Did you never
know, long ago,
how much you
That your love
lessen and never
You were young
You were too
young to know.
Did You Never Know?
Jonathan Clement sits in his
ceilingless, octagonal office, re-inking his pen and scribbling notes
in a book. When the door opens, his dancing feather halts on the page
and Jonathan looks up from his desk.
to see you, Beaman. Any news today?” Jonathan asks.
sir. He seems to have forgotten everything.”
Jonathan is pleased by Beaman’s
response. He rolls his chair back a few feet, removes an iron rod
from the fireplace behind him, and stamps the cover of a book before
responding. “I foresee some obstacles in his future. Would you mind
continuing to monitor him?”
at all. Should I still report daily?” Beaman asks.
Jonathan dips his pen into the ink
well. “Yes, thank you.”
Beaman narrows his eyes on the feather.
“You do know we’re in a digital age now, right?”
Jonathan laughs. “Ah, yes. Old habits
die hard, it seems.”
Chapter 1. It’s the name of the game
wanted to see me?” I wish my candlelit dinner with Troy wasn’t
thank you for arriving so promptly, Willow.” Jonathan stops a few
feet from the K
hall in the grand marble lobby. “I am in need of your assistance
with an assignment.”
Anxiety hits quick, making my heart
rate spike when my mind ticks through all of my Tragedies. “For
am saddened to say, Tatum Jacoby. She is careening off course once
I’d bet the farm she is off course. Things like this tend to happen
when the natural order gets altered. “But you said…never mind.
What’s going on with her?” Aside
from the fact that she erased all of Grant’s memories
is what I want to say, but don’t.
inherent memory loss is a natural part of the process,” Jonathan
says, using his unnerving mind reading ability—he can deny having
this gift all day long, but I’ll never believe him.
both know the way his memories were erased was not natural,” I
how his memories were taken, losing them was essential, especially
that he’s an Elite,” I mumble, knowing Jonathan is right.
a member of the Elite team, distractions in our work can be
treacherous. Wouldn’t you agree?”
I hesitate before nodding. Regular
Satellite assignments are strenuous enough. The kid has no idea how
agonizing the road ahead is going to be. “Working towards the
greater good,” I say with phony enthusiasm.
Jonathan smiles. “That’s the
spirit. I would like you to accompany Liam on Tate’s assignment
until we can get her advancing forward again.”
guessing you need me to go now?”
Jonathan nods and squeezes my shoulder.
So much for my chicken marsala, and
more importantly, my husband-time.
you. You are one of our most exceptional, though you mustn’t need
me to tell you that.”
How is it that this guy knows flattery
always brings him forgiveness? “Oh, come on Johnny, you say that to
all the Satellites,” I tease. “Am I expected in training?”
you feel the need, I think you can manage without. I’m here if you
need anything. Good luck.”
you get a message to Troy that I’ll see him at break?”
When Jonathan nods, I thank him and dig
in my bag. When my fingers find Tate’s gold necklace, I whisper,
“Displace,” and fall through the dark marble floor of the lobby.
On my way down to Earth to save another Tragedy, I think of Troy. At
least he will understand. God love my husband. He’s more than a
girl could ever hope for and I’m somehow lucky enough to get
eternity with him. Not a bad trade for missing out on a few years of
my mortal life.
I breathe deeply to pull the zooming
wind into my lungs and then I grin. Being a Satellite will always be
a close second to being with my husband. As the houses below quickly
approach, I still find it difficult to believe there really is
something better than this. Six months ago, before I was reunited
with Troy, I didn’t believe it myself.
When Liam almost jumps out of his
Sketchers from the shock of my landing, I can’t help but snicker.
up?” I ask beautiful, British Liam. Shocked expressions always look
silly on him. He should really lose the hat; his wavy, sand-colored
hair is too perfect to be covered. I shift my eyes toward Tate. “I
hear our girl is still going all mental-ward on us.”
Tate appears normal enough, minus the
black jeans, black tee, and black make-up. The protruding ribs aren’t
overly flattering either. Not that I can blame the poor thing, having
lost first her fiancée and then her brother within a few short
months. If she knew Grant and Elliott were both Satellites and that
she would see them again, it would make my job a lot easier. Until
then, Liam and I will have to keep her slogging on through life.
“She’s still on the black kick, huh? Pity. She wears color so
attitude is as dark as her clothing. I can’t believe I’m saying
this, but I’m glad you’re here. I could certainly use the help.”
can see that. Have you been coding during breaks?”
but my relaxed state is usually diminished within the first ten
minutes of being with her.” At the same time Liam says this, Tate
cranks her radio up to ear-piercing volume. “Here she goes again,”
Liam shouts over the noise.
got this one,” I yell back and focus on pulling in my filter. When
my energy is formed into a pretty, purple ball floating in front of
me, I say, “Haze,” and then send my thoughts to Tate through the
film than has enclosed the two of us.
Turn it down.
it hurts! My body clenches in pain. Labor,
Willow, labor! Remembering
my mind back into the game.
The connection between Tate and me is severed, making the vapory
filter fall to the carpet in droplets before vanishing.
In my head, my arms raise in victory
when Tate spins the volume dial down.
When she switches her attention to the
family photograph on her nightstand, I ask Liam, “Has Elliott
forgiven Grant yet?”
Liam shakes his head. “I can’t
blame Elliott. The bloke put down his sister.”
didn’t really put her down. According to Clara, Grant just said
something along the lines of ‘so what if Tate was a Rebellion’.”
As usual, Liam isn’t buying my
right, his tone probably wasn’t super-sweet.”
Willow. The worst-case-scenario for a Tragedy, and Grant pretty much
told the girl’s brother he didn’t care. Don’t forget, he and
Grant were almost brothers themselves. It was cold.”
understand Elliott’s point, but in the kid’s defense, his
memories of her are gone, so he really didn’t know what he was
Liam lets out a loud breath.
guess this means you’re still mad at Grant, too?”
had to endure watching Grant here, remember?” He points his eyes at
Tate. “He broke every rule we have to be with her, even leaving his
own Tragedy—whom he should have been watching—unattended.”
I wince, knowing my own son was left
unprotected while Grant was making illegal visits to Tate. Liam
continues and paces around the room. “She erased his memories one
by one. She destroyed all the reminders of him from her life:
photographs, music, even her clothes.”
know!” I immediately regret my sharp tone that was merely a result
of wishing he’d stop with the rehash. “I’m not cool with how
his memories were wiped from his mind either; it’s not the way they
were supposed to disappear, but there’s nothing we can do about
that now. The fact is they’re gone like they should be, like how it
is—or was—for all of us. It’s not his fault and it’s not fair
of you and Elliott to blame him.”
changed,” Liam says in a quieter voice.
all changed when we became Satellites, Liam. It’s the name of the
game. You forgot your life, I forgot mine. That’s what Programming
is for: to return our memories when our loved ones join us. You
weren’t so quick to lose your memories either, and as I recall, you
were able to keep more of them than a lot of people around here.”
Oh Christ have mercy; I wish I could take the words back as soon as
they are out.
Liam squints his eyes and his hand
freezes on his ball cap. “Do you think I want to remember my
you think I want to remember the look on my son’s face when he
pulled my body from the water?” Liam shouts.
I’m sorry. But how about the alternative, Liam?” I yell back
before I’m able to calm myself. “How about not remembering you
had a son at all? How about not remembering you died while giving
birth to him?”
We both retreat to our respective
try to cut the kid a break, Liam,” I finally say. “Being a
Satellite isn’t always an easy road. If it were, there’d probably
be a lot more of us.”
I take the next block, which is better
than any apology I could give him. His grateful expression says so.