‘Tom Price must have been sent by the Colonel!’ said Caroline. ‘To let me know they’re watching me, and I can’t escape. Oh God, do you think they’ve been spying on us?’
‘Not necessarily,’ said Teri. ‘He may have just turned up as insurance. After all, there’s only five weeks to go till you turn eighteen.’
‘He’s a horrible man.’
‘He certainly is.’
‘It’s like he was threatening to expose me in front of the class.’
‘That’s exactly what he was doing.’
‘And he’s so confident. He deliberately crosses the boundaries of acceptable behaviour, as if to say, “I can do anything I like. I’m untouchable.”’
‘What a bastard! You know, I hope there is a hell, so people like him can burn for ever in their own personal lake of fire.’
‘Hey, hey, hey, sweetie. We can’t go there. It’s very tempting, I know. But when you hate someone and wish for bad things to happen to them, it lowers your vibration, and you attract bad things to yourself.’
‘Oh, Teri. Don’t give me all that New Age stuff, please.’
‘Well, it’s true, sweetie. I’m serious. And on top of that, we’ve asked for the protection of the angels, haven’t we?’
‘Caroline, they are beings of love and light. They love everyone, even the vilest scoundrel the world has ever seen. They can’t have anything to do with hatred. When you hate, you undermine your own protection.’
‘So what do you expect me to do? Love Tom Price?!’
‘Right now I’d settle for you not hating him. And trusting the angels to protect you.’
‘But how can I trust beings I don’t know? You can only trust on the basis of experience… Like I trust you, Teri.’
‘Okay. So for now you trust me and I’ll trust the angels. Alright?’
‘But no more hating Tom Price, okay?’
‘You over there, said Tom Price. ‘Next to Miss Beautiful. Yes, you. What’s your name?’
‘Well, Teri, let’s talk about crossing the boundaries of acceptable behaviour, shall we?’
Teri heard Caroline gasp. He had just repeated word for word what she’d said in the privacy of her bedroom three evenings before.
‘Sir?’ Teri replied. And felt a toughening inside her – a determination to stand by her friend and do whatever she could to protect her.
‘Othello and Desdemona cross the racial boundary, don’t they?’ he said. ‘In marrying one another, I mean. But some people go even further, don’t they? Sexually, I mean. They cross the gender boundaries. And by God, some people cross the boundaries between species, too.’
‘I’m sorry, sir,’ said Teri, ‘I don’t understand the question.’
‘That’s because I haven’t posed it yet, young man or young woman, whichever you happen to be. I’m just establishing the territory, laying the groundwork, as it were. Building up to it. Understand?’
‘Not really, sir,’ she replied, digging her heels in.
With part of her mind, Teri marvelled at herself. Normally she would have shrivelled up inside in such a situation, with the whole class watching. But right now she didn’t give a stuff about being under attack, so long as he left Caroline alone.
‘Well, in that case it’s not worth my while bothering with you, is it?’ he said, as if reading her mind. ‘I’ll talk to Miss Beautiful, instead. Caroline, isn’t it?’
‘Yes,’ said Caroline, and Teri glanced at her friend. Her chin was lifted, but her lips were trembling.
‘Yes, sir,’ he insisted.
There was pause. Then, ‘Yes, sir,’ said Caroline.
The class was silent and tense – everyone gripped by the drama unfolding before them. The fear was palpable – like animals who’ve suddenly realised there’s a predator in their midst, and don’t want to draw attention to themselves. And poor Caroline looked as if she was waiting for the sky to fall.
‘We were talking about crossing the boundaries of acceptable behaviour, weren’t we, Caroline? So how does it feel to cross this kind of boundary? In your own experience, I mean? Is there any shame or self-loathing involved, or are you so focussed on self-gratification that you…?’
‘Excuse me, sir,’ interrupted Teri.
‘I said I’d finished with you!’ snapped Tom Price. ‘I know you’re thick as shit, but don’t you understand plain English?’
‘Yes sir,’ said Teri doggedly, ‘But it’s nearly time for the bell, sir.’
His eyes met hers and she held his gaze unflinchingly. They both knew she’d knocked him off balance and made him show his true nature. He would never again be able to pass himself off as Mr Nice Guy. And Teri wasn’t going to back down. She could tell the exact moment when he decided to back off, because his expression shifted as he brought his temper under control.
‘So it is,’ he said. ‘Saved by the bell, Caroline.’
‘And you were going to give us some homework, sir,’ Teri continued, pressing her advantage.
‘So I was. Here it is. Come and collect it. And disseminate it among your peers.’
He held out a pile of papers to her, and she went to collect it, but as soon as she took hold of the pile, he pulled it towards him, drawing her close.
‘You won’t save her from us, you know,’ he whispered. ‘You might as well forget it. Less painful for you in the end. I’m only thinking of your feelings, little dyke.’
And he smiled.
