Part Twenty Five of You Will Find Your Way
Dallas and her right arm. Also, iPhones and Pumpkin Spice lattes.
Dallas finally tears her gaze away from the truly devastating, appalled, fear on Luke’s face, looks down at what her arm looks like without the knot that makes it blend seamlessly with the rest of her body.
Like it’s her arm.
But really, her skin ends a few inches above her shoulder, where it abruptly cuts off in a scarred stump, save the aged bone emerging from her skin. It sticks out of the middle—a humerus that attaches to a radius and ulna, and those connect to a set of carpus bones, metacarpus, and phalanges.
Instead of fresh and white—or whatever bones are supposed to look like on the inside, Dallas doesn’t know and doesn’t want to find out—the bones are somewhere between dark gray and yellow, and completely covered with darker carvings in some ancient script that’s not of this world.
Or the world she accidentally ended up on.
Maris and her secrets strike again.
Dallas sighs. Probably not a good time to go down that road.
She curls her fingers to a fist, sees Luke flinch when the little bones click against one another, “Sorry,” she presses the hand flat against her thigh, which doesn’t do much to help matters. “This was a ‘sorry we don’t actually know how to grow your arm back’ gift from the people who saved me.”
“And those people are what, aliens?”
“That’s not what they consider themselves.”
Luke tilts his head, and Dallas shrugs, waves a hand until she realizes that the hand is the one that’s making Luke look a little green, so she drops it back on her lap, “They’re the last of some ancient civilization that pre-dates humans like you and Giselle, like what I used to be, but they’ve always been shifty when I pressed them for more details on the where and when.”
He sounds like he doesn’t believe a word she says, which surprises her in no way.
“All I know is that at some point they decided to dedicate themselves to eradicating this—this infestation that travels from world to world. They saved Earth a long time ago, and that book Giselle is taking her sweet time getting from my room is something they left behind.”
Luke blinks, still dazed as he drops more of his weight against the mantle, “How did it end up here? At Tate of all places?”
“How does anything end up here?” She shrugs. “You wouldn’t believe the power in the books they have locked up over in Special Collections. The fact that they keep them so close and accessible to such—such irresponsible children, well, case in point,” her cheeks feel hot as she rants and holds her hand up, winces at the way Luke’s eyes track it like it’s a threat.
Eventually, he looks at her face again, “So you don’t remember what happened because, well, that’s all understandably traumatic.”
“If only,” she grumbles and shakes her head. “It might have been twelve years for you, but for me, it’s been closer to a century and a half.”
Luke blinks again, opens his mouth, but then closes it, reconsiders whatever he was about to say, and tries again, “So—saying I believe any of this, how could it be possible for it to be that long?”
“Part of whatever it is they did to save my life,” she waves her hand again, flinches and fumbles to get the knot retied around her neck as she goes on. “Screwed with the way I age, I think? Obviously I still look like I’m in my twenties so—that’s really as far as I’ve gotten with this. And when I was sent back, the genius who did it screwed up and sent me to the late eighteen sixties instead of, you know, now. Do you know how much of a pain it is to live in a world that’s pre-internet? Pre-iPhone? Pre-Pumpkin Spice Latte?”
She shrugs, “What? I’m allowed to be basic. I kind of got over caring about what other people think of me.”
Despite however he might be feeling, Luke snorts, “Never would have guessed.”
Dallas arches a brow at that, and he shrugs, waves a hand in her direction, “You’ve never been this—”
“I was going to say outgoing,” he laughs, a teasing lit to his tone.
“I guess that works too.”
Footsteps echo from upstairs, and Giselle calls out, “Are we done with show and tell?”
Dallas rolls her eyes, tugs the ends of the knot together and in a blink her arm looks like an arm, “Yeah, yeah, we’re just reminiscing about the good old days.”
“Oh,” Giselle finally pops in, and she’s holding the book in her hands like it’s a sack of eels. “Stories about Dallas in the old days?”
When Luke’s eyes land on the book, his skin turns to that sickly green shade again, “Uh, not really, professor,” he breaks off, looks between Dallas and Giselle again. “I should go. I uh—I won’t say anything about this.”
And like every other time she’s run into him, Luke’s gone before Dallas can think of something to say.
You Will Find Your Way continues with Part Twenty Six
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