18

The fish-shaped craft landed and Petra's excitement grew. The Sealand woman consulted with the pilot to see if we were able to exit the flying machine. Once he granted permission, the door opened, revealing an entirely new and mysterious world.

The Sealand woman stepped out, followed by an ecstatic Petra. Rosalind and I were hesitant to step off the craft because once we did; there was no turning back. The under-Rosalind, calm and collected as ever, connected with my mind as if to reassure me that we have made the right decision. I took her hand in mine and we exited the machine together.

The first things Rosalind and I saw when we stepped off were hundreds, and hundreds of people. It seemed as though this was the first time they had ever seen people who were not native to their land. Most of the people's focus was on Petra, and she relished in the attention. The Sealand woman walked ahead of us; occasionally glancing back to make sure we were behind her. In my mind, I could hear a buzzing of sorts. This was what I would later discover to be the thought-shapes of everyone colliding and collaborating.

While walking I had the chance to observe this new area more carefully. I was immediately mesmerized by the tall buildings, built upon remnants of the Old People's structures. My surroundings were foreign and queer. Everywhere I looked; I could not help but notice that many of the people as well as the plants and trees would be considered Deviations or Blasphemies. I continuously had to remind myself that I was not in Waknuk or Labrador, or even in Newf. These things that I see around me, things that I consider Deviations, are normal. They are not killed or burned, nor are they mistreated as they are at home. Once again, I remind myself that this isn't home and it is far from it.

Immediately in front of me, I see a large set of doors, ones much grander than the simple pine doors that can be seen anywhere in Labrador. With my hand still clasping Rosalind's, we walk through the doors, not entirely sure as to what will happen beyond.

There is a blinding light awaiting us past the inviting entrance. I shield my eyes and for a very brief moment, I sense Petra's distress but, in a second, it is gone. I open my eyes once again, only to realize that I am no longer holding Rosalind's hand and the two of us are surrounded by people in strange clothing. The men around me are poking and prodding as I hear the Sealand woman say 'Come on people! They've traveled a long way and haven't any decent clothes with them. We are at their service.'

Then, from a woman next to Petra, 'Maeve, this one does not wish to have me dress her.'
From the corner of my eye, I caught sight of the Sealand woman, or Maeve I suppose, got to Petra and explain what was going on.

'Petra, we are just trying to help you. We do not want to trouble you with simple things like dressing yourself. Trust me, darling; it will make much more sense as you reach your brother's age.'

I focused back on the men with me. They pulled me along and sat me in a chair next to Rosalind. We spoke through our thought-shapes, speaking about the events of the past two days. We were completely engrossed in each other when a thought occurred to Petra that she felt was necessary to be noticed. She projected a picture of Rachel. Rosalind and I were startled as we frantically attempted to clear the cloud Rosalind has created in our minds.

'Petra, calm down. Nothing can be done while you are in a panic. Try to contact Rachel, or Michael. See where they are.' Rosalind suggested.

Petra concentrated for a few moments. She was not able to make contact of any kind with Rachel. When she tried to connect with Michael, only a thought or two was coherent enough to understand what was happening.

'Petra, I need you to do something for me, okay?' I received a nod, 'I need you to ask Michael what's happening. Ask him what happened to Rachel. Do you understand?' Another nod. 'Okay. Thank you. Do it now please.'

Michael calmed long enough to answer our questions. As he responded, Petra sent me his messages.

'It's Rachel,' he said. 'She, she couldn't keep the secret any longer. It happened so fast. I was on my way back and once I was within range, I tried to contact her but, she, she-'. He broke off and I had to have Petra prompt him to continue.

'She, um, she didn't respond right away. I found this rather queer. She always, always, responds to me. I was, well, I was worried. I tried again. This time, she replied.'

'Well, that's-' Petra input.

'I wasn't finished,' he replied darkly. 'She told me that the Inspector had come by her house to speak to her. He talked to her about you and Rosalind and Petra. He asked her questions. But, the questions were ones that only we could have answered. Rachel, she said, that, that he knew. He knew that she's one of us. And he told her so. She didn't have a choice; she had to tell him about me. The thing is she planned to escape. And she would have made it except, someone tipped her father off. He didn't even think twice about it. He got her while she was sleeping. No second guessing, no doubt in his mind that his daughter was a Blasphemy. Petra, tell David, tell your brother, that I can't do this anymore. It isn't worth it if I don't have Rachel. I loved her and I can't live without her. It shouldn't have come to this. Tell David not to bother with getting you to contact me. I'll be gone by then. Goodbye, dear, darling Petra.'

'That's all he said?' I asked incredulously.

'Yes.'

'Dammit!'

'David, David, stop! There is nothing, nothing, we could have done. It was out of our hands.' Rosalind cut in.

'You're right. It was inevitable. And to think, we just assumed that they would be alright while we were here, living a life that they could never have. We thought this was fair! How selfish can we be?'

'Stop doing this to yourself, young one. It will not do any good. All that you can do for them now is keep the girl safe. She is our future. That is what they would have wanted.' Maeve said.

'I can't do this. I, I have to go somewhere, anywhere.' I stormed from the room. Rosalind reached out to me with her mind 'David, please don't go.' But it was too late. I had already left the room.