I am thinking of the Commander, of my mother and of my father. I am thinking of all the people I have left behind me, at Home and on the Bus, and as I do so I am finding it hard not to cry.
My mother is first.
What I remember most about her is the way she would always smell of outdoors, even if she had spent all of the day inside the sweet little cottage she called home. When I was ten she had moved there, to make things easier between the three of us as a family, and I did not see her so much, but I still called in almost every day.
I can remember the way she said my name. Mai. Almost reproachful sometimes, but on other days she said it like I was the most precious thing in the world to her. Like her life would not have been complete if I had not been born.
I can remember the way her honey cakes melted on my tongue and the way she would scold my father if he ate the last one, because she knew how much I loved them, and how sad I would be if he did so.
Yes, there is a lot I remember about my mother.
I remember that I killed her.
I was scarcely more than a child; only in my teens, perhaps fourteen, perhaps fifteen. I remember trying to convince myself that I had no choice, that this was not my decision, but in my heart I knew that I was lying to myself. There is always a choice.
“Mai …” I heard their voices on the wind, as though they were following me, wherever I went. I shut the front door of my father’s house behind me, and it clicked shut. It was as if it was telling me that I could never go back. Telling me that this was the end.
My mother lived only a few doors along, in a beautiful little house. Many an afternoon had been spent there, eating honey cakes and laughing at my father’s absurd jokes and behaviour. So on that night I did not have far to go. The light from our moon, Celn, lit the street like any sunlight, only far more regular, given that it follows our erratic orbit, instead of causing it. I remember smiling at that thought, then. I slipped down that road like a silent, remorseful shadow.
The green-painted door opened smoothly to my touch. I had oiled it myself, only a week or two ago. How had so much changed in so short a time? How could they have wormed their way into my thoughts and changed them so in only a week?
The house was silent. I kept an eye out for Scanners, but there were none. I need not have worried, anyway. They knew me; they would not have bothered me.
The knife was shining like white silver as I clenched it in my trembling, pale hand. I looked away, unable to bear the brightness of its blade, the sharpness of its edge.