“Can I say this kind of hurts my brain?” Lewis said as he walked next to Uther. “I mean really hurts.”
Uther chuckled. “That’s why she’s taking us to another world, to show you.”
“I’m sorry if it all sounds a bit insane.” Faye added. “It’s just you’re his friend and he didn’t want to be dishonest.”
“I get it, I’m trying to believe it. I want to believe it. Nile’s never been crazy. It’s still okay to call you Nile right?”
“Of course, call me what you like. I don’t expect you to change how you act for me.” Uther patted him on the back. “Just keep an open mind.”
“I’ll try.” Faye guided them off the path they were on and further into the woods, stopping at a ring of mushrooms. “Wait,” Lewis said, “you’re telling me fairy rings are really a thing?”
“Yes.” Faye said with a small laugh. “But you have to know how to open them. They’re like doorways. You can only fall in if they’re left open.”
“Alright, I’m not going to question it, just open it.”
Faye chanted the words needed to open this particular fairy ring and soon they were back in her world, a place she hadn’t seen in years. It felt amazing to be back, especially with Uther at her side. “You two okay?” she asked, knowing traveling like that was incredibly hard for people, especially humans their first couple times. They both assured her they were just fine then she said, “Welcome to my home world, Uther’s too. This is an amazing place. Don’t let the story of how we ended ruin it for you, there are bad people everywhere, even in places like this.”
“The air is so fresh here.”
“We don’t have cars or many of the other things that ruin your world’s air.”
“Where did we live Faye?” Uther asked and she laughed happily. She was overflowing with happiness and she guessed she would be laughing a lot here.
“You know me, how I was. I don’t really have a home. I heard your old home has been taken over, but I can still take you to it.”
“What kind of city did you live in?” Lewis asked.
“It was small, at the time at least, everyone knew everyone, that kind of place.” Uther explained.
“Is that how they found out about you?” Lewis asked Faye.
“Yes, nosy people. They decided I was evil the moment they found out about my gifts and Uther payed the price.”
“I would do it again, Faye, in a heartbeat.” He brought her fingers to his lips.
“Don’t say that, I couldn’t bare to lose you again.”
“You two really are the sweetest couple I’ve ever seen. It’s crazy thinking about a relationship spanning centuries. I hope I can find something like that.”
“I’m sure you will, you’re a great guy.” Uther said with a smile.
“Thanks.” They walked until they found a few wild horses.
“Most horses, even wild are incredibly friendly here. They might give us a ride the rest of the way if you two can handle it without a saddle and reigns. It should come natural to you Uther, you did that a lot in your past life.”
“I want to try, if I suck really bad I can hop on with Nile.”
“Sounds good to me.” Uther said so they approached the horses. Even though Faye had told them the horses would be okay with it it still surprised him a little that they could just walk up and climb on without any protesting at all from the horses. They had to be a bit slow for Lewis but just as Faye had said Uther just knew what to do, his soul remembered how to guide the horse and how to sit so it wasn’t too uncomfortable without a saddle. They had passed a few houses but when one in particular came into view he recognized it.
“That was my house wasn’t it?” there were children outside it playing around so he figured what Faye had heard was true, someone else lived there now.
“Yes.” She smiled, happy that he could just naturally remember another thing. She knew it was a blessing his soul had held on to so much. She could have had a much harder time getting him back into her life and he could be struggling much more to come to terms with everything.
“Do you think they would let me see the inside?”
“I don’t see why not.” They guided the horses over to the house and hopped down, causing the children to stop playing. “Excuse me, but are your parents home?” Faye asked and they both nodded. “Could you get them?”
The boy grabbed his sister’s hand and pulled her into the house while Faye, Uther, and Lewis waited patiently outside. A man and woman soon came out, both of them looking a little concerned. “May we help you?” The man asked.
“Yes, we’re sorry if we scared your children, but we were wondering if you wouldn’t mind letting us see this house.” Faye said then reached over and pulled Uther closer to her. “He used to live here a long time ago.”
