Mother and daughter
"Mother and daughter"
A petite young woman with wavy long brown hair breezed through the Summers Building main concourse. The building employees who knew her in passing waved in greeting as she smiled and greeted the few she came close enough to. She carried an old style leather brief case that clashed with the soft beige cotton dress she wore; another old fashion people were used to seeing on her. The Vid panel for the WCI express grav lift elevator recognized the woman’s hand print and allowed her access. The second the woman’s bio was recognized warnings starting blinking at security stations throughout the Council’s upper floors.
Julie stood in the doorway to her mother’s office suite watching her write in her journal. This was the ritual. Somehow it had been discovered a long time ago that when she came back, or as one of the earlier Scoobies had coined it ‘Reset’, it helped her find and sort the centuries of memories jumbled into her head. For the past two weeks that is all she did, write in her journals and wander the hallways of the building. Julie frowned. Where did she get that thing she called a skateboard?
The office was spectacular. It was appointed with the best antique wood furniture they could find. The computer system was second to none but that didn’t seem to interest Dawn. She sat on the floor at the glass topped coffee table writing in spiral bound paper notebooks. Since nobody wrote on paper like this anymore they had to have these notebooks specially made. Julie watched the fine pink feathers Dawn had glued to the top of her pen flutter back and fourth as she wrote.
“Um, ma…” Julie caught herself. This fourteen year old incarnation of her mother was not really comfortable being called ‘mom’. Dawn looked up. “Do you have a minute?”
Dawn bounced to her feet. She was wearing the same pink t-shirt and blue jeans she’d been wearing three weeks ago when she’d dropped into the lagoon. “Hi Julie.” Dawn ran across the room slid to stop. Her sock covered feet sliding across the hardwood floor. She hugged the woman like a daughter would hug her mother. “Did you see my last journal?”
Julie held up the scroll she was holding. “That’s kind of why I’m here.”
“Isn’t it cool?” Dawn skipped back across the room and sat back down on the floor then patted the sofa behind her. “Come on sit down. I need some company.”
“About this scroll.” Julie put the scroll down on the table in front of Dawn as she sat primly on the edge of the leather couch.
“What about it? Did I get something wrong?” Dawn unrolled the papyrus scroll and looked at. “I’m pretty sure everything is correct. Except I really wasn’t sure how to spell ‘stupid, arrogant immortal’.”
“You see, Dawn, the point to these journals is not only to help you remember but to help the archive keep your history accurate.” Julie said carefully trying not to show her frustration.
“I know that.” Dawn said as she looked at the fancy hieroglyphics she’d spent so long working on.
“Then why did you do this in hieroglyphics?” She thought she saw the corner of Dawn’s mouth twitch in a grin.
“Nobody said I shouldn’t.”
Julie looked over Dawn’s shoulder. “Is that your next journal?” At least being in the spiral bound notebook, she was sure it wasn’t more hieroglyphics. But she realized in wasn’t English either. “Ah, what language is that?”
“Ah, mostly Aramaic.” Dawn said softly. “With a little…”
“A little what else?”
“Klingon.” Dawn mumbled.
“What is Klingon?”
“It’s a language created for a pretend race of aliens from some twentieth century movies.” Dawn stated. Seeing the look on Julie’s face she said. “Do you know how tough it was finding all the right reference material and then getting the syntax to work properly with Aramaic?”
“You really don’t want people reading your journals. Do you?”
“Whatever gave you that idea?” Dawn turned back to her journal before Julie could see her trying to suppress a grin.
The small holo-vid embedded in the coffee table activated displaying the face of the receptionist, Syng. “Excuse me, Ms. Sumpter.”
“Syng, I’m using Summers for now.” Dawn said to the receptionist. She didn’t bother trying to mask her annoyance.
“I’m sorry, Ma’am,..Miss Summers.” The young woman replied. “I ah, just thought you might want to know that Miss Burkle is on her way up.”
At the confused look on Dawn’s face Julie leaned over. “Thank you, Syng.” She turned off the viewer. “Do you remember Miss Burkle?”
“Fred right?” Dawn was trying to search her memory. She looked at Julie. “Darn Swiss cheese memory. What am I missing?”
Dawn frowned. “Blue chick, bad hair, delusions of godhood.”
“That’s her.” Julie had mixed emotions about Illyria. The demon, with a strange relationship with her mother had been in and out of their lives since she was a child. On one hand, she’d been an honest and even trusted friend to her mother. On the other hand she was caustic, arrogant, outspoken and honest. Brutally honest. When she was wearing her Burkle persona she was warm, sweet and funny. The problem was that anybody who knew her true nature knew Burkle was a lie.
“I remember.” Dawn’s stomach clenched at the thought of seeing Illyria. The former god king was even more of a reminder of her original life than Hellboy was. She really didn’t remember the details, just emotions and the connections to her family. Memories which were still close like they happened just last week, because for her, they did.