By the time Teri had finished giving out the homework, Caroline had disappeared. Teri hurried to the form room, but it was deserted apart from Fran and Julia. She forced a smile in their direction, and was turning to go when Fran called out.
‘Teri, don’t go,’ she said. ‘We want to speak to you.’
‘Sorry, I’m in a rush,’ Teri replied. And it was true – she was desperate to see Caroline.
‘Teri, this is serious,’ insisted Fran, ‘And it won’t wait. Look, we can see you’re in trouble, and we want to help.’
‘I’m sorry, but I’ve really got to go,’ Teri said.
‘No you haven’t,’ said Fran. ‘We know Caroline is upset – and she has reason to be – but you can catch up with her later. We really do need to talk to you. Now.’
‘Come and sit down,’ said Julia. ‘Please, sweetie. We won’t bite.’
Teri hesitated. They did want to help, she could see that. And they were good people. But what could she tell them without breaking Caroline’s confidence?
‘Look,’ said Fran, ‘If it helps, we know you and Caroline are an item. In fact, we’ve suspected you were gay for ages, but we didn’t say anything because it’s the kind of thing you have to sort out for yourself in your own time, without pressure. And we didn’t want you to think we were – you know – trying to seduce you or anything.’
‘Why – are you gay, too?’
‘Of course we are, darling,’ said Julia. ‘We’ve been together for – ooh, how long?’
‘Two years,’ said Fran. ‘And look, Teri, we can see that bastard has got something over you and Caroline, but we can’t work out what it is. It can’t be just that you’re gay – I mean, how much of a deal is that nowadays?’
‘And we care about you,’ Julia continued. ‘You’re our friend. Even if you’ve been neglecting us because you’re in love with this girl and you thought we couldn’t handle it.’
‘It’s true, isn’t it?’ said Fran.
There was a pause while Teri rather belatedly turned her attention to her spirit guides. ‘You can trust them,’ they told her, ‘Sit down.’
‘Yes, it’s true,’ admitted Teri, and went over to join them, sighing heavily as she dropped into a chair. ‘And I’m sorry. I didn’t want to neglect you. I mean, I care about you too. But I couldn’t…’
‘Hey, no need to explain,’ said Julia. ‘We understand. Really we do.’
‘But the problem is, I can’t tell you anything else,’ said Teri. ‘Honestly. Not without breaking a confidence.’
‘Well okay,’ said Fran. ‘We understand that as well. So this is what I suggest. We tell you what we’ve observed, what we suspect, and what we propose. And you can remain silent and not confirm or deny anything, okay? Keep a poker face – that’s absolutely fine. And then you can go back to Caroline, tell her what we said, and ask her to meet up with us. Because whatever her secret is, we can’t let that slimeball hold it over her any longer. We’ve got to get her out from under, okay? And please bear in mind that my mother is a very good lawyer, and a very good woman. And I know she will do whatever is necessary to help you and Caroline – in fact, I can guarantee it.’
Well, Teri thought, this wasn’t what she’d had in mind when they’d asked the angels for help. But angelic help came in all sorts of shapes and sizes, didn’t it?
‘Alright,’ she said, ‘it’s a deal. Carry on. And thank you.’
‘Caroline?’ said Teri through the bedroom door. ‘Can I come in, please?’
The sobs jerked into silence, and after a pause a bolt slid back, the door opened, and there was Caroline, her face all swollen and red with crying. Teri slid in, shoved the door closed behind her, and took her friend in her arms.
‘Oh, darling one. What a rotten day.’
‘There’s no escape,’ sobbed Caroline into her shoulder. ‘There’s no escape. I couldn’t wait for you, it was too awful. And then you didn’t come, and I didn’t know what you were thinking, or whether…’
‘Come and sit down. Have a tissue… Look sweetie, I’ve got something to tell you. Okay? Are you listening? Fran and Julia waylaid me after class. That’s why I’m late. They saw what was going on with Tom Price, and they want to help us.’
‘Oh Teri, what did you tell them?’
‘I didn’t tell them anything. I said I couldn’t without breaking a confidence. But they said they could tell you and I were an item, and they were fine with that because they are too. In fact, they realised I was gay long before I did myself, but they hadn’t said anything because they didn’t want to pressure me… I’m telling you this so you know they’re good people, Caroline. I trust them. I’ve known them for a long time.’
‘But how can they help us?’
‘I’m not sure. Fran’s mother is a prominent lawyer. And Fran said she’d help us.’
‘But what can she do? You said this Cabal controls everything. Doesn’t that include legal systems?’
‘Yes. But five heads are better than two, and these are pretty good heads. I just think we could talk it through with them, and see what comes up. It couldn’t be any worse, could it?’
‘But Teri, I’d have to tell them that I’m… what I am.’
‘Caroline, you have nothing whatever to be ashamed of for being who and what you are. Nothing. And anyway, remember what I told you. We’re all hybrids. Every single one of us.’
