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Violet stood at the counter in the kitchen, stirring the cake batter that would
eventually become her mother’s birthday ca...
“Hi dear,” she greeted her daughter. “I see that cake. I hope you are
not planning a party as well.”
“No Mom. No party, but what’s a birthday without cake? You’ve gotta
have cake.” Violet clasped her hands together and exci...
“I don’t know, Violet. Is it someone from town? Someone I know?”
Violet’s enthusiasm was not all that unusual when she had...
“A Doran! Right here in Desiderata Valley!” Violet could barely contain herself.
Sophia looked at her daughter thoughtfully. “A Doran? Here? I
don’t believe there have ever been any Dorans in this area. ...
“Only briefly. Her name is Lily. I met her at Copur’s Cookoff. She was
with John Mole, and then I saw her again at Gustav’...
“You didn’t mention anything about the elves, did you?” Sophia was pretty
sure that Violet wouldn’t, but had to make sure ...
“Nah, I didn’t. I’d like to get to know her a little. I think we’ll be friends,” Violet told her
mother hopefully. “Oh, an...
“We’ll come up with something. This Doran might be a great ally for
us. You need to feel her out, see where her feelings o...
Sophia left the kitchen smiling to herself at her daughter’s exuberance.
She was looking for Marcel. She wanted one last a...
Violet pulled the cake out of the oven and set it to cool. Sitting down
at the table, she began the somewhat tedious proce...
Within an hour she had come up with H.E.A.L., which stood for Half-breed Elf Acceptance
League. The group had been around,...
Rick was getting used to the schedule that his sister had inadvertently
set up for him. She was awake, crying to get out o...
His room, being right next to hers, did not allow him to sleep in
much longer than that. He should have moved to his paren...
The entire room was still set up the same as it was on that fateful
night. Someone, he wasn’t quite sure who, had come in ...
He stayed out of the room as much as possible, but occasionally he
would find Rachel in there, sitting next to the bed.
Life had settled into a routine for him and Rachel. She would wake
them up; he would fix her breakfast then eat something ...
There would generally be a few minutes for playing or training –
potty, walking or talking – then he would get her and him...
Their evenings were a repeat of the morning except in reverse.
Rarely, he had a night when he could go out socially, and h...
Rachel was recovering from the trauma slowly. Other than her shouts to be let out of the
crib in the morning, she was quit...
“Iiiicccckkkkkyyyyyy!” was the rousing call that woke him from his
dreamless sleep. As hard as he tried to teach her, Rach...
He padded his way into her room and picked her up out of the crib. She
snuggled his neck and he took her with him to the k...
Today would be a break from routine. It was Saturday, and Rick had
plans for a play for date for Rachel with the Aspirs. N...
Rick was going to use the time to pack up his parents’ things and get rid of them. It was not
a task he was looking forwar...
Lily, John, Alfred and Alistair had been busy all day, finalizing the wedding plans and
rehearsing their roles in the actu...
It had been a tiring day, filled with fittings, and cleaning, and putting the final
touches on the decorations scattered a...
Lily had dozed off, waking to find that John was nowhere to be found.
Rubbing the sleep from her eyes, she got up from the...
She was quite startled to see him seemingly walking out of the
bookshelf in the hall.
“John?”
“Uh, uhm, yes dear?” came the stuttered reply.
“What are you doing? How…how are you walking through that wall?”
“I…” he kn...
Lily fought down the fear and tempered it with anger. “Don’t you dare go all
‘Godfather’ with me, John Mole,” she hissed, ...
John’s eyes grew wide, “I wasn’t going to. I never had any intention of
keeping my business a secret from you. It’s just t...
“Why all the secrecy? There’s a secret room back there, isn’t there?!
When were you planning on telling me, John? Tomorrow...
“Lily, wait!” he followed her. She was crying quietly when he caught
up with her, which made him feel even more like an as...
“Baby, I’m sorry,” he began. “Can I explain? Please?”
She turned back toward him, “I don’t know. Can you?”
“I work for the SCIA,” he told her. “There are many things that I cannot share, even
with the person dearest to me. I didn...
“The room is secluded for two reasons, mainly involving Alfred and Alistair. First, it is for
their protection. I see and ...
He reached out his hand toward her in a peace offering, “I can show you,
if you would like. I just can’t share any of the ...
“John?” she asked, looking at the floor.
He grabbed her in a hug, “I love you, you know,” he told her.
Settling into his e...
“Lily, it doesn’t matter what you have to say. We’re going to be married
tomorrow and I’m going to be the happiest man in ...
“No, I have to. There should be no secrets between us. Ever. I
need to tell you why I came to Desiderata Valley. I need to...
“Let’s go inside and have a cup of tea,” he suggested. “It will soothe
both of us, and you can tell me everything you thin...
Lily sat down, hands cradling the warm tea cup. She didn’t know
where to begin, so she jumped right in.
“My parents are va...
“I was born and raised in Sim City,” she started over. “My mother had moved
there after tragedy struck her family. She had...
Lily continued. “I’m sure my mother loved my father, but he never lived with
us. He would spend as much time with us as po...
