Silent Wishes
By Amber Michelle

Chapter Ten

"That's funny......" One of Seraphita's pink ears twitched, and she poked Emeralda's arm. "You don't feel like you're......" She shrugged. "What's the big deal? He really seems to be interested in you......"

Emeralda shrugged, as she had seen Seraphita do, chewing her lip. Did it mean that she was unsure? Or was it just something people did? She thought...... "I not know. He not talk to me." Or rather, Krelian did talk to her, but never about why she was there. He didn't seem to care much whether she knew or not.

So far, she hadn't been called into the lab....... and she wondered why. Something felt strange. He always called her into the lab, even if he only wanted to take a skin sample, or maybe put her into that tunnel thing she couldn't identify. There was always something...... but today he had not called at all. Miang had not come. The lab girl had not even come. It was like he had forgotten about her.

It shouldn't have bothered her, but...... she had gotten used to things as they were. The experiments, or whatever he did to her, were just something that was...... it reminded her a lot of Kim, when he used to take her into his lab and cut pieces of her hair, or scrape something along her arm...... it was the same as what Krelian always did to her.

Emeralda didn't understand it, of course, but she didn't really feel she had to; at least she wasn't forgotten. Not like all of thosehours, asleep....... she didn't know how long she had been asleep in the water......

Memories of waking up to nothing, to complete darkness, and jus the rush of water, and bubbles, and the feel of warmth on her skin...... it had been a peaceful little world, but for the last traces of life she had seen. They had seemed to replay on the glass barrier, at times: Kim running from the lab......

Elly slumped against the glass, auburn hair distorted by the lights...... smears of..... blood, she thought....... but she wasn't familiar with what blood looked like. Just the sharp, cracking shots...... she knew those.......

Seraphita giggled, the cheerful titter breaking the wave of feeling threatening to rush over Emeralda like a rock shattering glass. "He never talks to anyone!"

Emeralda sighed, regarding her strange companion with relief. She...... she didn't want to feel that right now. She always felt that way, at night, when the darkness reminded her again of her time in that tube, waiting, hoping...... and she did not want to think about it anymore.

"Why you......" She searched her mind for the words, struggling to convert her thoughts into the strange language they were trying to teach her. Maybe she was smart, yes, but...... only the way Kim had taught her. This new thing, the new places, and people...... made her feel stupid, useless. And it left it all the more easy for her to slip into her memories; memories of a place she knew she would never be able to go back to, somehow.

It was a sad thought...... but she had already come to accept it. What else could she do? Krelian had told her about what happened to the place she had been born in, or at least, that everyone was...... dead......

Her companion's eyebrows raised, ears shifting again as if they were curious too. "Why what?"

Emeralda reached out impulsively, touching one of the pink, furry ears hanging over Seraphita's eyes. "How you do that?"

The girl blinked, then shrugged and smiled. "Move them?" She waved an ear back and forth, giggling again. "I just do. Tolone thinks it's silly." She rolled her eyes. "Tolone thinks everything I do is silly. But I guess she's not as bad as Domi."

Wiggling her foot back and forth, Emeralda eyed the Element. She was...... nice. It was strange to talk to her, becuase somewhere in the back of her head, she remembered a time when anyone like Seraphita would have been killed, or yanked out of the streets at the very least......

And here she was, talking to one. A distorted human, she remembred hearing them called. But she didn't see what was so bad about her -- she was...... nice...... and her ears were fascinating.

"Do again?" Emeralda requested, feeling a little silly. But her companion cheerfully complied, and she watched carefully, curiously.

What would that feel like......?

She squeezed her eyes shut, trying to imagine doing such a thing. But all she could feel was her hair, and her round little ears......

And then, suddenly, she could move that hair. Her eyes snapped wide open in that instant; she caught just a green blur in front of her eyes before it retracted, and the feeling of movement faded. She blinked as Seraphita had, and reached up, gingerly running her fingers along the crown of her unruly hair. Nothing seemed different......

"WOW!" Seraphita clapped her hands together like a child thriled with a new toy. "How did you do that? Awesome!"

What did I do?

"Can you remember how you did it? Can you do it again?"

Emeralda worked her mouth, considering the question. She didn't really know what she had done...... made bunny ears? She hadn't really had a chance to see. It wasn't hard to remember what she had done before, but......

The feeling...... she tried to imagine the feeling again, of wiggling ears like Seraphita's that came out of her head. She focused on the thought so hard her head seemed to tingle, but it didn't look like she coud do.... whatever she had......

They formed suddenly, flopping in front of her eyes in perfect imitation of the Element's pink and white furred ears; Emeralda's eyes widened until she thought they might fall out, and she wiggled one of them, once, as she had seen her friend do. The sensation was the strangest thing she had ever felt, so unnatural, but like an extention of......

They disappeared suddenly, and the feeling of her hair came back to her. She reached up again to pat her head, but she couldn't feel anything different. It was...... real......? How did I do that?

Puzzled, she looked to her companion. "Na jiio --" Emeralda stopped herself, shaking her head to clear it, and tried to concentrate on translating her thoughts into the new language. "I...... not know......"

"That was awesome!" Seraphita literally bounced, a big grin brightening her eyes and making her ears twitch in that fascinating way. "Can you do that with anything else? Wait till Tolone hears this!"

Emeralda shrugged, shaking her head. "I not know......"

"Let's try! Can you?"

It wouldn't hurt...... She sighed, nodding to the other girl's request.

It would make her forget about things, for awhile...... Maybe she wouldn't be so sad anymore, if she could distract herself, and play for Seraphita.


She hoped......

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