At the end of the day, I’m still alive.
They were waiting for us at the artists’ entrance. The Senator Tweet-stormed me all weekend. I had gone to ground and it was the duty of Americans far and wide to find me and bring me to justice.
Justice? For doing what exactly?
You are an enemy of the Republic.
For wearing tight clothing.
For baiting the Senator. That proposal quip. He didn’t like it one tiny bit. Now he’s stoking the President’s base.
As if the President had a moral leg to stand on.
Them’s the facts, ma’am.
Blown way out of proportion.
I left Alayne at the Cathedral. I didn’t want her to witness this mess. The police did their best to keep the two factions of the protest apart, but they surged forward as I arrived for rehearsal. I barely made it to the door. CBS, for its part, chose to back me, opting not to cancel my appearances this week.
I’m still at the theater. They have made some dummy runs to convince the protesters that I had left. The next one will be real. The building appears closed, like no one is here.
The right wing press took up the gauntlet today, posting salacious pictures of me with Asami, more physical contact between two women than is appropriate, especially in public. They chose to pick on Asami today, but there must be some with Akira in the works. I played at a gay club and was the only member of the band that wasn’t.
Akira has the legal team at her agency on top of it already.
Stephen and I agreed to keep the banter to a minimum, but he let it rip on the Senator with both barrels. There were a few interruptions to the show, as protesters were removed from the audience. The President, for his part, was guilty by association.
Akira left in one of the dummy runs, a blond body double in another. I sit in the relative dark in my dressing room, guarded outside by a limited detachment, so they don’t attract attention. I have my headphones on, listening to sad music, literally Musica Dolorosa by Peteris Vasks, a composer who I have come to love recently.
I have been listening to a lot of sad music lately.
Two knocks. It is time to go. Hood on. Out the door.
There are still a few anti-Cassie protesters out there shouting abuse, but it was much easier to get to the waiting car than it was getting into the building earlier. We speed away, taking a roundabout route to the Cathedral with a group of identical motorcade vehicles to put any followers off the scent.
Fortunately, Asami didn’t stay in the city. She left when things got hot, but she is being followed in Chicago.
At least the protesters shield me from potential snipers.
We stop in an alley, are shepherded into a garage, where another car waits, we delay several minutes, and then we are on the move again. Just to be safe, we enter the cathedral through a hidden passageway from one of the clerical offices.
Alayne stayed up to make certain I arrived safely. She reports it to the hive.
I didn’t realize they hive cared so much for me.
Why? You are the Queen bee.
I’m the founder of their race on this planet. I’m not needed anymore.
They need you more than you are aware.
It’s late. I’m going to bed.
That is easier said than done. In her time Amelia is probably being gassed with whatever it is that will cause her to lose her memory. That isn’t the case, since her time is not relative to this one.
Time is an intricate weave. We pass where the threads touch.
And I am … when? Future? Past? I look the same, but I feel old. I wander the streets of a big city, relatively modern. I’m Tamara. No, she is dead, but I’m not yet me.
I’m in between, the years between Tamara’s death, and my birth. Why? I’m just a spirit with nothing to gain here. Tamara lived in London. That must be where I am.
I am Truthy now. There is no difference between us in this state.
Baker Street. That’s what it says on the corner of the building. Marlebone Road is a large cross street. Why am I here? There are a group of students with instruments on the other side. They had a gig tonight, but have been celebrating in a pub. It’s closing time.
Do you see her? One of them says, pointing towards me. She’s got a boyfriend hanging on one shoulder, a French horn case on the other. It looks like they haven’t been getting on. He doesn’t like classical music, and he doesn’t like her friends, but he likes her, and likes having sex with her.
How could I tell all that from across the road?
Nobody sees me but her. They walk on. I follow. Obviously, she is the one I am here to see. She keeps looking back at me. They cross over to go into the Underground station. I follow them down onto the platform. They just missed a train. It could be as long as a half hour before the next one. The girl, about 20, a tall familiar-looking redhead, isn’t interested in her boyfriend’s advances, not in front of her friends. He’s had too much to drink, too.
I hang back away from them. I wait.
Eventually, she comes to see me. I’m standing in the shadows. Do I know you? She asks.
She shifts the strap of her horn case onto her other shoulder. I thought maybe I did. Why did you follow me?
Because you were the one I came to see.
Why did you come to see me?
I don’t know. I’m in a spot of bother, and it seems that you are the only one that can help me. (I sounded so English saying that.)
What sort of bother, other than that you don’t seem to have any cloths on?
You see me without clothes?
I’m d-d-dreaming. I have waking dreams from time to time. My friend, Jem, over there says I have a g-gift, but I don’t know what it is.
You see dead people?
S-Sometimes they are living. I can’t tell which you are. It hasn’t happened since I was a child.
Which am I? Tamara is dead, but I’m about to be born. It’s a few years away, I think. I may be both.
How can you be b-both? She asks.
I don’t know, but if you are who I think you are, I can’t tell you too much.
She is Gaia, I’m sure of it. Horn player? About the right age. London. All I know is that I need your help. I am in danger. There have already been two attempts on my life, but you may know what it is that is a more existential threat. When the time comes, you will be too young to remember me.
Too young? I have a b-brain like a sieve anyway. You’ll be lucky.
You know instinctively what it is.
Is it what makes you look blue?
Is it? I look down at my arms, perhaps a slight blue tint, but it is dark in this shadow. She sees what she sees.
No. I don’t think so. Are you sure I don’t know you?
You haven’t met me … yet, but you have always known me. We are sisters.
You aren’t my sister.
That is the truth, yet I am more than your sister. I am both your mother and daughter, too. Jem is right, but it isn’t a gift. It is life.
She pauses. I can hear a train in the distance.
You need my help, but I don’t know what to say. Trust yourself. Trust your instinct. Find the Truth in yourself.
I’m back in bed. She’s gone.