“Ah! Ah! It HATES YOU! Hates them!” Tears poured down Sylenn’s cheeks as she shook, obviously trying to hold herself together, trying to stifle the creature that had forced its way into her body. “They took– they stole– Oh, God! The pain! They hurt it so much, so much!”
Niel stood behind Syleen’s chair, face creased in worry as Konyetta and Kylle spoke soothingly to her. He glanced over at Satherlin questioningly. Satherlin hesitated,t hen nooded.
In an instant, a huge form stood in Niel’s place. The ocher-striped Descendant hovered his large hand over Sylenn’s quivering head and sighed gently. Instantly, she stilled, her sobs trickling off into soft hiccups. After a moment, The Descendant removed his hand and Niel stood behind the chair again.
When Sylenn was calm again, Satherlin spoke. “It seems we have much to learn. I take it that the Hunter doesn’t understand what you try to tell it, either?”
Syleen shook her head, which was hidden int he handkerchief Konyetta had given her.
“Well, we’ll do what we can, then. Do understand thins, Sylenn: we do not want to hurt you or the Hunter any more. We want to help both of you.”
“You can help me by killing me,” Sylenn hissed, glancing up from the handkerchief. Her eyes burned in her tear-streaked face. “I am dead already; just a walking corpse. Kill me and end this damnation!”
“We won’t do that, Sylenn,” Satherlin replied compassionately. “I understand that you’re going through something horrible, but I don’t think that killing you will solve the problem. I won’t pretend to know what it’s like, but I won’t authorize your execution, either.”
Sylenn slumped int he chair. “so you’ll just cut me up and make the beast do tricks, then?”
“No,” Satherlin told her firmly, shifting his stance on the chair. “We’re not going to cut you up, and we’re not going to force you of the Hunter to do anything. Thsi whole War is about our freedom, about not being forced to be the pawn of aliens long dead and gone! We hope that you will cooperate with us, will allow us to examine you so that we can understand what’s going on, but we’re not going to force you.”
Sylenn stared into the handkerchief for several seconds before nodding reluctantly.
“Hey, all! Sorry I’m late!” Mosin burst into the room. Sylenn dove out on her chair and scuttled around behind one of the couches. Satherlin sighed as Kyshundra faced the late-comer.
“Mosin, can’t you ever walk into a room like a normal person? You scared Sylenn out of her wits!” She jabbed a finger at rthe girl’s hiding spot.
“I– Who?” Mosin halted, shocked.
“Sylenn, our guest. The one we scheduled this meeting to talk with?” Satherlin raised his eyebrows reprovingly.
Konyetta and Kylle glanced quickly at each other; so did Quiana and Kyysha. Eyes flew towards Mosin’s face and then towards the couch.
Mosin struggled for words. “S– ah, Sylenn is .. an unusual name. I– ah, could I meet her?”
A strangled cry came from behind the couch, then movement as the crouched girl scrambeld to get farther away.
“Sylenn?” Konyetta said,peering around the couch. “Sweetie? Mosin would like to say hello. Would you–”
“No!” Sylenn cried, hiding her face in her chest. “No!”
“Sylenn?” Mosin whispered, walking slwoly forward.
“No!” she cried, huddling on the floor. “I’m not here! I’m not her!”
Mosin leapt around the edge of the couch and crouched down beside her. As he reached out to touch her arm, she jumped tot he side and scrambled away.
“NO! Leave me alone! She’s dead, do you hear me? Dead!” She was crying again.
“Oh, God; Sylenn! We thought you were dead! We thought– is it really you, Silly?” Mosin stood and moved towards her.
Sylenn half-stood and backed up into the wall. Pressing herself against it, she shook her head furiously.
“No, no,” she whimpered. “Look at me, Momo! I’m a monster! I’ve got this thing inside me that makes me kill and EAT people! I’m not your little Silly anymore! She died back then! Do you hear me! She’s dead!”
Mosin continued to walk slowly towards her, arms extended.
“Sylenn, we don’t care about any of that! We just want you back. We love you, Silly! I love you!”
Sylenn covered her face with her hands and sobbed. Mosin crossed the space between them and folded her into his arms.
The world turned white.
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