“It’s no trouble if you don’t want us in your home, I won’t be upset. It’s just very nostalgic seeing it again.” Uther said with a smile.
The man and woman looked at each other then the woman said. “I don’t see why not, please come in. We’re sorry if we seemed defensive.”
“Not at all, those are your kids, I’d probably react the same way.” They all followed the new residents back in and Uther smiled at how the lay out of the house was still the same. He could remember every moment he had spent here with Faye.
He slowly took in his old home, staying in one room until the memories quit flooding. The family that now owned the house waited patiently, even offering them drinks and to stay for dinner if they wanted. “I have something special in mind for them for dinner, but thank you so much.” Faye responded.
“Yeah, we’re intruding on your day and you’re being really nice.” Lewis added.
The woman smiled “We weren’t doing much. It’s not really an inconvenience.”
As they left they thanked the couple again and waved bye to the kids as they passed them. “I’m glad such a nice family has it at least.” Uther said once they were riding away.
“This really is a good place and the people who caused your death are no longer in our community.”
“I still can’t believe someone would kill you.” Lewis said, sounding slightly irritated.
“They believed I had been bewitched, that Faye was controlling me or had corrupted me with her magic. They didn’t care if she was kind and generous and only trying to help. All they saw was a woman who could do magic and decided she was evil.”
“That’s in the past, love. I don’t even think anyone here even dwells on it or remembers it.” Faye said.
“I get where he’s coming from though. I mean the moment I met you, I could tell you were a good person and when I learned you could do magic, yeah I was a bit confused, but I didn’t jump to conclusions.” Lewis said. “All that mattered was what Nile thought of you. I mean they shot him. If I had been there I would have beat that guy to within an inch of his life.”
They picked up food and Faye guided them to a place she and Uther had frequently gone to eat together. “Do you remember this place?” She asked as he slid off his horse.
“I remember some of our days here. I’ve dreamed about it a few times since you found me.”
She smiled, happiness warming her heart. “What do you remember?”
“Well for starters I remember we bought food from that precise establishment a lot.”
“Yeah, that’s why I picked there.”
He could tell how much it meant to Faye when he could remember things so he was glad this was another thing he could give her. Every night when he went to sleep he hoped to remember something else of their past life and not only for her, but for him as well. They had so many amazing memories and while her telling him about them was wonderful it was nice to have the pictures in his head of old times they shared.
“So where are we staying tonight?” Lewis asked.
“Well if neither of you have any objections, I was thinking that we could camp out tonight. The weather’s so nice and Uther and I used to do it all the time, I thought it would be fun.”
“Sounds good to me as long as Lewis is comfortable.” Uther replied.
“Yeah, whatever you two want. I’m just still so amazed at all of this.”
They finished eating and just stayed there for a bit, Uther laying back and staring up at the clear blue sky while Faye talked about their time together. Lewis seemed content to listen to the stories, wanting to know more about his friend. He began to wonder if this were even his first life. “You look deep in thought.” Uther said as he sat up and Lewis nodded. “About?”
“Reincarnation. How do you know?”
“You might have dreams or just have a feeling or you may go through multiple lifetimes without ever knowing.” Faye explained.
“That’s pretty crazy to think about.”
“It is, but at the same time it’s actually kind of cool.” Uther said as he nudged his friend. “Getting to live all those different lives, learning new things, seeing the history.”
“It’s cool if you remember like you have Nile, though I may start getting used to calling you Uther. It’s a much cooler name.”
“Whatever makes you feel more comfortable, both are really my name. I agree that Uther sounds much cooler though.”
The conversation turned to possibilities of who or what Lewis would have been in his past life if he had one. Some of their ideas had them laughing as they talked through different things. Faye happily listened, adding her own things here and there. When nightfall came they made a nice fire to relax by until they were ready to rest. Faye and Uther cuddled while Lewis slept on the other side of where their fire had been.
