Hey, readers! We've now met Olive and Elliot. It's time to meet their older brother Nathaniel. I wish it were under better circumstances, but Nathaniel, and everything that happened to him, had a ripple effect that changed Olive's whole world. I think you can tell that even from this small excerpt from her journal:
April 17, 1890
I knew this would be among the hardest, most exhausting, and painful entries to write, but I didn’t expect my hand to jitter so. I hope my words will be clear. Nathaniel deserves to have someone remember him with clarity and all the love I’ve had to keep hidden.
My memories of my elder brother are fewer than I’d like but as potent and sweet as an enchantress’s brew. He had a bit of an enchanter in him himself, but unlike the witches meant to scare young children at bedtime, Nathaniel’s magic soothed my fears until I’d forgotten their harassment. But I haven’t forgotten the warm comfort of Nathaniel’s spells or the flavour of his own brew—the tea he’d prepare to calm my trembling.
The spring before he disappeared, I broke the teacup he’d always used. The last surviving piece of Mother’s housewarming gift from Mother Harrison. I should have recognized the cracks in the painted violets and the shattered ivory shards scattered over our floor as the ill omen they were. Magic, even my brother’s beautiful magic, wasn’t enough to chase away the waking nightmares that came for us, not when even good magic eventually falls to corruption.
Sometimes I wish Nathaniel hadn’t been so skilled at lulling me after my bad dreams. If I could remember those dreams now, if I could pretend that teacup was still whole inside the kitchen cupboard, I could imagine that any moment my brother would soon come to me with his soft-spoken solace and the taste of mint.
I apologize, dear journal. I know I should tell you far, far more about my gentle brother. Perhaps one day I will find a way to tell Nathaniel’s tale as he deserves, but for the moment it’s too painful.
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