Wednesday, 25 November 2009 - 7:27 pm

Saviour in the belly

After my visit with Sally, I made a point of collaring Masterson and asking him about her. He had come downstairs to go through the medical supplies and I leant him a hand.

He didn’t want to speak to me. At first, I thought he was grumpy about me taking up so much of Sally’s time and energy, but it was more than that. I asked him point-blank what his problem was and he rounded on me. He’s nasty but at least he didn’t shut me out completely.

“You leave us, and then come back and expect everything to be fine. Things aren’t fine. And you want to be into everything, always asking questions like it’s your right. Well, it’s not, you nosy bitch. It’s none of your business. Why don’t you just leave us alone again and we’ll all be happier?”

I hadn’t expected the attack, though I should have – I knew what Masterson was like. Time had softened the memory but he was only too quick to hit me with the reminder.

I won’t lie – it hurt. I’ve taken a lot of knocks lately and for a moment, I didn’t know what to do with it. Hit back or bend under it?

“We were always coming back,” I said, off-kilter.

“Right, right. And what were the chances of that happening, huh? What if that place you found was everything you wanted it to be? You’d have forgotten about us, that’s what would’ve happened. And we’d have been left here to rot alone. Instead, we’re rotting here with you. That’s so much better.”

I haven’t had such a tongue-lashing since Bree tore strips off me at the bookstore, way back in the time Before. It stung, just like it had then. I had taken it from her, swallowed it down and tried not to choke on the bitterness. But I’m a different person now. I wasn’t going to absorb that kind of thing like it didn’t matter.

“We would not have forgotten about you. The reason you didn’t know about Haven is because we were protecting you – we would have called for you if it had been safe. But it wasn’t. And now we’re back and we want to help. We want to find something better.”

“There is nothing better! There’s just this.”

“I don’t believe that. If that’s true, what’s the point?”

“The point is that you’re deluded, and you always have been. Faith and her Seekers, looking for the gold at the end of the rainbow. This is all there is, so get used to it already.”

“How can you say that? Sally’s up there, ready to have your baby any second. That doesn’t give you hope?”

His expression changed as soon as I mentioned Sally and the baby. It turned his fury up a notch and he took a step closer to me. He’s several inches taller than me and wanted me to feel small. It worked. “You stay away from her.”

“She’s my friend!”

“Just stay away! She doesn’t need you, and she doesn’t need your idiotic ideas!”

I opened my mouth to argue but he was already walking away. I turned to watch him and saw Thorpe standing by the door, scowling in our direction. I’m not sure why, but it made me feel worse, knowing we had had an audience. It’s also possible that Masterson only left because the big fireman turned up, in case he got involved too. Thorpe didn’t say anything, just turned and stepped out again, and I was left feeling ashamed of myself.


Masterson had left all the medical supplies on the counter when he stormed out, so I tidied them away. I made him a list of everything in case he wanted it and left it there. A part of me wanted to mend things, and making things right with the supplies seemed like a good place to start. It was the only thing I could do at the time.

That’s where Kostoya found me, quietly packing bandages into a cupboard. He’s a kindly thing and came up with a cautious smile for me. He’d heard the raised voices and seen Masterson thundering off down the corridor; it hadn’t taken him long to put the pieces together. He can be oblivious to a lot of things, but if he puts his mind to it, he understands more than we might expect.

Kostoya patted me on the shoulder, reminding me of my father so sharply that I almost pulled away. It wasn’t his place or his right, and I didn’t want to accept that kind of comfort from anyone else. It was too soon, too fresh. I swallowed back the reaction and tried not to think about Dad. Move on, Faith. It’s not the professor’s fault. He’s trying to be kind.

“He’s just worried about the baby. If it doesn’t come soon, he’ll lose them both.”

I sighed, feeling awful again. Masterson is having a bad time at the moment; I shouldn’t have shouted at him. I’d like to think that he’s more sensitive on the inside than he seems, but there’s a part of me that doesn’t believe he is. And another part that chirps up to add that it doesn’t excuse him from taking it out on me like that.

“I just wanted to help,” I said.

Kostoya nodded and told me that he knew that about me. “In a good way,” he felt it necessary to add.

He went on to say that they believe the baby is the reason that Sally didn’t get sick. Something about amniotic fluid, gestation, pregnancy, and the baby filtering Sally’s blood. They can’t find a trace of the poison in her system any more – the scar on her arm is the only evidence that she was ever bitten by the rain.

“But we’re not sure what it might have done to the baby,” he said. “Everything seems to be in order, but… well. We won’t know until we see it properly.” He sounded every inch the scientist that wanted to put the baby under a microscope as soon as it was born. At the same time, he was smiling wistfully, as if it was his grandchild that we were talking about bringing into the world.


While we were talking, it occurred to me that I should have asked him in the first place. Kostoya has always been more approachable than Masterson. I gave myself a mental kick and felt sore all the way through. I guess I asked for abuse by going to the doctor. I think he still blames us for the fact that there aren’t any fun drugs around and he can’t get high any more, and he blames me in particular because I lead the group. Coupled with that, he always covers his fear with anger and waspishness.

I’ll keep my distance to keep the peace. We’ll soon find out what the poison might have done to the baby, one way or another. Poor Sally – she didn’t say a thing about it when I talked to her. She must be terrified, not knowing what this thing in her belly is, big enough to crawl out on its own now. I’m scared, too.

She seems to have some hope for it, though. She loves it already and can’t wait to meet it. Somehow, that makes me sadder, knowing all that might go wrong.

I will hope for her. Her and the baby. We all need hope like that right now.