Last time we saw ANDA… (click for recap)
Anda resolves to escape the Unseen City after deciding that Ben and Mica won’t accept her and her visions. She uses her abilities to plan an escape, but as she tries to flee, she is stopped by Jason. Oddly, she did not see him in her visions. He tries to convince her to escape with him, but given his role in Zoe’s death, she can’t do that. Angered, he pushed back on her, and she snaps, telling him what she really thinks of him. Jason goes quiet as guards come to escort him and Anda away, and just like that, her chance of escape slips away…
The days blurred together, gray and white and bright like rain trailing down a window, warping and distorting everything. They wouldn’t let Anda leave the medical bay. She knew she would escape eventually, but she had to bide her time and plan more carefully. Her first attempt had failed because she’d been careless, but her second would not. But why hadn’t she seen Jason in her vision? She should have, shouldn’t she? Not that it mattered. As soon as she found an opportunity, she would run.
So she sat going over the future in her mind, watching people come and go before they came and went. She watched for openings, moments of blind eyes, and turned backs. She waited and waited and waited for the right moment to slip away forever. But the Unseen were diligent and always watching.
Ben, the stranger who called himself her brother, came for a visit. She knew he would. She had seen him knock and enter long before he knocked and entered. He apologized again and again for not being able to restore her memories. He sat, his crutch, rustic and carved, leaning against his chair. His hands clenched in front of him on the little metal table as if in prayer, and he told her about their family. He said they were kind and that life had been good. He told her about a man named Peter.
Peter was their rock. Their friend. The calming presence in their storm. Peter painted and drew and cared for animals and kept peace between them when arguments threatened to break out. Somehow, instead of them saving him, he had saved them and kept them all together. He told her how Peter had been from the Unseen and much loved here. Anda wanted to remember him, this man who meant so much to so many people, but she didn’t.
She listened in a daze without memory or emotion for this man who was just a name: Peter. Ben cried when he told her how Peter had died. He said he was so sorry that he could not help her and restore her memories. He didn’t know or understand why he had failed.
Anda didn’t know why either. And a shadow, like dark clouds and thunder, in her mind grew. Doubt, with his arching eyebrows and his hemming and hawing, stood at her elbow. Ben was supposed to be some great and powerful hero. The Unseen practically worshiped this limping, gangly, scruffy young man and hailed him as the savior of Nova and the Burned. But how could that be if he couldn’t save her? And what did that make her, that the savior of Nova couldn’t even save her?
She sat in a small room in the medical bay awaiting more tests and watching the future when the door opened and a woman entered. The woman wore a white cloak and a white scarf tied around her head. Her hair waved around her shoulders like dark ropes. Anda blinked and tried not to gasp. This woman held a staff.
This was the white-scarved woman.
This was the woman from her vision–the one who sang that haunting song of water and waves and grief. She clutched the edge of the gurney, afraid and fascinated by this apparition made flesh. She’d been wrong. Amelia, Cassandra, the Nowhere Woman, had not been the woman in her visions. At least, not at first. She did see Cassandra defeat the soldiers just before it happened, but she should have realized she was not the same person as in her other visions. This white-scarved woman held a staff.
“Hello, Miranda. My name is Hannah. I have been assigned to watch over you.”
Anda studied this strange and mystic woman, wondering how much she saw with her covered eyes. And her mind reeled. How could she have gotten everything so wrong? And what did the song mean?
“Why?” Anda asked.
Hannah cocked her head. “It’s only standard protocol. Nothing to worry about.” She smiled, and it was a genuine smile, meant to be reassuring, but something about her felt… strange. Different. She wasn’t dressed like the other Seers. She wore white, while the other Seers wore black.
“I’m not a threat,” Anda said.
“No, I don’t think you are. But that’s not why I’m here.”
“Yes, it is. It’s because they look at us differently. Ben and Mica and me. They don’t look at… Cassandra that way.”
Hannah sat completely still for a moment. “I am guarding you because you are Ben’s sister.”
“What does that mean?”
“You saw Ben’s abilities. Ben is different. Ben is special. Some, including Ben, believe that he is Perseus.”
Anda shrugged, not that the blind woman could see. “Perseus?”
“Hundreds of years ago, Juliette foresaw Perseus. She foresaw Perseus save us from Loraine. She saw Perseus destroy the Eternal Mother and the General Eternal.”
Anda’s heart raced, and her skin went hot. If Juliette foresaw the future, then Anda wasn’t the only one.
She wasn’t alone.
The thought penetrated her and filled her with warmth and light.
“Juliette saw the future?” Anda asked. Her heart beat faster and faster. There had to be some connection between herself and this Juliette. It couldn’t be a coincidence that she, too, saw the future, sometimes incorrectly, but mostly accurate.
Hannah nodded. “Her vision is… difficult to interpret. But the one thing that is universally agreed upon is that Perseus destroys Loraine and frees the ghosts. No more ghosts, as they say.”
“Who are the ghosts?”
“The Burned. They are shadows of their former selves, living, breathing, walking around, not knowing who they really are. Juliette foresaw that Perseus would save the Burned.
Hannah kept speaking. She said it would be all right. Hannah said that she would be there for her and that she would do whatever it took to keep her safe, but Anda didn’t hear her. Her words ran together in an incoherent stream of sound, and Anda wasn’t listening.
Someone was like her. Someone else could see the future. She wasn’t crazy after all. While that thought was thrilling, hopeful, light, all Anda felt was the growing darkness of a gathering storm. Her vision sparked and started in her mind like flowers bursting into bloom, leaving brilliant flashes of hands and blood and darkness.
A fountain covered in snow….
She wondered: if Juliette saw the future, and Ben is Perseus, then who was she? What was she?
“I want to see Mica,” she heard herself say, opening her eyes wide.