During the several minutes it took the grav lift to reach the executive offices Illyria allowed the shell’s persona to slip slightly. Her hair kinked up and started to show a glimmer of blue while the reddish color faded from her lips. This had been one of the longest trips she’d taken and the Burkle persona had definitely worn out its welcome. Out of courtesy to the vermin who toiled away their meaningless existences in this hideous monstrosity Oriens was so proud of Illyria had agreed to maintain the basic Burkle persona when in the public areas.
“Oriens.” Illyria stated as she entered the office. “I see you have finally reconstituted your shell.”
Dawn looked up from her position on the floor leaning on Julie’s lap. The woman standing in her doorway sent a chill up her back. She wore an attractive beige dress, comfortable open toe shoes and was carrying an old leather brief case. The problem was with her rough blue tinge hair and cold, hard eyes; she did not look like somebody who would choose the feminine outfit she wore. Finally Dawn said the only thing she could think of. “Don’t call me that.”
“Illyria,” Julie said as she stroked Dawn’s hair trying to calm her. “Now is not the time.”
Illyria looked at the most recent spawn. They always seemed to think they were important. Each in their own time had stood up and tried to lift themselves above the common rodent infesting this and now so many other planets. But the shell Oriens wore was human and so far so were all the offspring it had disgorged. She ignored its bleating and continued to speak to Oriens. “If you do not stop allowing your shell to be butchered you will never gain enough power to access the key.”
“Like I did it on purpose.” Dawn heaved trying not to remember the attack she had recently recalled and written in the scroll. Creating the scroll had worked, the almost daily nightmares she’d been having had stopped since she put the incident on paper.
“You did not take ample precautions.” Illyria stated. She looked at the twisted stick that was Dawn’s Wizarding wand. It was securely locked in its glass display case. “There is a purpose for the wand.”
Dawn held her palm out toward Illyria. “Whatever. It’s a bit late for this conversation.” She motioned to the uncharacteristic briefcase. “What’s in the case?”
“Property I have retrieved.” Illyria opened the case and dumped its contents on to the table. A single object wrapped in layers of plastic clomped onto the glass table. Illyria dropped the case to the floor.
Dawn reached out and took a loose edge of the plastic and pulled. The wrapping quickly unwound and the contents clanked on to the table. It was Dawn’s knife, ‘Mr. Sharpie.’ The weapon was coved in blood; blood so thick that when it had dried it left ridges of blood around the handle outlining the fingers that had been gripping it.
“The maggot went off world.” Illyria stated. “It took me longer to find it then I had anticipated.” She seemed to ponder something. “I had been curious if its quickening would be released if I removed its head from its body without severing its spinal cord….”
“Enough.” Julie said as she eased Dawn away so she could stand up. It was enough having a teenager to raise again but she did not need this creature coming in so soon and stirring things up. “Illyria, thank you for retrieving the knife and, ah, taking care of the immortal but Dawn is not quite ready to deal with your presence right now.”
“That is true.” Illyria stated. “An emotional, pubescent child can be irritating and difficult to tolerate.” She looked at Dawn. “You will know where to find me when your shell has out grown this annoying faze.” Illyria turned and head out of the office.
As soon had Illyria turned, Dawn stood up and grabbed a heavy crystal ball paper weight she’d been using and threw it at the god king. The paper weight bounced off Illyria’s head causing the demon to stop in mid step. She changed as she turned finally showing her true nature, leather body suit and all. Dawn stood, arms crossed in front of her, daring Illyria to do something.
After all these centuries, Illyria knew how to push Dawn’s buttons. Julie just stared at them. She’d seen them clash before, usually just argue. They fought like sisters but sometimes it got bad. The journals told of a time when Dawn was quite old and was an extremely powerful Wizarding witch. They had started fighting and destroyed the Cleveland Watcher’s headquarters.
Without a word, Illyria turned again and left the office
“Can you get that cleaned up?” Dawn asked pointing at her knife.
“I’m sorry about Illyria.” Julie said as she rolled the knife back in its plastic. “You can never predict what she’s going to say except that it will be inappropriate.”
“I know.” Dawn said as she sat back down to her journal. She looked at one of the other objects she had moved to the table. It was her and Xander’s fortieth anniversary portrait, the picture she’d seen her first day here.
“Would you like me to activate it?”
“Activate it?” Dawn looked at the picture.
“Yes, it’s a wizarding photo. It moves.”
Julie smiled and produced her wizarding wand. She touched the picture with the wand to activate it. “I’ll leave you alone for a bit.” She looked at a clock, it was twelve thirty. “Will you join me for lunch at one?” They had to start figuring out what Dawn would do; go to school, home school here or perhaps move somewhere and start a new life away from the weird for awhile.
Dawn watched Julie leave than turned to the picture. Old versions of her and Xander were smiling and waving at the camera. Eventually old Dawn touched a necklace she was wearing and she changed into young adult Dawn. Young adult Dawn smiled saucily than stepped in front of Xander, sat on his lap and leaned in and kissed him. As they kissed, Xanders’s hand moved from her waist up her side. Dawn realized where the hand was going. “Oh!” she blushed and smiled at the thought just as Xander’s hand was about to reach its destination the Dawn in the picture pointed at the camera. The picture went blank for a second then reset to the portrait of old Dawn standing behind old Xander, the two waving at the camera.