Oh my God—Etta thought she’d understood this before—that, even after a traveler died, there was still the chance of bumping into them again at some point in history. Each passage was fixed to a specific year and location, but not a date. What were the chances that they’d managed to land on the exact time that a past version of his father had decided to show up?
Henry made a noise of disgust, waving the thought away. Your mother was free of Ironwood’s men within days. I had numerous reports of her scampering about, staying well clear of you.She’s alive? Etta breathed out. The fear released like a sigh, blowing hot, then icy as what he didn’t say finally set in. She’s alive and she didn’t come to help me.
I can forgive her for what she did to us. She betrayed the trust of this group by lying and saying her family no longer had the astrolabe. The Thorns loved her, cared for her, and she took the key to everything we hoped to accomplish. He raked his hand back through his hair again, mussing it further. We’ve known each other since we were children, Rose and I. For a time, I truly believed I understood her better than I knew myself. I’m not proud to admit it, but I did not see just how ruthless and hopelessly misguided she had become. She is no stranger to using people, Thorns or Ironwoods, but for you to bear the brunt of it is cruel, even by her standards.Etta didn’t like that line of thought, the way it worked her stomach into disarray. She wanted to argue in her mother’s defense, to call his own bias into question, but when she reached into her memories, she found she’d already run through what little evidence to the contrary she had.Making his way to the window, Henry looked out, keeping his face from her. There’s so much darkness to this story, there are times I feel suffocated by it. Our lives became a tapestry of family and revenge and devastation, and it wove around us all so tightly, none of us escaped its knots, not even you. I should have seen the signs, but I wanted to believe she was beyond it. You have to know that if I had known she was with child when she left, I never would have stopped looking for you. I would have gone to the very edges of time to save you from this.
What are you talking about? Etta pressed. Her fingers twisted around each other in her lap. She could almost hear the way her thoughts were swelling, racing through the beats of lies and secrets to one final, crashing crescendo. She didn’t want to hear.His gaze met hers over his shoulder. All of this—this journey she’s sent you on—is rooted in nothing more than delusion and lies.
RATHER THAN STAY SEATED AND speak to his back, Etta pushed the chair from the desk and padded over to him. Sunrise edged ever closer with each second, adding to the unrelenting pressing of time’s swift march away from her. The sky near the horizon had lightened to a soft violet and, in the gentle light, she saw what wasn’t there: the footprints of the decimated buildings and streets hidden by rubble, streetlights that had been twisted and snapped like dry long grass.
I— she began. But the story wasn’t about her, not yet.‘How long have you got? Their relationship makes Oedipus Rex look like a sitcom. She’s hated me since the word go. She found him, didn’t she?’
Penny’s face clouded over. ‘She didn’t phone me. I had to find out from some copper knocking on the door. That says a lot about her, doesn’t it?’‘It wasn’t her responsibility to inform you. She was taken to hospital with shock,’ said Moss.
‘She mentioned that there was an incident between Gregory and your brother, Gary?’ asked Peterson.At the mention of Gary, Penny stiffened. ‘It was just a row, family stuff,’ she said, hastily.