Chapter Twenty - Ellyda

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The night was still muggy, the balcony cooling her body from the faint wind. She thought of her friends, of Valeoi. She wanted to contact them but knew the signal wouldn't go through. If they were safe she couldn't know, and if they weren't she still couldn't know. That would be a diversion for them, their emotions getting in the way. She wished she could feel their emotions from this far away. Know how they were, if they were okay.

It pained her to be without them. She had this growing feeling that they will continue to be further apart.

What was she doing? She's talking of them like they were still alive. What if they weren't? But what if they were?

Katrien interrupts her thoughts joining her out on the balcony. They were silent for a while, letting their thoughts wonder freely, until Katrien spoke up. "I had a sister once," the crack of Katrien's voice was unfamiliar. She wasn't crying, but anguish marked her face. Katrien hadn't talked at all about her personal life, and Ava wondered what caused her to speak of it.

"She was older, about your age."

"I had a sister too. She was young, would be younger than you are."

Katrien half smiles, the first real smile she had seen on her.

"I have no one at the base, no one to be worried if they died, or survived. I only had my sister. She's been gone for some time now, but I am so incredibly mad. I am furious at her," her voice trailed off and she shook her head.

"Furious for leaving you alone?"

"Yes," she let out a stiff sigh. "I don't know why I'm talking to you about this, I shouldn't have came out here," Katrien turned to leave but Ava was not going to let her leave. Not like this.

"You came out here because you needed something Katrien."

"Excuse me?" Katrien turned on her heel.

"You are still grieving, and you need someone to grieve too about it."

"I don't need anything."

"Then why did you come out here Katrien?"

"I came out here. I— I don't know why."

Katrien was still a child. Her hard shell masked her youth, even Ava dismissed this. But she saw her truly now. She didn't know Katrien's story, but she did know they share the same sorrow, the loss of a sister. Looking at Katrien, she realized how much she reminded her of herself. Ava was just fifteen when she lost her family. Katrien was even younger, and had already lost her sister, and possibly her family.

"I was fifteen when I lost my sister, and family. I understand—"

"You think just because we have similar loses that means you understand? No, you are wrong. ou couldn't understand, not unless you were me."

"I know what it's like to lose the one thing you loved in this life. I know what it is like to push yourself to impossible lengths, diving into anything that will distract you. I did that, just as you are doing it. You cannot go alone like this any longer, I won't allow it."

"What makes you think I'd want help from you?"

"I can't help. You are in control of your happiness. But, I can listen, and we can talk. We can be friends Katrien."

Katrien pursed her lips, her mind turning. "Fine. But only when I say."

Ava nodded watching Katrien begin to enter the living room. With the door half open she turned, asking, "What was her name?"

Ava took a moment, smiling. She hadn't said her name aloud in years. "Ellyda."

Katrien said nothing, only returning a smile, a genuine one. She remembered as a child she begged for her parents to let her name Ellyda. Ava had wanted her name to rhyme with hers. She doesn't remember why she did, and she's glad they named her without her help. Ava would have named Ellyda Rava, or Yava, something unflattering.

Ava looked back to the city, leaning forward on the balcony's glass edge. The city was still so alive, flourishing even.

So much life, so much probability to get hurt by this life.

She wondered just how much loss she could take, if her friends were gone.


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