Chapter 32 Happily Never After
I had been so busy dealing with Myria and Russell last time we had used a similar device, that I hadn't had time to notice the process. When Myria smeared Ben's blood on the crystal, and pushed him in to the base of the bowl sparks began to fly, there was a whirring and Cassie's body lifted from the ground. Luminescence poured from her until the light died, and Ben ceased to be there any longer.
Fangs still out I threw myself into the concave and protectively over Cassie. She screamed, and I put my hand out to console her. Then I realised she was screaming at me.
"Cassie. It's just me" I backed off initially, but when I grabbed her arm to try and stabilize her, help her see it was just me, she shrunk back in fear. "I'm not going to hurt you" I offered as assurance, but she was so horror struck she couldn't respond. Her chin quivered and her brow drawn up.
Cam landed just next to me. "Matt! Let her be Matt."
But I wouldn’t, couldn’t. “Cassie it's me, Matt.” I retracted the fangs.
Cam's tone softened and she put her hand on my shoulder. "Matt. She doesn’t know you. She’s not… Matt. She’s human again. Can't you feel it?."
In disbelief I stayed perfectly still. Listened. I could hear her heart. I stood dumbstruck while Cam eased towards Cassie, helping her to stand and steering her away. Away from me.
"She doesn't remember me." was all I could think to say. Violet and Myria stood behind me. As Cam guided Cassie up the slope, they neared me. I took a step forward.
“Stop – I’ll take her” I announced, only to see Cassie freeze up in fear at my approach.
Cam placed a warning hand on my chest. “Let her go Matt. Let me take her.” So I let Cassie walk away from me with Cam. For a brief moment Cassie stole a look back at me.
I turned to Violet. “What does this mean? Violet. When will she remember?” But the look on Violet’s face chilled me. I knew, and she didn't have to say anything. Cassie couldn’t remember me. Couldn’t remember the time she spent between the hospital bed where she died, and waking up here.
Myria stepped towards me. "The etching on the second device. It was different from the last one. I didn't even think of it. It says 'Restoring original life'….. It must mean the original life before dying the first time." She paused for a moment before rushing over to the crystal. "It worked. It worked, and now the crystal is cracked. Broken!" Myria smashed the crystal on the ground. "I came all this way, built this damned machine and now I can't make it work for me. I just wanted to go back. Be who I used to be."
"With none of the memories. No thanks. How would you know not to make the same mistakes." Violet reasoned.
"But what am I going to do now?" Myria asked bewildered.
"There are always more crystals Myria. Not like you don't have time." Violet said, and on that note, Viktor arrived, rushed to her and they collapsed into each other.
Myria came to stand next to me. We were both staring into the pit of the device.
"I don't understand." She said to me. "Why did all this happen? What went so wrong."
"Maybe we both got what we deserved." I said unmoving.
"You don't believe that." Myria answered back.
"You and I have made some big mistakes."
"Believed in the wrong people...." she observed.
"Killed people." I pointed out.
"Is this the chance to get things right?" She said.
"I really don't know, but it might help to look at it that way." I walked away then, Camille took Cassie back to the club, with Viktor and Violet. I expected Myria to come with us, but she didn't, preferring to disappear into the shadows she had become so used to.
Once we were back at the Club, Cam settled Cass in before she came to find me, leaving Viktor to look after Cassie. Cassie didn’t seem to know there was anything different about them. Just me.
“What do we do now?” Cam asked of Violet and I.
Violet spoke up first, and what she said was unexpected. “This could be her chance to be normal. Who she could have been if she didn’t get sick, if I hadn’t found her. We should set her up with ID, a place to stay. Then let her go.”
“What!” I exploded. Cam was silent. I looked at her for back up but she looked at me reserved and lowered her eyes. “Why would you do that? She can live here, with us. I can change her back.”
Cam spoke up then. “What for? To live drifting from one place to another. One hotel to another.”
“She loves us. We are her family.”
“But not by choice.” Cam pointed out. “She was dying, so Violet offered her another life. Maybe this is her second chance. Haven’t you ever thought about what your life would have been like if you had never met us?”
