Sunday, July 10, 2016
Chapter 44: Circle
Luis looks at the ceiling. "Normally she has the kid a lot later in life."
"You're on the run. Where did you start from, exactly?" Reggie inquires. "What of your parents?"
"Dead, but I'll see them next time around." Luis chokes up a little, making a low sound between a sob and a laugh. "It's okay. Really it is."
"Next... time around?" Reggie presses.
"The goal is for this to be the last time, but I always fail, and the cycle spins around again. The cycle. The circle. The never ending mockery of our first lives, played out again and again. The same people come into existence again and again. I thought it defied science. Until I saw outside the dream."
"I can't in good conscience throw out a homeless child but please, I need to understand what you're saying."
"Then you have to understand your reality is false, your life is a lie, and... and I've already lost you." The teenager turns and walks away, out the door, descending the staircase in an aimless slink.
Already lost you. Cayenne catches the tail end of the conversation, and wonders, in what sense are those words meant? Already lost you, as in already confused you? Or already lost you, you're already dead?
Perenna recognizes Luis. The sight of him makes her stomach churn cold.
"He's the son of an actor I worked with once," she informs her husband. "That much I'm certain is true. How does he say his father died? The guy was from way out in Barnacle Bay, so... you know how it is, getting news between sectors, even in my line of work."
"He didn't say at all."
Perenna quirks an eyebrow. "I figured you'd have vetted those kids more thoroughly."
"You treated me like a criminal the moment you saw me."
"It's okay! I like this change!"
"They haven't exactly been as willing as you to answer questions, Perenna!"
Perenna makes sure to sit Lucida down for a long, long chat about self control. The girl is tired, but will still need to attend school tomorrow, so this can't wait.
Once Lucida is shipped off to bed, Perenna takes interrogation matters into her own hands. Warm, clean and fed for the first night in too long, it doesn't take much to get Cayenne singing like a canary.
"I was teaching my sister, Parsley, some magic," Cayenne explains with a guilty pout. "Just like Luis taught me. But she... we messed up, and started a big fire. My siblings all got out okay, but my Daddy didn't make it."
My sister Parsley. Parsley and Cayenne. This is a sad tale, so Perenna tries not to snicker.
"He was such a nice person!" she wails into her knees. "Always there for us... unlike our mothers..."
Cayenne and her brothers and sister were taken in by Parsley's estranged mother... and the actress's total indifference to them made it very easy for more bad things to happen.
"She acted like we didn't exist. She didn't get upset when Basil eloped with his girlfriend. She didn't notice when Luis skipped school. She didn't care that I coped with everything by putting a guy between my legs." Cayenne cringed. "The same guy, okay? I know what I did was dumb... but I loved him ever since we were kids, and I think we'd have had a normal life together someday if not for everything else..."
Perenna pats the girl's shoulder. "What's everything else? How did you end up on the street?"
"The fire was suspicious. Eventually Supernatural Control got involved, and found us. They grabbed Parsley. Luis and I got away. We've been trying to find a way to get Parsley back ever since. Luis says Rex will help. Do you... do you know anybody named Rex?"
Perenna shakes her head no.
"They're going to do just awful things to my sister," Cayenne sighs. "We have to rescue her."
"You can't rescue anyone right now," Perenna says firmly. "You're a teenager. Using your magic to steal and run all over the world chasing for leads on a trail that's gone cold is no way to live. You're going to get caught. You have to play smarter than this."
"There is one other thing," Cayenne murmurs.
"You can tell me," Perenna insists.
"The further we run, the more we search the world, the more people we meet... the more my brother senses. It's messing him up. Please be patient with him."
Luis waits for Perenna to leave his sister alone before he returns to her.
"I started the fire," he tells her.
Cayenne pastes on a brave smile for him. "Not in this reality. Remember?"
Etc.: It was always burnin', since the- ♪
This blog occurs in the same universe as my other ones. The universe keeps getting reset, that's all.
For those who did not follow my other blogs, Cayenne and her three siblings are the grandchildren of Scarlett's little sister, who stayed behind in Barnacle Bay while Scarlett left with Greta for a life of adventure and discovery.
For those who haven't read this blog since 2014 and forgot the ongoing mysteries, Luis is that kid from chapter 36.