Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Chapter 29 - Gen 2 - Tapestry

Just a note - I'm sorry this is a very long chapter.  I would normally have split it into two but I wanted it all kept together.  I am not happy with the bruises that I used in this chapter either but they were the best I could find :( 


I lie on the hospital stretcher quietly watching the lights flashing by on the ceiling above me as two nurses wheel it slowly down the long hospital corridor.

Mosaic disturbs my thoughts by asking me yet again if I am okay.  I just turn my head in his direction and smile at him.  Mosaic and Parsley are now walking silently by the side of the stretcher grinning at me which kind of amuses me a little.  I have to be abducted and missing for nine months for my brother and cousin to show me that they actually care about me.

I just lie there numbly watching them, worrying more about what lies ahead of me and River.

Mosaic and Parsley were the first people that me and River set eyes on as they were getting us out of the ambulance.  Coincidentally they had just been walking into the hospital to visit Slate apparently, when Mosaic spotted me being helped out of the back of the vehicle and put onto a stretcher.

I am not sure how Mosaic recognized me but he did, I hardly recognized myself once Jazz had finished with me.  Mosaic totally freaked out.  I was a little amused when they brought River out of the back of the ambulance after me, Mosaic's face was a picture.  I'm not really sure he was expecting River to be with me. I thought they would end up having to put Mosaic on a stretcher the state he was getting himself into.  Parsley was a lot calmer he stood back quietly just crying.

I'm not sure Mosaic and Parsley being around was part of Dads plan it was just a happy coincidence and perfect timing on their part to be in the right place at the right time.  As soon as they took me and River into A&E Ice pounced on us hysterically while Mosaic ran off to find Dad.  Parsley remained in A&E with us and just stood there quietly watching, he looked almost like he was in pain.  It didn't occur to me at the time that this must be awkward and painful for him knowing that his Mother played a part in it ... all of it as far as everyone is concerned other than the few of us who really know the truth.

I never thought that I would be so happy to see this place again.  I've missed everything about home and am so relieved as well as excited that it's nearly all over, mine and River's lives can now start to get back to some sort of normality ... as long as everything goes to plan!!

I ache from head to foot ... now covered in cuts and bruises I feel like I've had a right good kicking - I'm going to get Jazz back for this!  I laugh in my head wandering what he actually did to us to get us into this state, I'm just glad that I was sedated and out of it so I didn't have to feel any of what he had to do to me.

The nurses who are pushing me down the corridor are being followed by two police officers in uniform.  The bed is being pushed quite slowly, too slow for my liking!!  I am being gawked at by everyone we pass, there is a lot of pointing and whispering going on which is making me feel really uncomfortable.  I wish they would hurry up and get me to a room, away from all the staring, I'm beginning to feel like a goldfish in a bowl.

I'm not looking forward to what is coming emotionally, even though I'm going to be very happy to see everyone.  I've already had Mosaic falling to pieces on me as well as Dad and Ice crying all over me.  Emotionally I haven't felt this messed up for a long time and I'm worried it might trigger an outburst.

The clean up was the worst part!!  We were black, we looked worse than the homeless tramps after Jazz had finished having us rolling around in muck down in the sewers.  I was really glad to get out of the smelly horrible clothes that we had been dressed in, but being bed bathed by my Dad and Aunt was not one of the best experiences of my life!!  River was really not amused when Ice and another nurse who he knows started on him, but he had to be cleaned up thoroughly before they could take him into theatre to remove the knife from his shoulder.  Dad and Ice kind of took over in A&E even though it is neither of their departments. I was actually surprised that Slate didn't appear, he must be at work if Mosaic and Parsley were here to visit him. 

The nurses finally push my stretcher into quite a large side room at the end of the corridor and help me off the stretcher and onto one of the two beds in the room. I see that the police officers remain outside in the corridor like they are guarding the door.  I really hope one of their jobs is not going to be arresting River.  I noticed A&E suddenly started swarming with police officers after our arrival. I was amazed by how quickly Gravel appeared with Dad and another guy who I've never seen before, it was like Gravel might have already been in the hospital.  The strange guy hung around for a while and spoke to Dad and Gravel then disappeared again - I don't have a clue who he might be.

I try to take my mind off the worst that could happen today, River being arrested.  I laugh out loud thinking about Dad ... I'm wandering where he has got all these acting skills from suddenly.  He played a blinder in A&E, playing the distraught Father - like he seriously hasn't seen me or know where I've been and what has been happening to me for the last nine months ... when in reality he saw me only yesterday. I just hope my acting skills are going to be as good!!

"Are you okay Tap?"  Mosaic asks frowning which makes me laugh again - how many more times is he going to ask me that question!!

I lie on the bed staring at Parsley and Mosaic.  I'm only just really noticing for the first time how much they have grown and changed, the last time that I saw them they were both teenagers.  I laugh at the pair of them as they just stand there staring at me like I am at them.

"You two have changed a little!!"  I smile at them

"So have you, it's mad seeing you without a hat on!!"  I laugh, isn't it funny how that is the first thing everyone is saying to me, Cosmic and Ice said it and so did Forrest when he popped his head in to see how we were. I might just start wearing a hat again just to shut them up.

"Had no choice, I kind of lost it!"  I notice Parsley and Mosaic exchange a look.  "Who was the new long haired guy with Gravel and Dad down in A&E"  I ask because he has been bugging me, it is not often new people spring up in this town.

"Oh that's Granite, he's Gravels brother."  I didn't even know Gravel had a brother!!  "You WAIT till you see what Dad got you for your birthday ... you are going to LOVE it!!"  he says quickly like he is trying to change the subject.  "Prelude now officially hates you!"   they both start laughing.  I already know he is talking about my Iconic Jam guitar but I can't tell them that I know.

"What is it?"  I ask

"Not telling ... it's a surprise ... you will have to wait and see!!"  he smirks at Parsley.  I ask what he got for his birthday  "He brought me and Fudge a house but it is part wedding present too, I don't live at home anymore."  he smiles at me.

I am shocked thinking they might be married, it wouldn't surprise me if they had got married and I hadn't been told.  So I ask him.   

"No not yet, all the weddings have been put on hold until you and River came home."  he smiles at me.  Now that really does surprise me!!

"So I guess Daddies little princess has also got her own little castle.  Where is she anyway?"  Mosaic and Parsley exchange a look before they both burst up laughing.

"Don't worry - you haven't been left out - you've got your own little playpen as you will see when you get home!!" Mosaic and Parsley both start laughing again.  I frown at him and ask him what he's on about.  "I probably shouldn't be telling you this, he wants to surprise you but I've told him you are probably going to kick off ... he's been messing down in the basement, you've got your own space down there now."

"He better NOT have touched my bedroom or anything in it!!"

"No we managed to talk him into not touching your bedroom!!"  he starts laughing  "You've got your own apartment down there - you'll see when you get home, he's planning to keep you locked up at home forever I think!!"  I roll my eyes at him.  "So when he tells you act surprised, he'll kill me for telling you!!"

"So what about the princess - let me guess he's got you a house right next door to each other and probably next door to his where he can keep his beady eye on you too!!"

No, Coral didn't get one, she burnt her castle down before she even got it!!"  he starts laughing  "Cotton is Daddies little princess now - Coral's halo has slipped off and choked her - she's in Dad's bad books big time and everyone else's for that matter and I doubt you'll like what she's done either!!  He ended up buying her a car instead."

"Why what has she done?"  Mosaic rolls his eyes and says he'll tell me later. 

I'm just about to have a go at him because I am sick of hearing 'I'll tell you later' when the door opens and a nurse walks in and interrupts our conversation when she takes my pulse and temperature.

"How long do you think my brother is going to be in theatre?  I ask her  "River is going to be okay isn't he?!" 

"He will be fine, he's lucky the knife went into his shoulder where it did, inches either side and it could have been fatal!!"  she smiles at me  "I doubt he will be in theater long, he'll be up here before you know it!!  Dr Muffin wants you two kept together."  she stands there smiling at me  "I'm still bowled over that River is actually Dr Muffins son!!"

I lie my head back down on the pillow laughing in my head.  Yeah I guess River is in for a bigger roller coaster ride than I am now we are back!!  Everyone knows him here in this hospital as the geeky quiet mix berry in pathology, now his real identity is out everything is going to change for him in a big way, I doubt everyone will stop pecking his head over the whole situation for a long time.  He also has a lot of people to meet, like our Grandparents, my Mom, our little sister Cotton, other family members who didn't know him before all this happened, as well as the stick he's going to get from the likes of Coral, Mosaic and Parsley for not telling them who he really was, just like he got from Mulberry while we were in Rainbow Valley.  Ocean ... he is still yet to see his son, I know that is going to crack him up and the only thing he's really been dying for since the day he was born.

Poor River, he's had to take the worst and most out of this trip when you think about it ... especially physical pain!!  While I'm just lay here with cuts and bruises, the vampberrys broke his ribs and back, and he's had to have a knife strategically pushed into his shoulder, to make it look like Manderine stabbed him when we made our escape.  Plus he's had to miss the birth of his son which I know emotionally has really knocked him about.  I guess I've gone through hardly anything in comparison - Honey, the babies and being away from home is all I've had to bare.  I bet he regrets the day he walked into the vampberry den and found me in there because it has totally turned his world upside down!!

The door opens and Gravel walks in, he smiles at me and sits down on a chair and starts to pull papers out of a folder that he's carrying and starts to scribble away like he's writing a load of notes down, I know he was talking to River and Dad before they took him into theatre.

I notice Mosaic and Parsley both turn in their chairs to scowl at him in quite a nasty way which I think is a little strange.

"You okay Tap?"  Mosaic asks again and I start laughing at him 

"How many times are you going to ask me?!"  I see Gravel keep glance up at me so I decide to give him something to listen too  "I'm fine, they are just cuts and bruises, Manderine kept giving us a good kicking but only because she had us tied up and we couldn't retaliate ... I'm lucky, it's River who you should feel sorry for he took most of it trying to protect me from the green bitch!!"

"You know we had all given up any hope of you two ever coming home alive!!"  Mosaic is starting to get upset.  I just smile at him, that's how I felt to start with too when we were locked in the cage, but it's been a long time since I've had to think that.   I wander what they must have been going through having to think that for the past nine months!?  "I need to ask you something ... River ... the police think he was involved in the abduction and were helping Manderine and Maizie to hold you."  I laugh in my head as I notice Gravel glance up quickly from his papers and he stops writing - Mosaic has just given me the chance to clear his name a little here.

"Well they are very wrong!!"  I laugh  "I'm sorry Mo but as brothers go - you are not a patch on River!!"  Mosaic just laughs at me  "If it wasn't for River I think Manderine would have finished me off a long time ago ... I would never have got through this without him!!  he smiles at me and looks very relieved "River took most of my beatings, he kept throwing himself in the way, she had it in for me big time!!  She broke River's ribs, he was in agony for ages and that knife - that was meant for me, River stepped in the way to stop her from stabbing me!!"

"How did you get away Tap?"  Mo asks me, I know Gravel is just sat there listening to our conversation but I don't let him know I know he is.  "Did she let you go?"

"No I don't think she ever intended to let us go - she had it in for me especially, she blames me for Storm, Pine and Forrest.  She messed up - she gave River a razor so we could shave our faces - we had to nag her for what felt like weeks, if only you'd seen the state we were in we both looked like hairy monsters!!"  I start laughing in my head.  Our well kept shaved faces and hair had been a big concern of Jazz's we definitely didn't look like we had been held captive for so long even with our dirty clothes, dirty bruised and battered bodies.  This was the best story we could come up with, we just hope they buy it.  "She untied River's hands so he could shave both of our faces.  River managed to sneak one of the blades out of the razor while she wasn't paying attention.  We waited for her to leave us then we used it to cut ourselves free.  We planned to make our escape while she wasn't around, but she came back and caught us, that's when River got stabbed, we managed to fight her off and we legged it.

I can see that Parsley is sitting there getting very upset.

