Zlodey put his arm around me. “Look, my wife. Look at what we have done. Europe kneels before us and soon the rest of the world will as well.”
I smiled up at him. “And then we can help them.”
“Yes,” he said. “Of course. We shall help all of them. The natural chaos and horror of the world will end. We shall bring it order. We shall bring it peace.” He took my chin in his hand and looked into my eyes. “I do this for you, my love.”
He kissed me on my cheek and looked to be wanting some more, but I couldn’t stop thinking about my daughter. She had acted so strangely. If something was wrong, I should check on her. But if she were all right, she would feel sad for being left out of this moment. “I should go get, Lina. She would want to see this.”
Zlodey glowered for a second. I didn’t know why. Perhaps he, too, was upset she wasn’t here. “Yes, of course. Our daughter. She would like to be here, as well.”
As I walked out of the room, I felt a wave of relief as if I had escaped something horrible. I couldn’t begin to guess why. All I had done was leave my husband and I loved him and had always loved him since the day we had met. I tried to figure out what was wrong with me as I walked to Lina’s room. Unsurprisingly, I hadn’t worked it out in time, so I put it aside as I knocked on the door. She opened it and pulled me in, closing the door behind me. “Ok, what the hell is going on?”
“Don’t use that language, young lady,” I told her. “You were raised better than that. Your father…”
“You can knock off the act, I’ve secured the room.”
“Secured?” I echoed. “What are you talking about, Lina? Secured it from what?”
Lina looked as confused by me as I was of her. “Frank? It’s just the two of us. There’s nobody watching, nobody listening in. I turned off all the surveillance. You don’t have to pretend.”
“First off,” I replied, “my name to you is ‘Mom’ or ‘Mother’. Secondly, I’m not pretending. I really am worried about you. The way you’re behaving…”
“The way I’m behaving?” Lina laughed. “Ok, ‘Mom’, why don’t you tell me how I should behave?”
“I’m not trying to dictate to you how you should behave, Lina. I’m your mother and I’m concerned about you. So, if you’re done acting out, we would like you to join us. Your father’s campaign to spread stability to the world has reached another success. It would be nice if you were happy for him.”
“My father did?”
“Yes, he did. Now, I don’t know what has gotten into you, but you should come and watch. We would all like it if you did.”
Lina stared at me. It was a strange look as if she were trying to tell if I was being serious or not. She had never looked at me that way before. Slowly, she nodded. “Ok, ‘Mom’. Let’s go see what ‘Dad’ has done to the world.”
I ignored her tone- sometimes that was what a mother had to do- and just took her agreement as a victory. Whatever new phase she was going through, she would eventually get over it. Hopefully, it wouldn’t be too frustrating. I certainly couldn’t let her father handle it. Zlodey’s patience was not one of his strongest qualities.
We came into the War Room and I gestured toward the monitors. Lina gasped. “Amazing, no?” I asked, proud of my husband’s achievement.
“When did this happen?” Lina asked as she moved toward the screens.
“This is live,” Mayhew said, excitedly. I could see how proud he was to know something his sister didn’t. “This is happening now!”
Lina, however, barely acknowledged him. She was too focused on the scenes playing out on the monitors. I took that as a good sign, as did Zlodey. He liked it when people admired his work. “There are lizardmen in Paris?” she asked.
“Dracs, darling,” I corrected her. “We call them Dracs. Remember?”
Lina’s head swung around to look at us. She looked horrified. “The Dracs have conquered France!?”
“Well, not all of it,” Zlodey said, humbly. “But soon. Then my armies shall march to seize the Nordic countries, so that we can isolate England.”
“And then we crush them!” Mayhew shouted.
“I’m hoping they’ll be smart enough to surrender first,” my husband said. He was such a kind man and so wise. I knew he wished he didn’t have to cause so much pain and hardship, but it was all for their betterment.
“Because England is such a horrible place,” Lina said. I did not like her sarcasm. “We can’t leave them unsubjugated.”
“Ok,’ I said before my husband could, “I think that’s enough for one night, young lady. Off to bed. This minute!”
“Aw, but mom…” she replied mockingly.
“Go!” Lina marched out of the room. I turned to my husband, “I don’t know what has gotten into her.”
“Do not let her ruin your mood,” Zlodey said, hugging me. “Now, you take Mayhew away. I have plans I need to discuss with Hera.” He patted me on my behind as I went. I glanced back over me shoulder and he winked at me. After I put the children to bed, I half-expected him to join me in our own bedroom, but I knew to Zlodey work came first and he had a lot of work left to do.
to be continued…