Sympathy in Choice


If there were a sympathy in choice

—William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream

A GRAY WIND assaulted the window as I stared out at the forest behind our house. Could Dean hear the howling of Mother Nature from wherever his mind had gone?

My younger brother lay motionless on his bed, tubes attached to him to keep nutrition flowing in and waste flowing out. His chest rose and fell on its own, his heart pumping without pause, but the spark of humanity that gave him life had died. Rose had pulled that out of him and destroyed my family in the process.


My phone buzzed again, and I turned it off, unable to read her words or hear her voice. It was impossible to imagine that Rose had hurt Dean deliberately and maliciously. I thought of our time together, those long days and longer nights in the cabin, where only we two existed, until fire tore our paradise away from us and ended the life of her dog, who'd saved my life.

That day Rose had ran into a burning building to save us both. She'd risked her life for me, and I knew that somehow, none of this coven mess was her fault, but it didn't change the fact that my brother lay here fighting death because of her.

And that didn't change the fact that I couldn't stop loving her, even though she was the enemy.

So, like a coward, I hid, unable to unify my conflicted heart into the right choice. Walk away, or risk it all for her?

I picked up the book Tammy had left open and began reading where she'd left off. The words didn't register with any meaning, not to me or, likely, to Dean, but I hoped the cadence of my voice would sooth us both.

My mother opened the door and came to stand beside me and listen, her hand on my shoulder.

When I paused, she kissed the top of my head, like she used to do when we were children. "You've always had such a beautiful voice. It's nice to hear you reading Shakespeare again. You give his words so much inflection and depth."

I hadn't even realized what I'd been reading until she mentioned it, so lost was I in my own head.

Tammy, too, joined us, noticing the book in my hand. "It was his favorite. Is. Is his favorite," she corrected, pain flashing across her face. "He likes that the fairies don't make it easy for the humans, but that in the end all is made right."

I turned it over to check the title. A Midsummer's Night Dream. So much miscommunication and confusion that could have been avoided if people had only sat down and talked it through, a running theme in many of Shakespeare's plays.

The parallel was not lost on me, but it didn't make my decision any easier.

I could do nothing until I had Dean back. While he lay frozen in himself so, too, did I.

Once again, eyes closed, I reached for him, feeling my way through the thick mud that locked him away from us. I'd never been the strongest meditator, but my Druid nature and shifting powers had always given me an extra boost, allowing me to connect with others in our pack. But so far, they hadn't helped me, or anyone, reach Dean. His mind and soul stayed closed to us. Hidden. Or gone.

I pulled back and felt a lashing out of consciousness grab hold of me, flooding my mind with barely formed memories and images. In a fraction of a second, everything went black before I could make sense of it, like a dream I knew I'd had, but couldn't remember.

Libre Baskerville
Gentium Book Basic
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