Chapter Two

"We just keep bumping into each other." The blonde quipped as she took his offered hand and he helped her to stand.

Halina felt herself going red as she came to a stand. She hastily let go of his hand and dusted herself off. It was then that she noticed her book on the pavement. Sighing she leaned down and picked it up. When she rose she noticed the man looking at her with mirth filled eyes.

"I- thank you." She scratched her neck nervously.

"It's alright Miss." He looked past her head briefly. Something had caught his eye. "Well, be careful." He nodded at her before saying his goodbyes and walking away.

Halina watched as he walked away. He seemed to be heading into the park that she had just fled. She debated telling him about the sick people she had encountered. As he got further away she decided. "Hey!" she called out to him and quickly walked in his direction.

He turned and looked at her, confusion on his face. "Yes?"

She let out a puff as she reached him and pointed to the park. "I just came from there. There were some really sick people, one of them started coughing blood."

That caught his attention. "Blood?" he repeated.

She nodded. "Yes. I wouldn't go there."

He eyed her for a few moments. "Thank you for the warning." he reached into his pocket and pulled out a phone. "Have a safe day." He waved her goodbye and headed back to the park. Halina watched as he dialled a number and placed the phone to his ear.

Halina sighed and decided to go home.

X

Rebecca passed her niece a hot cup of tea as she sat down beside her at the table. "How was the park?" she asked as she spooned sugar into her own cup.

Halina dunked her teabag into the cup before sighing. "Is there a flu going around?"

Her question caused Rebecca to raise a brow. "What do you mean?" she fingered the rim of her mug.

Halina shrugged then took a sip of the warm liquid. She loved tea, it always managed to calm her nerves, Rebecca would always tell her the reason was because she was British to the bone. She supposed she had to get something from her parents. "When I was at the park today, people were… coughing, some lady even came to me and coughed up a little bit of blood."

Rebecca froze, her fingers clenched around the mugs handle. "Did any of the blood get on you?" when Halina did not answer within one second of the question she repeated herself, this time her voice sounding almost panicking. "Did any of the blood get on you?" she leaned closer to her niece, inspecting her from head to toe with her eyes.

Halina shifted backwards and held her arms out to block her Aunt. "No, I mean some did get on my book but I'm fine!"

"Where is the book?" Rebecca asked and snatched the book away as her Niece passed it to her. "Thank you dear." She clutched the book under her arm and raced down to the basement.

"Just once.. once… I would like to know what the heck is going on." Halina brushed her hair out of her eyes and leaned back into her chair with a sigh. It was frustrating being her sometimes. Something was always going on and she was always out of the loop.

A rapping at the kitchen window jumped her from her thoughts. Rising from her chair she opened the window to let an owl in. She took the parcel from the bird and offered the owl some nibbles. She snatched her hand back as the bird took the food, and some of her finger. Glaring at the bird she ran her finger under some cold water, watching as small trickles of blood ran into the sink and down the drain.

Taking the parcel from the bench she headed to the basement. She didn't even need to look at the note on the package, it was for Rebecca, they always were for Rebecca. If and only if she were to get mail, it was letters from old school friends.

She knocked at the door and waited when she heard her Aunt tell her to 'come in' she opened the door and walked down the stairs into the dark room.

The basement was very much like a dungeon in the sense that it was dark and cold. Candelabras lit the room and along the walls were old bookshelves filled with large dusty books and ceramic jars with ingredients listed on their fronts. Her Aunt stood at the table in the centre of the room. A black cauldron sat at the table with ingredients and cooking utensils surrounding it.

"What is it?" Rebecca asked as she carefully cut eyes out of a dead newt.

Halina held out the package for her which her Aunt took and hastily unwrapped it. Haliana leaned over and watched as she took out the ingredients. Now Halina was not very good at potions, in fact she was terrible at it so she was unable to note most of the ingredients, she was however able to identify goats gall bladder and raspberry leaf.

"This will be very important in the coming days." Her Aunt replied cryptically.

Her Aunts vague response caused Halina to frown and clench her fist. Why couldn't her Aunt just tell her what was going on? I wasn't as though Halina had no magical aptitude; she deserved to know what was going on. This wasn't fair. "Why can't you just tell me what's going on?" she pressed.

