I don’t think I’ve ever had a more unpleasant walk. After asking Devin to stop talking to me, we walked in absolute silence with only the faint sounds of night accompanying our footsteps. Even though I was fuming, I hated how I’d responded. Wariness just came naturally at this point. I couldn’t stop it from coming back after I got suspicious.
I nearly tripped over a rock I hadn’t seen and Devin caught me, still not saying a word. I pulled my arm away and dragged my feet more in an attempt to feel out the area before stepping. I was stubborn, but I also felt rather fragile. I don’t know if I could take having Devin help me get back more than he already was. If he had to treat me like I wasn’t capable of finding my own way, I would either fall apart or lash out and I wasn’t too keen on doing either.
Finally, Devin sighed. “I don’t usually want to talk a lot, but when I’m not allowed to, I want to more.”
I narrowed my eyes slightly and didn’t reply.
After a second, he made an observation. “You’re mad.”
I huffed. “Wow, thanks. I didn’t know that.”
More silence followed and I could almost see Devin twitching. I mean, I couldn’t actually see him, but I could imagine it pretty well.
“If I ask why you’re mad, are you going to reply?”
I kept walking, stubbornly refusing to answer.
“That’s a no.” Devin sighed again.
Suddenly, it struck me as funny. In the dark, I’m sure he couldn’t see my smirk as well, despite the goggles. I turned away slightly just in case.
“I need to find out what’ll make you talk. I know everyone else’s.” It started to sound like he was just talking to himself.
I listened carefully, curious as to what everyone else’s triggers were. With luck, he would tell me.
“Maybe you don’t like it when I say your name over and over again. Calypso, Calypso, Callie, Calypso, Callie, Callie…” He paused. “No, you need a new name. Calypso, Callie, Lip, So…”
I finally burst out laughing. “You’re just making a fool of yourself. If I didn’t want to talk, I wouldn’t. It’s not that hard.”
“I don’t believe you.” Devin kept going. “Lypso, Allie, Lee…”
I tripped, blinking at the name. It sounded familiar. “Lee.” It came out of my mouth before I realized what I was saying. As soon as it made it out, my mouth clamped shut.
“What?” Devin paused next to me. I could feel his gaze turn to me. “What about it?”
I swallowed, shaking my head. “Nothing.” My dream came back in bits and flashes, but the girls had been named Emma and Ellie. No one was named Lee. No one called Ellie, ‘Lee.’
“Calypso,” Devin said tiredly.
I held my tongue, biting it hard enough to hurt. It felt good amid the mess that was swimming around in my head.
“You don’t have to tell me,” Devin said finally. “But you do have to remember what I said earlier.”
I shivered despite my heart beating wildly and my mind swimming. “You don’t know why I ran.” I kept it obscure enough that he hopefully wouldn’t understand when I was referring to.
“No,” Devin replied, “but I did have to follow you, so now that you bring it up, I think I’m entitled to that information.”
I bristled. “No one is entitled to anything.”
“Sorry,” Devin said. “I didn’t mean it like that.”
“You did,” I said, not looking in his direction so he could see my face. “Keep walking.”
He did, carefully guiding me with the lightest touch on my arm.
After a little bit, I spoke.
“There was a dream.” I paused, focusing on the movement of my feet. “There were two little girls, I don’t know how old they were, but they were young. She was calling for me, or... the girl. Her name was Emma.”
I took a slow breath. “I was Ellie. Emma told me that ‘Mommy’ wanted us. I had been playing in the mud a good distance away from the house, so we ran across a long stone area. The house was... small, but it was warm. When I got inside, I washed my hands, but the mom was in the kitchen.”
Tears sprang to my eyes, unbidden. “She talked to the girls about something she needed them to do. She didn’t specify what it was. The dad walked in and tears came to his eyes. He was about to tell the girls what they had to do, and it ended.” I growled slightly. “I shouldn’t be so stuck on something like this.”
Devin was quiet. “We can’t always choose what happens to us. I had a friend who left the group a while ago, but he had dreams because he had a past that his brain had suppressed. When he remembered it, he ran off. We never found him.”
I thought as I walked. “So, you’re saying that this could be a memory instead of a dream.”
“I’m saying it’s a possibility,” Devin confirmed.
I blinked back sudden tears. “I never really had parents. At least, not that I remember. I was raised by a whole group of people for a selfish purpose that put me in danger.” I don’t know why I was telling him this. “I don’t remember ever having a real childhood.”
“A lot of us had bad childhoods,” Devin said, “Are you sure you just didn’t forget it.”
“I remember everything I did,” I said flatly. “I wasn’t allowed to forget. If I forgot something, one of my family members might’ve died. Something about that made me determined to remember everything.”
Devin was silent for a long time. “We’ll figure it out,” he said eventually.
“We?” I couldn’t stop myself from looking in his direction this time.
“We,” he confirmed. “I’m not letting you dig into your past alone.”
If I’d seen him, I’m sure he would’ve been wearing some sort of smile. Maybe the one that he’d worn when he’d talked to the rest of the group. The one where the corner of his mouth twisted up and his eyes squinted to try to cover their sparkle.
“Thank you,” I managed.
His guiding touch went from a single finger on my arm to his hand holding my arm. Surprisingly, I didn’t pull away. I didn’t lean into it, but so far, I was fine.
“You’re welcome, Calypso,” Devin replied. The way he ended hinted at him having something else to say.
“What?” I asked.
“Can I call you ‘Lee’ then? It’s easier than calling you ‘Calypso’ every time.”
I smiled into the darkness. “Sure. Make sure whoever hears it understands that they can’t just start calling me ‘Lee,’ too, though.”
“Understood,” Devin’s voice sounded like a smile.
I watched the black everywhere around me. “I don’t know if Calypso is my real name. I don’t think it is. I think that was just what my family called me. Don’t tell anyone, though. They’d start calling me anything they wanted, I’m sure.”
“We aren’t like that,” Devin assured me, still guiding me by the arm.
“Okay,” I said. Because you know what? I actually believed him. “Still, keep everything I said between us for now.” I paused before adding, “Please.”
As the light from the area near the warehouse crept closer and revealed us, I saw Devin’s smile. A broad one that stretched across his face; a smile that said that he was honored that I had let him in and that he was proud of me.
I couldn’t help but smile back with a real smile, not the ones that I showed everyone where I bared my teeth and dared them to suggest that it wasn’t genuine. The smile that I hadn’t smiled in so long, where I ducked my head to try to hide the pink that covered my cheeks and the fact that I was actually happy.
“Come on, you,” Devin said, still grinning. “Let’s get back before anyone misses us.”
I glanced over at him in amusement. “We’ve got a curfew?”
He let out a short laugh before he stopped himself. He glanced at me, his eyes still sparkling in amusement but the smile on his face the only sign of it overflowing. “Don’t call it ‘curfew’ around Russ.”
I giggled, a sound that was very foreign coming from me. “Okay,” I grinned up at him. “I’ll keep that in mind.” I wrinkled my nose at him. “We have a bedtime.”
Devin laughed, finally letting it all out. “Don’t say that either.” He shook his head at me, still grinning broadly. He opened the door and held it for me. “After you, Lee,” he said, lowering his voice.
I approached him and did my best curtsey using my cape. “What an honor,” I whispered back as I brushed by.
As we walked into the dark, the only sounds were people snoring and Devin’s breathy laugh.
I could get used to that.