The next morning they woke to the sound of footsteps and all froze when they saw the small herd of deer passing next to them. They all sat up slowly, watching the animals. Being in the city, neither Uther nor Lewis ever got to see anything like this so they enjoyed the moment. There were flashes of moments like this from Uther’s past, of sitting next to Faye as wild animals flocked to her. They waited until the deer had moved on then made sure the fire was completely out before getting up. “So, what’s next?” Lewis asked as he stretched.
“Breakfast.” Uther answered.
Uther laughed. “No way man, I’m on vacation.” He pressed a kiss to Faye’s forehead. “Do you know if that confectioner’s place is still open?”
“It was when I left. They just kept handing it down. I think it’s owned by the original owners grand niece.”
“Do they still make those donuts?”
“As far as I know.”
“You’re going to love it Lewis.”
“Lets go, I’m starving already. Just the mention of doughnuts has my mouth watering.” Lewis said and they all went to the confectioner Uther remembered so fondly.
The walk there was beautiful but everywhere they had been here was stunning. The chirping of the birds was such a pretty, comforting sound and the little noises of animals running and messing with one another was fun to listen to. Everything seemed to live in such harmony here. Lewis didn’t feel like he had to be afraid or uncomfortable at all despite the fact he was in a world completely new to him. Uther felt the same way but since Faye came into his life he felt like he could do anything no matter where he was.
The cry for help that came as they walked startled all of them. It was so out of place in the silent serenity of this place that at first they weren’t sure if they had heard correctly. It came again and Uther was the first to take off, leaving both Faye and Lewis to catch up. Lewis was amazed at how quick he was, considering he had never seen him even so much as run around the track back at the university. He wondered if it was due to his past self catching up with the present, if his muscles remembered every step he had taken in this place. His feet even seemed to pick their way over the land like he had never left.
“Uther, slow down.” Faye said.
“It’s this way.” Uther said as the ground began to slope up and they traveled further into the woods. They all three came to a skidding halt at the edge of a cliff and Uther looked over, seeing a teenage boy dangling a little ways down by his fingertips while his other hand held the scruff of a kitten. “Are you alright?” He asked.
“Y…yeah, help, please.”
“Just hold on.” He looked around for anything he could use then turned to Lewis. “Take off your belt.” Lewis did as he was told and handed it to Uther who looped it around his wrist then handed the other end to Lewis. “Do you think you can pull us both back up?”
“No problem, just be careful, Superman.”
Uther was fearless as he went down to the teenager, seeming like he didn’t have a doubt in his mind he could help him and get back up safely. When Uther needed Lewis to pull he did and Faye was soon helping the young man up. “Thank you all so much…I know what I did may look stupid, but this kitten means a lot to me..I couldn’t just let her fall.”
“Helping someone or a defenseless animal is never stupid. Is your kitten okay?”
The young man looked her over. “She looks fine…I’m Negan by the way.”
“I’m Uther, this is my girlfriend Faye and the man who pulled us back up and lent me his belt is my best friend Lewis.”
Lewis shook Negan’s hand. “I’m glad we heard you.”
“Let me do something to pay you three back. Have you had breakfast? I’ll buy you guys food anywhere.”
“Nonsense, you aren’t paying for anything. You may eat with us though. We were on our way to grab some doughnuts.”
“If you’re sure you don’t want me to but I’ll think of another way to thank you. You saved mine and Lystra’s lives.”
“How did she get herself in that predicament?”
“She likes to chase butterflies and never pays attention to where shes going. By the time I could catch up she was already going over.”
“I’m glad Uther is so fast.” Faye said with a warm smile.
“Uther?” Negan seemed to go into deep thought as he stroked Lystra’s head.
“Do you know me?” Uther asked.
“There was someone by that name in a book at the library. It’s one the reasons witchcraft is accepted here now, or so I was told.”
Lewis slapped Uther on the back. “You hear that, you’re an important man.”
“You’re the same man?”
“Really? That’s amazing. This must all be a surprise for you then.”
“A welcome one, yes.”
