Saturday, October 15, 2318
Tybal is gone. I’m sure of it. He left me that night and hasn’t returned. I asked Grifkin where he went, my heart pounded so hard in my chest, but he wouldn’t tell me. I’m afraid. Afraid that Grifkin has lived up to his threats. Afraid of what that might mean for me. For weeks I’ve waited each night, throat tightened, staring at the dark space along the wall where he would knock. Wait in desperation for time again with him in the Atrium. I wait until sleep drags me under her black waves and then I dream. Terrible, racing feelings, bright lights and distorted faces screaming in silence until I wake up shivering, damp with sweat.
And all this time I worry and wonder about him. I know he is gone.
Grifkin has taken a liking to my visiting him in his Library where he talks to me about sciences, politics, humanity. Though these “talks” always devolve into one-sided lectures. It feels like he is trying to tell me something important everytime he opens his mouth. He questions me on my feelings about current issues, staging hypotheical situations to moral dilemmas. I care little for these things and I tell him so. I make him angry with my disinterest.
“Did you have any friends in the City?” He asked, nestled like a viper in his oversized chair.
“Yes, of course.” I answered, too quickly.
“Who? Who was your friend?” I answered this time with silence. And here is where the viper rears back his head to strike. I could see it in his eyes, the triumph, and understood my mistake. “You had no friends. There was no one, was there? You lived for over twenty years in the same area, worked with the same people and I bet you can’t tell me a single one of their names. Tsk, tsk. For all Jonathan taught you, in this he failed.”
I felt fear then as I had not known it before, snaking up my spine. He had spoken like this before, that I was not what they hoped for, that I had too much to learn but by the hard look he punched at me I knew things had changed.
“What does it matter that I had no friends?” I supressed a cringe at the weakness of my voice.
“A little. A lot. But it doesn’t matter now. We have wasted too much time already trying to prepare a thing that can’t be prepared. We need to move forward whether you’re ready or not.” Before I could speak the door opened and a man walked in. He was tall and thin. By the way his clothes hung loose, too thin. His head was shaved and small, dark eyes poked out from under brows so thick they were nearly joined. “This is Aaron.” He announced it as an explaination, gesturing to the young man that now prowled toward me like a cat to mouse. Instant dislike fringed on disgust singed across my skin. I wanted to move away as his eyes slowly perused my body, his thin lips turned to a greasy smile I wanted to wash off me. Triumph lurched in his eyes as they met mine.
“No.” I whispered getting up and moving behind my chair. Aaron’s face fell.
“She’s already bonded.” He hissed at Grifkin. “You told me she hadn’t made a connection yet. I’m not going back there. You said, I was chosen.”
“Shut up. She hasn’t bonded, we didn’t allow them any time together. Maybe she just doesn’t like you.” He retorted, leaving the chair and walking around to the front of the desk. “It doesn’t matter. We’re running out of time. Faylinn, Aaron is your guide now. I want you two to spend time together. He’ll collect you from your room and escort you to where you need to go.”
“No.” I said, my voice growing stronger. “What does he mean “bonded” to what? To who? Tell me now, Grifkin.”
“Or you’ll what?”
“Leave?” A laugh erupted from his stomach. “You think you can leave here?”
“I escaped the Domes.” I replied.
“My dear,” He said rubbing his hands together. “We are in the middle of a mountain, surrounded by other mountains. Even if you managed to get down to ground level, there’s no where to hide. The closest City is a an eight hour ride by Heli. No, little Faylinn, you’ll never leave unless I say it.”
“Why won’t you tell me what is going on?” I wouldn’t let the dispair color my face. I was trapped. Tybal was gone. And then there was Aaron.
“Because, as I’ve told you before, you’re not ready. Your stupid mother took you to the City where we couldn’t get to you so you weren’t brought up properly. You don’t know your place. I suppose Jonathan did his best but I still don’t understand why he didn’t teach you, train you.” His face contorted to a hundred degress of disgust as he spat the words at me. “Instead I get handed this mess and now they tell me to get the project up and running. There’s no time to coddle you anymore. You’re humanity’s hope, it’s future. God help us all. I don’t want to hear you refusing us anymore, I don’t care if you’re ill-informed. Take it up with your father, the way things are going you’ll be seeing him sooner than you think.”
“I want Tybal back!” I blurted out before clasping my hand over my mouth. Both Aaron and Grifkin’s mouthes hung open, staring at me like I just asked them to bring me a purple puppy. “If you want me to cooperate, fine. You want me to follow you blindly, I’ll do it. But I do it with Tybal not with him.”
“Tybal isn’t on the board any longer.” Grifkin replied after a moment’s hesitation.
“Get him back on it.” Tybal said I should ask for something Grifkin would be hard pressed to deliver. I doubted he thought it would be himself I’d ask for. “Take her to her room, Aaron. I have a call to make.” By the flushed look he gave the telephone I could tell it wasn’t going to be a pleasant chat.
We walked in silence down the hallway and as soon as we turned the corner away from Grifkin and the Library Aaron grabbed my arm, yanking me to a stop.
“How did you bond with him? He wasn’t given access to you, they promised me.” His whispers were sharp in my ear and cut into me as hard as his fingers. “I won’t go back, I won’t let them take me.”
“Where were you? Where did they take Tybal?” My own whispers sliced the air.
“I don’t know about him. Give me a chance. Please. You can make him change his mind, make him let me stay. Please, Faylinn.” He pleaded.
“Why do you all think I have power over Grifkin? I’m as powerless as you are. I don’t even know what I’m doing here.” I yanked my arm but he wouldn’t be refused.
“You’re the only girl. The only one. Ever. The males, they breed them like rats in cages and treated worse than that. You’re special don’t you see? When they bring Tybal back, you’ll know. I can feel it now, the bond, it’s not that strong but it’s there. When he comes back they’ll take me away. Listen to me now, I need you to understand this, promise me, don’t worry about me but the others, they need you. You have to see that they’re set free. This is important, I want you to swear to me you’ll free them.” Tears welled in his dark eyes, the desperation threatned to drown me. I agreed, I swore, I said whatever he wanted me to say. The others would be free.
The darkness of my room crept inside my skin. I felt hollow as I lay fetally in bed wondering, worrying. Sleep washed over me in wicked waves that ebbed into blackness until I couldn’t tell if I was awake of asleep, lost in a rolling torment. Until I couldn’t tell if the knock on my door was real or imagined. Until he lay down behind me, molding his body to mine, cradling me in the warmth of his arms and I shook with tears of relief and confusion.
When I awoke this morning I was alone.