As the figures moved out of the boys’ line of sight, out of the light smoke and into a different part of the wreckage, dialogue began to trickle through, whispering sweet tones on the wind.
“…A sweet, caring mother?”
A lighter voice, yet one less enunciated, replied, “She had a temper too. Just like you, Grandmother.”
The figures wandered out into the restored living area, and therefore into the men’s view. Unfortunately, the picture floated in and out of precision, like a dream where everything changes in an instant, and one loses track of consciousness. Peter also believed that the chronology of the shots was lacking the greatest sense, because, curiously, one of the women appeared to be materialising about the room.
There was laughter, and the swishing of shoulder-length curls on both sides, and the figures were sighing, waving candyfloss nails, tossing a fuzzy block of gold about- yet no more words were to be had.
Finally, the smaller figure, and the one, it seemed, to which the second voice belonged, stepped out to the side (she would have almost touched Phillip’s mighty tree if she had stretched her left arm sideways half a metre) and prominently solidified. She was now as clear as Peter was to Phillip, and remarkably beautiful.
Thick black hair tumbled past her shoulders in spirals, splashing down onto a ‘princess-styled’ top, its colour a blend of rain blue and jade green. Surprisingly, she was wearing dark trousers, when one would have expected a girl of this sort of beauty, and standing, to be wearing a floating sky skirt, and dancing round in the hands of roses.
Phillip marvelled at how much her features had been shaped to those of Aidelle; perhaps this was his fiancée’s younger counterpart? He’d learnt that anything was possible now, and that time was merely temporary.
She stepped forward and revealed herself to be not just part of the scenery; her shoes caught against the blackened rubble (which she stared contemptuously and miserably at), and her deep oceanic eyes stared into the contrasting ones of Phillip and Peter, who, to her, appeared to be sitting on the rubble. They, having stopped their fighting, were too stunned by the unfolding scene to move to more comfortable positions, or to place themselves where they would not look odd.
Peter opened his mouth to speak, but the girl held out one hand, enough to stop any words escaping his broken lips. They noticed that her palms were smudged with oil, and the skin beneath was rough. Mechanic’s hands? Wondered Phillip to some extent.
The girl’s fierce eyes flickered to Peter.
“Don’t doubt it all, Uncle…”
She gave them a grin that was almost a grimace, then put a thin, long-nailed index finger to her expressive, rouged lips. The reason for her grimace soon presented itself, as the girl suddenly cried out and doubled over in pain, breathlessly clutching her stomach. She blinked tears up at Phillip and Peter, shook her head in a cryptic warning, and disappeared back into the focus-less painting, acting so innocent, wide-eyed as she gasped her shock at changing time-lines.
Peter mulled over the expression, as a dull chill set into his bones. ‘Changing lines’. It was as though they ran like trains, moving, ever moving, along a lined track that curved whenever there was a jolt in the scenery of life. The track split frequently and there was nothing one could do about that but choose; choose who to side with, or what to do as a constant career. And then he realised: life was as simple as that. It may have seemed ridiculous, impossible even, to believe in a being- or two- trapped in another situation, yet the same one just separated by a porous membrane of light, and space…and time; but there it was, played out for him as proof.
To top it off, time mocked Peter, with a swift pull of the cloak away. The taller woman, now gathered around the girl was…
“Aidelle!” yelled Phillip, swinging himself to a standing position. He was still breathing through clenched teeth whilst his broken arm begged to be rested.
Peter closed his eyes, regretfully. It was enough to make him see that jealousy, loss, and anger were the only things true about his doubts.