“Well, if you need anything then just ask. My family lives just a little ways out of town. We have a farm. Lystra’s a barn cat in training.”
“For now let’s go get breakfast like we talked about. We’d really like for you to join us unless you need to hurry home.”
“I have time for breakfast.” Negan followed them to the confectioner where they all ordered doughnuts. They were just as incredible as Uther had remembered and Lewis seemed to be enjoying them quite a bit too.
“How can I go home and eat sweets now?” Lewis asked which had Faye giggling.
“It wasn’t hard to bring you here so we can do this as much as you two like or can.”
“Yeah, work and all, bleh.”
“How far away do you guys live?” Negan asked and Lewis answered.
“Another world.” Faye continued explaining, “I had to find my Uther again. I’m sure you know what happened to him.”
“Thats really sweet you looked for him.”
“I could do nothing else, I love him immensely.”
They continued to chat about how things had changed in this world and told Negan stories about their world which seemed to intrigue him since he had never been outside his own. He was a little disappointed when he had to start home. “Will you come and visit when you get a chance?” He asked. “I’m sure my parents wouldn’t mind you spending time around the farm.”
“We’d love to. We can even help if you need us to.” Faye said.
“You don’t have to do that, I mean you’ve done enough already. Just drop by if you have the time, I’m sure my parents will want to thank you.”
“Alright, be careful on your way home then. Don’t let that little cutie go until you’re back.”
“I won’t and again, thank you.”
They saw him off then Faye hugged Uther. “You really are a hero baby. That was one of the most terrifying moments of my life.”
“Everything’s okay. I’m sorry you were scared, but I didn’t know what else to do.”
“I’m glad you did it.” She pulled back and lifted up his arm. His wrist was red from where the belt had tightened around his skin. She placed her hand over it and let healing energy flow over the damaged skin.
“Sorry I didn’t think to do it sooner. You haven’t seemed bothered at all.”
“I’ve always been good at dealing with pain.”
“When would you like to go see him? Today I have a few things I want to do with you, but I definitely want to see his farm and meet his parents.”
“Tomorrow after breakfast we should head his way.”
“Okay, for now come on, I have so much more to show you two.”
They followed eagerly, enjoying even the journey since there was so much to take in about this place. She spent the day showing them all sorts of different animals and places then the next day, after breakfast as planned they made their way to where Negan had told them his parents farm was.
Negan was outside feeding chickens when they walked up and he waved, a big smile on his face. “Just give me a minute.” He said as he finished tossing chicken feed on the ground. He sat the bag down, dusting his hands off on his pants as he exited the enclosure. “I’m glad you came.”
“We wouldn’t pass up a chance to visit a farm. Faye loves animals.” Uther said as he shook Negan’s hand.
“My parents are in the barn. One of our cows is pregnant and she’s been having a little trouble with her health.”
“Do you think they would let me take a look at her?” Faye asked.
“I’m sure they would.” He gestured for them to follow him.
“I’ve never even been to a farm.” Lewis said as they walked. “I mean there’s a dairy back home, but all I know is the cows go in and milk and ice cream come out.”
Uther, Faye, and Negan laughed. “I spent a lot of time with animals in my past life because Faye did, but I probably wouldn’t know the first thing to do with a farm.” Uther replied.
“It’s hard work, but it’s worth it.” Negan said. “I wouldn’t give it up for anything.”
“You should consider going to school for animal husbandry or something.” Lewis said and Negan gave him a questioning look. “Oh yeah, you don’t have universities here.”
“What is animal husbandry though?”
“Basically what you do now it seems, but it would open you up to things you might not know already.”
“That sounds cool, I wish I could attend a university.”
“Truly you could, you’d just have to travel too.”
Negan seemed intrigued as they walked to the barn and went in. It was obvious the cow was ill from the moment Faye saw it and her heart when out to the poor creature. It was such a pretty, soft brown and Faye might have admired it as she often did animals if she didn’t want to help her feel better. Negan spoke “Mom, dad, these are the people who saved me. They came by to say hi. I told them about our pregnant heifer and Faye wants to see if she can help her feel better.”