"Tap where was River's Mom?  Where was Maizie, why haven't you mentioned her yet?"  Mosaic asks frowning

"Manderine faded her ages ago, she stabbed her."  They both looked shocked.  I notice Parsley has been looking constantly upset, withdrawn and uneasy and he hasn't even really spoken to me yet.  I see Gravel sat there still listening, he doesn't react like I thought he might, I guess he's waiting to see what else I have to say.

"What's up Parsley?"  I ask the question but I think I already know what is upsetting him

"I'm sorry I shouldn't have come ... I bet you and River must hate me!!"  he says as he starts to cry quite badly.

"Don't talk wet!!  If you are getting upset because the green bitch is your Mother - Don't!!  Maize was River's Mother too remember!!  Although Maizie did try to help us in the end but only once Manderine had turned on her and River."  he just stares at me with tears streaming down his face  "It's not your fault what Manderine has done and I don't hate you!!  If you ask me you've had a lucky escape - you wouldn't have wanted that woman bringing you up, she's an evil twisted cow ... she didn't care that I am supposed to be her nephew or that she might be hurting you and Prelude ... and I definitely think she would have shot you too in the cemetery if you had carried on trying to stop her from taking us."

Suddenly we can hear someone shouting almost hysterically out in the corridor, My Mother.  She is arguing with one of the policemen, it sounds like they won't let her in ... this is ridiculous!!  I try to get out of bed but Mosaic stops me ... this is also ridiculous because other than cuts and bruises there is nothing actually wrong with me.

Gravel jumps up and goes out into the corridor to sort out the racket. As he pulls the door too behind him Mosaic swears at him calling him a berry hole, which I find strange, but I don't get a chance to ask him why.

Suddenly the door flies open and my Mother comes running in closely followed by Mulberry who winks at me.  Parsley and Mosaic have to move out of the way as Mom just throws herself at me and I have the same kind of performance from her as I did from Dad, Mosaic and Ice.  She's crying and squeezing me so tight, going on about how she never thought she would see me again and how much I've grown, in among kissing my face and suffocating me.

I'm already crying as I'm hugging Mom and hoping I don't get this kind of performance off everyone or I'm going to be an emotional wreck and I'm likely to have an outburst ... I am yet to have my medication today.  Dad said I had to leave it because they would give it me at the hospital thinking I haven't had any medication while I've supposedly been held captive.

"Mo, can you and Parsley go and help Bay with Slate - he's just been told and he's in a bit of a state!!"  Mulberry says to them, I guess he is trying to get rid of them, things might not be so easy if they are also here when the police start to question me and River, especially Parsley there are things he really shouldn't have to listen too.

They both leave the room quietly but they both glare at Gravel nastily as they walk past him.  I wander what is going on?  I wander what Slate has been told to upset him.  Bayleaf and Slates names being mentioned together - now that amuses me, but I doubt it will amuse Storm!!  I actually wander where Storm is, I would have expected him to have been here with me.

Mulberry distracts me from my thoughts and makes me laugh, he wipes the tears off my face and says while winking at me "Since when do you do crying without kicking off?"  he says as he hugs me.  He is repeating the exact same words to me as he had said when we had been in the hospital with Grape Orchid ... which makes me wander how the old man is and Crystal, I wander what is happening with her ... but I can't ask about either of them ... I am not supposed to know either of them, or Winter, I don't know how I'm ever going to pull this off without slipping up!!

"What is up with Slate?"  I ask him

"Nothing for you to worry about Tap!!"  he says which makes me roll my eyes at him.  I've been back for five minutes and already I'm hearing those seven words that I hate the most  'Nothing for you to worry about Tap'  I swear I'm going to get that written on my head stone!!  "We will fill you in on all the gossip later!"  here we go again - they are never going to stop treating me like an idiot are they!!  Of course later usually never comes! 

Mulberry sits holding my hand, he's had strict instructions to stick by me until River gets here.  He's to squeeze my hand to warn me to think carefully and he's here to fend the police questions away from me as much as possible.  Storm was also suppose to be here to help but I don't get why he isn't!!  They don't believe that I can pull this off .. they think I'm going to be the one who ruins their well thought out lies ... the lies about how Manderine has been treating us badly, how she's been holding me, River and Maizie tied up and captive, how she's faded Maizie, and how we've escaped.  Everything is being pinned on Manderine and we especially need the police to believe River is totally innocent in all this. They are convinced I'm going to be the one to say the wrong thing or forget what I am supposed to be saying ... if either me or River make any mistakes from here we are all going to get locked up.

A nurse walks into the room with a tray of food ... oh heck, I really haven't been looking forward to this part at all, I've been told that I have to attack this food and eat like I'm starving ... which for me is not easy, I'm not too good with food at the best of times.  We haven't actually eaten since yesterday morning on purpose to help with the act, River might be starving but I can go for days without eating, so it hasn't really helped me.

I have an audience, especially the policeman, so I have no choice, especially with the way he is watching me.  I look at the food on the tray for a second ... a glass of something, probably milk ... soup and bread I can do, its the fish and potato I really am not going to enjoy.  I think about how Crystal used to eat and start attacking the food.

I bite into the bread and it sticks in my throat so I dip it in the soup and stuff it in my mouth.  I hear my Mom and Mulberry laughing at me, they are used to force feeding me or watching me pick and play with food, so what they are watching me do here must be very amusing to them.

I just pick up the soup like Crystal would have done and start drinking it from the bowl.  It's a bit hot so I put the bowl down and leave it till after I've eaten the revolting fish ... I hate fish ... but today I have no choise but to eat it, starving people can not be picky.  I don't even bother to use the fork and pick the fish up with my fingers and half of it falls back on the plate as I stuff it in my mouth and start chewing it.  Big mistake ... as soon as the taste of the fish hits my taste buds I want to puke, chewing is not such a good idea so I just swallow it.  My Mother and Mulberry are still laughing, I hear Mom telling Gravel about my eating habits and how I don't like fish.  Well played Mom, now he's going to believe I really am starving!!

"You need to slow down, you will make yourself sick!!"  the nurse puts her hand on my arm to slow me down - oh I am going to be sick alright after eating this don't you worry!!  I shake my head and pick up the rest of the fish and stuff it in my mouth and swallow it in pieces, not chewing it this time so I can't taste it so much.  When the revolting fish has gone I attack the potato with the fork which I don't mind, then I drink the rest of the soup.  I know this is going down way too fast and I'm already feeling bloated and sick.  I pick up the glass and start drinking it, I expected it to be just plain milk but its actually vanilla milk shake.  I giggle in my head as I drink it fast like Crystal used to do letting the milkshake run over the top of the glass and down my face.  I put the glass down when it's empty.

"I'm still hungry!!"  I say to the nurse, Mulberry starts howling with laughter ... he actually does know exactly what I've just had to do.

"I'm sorry you will have to wait a while before you have anything else to eat, your stomach will have shrunk while you've not been eating properly, too much food all at once and you will over load it."  she says to me ... which Dad said they'd say  ... that they wouldn't let me have anymore food yet so don't worry about asking for more.

I lie back, I can still taste the fish in my mouth and I do now feel sick and start heaving.  I jump off the bed planning to go to the toilet ... and up it comes, all I can do is lean over and throw up all over the floor.  Mom and Mulberry have to jump quickly out of the way as they are splattered with it ... Mulberry isn't laughing any more, but I am in my head, that will teach him for laughing at me.

 "I'll go and fetch someone to clean that up and have a word with the doctor we might have to put him on a drip if he can't keep his food down"  she says to my Mom.  Oh great!!

"Have they not been feeding you?"  Gravel asks as he steps up to the bed.  I see Mulberry cutting him evil eyes as he squeezes my hand, I notice he had said THEY ... is he trying to catch me out already?

"Not regularly, sometimes Manderine used to leave me and River for what felt like days without food, it was hard to keep track of time because it was always so dark."  I just managed to get out before I have to lean over the bowl that the nurse had given me and throw up for a second time.

"Where is Dad?"  I ask Mom as she starts cleaning the vomit and milkshake off my face and neck like I'm a baby.  I try to make her quit fussing, but she continues to wipe my face and treat my like a child as she talks to me.  She tells me he's gone into theatre with River, and Winter has gone in with them too.  Mulberry squeezes my hand suddenly ... Winter ... I don't know who Winter is as far as they are concerned.  "Who is Winter?"  I ask her.

"Oh of course you wouldn't know ... she was dating River secretly when they were in Apple Hill because she's blue  ... she turned up on our doorstep looking for him a few months back ... your brother is in for one hell of a shock when he wakes up from his operation!!"  she starts laughing  "In fact, you are both in for quite a shock."

"Lilly!!"  Mulberry snaps at my Mother which confuses me ... I know what shock River is in for - Ocean they think he doesn't know about him, but, what shock am I in for - unless she is talking about my guitar.  "Leave the gossip till later!!  The boy needs to get settled before you start springing nasty surprises on him"  he snaps again.  Mom suddenly looks awkward and I'm wandering what is nasty about the surprise?!

"Sorry ... I forgot!!"  she mumbles and Mulberry gets up and pulls her to one side and they start whispering in the corner of the room.  Oh here we go ... treating me like the idiot child already!!  I notice Mulberry and Gravel exchanging not very nice looks.  Mom comes and sits back down by me while Mulberry stands glaring at Gravel.

"If you weren't the officer in charge of this case I'd bounce you right out of here!!"  Mulberry turns to Gravel and seems angry for some reason  "And don't even think about asking Tapestry anymore questions without Mango being here!!"

"He is actually old enough now to be questioned without a parent present and there are a few questions I will need to ask the boy before Mango jr gets here!"  

"His body might be old enough but mentally he isn't ... he has disabilities remember!!"  Mulberry snaps at him really angrily, they have warned me that they might have to play the disability card to stop him from asking me too many questions, they are scared that I am going to be the one to mess everything up, they are trying to push most of it onto River.  "Cut the boy some slack he's only just got here!!  Shouldn't you be out looking for that green bitch?!  Instead of hanging round here like a bad smell!!"  Mulberry sits down next to me again "And just so you know, his name is River not Mango Jr!!" he snaps nastily ... I don't get why Mulberry is being so nasty to him, surely he shouldn't be trying to rub him up the wrong way!!  Gravel moves away from where he is standing and comes towards the bed.

"Mulberry I'm in charge remember, you know you can always leave, you are only in here because of Lilly's condition, I can always get one of the other family members, Coral for example, to come in and sit with her instead!!"  he snaps at Mulberry who jumps up and starts going for Gravel, for a moment I thought Mulberry intents to hit him.  Berry knows what's going on here!! 

"Mulberry leave it please ... "  Mom jumps in between them angrily stopping Mulberry from hitting Gravel.  "None of us are happy with this ... but it's done now and there is nothing we can do about it and arguing is not going to make it any better!!  Slate is okay now which is the main thing so just drop it Mulberry and let him do his job!!"  my Mom says angrily and she turns to Gravel  "and you stop winding him up, there was no need for you to mention Coral just then to provoke him ... you all need to grow up, you are all acting like children and I'm sick of it!!"  I'm wandering why Gravel mentioning Coral would provoke Mulberry? and what is wrong with Slate? 

Gravel says he is sorry to my Mom almost like he's scared of upsetting her, which again I think is strange.  There must be some serious stuff going on here!!  I become highly amused when Mom tells Gravel to get on with it and Mulberry to sit down and shut up as she sits down herself.  They both suddenly look like naughty boys which makes me laugh.

Gravel calls in one of the police officers from outside who sits down on the chair by the door, the police officer looks like he's going to be taking notes as he takes out a small pad and pen.  Gravel tells me it's just procedure for two of them to witness the conversation.  Oh berry ... I hope I don't stuff this up by saying the wrong thing!!

"I need to know about River's involvement in this ... at any time was he working with Manderine and Maizie in holding you and Honey?"  he asks, I told him that when he first found us he had to pretend that he was while he tried to work out a way to get me and Honey away from them, but it wasn't easy because Manderine was waving a gun around at everyone all the time.

