Chapter IV: Every Why has a Wherefore

Previous Chapters:

Chapter I: Reflections in a Broken Mirror

Chapter II: Unexpected Encounters and Unwanted Emotions

Chapter III: Seek and Ye Shall Find

I was brought back to Surrey Street by the girl who identified herself as Clare. We stopped in front of a row of shops located just beside the town hall. The name of the establishment was called the Sheffield Scene. It was a small shop and it was very old. So old that the brown stones of the building had begun to turn black as a result of corrosion over the years. The facade was a glass panel that displayed all sorts of metal works that the shop sold inside. There were steel cups and plates, cutleries of all different shapes and sizes, some that even looked like they were made of Silver. Clare reached for the doorknob and opened the door of the shop as if that was the most natural thing to do. It was unlocked. She led me inside the shop until we reached a flight of stairs and beckoned me to follow as she started her ascent.

The first floor of the building was completely different than the ground floor. It was warmer and brighter. The lamps shone with orange light and it gave the place a very cosy feeling. There were two armchairs and a table in the middle of the room. The furniture looked very old and they were probably in the room since before I was born. Surrounding the room were shelves. They looked like they were made from the same wood as the table. All were dark brown, decorated with various patterns and designs. More intriguing was that were at least a dozen clocks! Not the modern round alarm clocks with those two stupid bells at the top but old cuckoo clocks. All were quite old and rather pricey looking. The clocks weren’t the only clockworks in the room. There were other mechanical devices ranging from music boxes to toy automatons. On the opposite side of the room lay a large oval-shaped mirror on the wall. The decorative art that filled its borders was stunningly intricate.

“Welcome,” said a musical voice coming from behind. It wasn’t Clare’s voice.

I turned around just in time to see a middle-aged, tall and slender woman give a curtsey fit for a king. When she raised her head, I saw a breathtakingly beautiful face. Hers was a different kind of beauty. While Clare had childlike eyes and a small, fragile-looking body, this woman had eyes that were deep pools threatening to swallow you up and a body that had matured well past that of a young girl. They were very dark, her eyes, and they shined in a way that displayed both wisdom and experience. She moved without a sound to one of the armchairs in the room and raised her hand in a gesture that invited me to take the seat opposite of hers. Her manners were aristocratic to the highest degree.

I was grateful for the invitation and sat down hurriedly. The armchair was unbelievingly comfortable. I noticed that Clare had disappeared and that I was alone with this woman.

“My name is Maia Clow,” said the woman in a low and polite voice.

“Jakob,” I replied.

“Would you mind to tell me what happened to you?”

Her words stroked a sensitive chord and I felt the dam breaking open. “I was attacked by a dog,” I cried. “A huge three-headed dog!” my hands tried to emphasise the size of the dog. I knew that it sounded preposterous. This woman would soon burst into laughter, thinking I have lost my mind. But she sat there quietly, her face was utterly serious. She was waiting for me to continue. “I would have been dead if I have not met Clare by coincidence. She killed the beast with her….” I had wanted to say sword. But it was too absurd to say out loud. What kind of girl in the 21st century would carry a 30 inch sword on a day out!

“Coincidence? There is no such thing as coincidence when you meet someone,” interrupted Maia gently. “That we have met today means that we were meant to meet and our meeting could not have happened in any other way. It is inevitable that the past must be as it has been before the future can unfold. We may forget in the near future that this meeting has ever happened but we cannot change the fact that this encounter has already taken place.”

I was a little taken aback by the words she used. “Do you mean that our meeting was fated somehow?” I enquired.

“Yes, free-will and choice are within our reach only to a limited degree in the present and the future but not in the past. Things that have already happened are a product of inevitability,” said Maia with a lovely smile on her face. “This of course, does not explain why you were attacked by a three-headed dog and how Clare saved you by killing it with a….sword, I believe.”

The woman knew all along! She was in on the secret!

I was too curious to be angry that she had kept me in the dark for awhile. That she had not covered up the whole thing meant that she might be willing to explain to me what actually happened. My sense of curiosity overwhelmed all other feelings I had and I felt my heart quicken in pace. “Please explain to me what happened back there,” I asked making no attempt to hide my curiosity.

“All men by nature desire to know,” said Maia laughing softly. “But beware, sometimes ignorance is bliss.”

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