“You people really are such a blessing, please, if you can help her that would be amazing.”
Uther and Lewis stood back with Negan and his parents as Faye stroked the cow and talked softly to it. She let her hands run slowly over it, her eyes falling closed until she got to one of the legs tucked under it. “Negan, can you help me roll her onto her side?” She asked.
“Yes ma’am.” Negan came over and they gently moved her onto her side so Faye could get to the leg. Negan’s eyes widened when he saw the skin between her leg and chest. It was inflamed and swollen. “What is that?”
“An abscess. She has an infection.” She looked over her shoulder at Negan’s mother. “Could you get me a candle?” And then to Lewis. “I’ll need to borrow your pocket knife.”
Negan’s mother nodded and hurried out of the barn and to the house while Negan pulled his pocket knife out and handed it to her. “What are you going to do?” Negan’s father asked.
“Lance it and then clean out the infection and close the wound.” Negan’s mother came back with a candle and matches. Faye lit it then flicked out the knife blade and heated it. “Uther, I need you and Lewis to help Negan keep her still. This is going to hurt.”
Faye did what she needed to do as quickly as possible while still making sure she let all of the infection out of this poor, pregnant cow. Faye truly hoped the distress from all this didn’t cause her to miscarry or go into early labor. When she was done Faye said, “She should get a lot better now.”
“We feel so foolish for not realizing.”
“We all miss things sometimes. It’s especially understandable with you guys, you have this entire farm to tend to.”
“In any case thank you. You saved our son’s life and now have helped out one of our cows.” Negan’s mother said.
Then his father offered, “Come inside our home with us. I’ll make us all something nice to drink and we can get to know each other.”
Negan stroked the resting cow gently. “Feel better okay?” They all left the barn and went inside where the father poured glasses of lemonade that his wife distributed.
“Just losing one cow can sometimes prove to be devastating to a farm. She’s one of our best milk cows.” Negan’s father said. “I’m glad our son met you, he couldn’t stop talking about all of you when he got home.”
“He’s a good boy.” Uther said. “Not many would risk their lives to save a kitten.”
“He loves all of our animals. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a young man so dedicated.” His mother said.
“We were talking to him about possibly travelling and going to a university to learn more about taking care of farm animals. When he’s of age of course.”
“If he would like to then we’ll of course allow it. He should be able to pursue anything he wishes. We were even prepared for him to leave if he decides farming isn’t what he wishes to do for the rest of his life.”
“I would never do that.” Negan said, sounding surprised. “I love this place.”
“We know, but we never wanted to assume you wouldn’t change your mind. Your life is your own and we would never be the type of parents to try and force you into a life we planned for you.”
Negan smiled then looked at Uther and Faye. “Since my parents seem fine with it I do want to go to your world when I’m an adult and learn what I can for this farm.” Uther and Lewis began telling Negan and his parents everything about where they had grown up since Negan had an interest in being there. They seemed completely captivated, but who wouldn’t be when being told of a world not your own. There was so much to tell they wound up spending the day with Negan and his family.
The rest of the trip was spent taking Uther to more familiar places and helping him remember more of his past life. Lewis questioned them about many things and spent time at Negan’s when he thought they needed some alone time. When it was time for them to leave, they promised Negan they would visit again and to give a lot of thought about going to school. “Man, do we really have to leave?” Lewis asked as they headed back to the portal.
“We still have school.” Uther said. “And besides, we can come back anytime.”
“I know and thank you for bringing me. You two didn’t have to, but I’m glad you did. I had a lot of fun.”
“Me too.” Uther smiled. “Getting to remember all of that was amazing.” He laced his fingers through Faye’s. “We had such an amazing life.”
“Yes we did.” She said, smiling lovingly back.
“You two are sickeningly adorable, now I’m going to have to find a girlfriend.” Lewis said and Uther playfully punched his shoulder, making him laugh. It really had been amazing journey for all of them and they couldn’t wait to have others together.