Amber couldn’t concentrate when she was taking Jackson back home from his preschool, and couldn’t eat properly as he played with his toy vehicles as he ate his sandwich in front of the TV, the fake miniature tyres running up and down the carpet, climbing up the walls, hiking up the furniture. All she could think of was Cressela – that there may be more like her, somewhere on her own planet, with their creator possessing a mind unlike any other. She must have noticed the missing book by now - but how wise was it to go back into those woods, into the unease of the night, the only illumination provided being the milky light from the moon? Everything had happened so fast that it was hard to cling to the remaining memories. But the clearest of all was the haunting, glowing bright white eyes, empty yet full of bitter emotion. And the only sign she had that someone was near her as she approached the old bridge was the faint sounds of snapping twigs balancing on the muddy forest floor. Amber shuddered to think of how oblivious she was to its movements and awareness – being struck at the back of her head and falling right into its grips. Then again, if Cressela wanted her dead, wouldn’t she have taken the perfect opportunity of doing so while she was unconscious or distracted by the bridge leading to the house? She only really showed signs of anger when she escaped with one of her possessions, back to the more open parts of the forest, where she daren’t go any further.
How long had it been since it had seen a human?
How long had it been alone?
Was it really a female, a gender at all?
How many more of her kind were there, hidden away in a deserted island with their maker?
How much were they capable of?
Did they have any true weaknesses?
And if she were to go back there, how high would the chance of death be?
Her grandfather seemed positive that returning was not a wise idea, and that she had been lucky just to take a nasty hit on the head and a graze on the side of her cheek. After all, much worse could quite possibly have happened - and returning now, after stealing a remembrance book and not leaving such a great impression to this puzzling creation... would there really be any hope?
But she had sworn to herself that she would try, that she had to try - she was too deep into the case to surrender. Instead of seeing it as a scarring, traumatising experience that no one may ever understand, she looked at it as a new adventure, one she had been wanting forever - since she could crawl. Amber leant her head back on the chair as she looked out into the window in thought, thinking about her deceased parents. Had they ever felt the longing for an adventure, like the one she had for years? How did they meet? Why did her father involve himself in a war in the first place, when he had a newborn to care for? There must have been a reason, an important one, to fight while being the father to a young infant.
Amber then thought about her mother, who died shortly after giving birth and naming her. Did she ever feel like her daughter does now? Amber tried picturing what she would have been like, what attracted her father to her, how they met and what they’d planned. Amber decided, then and there, that she disliked war and would never be made to aid it.
Jackson was looking up at her expectantly after calling her name repeatedly and snapped her out of her daze. She focused her attention on him, smiling a little.
“What is it, Jax?”
“Mrs Taylor said I need to borrow a reading book, from the library. Can you take me now? I asked mummy in the morning but she said she was too busy, and daddy’s at work.”
Amber nodded at him, smiling, and figured that while he was browsing in the children’s area, she could go to the history and science section to try to find any related material to the Dr Insanis that her grandfather told her about, and his inventions. They may not be in any books, but some newspapers and magazines there were bound to have at least a few clues.
She pulled on her hoodie and took Jackson’s hand as they walked near town to the library, the lights indoors adding a soft glow to the front gift shop window. They stepped inside the sliding doors, feeling the warming heat of the inside against their skin instead of the slight breeze and chill of late afternoon weather. Amber sent him to his section, and he stayed put in his bright orange bomber jacket, grabbing multiple books from the lower shelves and sitting himself down on a beanbag before reading his way through them all, quite content with his choice of childish literature. Amber walked to the opposite section of the ground floor, skimming the labels stuck to shelves until she found the old newspapers and magazines based on science and inventions. She grabbed a bundle and sat down at a free table, scanning the titles and headings before pushing them away in annoyance, not finding what she was looking for. Then she got up again, picking up a dated magazine with the title “Inventions and Insanity!” Amber looked at the contents and then smirked excitedly as she landed a finger on one of the first headings.
“Scientist takes insane to a whole new level! Latin Doctor Sanistri claims to have created unnatural beings that could save the world. – see more on page 6.”
Amber hurriedly flipped the pages over until she got to the one that she was looking for. It was a fairly small article, but there was a small, faint brown-tinted image of a tall man with short hair and large glasses carrying a briefcase, with a frustrated look on his face. Her heart raced in shock after reading the text, and she looked around cautiously before carefully tearing out the page, stuffing it into her pocket and rushing over to get Jackson, who had picked out his favourite book and successfully borrowed it. Meadow was already home and claimed that Mazel was upstairs, Amber paying her to stall her arrival as she grabbed Marcel and ran back outside, racing to her grandfather’s home once more.
There was a new, important piece of information only evident to her in this article, and she whizzed past passers-by and sprinted across roads, her dog panting and running slightly ahead of her.
“Today, a Latin scientist named Dr Lennard Sanistri met with the prime minister before being sent out after just a few minutes, mockery and disbelief being thrown at him from all directions. Would you believe it, folks - the man claimed to have the answer and solutions to our natural unsolvable issues that we endure, such as natural disasters! He told of how he had come into possession of a new, incredible species with human and animal DNA extracts, capable of changing the weather and other factors of our planet’s elements. ‘Byssus torta superno adinventionem facitos’, he called them, apparently coming to the meaning of ‘Twisted Unnatural Creations’ in Latin. Twisted is right, Dr Insane! Everything all right in that brain?
“Spectators laugh and gossip as the inventor retreats empty-handed, humiliated and mocked. The prime minister states, “He’s clearly a very imaginative, fanciful man that may be prone to running away with his creativity. Perhaps his works will be put to good use, one day - but this is the last thing we need right now – timewasters.”
“The crowds clapped and cheered for Sir Adam Threane, prime minister, and rushed to take pictures of the shamed nutcase.
“When questioned by newspaper journalists, he quoted, “You get one chance in living the way all should be able to live, free of the fear of the unknown and planet earth’s violent outbursts. But your chance is gone! You will be sorry – never again will you have a chance of anything at all, even of surviving – when you will all eat your ignorant words! I have the ultimate power! You will be sorry! Their time, my time –our time, it is drawing ever nearer! It will be too late for sorries and pleads by then, you ignorant humans! Terror will arise, and then you will see who is the one laughing! You will be sorry!""