"What do you mean ... when he first found you?"  I told him Maizie and Manderine had taken me and Honey to a house in Apple Hill ... River said it was his Grandmothers old house ... he told me when he checks on his own house in Apple Hill he checks on his Grandmothers occasionally because it's been empty for two years ... he walked in by accident while we were there.

"What happened when he found you ... how did Manderine and Maizie react?"  I told him Manderine held the gun to his head, I thought she was going to fade him, Maizie begged her not too, she tied him up with me and Honey and Maizie and Manderine went into another room and had a huge fight.  River asked me what was going on while they were arguing, he said he'd pretend to help them and try and get us out of there.  He told me he was my brother and I didn't believe him at first I thought he was a bit mental.  So he pretended to hate Dad for abandoning him, and Mom for stealing Dad away from Maizie and leaving him without a Dad, he convinced Manderine he wanted to help her make Mom and Dad suffer as much as she did and she fell for it ... but not for long, because she turned on both River and Maizie and we were too scared to do anything because of the gun.

"So she's been holding you Honey, River and Maizie at gunpoint?"  I tell him yes

"Do you know why Manderine and Maizie took you and Honey?"  I look at Mom for a moment, I'm not really sure she should be listening to this.  "Tapestry?!"

"They planned to take Mom from the funeral, not us, they planned to fade her ... because she wasn't there Manderine grabbed Honey because she needed a hostage to get away, she took me for fun when she realized who I was."  he frowned at me for a moment

"Why would they want your Mom?"  he is now really frowning at me.

"Manderine hates her for being colourless I think, I don't know, she was in prison for trying to fade her already wasn't she ... she wanted to finish what she started."  he asked me about Maizie  "Maizie was helping her because of Dad ... she still loves him and recons Mom stole him from her, I think she thought if Mom is gone she could get him back"  

"Why did she keep you for so long, do you know?"  he asks frowning  

"I don't know maybe you should ask her that!!  I snap at him  "Why didn't you come and find us?!"  I start crying, and he just looks at me for a moment.

"She must have said something that might have given you some idea?"  he frowns at meMulberry snaps at him to stop pushing me with stupid questions. 

"I don't know ... she was enjoying the thought of Mom and Dad suffering because she had me and River, she was always laughing about it ... She also blames me for Storm fading, Pine being brain damaged and Forrest being in prison,  she said she was going to make me suffer like her three boys are suffering ... and she was!!"

"So has Manderine been treating both you and River badly?"  Gravel asks as he's scribbling away on his pad.

"Yes ... She was always beating and kicking us but there was nothing we could do."  I held out my wrists and showed him the rope burns  " It was me mainly she went for and River kept having to get in the way trying to protect me from her.  She broke Rivers ribs.  She played games with us ... she used to taunt us with a knife or hold the gun to one of our heads laughing telling the other one to watch while she blew the others brains out ... then there was all the verbal stuff."

"Like what?"

Manderine kept saying she would make me suffer for Storm, Pine and Forrest and she was constantly teasing me saying my Mom was an abomination and a freak and her one ambition in life is to dance on her grave like she dances on Cosmics and their baby's graves."  I see Mom look up at me and frown.  "She kept teasing River telling him Dad didn't love or want him and neither did Maizie and that's why she dumped him on his Gran.  She constantly wound him up over what she'd done to Maizie.  She kept telling us that the next time Dad is seeing either of us is when we are in our coffins and and all the threats of how she is going to fade all of us.  She said when our parents have buried all their children who she will be fading then she'll get them."

"Where was Maizie while all this was going on?"  he asks me

"Manderine faded Maizie not long after Honey ..."  

Mulberry jumps up cutting my words off suddenly shouting.

"Gravel that's enough ... you said a few questions about River's involvement not this, you know you have already gone WAY TOO FAR!!"  Mulberry is looking really angrily at him. 

I look at Mom and see her going, she starts to fall off the chair so I shout her.  Gravel leaps forward trying to catch her, but he wasn't quick enough, she hits the floor with quite a thud.

"DAMN!!  Did she hit her head?? She's switched off, I knew this would happen!!"  Mulberry sounds angry as he rushes over to her. "Mango told you not to push with the questions while Lilly is in the room!!"  he snaps at him nastily.

Mulberry rolls Mom over and checks the red mark on her face and head swearing under his breath, and I know why, hitting her head could be dangerous.  Mulberry swings her up into his arms.  

"I'm going to have to take her down to A&E, she's hit her head"  he starts glaring at Gravel  "Do you see what that evil green bitch has done ... this is just one example of what we've had to suffer at her hands over the years ..."  he says waving my Moms limp body in front of Gravel and I can see he's crying  "I have to look at my wife's face everyday just to see her handy work and you know she'll never stop until she has each and ever one of us - Coral included you heard what Tapestry said!!"  he snaps at Gravel "Its pretty clear River is not the criminal here like we said he wouldn't be  ... you should be out there trying to find that bitch instead of interrogating these boys ... don't you think they have been through enough already!!"

He starts to walk out of the room with Mom then he turns round to face him again  "You claim you want to be a part of this family now, well maybe you should step up and start acting like it, and don't you say one word to that boy while I'm out of the room!!"  

I'd love to know what's going on with those two.  Gravel stands staring at me for a moment then walks over to the door he sends the policeman out and calls somebody in.  Coral comes flying into the room ... My eyes widen as I notice Coral is pregnant.  She comes flying at me like Mom had, which surprises me, since when did my sister care about me!?  So I have to go through another round of suffocation, tight squeezes and face kissing.

"Sis you need to lay off the cakes ... you have gotten FAT!!!"  I laugh at her as I put my hand on the baby bump.  "Where is Slate?"  she pulls a face at me

"There are two girls in there."  she grins at me as she rubs the baby bump.  "Me and Slate broke up!!"  she smiles at me  "I'm with Gravel now ... they are his kids ... we hope!!"

"WHAT!!?"  I can't believe what I'm hearing, I look up at Gravel and he just smiles at me.  Gravel and Coral ... I can't take it in - he's the same age as Dad ... he's Slates Dad!!!  I'm in shock and ask her if she seriously doesn't know who's babies they.  She shakes her head  and looks down as she starts rubbing her bump again telling me that everyone is mad with her and Gravel and that Dad has gone totally ballistic.  I start laughing ... I bet he has!!

Now I think I know what all the atmosphere has been about between Mulberry and Gravel.  The door opens and Mulberry walks back into the room without Mom, he sees Coral sitting with me and he rolls his eyes.

"Coral, make yourself useful for a change, go and help Juni she has got your Mother down in A&E because she's blacked out and hit her head."  he snaps at Coral quite nastily, she starts to protest but doesn't get very far.

"GO NOW Coral ... Don't you even start arguing with me!!"  he shouts at her  "Your Mother's health comes before your love life!!"

"Get off her back Mulberry, if you want someone to shout at, shout at me ... Don't talk to her like that again!!"  Gravel jumps up and shouts at him.

"I'll speak to my niece how I damn well like and until you put a ring on her finger you've got no right to tell me otherwise!!"  he snaps at Gravel again as he sits down by me again.

Oh Boy!!  I'm home!!   It's not often I see Mulberry get so nasty with people, he's usually pretty placid, the only time I've seen him get nasty is with Prelude when he's hammered and he snapped at the old man in the hospital, and of course we've had our run ins over the years when I've been misbehaving but he's usually the calm one, he usually takes most things in his stride, but this obviously has really upset him.

"What the fudge is going on with you lot?"  I ask him

Mulberry starts laughing and says that Coral has gone and outdone anything that I've ever done ... she should be ashamed of herself having an affair with Gravel behind Slates back.  She was sleeping with both of them for six weeks and has gotten herself pregnant and doesn't know if the baby is Slates or Gravels.  She's let an old man take advantage of her and Gravel who is twice her age should know better, especially doing the dirty on his own son, who has now been up in Intensive Care for over 2 months after taking an overdose they have messed his head up that much!!

"Oh Fudge!!"  I stare at Mulberry in shock.  Shit!!  I only just realize that Mosaic and Parsley were not visiting Slate at work like I first thought, they were visiting him as a patient.  "Is Slate okay?"

"Hopefully - its a miracle that he even survived - he took 80 painkillers with three bottles of vodka - he poisoned himself with the alcohol.  Your Dad and Bay found him with minutes to spare and he's been on full life support and out of it for two months.  He's finally woken up today - it seems to be a day for surprises!!"  he laughs sarcastically  "He needs a kidney replacement but he should be fine, but I'm not so sure about his sanity!!"

The door opens and a nurse walks in with my medication, she stands over me and watches me take it then starts checking my blood pressure and temperature again ... why is she even doing this when there is obviously nothing wrong with me other than cuts and bruises.  I just stare at Gravel but I don't have time to think because the door opens again.

My Dad walks into the room ... he smiles at me as he stands holding the door open as they wheel River into the room.  A few nurses busy themselves moving things around and helping to get River off the stretcher and onto the bed next to mine.  I'm surprised he's awake, even though he's a little groggy.

I notice while they are settling River in Dad is having words with Gravel, they both keep looking in my direction occasionally.

"Hey!!"  River smiles at me and holds his hand out to me which I take as I sit down on his bed by him.  I notice he has the same rope burn marks around his wrists that I do ... Jazz really went to town making it look like we have been miss treated.  "You okay Tap?"  I smile at him and he winks at me. 

"I need to know about Manderine."  Gravel says as he stands up close to the end of River's bed  "Any idea about her whereabouts?"

"She might still be there  ... I hit her head pretty hard with a metal pole, I think I might have faded her because she fell and didn't get back up again!!"  I say as rehearsed.  The room is deadly quiet now as everyone is just stood staring at us.  "We didn't stop to check her we just legged it!!"  Gravel starts shooing the three nurses out of the room.

"Where were you Tapestry ... where has she been hiding you?"  Gravel asks once he's closed the door behind them and dragged in one of the policemen who was standing outside the door, both me and River answer at the same time ... in the sewers.

The sewers I think was a genius idea, Jazz says the vampberry's run the sewers, that's how they get from town to town undetected because they don't need to come above ground.  They knew that the police had not searched the sewers because Cosmic apparently has been camped out in Gravels office and in the police station listening to and watching everything that they are doing around the abduction case.  The sewers around Sugar Valley only have Jazz, Maizie and Omri running around in them now because all the other vampberrys have moved out.  So they have set up a few kind of base camps down there in small alcoves, to make it look like that is where we have been living for the past nine months, that me and River rolled around in last night and left our fingerprints all over.  Manderine also took a trip out while she was compelled so there is evidence of her being there too.

"THE SEWERS?!  Fudge!!  One place we never even thought to look!!"  Gravel is stood there wide eyed as he pulls out his phone then stops and asks  "Where here or Apple Hill, which sewers?   

"We don't know ... She kept us blind folded most of the time when she moved us around. She moved us through the sewers between here and Apple Hill I think she only really kept us in two places."  River tells him.  I stay quiet like I've been told too, I am to let River answer most of the questions.

"How did you end up in the woods River?"  Gravel asks  "The guy who phoned the ambulance for you said you came out of the woods."

"The woods is where we came up - we legged it through the sewers once we got away from Manderine.  We climbed the first ladder steps we found - Tapestry managed to remove the cover, I couldn't because of the knife."  River tells him  " we didn't even know we were in Sugar Valley until we got out onto the street.  In the woods you'll find an open grate - we didn't close it we just wanted to get out of there!!  he smiles at Gravel  "When you climb down go right you should find where we were quite easily."

I sit quietly just listening as Gravel seems happy now to direct all his questions at River.  I let my head start to wander and switch off for a while as Gravel continues to question River.  Both of their voices dim to background noise in my head while I start to think about CrystalI really would love to know how she is getting on and where she is, I start to worry a little because I know she is not with Mom.  Then my mind wanders on to Slate and what Coral has done with Gravel. 

"Mom too ... she only took us out of the sewers once, that's when she ..."  I heard River say as he brings me back to reality by squeezing my hand tightly and I can see he's starting to cry.  Its kind of strange for me to hear him calling her Mom, he usually only calls her by her name. 

"Maizie ... River where is your Mother?"  he asks. 

