ANDA

Last time we saw ANDA… (click for recap)

Anda and Mica are taken to see the Colonel, but something isn’t right, and Anda is asked to leave the room for a bit. She is uneasy, but as she is waiting, she sees something odd. The light at the end of the hall isn’t right. She goes to investigate and finds a room filled with screens showing surveillance footage. She realizes why the light is familiar: it is the same color as her visions. Terrified, she bursts into the room where the Colonel, Mica, and Ben are. She is staggered by what she sees: she sees her vision of the dying man, the man she has been trying to find and save, flickering in front of her and realizes she has been seeing visions of this moment, not of this man’s death. He is already gone. As she looks to Mica, she realizes with horror that the man is Peter, their beloved family friend. And worst of all, the murderer she has been searching for is finally revealed: herself. She killed Peter…

Dark dreams have no end. Anda knew that now because she was in one, falling and tumbling and plunging into darkness…

Anda sat up bolt upright, suddenly awake, her heart pounding, unsure where she was. In the dim light, she realized that she was no longer in the medical bay and leaned her back against the cell’s stone wall. A single bulb flickered and emitted a high-pitched electrical whine that stayed just on the edge of hearing.

Then she remembered.

She had killed Peter—the man she’d destroyed her life and her best friend trying to save.

Cold sweat clung to her scalp and upper lip, and her shoulders began shaking, so she wrapped a prickly blanket around her shoulders as she tried to piece together what had happened after that horrifying revelation. She’d been dragged to the medical bay and given a sedative. Then, after a few hours of rest in some cold and too-white room, Hannah had taken her to a stone cell with a cot. Hannah had left, promising to return soon to check on her, and told her to try and get some sleep. After a few sleepless hours and too much thinking, Anda had drifted off into dreamless sleep. She had dozed off while she waited, but she was ready now.

She dangled her feet off the edge of the bed. Her boots were on and laced up tight. She had seen it a dozen times already, and she knew what she had to do. It felt good, making a decision, and while Peter’s face kept flashing through her mind, knowing that it would all be over soon was some comfort. Cowardice nodded to her. He smelled like old food, rotting and molding, but she didn’t mind anymore.

Her eyelids fluttered as the light shifted.

“Mica, can I come in… Dr. Henderson wanted me to give you something to help you sleep….”

A knock on the door.

“Mica, can I come in?” Hannah’s voice came muffled from the other side of the door. This was the moment Anda had been waiting for. “Dr. Henderson wanted me to give you something to help you sleep,” Hannah said.

The lock clicked, the door opened, and the White Seer entered. She held a needle in one hand and her staff in the other.

“How are you feeling?” Hannah asked.

“Did they… did they tell you what happened?”

“Yes. They did.”

“Did you… I mean, did you know… him? Peter?” Cowardice shook his head disapprovingly, his jowls wobbled. Anda wasn’t sure why she asked, she shouldn’t have asked, but she did.

Hannah nodded. “Yes.”

“Was he… what was he like?”

Hannah tilted her head a bit like she was listening for something. “You should probably get some sleep. We can talk about this tomorrow.”

“No. I… please, I… I want to know.”

Hannah leaned her staff aside and sat on the edge of the cot next to Anda’s dangling feet. “I knew Peter and his family, and they were very kind people. His mother especially. She was a good friend of mine.”

“What… what happened to her?”

“Astrid died. That was a long time ago though.”

“You miss her?” Anda asked.

“Yes. But that was a long time ago.”

Anda moved to the edge of the bed and let her feet drop to the floor. The rubber soles of her boots quietly slapped the stones under her feet.

Hannah turned her head sharply. “Anda, are you wearing—” she started to ask, but Anda was quicker. And besides, she’d seen this moment a dozen times already and knew just how fast she had to be. She grabbed the needle from Hannah and jammed it into the Seer’s neck. Hannah gasped and tried to stand and grab her staff, but Anda kicked the wooden staff away, sending it clattering to the floor.

Anda held Hannah as her body relaxed and grew limp, and she drifted off into sleep. “I’m sorry, Hannah. You’ve been so kind to me, but this is the only way I could see. This was the only way I could see to escape.”

“Anda…”

“I can’t… stay here and remember anymore. Ben and Mica… they… I can’t stand the way they look at me. They don’t… care, so I’m going home.”

She didn’t tell Hannah that she couldn’t stand the visions. Not anymore. She would burn herself as many times as it took to get rid of her visions.

“Good-bye, Hannah. And… thank you,” she whispered as Hannah’s breath came slow and steady.

Anda eased the sleeping woman onto the bed and shifted the pillow under her dark hair. She stood completely still for a moment and breathed deeply. Cowardice’s shadow fell on her and filled up the room, and he smiled. It was time.

Anda concentrated. Her eyelids fluttered and then shot open. Her pupils widened and filled her eye with darkness. A bright green glow, green like new plants, green like growing things and life and breath circled her pupils like an eclipse. And she saw the future like flower budding and blooming and dying all in the blink of an eye.

She blinked, and the darkness and light disappeared. Quickly, she took the key card from Hannah’s pocket and slipped out the door.

In the stone hall lined with cell doors, Anda reached into the future and saw.