“I don’t know all the details of what I am about to tell you, but I know what the results
were,” she took a sip of tea and...
Lily paused, her eyes reflecting a melancholy she hadn’t experienced since the
day in the woods when she had decided to us...
They moved to the living room where they were more comfortable. John
pulled her close to him, and she continued, “Mother b...
John patted her back and whispered, “Oh, baby. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry you had to live
with this by yourself for so lon...
He held her until her sobs stopped. Turning, leaning back into the safety of
his arms, she took a deep breath. “There’s mo...
“She chose to end the war by using the armies of the dead. Her punishment by the council was that
her children were banish...
She sat up and looked him in the eye, just now realizing what she was
about to tell him would also be true. “John, if we h...
“Then we’ll have to teach them everything we know before they do. We’ll still be
a family, Lily. Family isn’t defined sole...
“I’m going to stay tonight,” Lily answered. “I know it’s against tradition and all, but I just
can’t go back to the cottag...
It was time for Sophia’s transition to elder. Being an elf, she had already
lived a long time. She was actually quite a fe...
There was no party. She and her family gathered around the cake that
Violet had made earlier and she prepared to blow out ...
A quick trip to the bathroom confirmed what Sophia knew was going to happen. Her
glamour had worn off and she no longer ha...
Rick picked up an old photograph of his parents and himself and glanced at it,
lost in thought, when the voice came.
“That...
Rick shook his head in an attempt to get rid of the voice, and was filled
with a frenetic energy to finish the task at han...
Removing the molding near the area where his father had been lying crumpled and
bloody, he heard it again. “Perfect Ricky,...
“You know what you want,” the voice continued, coercing. “You
know what you have to do.”
With an unexplained energy Ricky found his supplies, seemingly out of nowhere and began
carrying out what the voice had to...
The wedding was scheduled to begin in an hour. The guests had all been invited,
the buffet prepared, and the decorations c...
“Lily?” Alfred asked quietly, inching his way into the room.
“Yes, sweetie?” she turned, swishing the train of her dress a...
She bent down and deftly moved her fingers around, tying a
perfectly snug bow.
“There,” she straightened to her full heigh...
“I’m really glad you’re marrying my Dad,” a rare smile flashed and her
soon to be step-son walked out the door as quietly ...
Lily held on to the calla lily she had chosen for her bouquet and
looked down the aisle to where her new family was. From ...
The wedding arch had been set up in front of the fruit trees in almost
the exact spot where the picnic proposal had taken ...
As the wedding guests made their way to the buffet, Alfred and Alistair ran
up and grabbed Lily’s hands, pulling her along...
The small crowd parted and tears welled up in Lily’s eyes as she gazed at
Desdemona, Grey and Fortunata. Without a word, t...
“How? How did you know? How did you get here?” Lily was first.
“John found us,” Desdemona replied. “I’m not sure how, but ...
“How long will you be here?” Lily asked.
“Only for an hour or so,” Grey replied. “We can’t stay together too long. We don’...
Rick was at the wedding and experiencing mixed feelings. He was
having a great time. The ceremony was nice, the food was g...
Ricky wanted Lily for himself though. He couldn’t hide it any longer.
The voice was overpowering now and the little part o...
He had been remembering things. Things that he should have known. He remembered his mother
being pregnant. He remembered h...
He had found empty paint cans for an angry red color that he had no
recollection of using and the door to his old bedroom ...
He had a recurring image of an alley at night. There was something
at the end of the alley and he couldn’t quite make out ...
He remembered a party at his dorm and a fight with Violet and her
friend, but he couldn’t remember the friend’s name.
Lily’s siblings had left the reception after their short visit, leaving
Lily and John mingling amongst their other guests.
Catching Lily’s attention, Violet came over followed by an older
woman and introduced them, “Lily, I’d like you to meet my...
Sophia shook Lily’s hand. “It’s so nice to finally meet you. John and
Violet have told me so much about you,” she said.
“V...
“Oh, look,” Sophia said, looking off to the right of their little group.
“Here comes my husband Marcel. Let me introduce y...
Lily didn’t hear her. There was a buzzing in her ears and her heart was
pounding. She could feel sweat dripping down the c...
Lily did the only thing she could. She ran.
“Lily!” Violet called after her.
“John!” called Sophia.
John ran after Lily, finding her in his secret room.
“Lily? Are you okay?” he asked her quietly.
“She’s an elf?”
“It’s not what you think,” he told her. “She’s not after you or any
other half breed.”
“I know. I know you wouldn’t put me in that kind of danger and
you obviously trust her,” Lily said. “I just…I couldn’t hel...
“I know,” he told her, pulling her into his arms. “I’m sure she
would like to explain what she’s working on. When you’re r...
She nodded her head. “Yes. I’m fine. I just needed time to
rationalize the fear. I think I owe Sophia an apology.”
The rest of the reception went without any additional drama and Lily and
John made their way to the limo to enjoy their ho...
Upon their return, things around their house settled into a routine. Lily
still worked at the Castle. John still had missi...
Lily suspected she was pregnant but hadn’t yet had it confirmed. She
was hoping that John would be there when she popped t...