"Manderine faded her ..." is all he says quietly

"How?  When?"  Gravel asks and River stays quiet he just lies there crying.  Mulberry sits on the bed and puts his arms around him and River really starts to cry, I would love to know what he is thinking about to make him cry so much because I know it wouldn't be Maizie, he hates her.  I can see Dad standing there awkwardly, as far as Gravel is concerned this is the first time that Dad has seen River so he's had to keep his distance from him.

"Tapestry?"  Gravel says when he can see he's not getting an answer out of River.

"Maizie was tied up like we were but she managed to break loose.  Manderine and Maizie  started fighting but Manderine had a knife, Maize didn't stand a chance.  She stabbed Maizie in the stomach."  I start thinking about Honey and the babies to make myself cry  "We had to sit and watch her fade ... there was nothing we could do ... we were tied up!!"  I tell him, he asks me how long ago and what happened to her body  "I don't know ... I don't even know how long we've been away ... we were out of the sewers then in some sort of empty warehouse building, she took her body out and we didn't see her again ... she moved us back down to the sewers again after that and that's where we've been ever since." 

Gravel looks at my Dad says he needs to make a phone call to get them looking for Maizies and possibly Manderines bodies and he walks out of the room.  I already know they are not going to find either bodies because they are both safely tucked away living quite happily in the vampberry den.  All they are going to find is a metal pole with my finger prints on and a pool of Manderine's blood down in the sewers.

There is only me, River Dad and Mulberry in the room now and I think we all sigh with relief as Gravel closes the door behind him.

"Keep it up boys and we ARE going to get away with this ... Gravel has already told me, River is pretty much in the clear ... we only need to get the hospital to drop the charges and he's all clear, I can talk them into doing that ... I don't know what you said to Gravel earlier Tapestry but whatever it was it worked."   Dad says frowning at me, I start laughing

"I think it was more what he said!!"  I point at Mulberry  "He kind of emotionally nobbled him using Coral and Mom!!"  me and Mulberry start laughing.

 I hold my breath as I see Sunny walk into the room.  Oh Fudge ... I really wasn't looking forward to facing him.  He just stands there for a moment looking at me and he smiles which surprises me ... but it doesn't stop me from feeling nervous.  He goes over to Dad and they start whispering for a while.

Gravel comes back into the room has a quick word with Dad then he leaves the room again.

"Right Gravel is going out to the woods and sewers for a nose, he says there will probably be more questions but he's giving us the space and a few hours to break and sort out all the news - so we need to get this done!!"  Dad says looking at River

I can't help but think that something funny is going on.  Break what news?  Sunny and Mulberry exchange a look and River is off crying again and I don't have a clue why.  I definitely know something is going on when Dad comes over to me and holds his hand out to me, there are two white pills in his hand. TWO!!??   I look up at him and frown.

"What's going on? ... I don't need those!!"  he snaps at me to take them  "No!!  I haven't had an outburst for a long time ... you can't tell me anything that will make me kick off!!"

"Oh I think I can ... please Tap!!"  I look at River and he's off really crying again.

"Take them Tap!!  You are going to need them!!"  I ask him if he knows what's going on  "Yes, he told me when I came out of theatre ... please Tap."  I look at Sunny and I notice he's also crying.  What the fudge is going on now?!  Sunny sees me looking at him and he tells me to take them.  I take them.

"I'll just tell you a few things while those kick in. Crystal in A&E last night ... she kicked off royal style they had to strap her down ... I've got a few nurses with scratched faces today"  he starts laughing but I look horrified   "She is with Affair.  Your Mother and Affair managed to calm her down virtually straight away thankfully!!   She stayed at ours last night but she's gone to Affairs today, she's in her element shes got three colourless toddlers to play with."  he starts really howling  "She's already asked where she can get one of those from because she wants one."  I start laughing  "She wouldn't leave Cotton or Ocean alone last night either I think you might be in trouble Tapestry!!"  This makes River laugh.

The second thing is that ... As far as the rest of the family who are sat out in the corridor are concerned, River knows nothing about Winter and the baby, so that is what Dad is supposed to be doing in here, telling him about them ....  and he also has something to tell me too ... I seriously can't even imagine what he might have to tell me.

"We said Winter turned up on the doorstep looking for River because of the baby ... so don't forget Tap, you have to pretend you don't know Winter or your Granddad Orchid who is now living with us when he's discharged from the hospital which should be pretty soon."  he looks over at River  "As soon as I've told Tapestry and all is calm, Winter can bring Ocean in."

"Told me what Dad?"

I can see he's wringing his hands together he's getting really worked up about something and he can't even look at me.  He looks at Sunny and say's he doesn't know how to do this ... and he cracks up. Sunny shakes his head and starts crying again.

What the hell is wrong with these two?! 

"Will someone just tell me!!"  I snap because the room has gone silent all but everyone sniveling.

River starts to struggle as he tries to get up and cries out in pain so I help him to sit up and swing his legs round so that he can sit on the edge of his bed.  He moans a few times and I can't help but notice how pale and drawn he is looking.  Dad starts fussing and checks his shoulder and the bruises on his chest.

"What's wrong?"  I ask as Dad says he'll get his something for the pain and starts messing over at the side of the room getting a bottle out of a cabinet which he unlocks with keys he has on a chain and starts to fill a seringe.

"Jazz didn't realize he had to be careful of my ribs, he's re broke them."  River says miserably.  "Thankfully he didn't do any damage to my spine, I could have been in real trouble if he had!!"

I feel like crying for him, I can see he's in the same sort of pain as he had to suffer in the last few days before we hit Rainbow Valley.  He's got to go through it again with his ribs and shoulder and I'm sat here with just bruises.  Dad moves me to the other side of him so he can inject what I presume are painkillers into his arm.

"I think I need to get you down for a scan and xray before we do anything else, I really don't like those bruises River!!"

"NO!!  Let's get this done first,  I want to see my son!!"  he snaps at Dad  "Then you can do what you want with me, I'm sick of waiting!!"

Dad and River just stare at each other for a moment.  I can see Dad is starting to cry again.  River puts his arm around me and Dad sits down on the chair by the bed just wringing his hands together ... I'm seriously getting scared now ... what is so bad to warrant this performance ...

"For Berry's sake River can you just tell me!!"  I frown at him "It's not Mom is it?"  I ask ... what else can it be

"No your Mom is fine she is awake already, she's up in neurology, we are keeping her in for a few days just as a precaution."  Dad says ... okay so if it isn't Mom what is it

"So what is it then?  Just tell me River!!"  I snap at him ... I see him take a very deep breath.

"There is really no easy way to say this Tap ... so I'm going to just say it ... Honey didn't fade in the vampberry den like you thought ... she faded three weeks ago in childbirth."

I just sit there stunned staring into space, not sure I really heard that right at all.

"WHAT!!?" tears are already streaming down my face

"When we came down to you two, she hardly had a pulse, she was taking her last breath so Jazz bit her, he turned her to keep her alive.  It bought her some time so that Maizie could take her to Dad, she sucked all the venom out to stop her from turning into a vampberry and Dad gave her the blood she needed."  I'm sitting there shaking my head ... I'm not hearing this - I don't want to hear it!! "She lived and we though she would be here when you got home ... but she faded three weeks ago when the babies were born."

My head is starting to hurt .. I put my hands on my head and start rocking ... River tells me to take deep breaths ... my head is swimming I can't take this in.

When the babies were born ... is he having me on?!

"Babies!!  No this can't be right ... They made me watch as he drained her, the vampberry faded her!!  He said he'd faded her!!  When Storm stopped him from draining me, he dropped me and I fell next to her, I felt her she was cold the vampberry faded her!!  I start rambling like an idiot because I can't believe what he's telling me.

"No Tap he didn't fade her, when Jazz got to her she was still alive, but only just."  he rubs my back as he smiles at me.  "She has been alive for these past nine months, up until three weeks ago when the baby's were born."

"No!!  If she was alive why didn't you tell me?"

"We didn't tell you Honey was still alive because we thought we wouldn't be able to keep you away from home especially if you knew what was happening to her."  Dad says  "Her pregnancy made her very ill, we didn't know if she was going to make it or the babies. Mentally you wouldn't have coped with it and the worst did happen like we feared when the babies were born."

"Babies!"  I shout "Stop keep saying the babies were born!!"  I'm holding my head because it is really hurting now ... I know I'm going

"They were Tap, a girl and a boy.  They came a month early ... "  River says as he touches my arm and I shake his hand off me and tell him to get off me  "The boy faded with Honey ... but there is a little girl downstairs in the baby unit with your name on her cot."

I'm just sitting there still holding my head and rocking ... I can't take it in ... I just stay silent while my brain tries to take in every bit of what he's told me.

I don't know what hurts the most, that Honey lived and they never told me.  That she has for me faded all over again, this time she really has gone.  The baby fading - that I don't even want to think about or I'm going to lose it again!!  All those hours that I've grieved for them already and now I have to do it all over again, that yet again they've kept secrets from me, but this one tops them all!!

FUDGE!!  I've got a baby!!!  This suddenly snaps my head back.
"NO!!!  THIS ISN'T HAPPENING!!"  I jump up off the bed.  Dad also jumps up and tries to put his arm around me and that did it - will he never learn that he just needs to leave me alone!!


 Like an idiot he tries to put his arms around me again, I push him away from me quite forcefully


I can feel myself going ... I need to get out of the room and away from him so I bolt.

When I swing the door open I freeze because I'm greeted by a sea of silent grim faces, they are all staring at me when I step out into the corridor.  All faces I know from our three families just silently stare back at me and by the look on their faces I think they all know don't they!! ... I stop for a moment and stare at them listening to the eerie silence.  My eyes fall on a toddler who is sat on my Grandmothers lap who distracts me for a moment.  I presume it is Cotton, she is now a toddler and she is sat on my Grandmothers lap just staring at me blankly because she doesn't know me, like I don't know her.

I think I would have ran out of the hospital and just kept on running until I was exhausted like I always used to, but seeing Cotton snapped my head to thinking about the baby downstairs and now I'm curious.

I run off down the corridor.  I hear a few of them start calling after me including my Dad.  I ignore them as I start to run faster away from them all.  I can also hear someone running after me but I don't look back to see who it is ... if it's my Dad I'm likely to totally lose it.

I nearly knock a few people flying as I run down the corridor and stairs almost blindly because of the tears in my eyes.   I don't stop running until I reach the baby unit.  I lean my head against the glass while I try to catch my breath and look at all the cots through the window, there are quite a few babies in there how am I supposed to know which one it is.

I see a nurse sitting at a desk looking through some paperwork so I make my way to the doors and go into the baby unit to ask.  The nurse looks up at me as I walk up to the desk and when it comes to it I don't even know what to say to her, so I just stand there like a dumb idiot.

I don't even know what colour the baby is and I don't know how to ask ... I just stand there not even sure I am really ready for this - I still haven't got my head around this baby existing.

"Are you okay?  You look a little lost!!"  she says to me frowning.  I panic, spin round and go to run out but am halted when I bump straight into Sunny who is stood right behind me.  He puts his arms round me and holds onto me tightly and I can't help but just stand there crying.  "Is everything okay Sunny?"  the nurse says as I hear her chair legs scrape across the floor.

"Yes, this is Mango's son.  We just need a minute."  he says

"Awwww, so this is Tapestry."  she says  "You are just in time she is due a feed right about now if one of you want to do it."  the nurse says looking at me.

"Yes her Dad can do it ... he needs the practice!!"  Sunny laughs.  He just called ME her Dad ... I'm seriously going to wake up in a minutes aren't I!!   The nurse smiles at me and Sunny let's go of me as I watch her go over to one of the cots and picks up the baby bringing it over to us and she hands it to me.

I thought the baby might be tiny and on machines, like the pictures I've seen of me, but she's not.  She looks just like a normal baby.  I just stare down at the baby in my arms not knowing what to think or feel.  I can feel the tears welling up in my eyes.  I am not even sure if this is real!!

"Why is she in here?"  I ask wandering why if she looks perfectly normal, why Dad didn't take her home.

