Send My Love
That afternoon I was disappointed to see that my father left. But he did leave me a note telling me he would be back the next day. I was allowed to eat finally and only ate a small helping of rice, soup and apple juice. I did get to see that my father left me a bag of things from home, my portable holcom, clothes, shoes, and sweets. I turned the holcom on first and saw that I had over fifty messages waiting to be read. Some were from work, some from the Guild, some from classes, some from the press and two from Ali. Since I hadn't spoken to Ali in almost a week, I open his messages first.
Sent Sunday at 11:23PM (From Ali)
Teegan. I heard my dad talking to someone earlier today about you. I don't know why he was talking about you, but I heard something along the lines of him having someone watch you. I'm not sure what's going on, but … my dad can be obsessive. It's why my mom and him have such a bad relationship. Just be careful OK.
Sent Monday at 11:54AM (From Ali)
Oh my goddess, Teegan. I heard about you on the news. Please tell me it isn't you. I know I sent that message last night but my father would not do something like that. I'm so sorry that this happened to you. Just please tell me they have it wrong and that you aren't lying in a coma in the hospital.
I put the holcom down and entered Ali's address and waited for the device to connect to his. Once it did I smiled and said, "Ali, it's me Teegan."
"Teegan?! Oh, my goddess Teegan. You are awake!"
"Just last night. I've just got one broken leg and a nasty lick on my forehead," I tell Ali.
"Will it leave a scar?" he asks me.
"Yes, but I'm hoping to get new skin there eventually. I'll cover it up with paint in the meantime," I complain. "But I'm alive. Strangely."
"Cosmos Teegan. I can't believe this happened." I only sigh in response and touch the note my father left behind. I almost want to tell Ali about my situation, but in my personal thoughts I can see no reason why I should tell him. It's enough that I'm in this mess as it is. "I better let you get some rest Teegan, I'm sure you are exhausted."
"Very true. Thanks for calling Ali," I tell him.
"Thank you for making it through this shit Teegan. I was so worried that…" Ali doesn't finish his sentence, but I get the gist of what he's trying to express.
"Have a good night Ali," I finish for him. He grunts his agreement and then ends the connection over the communication line. I put the earpiece back in the comdev and then lean back in my pillow and stare at the purple lights glowing from the walls. Taking a deep breath to calm myself, I nearly fall out of the bed when the door opens quickly. Toni stands there and looks at me from across the room with a small grin on her face. I reach to press the alarm on the side of my bed, but Toni makes a noise of disapproval. I move my hand away from the button and start to wonder who approved Toni to visit me despite visiting hours being over.
"I already got in here, despite not having any form of identification Teegan," she tells me. "You know everything after all. So why even bother bringing others here that I can just force away with my powers."
"About those powers Toni," I say to her, anger rising in my throat. "You used them on me after you murdered that Vleoc didn't you?" Toni walks in the room and closes the door behind her. It's then that I notice she has a yellow paper gift bag in her hand, and she places it on the table next to my bed and then crosses her arms over her chest and looks at me with her brown eye's— dressed in altered lenses of course.
"I did use compulsion on you Teegan. In order to protect you and my own interests. I'm a monster after all." Toni sighs and then reaches for my blanket to straighten it out. "I shouldn't exist. My mother was forced to have me against her will. My father was possessed by an Elhil that stayed with my mother until I was born to make sure that my mother wouldn't abort me, and then left shortly after. My father killed himself when I was a baby. You may think your mother wants you dead. My mother actually tried to kill me on more than one occasion. One day I was so upset after she tried to poison me that I told her to die. She almost listened to me, but when I told her I was sorry, she killed herself anyways."
Toni looked at me with pain in her eyes then. "My real name is Brittany Richards, I died 14 years ago." I gasp and take a closer look at Toni, her paleness which seems even more pronounced than usual. It's then that I realize that I've been around Toni's café every week since I moved to Silverdell. Had Toni been using her powers on me from the moment I met her?
Toni sits down in the chair next to me and then reaches inside the bag she brought with her, and takes out a desert wrapped in plastic. A fresh piece of cream filled bread. She hands it to me and I take it from her and Toni continues to say, "I am part Elhil. Every day is a struggle for me not to hurt people, to control them, or to kill them in order to consume their life energy. But Teegan when I'm around you… all that pain and hunger just disappears." So, that's why Toni wanted to be friends with me. It's why she was always close to me when I visited the café she worked at. She was using me.
"Antonia. How long have you been using me?" I ask her, my fingers crinkling the plastic around the bread.
"It started out that way before I even spoke a word to you. But Teegan I really do care about you as a person. I never thought I'd have it in me to care about anyone ever again."
