Tuesday, June 01, 2010

We find out what happened to Dante

The garbage can didn’t attack on its own. It’s not like the former city of London abandoned pastries in favor of large metal objects. That would be sensible. Very little about this Thursday has been sensible.

No, the garbage can attacked because someone used it as a projectile. Didn’t realize this until after it happened. Thus the confusion over thinking even more inanimate objects had decided to threaten my well-being. Didn’t hear it coming because no one has had the decency to stop surprising me.

Maria pulls me out of the way. I hear a warning seconds before she grabs my arm. No time to move myself. She moves me. It jangles. She doesn’t notice. Too busy staring at the garbage can like it might right itself and come after us again. Shouldn’t happen. We’re in Vancouver. The guardians keep that kind of thing to a minimum.

“Are you ok?” she asks. “It was headed right for you.”

“Yeah.” I stare at her fingers.

She lets me go. Her face turns that funny pink color again.

“I’m ok,” I say. “Thanks.”

Just being polite. Just saying what is said in these situations. But the simple expression of gratitude makes her go all shocked-face. As if she didn’t realize I could be polite. I can. I choose not to be. My parents were always polite. All it got them was dead.

“It was—yeah.” Maria swallows. “You’re welcome.”

“Luminos!”

The music in my head silences. Doesn’t stop. That’d be impossible. My attention wrenches from listening to it. Full focus. That is not a name a stranger should be yelling. Especially not at me.

She is the silence overwhelming. A vaguely familiar one that coats the inside of my head and throat. She is also wearing the most awesomely bad-good scarf ever. I think it coordinates with the hoodie Maria found me. Definitely doesn’t match.

I make the frowny face. I know this girl in the scarf with the skinny jeans and the too many bracelets and the teal tank top that almost matches her yellow shoes. Given the exuberant use of color in her wardrobe we might even be related.

“Ethanael Luminos,” the girl in the scarf says. Her eyes are that blue the sky never is here. The color of a summer afternoon. Her hair is strawberry ice cream pink.

Maria stares. At me. At the girl with the candy-colored hair.

“Present,” I say. “S’up?”

Maria doesn't giggle. I think I hoped she would.

“Ethan,” Girl in the Scarf makes a grab for me.

She’s wearing gloves. So am I. Even through them, I can feel her touch. Nostalgic. Or something. It causes what I believe humans call a ‘flashback.’ Back flashing to when my parents weren’t so dead and I wasn’t so tall and this girl and I first met.

Some kind of party. A birthnight party. Maybe. My Then Alive mother brought over a girl not much older than me, all in frills and ruffles and ribbons of various startling shades of green.

Ethan, my mother said. This is Felicity Chant.

How do you do, said Felicity and held out a hand in a little white lace glove.

I listen, mostly, said I. The music tells me what to do. Sometimes I tell it to do something else. But that doesn’t make Dad happy.

Me too, she said. Listen. I mean. And it doesn’t make my mother happy when I change things, either.

I stared, like Maria stares at me, because I’d never met anyone who could change the music. Sure, a few people could hear it. But change it? That was secret and special and just mine. Didn’t know how I felt about sharing it with someone else.

I took her hand. She was silent. Like Niall. Who was my reference for all things Over There. My little kid symbol match. Silence = Niall. But Felicity did not equal Niall. Logic fail. Smash. Very traumatizing for a little kid on his birthnight.

What’s wrong, Ethan? My mother asked.

She doesn’t have any music, I said.

I do, Felicity told me. It’s just very quiet. Like yours.

When you’re older, my mother said, you and Felicity will be married.

I thought about it. Mom and Dad were married and they seemed happy enough. But they were grown-ups and obviously this Felicity and I wouldn’t be grown-ups for a long time. Whatev. I’d worry about it then.

Ok, I guess, I said. Is she staying for cake?

Don’t you know? My mother asked.

I don’t know what he’ll do, either, Felicity said. This must be what others mean when they talk about being surprised.

I don’t like it, I said.

No, she agreed. We should promise never to surprise each other unless it’s very important.

And we did. It’s one of the few promises I’ve kept.

“Felicity.” I adjust my headphones. Straighten my hood. “Color me surprised.”

“Yes. Sorry.” She gives Maria an inspecting glance. “I had to get your attention. There’s a cluster of guardians coming this way. Your being here hasn’t gone unnoticed. You have to leave the city.”

Uh oh.

“We’re waiting for people,” Maria tells Felicity.

“Then you’ll be waiting a long time. They’ve been incarcerated on the grounds of aiding the Prometheus in abandoning his duties.”

“Who is she talking about?” Maria whispers.

“Avalon had to take a leave of absence,” I say. “But he didn’t actually tell anyone he was going.”

“Ethan.” Felicity points at Maria. “Who is this?”

“Maria. Andy and I are finding her a place to live.”

“Trafficking in stolen humans is not going to help your cause.”

I shrug. “She was stolen when we found her.”

“She’s also standing right here,” Maria adds.

“You both need to leave Vancouver.” Felicity ignores her. “Now.”

Dante and Niall can take care of themselves. Blame me. Beg forgiveness for being mislead by a Luminos. We’re all wicked, y’know. Like a family of supervillains.

No way I am I leaving without Avalon. Your world needs him. More importantly, Oliver and Runa need him. Can’t hear Felicity, but her face says she knows I won’t go.

“Ethan.” I like the way she says my name. Kindly. All full of concern for my well-being. Already practicing for the future. “They’re in guardian custody awaiting transit to the Far Reaches. It’s the only way the Prometheus is leaving this city.”

“Unless we break Avalon out of jail,” I counter-offer.

Felicity nods.

“Let’s go,” Maria says.

Felicity and I are perfectly synced as we turn to stare at Maria.

“We can’t leave them there,” she tells us. “Not when they were arrested for such a stupid reason.”

Felicity starts to protest. “You don’t—”

“She doesn’t need to,” I say. “She’s right. You know. I know it. That potted palm tree over there knows it. Thanks for the warning, Lili, but a Luminos doesn’t leave family behind.”

“Yes. Family is the only loyalty a Luminos has.” She sighs. “We’ll use another exit. There’s no point wasting our energy fighting this lot of guardians. We’ll need all we have for the escape.”

“Cool.” I stuff my hands in the hoodie’s pockets. “Lead on.”

Felicity sighs again. It’s the same kind of sigh my mother used to give my father.

“Ethan.” Maria doesn’t grab my arm. “Who is she?”

“Felicity. She and I are going to get married,” I reply. “But not today. Today doesn’t work for me. Little bit busy.”

“It doesn’t work for me, either,” Felicity says. “And thank you very much for asking.”

“Great,” Maria says. “Now there’s two of you.”

3 comments:

Sarah K said...

Oh, I think I adore Felicity.

KT said...

"Logic fail. Smash." is a wonderful turn of phrase. And I'm liking Felicity as well.

Elizabeth M. Thurmond said...

ZOMG.