"She was a little early and struggled with her breathing and feeding at first, but she is perfectly fine now."  she starts laughing  "She's not been half as much trouble as you was!!"  I frown at her  "I was working here when you was born and half her size - you gave us a right run around especially with your feeding!! but vanilla did the trick"

"Vanilla?"  I frown at her

"Yeah, stone cold milk with a few drops of vanilla flavouring was the only way you would take it - otherwise you would just spit it out - you ask your Dad."  she smiles at me  "And it seems your daughter has now got the taste for vanilla.  She wouldn't take her bottles at first until your Dad reminded us about trying vanilla, now she's not too happy with plain milk."

"How long will she have to stay here?"

"Like I told both Granddads this morning, the Doctor will be letting her go home later."  she smiles at me as another nurse hands me a warm bottle.  Oh Fudge!!

I don't have a clue what I'm doing, I've never fed a baby before.  I tip the bottle up and she opens her mouth as soon as it touches her lips and she starts drinking the milk.

Sunny is standing quietly next to me and I ask him what colour she is.

"She's all yellow and she has your colourless eyes"  he smiles at me  "and she needs a name"  Oh fudge!!  We stand quietly for a while just watching her drinking the milk.

"Don't be too hard on your Dad ... it has been far from easy!!"  I look at him  "Trust me you would never have coped with what happened!!  We barely did - you would have lost your head completely!!  He really did do the best thing for you!!"  he puts his hand on my shoulder and reminds me that I can not be mad with Dad in front of anyone especially Gravel because he might get suspicious and it will give the game away.

"How can you say that he did the best thing for me?  I should have been here with Honey!!  I thought she and the babies faded nine months ago!!"  The tears are rolling down my face again   "Why did she fade ... why did the other baby fade?" 

Sunny doesn't say anything because the doctor and nurse come over to us, they take the baby away for a short time because he says he's doing his rounds and needs to check her over.  Sunny doesn't say anything until they are well out of earshot.

"It appears that she had the same heart defect that Strawberry has.  Honey's has never been picked up on because she's never had any health problems unlike Strawberry ... she only started having problems because of being pregnant, that's when your Dad spotted she had the same medical problem as her sister ... it was nobody's fault she faded!!  It could have happened at any time."  Sunny is now crying, fudge, I did my grieving for her nine months ago, this must be very raw for him ... only three weeks ago his daughter faded.


"Honey didn't have a very good pregnancy at all, she was ill for most of it ... She had heart failure ... it all happened suddenly, a few hours after they were born, without any warning she just went ... we thought she was going to be okay.  The boy he was stillborn ... he had already faded ..."

"Why did he fade?"

"I'm not sure, sometimes it just happens, you'll have to ask your Dad."  he tries to wipe the tears off his face as we see the doctor coming back over to us.

The doctor brings the baby back over to me and says that she is fit to go home, he says he'll get her discharge papers sorted out.  I've been told I'm being kept in over night as a precaution, which is a joke but I have to toe the line for River's sake.  I can't even deal with the fact that the baby is here yet without having to sort out taking her home.  I am glad that Sunny is here because he deals with it, he explains the situation to the doctor and asks if she can be moved upstairs to my room or if she has to stay down here until I'm discharged.

I'm not really listening to the conversation while Sunny is talking to the doctor, I just stare down at the baby who is lying there staring up at me, fudge ... How am I supposed to look after a baby?!  I can tell straight away that she has my eyes as they are shining like colourless eyes do.  I am still not sure I can really take this in ... she is my baby ... how the fudge did this happen!?

"I don't see why she can't be moved upstairs if it's just for one night, but I'll just page Dr Muffin, to check on what is going on upstairs and see what he thinks ... we need to make sure there is nothing infection up there that she could catch."  the doctor says as he walks off over to the desk and picks up the phone.

While we are waiting to see what Dad and the doctor decides me and Sunny stand talking about baby names, I'm really going to need some help in this department because being colourblind, I don't even know what colour most things are, there is no need for me to know.  So Sunny stands reeling off a list of things that are yellow.  I think she should have a yellow name seeing as she is all yellow.

"Just please don't call my Granddaughter Banana!!"  he says then starts laughing.

Suddenly the door slams open and Strawberry comes rushing in.

"Oh please tell me you are joking!!  Look at what the cat has dragged in just when I thought we were shot of you!!"  I hear her snap.

I stare at Strawberry stood there her arms folded and she's scowling at me.  I laugh a little in my head if there is one person I can always rely on to openly hate me with a passion and that is Strawberry, she definitely is not happy to see me back!!  Now I feel like I'm home.   

"That idiot can not look after that baby and I'm not letting it happen!!  Dad!!  You can't let him take her ... you know I want her!!"  Sunny rolls his eyes and he looks angrily at Strawberry. I'm a little surprised by what Strawberry has just said.

"Straw please don't start this again!!  Tapestry is her Dad, you have no rights ...."

"Honey was my twin sister, she would have wanted me to look after her!!  Not that idiot!!"  she starts shouting at Sunny  "He can't even look after himself for berry's sake!!  You said I could take her!!"

"Yes we agreed you and Parsley could take her if Tapestry didn't come home ... but he is here now ... it is his child so you really need to drop this now Straw!!"  Sunny snaps at Strawberry, I'm a little surprised that Sunny is actually on my side for a change ... why does she want my baby?"

"Give her to me Tap, you know you can't look after her ... let me take her!!"  she comes over to me holding her arms out like she thinks I'm stupid enough to just hand her over!  "Me and Parsley will take good care of her!!"  She's glaring at me as she tries to take the baby off me.  "Give her to me!!"  she yells at me as I move away from her.

"NO!!!  Wind your neck in bitch ... she is my baby and you are NOT having her!!"  I turn my back to her ... I really can't believe she's doing this!!

"Go home Straw!!"  Sunny shouts at her  "Tapestry is taking HIS baby and there is nothing you can do about it ... you know he will have plenty of help ... she is going to be just fine!!"  she stands there arms folded again and she looks really angry  "GO HOME STRAW ... before I really lose my temper!!"  Sunny grabs her arms, spins her round and pushes her in the back towards the door and away from us.

"You haven't heard the last of this!!"  she looks back at me  "I'm having that baby!!  She needs protecting from you!!"  she says and storms of out of the baby unit.

I just stare after Strawberry wide eyed.  The door slams violently shut after she has barged through it in temper still yelling about taking my baby.

I know she has never liked me, but this is ridiculous!!

The door slamming shut loudly makes the baby in my arms jump with fright then she starts screaming.

I just stare down at the baby her mouth is wide open, her arms are waving about and she's screaming her lungs out.  I didn't realize babies were so loud!!  I don't have the slightest idea of what to do with her, I'm now scared of dropping her as she is wriggling around in my arms while she cry's.

"Sunny help, how do you stop babies from crying!!"  I try to ask him over the noise.

He just stands there howling with laughter at me.

Hell!!  Who's bright idea was it to make me a Dad?


Saturday, 7 June 2014

Chapter 28 - Part 3 - Gen 2 - Tapestry

I am not even sure what possessed my stupid brain when I decided I wanted to go down to the basement to see Manderine and the cage again.  When realistically it is the very last place that I want to be going to.

I think it was more about me being curious to see if how I had seen the cage in Omri's head, when I supposedly read his mind, is actually there for real.

So curious that I didn't really think it through properly.

I am already feeling very uneasy and on edge.  River and Dad have been away for over an hour and a half and I'm starting to get very suspicious.  Where are they and what are they even finding to do in this place?!  Surely they are not sat somewhere talking over Dad's upset STILL!!  Storm and Omri have also now disappeared so I'm seriously starting to think that something is going on that they are not telling me about.   I am hoping that I will spot them on the way down to the basement but I'm not holding my breath!

While Jazz and Cosmic keep an eye on Crystal, Mulberry shows me the way down to the basement. I don't have any idea of how to get there as I was unconscious when I was taken too it and from it over nine months ago.  As I follow Mulberry down the dark corridor I feel myself starting to get a little nervous and jumpy again.  Nervous to the point that I am seriously thinking about turning back and not bothering to go down there at all.  Do I really need to be going down there to look at the cage, look at that evil woman's face, and revisit the place where it all happened?!

Mulberry pulls open a heavy metal door - a horrible familiar noise that I recognize fills my ears.  I know instantly that this is the metal door at the top of the basements steps just by the noise that it makes.  I'd know that sound anywhere, it was the noise that filled me with dread every time that I heard it when I was down in the cage.  It signaled that someone was coming which always had my nerves jangling.

We start to walk down the stone steps and the room opens up in front of me - an all too familiar room that I hoped I would never see again.  I laugh at myself as I am the one who has stupidly chosen to come down here again  - why am I such an idiot sometimes?

I don't look in the direction of the cage until I reach the bottom of the steps.

I notice straight away that the cage is set up in exactly the same way as I had seen it in Omri's head.  This really shocks me for a moment!  So I can really read their minds!!  The only thing that is the same from my time in there is the bed that me and Honey slept on, everything else is new.

It is almost like they have given Manderine a living space that is a lot more bearable than the space that we had.  There is carpet on the floor and a huge bookcase full of books, and a sofa just like the ones upstairs, there is also a table and chairs, a television, a bedside table and lamp.  I laugh at the pot plant that is sat in the corner of the cage that is the only thing that I didn't see in Omri's head.

I just stand there staring around and realize I don't feel as bad as I thought I would about being down here again.  This place now looks a lot different so it somehow detaches itself away from the place where we were and where Honey faded, even though I know that it is exactly the same place.

"Are you sure you really want to be down here Tap?" 

Mulberry asks me curiously as he stands watching the expression on my face.  I tell him it's fine, but I don't really want to be hanging around down here for too long.

Manderine jumps off the bed, which is now in a different place to where we had it.  She had been lying on the bed reading a book when we came down the steps, which kind of amuses me.  I wouldn't have thought Manderine is the reading type, but I guess when you are bored and alone you will do anything to pass the time away and keep yourself occupied.   Manderine is now standing one hand on the bars quietly staring through them in our direction.

"Have you brought Prelude, Parsley or Fern with you?"  she asks quietly and even politely.  She is staring hopefully straight at Mulberry and is completely ignoring me.   She looks different somehow, her hair and clothes are different, but its her face and the way she is standing, she almost looks ... defeated.  "You did tell them where I am didn't you Mulberry!?"

"No bitch I've told you, you are NEVER seeing my brother or nephew EVER again!!  Fern either, neither of your children want anything to do with you ever again!!  The three of them are far better off without you in their lives!!"  Mulberry starts laughing and Manderine just stares blankly through the bars at him. 

One thing that River has told me - the Freeze family moved out of town not longer after our abduction but Fern stayed behind and is now living with Prelude and Parsley.  Prelude has kind of adopted her.  It will be interesting to see how she reacts to me when we meet again.  I wander if she is still mad with me, we never did have that conversation over our break up!! 

"In fact Prelude is moving on and getting over you bitch!!   He has now sobered up and has even started dating a really NICE woman who WILL be good for him unlike you - Fern and Parsley love her!!  Finally they get someone who can be a good Mom to them ... because you've never been any sort of Mother for any of your children have you Lime!!"

I laugh as I watch her suddenly snap back into the Manderine I know.  Mulberry has obviously made her angry with what he has just told her.  A hail of verbal abuse comes from the cage as she throws the book that she has in her hand through the bars.  The book narrowly misses Mulberry who ducks out of the way of it and starts laughing at her.  I wander how many times he has been down here to see her, it's pretty obvious he has been down here once at least.  She knows exactly who Mulberry is.

I am pretty surprised by what Mulberry said about Prelude dating!!  The last I heard he was still a hopeless drunk!!  I can't help but ask out of curiosity, wandering if I know who he is dating.

"You know your Aunty Violet's sister don't you."  he smiles then laughs  "Everyone knew he was with the wrong sister, only Prelude couldn't see it.  Citrus has always had a thing for Prelude which was never a secret.  Her marriage broke up a while back and she moved to Sugar Valley to help Affair with the triplets.  Affair, Fern and Parsley have been causing some mischief to get them together which has pleased your Granddad because she is a pure purple berry!!"  he starts laughing but my mind is stuck on the triplets - What triplets?  so I ask him.   