Sure enough, as they sat down to lunch one day, Lily popped.
John and the boys were excited to welcome a new baby and all three were
known to swarm around Lily, rubbing her belly and ...
It wasn’t much longer before she popped into her final trimester and finally
the day came when the newest Doran made its w...
They decided to name him Christopher*.
*The naming scheme for John and Lily’s children is historical spies. Christopher is...
Life in the Doran household continued much in the same vein it had over
the last few months. The exceptions were that the ...
John still accepted missions, but he left less frequently than he had
before. He and Lily had even discussed his leaving t...
Lily had taken her maternity leave from Kiddie Care Castle and had decided not
to return. It was an easy decision to make,...
The madness that was Ricky had nearly taken over Rick’s mind. He
found that more and more there were gaps in his memory of...
In the middle of the night he would find himself wandering the
neighborhood or standing outside John and Lily’s house.
He knew there must have been a reason he was there, if only he
could remember.
“Dada, are you sure you won’t miss our birthday?” Alistair asked his
father, waiting for reassurance.
John did not disappo...
“Why don’t you run off and play for a little while before dinner is
ready. You’ve finished your homework, right?”
“Yup! Ho...
John had one final out of town mission to go on at the end of the week
before his job changed and he wouldn’t ever have to...
John moved on into the kitchen where Lily was preparing the
customary dinner of grilled cheese for everyone. “What’s on th...
“John?” she asked him.
“Yes, Mrs. Brain?” he replied. He had come to love their
affectionate banter more than words could ...
“I supposed we could sooner or later. We have the money saved for it,” he told her.
“I think it might have to be sooner,” ...
They told the boys at dinner that night.
“Now, you know I have one more mission, right?” John asked as both Alfred and Ali...
“We shall, Dada,” Alfred replied on behalf of himself and his twin. “You don’t
need to worry.”
Although John gave his sons...
The day had finally come. Alfred and Alistair would transition to
teens that night. The went off to school, both excited, ...
Lily and John had thrown together a small party to celebrate the twins’
transition. Some of their friends from the Castle ...
The boys stepped up to their cakes, shared a look as if sharing an
inside secret, and blew out their candles.
Spins, twirls, sparkles and quick trips to the dressers later, and they
returned to their party and guests.
Alfred took an intellectual approach. He was excited to grow bigger
because he would experience new things and see things ...
Alistair was excited in a more exuberant manner. There would be all
kinds of places he could go and new people he could me...
While the party could have raged into the night, it didn’t because there
was school the next day and John had to leave for...
Lily, who was having some trouble sleeping, was the only one who was
awake in the wee hours of the morning, and was the on...
Peering out, she saw a nervous Rick Contrary standing there. She
opened the door.
“Lily, oh, thank Plumbob you’re awake. I...
“Sure,” Lily told him without a second thought. All she could think of
was poor Rachel. She must have a fever or something...
Alistair had been padding from the bathroom back to his room when
he heard the door latch click. He went over to the door ...
John awoke the next morning, rolled over to grab Lily and his hand met sheets. Cold sheets.
He sat up, instincts raising t...
Lily was terrified and trying not to show it. She was sitting in a chair, hands
tied behind her. She wasn’t in pain althou...
“Come on, say it again,” came the frightening voice in her right ear, barely above a whisper.
Her eyes grew wide and she s...
“I’m a perfect devil. Tell me how bad I am,” now he was on the left using the
same whispered tone. He had pulled the gag o...
He danced a crazy ballet around her and with a deranged laugh, stopped in
front of her. He leaned in close, his nose almos...
At that moment, Lily knew it was over. There was no way out. She would not be able
to convince him to let her go. She stif...
BRRL Gen10 Chapter3
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Transcript of "BRRL Gen10 Chapter3"

  1. 1. Violet stood at the counter in the kitchen, stirring the cake batter that would eventually become her mother’s birthday cake. Sophia wasn’t particularly looking forward to this birthday both because of the aging and because she knew her elfin heritage could cause her family some distress. As Violet poured the batter into the pan and placed it into the oven, Sophia came into the kitchen.
  2. 2. “Hi dear,” she greeted her daughter. “I see that cake. I hope you are not planning a party as well.”
  3. 3. “No Mom. No party, but what’s a birthday without cake? You’ve gotta have cake.” Violet clasped her hands together and excitedly continued, “you’ll never guess who I met the other day.”
  4. 4. “I don’t know, Violet. Is it someone from town? Someone I know?” Violet’s enthusiasm was not all that unusual when she had found something she really wanted or liked. Sophia was used to having to draw information out of her one tidbit at a time when she was like this.
  5. 5. “A Doran! Right here in Desiderata Valley!” Violet could barely contain herself.
  6. 6. Sophia looked at her daughter thoughtfully. “A Doran? Here? I don’t believe there have ever been any Dorans in this area. Did you speak with them?” she asked.
  7. 7. “Only briefly. Her name is Lily. I met her at Copur’s Cookoff. She was with John Mole, and then I saw her again at Gustav’s. Rick was with her and left her there all by herself. He’s such a jerk. She invited me to stop by her place sometime. She seems really, really nice.”
