A Light in White River
Jackson Reyas plucked a tune on his guitar aimlessly, trying to keep the growing anxiety at bay. Hannah slept in the other room, thank Fyora. The beginning of the storm had woken her, and she had struggled to go back to bed. She'd finally given in to slumber thirty or so minutes ago, after Jackson had offered his bed to sleep in.
When the lighthouse lamp had gone out, he'd been the only one awake. He knew if Hannah had been up, she would have worried. Just like he was.
He couldn't imagine the Moores letting the lamp go off willingly. If they were okay, they'd be trying to fix the problem. But...that was an "if". He wasn't sure what kind of accident could have happened.
So, he dealt with his emotions the way he always had. He let the guitar take his worries and turn them into notes. Short, sharp, staccato notes that jumped around just like the anxious feelings in his brain.
Miranda and Shaylan were one of the best examples of the town's spirit. Charitable and motherly, Miranda knitted lots of items for the less fortunate. Jackson and his sister had often been recipients of Miranda's care packages. Being a single older brother raising his sibling entirely alone, he had appreciated every blanket, meal, scarf, or pair of mittens they had been given.
Many out-of-towners judged him and his sister. They'd ask him why he didn't get a "real job" instead of busking. They'd often found his sister annoying with her endless questions. Hannah had never met a stranger.
But Miranda and Shaylan never seemed annoyed or irritated. Instead they patiently listened and answered Hannah's questions. Shaylan often would keep the young blue kyrii on the edge of her seat with his stories.
He couldn't imagine the town without the couple, and he knew that if something happened to them, the warm light of the lighthouse wouldn't be the only light missing. The light and love the couple brought with them would also be extinguished.
He watched the horizon, hoping and praying to see a rotating beacon of light.
Miranda topped the stairs, scanning the deck for any hazards. She carefully picked her way over to the fusebox, gripping the railing tightly. Opening the cover, she saw that all of the fuses had been tripped.
" 'Ow goes it Miranda?" she heard faintly from below.
"Fuses are all tripped." She yelled back.
"Let's try the easy fix first. Reset the fuses!"
"Okay. Let's try it." Miranda quickly flipped all the breakers connected to the fuses, trying not to flinch each time a flash of lightning lit up the sky or a peal of thunder rang out. After she had reset all the fuses, she tried flipping the power switch for the lamp.
"By Skarl's belly! Out of luck!" She yelled in frustration. The lamp was still dim.
" 'ounds like at least one fuse got blown then." Shaylan shouted from below.
"Or all of them!" Miranda shot back.
"Replace them all, just to be safe. Ye should have enough in the toolbox."
Miranda began the long processes of replacing the fuses one by one. She tried to work quickly, but accurately. It was hard to not let the lightning, hail, or driving rain hold her back. She finally got the last fuse snapped into place and she couldn't help but shout for joy.
"Last fuse is in!"
"Okay love, throw the main switch."
Miranda cautiously made her way back over to the other electrical box near the lamp. Opening up the lid, she muttered "Please, by all the elements, let this work..." under her breath. She flipped the switch.
Suddenly the night was lit up as the lamp began to rotate slowly around. "We did it!" Miranda shouted.
"That's it me love! Now let's get ye back down 'ere!" Shaylan answered.
The rest of the day was not as eventful. Shaylan again helped Miranda navigate around the blockage on the stairs. They both kept a watchful eye on the sky, but within a few hours the brunt of the storm had passed.
Portia, as usual, took the incident as a chance to improve things. "A backup generator! That would have set things to rights. And maybe a lighting rod on the roof of the lighthouse. Maybe Valerie could even find a way to rig it into the backup system." She'd walked off muttering about letters to Skarl about funding.
Jackson and Hanna both hugged the Pteri couple a little tighter when they all next met. Jackson had turned the tun he'd made up that stormy night into a little instrumental jig. He played it on his guitar for the couple and they all whooped with joy as Hanna danced along to the merry tune.
"Guess all's well that ends well." Miranda said.
"Nothing like a little adventure to get the blood flowin’ and keep these old bones from getting brittle." Shaylan stated.
"As long as it's only every now and again." Miranda replied, with a merry twinkle in her eyes.
The last order of business was getting the lighthouse roof fixed, which was not as complicated as some might have thought. All it took was a quick chat with Enid for her to agree to come out to the lighthouse. After seeing the hole in the roof and the debris below, she smiled and nodded her head. "An easy fix for my magic, just watch and you'll see.
The Ixi began by first removing her shoes, and wiggling her toes in the dirt. She then took a deep breath in, and began to sing.
Miranda knew the language she was singing in. It was the clan's tongue, and it was an integral part of their mending magic. She watched as glowing tendrils of magic appeared between Enid's fingers as she sang, and then with a small motion of her hand, they began to wrap around the debris on the stairs. The glowing ribbons of magic began to grab the rubble bit by bit, and carefully lifted each bit into the air. Slowly the ribbons brought each part back to where it was supposed to go, and then carefully seeped into the cracks and crevices between the broken parts. The magic almost acted like a glue of sorts, mending and repairing the broken roof as it went.
"Amazing Enid. Thank you so much." Miranda said.
"Not a problem Miranda, you and Shaylan are so important to our town. I don't know what we'd all do without ye." "Ha. Ye'd all get by. You know Shaylan and I can't watch over this lighthouse forever, as much as some may wish it."
"As Ma used to say, there are some things even mending magic can't fix, but I will say, I hope we at least get a few more years with the both of ye."
Miranda smiled, thinking warmly of Enid's mother. She and Enid's ma had known each other back before Enid took over the shop.
"There's not a day that goes by that I don't miss 'er. Especially when I hear that mouth music of yours!" Miranda replied.
