This serial is presented in draft form and will be updated each Thursday. Your comments are always welcome!
Prologue ~ Ch 1 ~ Ch 2 ~ Ch 3 ~ Ch 4 ~ Ch 5 ~ Ch 6 ~ Ch 7 ~ Ch 8 ~ Ch 9 ~ Ch 10 ~ Ch 11 ~
Ch 12 ~
Ch 13 ~ Ch 14 ~ Ch 15 ~ Ch 16 ~ Ch 17 ~ Ch 18 ~
The moment the technician left the room, Kairavini closed his eyes and tentatively reached out with his mind. To his vast relief his mind remained clear; there was no pain and nothing impeded him.
Nereida, are you there? He felt the first stirring of panic, however, when there was no immediate response. She was there, she had to be. Maybe she was just sleeping. Nereida? Answer me!
He half-rose from his bed. Nereida, please answer me!
Using every ounce of his strength he pushed with his mind. At last he was rewarded with a faint glimmer of recognition.
Nereida! Ravi fell back onto the bed, tears of relief pricking at the corner of his eyes. I was so afraid I'd lost you.
No, my brother. It was quite the opposite. You saved me.
I don't understand.
Nor should you. Nereida chastised herself for her slip. She never wanted Ravi to know what she'd gone through, just as she never wanted him to learn what the M designation on her wrist meant. The main thing is, we are both alive, and that in itself is cause for celebration.
You sound so weak, are you all right?
I'm much better, now that I'm able to speak with you again. For a while there was something blocking me, but it's gone now.
It must have been the drugs they were giving me for the headaches. I couldn't reach you either. I was so worried! Are you sure you're all right?
Just weak and tired, brother. Nothing that a few good meals and some rest won't cure.
Ravi couldn't shake the feeling there was something else going on with her. He pushed with his mind, trying to share her thoughts as they used to, but she shut him out. You're blocking me, why?
Maybe I just don't want you wandering around my thoughts any time you like. There are some things a girl likes to keep private.
We never had secrets before.
Things were different before. We've changed now, we've passed through our tespiro.
Which room are you in? I want to see you, to make sure you're all right.
He winced at the strength of her objection.
Promise me you won't come looking for me, she demanded.
Nereida . . .
Fine, I promise. I don't understand what the problem is though.
I don't want you getting into trouble, that's all. And I've been in this room for days, I look a mess.
You know I don't care about that . . .
I know. But I do. It's a girl thing, she added.
Why do I get the feeling there's going to be a lot of 'girl things' in the future?
Because we're growing up, brother, she replied with a trace of her old humour. When we resume classes it will be to learn about the breeding program.
That'll make Zephryn happy, Ravi said. You have no idea how disappointed he was when the classes were suspended.
That made her laugh, as it was meant to.
I just hope it lives up to his expectations, Nereida said.
They're letting me out tomorrow, Ravi said, changing what was for him an uncomfortable topic. I get to go back to the dorm.
No you don't, silly.
What do you mean? Where else would I go?
Think about it brother. You passed your tespiro. That makes you a breeder. No more dorms for you, you get your own room now.
Ravi thought about it for a minute. I don't know if I'd like being in a room by myself. It sounds . . . lonely.
You'll still have meals and classes and exercise periods with your year mates.
How do you know all this? Ravi demanded.
You'd be surprised what people talk about when the patient they're watching over is supposed to be comatose.