"Toni, how could I ever be sure if you are controlling me with your mind and convincing me to be your friend?"
"You're wrong Teegan. Only you in the whole world could know when I was controlling you, and only you can actually stop me—you've done it already."
I think back to the moment when I left Toni's apartment a few nights ago. She was trying to get me to stay, but I left anyways. "Because I'm part Adhiie," I say realization dawning on me. "I can block your powers from controlling me."
"You're not that great at it right now, but I imagine if you practice you'll get better at it," Toni tells me.
"Why did your mother want you dead?" I ask her next.
"She knew what I really was," Toni explains.
"Half Elhil," I say. Toni nods her head. "You're dead?" I ask her.
"Not really," Toni says with a grin. "Brittany died in a car accident after murdering her boyfriend. The body was never found. But in all accounts and records, she—I'm dead."
"You murdered your boyfriend?" I ask her, mouth going dry as I spoke the question.
Toni's guarded expression encompasses her face. "He deserved it," Toni says.
"You have to kill in order to survive," I state.
"I only get rid of undesirables, wild and deranged Vleocs mostly. Sometimes I go after rapist, drug dealers, or people close to death if I have to," Toni says. "The Elhil that tried to kill you would go after anyone with a pulse. I'm different from them."
"Can you sense them, tell when they are possessing someone?" I ask her suddenly.
"Yes. No one around you is possessed though. Not even the woman that tried to kill you in front of my very eyes." Toni then takes out another piece of bread and opens the plastic around it and starts to eat it. After she swallows she then says, "My guess is that it is someone at your University, or someone who I've never seen before. They would avoid me since they could sense me and I could sense them."
"Why would they avoid you Toni?" I ask her honestly.
"Because unlike them, I can feed from the same species," Toni tells me. My skin starts to crawl with fear as I think of just how dangerous Toni really is. She was wrapped up in an innocent white dress, black flats, and even had a black bow in her hair. Who was she fooling? The cameras?
"You've lied to me," I tell her quietly.
"And you've lied to me," Toni says. "Everyone lies. And besides, what was I supposed to do? Let you fear me and report me to the Guild? I'm not going to die anytime soon Teegan Allen, even for you," she says with a bit of humor in her last statement.
I grin, then and open the plastic packet the fresh bread is wrapped inside. I eat about half of the bread and then say, "So you and I, are we friends?"
"I would like that" Toni says. I avoid Toni's eyes and then look down at the half-eaten bread in my hands.
"You saved me from Vanessa, didn't you?" I ask her.
"I did. It was … tiring not to kill her then and there," Toni admits.
"You ate that man's soul at the station on Sunday, didn't you?"
"I did. He would have done worse to you Teegan, I know it—I felt it," Toni explains. "All those thoughts enveloped me when I consumed his essence. He wasn't hungry, he wanted to dominate a piece of prey and he saw that in you."
"Antonia, how are you and I suppose to be friends. I mean… we're very different."
"Since when does that mean anything?" Toni asks me, her eyes wildly defiant. "There are no rules saying we cannot be together. I may be a vicious monster, but I have feelings too. I'm not completely Juppir, but I'm enough to know what loneliness is. And I've been alone since the day I was born Teegan."
I then take another bite of the bread Toni brought with her and then set it aside. "I need some time to think Toni. Everything is too … alarming right now. If what I think I am is true, we should be enemies."
"Not so, Teegan Allen. You know that. You're not them and neither am I. We both are different and you know it." Toni then stands and throws her dessert in the bag she brought with her. "I'll give you some space," Toni says and then starts to walk to the door.
Just as she reaches the door Doctor Pyo walks in and looks Toni up and down. "What are you doing here, there are no visitors at this time," she says. Toni reaches out a quick hand and touches Doctor Pyo's collarbone, skin that was exposed presently.
"You'll come back in five minutes to check on Teegan, right now you need to go check your files," Toni says and then let's go of Doctor Pyo's body and walks right past her. I listen as Toni's footsteps exit down the hallway and watch as Doctor Pyo's eyes glaze over. She then walks back out of the room and closes the door behind her. Picking up the bread to finish it, I take another bite and wonder why Toni decided to come visit me instead of just calling. Now people would know that we were involved with each other. She might have said she wouldn't risk herself for me, but she was certainly being contradictory with her actions. Finishing the bread dessert Toni gave me, I threw away the wrappings and felt sympathy for Toni.
I wasn't sure if it was because both of our mothers despised us, or if because we were both different than everyone else. But I did know now that Toni trusted me, more so than she probably should have. How long would I be able to hide her secret? I hid Melody's secret by separating myself from her, but Toni didn't want to separate herself from me.
And I don't think I really wanted to separate myself from her.