Duulahar grew up knowing that her adoptive mother had killed her birth mother, or at least, that is what was on the video that her father kept showing her. It was not the most pleasant of upbringings.
Her father decides to break a lifetime of habits and send her shopping in his treasured sports car, and she knows that her dementia-laden mother is the target with her as the scapegoat. Her father is not particularly subtle.
Kidnapping her mom is a reflex, but Duulahar knows that putting distance between her father’s hypnotic talent and those in his way is all that she can do to keep them alive. Her talent for small holes in space will not help her here.
Her stubbornness versus her father’s evil. Who will win?
“Centuries ago, so long that we don’t know the precise day, the ancient race stole humans from the world of Earth.” Duulahar checked to make sure she still had an audience.
The bedding was clenched in fists. Her audience was bending forward.
“The humans were placed around the cluster on the worlds that were habitable. Thirty worlds were seeded with them, and then, the ancients left them alone to live or die.”
She turned the page of the ancient book. “The worlds were separate, and no one could speak with anyone on another world. Families were divided, people starved, people thrived, and they did it in their own cities, their own colonies, their own worlds.
“Eventually, a scientist from Remorad...” She paused while her audience’s face lit up. “Made a discovery. He discovered resonance. All the worlds of the cluster vibrated with the same energy, and if you could trigger the other world to use the same frequency, you could walk between them.”
There was a laugh.
“When Remorad touched the other worlds, they realized that other humans had been scattered around the cluster and we all orbited the same great star. There was much celebration on some of the worlds while others wished to remain to themselves. The worlds that remained independent were given communication in case they needed help. The other worlds pledged to come to each other’s aid.”
Duulahar waited until there was calm in the room. “When the worlds grew close, they realized that on some worlds, the populations were changing. Gifts were beginning to appear, and while most were good citizens, some were not. Those who were not needed someone just as strong to hold them back. So, over a hundred years after the worlds made contact, the first heroes were asked to help when the hostile forces raised their heads.”
Leythana smiled and bared her teeth.
“So, the heroes were called one by one when there was need. Investigators were assigned to figure out who to call for which villain. They got better at it over time, and heroes stopped dying. In the last century, the heroes became organized. They formed a team, and when one was called, all were called, so that no one had to fight alone.”
Leythana snuggled down into her bed, and Duulahar kept reading. “There were single heroes, heroes who liked to fight in groups, and married heroes.
“The married heroes lived long, happy lives, fought many battles, and retired from their hero duties to live happily in the countryside with a huge garden and a big swing so that they could live happily for the rest of their lives. The end.”
Leythana smiled softly and sighed. “That is a good story. Do I know you?”
Duulahar touched Leythana’s hand. “I just come to read you the stories. Have a good sleep. Minos will be near when you wake up.”
She closed her book and set it down on the chair, walking out of the room and easing the door closed, setting the silent motion alarm when the door was secure.
Minos was cooking in the kitchen, making dinner and breakfast at the same time.
“Did she eat?”
“She ate. She still thinks she likes red peppers, so that wasn’t a problem.” Duulahar exhaled and took the plate that was slid over to her.
“How do you think she was today?”
“Not bad. She was calm all day, so no restriction measures had to be enacted.”
“Good.” Minos got his own meal, and he gestured for her to join him at the table.
She was surprised, but she headed to the table and set her plate and cutlery down.
“How was she really today?”
Duulahar smiled. “She was fine. She was bright, alert, she had fun, and her memories of you are completely intact.”
He frowned. “Does she remember you?”
Duulahar sighed. “No. Nothing. She doesn’t remember me at all.”
“Does it bother you?”
“No. She is degrading at a slow and steady pace. She doesn’t need to remember me.”
Minos asked her bluntly. “How do you feel about her? She did kill your mother, after all.”
Duulahar scowled. “I know. You show me the vid every year on my birthday. It isn’t something I can forget, but Leythana is the closest thing to a mother I have ever had, even if it was ordered by the courts.”
Minos tapped his fork against his plate. “It doesn’t bother you?”
She calmly continued eating. “Of course, it does. I have no idea why Leythana put a hole in my mother’s head, nor do I know why I was given to her to raise.”
She set her fork down. “That appears to be missing from my documentation.”
He blinked at her, and anger and shame flared in his eyes before he snapped, “I need you to go into town for shopping tomorrow.”
She was shocked. He did all the shopping, and she only went into town for her wellness checks.
“Right. Well, I will take the creeper in then.”
“No, take the bolt. The list isn’t very big.”
He was ordering her to take the sports car. That was strange.