The last Tale of 2012 arrives… And with it Lily’s questions and problems are… more.
My thanks to my heart for fixing this mess…
And my wishes to all for a Happy New Year…
Speak into the Air
Lily was sure she heard her Eternal. Everything was … right: exactly, blissfully, perfectly, right. Even more, she felt the aftershocks of … everything coursing through her body. It had to be him; he was the only one …
But it wasn’t his voice she heard.
“Come on. Easy now. Let me help you up.”
She opened her eyes to see who was there, but her vision was blurry and, while the voice was male, she couldn’t tell exactly who it was. She didn’t resist when he helped her to her feet, nor did she stop him from leading her … wherever it was that he was taking her.
“Just take it easy, we’re almost at the couch, and you can rest there.”
She felt him beside her, but she couldn’t feel him. Normally when she was with someone she could feel their desires, their thoughts, their … soul. Not this time. There was something there, but it was muted, indistinct, unclear.
This should have given Lily a fright. She should have run, or pulled away from him, but instead she just held onto his arm and managed to sit down when he let go of her. It was in that moment she realized something.
She couldn’t feel her tail!
That shook her, and she brushed a hand over her forehead to feel her horns and found that they weren’t there either.
“Just rest. I’ll be right back.”
She listened to him leave, the sound of his footsteps on the floor before they faded away and she was alone again. Or so she thought.
“Hello Lily. It’s nice to finally meet … you.” A female voice this time. Again, she didn’t recognize it, and now Lily began to tense up and become truly frightened by what was going on.
“Shhh … no … It’s okay. I’m not going to hurt you and neither is he.”
“Who … who are you? Both of you?”
“It’s not important right now. We’ll help you.”
Lily laughed softly, “I’m supposed to say that.”
The woman, whomever she was, placed something cold over Lily’s forehead and then settled onto the couch with Lily. There was something … familiar about what was happening, but she couldn’t put her finger on what it was. Lily reached up and took off the cloth as she tried to stand up: “I’m okay and …”
… and she dropped right back onto the couch when the dizzy spell hit.
“No, you aren’t okay. I can tell that much.”
Lily did manage to lean forward and put her head in her hands to try and steady herself as she heard him return.
“How are you?”
“Confused …” Lily couldn’t help the sigh that came from her.
“… you’ll be all right.” He left again and it was just Lily and this … woman.
“It’s hard to understand what’s going on right now, but that will pass and things will make sense soon enough.”
Lily actually laughed at those words. Nothing made any sense at that moment and what was worse seemed to be that the two people here knew more about what was going on than she did. “What’s so funny?” she demanded.
“Just rest a while. We’ll talk when you can.”
A headache started to pound in her temples and she put the cloth over her forehead again. There was something so familiar about all of this. Not the woman, just what was happening … somehow. For a while, Lily just stayed there, the woman beside her occasionally tending to her before leaving her alone, just sitting there and waiting.
The headache passed and then, finally, Lily’s vision cleared, and she could see the woman beside her and she drew in her breath in surprise: “Hi.”
It was her, but it wasn’t her. It was her face, her body, her voice, everything including her tail and horns and that damnable dress that her tail had made her wear. But how was that possible? “What the hell is going on?”
“A choice, Lily. One you need to make, otherwise it’s all going to happen exactly the way it did the last time you chose …”
“I … I don’t understand.”
The other Lily nodded and then said, “You won’t … not for a long time.”
Lily looked at herself finally for the first time and realized something. She wasn’t wearing the dress, she was dressed in an oversized shirt and that was all. This just made no sense at all, and her anger began to boil within her …
… or it did until her other self’s tail wrapped itself around her right wrist and it all drained away into nothing. “Just be calm and listen to me … please?”
Lily found she couldn’t resist the words and became quiet, listening, and trying to understand what she was told next.
“You are confused because, in this moment, there are two of us.”
The headache started again, “What are you talking about?”
The sigh was so very familiar before the answer began “At this moment you haven’t made a choice, a very critical one in your life. This is the moment when you decided to leave him … forever.”
Memories started to come now, unbidden: the face of her Eternal, but not; someone else that was, but wasn’t. It was all so confusing and the pain got worse and worse. “Don’t get what you mean … so confused.”
“You will. Or rather, we both will.”
“What are you talking about?”
“It’s hard to exist here with you, having the memories of the past with the knowledge of the future. Things you shouldn’t know you do … sort of.”
The other Lily was quiet and then said, “I’m here to take your place, Lily. He won’t know the difference. I’m going to change things.”
The laugh was ever so bitter, “Because it’s the right thing to do for the right reason. You … I … made the wrong choice. We picked wrong after it all happened. We should have picked the right Eternal. We didn’t.”
Lily shook her head, trying to get rid of the pain within her, but it just got worse still. “Why am I hurting so much?”
“Because I’m here and we both can’t be.”
Lily’s voice was so quiet, “Are you going to …”
“No. But …”—the other Lily held up the wish—“… but this makes something special possible.”
Lily looked at the paper, still confused. She knew what it said … didn’t she? It was all so confusing now, and just getting worse by the moment.
“He asked for a second chance, Lily. He wants us. No, that’s not right. He wants you. He doesn’t want you to make the choice to leave, to leave him behind.”
For an instant, Lily’s thoughts cleared, “I’d never leave him.”
“You would. You … I did.”
The confusion came back; which him was she talking about? She gave her heart to him; she gave her soul to him. God, it was so confusing, and the pain just got worse and worse by the moment.
The other Lily continued: “We have a chance to fix this, to be happy, really happy. He wants this, I want this, and, if you could only understand, then you’d want it, too.”
“Please, tell me.”
Lily felt a hand on her chin and she looked into her own eyes. “If we choose as we did, you will lose them both. If that happens then we’ll spend our life after waiting to die.”
Lily finally saw the look in her own eyes: the look of loss, of self-loathing, of certainty that there was nothing to live for. “I’m sorry.”
Her other self held the wish up to her. “Then, together, we fix it.”
For a long moment they both looked at the wish, and then they both touched it with their fingers.
Another a flash of both light and darkness came …
… and there was one Lily, with horns and tail, wearing the oversized shirt, and sitting on the couch, waiting for him to return to her. She heard him approaching, and made her horns and tail vanish from sight.
“Are you okay?”
She looked at him, holding back the tears and said, “I’m perfect.”
“How’s the headache?”
“Nothing to worry about. But …”—she held the wish to him, and the confusion was so plain to see in his eyes—“… I need you to read this.”
“What’s it say?”
“Read it? Please?”
“Because you’ll never believe me if you don’t.”