"Have you not been told ... Prelude is now a Granddad ... the old fart!"  he is almost howling it seems to have amused him.  "You know that Cherry was pregnant when she snatched you - well they had triplets two girls and a boy, Magnolia, Sugar and Moon ... they took us a little by surprise all three of them being colourless like Affair. "

No, I haven't been told, but then that is nothing new is it!!.  I haven't even given Cherry being pregnant a thought either while I've been away, but that is probably because I was trying not to think about the whole baby thing after Honey faded taking my two with her.

I should imagine I am in for quite a few surprises when I am back home.  It amuses me to find out that Affair now has three babies, I bet he is loving it!  I remember how he used to be with us when I was a toddler.

Affair used to spend a lot of time helping to look after me Mosaic and Coral when he was a teenager when Mom was in and coming out of her coma.  I remember Mom's coma quite vividly and now I know that Manderine was responsible for her coma, which makes me turn and glare at her.

Manderine doesn't look happy seeing me glare at her.  She turns her attention to me then and starts to study me curiously as she listens quietly to me and Mulberry talking.  I watch as a few different expressions flash across her face and know she finally realizes who I am when she starts to laugh sarcastically and loudly.

"Oh the phyco freak is back!! Come to beat me up again have you?!"  she just glares at me through the bars.  I see her face switch, she really doesn't like me and the feeling is mutual.  Just seeing that look of hers again starts to get my back up.  "It's a shame those vampberry didn't get you along with your little girlfriend - they would have rid the world of one more freak along with your freak brats!!"

"Shut up you evil bitch!!  I should come into that cage and fade you!!"  I yell at her  "You are just very lucky I didn't know what you'd done to everyone, especially my Mom when we shared that cage together!!"  she laughs at me with that evil cackle of hers.

"Come on then - try it FREAK!!"  she starts taunting me  "You just come in here and try it!!"

I would love to, but we have all by warned by Jazz, none of us are to touch her!  As much as he and probably most of us want to fade her, we can't because Jazz is scared of her not passing over, he thinks she would be evil enough to stick around in spirit form just to finish the job she started.  If she comes back in spirit form then there would be no stopping the torment and devastation that she could cause.   

"I'm not coming into that cage because fading is too good for you!!  Rotting in there until you fade from boredom and lonely old age is much better - even Storm agrees with me!!"

"SHUT UP!!  FREAK!!  My boy wouldn't say that!!"  she yells at me

"Oh he does!!"  I laugh at her  "Shame you can't see him then he'd tell you himself!!"  I suddenly hear Storm laughing behind me so I turn to look at him.  "Maybe you should find a way to tell her Storm - she doesn't believe me!!"

"You are a FREAK!!  My boy isn't here!!  He wouldn't just leave me here to rot!!  You are making it up!!"  she snaps at me quite nastily

Manderine doesn't realize that her boy, as she calls him, hates her as much as the rest of us do!!  It is not like she's ever been any kind of Mother to Storm and Parsley, all they have ever seen of her is a fortnightly visit to the prison and have just sat staring at the woman who gave birth to them across a table.  My Mother and Ice have been their surrogate Mothers.  Unlike their Mother their two Aunts have always been there for them so Storm has taken what Manderine has done to both my Mom and Ice in the past pretty badly and hates her for it!!

"Oh he's here alright just like Cosmic - and he is happy to leave you here rotting like the rest of us!!   Storm came away with me on my little holiday because he could not bare to be in this place with you!!  He doesn't even blame Forrest for fading him - he blames you!!"

Mulberry is frowning at me and I smile at him.  Storm stands scratching his head as he looks around then he starts laughing.  He makes his way towards an easel that is in the corner of the room that I hadn't noticed when I came down the steps.  He starts to pull the easel over towards the cage.  Mulberry's and Manderines eyes are nearly popping out of their heads as they watch the easel seemingly moving itself across the stone floor towards them, they can't see Storm like I can.

"Cosmic is doing that ... that isn't Storm!!"

"It is Storm alright, Cosmic is upstairs with Jazz."  I snap at her thinking she probably won't believe it is Storm and I really have no way of proving it. 

Storm stands there staring at her for a moment.  He starts laughing then starts painting letters onto the canvas, which obviously I can not read.  When he's finished he pulls the easel right in front of the cage so that Manderine can see it clearly.

"You can ROT IN HELL GREEN MOMMY!!  I HATE YOU!!  Storm"   Mulberry starts howling when he reads out loud what Storm has written.  Manderine just starts screaming and collapses down onto her knees as she stares up at the easel.  I am now guessing by her reaction that she believes that Storm is here and wrote that, which I didn't expect.

"That is what Storm used to call her when he was little - green Mommy while he called Ice his blue Mommy and Lilly his no colour Mommy."  he looks at Manderine and laughs  "Yep that's Storm alright - Cosmic wouldn't know he used to call you green mommy!!"  Mulberry seems really amused by this as he continues to laugh while Manderine is in a heap on the floor crying and squealing. 

"We need to go upstairs Tap, Crystal is awake."  Storm tells me before he floats off up the stairs laughing without another word or a backward glance.   I tell Mulberry about Crystal being awake and chase after Storm.

I take one last look at the cage and Manderine who is still squealing on the floor as I run quickly up the stone steps - happily thinking I will never have to see either her or that cage ever again!!

As soon as I walk into the vampberrys living room Crystal comes flying across the room at me and throws herself into my arms.  She is shaking and crying and she starts to scream hysterically about the bad man being in here.  I am a little surprised because I can only see Cosmic in the room besides Storm and I really didn't expect her to react like this with a spirit.

"She got absolutely hysterical when she saw Jazz, he had to leave the room!!"  Cosmic starts laughing as I stand there holding her, trying to calm her down.  "She's okay with me she actually smiled at me when she woke up, it's just Jazz that she really doesn't like!!"

"BAD MAN!!  He really is here Tap, we need to leave this place now - he is one of THEM!!!"  Crystal is almost screaming.  I expected her to react badly but she didn't even go this far with Dad and Mulberry in Rainbow Valley.

"Everyone here is my friend Crystal, you are safe here nobody will hurt you!!"  she shakes her head and carries on crying insisting that we have to leave now before the bad man returns.  "River, Dad Mulberry and Storm are here and we are with friends we are in no danger Crystal!!"  she looks nervously at Cosmic  "That is Cosmic he is my friend like everyone else here!!"

"Where are we?"  she asks looking around at the strange surrounding.

"We are in Sugar Valley, nobody here will hurt you!!"

Just as I say this Jazz walks into the room with Dad, River and Omri.  I can't help but notice that Dad and River both look upset and like they might have both been crying.  River especially has the tell tale red eyes that he gets when he has been crying.  I wander what has upset them?

"NO!!  HE IS A BAD MAN - TWO BAD MEN!!!"  She points at Jazz and Omri as she screams even louder.  "They have the shiny eyes, they are cold, they have nasty sharp teeth and they bite!!"  she tries to bury her head inside me and is almost squeezing all the air out of me because of how tight she is holding me.  I am very shocked by what she has just said ... it's almost like she knows and has seen a vampberry before.

"What did she just say?"  Jazz says walking towards us which makes Crystal start screaming even louder so he has to stand still and stay where he is.

"Crystal have you seen the men with the shiny eyes and sharp teeth before?"

Crystal nods and keeps telling me they are the bad men from the woods.  I am a little shocked for a moment, thinking of all the things that she has said to me about the bad men.  While I've been thinking she meant just ordinary people I'm getting a nasty feeling that she has been talking about vampberrys.  A few things that she has said to me now start to fall into place like they only come at night and that is why she sleeps in busy places with lots of light because they don't come after her there.  She has seen vampberrys before.  So I tell Jazz who insists that she couldn't possible have seen any vampberrys in Rainbow Valley or Amber Meadow. 

"Look!!"  she says showing me her arm and I can see the scar that she is pointing too which I've never noticed before.  It looks exactly like the scar that I now have on my neck courtesy of the vampberry that tried to drain me.  "They bite nasty but I got him with a stick!!"

I feel like crying remembering exactly how a vampire bite feels struggling to imagine just what Crystal must have been going through, imagining she must have been running from vampberrys for most of her life!!  I tell Jazz she has a vampire bite as I hold out her arm so that he can see it.

 "She can't have!!"  he says as he steps forward to inspect her arm.  Crystal starts to scream again and while I'm trying to calm her down so Jazz can get close enough River steps up to Jazz and puts his arm around him and Storm does the same.   River tells her like I had that Jazz is our friend and he won't hurt us.  She stops screaming and starts to eye Jazz very suspiciously as he smiles at her and leans forward to take a good look at the mark on her arm.

"Okay maybe she has!"  he laughs a little then starts to look very confused.  "Vampberrys don't venture into Rainbow Valley - its far too warm and dangerous!!"  he is frowning and goes quiet like he's thinking.  "Unless ... they have been passing through there in winter and she has been spotted ... we do tend to prey on the homeless there is less likely hood of them being missed.  Obviously they might have been chasing her trying to catch her because she is silent - I guess that would keep them in the area - their sole aim would be to catch her and take her to the originals to earn some brownie points - I doubt they have told the originals about her because they would have been in there and taken her by now!!"  he scratches his chin for a moment  "It doesn't make sense because they should have caught her, she is only a mortal, how would she get away from them, a mortal could never out run a vampberry or vampire!!"

"They don't like tree sticks!!"  Crystal says suddenly  "I hurt their eyes!! and I run!!"  This makes me laugh a little remembering Rivers wooden stakes, Crystal must have been fighting them off using tree branches.  Wooden objects do make vampberrys very nervous!  

 I suddenly remember that night that me and Crystal spent sleeping in the woods ... I feel sick thinking about the danger that we could have been in from the vampberrys and I didn't have a clue, I thought we were perfectly safe there but obviously now I know we weren't safe!!

I explain to Jazz that she does run like the wind, I could never get anywhere near her and she scales walls and climbs trees like a cat - she's gone before you know it!!  Jazz starts laughing and says now that he's though about it - she would only have to run or hide out of their sight and they would lose her with her being silent they wouldn't be able to track her or find her without seeing her.  Somehow she has probably been lucky enough to keep losing them and that's how she's avoided being caught.

He says he needs to try and get into her head, if for nothing else to see what has been going on with the vampberrys.  This is going to be fun.  I explain to Crystal that she needs to look at Jazz and let him look into her eyes.  She giggles for a moment, which I find strange, then she turns her head to look at Jazz but she still keeps a very tight grip on me like she doesn't trust him.

Jazz leans closer to her and I watch as his eyes start to glow.  Suddenly he yells and flies backwards and away from us.  Crystal just sits there laughing while Jazz picks himself up off the floor holding his head like it is hurting and swearing.

"Told you I hurt their eyes!!"  she says giggling.

I just sit staring at her in disbelief.  I had heard her saying it but I thought she meant she poked them in the eyes with a stick or something ... but she knew that was going to happen, that's why she giggled, she has done this before!!

She is just like me!!

"This is just crazy!!  There are two of you!!  She just threw it straight back at me just like you do!!!"  he looks at me thoughtfully  "There is only one thing we can try - Tapestry you will have to try and see if you can get into her head."  he says looking at me.  I think he's gone mad and I tell him what I think!!  "Whatever is making you two different from other mortals, you both have it, so I would imagine only you two will be able to get into each others heads."

"I won't be able to - I ... "  I look around the room and all eyes are on me, I'm a little embarrassed about saying it!!  "I ... I've looked into her eyes lots of times and nothing has ever happened."

Jazz laughs for a moment and says he can imagine what sort of eye staring I've been doing.  He says I probably wouldn't have been able to make anything happen because I've been looking in a sexual way and when I've been making eye contact with the vampberrys they have been opening the way for me ... I have got to open the way for myself by staring through the pupil, I'm not to just look at it but look through it.  I stare at him for a moment thinking this isn't happening!!

I tell Crystal to look at me and point to my eyes.

