Deep Red, Chapter Twenty
June 14, 1875: Beth is a precocious child, inhabiting many wonderful gifts. I have been told that the only kindred to best her in our line is the first Margaret from long ago. Beth’s spirit is strong, and she relies on him for her primary friendship. Many of those at Haven regard her with suspicion, even though she was raised here. Only Jonah’s grandchild, Walker II, is kind to her, even though he is ten years her senior. He was the first in the Shinab line to reside at Haven for reasons other than his family’s Counsel connections. He came to our attention three years ago and has still not learned to control his powers. Thankfully, Jonah has a spark of family feeling in him or Walker would have been on his lab table long ago … February 13, 1877: Walker and I have smuggled three of the captive wolves out of Haven. One was too dangerous and had to be put down, but the other two are safely in the woods. I can only hope they will fare well … February 10, 1880: Walker has learned to control his changes, and, as he grows even fonder of Beth, he grows bold with the Counsel. He made a stand at a Counsel meeting the other day and said that he would rather tear Haven down brick-by-brick than allow the future savior of this world to be sheltered in a “House of Horrors.” Jonah and Victoria will continue their experiments, but only under the discretion of the new bill on the ethical treatment of Otherworld children … December 25, 1886: Victoria has recently employed two new volemics: Suzanne and Phillip. According to Victoria, they have the same abilities as the new microscopes the Residents have invented in Europe, but–being volemic–they are infinitely more useful … April 23, 1887: Walker, Beth, and Victoria’s son, Garrett, have left Haven for places unknown. Victoria does not seem as concerned as I thought she would be. Perhaps she gave her blessing, though I doubt it….
excerpts from The Diary of Constance Cayce, 1875-1887, trans. Bobbi Cayce, 1982
Marlo’s spirit reached Q quickly, so by the time Jack made it to the door of the cabin, Q was already running toward him.
“She’s–she’s…” Both out of breath and panicked, Q saw Jack could not find the words to say what Marlo was.
From what the spirit told him, Q understood. She was in limbo. She had allowed her darker nature to take over, and her current state of being was the consequence. In the past, he had tried to guide some of the changelings back after their primal animal soul took possession of their body. He had little success, but Marlo was different. She had to come back.
Q walked to Marlo’s room and began to punch in the code.
“You can’t go in there,” Jack said.
Q regarded Jack with all the deference someone like him could. Jack was mortal, despite his age. “I’ll be fine,” Q said. “What I need from you is damage control. Make sure that–somehow–the sound to the room is cut off. I will do the rest.”
Jack nodded and made his way into the control tower. Q sent Marlo’s spirit with him so he would know when to proceed with his plan. Everything would have to be perfect for this to work.
Marlo was tearing at the door as it slid open and began to push her muzzle through once the opening was wide enough, but she backed away when Q approached.
“Hello again,” Q said. The animal in front of him growled. Q had seen her when he peeked into Marlo’s mind on the day they met.
“Don’t be afraid of me,” Q said. “I’m here to help you.” Q closed the door and ran his fingers over the fresh claw marks on the metal. “Impressive.” Q put his back to the door and sat down. “Come to me,” he said.
The giant half-animal went down onto all fours and stepped toward Q, her claws clacking on the floor. She crouched in front of Q and stared at him.
“Now,” he said. “We wait.” They did not have to wait long. Q didn’t want to know how Jack accomplished his task, but Marlo’s spirit returned to tell Q he could proceed.
“Save her,” the spirit said. “That’s all that matters now.”
It wasn’t all that mattered, but Q didn’t bother saying so. He put his hands on the wolf’s enormous head. “May I come inside?” Q asked. The wolf’s eyes narrowed, but it nodded.
When Q entered, he was in total darkness. He could feel where he was, but could see nothing. He wandered far in each direction, but with no success. “Take me to Marlo,” he said.
He continued to stand in the darkness, but through what looked like bushes and trees, he saw Marlo sitting in the middle of a grassy field. She was huddled in the middle, her arms wrapped around her knees, holding them to her chest as if she would somehow float away if she did not cling so tightly.
Q walked from the darkness into the clearing.
“You aren’t supposed to be here,” Marlo said.
“Neither are you,” Q replied. “Which is why I have come to get you.”
“I’m safe here,” Marlo said. She sounded out of breath.
“Marlo, I can’t explain it right now, but you must come back. What has manifested through your animal spirit doesn’t belong on the outside. You do.”
Marlo shook her head. “I’m so tired. I’m so tired of fighting. Nothing good ever comes of it.”
“Good things will happen, but you must trust me. Do you remember who I am?”
“Of course,” Marlo said. “You’re Q.”
His suspicions were correct. “You’ve been hearing voices, yes?” he asked. Marlo nodded again. “What did the voice promise you to make you want to stay here?”
“She said that nothing bad will happen to me here, that I will be more powerful with her in charge. She said no one would ever hurt me again.”
“Marlo, I know what’s happening to you…sucks, but it’s not the worst thing you’ve ever been through. What did it really promise?”
“It promised that I couldn’t hurt myself anymore, either.” She started to sob.
“I’m going to promise you something, Marlo.” Marlo wiped her tears away and narrowed her eyes. Q continued, despite her mistrust. “I promise that if we leave–together–I will teach you to be stronger. You will learn how to help yourself and others. I promise that you don’t have to be alone any more. Letting the voice control you is not the solution.”
Marlo pinched her lips together. “You keep calling it ‘The Voice,’” she said, “But you know what it is, don’t you?”
“I do,” Q said. “And it is using the wolf to manifest itself. I will help you deal with it, but you have to come with me. We don’t have much time. If we wait too long, the thing keeping you here will not let you come back out.” Marlo looked at him for what seemed like hours. Q waited and stared back.
“If I find out you’re lying, I’m not coming back here. I’ll kill myself before I hurt anyone else.”
“Fair enough,” Q said. “Now, I need you to call your spirit to this place. It’s never been here before, has it?” Marlo shook her head. “Call it.”
Marlo closed her eyes and the deeper she squeezed them, the closer the spirit came. When it entered the clearing, it was in the shape of a moth. It fluttered down and landed on Marlo’s shoulder. She took it into her hands and whispered, “I’m sorry.”
“Come here and take my hand,” Q said.
Marlo stepped toward him. As soon as she touched his skin, they were both back in the metal cell. No longer a wolf, Marlo laid naked on the floor. Q held her as she began to cry. “Thank you,” she said.
“Don’t thank me yet,” Q said. “Thank me when you’re whole.”