>There is a split second of shocked silence, and then they all start talking at once.
“What do you mean, conjure him? Bring him here?”
“Are you kidding?”
“Are you crazy?”
“Mmm, mmm, mmm. Johnny Depp.” That’s from Leslie.
But it’s Olivia’s reaction that really stings. “Kelly, honey, you are crazy, aren’t you?”
“I’m absolutely dead serious, Olivia. And I’m surprised you, of all people, would think that such a thing’s impossible.” To her credit, she looks taken aback. “You’re an amazing woman, Olivia. You’ve come out of one of the toughest things I’ve seen anyone go through, and you’re not only not defeated, you’re positively radiant.” I feel the tears spring to my eyes, and my throat starts to swell. “I wanted to give you something really, truly special - an experience you’ll never forget -”
“She’ll never forget being charged with kidnapping if we ARE successful,” says Leslie. “Or have you forgotten that part?”
“I don’t want to kidnap him,” I reply. “I wouldn’t hold him here against his will.”
“I know Johnny Depp has a reputation for being quirky,” puts in Jasmina. “But I don’t think even the quirkiest person would appreciate being poofed out of their own life and plunked into ours without some kind of warning or consent. Do you?” She pins me with a penetrating look in her huge brown eyes that appear uncomfortably bottomless in the firelight. A chill runs up my spine.
“What even makes you can work such a thing?” asks Marnie.
“Theoretically, it’s possible,” says Clarice, before I have to answer. I bless her for all the hours she spends reading the books she sells. Most of it sticks and for a writer like me, she is an invaluable resource. “There are native traditions that say its possible to walk between the worlds, and even lead others through. But only a powerful shaman can do it.”
“Or one who’s already been lead through,” I finish. Our eyes lock and I know a moment of true deja vu. We’d had this conversation when the first articles appeared.
"No wonder you’ve been asking so many questions about Letty and Aaron,” says Olivia.
"You didn’t disagree with my theory, though, did you?” I reply. I’m not backing down. I know, somehow, that this is the right thing to do, crazy as it may seem. I never denied being crazy. Crazy people do crazy things, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not the right things to do. “Let’s give it a try, okay? I’ve put an awful lot of thought and energy into this, and maybe it won’t work.” The candlelight is kind to our aging faces, the shadows gently gray in the peachy glow.
I see a subtle longing flicker across every face, a wish, a hope, a dream as fleeting as the sudden gust that roars down the chimney, as real as Don Juan de Marco and his world of words. They exchange glances, shrug, nod and smile.
Olivia looks at me and in her eyes, I see what might be wonder. “We have to be prepared it may not work.”
“But then again,” says Clarice softly, as the rest settle back. “Maybe it will.”