  8. 8. “You didn’t mention anything about the elves, did you?” Sophia was pretty sure that Violet wouldn’t, but had to make sure anyway. “Their history is not a good one with the elves. She would likely feel threatened.”
  9. 9. “Nah, I didn’t. I’d like to get to know her a little. I think we’ll be friends,” Violet told her mother hopefully. “Oh, and I told John to call you so you could bring him up to speed on the newest developments. I’ve been thinking too, we need to come up with a great acronym for our group. It’s just too hard to say ‘the faction fighting for acceptance of half breeds’ all the time. I think we should set up an office too,” she finished, almost out of breath.
  10. 10. “We’ll come up with something. This Doran might be a great ally for us. You need to feel her out, see where her feelings on the matter lie. Don’t pressure her though. Come up with an acronym,” she smiled. “We’ll think about the office idea.”
  11. 11. Sophia left the kitchen smiling to herself at her daughter’s exuberance. She was looking for Marcel. She wanted one last afternoon alone with him before becoming an elder and planned on taking him to their bedroom to have her way.
  12. 12. Violet pulled the cake out of the oven and set it to cool. Sitting down at the table, she began the somewhat tedious process of coming up with a good name for their group.
  13. 13. Within an hour she had come up with H.E.A.L., which stood for Half-breed Elf Acceptance League. The group had been around, secretly, for a few generations, and now they had a name. It was time they came out in the open and spread the message far and wide. She frosted the cake and went in search of her parents to present her idea.
  14. 14. Rick was getting used to the schedule that his sister had inadvertently set up for him. She was awake, crying to get out of her crib at 6:30 every morning.
  15. 15. His room, being right next to hers, did not allow him to sleep in much longer than that. He should have moved to his parents’ old room, but he just couldn’t bring himself to even enter it.
  16. 16. The entire room was still set up the same as it was on that fateful night. Someone, he wasn’t quite sure who, had come in and cleaned up the blood and made the bed, but nothing else had been disturbed.
  17. 17. He stayed out of the room as much as possible, but occasionally he would find Rachel in there, sitting next to the bed.
  18. 18. Life had settled into a routine for him and Rachel. She would wake them up; he would fix her breakfast then eat something himself.
  19. 19. There would generally be a few minutes for playing or training – potty, walking or talking – then he would get her and himself dressed for the day and packed up, ready for daycare and work.
  20. 20. Their evenings were a repeat of the morning except in reverse. Rarely, he had a night when he could go out socially, and he cherished them. It was a life he had not imagined for himself, and it had been very difficult at first.
  21. 21. Rachel was recovering from the trauma slowly. Other than her shouts to be let out of the crib in the morning, she was quite a quiet child, and enjoyed playing with her toys by herself. It was taking her longer to learn to talk, walk and use the potty than most children, but everyone assured Rick that she would come along developmentally just fine. It was difficult to know how much she had seen and how much it affected her.
  22. 22. “Iiiicccckkkkkyyyyyy!” was the rousing call that woke him from his dreamless sleep. As hard as he tried to teach her, Rachel couldn’t say ‘Rick’ or ‘Ricky’ and so she called him ‘Icky’.
  23. 23. He padded his way into her room and picked her up out of the crib. She snuggled his neck and he took her with him to the kitchen for her bottle. “Baba! Baba!” she cried, reaching for the bottle. Morning conversations were generally short and one sided until Rick had a little more time to wake up.
  24. 24. Today would be a break from routine. It was Saturday, and Rick had plans for a play for date for Rachel with the Aspirs. Natasha, who was a second cousin to them or some such relation, was going to come by and pick her up and take her over there for him.
  25. 25. Rick was going to use the time to pack up his parents’ things and get rid of them. It was not a task he was looking forward to, but he hoped he would be busy enough to keep his mind off what he was doing. New paint and new furniture were on the agenda also.
  26. 26. Lily, John, Alfred and Alistair had been busy all day, finalizing the wedding plans and rehearsing their roles in the actual ceremony. Alfred and Alistair were to be the only attendants. The guests had been invited and included John’s friends as well as the many friends Lily had made. John also had a special surprise arranged for Lily, and the boys -- being in on it -- were excited to see her face when it happened.
  27. 27. It had been a tiring day, filled with fittings, and cleaning, and putting the final touches on the decorations scattered around the yard where the wedding would take place. The boys had long since been put to bed and Lily and John were relaxing on the sofa in the living room.
  28. 28. Lily had dozed off, waking to find that John was nowhere to be found. Rubbing the sleep from her eyes, she got up from the couch and made her way down the hall to see where he was.
  29. 29. She was quite startled to see him seemingly walking out of the bookshelf in the hall. “John?”
  30. 30. “Uh, uhm, yes dear?” came the stuttered reply. “What are you doing? How…how are you walking through that wall?” “I…” he knew he would have to explain. He had hoped to keep his night time activities to himself for awhile longer. “It’s business,” he stammered.
  31. 31. Lily fought down the fear and tempered it with anger. “Don’t you dare go all ‘Godfather’ with me, John Mole,” she hissed, not wanting to wake up Alfred and Alistair with what was sure to become an argument. “Do NOT tell me never to ask about your business, because it’s not going to happen.”
