Be sure to keep in mind the imminent changing of this blog to be under my real name... otherwise it's now Day 2 of Marathon Week 1. Let's see how much Red Rain I can write today.
had his left arm around Cea's shoulders. They must have been close all
their lives. And it looked like maybe his other arm was around someone,
too, but the picture cut off awkwardly at his own shoulder. At the
bottom of the picture, though, by Nic's shiny shoes, I could see the
trace of a purple dress.
I heard something move behind me.
I turned around. It was Cea.
"What are you doing, Phil?" She sounded more than curious and at least a little bit angry.
"Oh, I'm sorry. I couldn't sleep, and I saw the picture frame. It was the picture of you and Doctor Nic as kids and..."
"And you decided to rummage threw my other photos as well." We both spoke in whispers, not wanting to wake Cami.
Cea sighed, then smiled slightly, "Well it's better than you running through Gate 74 again. Here, I can't sleep either." I noticed then that Cea was still in her day time clothes. "Why don't we just look through these together?"
"Oh, you don't have to do that. I shouldn't have..."
"Nonsense. It's a picture frame in my living room. You're supposed to look at it, just not usually at two in the morning."
We went back into her bedroom, where the lights were already on. We sat down on the edge of her bed, and Cea held the picture frame in her hands.
With a flick of her hand she moved to the next picture. It was Cea and Nic in long robes with the same sort of hats and tassels I had worn just the other day. I asked, "You mean they still used those back when you were in school?"
She smiled, "Yes. The United hadn't changed all the school systems yet, so we graduated like normal people. Nic got through college in three years, so we graduated at the same time, me from high school and him from college." Nic had lost the braces by then, though he still had the glasses. And he wasn't smiling in this one.
"Did he not like to smile in pictures?" I asked.
Cea sat in silence for a moment. "No. He didn't."
I continued, "He smiled in the last two pictures." I waved my hand and went back to the one I had been looking at when Cea found me. I noticed a Chrismas tree in the background now that I was looking at it again.
Cea closed her eyes and instantly waved back to the picture of their graduation. She just stared at that picture. I was about to try to to change the subject when she elaborated, "That was probably the last picture he ever smiled for."
I didn't say anything. She took my silence as a question and kept going. "We both went to the same school." I thought that was obvious enough. "He was great at school. You might not believe it, Phil, but he was great in every subject, especially science. The only class that ever stumped him," she laughed, "was computer science. He always said that it didn't deserve to be called science." I was surprised to know that Dr. Nic could appreciate humor, much more tell a joke.
"Nic met a girl there who was just as smart as him, and knew her computers. She and I became great friends. I was like a little sister to her, and she nearly a mom to me. She and Nic hit it off real well, and were dating all through highschool. That picture was from our Senior Formal." She stopped, not knowing where to go next.
"She was a Christian, back before they had started locking us all up. She's the one that lead me to Christ. Nic never joined us though. He respected her beliefs and like the personality they gave her, but he never wanted it himself."
I tried to give the next part of the story, "So she broke it up?"
Cea responded instantly, "No. They did. The United."'
I didn't know how to take that. She explained, "When we were just getting out of highschool the United started it's containment program on Christians. They had already 'contained' a few other groups, but most of those had eventually assimilated or the programs dropped under public pressure. Back then they weren't nearly as civil about the camps either. Only a few days after that picture they came for her while she was at school. She was with Nic when they grabbed her and took her away. We never knew where she went." She stopped.
This time I was able to finish the story, "Or if she lived."