Eli, there is really no need to worry about any of this right now, next week, or next year. You might not have to worry about any of it for several years to come. Simply put, we need to have you worry about your current training and how to be a kid. My Uncle Max, who was my trainer, told me a very wise thing one time, he said, 'Worrying about something you have no control is just worrying to cause an upset stomach so you can't enjoy your ice cream.' So what do you say we quit worrying and go down to the cafeteria and get some ice cream?"
This caused the boy to start giggling which caused David to start laughing. They both got up and headed down the hall towards the cafeteria to join Stephen and Karen.
"Dad, you made that up about what your Uncle said, didn't you?"
"Why don't you ask your Uncle Stephen about it? See what he has to say." David chuckled while smiling at Eli.
They got into the line when they got to the cafeteria, David going for coffee while Eli went for an ice cream sundae. All three of the adults groaned when Eli came to the table with his bowl of frozen dessert. David thought he had put more toppings in it then he had ice cream.
"Uncle Stephen, can I ask you a question?" Eli asked with a mouth full of sweetness.
"Sure, if you think you can take that spoon out of your mouth long enough to get the words out." Stephen laughed.
"Dad said that your Uncle Max has a funny saying and I was wondering if it was true or if he made it up? He said he had said something like worrying only kept you from your ice cream."
Stephen and Karen both started laughing.
"Eli, what Uncle Max said was, 'Worrying about something you have no control is just worrying to cause an upset stomach so you can't enjoy your ice cream.' I really wish I had a dollar for every time he used that line. It had to be one of his favorites. Oh don't get me wrong, he had a bunch of them, but yeah, I think I heard that one the most." He was still laughing.
"When my bridesmaids were all late for our wedding, he told me the same line! I thought I was going need to have my makeup redone I was laughing so hard. What even made it funnier at the time was he was eating an ice cream cone!" All three of the adults started laughing.
"Brother, we have got to go see him soon. I think he would love to meet Eli, and you really should tell the old fart in person you are moving." Stephen told his brother.
"You are right. Maybe I will ask Sherry to go with us tomorrow and see him. Eli, our Uncle Max lives in a nursing home here in town, he is 92 years old. Other than slowing down a bit, he is still the same guy who was our trainer all those years ago. I would really like for you to meet him, if you wouldn't mind."
"Sure Dad, I would like that."
A nurse walked up to the table and told Karen the boy she was with was out of surgery and in recovery. Karen and Stephen both thanked her and headed back up to the recovery room. David had already told them as soon as we knew Cody was out of surgery and recovering Eli and he would be heading back to the house.
As Eli and his Dad drove home, Eli complained he was hungry, which shocked David. He couldn't believe the boy could be hungry after eating what had to be a quarter pound of sweets just a bit ago. The man was relieved to hear the dessert hadn't ruined the boy's appetite, which would keep David out of trouble with Sherry. David just laughed at the boy while shaking his head.
After one of the best meals David had ever had, he had Eli help him with cleaning up the kitchen. This was for several reasons, one to show how much he appreciated the wonderful meal and two to test Eli's Mistake Repair gift. David had yet to see this gift in action and was eager to. He was hoping he could set it up so he could observe the gift in action without putting Eli in harm's way.
David had placed several of Sherry's wine glasses the adults had used during dinner right at the edge of the counter in front of where Eli would be putting the clean plates away. He didn't have to wait long before he got to see this new gift in action.
As Eli was putting plates away he knocked the glasses off the counter, but just as they were about to hit the floor, they stopped and slowly made their way back up to the counter where they had been resting. Once they were safely back on the counter top, Eli took several deep breaths before moving the glasses away from the edge.
David was about to praise the boy when he just turned around and left the kitchen. David felt he now had a problem, one of his own making. He headed up to talk to Eli and found him sitting on the floor of his bedroom. Eli looked up as David came into the room, you could tell he was on the edge.
"Dad, why do I always have to knock things over? Why am I such a klutz?"
"Son, I am so sorry. You weren't really at fault down stairs just now. That was my fault, it was all my doing." David started.
"What do you mean Dad? I am the one who knocked the glasses off the counter top. I didn't even see them there."
"Well, that is because you weren't meant too. While your back was turned drying the last of the plates, I put the two wine glasses right where they would be in your way, hoping you would knock them off."
"Why would you do that to me?! Do you want to see me humiliated?!" The boy screamed.
"No, not at all son! I was trying to see your Mistake Repair gift in action. I couldn't figure out how to have you do it without setting up some kind of accident like we just had. I am so sorry if you felt I was trying to humiliate you, because I really wasn't. I just needed to see that gift, and now that I have, I have to tell you I am extremely impressed. Eli, there are going to be times during your training when I have to do things like this, things you might find embarrassing, but please know they are only a part of your training, never meant to hurt you, make fun of you, or embarrass you."
"I guess with everything that has happened in the past few days, I am just a little touchy. I am sorry I stormed off, and was a bit upset with you when you were just being honest with me." The 11 year old said as he gave the older man a hug.
"You know son that really is one damn impressive gift you have there. I just would like to figure a way to find out what the limits of it are. It has the potential to do a lot of good if you could grow it as you become stronger. Now, how about we go finish the kitchen then we can relax in front of the 'idiot box' for a while?"
"Okay, but what is an 'idiot box'?" The boy asked then started laughing when David told him it was a nick name for the T.V.