Part Twenty Four of You Will Find Your Way
Explanations are difficult when Dallas doesn’t remember half the thing she’s trying to explain.
A Very Long Time Ago
A symphony of whispers follow Dallas as she sprints out of Central Park.
To all these people, she looks ridiculous and is carrying a weapon on her back and is a woman out unescorted, and holy shit she is going to kill Maris if she ever has the misfortune of seeing her again.
Curses spill from her mouth as the passes a gaggle of ladies in massive flowing dresses with long sleeves and petticoats and bonnets covering their coiled hair. They’re carrying fans, scandalized twitters echoing around them when she launches herself off the open street and into a shaded alley.
Dallas’ shaking fingers twitch and she clenches them to fists, knocks her head back against the brick wall behind her.
She looks up at the pale, clear sky—the beautiful clouds mocking her in their simplicity—and glares, “Now what am I supposed to do?”
After allowing herself a few minutes to panic and then get herself back together—because she has dealt with much worse than accidentally ending up in the wrong damn era and she can handle this, Mathias trained her to—Dallas casts a glance around, makes sure no one decided to follow the weird heathen lady into the alley.
Because it’s about to get worse.
She strips her harness off, drops it and the blade at her feet before tugging her shirt up over her shoulders. She resettles the harness, shivers when the cool metal of the blade touches her skin before she tugs her tunic over it.
Better than nothing.
Squaring her shoulders, Dallas sneaks out of the alley, looks from one side of the street to the other before she spies a man in rags huddled up at the end of the block.
“Excuse me,” she manages through the lump in her throat, ignores the way he narrows his eyes at her in a leer. “Could you tell me what year it is?”
Well, this is almost as awkward as that time she realized she landed in eighteen-freaking-sixty and accidentally caused a weeks-long uproar about the strange naked girl who darted out of Central Park and had probably been raised by wolves or something.
Except not, because the anger hasn’t drained from Luke’s face during their mad dash across campus to Giselle’s house.
Now he’s standing in front of the fireplace in the living room, glaring at them like they’re misbehaving ROTC recruits, and not a pair of grown damn adults sitting on a couch. His arms are crossed over his chest in a way that showcases the definition of his biceps and—
This is not remotely an appropriate time.
Dallas looks at Giselle, but she just shrugs.
“Well,” she draws the word out for a breath. “What do you want to know?”
Luke’s eyebrow cocks up and he looks a little like he’s about to yell at them, so Dallas shrugs and amends with, “I mean, where do you want me to start?”
“The beginning would be nice,” he snaps. “They ran DNA. The arm they found in the forest was yours.”
She sighs, because that was not where she wanted to start.
Also the fact that she doesn’t want to go over any of this.
Time to put the big girl pants on, Dallas.
“Yeah, it was mine,” she says, sighs, because there is no easy way to explain this, especially when it happened so long ago that she doesn’t even remember most of it.
Damn Maris and her stupid glitchy powers.
Dallas rubs her eyes, “Can you tell me what was going on that night?”
“How do you not remember?” Luke demands instead, and she sees red.
Dallas squeezes her eyes shut, opens them and counts ten panels on the wood floors, “Just pretend I have amnesia for now,” she waves a hand. “I can’t explain that part of it if I don’t start from the beginning, which I barely remember. It’s a vicious circle, so humor us and help me out.”
Luke’s glare deepens, but he does do as asked, “Fraternity bonfire. I ran into you, we talked for a minute, then I saw you walk off with Phil,” he breaks off, but Dallas waves a hand for him to keep going. “Twenty minutes later some shit went down in the forest and seven Betas ended up burnt to a crisp. The only thing that didn’t end up in a vacuum filter was your arm.”
His words spark a memory deep in the shadows of Dallas’ mind, and she shudders at the feeling of dread that builds in her chest, “Well. Yeah. Sounds about right. Like I’ve been saying, my memory isn’t what it used to be.”
“Why the hell not?”
Dallas tries to resist the urge to roll her eyes, but fails because she doesn’t actually want to, “Because after the first century, my memory from back then got a little rusty.”
Luke’s jaw drops, and he gapes for a second before he snaps out of it, “What.”
With a sigh, Dallas looks at Giselle, “You want to get the book? I’ll get the thing over with while you’re gone.”
“Hell yes,” Giselle almost jumps off the couch in her haste to get up, and she’s halfway out of the room when she stops, looks at Luke, and then back to Dallas.
“We’ll be fine,” she waves Giselle away. “I know you hate this part.”
“Got that right,” she snorts, and then she’s gone.
Silence falls over the living room before Luke rakes a hand through his hair, “For god’s sake, Dallas,” he grunts. “Stop talking around this and explain.”
She winces, “Sorry,” and she kind of does really feel bad. “Look, those idiot Betas thought it would be an awesome idea to use me as a sacrifice to open a portal. They didn’t realize that they can’t actually control that shit, because they’re idiot teenagers, and the portal closed on my arm with me on the other side of it. I’d rather not try to remember the rest of that night, but I woke up somewhere else. With people who also used to be from Earth.”
“Insane, impossible, ridiculous, I know, I’ve thought about it enough on my own,” Dallas tugs the collar of her t-shirt aside and fishes for the cord tied around her neck, tugs it until she gets to the knot keeping the ends together and picks at it with a fingernail until it unravels.
The second the pieces of leather separate, she feels the shift in the way her right arm rests against her thigh, doesn’t need to look down to know that it doesn’t look like a fleshy arm anymore.
The way Luke goes pale and stumbles back is indication enough.
“What the hell is that?”
You Will Find Your Way continues with Part Twenty Five
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