Author’s Note: I wasn’t sure how I wanted to go about introducing this part of the back story into things. This way works, though it does it from a distance…
“No! No, please, no…” Enya thrashed around on her makeshift bed, tangled up in the blanket, still screaming as she threw herself about. Oceana leaned close to her, trying to catch hold of the other woman’s arms and get her still.
Sherwin knelt down on Enya’s other side, reaching for her. “Shh, now, Enya. It’s all right—”
“Move,” Cress ordered, pushing past everyone and sitting down next to her. He put a hand on her forehead, and the thrashing stopped, reduced to shudders as she sobbed. She did not open her eyes, but she was calmer, and Oceana sighed. She knew that no one else could do what her brother did, and the way Enya had been screaming had already woken everyone, but she’d been hoping to stop things before he got drawn into it. He shouldn’t do this, not after all he had done, but he would never turn his back on any of them, even if he should.
“I killed them,” Enya said, anguished. She pulled away from Cress, shivering. “I killed them…”
He drew her into his arms, holding her against him. Oceana winced, not liking how much contact he had with the other woman. Sure, it would keep her calm, but that much physical contact would drain him that much faster.
“This is familiar—and not in a good way,” Sherwin said, backing toward the door. Oceana nudged Terra, sending her close to him. Moira was already on the move, knowing as Oceana did that having the rest of them stand there would only make things harder for Cress. He was already pushing too far, and they had to try and stop this from becoming worse. Last thing they needed was him killing himself because Enya had a nightmare.
Sherwin shook his head, leaning against the wall. “Poor Enya. She’s just as bad as she was when it first happened.”
Terra studied them, a dark look on her face. “This isn’t good. It took him the better part of a week to calm her down last time.”
“Are you kidding? You think a week is bad? Others might not have come back from that at all.” Sherwin frowned, looking at his sister and then Terra. They said nothing, but Oceana did not expect them to, not in front of her. Sherwin had missed the point. If this was anything like the last time, it might just kill Cress. He didn’t have a week’s worth of comfort in him. “Damn. I’d forgotten how hard this was to watch.”
Terra’s eyes never left the others. “So much pain… How can he stand it?”
Oceana shrugged, trying not to let it show, didn’t want them all knowing how much it bothered her. “I figure he flushes it away, makes it easier for both of them.”
Moira sighed. “This is going to mess up the watch schedule.”
“I can stand watch with Terra,” Oceana said. She saw them looking at her and shook her head. “You and Sherwin have the harder job, listening for signs of their approach. I don’t. I’m fine. You two go some rest.”
Moira glanced toward Cress and Enya, frowning as she did. “He will need you later, Occie.”
“I know.” She already knew the cost her brother was paying, and she’d help if she could, but she was almost as helpless as the rest of them. She didn’t understand why Cress was so good with emotions, why he was able to do what he did and soothe all of them. The sound of water was used for relaxation, baths could be soothing, and water cleansed, but why did that mean that he had to be the one that embodied all of that? Why was he the only one who could alter moods? They could all irritate each other, but they didn’t relieve pain like he did.
They weren’t burdened like he was.
“Come on, Terra.”
“She can scream, can’t she? No wonder she lives alone,” Sherwin said, rubbing at his ear. He should be deaf, having heard the scream while listening for signs of an approach, too focused on his sense of hearing—his eardrum could have burst if it had been an explosion. At least his watch was already over because he wasn’t up to doing that again.
Oceana stopped in the doorway. “Wait. The town. Did they hear her?”
Sherwin held up a hand. He closed his eyes, grimacing. He put his hand on his sister’s arm as he tuned in to the wind. “At least one of them did. Damn it.”
“They blaming it on the wind?”
Moira’s lips set into a thin line as the building shook around them. “They will.”
I didn’t quite understand the last wee bit of that interchange, though of course, I’m assuming it relates to the fire. This was a hard bit to read but a good one anyway. I want to hug them.
I guess I’d better make it clearer. Oceana stopped because she realized that the nearby town might have heard Enya screaming from a motel that’s supposed to be deserted. It would be suspicious. Moira stirred up the air to make them think it was just the wind, a bad dust storm with a “howling” sort of sound to it.
I’ll look at how I can make that clearer, though.
They all need hugs.