"Well, ye know yer not too bad yerself at it. And someday soon Ian Darrow is determined to have us sing at a get together." Enid replied.
"As long as the clans aren't in attendance, for ye know as well as I do if they find out a member of Clan Kerr and Clan Calder actually like each other, the Standing Stones at Alan's Loch might just fall over." Miranda chuckled.
"Good thing I'm well removed from that lot now. But I'd be glad to sing anytime. Yer ma and I used to sing mouth music as we worked, back when she let me help 'er in the shop. I miss 'earing her voice, but I will say, ye inherited her gift." Enid nodded, her eyes slightly misty as the two of them shared memories.
The beach was cluttered with debris from the storm. Loose planks of wood and shingles littered the sand, along with small bits of trash that had been swept up from the town and carried on the wind. Miranda and Shaylan walked along the shoreline, picking up trash along the way as they surveyed the wake of damage the storm had left behind.
"Careful 'ere love." Shaylan said, offering Miranda a hand. Although his mind wasn't always clear, his chivalry and manners always shone through. He'd always taken care of Miranda, and would do so until the sun finally set on his years.
"I hope the docks didn't have too much damage. Heavens knows the harbormaster doesn't need more setbacks." Miranda said worriedly.
"They'll be fine. Knowin' Portia she's been writin' up a storm 'o letters to Skarl asking for assistance for the town. She's like a Lupe with a Chia Plushie, never letting things go. Ach." Shaylan answered.
"What's that over there, m'love?" Miranda asked, pointing towards a colourful bundle that lay on the edge of the beach. "A big bag of trash maybe? Sometimes ships dump their cargo during storms." Shaylan replied. As they approached, their curiousity changed to looks of concern.
"Miranda, go get Doc Winnifried. Now." Shaylan barked. Miranda saw the look on her love's face and knew that it was a serious matter. Dodging debris and trash, Miranda began to run full tilt, beating her wings until she took flight over the beach and headed towards town.
Shaylan picked his way over to the bundle, which he now realized was the huddled form of someone on the sand. "Ello! Are ye alright? Can ye hear me?" He shook the body from side to side, and was relieved to hear a groan come from the injured form.
It was an Aisha, his clothes in tatters, a large knot on the top of his head right below his hairline. One of his eyes was black and swollen shut, and he had multiple scrapes and gashes on his arms and legs. He was groaning in pain, his eyes shut and his breath shallow.
Shaylan heard voices coming down the hill towards the beach, and hoped that he and Miranda had made it in time.
Doc Winnifred's clinic was small, but cozy. It consisted of a makeshift examination room, a small area that served as a makeshift pharmacy, and two side rooms for patients on bedrest. It was in one of these rooms that Miranda and Shaylan consulted with the doctor.
"Well, I suspect he'll pull through. But what long term effects that bump on his noggin will give him, I can't exactly say." The Purple Gelert said, lightly running a hand through her lilac colored hair.
"Has he awoken at all?" Miranda asked.
"No. And I would be surprised if he does within the next few days. His body has been through quite an ordeal, and needs time to heal, especially his head. That's the area of largest concern. I would not be surprised if he doesn't end up having a TBI."
"A what?" Shaylan asked, looking confused. Doc Winnifred chuckled, then explained
"Sorry. I forget that not everyone knows the jargon. Traumatic Brain Injury. Basically your brain is impacted either by a major force, or an object hitting it. Concussions and skull fractures can cause minor versions...but...I'm afraid our patient here may have one that could be longer lasting. Whatever hit him rattled his skull good."
"And how will that affect him?" Miranda asked.
"Well, it's hard to know for sure until he wakes up. Could be as minor as him missing a chunk of memory, or as major as him having memory difficulties the rest of his life, and even having to re-learn skills he should know how to do. Every injury is different. We just have to see how it plays out. But I suspect if you two hadn't found him when you did, things would be much worse." The Doctor replied.
He opened his eyes slowly, a groan coming from his lips as the light hit his eyeballs. He saw lace curtains fluttering near the bed, felt the breeze of an open window. It felt...good. He didn't know where he was, all he could feel was the ache of his head, and soreness elsewhere.
"Well, it seems you finally have awoken." A voice came from his right, and he slowly turned his head towards the doorway to see a Purple Gelert standing there, a stethoscope around her neck.
"I'm Doctor Winnifred Fyre, although most of the residents here call me Doc Winnifred. I'm the physician here at the White River Clinic. You were found on the beach a few days ago, and you had a pretty good bump to your head, along with other injuries. Mind nodding if you understand?"
"Good. I'm gonna take a look at your eyes here for a second, don't mind the light, okay?" She said, clicking a small flashlight on. She took a good look at his eyes, and seemed to note that his eyes were still a bit sensitive. "So, do you happen to remember your name, or what happened to you?" she asked.
He searched his memory, but found nothing. He knew some things, how to talk, how to understand things. But he wasn't sure what else he could remember. Everything was hazy and his head hurt...so...bad.
"Okay. That is a bit of a concern, but it could just be temporary. You had a pretty good knock on your noggin, and that can scramble up short term memories a bit." The doctor replied.
"I...knew it...once. Can't...now." he managed to bite out, fighting the pain.
"Well, we'll see if we can work with you to get your memory back. But until then, Welcome to White River, Meridell. Seems you'll be here for recovery for a bit. Get some rest, and we'll talk later, okay?"
He nodded, then let the blackness overtake him.
Author's Note: Don't worry, you'll eventually get to hear the story of our mysterious patient. But for now the story is at a close. You can learn more about our White River residents at /~Residents, including Shaylan and Miranda. This story is dedicated to those whose brains are forever changed, by injury, age, disease, or other issues and those who love them. May your lighthouse of love always shine bright.