The police come to the rescue?
I am silent. I smoke my smoke.
Maybe this war isn't about a disease any more. It's become more hatred than fear.
"...and so all is lost," I finish my thought out loud. They're all staring at me.
"...what?" Lisa says.
"Nothing." I shake my head.
"Well, Cypress, what most of us are really curious about," Lisa says finally, "is your story. So tell it."
* * *
* * *
you don't know what / we can find / why don't you come with me, little girl / on a magic carpet ride // you don't know what / we will see / why don't you tell your dreams to me? / fantasy will set you free
* * *
* * *
"Twelve old ones," Saku counts on her fingers. "Wounded their leader. Plus whoever was left inside."
"That settles it, as far as I'm concerned," Saku says, glancing to Lisa. Lisa nods, slowly, and stands.
"All in favour?" she asks.
Everyone aside from me raises her arm.
"In favour of what?" I say.
"Of me stepping down as temporary leader," Lisa says. I glance to Michelle.
"Congrats," I say. But Michelle looks confused.
"Didn't Sophie tell you...?"
With a slap, a familiar old book is tossed onto the table.
It's a yearbook. And Crow looks away.
"Just had to run and tell, didn't we?" I say.
"They had to know," she says softly. But it's too late. I'm pissed off.
"So you'd have me lead you?" I say to the table. They nod. "I wouldn't. And I propose that I have some say in the matter."
"Who here is better for the role?" Michelle says as she rocks her chair back, darting her eyes up to mine.
"You," I say. She shakes her head.
"I'm a guard, just like Crow. I don't have the field experience. Lisa outranks me there."
"Then Lisa stays on," I say.
"Cypress," Lisa says. "You know their methods. You know how far they'll go. You know how to talk to them, and if worse comes to worse, you could most likely figure out a way to kill all of them." She leans forward and places her hands on the table. "You were grade four. We've all seen the picture. Whatever gift it is that you have, we need it. So I step down."
She removes a silver chain from her neck. As she hands the chain along down the table, I see that a silver ring hangs from it. And as Michelle places the ring in my hands, I turn it over to see the symbol. I have no idea what it means, but I do remember this ring.
The world pauses, and all my fears have come true. Everything my father told me was true. And I can feel it - I can feel my emotions crumbling.
I don't understand any of it.
I want to crack.
But I speak.
"...where did you get this?"
"It's the ring Jessie had when we attacked you guys in year three," Saku says. "It's sort the our momento of victories in the field."
And the wolf whispers to me;
slip it on your finger
I slide the chain over my neck.
"Alright," I say, fingering the ring at my throat. I stare out at the room.
I'm working things out. Crow's staring at me. They're all staring at me.
"Well?" Lisa says. I nod.
"I accept. Everyone who's not on duty, gather your floors and go crash."
For a moment, they just stare. Lisa and Michelle are the first to stand.
"What happens tomorrow?" Saku says.
"Tomorrow I go talk to them," I tell her. "And if it all goes wrong, I'll want well-rested women at their posts, won't I?"
* * *
Crow silently ascends the tiny staircase ahead of me and enters a small room, which must be at the very top of the Terminal. Here there are darkened windows on all sides, a bed, a shelf of magazines and comic books, provisions and booze. On one shelf I notice a particularly old, respectable-looking book. Something that wouldn't have pictures.
"We took Johnston Terminal in..."
"Yeah." She turns to me, as if to remind me who I am. "You took it back year nine."
"I was out here for a summer," I say. "Never noticed this."
"No one noticed it," she shrugs, lighting a lamp on the bedside table.