7.3 Family Ties

by Matt P.

“What?” Walter asked flatly. At this point he was surprised that he could still be surprised, which he supposed was a little bit recursive. He had figured that by this point in the twists and turns of the conversation that he couldn’t be shocked, but this one struck very personally home. He felt like the floor had gone out suddenly from underneath him Wile E. Coyote style, and all he needed now was a wooden sign that said ‘Yelp!’

“Oh, didn’t she tell you?” Tania asked, with a little bit of a sniff in her voice. “That we knew Rhiannon, that we taught her?” She asked, almost challengingly.

“She told me that you were close before she left, that one of our favorite sayings had come from her,” Walter explained, gesturing to Morgan, “but not anything more than that. I hadn’t thought anything about it, with the fact that you’re really super old.” Walter said by way of coping with shock, which drew a narrow eyed look from both Morgan and Tania.

“You always did lash out when you lost an argument, sister.” Morgan said with a sigh and a shake of her head. She looked between Walter’s axe-struck expression and the wide eyed shock on the faces of the younger girls. “What purpose did this serve? What end did you achieve?” She asked with a weariness that felt very old and very normally human, like you would find with—for example—sisters.

“Sometimes people don’t react with a purpose, icicle.” Tania responded with a hint of acid, the last word carrying the fondness and exasperation of a longstanding nickname. “But…” She looked at the faces of the girls staring at her with a naked need, and sighed. She reached up to fluff her hair for a moment, before she looked apologetic. “I’m sorry.”

Morgan started to wave her hand, to give a ‘We can talk about this later’ to the crowd and change the subject, when one of the girls reached out to grab her wrist. Surprisingly the dark eyes that stared at Morgan imploringly weren’t Siobhan’s, but Antigone’s. “Please, you have to tell us what she’s talking about.” She said with a desperate conviction. When Morgan started to demurr, Antigone kept on. Her voice was almoost heartbreaking in its need. “Morgan…our mother left us one night with nothing more than a freaky ass note. You have to tell us if you know something about her. Please.”

The doctor sighed for a moment, but looking between the two girls her face softened much like Tania’s had a moment before. “Alright.” She looked down, and after a moment Antigone let go of her wrist. “Your mother was a friend of ours, like I had told your father. But she was more than that. We are distantly related, and while she lived in the city she spent almost as much time with us as she did her parents.”

Tania nodded. “She knew from an early age that there was something different about her. Sometimes it works like that. And she could tell that we were as well. When someone comes that strongly in to their faerie blood, it’s helpful to them to learn what it means. We took her under our wing.” But then Tania looked sad by the reminiscence. “But by the time she was done with High School she wanted to leave.”

At the raised eyebrows from the three Richards family members, Morgan shook her head. “We didn’t beat her or anything. But…the more you know about this city, the more you see every day…it effects you. When you see behind the curtain in to the shadows, sometimes you want to go see a normal life. That’s what she wanted: To see a world without hidden darkness, with normal people in it.”

“And she didn’t like it?” Siobhan asked, her voice quavering a little bit with the unasked question about whether or not their mother had loved them.

“Oh your mother loved you very deeply.” Morgan said with a smile to the girls. “We wrote letters back and forth for many years. She was so happy when the two of you were born. But the last little while, she stopped answering our letters. I…I don’t know for sure why.”

Now Walter joined in the meaningful looks at the two faerie women. “She didn’t act any differently for us, right up until the end. If you know something…”

Morgan closed her eyes, and shook her head. “We weren’t going to talk about it.” She began, and then forestalled protest by continuing. “And I don’t know anything specific about anything she saw in the last year she stopped answering letters.” Morgan continued in the tone of voice of a woman lowering expectations. “And after we briefly discuss this we need to go see what they took from the lower levels.” At that, Marshal Alexander raised his eyebrows incredulously, as if he didn’t know what in the world she was talking about. “But…your mother had, from the time she was very young, prophetic dreams.”

“What?” Antigone asked, in an exact mirror to her father’s earlier question and tone.

“It means that in our world she would be called a dreamseer.” Tania answered. “A prophet or, more accurately, an oracle.”