"All in good time my dear." Rebecca sang while dropping the newt eyes into the simmering cauldron.

Halina glowered at her how dare Rebecca just think that it was okay for her not to be told anything. One would assume that you could not just leave your niece in ignorance. It was just getting old and she was, to be honest, completely over it. A jar on the shelf behind her shattered as she felt her magic flare with her anger.

Rebecca glanced up from her work and tutted under her breath. "Now child, I would much prefer that you did not come in here and break things. Be a dear and go away. There are many other things you could be doing right now."

Halina blanched and staggered back as though she had been struck. "You- wha- I"

Rebecca shooed her niece with a wave of her hand and hovered over the desk and went back to paying attention to her brew. Halina remained still for a dew moments, gaping at her Aunt. Her mouth was open to say something, anything, but no sound came. No words came. She eventually left with a huff.

X

"I just can't believe her!" Halina groaned and dramatically threw her face into her hands. "What am I? just some idiot she keeps around the house?"

"Oh dear, don't say that she loves you." Madam D passed her a cup of tea.

Halina angrily sipped her tea. Her fingers clenched around that handle of her mug, making her knuckles go white. She sipped her tea again and allowed the warm liquid to go down her throat, she took a deep breath and tried to calm her nerves. She was full of rage, absolute rage. But she was allowing the tea to calm her.

"Why does she do this to me?" she snapped, grabbing a nearby biscuit to dunk into her drink.

Madam D smiled her warm, motherly smile. "She's just a tad eccentric Dear." The older woman poured herself a cup of tea. "I've known her a long time and I've never seen her behave any differently." She chuckled as she remembered the old times. "Just take her with a grain of salt."

The younger girl adjusted her glasses and took another sip of her tea. "Do you want to live with her?" she made a gesture with her hands. "You can stay with her and I'll stay in the shop."

Madam D let out a chuckle and her eyes twinkled. "I tried that once dear, there's a reason your Aunt sends you down to sort out her ingredients." She reached over and took a biscuit out of the bowl on the table.

Halina let out a snort. "You're the nicest person I know, if she can't deal with you, what hope do I have?" she followed the elders que and took herself a biscuit.

The older woman smiled and leaned back in her chair. "Just give it time dear. Give it time."

Halina huffed and dunked her biscuit. A spasm took her face as she looked at her now wet cookie. "I'm over eighteen years old and I don't even know how my parents died. I'm constantly in the dark about things. I want to know." She gestured helplessly. "Even if I were left in the dark about everything else in my life, I just want to know how all of this came to be."

The Older woman looked down at the younger with a frown. She knew that Rebecca could be difficult at times, and that she kept a magnitude of things from the girl, but she had never thought that Rebecca would hold the information about the girls parents from her. That was just cruel. Especially given that almost everyone in the magical world knew about Halina and her parents.

Madam D spent a few moments in silence as though she were coming to a decision. She eventually nodded to herself and reached over to touch the youths hand.

"I'll tell you." She pulled back and reached for her drink. "I'll tell you about your parents if you like."

Halina felt her heart stop and her eyes widened. Had Madam D just offered? She inched forwards on her chair and nodded hastily, her heart beating madly against her chest. Her hands clenched around her mug and they gave a slight tremble with excitement.

Madam D fingered the rim of her mug as she thought of where to begin the story. There were many different places that she could start, it was a convoluted story with multiple beginnings and each ending was vague and unfinished. Eventually she thought of a place to start and opened her mouth to begin.

Alas every well played plan has a hitch. For just as she was about to tell her story a red envelope shot through the room and placed its unhappy self on the table in front of Madam D.

Things were silent for what seemed to be the longest time. Madam D let out a small chuckle which turned into explosive laughter. She held her stomach as it jiggled with her laughter. "Halina be a dear and go home." She said between laughter.

Confusion turned into rage as Halina realised what was happening. "That bitch." She murmured rising from her seat. "I'm going to-"

"Now dear, don't finish that sentence." Madam D smiled.