Note: To read The Wishing Map from the beginning, click here.
The Wishing Map
Chapter Fifteen: Destiny (Continued)
Previously: Aunt Aloysia told Gina and Zack they must return to Ismara and find the lost Revealer, the key to the other Objects.
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“Aunt Aloysia,” said Gina, “it just seems like you know so much about all of this and—I know this is a completely bizarre question because the Courier was supposed to be a guy, but—you’re not…I mean…”
Aloysia grasped her by the shoulders, looked her straight in the eyes, and said, “I am not the person who came here from Ismara. And I have always been a woman.”
“Oh, no, I didn’t mean…it’s just—”
“I was the only friend the Courier had, the only one the Courier confided in.”
“And so the Courier is—”
“Dead? Yes. I promised to find the one—or ones—whose destiny it was to return the Objects and fulfill the prophecies.”
“But why is it so import—”
“Because if they fall into the wrong hands—”
“The Dark Tinkurs,” said Zack.
Aloysia stared at him for a moment, and then at Gina.
“Yes. If that happens, ‘the worlds will become enslaved.’”
“’Worlds?’” Gina echoed. “Does that mean Middle—?”
“I don’t know.” Her voice was steady, her expression grave.
“These choices the Two Strangers have to make—” asked Gina, “are they part of the prophecies, too? I mean, what if we choose wrong?”
“Or never figure out what we’re supposed to choose!” Zack added.
“I don’t know.”
“I hate this!” blurted Gina. “I want to go back so bad I dream about it every night, but why do I have to make ‘choices?’ Rhema said we’re making choices even when we don’t know it, and that they’re the ones that count the most!”
“Rhema…” Aloysia sighed.
“Yeah!” said Zack. “So what if we choose not to choose? I’m sick of doing what other people say I have to do!”
“From now on we’re going to make our own destinies!” Gina proclaimed.
“Who told you you could make your own destiny?”
“’Make your own destiny!’ What cereal box did you get that from?”
“You can’t control your fate by refusing to make choices! I didn’t discover my destiny until I faced my circumstances. I had to make hard, awful choices, choices I didn’t want to make.” Aloysia’s throat rattled. “I made terrible mistakes, but that was when I discovered who I was. It’s not about control—control is an illusion. It’s about making choices you don’t want to make; that’s what decides your destiny. It’s about…”
She stopped, not because she was finished, but because she was unable to go on. She touched her hand to her heart, to her forehead, and then raised it toward the ceiling. Tears were streaming down her cheeks. It reminded Gina of the picture of Jesus perspiring blood in Grandma Dore’s old Catholic Bible.
After several minutes, Aloysia continued, “It may be that the Revealer will unveil your destinies. One prophecy says, ‘To the strangers it will show the way.’ The dreams you are having…”
“You know about the dreams?” asked Gina.
“Nightmares,” Zack clarified.
Aloysia looked into Gina’s soul, her coffee eyes glistening, and said, “Help him!” Then she turned to Zack and said, “Stop them!” Both were speechless. A sickening shiver ran through them. Suddenly they didn’t want to know their destinies; they wanted the familiar, the predictable—they wanted Middleton. But that was impossible, because if “worlds” included Middleton then no place was safe, no place was predictable.
“So, here we are,” said Aloysia, as if their entire lives had been leading up to this moment. “I have loved you since your births, and if allowed will protect you with my last breath. If I could take your place, I would, but I cannot. This is your destiny, not mine.”
The three sat in silence until Mom called, “Dad’s home with ice cream!”
And then they went down the stairs together.
Thoughts: Has there ever been a task you desperately wanted out of, a reminder that you did not have complete control over your fate?
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