Deep Red, Chapter Nineteen
April 11, 1861: I have decided to write the notes on my discoveries in Latin, which is a Resident tongue that never really seemed to interest any but my aunt and myself. I will record the formal notes in English, but must keep my true findings hidden, as my aunt bid me … April 14, 1862: In the mountains, we remain immune from the turbulence in the rest of the country. Once this war is over, however, I have told Victoria that we must start reaching out to other colonies and Otherworlders. We cannot continue to follow the marriage and breeding laws on our numbers, which dwindle as, every day, Victoria and Jonah’s actions lead to yet more defecting. My daughter, Mary, left with my Aunt Caroline. I do not know how many Otherworlders or Mirrors might be in Denver City, but I cannot pretend they will be safe. We are safe here, and a part of me wonders if Victoria prefers the seclusion and moral vacuum of the world she has set up here for herself … April 16, 1863: A further search into the histories of our people seems only to bring me to the same conclusion of my aunt. We don’t belong here. The Otherworld histories, on the other hand, provide disturbing images of what was. The Otherworld drowned in the greed of the few, and the doctrines they set up to justify their behavior. The world was united under two banners: the larger percentage of the poor and helpless, and the small percentage of wealthy and powerful. Many of Margaret’s comrades died in the fight to achieve normalcy and equality. Each instance where the oppressed fought for equality, the majority accepted the appearance of triumph as truth. I hope that this President Lincoln has better success in this world … April 24, 1965: Lincoln has died. Rayne says that the powers of this world are tenuous and will continue to teeter until the Earth achieves a balance. I hope this means she knows the future. Otherwise, what is the purpose of being here? We have disturbed the natural order, and we will pay for it … April 29, 1870: Mary died. Right after she gave birth, she suffered a brain disease similar to my mother’s. Caroline brought the baby, Elizabeth, to Haven and left immediately afterward. Caroline never told me who the father was…. [translator’s note: one of the primary reasons the women in the Cayce family have continued a matrilineal line is the very fact that the fathers of our children have been fairly unimportant. The fight against the Counsel’s agenda has become the top priority since genetic engineering became a possibility, as have the connections built between the Freedom Fighters. Continuing the genetic lines is necessary in order to achieve one thing: the hybrid; our salvation.]
excerpts from The Diary of Constance Cayce, 1861-1870, trans. Bobbi Cayce
Nature’s Cruel Joke
Back in the torture chamber….
Marlo’s recitation of her Haven history lessons didn’t seem to impress the vampire. In fact, it only worked to piss him off. Her head felt like one of those stress balls: no matter how hard you squeeze it, it goes right back into place.
“I want to know about what you are!” the vampire said. Marlo couldn’t remember ever hearing a man shriek that loudly. She didn’t see any benefit in telling him this.
“I am telling you,” she said. “You just aren’t listening very closely.” The head vice tightened. She felt waves of the vampire’s frustration smash against her just before passing out again.
* * *
Marlo crouched inside the clearing of her forest. Safety, she thought. She wondered if he would meet her there. She knew that back in the cold reality of the torture chamber he was close by. That would make connecting with him in a dream easier, if he was in any mental condition to reach her.
The negative space still harbored the thing in the darkness, something she once dreaded. She wasn’t ready for it yet. She willed it to go away, and remained on the grass. If she went into the negative space, everything she fought for would be over. As she waited, the soft greenery beneath her bare feet turned to cold cement. The whole of the forest dissipated into what looked like a smaller, less sophisticated version of her own walls beyond the dream, though his walls harbored cracks, and water dripped into a pool around her feet. She held her breath as she searched the darkness.
“Where are you?” she asked.
A rasping cough came from a chained mass on the floor that looked like a man.
“You’re alive!” she said.
“I’m coming for you,” she said to him.