The images illuminated in the darkness were interrupted by an unfamiliar blue fire that burned away the images of pain, confusion, blood, and of being trapped.
No, I was still trapped. A number of five inch long nails secured my hands to the rough ground, I couldn’t see. It was all black, the blindfold -how long had it been there?- forced my Skill under someone else’s control. His control. I hadn’t known to be cautious when he’d asked me to join him for a bit of dinner. Unsuspecting and foolish, I had followed him. Now I had years of this never ending pain to make sure that I’d never forget what he had done. What I had walked into. A jolt of pain throbbed through me, over and over, endless in the turning of the world, of the planets. I was going numb, my hands slid in their own pools of blood, as the plastic restraints cut into my flesh. I remember being in a panic when this all happened. I screamed until my throat was torn, I had cried -embarrassingly- and pleaded for the end of the torture. That only earned me a bloody ear as a hand, His hand, tried to wrench my head to the side and caught my earrings. They ripped through the flesh and I felt the fresh splash of blood on my clenched jaw. The incoherent grunts would haunt my nightmares, the trauma of that night, that moment, that terrible eternity of brutality would be my solid companion. Aksa was there, but unable to do anything to help me. He had been pleading with me to do something, that I wouldn’t make it otherwise… but I couldn’t hear him anymore. My blood thudded in my ears and on top of everything, I got a headache. The world stilled and I was left nailed to the gravel as my tormentor began to walk away.
Something snapped inside, in my head or my heart, I wasn’t sure. But I lost something. The something that kept the world full of bright colors and hope. It snapped and broke. Deteriorated. Rage took over the empty space, giving me a boost of energy and strength where I had none. Anger had saved me, allowed me to ignore the pain of ripping my hands apart. Bone snapped blood sprayed. I couldn’t feel it. I reached for my blindfold, dragging it from my eyes. Fresh blood coated my face. My other hand was free, but there was no need to turn around or to even look up from my bloody appendages. My Skill kept moving forward and around me. I did not need to see what I wanted to move. I could already feel it in perfect detail. The gravel on the ground under us, digging into my knees. The branches in the frail tree in the bed of dirt a meter away. There was the wall to the complex behind us and I could even sense past that and feel the twenty people passing by on the city sidewalk.
My eyes unfocused as I concentrated on the gravel and anything else I could move in the alley. They were the best weapons on hand and I hoped I would kill him with it all.
The next thing I knew there was a Red bending over my prone form, her silver -no, blue- eyes studied me as I moved in the soft bed -gravel pathway- she reached down and -the sun glinted off of her glasses- she told me that when this night -day- was over, she’d still be there to keep me going. It was her job after all, she said.
The day -night- shifted…
Robins? Temps Robins?
Temps is not here. He’s out there, I’m here. Trapped…
Trapped always. Plastic ties secured my hands together, I couldn’t see. It was all black, the blindfold -how long had it been there?- forced my Skill under someone else’s control. His control-
Enough! Snap out of it. What are you doing?
A prone form on a bed, it was Robins. It was me, but not because it was Temps and I wasn’t Temps. I was… nothing.
Robins, that’s enough. Are these your memories or-?
A young man, older than me, smiled and introduced himself with a handshake. His smile was the same as it always was. His gray -black and white- hair shone under the streetlights. His brown eyes were quick to take in any situation and calculate the outcomes. His name was-
My nightmare. I cannot sleep near someone because of him-
Possible. His hands blurred from his speed Skill, tying my hands together. He-
Why? Who could know? Cherise said he was dead, but that gray hair…
Ward pushed himself out from under the hood of his car and smiled as he saw me enter the garage. He wanted to keep us safe, he became a Policer to protect-
No. He hurts. Tortures-
Not him. Never him.
I remember his face very well and every night after that, I see it. It was Mavic that-
I was too young, too stupid, too trusting. I took his hand along with his smile and look where I am. I’m as good as dead. Worse than-
Not dead. You’re not dead. You just need to wake up. These are just nightmares. Open your eyes, be free.
Never free. I’m trapped by the plastic and the blindfold on the rough ground, I can’t see. He’s heavy, too heavy. It’s all black, the blindfold-
Trapped. The door closed on you and the Creator. Why-? I was hideous-
Lost in a sea of idiots.
Idiots, the lot of them. Cannot see what they have been taking for granted. Francene’s warm hand clenched about mine was the only thing that kept me from talking to the young man, the BW, that day in the cafe. I wanted to know why someone so young was so-
Don’t be daft. Bruises fade.
On the outside.
With help, they fade.
The ones I love…
Should not be your family. Cherise Robins -my sister?- is not a kind Medic.
She is. She helped me, kept my secrets, and mended me when I was broken.
Is that what you think she was doing? Fixing you?
The Red stood off to the side of the fight, watching without a hint of concern as her father readied to kill her brother…
She looked like she was looking forward to the show. The show that she had arranged, by telling Sylvain Robins that you had become a Carte Noir. She made the decision to have you killed. She concocted the drug that deteriorated even your soul. How can you say she was fixing you?
She’s my sister and I love her-
Love is one thing, but trust is another. You should not trust her even if you love her. You’re an addict now, because of her.
A part of the drug that she was injecting you with was highly addictive, and now your body has come to rely on it. Without it…
That cannot be true.