  32. 32. John’s eyes grew wide, “I wasn’t going to. I never had any intention of keeping my business a secret from you. It’s just that my job is, uh, sensitive at times. There are times when I will not be able to share what a particular mission is about.”
  33. 33. “Why all the secrecy? There’s a secret room back there, isn’t there?! When were you planning on telling me, John? Tomorrow, after we were married? Next week? Next year? In five years?” She stormed off, letting her anger get the better of her.
  34. 34. “Lily, wait!” he followed her. She was crying quietly when he caught up with her, which made him feel even more like an ass than he already did.
  35. 35. “Baby, I’m sorry,” he began. “Can I explain? Please?” She turned back toward him, “I don’t know. Can you?”
  36. 36. “I work for the SCIA,” he told her. “There are many things that I cannot share, even with the person dearest to me. I didn’t want to hurt you by keeping secrets, I just hadn’t figured out the best way to tell you that I couldn’t always talk about my work. The secret room is full of equipment that I use for my…” he hesitated. He never liked the term he was about to use. “’Spy’ activities,” he finished.
  37. 37. “The room is secluded for two reasons, mainly involving Alfred and Alistair. First, it is for their protection. I see and hear some pretty gruesome things on a regular basis. I don’t want them exposed to that. Second, for the protection of the equipment I use. Most of it is very sensitive, even though it looks like a video game console, or a movie prop. Could you imagine those two youngsters getting their hands on it? I would have nothing to work with.”
  38. 38. He reached out his hand toward her in a peace offering, “I can show you, if you would like. I just can’t share any of the details of the current mission. Boss’s orders.” Lily turned, “I suppose that would be okay,” she offered.
  39. 39. “John?” she asked, looking at the floor. He grabbed her in a hug, “I love you, you know,” he told her. Settling into his embrace, she answered him, “I know. I love you too. But, there’s something I need to tell you, and I think it might be why I got so upset about your secret room.”
  40. 40. “Lily, it doesn’t matter what you have to say. We’re going to be married tomorrow and I’m going to be the happiest man in the world. You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to, or if you aren’t ready to.”
  41. 41. “No, I have to. There should be no secrets between us. Ever. I need to tell you why I came to Desiderata Valley. I need to tell you about my family, about my past.”
  42. 42. “Let’s go inside and have a cup of tea,” he suggested. “It will soothe both of us, and you can tell me everything you think I need to know.”
  43. 43. Lily sat down, hands cradling the warm tea cup. She didn’t know where to begin, so she jumped right in. “My parents are vampires,” she blurted. Maybe not the best way to start, she thought to herself.
  44. 44. “I was born and raised in Sim City,” she started over. “My mother had moved there after tragedy struck her family. She had a hard time of it at first, but eventually began to get her life back. I won’t go into details, but she met a lot of people in the City. A lot of different people. A lot of supernatural people.” John knew of the rumors of supernaturals in the city, but had never had it confirmed by anyone.
  45. 45. Lily continued. “I’m sure my mother loved my father, but he never lived with us. He would spend as much time with us as possible, but he had other obligations. Those obligations, coupled with the fact that he could only see us after dark, did not make our family dynamic typical. But, we all loved each other and were very close.”
  46. 46. “I don’t know all the details of what I am about to tell you, but I know what the results were,” she took a sip of tea and placed her cup back on the table. “There is a council with representatives from each supernatural group. One night there was a…disturbance…an imbalance,” Lily struggled for the right word and couldn’t find it, “in power. The fallout from that imbalance was a battle between the different groups. Unbeknownst to me and my friends, we had decided to sneak out on the night the battle was at its worst.”
  47. 47. Lily paused, her eyes reflecting a melancholy she hadn’t experienced since the day in the woods when she had decided to use the ReNuYu Orb. She continued, “I died that night. Not in a metaphorical way. I actually was attacked and died.”
  48. 48. They moved to the living room where they were more comfortable. John pulled her close to him, and she continued, “Mother became a vampire to save me.” Lily couldn’t contain the sobs at this point. She had never talked about her ordeal with anyone. To be able to talk to John about it opened the floodgates of emotion she had held within herself for so long.
  49. 49. John patted her back and whispered, “Oh, baby. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry you had to live with this by yourself for so long. Why didn’t you tell me sooner?” “I…I couldn’t. I could never talk about it. Not with Mother, not with any of my siblings. It used to keep me up nights. I had night terrors; I couldn’t do much without constantly looking over my shoulder. I was afraid all the time.”
  50. 50. He held her until her sobs stopped. Turning, leaning back into the safety of his arms, she took a deep breath. “There’s more. After Mother visited the undead realm to save me, she had control over things she shouldn’t have.”
  51. 51. “She chose to end the war by using the armies of the dead. Her punishment by the council was that her children were banished from her presence. That in itself wouldn’t have been too bad. We Dorans harbor a curse. We are travelers, moving on from one place to another, each generation never able to really know the one before. We are scattered across the Multi-verse, and Grey, Desdemona, Fortunata and I would have left eventually anyway. What is hard, what is like a death sentence, is that my siblings and I were forced to never return to Sim City, or our parents, again.”
