As expected Mayhew cried when I told him we had to send him and his sister away, but because of my ‘fainting spell’ Hera didn’t let me take care of my little boy. Instead, she rushed me out of there as soon as I would let her. She sent me to bed. Zlodey wasn’t there when I was put to bed, nor when I awoke from my nap. I didn’t see him the rest of the day. I understood he was busy, but I couldn’t believe that he wasn’t there say goodbye to the children. I had to do it all by myself. I could see Mayhew was crushed by his absence. All of this so soon after the boy’s birthday.
I didn’t see Zlodey until the afternoon of the next day. I was still angry at him, but he didn’t seem to notice. If anything, he seemed quite pleased with himself. “Relax, wife. You have no need to fear assassins anymore.”
Well, that certainly did the job of getting passed my icy demeanor. “You caught the culprit?”
“You don’t need to worry about him ever again.”
My anger was gone. His absence was all forgotten. “That’s excellent news! We can bring the children back!”
Zlodey frowned. “No. I think it would be best if they stayed away. For the safety, of course.”
What kind of reply was that? My children could come home. Why didn’t he want them back? “But you caught him.”
“And there will be more.”
“Are you sure?”
“The weak don’t like it when the strong take charge. But it is who we are and it is what we are meant to do.”
If he was so certain, what was I to do? I wanted my children home, but I wanted them to be safe. I didn’t argue. If Zlodey thought there was something to be concerned about, then there must still be danger. My children would have to stay away. So that night I ate at the table alone. My children away at a safe house, my husband hard at work. I was left without anything to do or anyone to do it with. I spent that night cleaning up the children’s rooms, even though the maids had already done so. I missed my children so much.
Zlodey continued to work all night, so I went to bed alone. But as I started to remove my make up, I heard a noise coming from the bedroom. “Zlodey?” I asked, expecting to see my husband finally come to bed, but when I came into the room, it was completely empty. “I guess I must’ve been imagining…”
Then I felt two hands grab a hold of me! I tried to struggle against them, but they wouldn’t let go! Then they were pulling me down to the ground. No, through the floor!
And we kept falling down, floor by floor, until five…six…until we were well below the surface. I didn’t even know the palace went down this far. “Get off me!” I screamed. “My husband will track you down and kill you! He wouldn’t let anyone lay their hands on me! Not anyone!”
The kidnapper let go of me and I turned quickly to face them. Whatever coward would attack me in my own bedchambers, I wanted to see. Maybe I wouldn’t wait for my husband to find us. I was plenty angry to do the job myself. But when I turned to see my abductor I was surprised by who I found. It wasn’t some assassin. It was my daughter! “Lina! What are you doing here? What is going on? Why aren’t you in the safe house? Where is Mayhew? Where is your brother?”
“Mayhew’s safe,” she assured me. “He’s with the bodyguards, but I couldn’t stay with them. I had to be with you.”
“That’s sweet, Lina, really, but…but, wait a second! Did you just pull me through the floor!?”
She gave an embarrassed smile. “That’s just something I can do, put things out of phase, but you should already know that.”
“You’re making no sense, Lina.”
“I know. But it’s ok. You’ll understand soon enough.” Then Lina pushed me into some kind of box.
“What are you doing?” I demanded. “What is going on?” I didn’t know how this day could get any stranger. First Zlodey had sent our children, then he all but vanished into his work. Then my daughter reappeared and pulled me through the floor into some strange sub-basement of the palace. And then she pushed me into some bizarre twenty-sided box? Where did this thing even come from? What was it doing down here? And why was my daughter stuffing me into it? This all had to be some weird dream. No, a nightmare! Then she slammed the door shut on me. “Lina! What is going on? What are you doing? What is this thing?”
“Everything will be clear in just a few seconds,” I heard her say through the walls of the box. “…assuming I built this correctly.”
“What!? What is this? What are you…” And then came the pain. The searing, blinding, atom-tearing pain.
to be continued…