Pion sat curled up in the chair of my study, worrying over the amount of the drug that had been pumped into Robins over the five months or so. She looked up to find me contemplating her. She said something hopeless before looking out the window. She didn’t expect the kid to make it very long, even if he made it out of the coma and was properly mended. ‘All this work for little benefit,’ was something she kept repeating when she thought she was alone.
And she was right-
Wrong, Robins, very wrong. I’ve wanted nothing but to spend time with you and get to know you from the moment I saw you. My benefit is having you near. Being able to communicate with you is a treasure. You cannot let anyone tell you otherwise.
Too late. Even Aksa gave me shit, and I trusted him to be honest.
The jackal-headed god perched on the edge of my bed, bored enough that he decided that I needed to be reminded by mortals were so stupid, slow and most of all mortal. I retorted, saying that at least being mortal was better than being a has-been god that had to rely on the slow, stupid, smelly, lazy, and noisy mortals. He snapped at me in retaliation and disappeared. I turned back to my homework with a grim grin. I loved getting under his onyx skin.
Oh, right. Yeah, Aksa. He’s a right bastard most of the time.
I wonder where he learned that?
I’d shrug if I had shoulders to move. Point is even the gods-
Oh, you cannot be serious. Do not listen to an egotistical god when he or she tells you that you suck. That’s the point of being mortal. We all suck and the gods are just jealous we get to have all the fun.
That’s an interesting way of putting it. I’ll have to remember to tell Aksa that when I see him at the Gates.
The Gates of Judgment.
When I finally die and Restart, I’ll be seeing him at the Gates, before I find out what my next job is.
You’re not dead and you’re not dying. I can’t believe you’re waiting to die. That’s going to be a long wait, so you might as well wake up so you can enjoy life a bit before you say your goodbyes.
And what about my father? My mother? Will they allow me to live?
Sweet Sleeping Beauty, do you need a kiss to prove that no one here means you harm?
Mavic, Frankie, and that Creator -Francene- I’m sure wish me ill if not harm.
Ward… is not home. And if your memories are true… then he no longer has a home here. I have a family that I need to keep safe, and I don’t want to think of what could happen if he decided to take exception to us helping you.
But what about your plans to Reboot Sinclair? I see your worries clear as day. He knows about it, about your leading, about who else is involved. Are you telling me you’re willing to risk that? You should not be taking a Gov lapdog so lightly.
I have connections-
You cannot protect everyone. Someone is going to pay the price of your obstinacy.
Then I hope that person is myself. I know what you’re trying to say, and I’m not giving up on you. Haven’t you suffered enough for one so young?
Sixteen is not young.
You missed your birthday. It was just over a month ago.
Oh. Well, my point is even better, then. Seventeen is not-
You’re a child yet. You should be worried about the uncomfortable and often times awkward effects of being a teenager with raging hormones. Not about how to kill your next roommate and wondering if you’ll make it to eighteen. That’s too much, Robins.
What then would you suggest?
Plenty of people want me dead, like the Govs, if they knew who exactly I am, but I still take the time to enjoy life.
The sun filtered in through the window, bathing me in the warm light. the dust floated in the air, dancing to the breaths I took in and let out. A quiet moment like this was something I looked forward to. I smiled as I focused on my keyboard again.
Enjoy? As far as I understand it, you work. Your happy memory is of you working. You’re not that old either. At least I get outside and soak up the sun in an open grass field, not in a dust filled computer lab like some kind of cave dweller.
At least I can enjoy real sun, and not some memory knock off.
I’m not here to play nice. If you’d rather stew in your nightmares and memories than face the real world and the bright spirits it could give you, then I might as well be on my way. I have better things to do than play mental house with a kid.
Really? Still going to use my last name? You’ve seen my nightmares just as easily as I’ve seen yours. I know what you really crave, what you only told that sister of yours, and I’m still ‘Jrovin’? Now that’s low, Robins.
You’re calling me ‘Robins’-
Because there is nothing else to call you. If you are not ‘Temps’ then who-?
I… don’t know.
I’ll name you.
I’ll name you. Your name before was ‘Temps’ meaning ‘time’.
What do you think of tee-why-em-ee?
‘Tyme’? With a ‘y’?
Yeah. Y’s are cool.
Yes. From now on, ‘Tyme’-
Not so fast!
Too late! So how about it Ty? You wanna come home yet?
I thought it was ‘Tyme’? Why are you using ‘Ty’? What are you trying to establish?
I told you I already know what you really want, kid. You only have to look a little to see what I want…
The accident that took my parents left me with a weak heart, yes, but I still have the capacity to love. Will you come back to us with that as your incentive?
Éttienne… I mean… Étta, would it really make you that happy? I don’t know if I’ll be able to talk to you like this, with honesty, out there. Do you still-?
If anything I’d relish the chance to make new memories with you, Ty. Would that not be something to look forward to?
What about Mavic?
What about your sister?
Will you take that chance? The chance that he could destroy all that you’ve made?
I’m not scared of him or the Govs. But would you be able to stand up to your sister? To your parents? They seem adept at hurting you, rather than aiding you.
I think I can handle them.
Good. Will you wake up now? Or am I going to have to ask Francene to do something with your mess of hair as incentive?
Just saying. That, or maybe Thomas would like to try and help…
Oh please, no.
Then it’s time to wake up, Sleeping Beauty.