Deep Red, Chapter Twenty-Seven

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December 18, 1941: Lucy was born tonight! What a beautiful, perfect little girl. Maggie is tired, but she seems more alive than I’ve ever seen her. Unlike me, however, she must share Lucy with Howard, who has already begun to dote on her. He seems like a nice man, but from all that he has both hidden from and disclosed to the Counsel, I doubt he will raise Lucy in the free will that the Cayces have enjoyed since we migrated here. One of the primary documents he buried is one of the original charters of the Counsel, which includes the forced breeding between Otherworlders. He has also destroyed the records of experiments. I don’t imagine that my mother lied about all that. Though I have no proof, I know the experiments continue. What will become of Lucy if she is raised in a world of lies?…January 16, 1942: Lucy’s spirit is lively, and, rather than crying through the night like Maggie did, she coos and babbles. The first moment she opened her eyes, she first fixed them on what I imagine to be her spirit, and then she turned them to me. I hope that as she gets older she feels the love of her grandmother…December 8, 1942: It has been a year since Pearl Harbor, since Lucy’s birth, and since I discovered something I was afraid to put down in words. I even fear what might happen now. I found all of the documents left behind by Constance, including the correspondence with my mother. I was trying to uncover something damaging about Howard, and the documents were in a pile in his room. Maggie’s name was fixed to the top with a chord. I opened them and put them back in their place. I have been waiting to see what Howard would do with the documents, and was rewarded with my patience. I took a large risk, even though most of the documents were in Latin, like this. It wouldn’t be difficult to translate, if the Counsel bothered, and they would. Maggie immediately turned the letters and journals over to me. I haven’t done anything with them yet. It is not their time, nor mine…

excerpts from The Diary of Dorothy Cayce, 1941-1942, trans. Bobbi Cayce, 1983

Victoria's Power_ch27

Chapter Twenty-Seven

The Nature of the Game

After Marlo settled onto her bed, she noticed that her room smelled freshly cleaned, but with hints of Katrina. A noise from the bathroom brought Marlo to her feet. “Katrina?”

Katrina emerged from the bathroom. “Good call,” she said.

“I thought you were meeting me for dinner, not ambushing me in my room.”

“Ambushing you?”

“Or whatever.” Marlo smiled. “It was smart to get Drew in on this. How’d you convince Victoria?”

“I didn’t. Drew’s here?”

“Outside,” Marlo said. Katrina frowned. “What’s wrong?”

“It’s just that there’s only so far we can get with this talk between our spirits. If Drew’s around, I don’t know if I can teach you to…you know.”

Back in Katrina’s physical therapy room, Katrina’s spirit told Marlo’s that she knew about Rayne’s control over a part of Marlo’s psyche: Rayne’s narc, for lack of a better phrase. Nester told Marlo’s spirit that Katrina could covertly teach Marlo to build up a wall between her active mind and her subconscious. It would affect her sleep and possibly her sanity, but it might be worth it. Marlo laughed at the optimism of Katrina’s young spirit, but was willing to try anything to break the control the Counsel currently had over her mind. Though Marlo still didn’t know what the wall would be worth, it might offer a form of protection at some point in the future.

“Don’t worry about Drew. He’s on my side,” Marlo said.

“Let’s hope so,” Katrina whispered.

Katrina and Marlo worked until dinner, which proved to be fairly successful, especially since Marlo only had to recall her prior training with Victoria. Marlo found it funny that the woman who created this little monster and was trying to manipulate that creation was also unintentionally the one who taught Marlo how to beat the game. Or, at least how to operate within the game on her own terms. Again, Marlo thought, whatever those are. All in time was what her spirit and Katrina kept repeating.

After the women finished, Marlo worked to provoke the voice, but it didn’t respond. She didn’t know if the wall was working or not, but perhaps the voice knew it was being threatened. Marlo realized that she would have to become comfortable with ambivalence.

As Marlo, Katrina and Drew went down to the dining hall together, Marlo was laughing at Katrina’s impression of Serious Jack. After Marlo walked through the door, she stopped so abruptly that the meat on her plate almost slid off. Waiting at their table were the normal people, but also Rayne and Victoria.

Marlo’s stomach sunk. At this close of a range, and this soon into her precautions, they would know. Victoria and Drew exchanged a look and Drew nodded.

Marlo sat across from Victoria and prepared for Victoria’s ire. Though Victoria wouldn’t unleash her full power against Marlo in a public area, she would be willing to play with it until they were alone.

“Drew tells me that you have been working on your magic with Katrina.” Marlo could feel a twitch of Victoria’s power flick inside her but said nothing. “I can understand you needing to feel more powerful at a time like this, but that is what I am trying to do for you.” The next flick was a more intense.

“I understand,” Marlo said.

“Do you?” the pain grew, but Marlo kept her face impassive. “Because Katrina might know how to send her spirit farther distances than any other kindred in this world, but what would even you do if you could get yours to reach beyond my barriers?”

Wait, what? Marlo used the pain from Victoria’s lash to hide her confusion, but she wouldn’t be able to play for long. “I wasn’t sure what I would do,” Marlo said. “I just wanted to see what would happen.”

“I want you to stop it now. Any magic you practice will be under Q’s guidance. Just because Katrina is kindred does not mean that either of you have the right to trade secrets.”

“Understood,” Marlo said. She shot Drew a dirty look she hoped he’d interpret as gratitude.

“Just know that Drew will continue to closely monitor you, both of you, and that nothing gets beyond me.”

Marlo nodded. Drew followed Victoria out of the dininghall, but Rayne stayed behind.

“She’s not joking, Marlo,” Rayne said.

“The pulsing pain inside me is a pretty fucking big reminder of what Victoria is capable of,” Marlo said. “And that she’s the most humorless bitch I’ve ever met.” Marlo allowed the full pain she was feeling to flood into her expressions. “Her joking never crossed my mind.”

“Then know that whatever lines you cross go against your own interests.”

Marlo shrugged and looked away from her. Rayne stood up from the table. “Enjoy your dinner,” Rayne said.

Marlo pushed her plate away. Katrina’s eyes followed Rayne out of the hall.

“What was that about?” Zoe asked. The rest of the table was wondering the same thing, but only allowed their mouths to hang open rather than ask.

“It’s nothing,” Katrina said. “Just a little mix up.”

Marlo saw concern in Zoe’s eyes that Katrina seemed to be ignoring. “Come into my office after dinner,” Zoe said.

“Why?” Marlo asked.

“I want to check up on something,” Zoe said. Marlo still didn’t know exactly what Zoe’s power was. She wondered if this might be her opportunity to find out.

Chapter Twenty-Eight→