"Your orange things have gone!!"  She says and smiles like she's only just noticed my colourless eyes.  I start staring her in the eyes, suddenly she leans forward and starts kissing me.  Everyone starts laughing as I push her away from me and start laughing at her myself.  I guess I asked for that not explaining to her what I am doing.

"No Crystal!!"  I laugh at her  "Look at me, sit still and don't blink ... no kissing!!"  she laughs and says the first one to blink is a sissy!!

I know if she thinks she is playing that game she will sit there now for ages so I carry on letting her think we are playing the no blinking game.  We have played this game before and she always wins.  She still has her very childish streak, River thinks it is one of her traits, he thinks she will always act childishly no matter how sensible and civilized she becomes.

We sit for a while, I concentrate on her pupils and nothing seems to be happening, I wander how exactly am I supposed to look through them?  As I stare at them I notice her pupils seem to be getting bigger, I'm not sure if it's my imagination at first, I move closer and try to pretend the black part of her eye is a hole and I'm trying to look through the hole.  Suddenly I get that feeling at the back of my eyes.

"FUDGE!!"  I say in shock not really expecting this to happen at all.  Jazz asks me what's wrong  "I'm inside her head - I think." 

Jazz tells me to try and compel her.  So I tell her to fetch me a glass of water.  I'm a little reluctant to break the eye contact in case I can't do it again but then my eyes start to really hurt and I think I know whats coming, just like with the vampberrys I'm going to start seeing things soon so I quickly break the contact.  Crystal gets up off my lap and goes over towards the kitchen.  Jazz asked me what I told her to do so I tell him.  Crystal starts opening cupboards and gets out a glass and fills it with water.

"FUDGE TAP!!  Mango your kid is an alien!!"  he starts laughing then goes serious suddenly  "Now we are all in trouble because he can get into ALL of our heads and he read Omri's mind earlier!!"  I see him look nervously at Dad, River then Cosmic.  They all look worried suddenly.  Now I know they are definitely hiding something from me - why else would they be worried about me being able to get into all of their heads!!!!

Maizie walks into the room just as Crystal comes back to me with the water, I notice she locks the door and wander why she would do that?  I also notice from the moment she walks into the room her gaze is fixed constantly on my Dad who is totally ignoring her.  She couldn't make it more obvious if she tried that she still has feelings for my Dad!

I laugh to myself as I pull Crystal towards me and try to look into her eyes again - I know exactly where that water is going!!  As soon as I stare into her pupils I get the feeling behind my eyes - so I tell her what to do with the water and what to say then break the eye contact.  I smile at Jazz who just frowns at me and asks me what I've done but I just laugh at him.

Everyone watches Crystal who starts walking slowly across the room in Maizies direction.  Crystal stops and stands in front of Maize then throws the water from the glass forcefully onto her face.  Maizie is not impressed!

"Tapestry says you need cooling down you are like a dog on heat - find yourself a vampberry to play with and leave Mango alone - BITCH!!"  Crystal says to her then starts walking innocently back towards me.

Everyone starts howling, all except for Maizie and Dad.  Dad is staring at me wide eyed in shock while Maizie is glaring at me.  Maizie suddenly flashes across the room as she comes at me, almost knocking Crystal flying.  She stands in front of me hissing and baring her fangs at me while the water drips off her.  I can't help but laugh at her.

"I've warned you once before NOT to call me a bitch again!!"  she rares at me.

She makes the mistake of leaning too close into my face so I decide to try getting into her head like I just did Crystals.  I quickly focus on her pupils and dive through them.  I get her straight away before she knows what has hit her.  I think I must be getting pretty good at this!!

I wander for a split second if I should try and read her mind to see if I can find out what they are hiding, but decide against it not really knowing how to do it properly and doubt they will give me the time to go poking around in Maizies head.  Instead I quickly tell her to do something then break the eye contact just as Jazz grabs her and pulls her away from me.

I tell Jazz I've just compelled her and he needs to let her go so that she can do what I've told her to do.  I start laughing as Jazz rolls his eyes at me and lets go of Maizie.

I told Maizie to go and sit in the corner, suck her thumb and be quiet like a good little girl.  Which she does much to my amusement.  Mulberry, Omri, Jazz and Cosmic are doubled over and howling while River and Dad just stand there a little dumb founded and keep giving each other side ward glances.  I am almost doubled over myself just realizing for the first time just how much fun I could actually have with this game!! 

"Okay Tap you've had your fun, we don't have time to mess about ... I need you to see if you can read Crystals mind."  Jazz says but he's still laughing as he keeps glancing over at Maizie who is sat in the corner like a naughty little child sucking her thumb and taking time out.  Cosmic is making me laugh as he's literally rolling around on the floor having hysterics.

I look around for Storm and notice he has disappeared again - I wander where he has gone?  I sit down on the couch and pull Crystal onto my lap she is just staring blankly back at me like she is in some sort of a trance.

I stare through her pupils, the feeling behind my eyes comes quickly followed by the intense feeling which I really don't like because it hurts.  I sit and wait for the flashes and the pictures which follow.  Suddenly we are back in our bedroom in Rainbow Valley, she is sat watching Dad, River, me and Mulberry talking.  I remember this was just before we sedated her for our journey home.

"Can you see anything Tap?"  Jazz asks me so I tell him I can  "YES!!  I knew it!!"

Jazz starts laughing and jumping around like an idiot, he sounds really happy about me being in Crystals head but I'm not so enthusiastic about it.  I'm a little nervous about what I am about to see in her head and know now it is going to have to be me who has to wipe away her memories of our time together.

Jazz starts telling me how to look back through her memories.  I listen carefully to what Jazz is telling me to do and I follow his instructions.  At first it is slow going but the longer I'm doing it for the quicker her memories start to move.  He tells me to keep on going, I'm to look for vampberrys or vampires he wants to know which they are and what they are doing.  He is almost certain that they won't be originals but he just wants to make sure.

I wander for a moment why he didn't just ask Crystal what colour they are, or does he think that she is colourblind too.  I am going to struggle to tell them apart being colourblind, the only way I can judge them is by the way that Celeste looked to me with the colourless looking skin and the jet black hair.  I'm a little disappointed that I am still seeing her memories through my colourblind eyes.  I didn't really think about it when I saw Omri's pictures in my head ... now I'm looking through Crystals memory I still can not see colour - which I hoped I might be able to do looking through her eyes and memories.

I watch as her time living with us flashes by until most of her memories are of the woods in the daytime and well lit up places like the hospital at night.  I see her rooting through bins and dumpsters, fighting over scraps of food at the back of shops with other homeless people.  I stop and watch moments of abuse that she gets from the other homeless people and anyone who passes her by.  I watch her standing in a shop doorway holding out one of the $20 notes that I gave her and a nasty woman telling her to sling her hook they don't serve filth in that shop!!  It really starts to upset me watching all the angry faces shouting abuse at her and what she has had to suffer just because she is colourless.

Jazz keeps annoying me with what feels like every few seconds he is asking me if I've found any vampberrys yet.  I have to tell him to shut up and I'll tell him when I've found any, he's making it hard for me to concentrate.

I find the vampberrys but I don't say anything I just keep searching through her memories to see what they do and what has been happening to her.  After quite a while of looking I break the eye contact suddenly not wanting to see any more.

"I couldn't watch anymore!!"  I tell Jazz when he asks me whats wrong and seems a little annoyed with me for breaking the eye contact as he watches Crystal coming back to life because I told her she was free to go before I broke the eye contact.  "My eyes are really hurting and I need a break."

"Well??  Did you see any vampberrys?"  Jazz snaps he seems very annoyed now.

I sit there telling him what I've seen.  I followed the vampberrys back in her memories to when she was just a small child.  She has been running from the vampberrys for most of her life.  I can tell quite easily they are vampberrys and not originals, their eyes shine and they all got close enough for me to see they did not have Celestes patterened eyes like I've been told all originals have.  I saw only three vampberrys, the same three vampberrys have been chasing her for most of her life.  The three became only two vampberrys when she was a teenager because she did actually manage to dispose of one using a piece of tree branch.  The vampberry that caught and bit her she skewered with a tree branch.  There are big chunks of her memory when they are not around and I noticed they only seem to be around when the trees have hardly or no leaves and their is frost on the ground.  Jazz thinks they only would be able to stick around in Rainbow Valley in winter - during spring, summer and early autumn she would have been quite safe from them.  Crystal just lies with her head on my shoulder listening to what I'm saying.

"They caught her once, when she was a child."  Jazz asks me how she managed to get away from them  "A spirit helped her to get away, a teenage boy, I saw him a lot when she was a child, he always seemed to be around helping her when the vampberrys were chasing her."

"His name was Saffron Shine - he said I had to call him Saffy."  Crystal says suddenly  "He just disappeared one day and didn't come back."  she looks sad for a moment and I just stare at her wandering why she hasn't mentioned him before.  I wander if that spirit is the reason why she is not scared of other spirits, from what I saw in her memories he was obviously helping her to fight off the vampberrys when she was a child.  "I forgot about him he left a long time ago!"

"What colour is she supposed to be?  What's her surname? Where was she born?"  Jazz asks me with a very strange expression on his face.

"Amber Meadow and yellow she thinks ... she had a yellow teddy bear with her when she was dumped at the children's home when she was a toddler and she doesn't have any idea about her surname, all she had with the teddy bear was a note saying her name is Crystal."

Jazz has a strange look on his face suddenly as he continues to stare at Crystal.

"We need to clear her memory - we are wasting time - at this rate we won't be able to get you ready in time for tomorrow!"  Jazz says without taking his eyes off Crystal like he is deep in thought for some reason and something is really troubling him about Crystal.

I panic for a moment, not really wanting to clear her memory, this is the part that scares me most her not knowing me anymore and what might happen from here. I'm really scared we won't get this back again and that she might go off in another direction when she has a normal life and not even notice me.

I grab her hand and tell Jazz I need five minutes alone with her first.  He tells me I have only five minutes then someone will come and fetch me.  He also makes me release Maizie from her time out before I leave the room.

We walk out of the room and I take her into a strange side room right next to the living room which does not have a door but an archway leading into it.  I stare at the stone blocks covered in candles and wander what this strange place is.  They almost look like stone coffins.

"This place is creepy ... Tap why are we here with the bad men and bad lady?"  she pulls a face at me  "Is this what Sugar Valley is like because I don't like it!!  It stinks!!" 

I laugh at her for a moment thinking that she probably is struggling with the smell of the vampberry den a lot more than I am with it being her first time here.  I have to explain that this is not what all of Sugar Valley is like.  I tell her that the bad men as she calls them are vampberrys and this is where they live underground and after we leave this place today that we will never have to see them or this place again.

I stare at her for a moment wandering if I should tell her the truth.  Crystal does not have the slightest clue about what is going to happen to her still.  She has no idea that her memories of our time in Rainbow Valley are going to be wiped away and in just a short time she won't even know who I am.

"How did you know about the bad men in the woods and Saffy?"  she asks frowning at me

I just stand and stare at her for a moment not really knowing what to say to her.  She isn't going to understand if I try to explain and in a short time I am only just going to wipe it out of her mind anyway so if I stand here explaining we are only going to be wasting time.  I put my arms around her and start kissing her hoping that I will distract her so that I can avoid answering her question.

I hear a noise behind me but I try to ignore it a little annoyed thinking that one of them have come to fetch us already not giving us any time together.  Suddenly Crystal jumps breaking the kiss and starts to hold me tighter as she is staring over my shoulder.  She starts saying 'bad lady' as she backs up against the wall pulling me with her.  I look over my shoulder in the direction that she is staring and I don't see anyone.

"In the doorway she was watching us, another bad lady with shiny eyes, she went quickly when I looked at her."  she says nervously looking towards the archway. 

"Crystal forget the vampberry it was only Maizie."  I tell her as I try to kiss her again but she stops me by continuing to talk.

"No it wasn't Maizie she was a different vamp thing."  the way she says vamp thing instead of vampberry makes me laugh.

