Meita is standing near to a sleeping boy. “Wake up, Con,” she says. The boy’s eyelids flutter open and he replies with a simple, “Meita.” They smile and the boy gets up. I vaguely see figures I know in the background…
I clutch my head as my eyes flicker open. This time the dream doesn’t vanish and remains imprinted into my memories like a scar on skin, instead of the usual footprint in sand. I try and figure out how long I’ve not been fully conscious; I remember the sweet taste of pancakes with fresh lemon juice and talking to a new boy, Orphian. “Shooting lazers?” I had said, “Wow, très sci-fi”. I laughed. I hope they don’t think me a geek for loving sci-fi stuff, or being bilingual. I also hoped I hadn’t made such a bad first impression on Orphian. He seemed to me to be someone I could get to like… The next big thing I remember was another new guy, Adam. He had arrived, then fainted. I had gone upstairs after that, feeling sick, and had pretty much been drifting in and out of a strange consciousness perforated by happiness one minute, and screams of agony the next.
As I wearily open the door to the room, I notice that he house is quieter than usual, but that my head is already but that my head is already buzzing.
Zaziquita, you’ve been slacking off your task, and enjoying yourself too much.
Ian! Is it you who’s been making me ill?
I am greeted with silence.
Ian! I yell in my head as hard as I can.
After a second more of silence he replies, There are some people here who don’t want you-
Nobody wants me! That’s how I got into this mess in the first place.
Please, my dear…Quiet. The influenza was a warning and you’d do best to heed it. Anyway, I woke you because I don’t need you at the house any more, my dear. Meita came more quietly than we had anticipated.
You should have let me see these events!
Now, now. I couldn’t let Meita, or any of the others, change your mind.
But…Ian -I’m not sure if I can do this anymore…The doubt I had never had beforehand spreads through me now.
Don’t be like that, Ian whispers softly, soothing the anxiousness I am starting to feel.
Ian…I don’t know…I-I’m so confused most times. It’s hard to keep up this appearance- Suddenly I shut my mind off as Kayden appears at the end of the corridor I am walking down. We smile weakly at each other. Boy, I wonder what’s been going on here- Suddenly I remember the horrid man in our room.
Ian! Who was that in my room earlier?
His name is Renon; he was just checking up on you and Violet.
Was that one of your goons, then? Checking up? So much for being inconspicuous if you send people to come and freak the rest of them out all the time.
By now I am passing through the living area, and the surge of anger takes over my hands, smashing a glass vase of flowers on a low table. The same vase as last time! Out of the corner of my eye I see someone at the door. Fearing that he has seen what I just did, I start running, but as I pass the table, a shard of glass cuts into my leg. I curse, but keep running.
Come to the garden, come to me.
Now, Zazi, don’t try and resist me. We have things to talk about. Especially now Meita is under my control…I mean, now that we have her safely where she cannot hurt anyone.
This makes me frown but I have bigger things to concentrate on than the sense of Ian’s words. I had somehow, automatically retraced my steps through the garden and to the forcefield. Ian is stood there, letting me through, holding out his hand, like a husband clearing the dark way ahead for his wife. As I step through, my surroundings change, like a tree through the seasons. Ian smiles and kisses me gently on the cheek.
“By the way, you must have done something right. Arc has joined us now.”