  52. 52. She sat up and looked him in the eye, just now realizing what she was about to tell him would also be true. “John, if we have children, they will have that wanderlust, that curse. They will leave us someday.”
  53. 53. “Then we’ll have to teach them everything we know before they do. We’ll still be a family, Lily. Family isn’t defined solely by proximity, or even bloodlines. It’s based on what you feel here,” he told her, laying his hand over his heart. “My parents, my grandparents, they’ve been gone for a long time now. I don’t get to speak with them anymore, but they are still family. They’re in my head as memories; they’re in my heart forever. Our children will be too.”
  54. 54. “I’m going to stay tonight,” Lily answered. “I know it’s against tradition and all, but I just can’t go back to the cottage. I’m home now. I’m where I belong.” She grabbed his hand and led the way to their bedroom. “Let’s get started on that family a little early,” she trailed off, closing the bedroom door.
  55. 55. It was time for Sophia’s transition to elder. Being an elf, she had already lived a long time. She was actually quite a few years older than Marcel, but the difference in the rate they aged allowed her to keep her youthful appearance longer than he would.
  56. 56. There was no party. She and her family gathered around the cake that Violet had made earlier and she prepared to blow out the candles.
  57. 57. A quick trip to the bathroom confirmed what Sophia knew was going to happen. Her glamour had worn off and she no longer had a viable way to hide her elf ears. She and her family were now out in the open and somewhat defenseless against their enemies.
  58. 58. Rick picked up an old photograph of his parents and himself and glanced at it, lost in thought, when the voice came. “That witch!” he heard. “She never loved you. What an actress! She loved him. She ignored you, all for him. Then he ignored you too.”
  59. 59. Rick shook his head in an attempt to get rid of the voice, and was filled with a frenetic energy to finish the task at hand. Within an hour, he had packed up everything in the room and was ready to begin painting it.
  60. 60. Removing the molding near the area where his father had been lying crumpled and bloody, he heard it again. “Perfect Ricky,” it mocked. “Make sure it’s perfect. Perfect, perfect, perfect. Stop slouching. A ‘B’ is unacceptable. Pfft! You can’t dance. Business is where it’s at, Ricky. You’ll be a mogul someday. Get to studying! You don’t have time for that girl. She’ll drag you down Ricky.” The litany continued and something dark broke through Rick’s consciousness.
  61. 61. “You know what you want,” the voice continued, coercing. “You know what you have to do.”
  62. 62. With an unexplained energy Ricky found his supplies, seemingly out of nowhere and began carrying out what the voice had told him needed to be done. Hours later, the room had been painted and the messes cleaned up. It was ready for the new furniture to be delivered in the morning. Rick stepped back and grabbed the trash bag, not noticing an empty box for a door lock lying at the top. It was almost time for Rachel to be home.
  63. 63. The wedding was scheduled to begin in an hour. The guests had all been invited, the buffet prepared, and the decorations checked. Lily had commandeered John’s, and her, bedroom to get dressed. He and the boys were in the other bedroom getting their tuxes on. The knock on the door was so quiet she almost didn’t hear it. “Come in,” she called softly.
  64. 64. “Lily?” Alfred asked quietly, inching his way into the room. “Yes, sweetie?” she turned, swishing the train of her dress around her. “Could you help me tie this?” he asked, tugging at the bow tied at his throat. “I cannot get it to lie right.”
  65. 65. She bent down and deftly moved her fingers around, tying a perfectly snug bow. “There,” she straightened to her full height, “that should do it.” “Thank you,” said the serious child. “Oh, and Lily?” “Yes?”
  66. 66. “I’m really glad you’re marrying my Dad,” a rare smile flashed and her soon to be step-son walked out the door as quietly as he had come in.
  67. 67. Lily held on to the calla lily she had chosen for her bouquet and looked down the aisle to where her new family was. From the corner of her eye, she thought she caught a glimpse of familiar green tinted hair but dismissed it.
  68. 68. The wedding arch had been set up in front of the fruit trees in almost the exact spot where the picnic proposal had taken place. Lily and John stepped under it and shared their vows to one another in front of their friends and family.
  69. 69. As the wedding guests made their way to the buffet, Alfred and Alistair ran up and grabbed Lily’s hands, pulling her along to a small group of people. “Mamma Lily, look! Look who we found!” Alistair exclaimed in his usual excited manner.
  70. 70. The small crowd parted and tears welled up in Lily’s eyes as she gazed at Desdemona, Grey and Fortunata. Without a word, the four siblings came together in a group hug and held on for a few minutes. Pulling apart, the questions began.
  71. 71. “How? How did you know? How did you get here?” Lily was first. “John found us,” Desdemona replied. “I’m not sure how, but he found us and told us that you would be getting married and that he wanted to surprise you for a wedding gift.”
  72. 72. “How long will you be here?” Lily asked. “Only for an hour or so,” Grey replied. “We can’t stay together too long. We don’t want to draw any unwanted attention,” he explained.
  73. 73. Rick was at the wedding and experiencing mixed feelings. He was having a great time. The ceremony was nice, the food was good, there were plenty of people there that he knew and visited with. He was happy for John.