I gave a frustrated huff and turned away. All this time, all my hopes. All the things I had done to get here. I couldn't believe they were asking me to let her go like this. Yet, still, I had a sinking feeling. I knew. This was one of those moments you had to ignore what you wanted for what you knew was right. I fought against the intrusive thought.
“Matt” Violet said softly to me. I closed my eyes as though that would stop me from hearing her. “You can give her something I couldn’t – a real life. But only if you let her go.” She paused. “Matt.” She pressed but I didn't answer. Didn't want to.
“Matthias. You have to do the right thing here.”
“Would you forgive me if I didn’t do the right thing?”
“Matt, I think I would forgive you anything. You’re my little brother. Could you forgive yourself though I wonder?” I hated that she did that. Made sense when I wish she wouldn’t. Violet was the impulsive, passionate one. I preferred her unpredictable nature to this....sensibility.
The next evening, I stood at the window gazing out as Cam escorted Cassie into a cab. Viktor had organised ID for her, there was an apartment I bought a city away for when Cass and I could spend some time alone together. I had given Cam the key and was taking Cassie there. Cam had explained in short what had happened to her after the hospital, but spared her most of the details. Cam, Violet and I had argued over how much to tell Cassie. We settled on vampires being real, she had been one as well, but brought back, and now she had a new start. It was enough that she knew what had happened to explain the changes in time, the gap in her life, and what not to tell other people. Everything else was ‘too much information’.
I’d be lying if I said I really let her go. I followed her anytime I didn’t need to sleep or eat. I stayed in the shadows during day hours, I sat in the tree across from her house at night. I could see her lounge, her bedroom. I would sit and imagine I could walk away. But I could not. I even watched her from the tree line in the park across the road from where she got a job at a hotel in reception, night shift of course. I had noticed that she stayed up all night, slept most of the day. Old habits her body remembered but not her mind perhaps. She sat in the foyer of the hotel, and every once in a while I imagined she noticed me, but she couldn’t have.
I was watching her when an old acquaintance found me. Myria emerged from the shadows behind me. I didn’t even flinch. Just kept watching.
“So this is it.” I said flatly.
“This is it” Myria responded. “See we do end up together.”
“That isn’t funny”.
“Nothing about this really is, is it?” She confirmed. We both sighed deeply.
“Myria. Is this what you saw?”
“I don’t know anymore. I do know that I don’t like taking the high road.”
“It hurts” I added.
Myria nodded. “I’m tired Matt. All the fighting, the lies…”
“I know. Me too, and that’s why we should go back.”
“Back where Matt?”
“Is that what it was? Home.” Myria sounded as flat as I did.
“I think it’s as close as you and I are ever going to get.” Myria looked at me curi
“You aren’t going to forget her, leave her alone? Are you?” How perceptive of her.
“I can’t, but she doesn’t have to know I’m there. This way, I suppose she gets to start over”. The last words gritted through my teeth and I resented each one. There was nothing wrong with the life we had.
“With you looking over her shoulder.” Myria defined.
“If that’s all I can have, I’ll take it.”
“You sound sadder than I do Matt.” She resumed staring ahead. “Do you want me to see if I can…..”
“No. Please, just don’t do anything. Just be normal…”
Myria scoffed lightly. “Normal? Is that even possible?” She and I both broke in to laughter. It grew for a moment before we became serious again.
“Let’s go.” I led, gesturing her to come with me. “Cam will be glad to see you.”
“I hope so” Myria added before we left for home. I took a long look back, even though I knew I would still be watching her. I could not yet fully let go. Maybe some day.
It was the hardest thing to do. To stand by and watch, to let Cassie go and not fight to keep her. That was all I had known to do for so long. Fight. Fight to keep some kind of sense about what I was doing, to find ways to keep us safe, to find a solution, to keep up hope. Asking me to let her go, and me trying to do just that was the most difficult thing I could imagine. Even now, after everything.
I was honest when I told Myria it hurt. It was more than that. I knew it was the right thing to do though.
In spite of the fact I knew what I should do, there was one overarching lesson I had learned though of everything I had experienced over the last few decades. Doing the right thing doesn’t always get you what you want or need and going without was something I was no longer used to.......
Matthias by Ariana Kenny / Fantasy have rating 3.2 out of 5 / Based on19 votes