“Erin!” Cassandra yelled.
Nothing. He acted as if he didn't hear her.
“Damn you, Erin!” She yelled again.
Erin paused, looking into his small mirror hanging on the hut’s straw wall.
“I'm grooming!” He yelled back.
Looking over his reflection, he smiled and began brushing his hair when Cassandra barged in.
“You...uh!” She said, snatching at his brush.
Erin snatched it back and tried to quickly finish, but he felt he didn't have the time now.
“Your hair is absolutely ridiculous. That is entirely too long to actually be functional…”
He scoffed and laid the rest of it into a pony tail. It had been a few months since he last past cut it.
“It's been six months since you cut that mess you call hair.”
Correction. It had been six months since he cut what he called his beautiful, unruly mane.
The truth of the matter was...when Cassandra had to piggy back on his motorcycle the other night, she got a mouthful of hair. And what ever product he used to tame it.
“We're going to be on a mission and die because of your vanity, Erin,” Demetri scolded as he walked to greet his friend.
Clearly, this wasn't his morning.
“You should really hurry though,” Cassandra said, fixing her helmet, “the villagers are waiting for us.”
Villagers? Sounded like Demetri signed the three of them up for some humanitarian effort because he got caught with the chief’s daughter. Erin mounted his cycle and motioned for Cassandra. Once he started the bike, they pulled off, riding into the sun.
It was bright and clear this morning. The last few days, it had rained, keeping them from doing what they really needed to do. Recently, they were able to track down Madeline’s other clones. After discovering she had been deceased for six hundred years, it was hard to gauge when all of this occurred. Erin was never in a time period longer than a week.
It was a frightening detail to the tale. Lawrence, who was now being held captive near the village must have escaped. Why else would they be traveling there in such a hurry? As they passed his confinement, and Erin noticed his long arms hanging out of the gaps between the wood, he took a sigh of relief. But, once they made eye contact, Erin became even more worried.
“I don't trust him!” Erin said loudly
“I don't blame you!” Cassandra responded.
Erin pointed at Demetri, directing him to the front. From there on Demetri lead the way. Up a little further was a gathering of trees and bushes where they parked their bikes. Then they walked the rest of the way, the sun gleaming off every blade of grass before them.
Once the were close enough, some of the younger children made a beeline to Cassandra, hugging her and asking questions.
“Are you and Erin married?” One little chubby boy asked.
“No,” Cassandra said, making eye contact with Erin.
She blushed and turned away, pretending to be attentive to the children. Erin knew what that look meant. But Erin made Cassandra a promise.
“Man with white hat,” the chief said strongly, “seeing you this day brings me happiness. We need to discuss the man you keep away…”
“Why...what did he do?” Erin asked, suddenly becoming nervous again.
“It's what he's done. My daughter is his wife and she refuses to speak with me. On top of that, she is with his child.”
Cassandra stopped playing with the children and looked between Erin and Demetri.
“If there's an anomaly, then there's a point of entrance,” Cassandra reminded Erin.
“So he use time to travel forward and backwards,” the chief said, “like you...old friend.”
Erin nodded, now feeling Demetri and Cassandra’s eyes all over him. They both looked shocked because they assumed this particular tribe of Native Americans had never seen anything like Erin.
“Yes, well….” Erin said quietly, “it's his wife we're looking for.”
“Well, the medicine man suggested when the child is born to abandon it.”
“No!” Erin said quickly, “if the child were to perish, a large loop in the time continuum would be completely destroyed. You cannot take that back and fix it.”
“So she is to keep the child of a man who tricked her and betrayed her?”
“Does she say she loves him?” Demetri said, butting in.
The chief nodded and rubbed his chin.
“Then she was all in…”
As Demetri walked away, Erin took the chief by the shoulder and began explaining why it was necessary to continue with new editions in a once lived era of time.
Cassandra was left holding the hand of a child who resembled her when she was younger. Suddenly, a flash of memories exploded in her mind before she found her self snatching her hand from the child and seeking Erin out.
“Erin!” Cassandra cried out.
The chief and Erin had entered a tent that was completely off limits to women. The young man standing at the entryway wouldn't allow Cassandra passage. So she called Erin's name a few more times, until Erin appeared shirtless with bright blue paint under each eye.
“What? What happened?”
“You said when I was born, it was a mistake, correct?” Cassandra asked.
“Well, not technically so harsh but yes.”
“There's a girl here who looks just like me. And I had a vision. Like over I've been here before...are you okay?”
Erin just went through his right of passage (so he thought) and was kneeling over, trying o catch his breath. When he finally stood up straight, he had a goofy grin on his face.
“Erin, seriously…” Cassandra said, walking closer.
As she did, a group of women swept her away to be bathed and dressed. Demetri came up behind Erin, with his hands in his pockets.
“Does she know what you've just done?” Demetri asked.
“I was hoping she was allowed to get as high as I am right now…”
The sun had finally set, and Cassandra was allowed to leave her tent. She didn't mind the smell from the flowers and herbs the women dressed her skin in. She also didn't mind feeling so free since changing from her futurist garbs to her nicely woven dress.
She looked up at the moon, full and bright. She could see the rings surrounding it, emitting rainbow like colors as it glowed. Then she looked ahead and saw three large fires, each with a numerous crowd around them.
“What's happening?” She questioned the one everyone called mother.
“The chief and your friend are making it so.”
What did that mean? Now Cassandra was nervous as she approached the first fire.
Erin had her back to her, and she could tell she was holding something. Once he turned, he smirked and nodded. But Cassandra was still confused.
“A union between two beings is that of the moon and sun. One should outside the other, and the other should show how much of its glory can shed light elsewhere. You are the moon,” the chief said, stamping a crescent on Cassandra's forehead, “and he is your sun.”
Cassandra was at a loss for words. Erin was always a spontaneous character, but she wasn't about to pretend she'd never been in love with him. Once the chief stamped a sun symbol on Erin's head, he grabbed Cassandra hand and placed it on the other end of the rope Erin was holding.
When she looked down at it, she realized most of it was woven with Erin's curly locks.
“This ropes signifies your bond. You must make a cycle around each fire. First three, then six, then nine. Then you will be complete…”
So, under the moon, the duo did each cycle slowly, smiling at each other as Erin would look back to admire her.
Just as it seemed nothing could go wrong, right around their last cycle, a time warp opened up above them, as several forms of Madeline came leaping out.
“You know you were made for each other,” the chief said hurriedly, “stop her before she reaches Lawrence!”
All seven Madeline's were running in formation, blasting at huts, livestock and people.
Cassandra ran into her tent, searching through her garbs to find her weapon. That's when she spotted the young girl she saw earlier, crying in the corner.
“Stay here,” she said, hoping she'd listen.
Then she ran off, hoping to stop Madeline. The young girl ran out behind her, knowing that following her could keep her safe. She originally ran to hide from Madeline in the first place.
It wasn't Lawrence that Madeline was after, as he showed surprised to the group of her running past. When they made it to their destination, Erin, Demetri and Cassandra had them cornered on a cliff's edge.
There, in one of the Madeline's arms was a teen boy who resembled Demetri. She then opened up a time warp and shoved him in, leaving the trio frozen where they stood.
“Let this be warning,” they said in unison.
As it seemed that was all, the younger Cassandra came about, the seventh Madeline holding her.
“She's just a child…” Cassandra said, hoping it would stop her.
“And like you, it's time she learned the truth.”
TO BE CONTINUED...