  74. 74. Ricky wanted Lily for himself though. He couldn’t hide it any longer. The voice was overpowering now and the little part of him that was left had a basic fear for Rachel, even though he couldn’t define it.
  75. 75. He had been remembering things. Things that he should have known. He remembered his mother being pregnant. He remembered his father being happy about it. He remembered Rachel being born. How could he have forgotten that?
  76. 76. He had found empty paint cans for an angry red color that he had no recollection of using and the door to his old bedroom was locked up tight. He couldn’t find a key.
  77. 77. He had a recurring image of an alley at night. There was something at the end of the alley and he couldn’t quite make out what it was.
  78. 78. He remembered a party at his dorm and a fight with Violet and her friend, but he couldn’t remember the friend’s name.
  79. 79. Lily’s siblings had left the reception after their short visit, leaving Lily and John mingling amongst their other guests.
  80. 80. Catching Lily’s attention, Violet came over followed by an older woman and introduced them, “Lily, I’d like you to meet my mother, Sophia. Mom, this is Lily Doran.”
  81. 81. Sophia shook Lily’s hand. “It’s so nice to finally meet you. John and Violet have told me so much about you,” she said. “Very nice to meet you too,” Lily replied.
  82. 82. “Oh, look,” Sophia said, looking off to the right of their little group. “Here comes my husband Marcel. Let me introduce you.”
  83. 83. Lily didn’t hear her. There was a buzzing in her ears and her heart was pounding. She could feel sweat dripping down the center of her back and goose bumps rose on her arms. All she could focus on was what she was seeing. Sophia was an elf. Here, in the peaceful valley, a friend of her husband, mother of one of her new friends, was an elf. An enemy. A dangerous being.
  84. 84. Lily did the only thing she could. She ran. “Lily!” Violet called after her. “John!” called Sophia.
  85. 85. John ran after Lily, finding her in his secret room. “Lily? Are you okay?” he asked her quietly.
  86. 86. “She’s an elf?” “It’s not what you think,” he told her. “She’s not after you or any other half breed.”
  87. 87. “I know. I know you wouldn’t put me in that kind of danger and you obviously trust her,” Lily said. “I just…I couldn’t help it. The old stuff, it just came back and I had to get away.”
  88. 88. “I know,” he told her, pulling her into his arms. “I’m sure she would like to explain what she’s working on. When you’re ready. Not today. Today is for us. Do you think you can handle being back out with our guests now?”
  89. 89. She nodded her head. “Yes. I’m fine. I just needed time to rationalize the fear. I think I owe Sophia an apology.”
  90. 90. The rest of the reception went without any additional drama and Lily and John made their way to the limo to enjoy their honeymoon. Nanny Mallory would be taking care of the boys while they were gone and they had scheduled a longer, family vacation for their school break.
  91. 91. Upon their return, things around their house settled into a routine. Lily still worked at the Castle. John still had missions that would take him away for a few days at a time. Nanny Mallory still came while he was gone to help with the twins, and the boys continued to go to school.
  92. 92. Lily suspected she was pregnant but hadn’t yet had it confirmed. She was hoping that John would be there when she popped the first time. He had already told her that he wouldn’t accept any out of town work while she was pregnant. He wanted to be there for the entire process. He had missed the actual pregnancy bits with the twins and his curious nature begged him to study the entire process.
  93. 93. Sure enough, as they sat down to lunch one day, Lily popped.
  94. 94. John and the boys were excited to welcome a new baby and all three were known to swarm around Lily, rubbing her belly and talking to it.
  95. 95. It wasn’t much longer before she popped into her final trimester and finally the day came when the newest Doran made its way into the world.
  96. 96. They decided to name him Christopher*. *The naming scheme for John and Lily’s children is historical spies. Christopher is named after Christopher Boyce, an American spy who was arrested and convicted for selling US spy satellite secrets to the Soviet Union in the 1970s. He is “Falcon” in the book and movie “The Falcon and The Snowman”
  97. 97. Life in the Doran household continued much in the same vein it had over the last few months. The exceptions were that the twins were accepted at the Private School, and the new baby occupied time for feedings, diaper changes, and cuddles.
  98. 98. John still accepted missions, but he left less frequently than he had before. He and Lily had even discussed his leaving the SCIA entirely and pursuing a different life time dream. He enjoyed his work, but had really gotten into it because of his parents and their history.
  99. 99. Lily had taken her maternity leave from Kiddie Care Castle and had decided not to return. It was an easy decision to make, but a difficult thing to tell her employers, who she had become close friends with. It was even harder to leave the children that she had become so fond of.
  100. 100. The madness that was Ricky had nearly taken over Rick’s mind. He found that more and more there were gaps in his memory of everyday activities. He had been fired from his job, but couldn’t remember why. He had been able to get Rachel to the Castle each day, but couldn’t remember how they had gotten there.
  101. 101. In the middle of the night he would find himself wandering the neighborhood or standing outside John and Lily’s house.
  102. 102. He knew there must have been a reason he was there, if only he could remember.
