I opened my eyes and stared out of the window realising suddenly that it had been daylight all this time. I had been so distracted by the situation I hadn’t even noticed. I leapt up from the armchair and rushed to the window. The leaves swayed in the wind and the rays of light shining through the foliage created a prism of pinks and purples.
“It is light here. How can that be? We have had nothing but darkness on Nolavia for weeks. They said the Mainland was also blacked out.” I said.
“We are not on the same timeline Esereht. When you go back to Nolavia it will still be dark.”
“We are on a different timeline?” I said slowly as if that would make the words make sense. My father nodded. “So if I say I want to go to a specific date would I go there?” He nodded again. “Even if it hasn’t happened yet?”
“Darling it is all happening simultaneously. The past, the future, now, this moment, it is all happening at the same time. What you change now changes the past and the future. But beware making changes in the past for the ripple effects can lead to disastrous events. People disappear in the blink of an eye because someone wants to make a fortune on the stock exchange…“
“What? Really?” I said aghast. “That doesn’t bear thinking about.”
“No you right it doesn’t but it happens all the same.”
“ Dad, I’d better get back to Nolavia. Davalast will be worried about me.”
“It has only been a few minutes my dear.” My father smiled.
“No way we’ve been here for hours.” I protested. He shook his head. “Does being on a different timeline change the way time passes in another?”
“Yes. When you return to Nolavia and your timeline only a few minutes will have passed.” He said with a wry smile. “It will be useful for us when we wish to spend time together without eliciting any questions or suspicions. I do want to spend time with you Esereht. I have missed you more than you can ever know.”
“Oh Dad I have missed you too.” I ran to him and he enveloped me in his arms. We stayed entwined for a long time. His jacket smelt of cinnamon and tobacco. I looked up into his face. “Do you still smoke?” I said incredulously. He grinned.
“Unfortunately, yes.” I wasn’t going to tell him but I loved the smell. It reminded me of a time when we were a family and I was safe. Well, I had felt safe then even if it was only an illusion.
I teleported back to my dark laboratory just as Davalast walked in. The note was still on the table.
“What did he say?” Said Davalast, his face radiant from the beam of light from his forehead.
“Did you see the note?” Davalast looked confused. I handed it to him. He read it and looked up.
“So when are you going?” He asked.
“I’ve already been. You are not going to believe what happened. Let’s go for a walk down to the river. We need to create a frequency disturbance so nobody can intercept our conversation.” Davalast’s frown deepened but he said nothing. We left the house holding illuminated hands. The humming static around us was distracting at first but we soon became used to it.
The air smelled stale from the constant fires. Nolavians were used to at least two hundred sunny days a year. This constant gloom was making them depressed. The magical community suggested cosy fires to lift their spirits. I’m not sure it was working. The darkness seemed to prevent the Island’s natural breathing. Davalast said nothing as I told him of the meeting with my father.
“It all sounds like a Science Fiction movie.” He said. I grinned.
“That’s just what I said.”
“What are the implications of this grid that you are encoded with? If they killed your mother because of her knowledge won’t they target you?” Davalast stopped and turned to face me. I looked back at him saying nothing but he understood. His face crumpled and he pulled me against him.
I was calmer now. Telling this man whom I loved so much seemed to settle something in me. It is as though I accepted my destiny somehow. I didn’t have any new answers and I still didn’t understand the grid but I knew that I would soon. After all it existed inside of me. I wondered if the lionesses and The Voice that spoke to me in the garden were part of this new knowledge?
Anaira and her association with Mundanim was the most pressing concern. My stomach gave a strange little flip when I remembered I could talk to my father about it. It felt good to know that he was available and we would meet again soon. I now had two extraordinary men in my life. I grabbed Davalast around the waist and squeezed him hard.
“What’s that for?” He said laughing.
“Have I told you that I love you?” I said.
“Not nearly often enough.” He said leaning down to kiss me.