"It can't have been there are only three vampberry who live here, Jazz, Omri and Maizie.  This is where Storm lives and Cosmic the other spirit you saw ... nobody else lives here Crystal so it had to be Maizie!!" 

She carries on shaking her head, but I can't be bothered to start debating with her we are just wasting time that is quickly running out!!

"I love you"  I tell her which is something that I've never said to her before.  She squeals and jumps up into my arms with a big grin on her face.

"Does that mean we can now start doing more than just kissing?"  I frown at her wandering what she means, even though I think I have a petty good idea.  I was not really expecting that reaction from her - I don't know what I was expecting but not a question like that. I ask her what she means.

"You know all that other stuff!"  she giggles and starts blushing.  I think we are both thinking along the same lines but I decide to play her up interested to see how she says it.

"No what other stuff?"

"You know ... naked and horizontal stuff."

I howl at her wandering where she has got that saying from, thinking it can only have come from Storm, and if she even knows what it means.  She starts telling me that she over heard Dad asking River if he's noticed us getting naked and horizontal.  I laugh thinking about my Dad using that saying still.  She said they were talking about me debating on whether I would have learned my lesson after Honey or if I needed another talk on taking precautions. Crystal didn't understand what they were talking about so she asked River and he explained it all to her.

"So what do you know about getting naked and horizontal?"  

I ask her more out of mischief, thinking she still probably doesn't really understand.  She shocks me by saying she's seen it loads of times on the TV in different movies, she knows it's how babies are made and River has explained it all to her.  He's got a book that he's been reading to her and showing her the pictures, he's taught her all about the facts of life.  Where have I been while she's been watching these movies and when this has been going on?!  River has been giving her sex ed and I didn't even know!! 

"So can we start doing it now?"  she asks again which makes me laugh a little but also makes me think that she still does not really get it completely she shouldn't have to ask it should just happen naturally.  Not that it really matters right now ... I know it is not happening for a long time ... after today we have to start over from the beginning again all this is going to be wiped away.  Even worse, I am the one who has got to do it!!

Crystal smiles at me she doesn't seem bother by my silence and that I haven't actually answered her question.  She wraps her arms and legs around me and starts kissing me almost like she's trying to lure me into it right now.  She's never kissed me like this before!!  I get quite lost in the heated making out that we are doing until we are rudely interrupted.

"Tapestry put her down - you've been gone for fifteen minutes Jazz is having kittens in there because you are wasting time.  They think you are up to something you shouldn't be in here!!"  

Cosmic is laughing quite loudly in the archway.  Yeah I guess they would be thinking we are up to something in here.  Only yesterday Dad pulled me up over Honey's pregnancy, somehow, he knows that we planned it - he knows that me and Honey were at it more than once a day to make sure she would be pregnant to stop Sunny from splitting us up and sending her away.  Dad was not impressed with me and the way he was carrying on you would think I am a raving nymphomaniac who just can't help himself.  I'm not so sure why he is getting so worked up about it now - it all went wrong and it's not like I've got babies to look after now is it!?  He's always so bothered about my sex life I think if he has his way I'll never have any children!!  It really doesn't surprise me that he probably thinks that sex is the reason why I brought Crystal in here!!

"No you can tell them we are still fully dressed and we'll be back in a minute!"  he tells me to hurry up and he disappears through the wall back into the living room next door still laughing.

I don't want to but I take Crystal back into the living room, I can't delay wiping her memories any longer ... but I think I know what I am going to do to make myself feel better about doing it.

Back in the living room I sit Crystal back on my lap telling her we are playing the no blinking game again and start staring through her pupils.  I'm not looking forward to this I don't like how it hurts and I am a little worried by what I else I might see. I have already seen enough that has upset me.  I'm also feeling a little uncomfortable with what I'm having to do, it's not only that I'm wiping our time together away but it's also the fact that I am doing this and she doesn't know what I'm doing - it's almost like I'm raping her mind and stealing her memories.

I think I've already decided that I really don't plan to be doing this again if I can help it.  When I leave here tomorrow I want to forget all about the vampberrys, I never plan to come back here so there is really no need for me to be compelling and reading minds.  I doubt that there will be any reason for me to be doing any of this again especially not out in the mortal world.

I get the normal feeling then just wait as I feel it intensifying. I start seeing flashes again and I know that the pictures will soon start appearing again.  When the pictures in my head are not blurred anymore I laugh at what I am seeing. I am watching what we were doing in the next room not too long ago.  I am seeing myself again through her eyes which is always quite a mad feeling.

Suddenly I see a vampberry woman in her mind, she is stood in the doorway for a split second then she moves away quickly.  That must have been the woman that she said she saw and I told her it must have been Maizie.  She was right - there is another vampberry here!!

I am distracted away from the woman as her memories move on and I am watching myself again through her eyes.  We are talking then we start the making out that we were doing before Cosmic  interrupted us.

I can't help but wish that along with being able to see what she sees, I wish that I could also feel what she feels - but I can't.  Then I would know for sure exactly how she feels about me without the constant worry that she doesn't fully understand what is happening with us.  Not that it matters now it will all be gone in a while we will be nothing but strangers again. 

I don't know why but I suddenly remember something that Jazz said - we are both the same so if I can get into her head she should be able to get into my head.  She doesn't have to lose these memories forever even though I am taking them away from her.  I guess maybe in the future when this is far from over I can show her my memories or her's that are now sitting in my head along with mine.

"What is happening Tap?"  Jazz asks me which disturbs my train of thoughts.

"Sorry I got distracted ... I'm in."  I tell Jazz

I listen to what Jazz is telling me to do again and I follow his instructions even though I really don't need to I can now rewind and fast forward her memories quite easily.  I find myself skipping back quite quickly through her mind.  Occasionally something that I see will make me stop and laugh, like the time she tried to take my trousers off because she wanted to see my hairy legs.  I keep rolling back through her mind until I find the part of time that I need.  She is lay there on the bench outside the hospital and she is watching me sat there crying.  I hadn't realized that she had been there all along, she watches me run out of the hospital and sit down on the bench and start to cry, I had just not noticed her already lying on the bench.

I tell Jazz that I am where I need to be the first time that we met.  He explains to me how to go about erasing memories.  He tells me to roll back to just before I appear in her visions and to wipe clean from there up until now.  I have to think about that for a moment - I don't want to wipe myself out completely but I guess I have to, she can never know I've been in Rainbow Valley.  Jazz tells me again how to wipe the memories away so I roll back again to before I walk out of the hospital and start to wipe everything away until there are no pictures left.  I know I'm nearly done when I see us in the next room kissing each other again.

I'm very careful to wipe around and leave intact 1 minute of her memories.  This is Sugar Valley not Rainbow Valley ... so what will it hurt?

"It's all gone."  I tell him when all of the pictures stop and when I look back and the first thing I can see in her memory, after that 1 minute that I've left, is Crystal making her way to the bench and lying down as she watches the people walking past the hospital bench that she is lay on.

"Okay, you can let her go now ... we'll know if you've done it correctly by her reaction to you."  Jazz says laughing and I'm thinking Oh Fudge!  I hope that one minute that I've left doesn't disrupt her not knowing me!!  "Fingers crossed, you've just saved us ten tonne of stress!!"

As soon as I break the eye contact Crystal sits there on my lap staring around in confusion for a few moments.

She looks at me, confusion and terror flashes across her face as she dives quickly off my lap screaming so loudly it feels like my eardrums are about to burst.  She stands right in front of me and continues to scream and looks absolutely terrified.

"Crystal?"  I say to her as she stares at me blankly and in fear.  I try to put my arms around her but she backs away from me quickly.  She does not know me!

"GET AWAY FROM ME!! Who are you ... where am I?"  She screams in my face then tries to run away from me, I'm not sure she has even taken any notice of anyone else in the room at this point.  River calls her name, she stops running and turns her head quickly to look in the direction of his voice.  I see her looking around at everyone else in the room and she just stands there screaming as she starts backing towards the door, sheer terror written all over her face.

"It looks like you have done it Tap!!"  Jazz starts laughing  "She doesn't know any of us does she"  I shake my head miserably.

Crystal tries to bolt then, as she runs towards the door Maizie and Jazz fly at her catching her quickly.  I see Maizie jab a needle into her arm forcefully and she screams then drops to the floor.  I rush over and pick her up as her eyes roll to the back of her head and close as she slips completely under the sedation.  I scowl at Maizie because there was no need for her to hurt Crystal like she did jabbing the needle in with such force!!

I sit down on the couch and hold her in my arms now she's sleeping and calm.  I can feel the tears rolling down my face  just knowing that she doesn't know me anymore really hurting.  Mulberry tries to take her off me but I won't let him take her at first - I don't know where the thought came from but I'm scared suddenly that they are going to lose her and she'll wander off and disappear and I'll never be able to find her again.  Dad shouts at me to let go of her.

Mulberry takes her off me finally and scoops Crystal up into her arms.

"You know what to do Mulberry!!"  Jazz says to him  "You have about half an hour before she wakes up so you need to hurry ... walk into A&E with her say you found her passed out in the park."

I already know what the plan is.  We know that Crystal is going to kick off and scream the place down something stupid once she wakes up and sees people around her that she doesn't know.  Mulberry is going to stay with her and suggest another colourless person might be able to calm her down and he'll phone Affair and Mom who Dad has strategically got together tonight, Affair is watching Mom. We are hoping that Affair and Mom being colourless will calm her down.

Mulberry is to plant the idea into their heads that one of them, preferably my Mother, needs to take her home and look after her because she is colourless, which we know my Mom will fall for.  She in particular will understand the hatred that Crystal has had to suffer out in the coded world because of her lack of colour.

Really there is no need to even involve the hospital, she could be just taken straight round to our house, but if it's done openly with outside witnesses, nobody should go poking around asking too many awkward questions about her sudden appearance out of nowhere at the same time as mine and Rivers reappearance.  Hopefully when we do reconnect, nobody will get suspicious especially not our family of her sudden appearance just as we get back home and we end up together. 

I watch miserably as Mulberry walks out of the room with Crystal.  River puts his arm around me and tells me not to worry and that everything will be fine.  I just hope he is right!!

"So why did you and Dad come back into the room nearly TWO hours after you left both looking like you have been crying??  What is going on River?"  I turn to ask River

"Nothing for you to worry about Tap!!"  I look at him through squinted eyes  "We just sat talking and got carried away that's all!!" 

I shake my head and tell him I don't believe him and demand to know what is going on because I know something is!!!  I know they are hiding something from me and I want to know what!

"Honestly Tap ... I just got a little upset about Ocean mainly and I'm getting nervous, Mosaic, Coral, Parsley, Affair ... you know everyone I was close to before ... I'm scared about how they are going to treat me now they know the truth because of how I've been lying to them for the past two years!!"

"I don't believe you!!  I know there is something fishy going on here!!  You two going awol for two hours and both coming back crying - why are you lot so suddenly scared of me being able to get into everyones heads - are you scared I might see something I shouldn't!?!"  River laughs and tells me to stop being stupid I'm letting my imagination run away with itself ... so he recons, but I'm not convinced by the way he is laughing, almost nervously like he is hiding something and he's struggling to make eye contact with me!! 

"Jazz lied you know there is another vampberry here.  I didn't see the vampberry woman Crystal did, she was stood in the archway watching us when me and Crystal stepped out next door, when I turned round to looks she had gone."  River laughs at me and says it would have just been Maizie that she saw and I know how confused Crystal gets sometimes. 

"Well either you know and are lying to me or they are lying to the both of us!!"  he frowns at me  "I know Crystal wasn't confused and that there is another vampberry woman in this place because I saw her in Crystals memory when I read her mind, she was only there for a second but I saw her for long enough to know it definitely was not Maizie!!"

River just stands staring at me with a peculiar look on his face that I can't read, his mouth flapping like a goldfish.  He's just given himself away big time!!!  We don't get the chance to take our conversation any further because Jazz comes up and interrupts us.

"Right boys are you ready we are seriously running out of time!!"  Jazz stands smiling at the both of us  "It's time to start getting you two ready to go home!!"

While I'm excited about going home ...

I'm dreading what is going to happen between now and then!