  103. 103. “Dada, are you sure you won’t miss our birthday?” Alistair asked his father, waiting for reassurance. John did not disappoint him. “Of course I will be here at your birthday,” he told him. “I wouldn't miss it for the world. My boys are growing up.”
  104. 104. “Why don’t you run off and play for a little while before dinner is ready. You’ve finished your homework, right?” “Yup! Homework’s all done,” Alistair told him. “Alfred!” he yelled, skipping off to find his twin and start a game of cops and robbers.
  105. 105. John had one final out of town mission to go on at the end of the week before his job changed and he wouldn’t ever have to go out of town again. He was looking forward to the relative security of not being out in the field, even though he knew that on some level he would miss the excitement of it.
  106. 106. John moved on into the kitchen where Lily was preparing the customary dinner of grilled cheese for everyone. “What’s on the menu tonight?” he teased her as he came up from behind and grabbed her waist. She turned and greeted him with a kiss and a smile, “same as every night Pinky.”
  107. 107. “John?” she asked him. “Yes, Mrs. Brain?” he replied. He had come to love their affectionate banter more than words could say. “What do you think about putting an addition on the house?” she continued.
  108. 108. “I supposed we could sooner or later. We have the money saved for it,” he told her. “I think it might have to be sooner,” she said, hand on her belly. John’s eyes lit up. “Another baby?” he asked. She nodded her head. “I think so. I’ve been having the same symptoms I had with Christopher.”
  109. 109. They told the boys at dinner that night. “Now, you know I have one more mission, right?” John asked as both Alfred and Alistair nodded their heads. This was serious business. “I need you both to help out around the house. Pick up your room, do your homework. You’re going to be men soon. I need you to look after Mama Lily and Christopher and make sure they’re safe.”
  110. 110. “We shall, Dada,” Alfred replied on behalf of himself and his twin. “You don’t need to worry.” Although John gave his sons this responsibility to teach them, he never expected that any problems would ever arise. He was always reassured to know that they took the task so seriously though. His boys would become fine young men.
  111. 111. The day had finally come. Alfred and Alistair would transition to teens that night. The went off to school, both excited, but both experiencing it in their own unique way.
  112. 112. Lily and John had thrown together a small party to celebrate the twins’ transition. Some of their friends from the Castle were there as well as some of Lily and John’s friends.
  113. 113. The boys stepped up to their cakes, shared a look as if sharing an inside secret, and blew out their candles.
  114. 114. Spins, twirls, sparkles and quick trips to the dressers later, and they returned to their party and guests.
  115. 115. Alfred took an intellectual approach. He was excited to grow bigger because he would experience new things and see things from a different perspective. There was so much out there that he would be able to learn.
  116. 116. Alistair was excited in a more exuberant manner. There would be all kinds of places he could go and new people he could meet. And lately, he had started thinking that maybe, just maybe, kissing wasn’t as awful as it had used to sound.
  117. 117. While the party could have raged into the night, it didn’t because there was school the next day and John had to leave for his final mission. The family pitched in and cleaned up and all headed off to bed.
  118. 118. Lily, who was having some trouble sleeping, was the only one who was awake in the wee hours of the morning, and was the only one who heard the knock at the door.
  119. 119. Peering out, she saw a nervous Rick Contrary standing there. She opened the door. “Lily, oh, thank Plumbob you’re awake. It’s Rachel. She’s been crying for hours. I don’t know what to do. Could you come take a look?” he rambled at her.
  120. 120. “Sure,” Lily told him without a second thought. All she could think of was poor Rachel. She must have a fever or something and Rick didn’t know what to do. That poor baby. She walked out the door with him.
  121. 121. Alistair had been padding from the bathroom back to his room when he heard the door latch click. He went over to the door and peeked out the window. Seeing Lily rush off with Rick didn’t cause him too much concern, especially in his sleepy state.
  122. 122. John awoke the next morning, rolled over to grab Lily and his hand met sheets. Cold sheets. He sat up, instincts raising the hairs on his neck. He made his way through the house and there was no sign of her. She liked to take nature walks early in the morning, but usually she told him she was going. Panic set in when he called her cell phone and got no answer.
  123. 123. Lily was terrified and trying not to show it. She was sitting in a chair, hands tied behind her. She wasn’t in pain although her throat was constricted and sore from the combination of screaming, abject fear, and the inability to swallow properly after having been gagged.
  124. 124. “Come on, say it again,” came the frightening voice in her right ear, barely above a whisper. Her eyes grew wide and she snapped her head away from the voice.
  125. 125. “I’m a perfect devil. Tell me how bad I am,” now he was on the left using the same whispered tone. He had pulled the gag out of her mouth so he could hear more of her screams, more of her cursing him, more of her pleading.
  126. 126. He danced a crazy ballet around her and with a deranged laugh, stopped in front of her. He leaned in close, his nose almost touching hers, the stench of his breath making her ill, and shouted at her, “It makes me feel so good!” then abruptly danced away.
  127. 127. At that moment, Lily knew it was over. There was no way out. She would not be able to convince him to let her go. She stifled a sob and hung her head. He would kill her, but she wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of hearing her utter another word.
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