Charlie’s letter to Luke

Extra scene from The Veiling of the Voyager Chronicles series.


Dear Luke,

This is the second letter I’ve written today and I already have a cramp in my hand. I haven’t written this much since I don’t know when—never, maybe. I don’t even know if you’ll be able to read my handwriting. I can’t read my writing. It looks like a drunk spider fell into a bottle of ink and staggered across the page. If you can read this, I salute you.

So, how are you, my friend? I have a billion questions for you. I want to know everything that’s happened since you got home and it sucks that I can’t just pick up my phone and call you. I know I should make an effort to construct a decent letter, but I’m afraid I’ll forget what I need to know, so instead, here’s a list of all my questions. Feel free to answer each in detail. Lots of detail.

How are you? Are you glad to be home? Was Lynan worse or better than you thought? How is Beth? Did you ask her to marry you yet? If not, why? If yes, what did she say? How is Elaria? Is she doing okay? Did you find out what happened with the Higher Council? What do you miss most about here? What do you not miss? Is Solomon still happy for me to visit? If so, when? If not, don’t tell me.

So, when we were in the thick of Princess Protection duty there were times I wanted my normal life back. Now I have it and I’m miserable. I knew I’d miss you both when you left, but I didn’t think it would be this hard. I have no-one to talk to about what happened. Yes, I know I can talk to my parents, but it’s not the same as talking to you. Some days I’m literally biting my tongue in an effort not to tell Jamie. Also, Dad will not entertain any discussion about my apprenticeship. We’ve had a couple of major arguments about it and he will not budge. All in all, life here is a pile of pants at the moment.

I realise I sound like a whining child so let me man up again.

After you left things went back to normal way too fast. I went into college thinking someone would figure out something was different, but no-one did. It was all very strange. Sitting in the canteen I kept finding myself wondering where you’d got to and then remembered you’d gone back home. Jamie knew something was up with me, but I had to tell him I was worrying about the exams. Like I would.

I started making you a playlist of all your favourite First Realm tunes. There are fifty seven tracks on it already, but you definitely favour rock. I trained you well, grasshopper. Ask Elaria on the down low if an i-Pod would survive a journey through the Gates. If so, I’ll smuggle one over. Scrap that. Stupid idea. I’ve just realised you’d have no way of charging it. Seriously, how do you live without electricity? And how is Elaria coping without her electric blanket? Ha ha. Her stuff is still in her room by the way. Yesterday Mom put her college books away, but she won’t touch her clothes or anything else. I wander in there sometimes too and I’m glad it hasn’t been cleaned out yet. It would be too final. Can I just say that it took almost two weeks to get your foot rot stench out of my room. I don’t know how your guard buddies put up with you. Seriously. Get that foot stank sorted out or Beth will run screaming for the hills on your wedding night.

The exams came and went in a blur. All that hanging out in the library did me some good because I actually found them okay. I’ll know my results in January, but I’m cautiously optimistic. We also have to start applying for work experience placements in January. I’m dreading it. Gatekeeping is all I want to do, but I can hardly have a frank chat with my career guidance counsellor about that. Dad is lucky to have his interests in IT, it’s a perfect side job for him, but I have no clue what else I’d like to do. Feel free to offer suggestions.

I have no more news for you. It’s a Saturday morning here and I’ve got to go now. Mom wants me to drag all the decorations down from the attic and then we’re heading out to buy a Christmas tree. Happy Yule to you guys. I hope you get to celebrate and relax for a few days.

Take it easy, Luke. It’s not the same here without you both. Give me little sis a big hug (ignore protocol, please) and write me back soon.

Your friend, (and deputy) Charlie.