I’m going to drop a bomb right now. Time isn’t linear. Time is relative. Time is malleable in the right hands.
Scrying, divining the future is nothing more than picking a spot in time and touching it. Most of the time it can be changed.
Often, though, certain things have to happen. It may be because of the change it creates in the participants. It may only be because one changed participant affects another person.
It also could be because the Fates think the result in the tapestry is pretty.
Despite my little tugs and twists, sometimes I cannot change the things I want to change. Sometimes I can’t make life better for some people because the trials they go through are there to make them stronger.
I do not tend weak flowers.
So I merely watch Mila’s struggles. She has to be miserable and afraid enough to go to Aidan. She’s not there yet.
I just wish that sometimes the ether wouldn’t bother my sleep, especially the beautiful sleep that comes after emotional revelations and certain pleasant physical activities.
Mila awakes in Bryant’s arms. She looks at him for a while feeling the beautiful feeling that comes from knowing without really knowing how, but really knowing that she is loved. She slides gently away, letting him sleep.
A little bit later, dressed and ready for school, Mila returns to the sofa to wake Bryant and ask if he would like orange juice or coffee.
Even though the sofa is empty, she smiles and looks forward to school.
Mila spends the entire morning looking for Bryant. She doesn’t see him in the halls. He won’t answer her texts. The one time she does call, hiding in the last stall in the bathroom, the rings only lead to voicemail. She doesn’t leave a message.
Her heart twists. What the hell? Is he avoiding her? Has she done something wrong?
Seeing Michael in the hall, she finds that he still frightens her, especially since Bryant is not there. She is alone.
His eyes narrow as they rake her from top to bottom. A little ridge forms on his brow.
She knows he senses her fear.
He seems to touch it, encourage its growth and then feed off it.
He stands between her and her next class looking as if he has no intention of moving. She has to walk past him.
The hallway is filled with students. It seems as though there are more bodies than usual. They press up against her. They bump her.
Lifting her heavy feet is an effort. The more she moves, the harder it feels to move.
Michael lifts his hand and the crowd of students parts. He saunters to Mila, a wicked smile on his face.
She can’t move. Her feet are stuck. Her body is frozen. Time doesn’t exist. Everything stops.
A snake ready to strike, he’s captured her eyes. She sees nothing but blue, the color of the sea before a storm.
He runs his fingers over her cheek. Her skin prickles.
He pushes stray strands of hair from her cheek to behind her ear, slides his fingers beneath the brown heaviness and brushes the nape of her neck lightly.
The fear in her spine runs cold through her blood and settles in a hard knot in the pit of her stomach.
The second before time resumes, a flash of pure hatred flashes in his eyes.
Then time starts. The soft rumble of students suddenly loud. The press of bodies jar her away from him.
The last few steps to class and her desk feel disjointed. She rubs the back of her neck trying to remove the memory of his touch. She isn’t successful.
Halfway through the class, Mila’s head starts to pound. She tells herself that algebra is not her strong class and she’s trying too hard.
A few minutes later, she drops her pencil to her desk and rubs her temples breathing deeply.
Instead of receding, the pain increases. Each pound comes harder and harder until the pain is blinding.
(And I can feel it. How does she stand this?
Do something girl. You know what it is, don’t you? You know where you are and what you’re capable of. You know you can stop it.)
She reaches to the back of her neck.
Exactly where Michael had touched her is a blister. At least, that’s what it feels like. She runs her fingertips over it, rounding the edges. Over and over, she rubs it, finally recognizing the thing that scares her most…. It’s growing.
At first it is perfectly round and the size of her thumbnail.
Now it is an oval.
Now it is the size of her thumb.
Her stomach lurches.
Something inside what feels like a pus-filled blister moves.
She feels the skin of the blister puncture. The liquid that fills it squirts into her hair and oozes over her fingers.
Something that feels like a wet centipede wriggles.
Mila jumps to her feet shaking the thing from her hand, bangs her knee hard enough on her desk to bring tears to her eyes.
The thing falls to the floor with a sick wet plop.
It looks like a trilobite and moves, squirming in its own juices.
Part of her mind, the part not falling into the black hole of madness, analyzes.
It is brown, but without a solid body. Slimy skin encases each bone separately. It has one eye, terrifyingly human, the iris the color of the sea before a storm.
Her hand returns to the back of her neck. In the skin beneath the broken blister, she feels more movement.
Trembling, she feels something different on (in) her arm.
She looks and finds another blister on her forearm with another thing inside, squirming, fighting to hatch. As she watches, it pierces the blister and crawls out of her skin, dragging a wad of clear goo.
She starts screaming.
She can’t stop.