They met up at Fran’s home – the five of them, in the family room at the back of the house. Fran’s mother asked them to call her Pen. She was a muscular and compact woman, with a calm and powerful presence.
‘Fran tells me that you two are having some kind of trouble with one of the teachers,’ she began. ‘That he’s got something over you and he’s using it to bully you. Is that right?
‘Yes,’ said Teri. ‘That’s right.’
‘Can you tell me what he’s got over you? Fran tells me that you’re in a relationship, but she doesn’t think that’s the issue, and I’m inclined to agree. I realise it may be difficult to talk about this – whatever it is – but I really need a handle on it if I’m going to help you.’
Teri looked at Caroline, who nodded. Then she took off one shoe and placed the foot squarely on the carpet before them. The toes extended and fanned out, the blue webs stretching between them. Julia gasped. Caroline took off the other shoe. And for a while all Teri could hear was her own breathing.
Pen went to the door and turned up the dimmer, then came back to her seat and leaned forward to study Caroline’s feet.
‘So,’ she said, after a while. ‘This is rather more serious than I thought. You poor girl.’
‘It’s not a disease,’ said Caroline.
‘I know it’s not a disease,’ said Pen. ‘You’re a hybrid, aren’t you?’
‘She’s what?’ asked Fran.
‘A hybrid… Am I right, Caroline?’
‘Yes, Pen. You’re right. I’m a hybrid.’
Teri noticed how much easier it was for Caroline to say the words than it had been the first time. She could also hear the relief in her voice. Because if Pen knew she was a hybrid, she also knew who the enemy was; they weren’t going to have to labour through hours of explanation and denial. And the meeting might turn out to be of some use after all.
‘What’s a hybrid?’ asked Fran. ‘Could somebody tell me, please?’
So they did have to take a bit of time to introduce Fran and Julia to some basics about the Cabal, ETs, hybrids and underground bases.
‘But how do you know this stuff, Mum?’ demanded Fran. ‘You’ve never said anything about it before.’
‘You didn’t need to know. It’s a matter of client confidentiality, anyway.’
‘So who’s the client?’
‘That’s confidential, too.’
‘Does Dad know about it?’
‘A little. My dear girl, you’re supposed to have an enquiring mind. I can’t believe you haven’t come across this before. Look on the Internet – it’s all there. Teri can advise you where to look, I’m sure.’
Then Caroline told them about her origins, her current circumstances, and the threat hanging over her, while Teri explained how Tom Price fitted into the picture, and what he had said to her that afternoon.
‘Alright,’ said Pen, getting down to business. ‘The first thing is, do you know whether you’re a Ward of Court, Caroline?’
‘No, I don’t.’
‘This Colonel may imagine he has some legal power over you if you’re a Ward of Court and he’s been appointed your Guardian. However, to do that they would have had to lie to the court about your parentage, which would have invalidated the whole thing.
‘So the point is, Caroline, this Colonel has no legal right to take you anywhere against your will. And nor do your foster parents. It would be kidnap, which is a very serious crime indeed.
‘The second thing is, we need to ask ourselves why they sent this sociopath to threaten you with exposure and generally bully you. What’s the point? What do they hope to achieve by it?’
‘To make me feel helpless and trapped,’ said Caroline.
‘Exactly!’ said Pen. ‘And why would they feel the need to do that?’
Teri felt a rush of excitement. ‘Because they need her co-operation!’ she said. ‘If she refuses to give it, there’s nothing they can do. So it’s a con trick. They’re trying to convince her that resistance is futile, to make her believe that she has to go with them, when in actual fact, she doesn’t!’
‘Very good,’ said Pen. ‘You may be over-stating it, but certainly this Cabal operates largely by convincing us that we don’t have options when we do. It makes us easier to control. So the first thing we need to do, Caroline, is convince you that you do have a choice in the matter. That this is your life and your body, and no one has the right to dictate what happens to it.’
‘But didn’t they make me – create me, in effect?’
‘Do parents create their children, Caroline? I think not. They merely engage in an act that puts one lot of DNA together with another lot of DNA, and then gestate the embryo. Which is roughly what happened with you. And anyway, being a parent doesn’t give you the right to perform experiments on your children or sell them into slavery.’
‘They must have spent a lot of money on me over the years.’
‘That’s their choice, isn’t it? Not yours. Point A: a few million is nothing to these people – they’ve been playing around with trillions. Point B, it’s not their money – they’ve stolen the wealth of the world. And Point C, the Federal Reserve simply prints more money for them to use – pulls it out of thin air. So please don’t go around thinking you owe them anything.’
‘But they’re so powerful,’ said Caroline. ‘There’s nowhere I can hide from them, and nothing I can do to stop them if they decide to grab me. I’ll always be looking over my shoulder.’
‘Certainly that used to be the case, but the picture is changing very rapidly now. The Cabal is losing the battle against the Alliance. They’re losing the ability to pay the people who do their dirty work. They’ve been fleeing to their bases in South America and Antarctica, and they’ve been trying to leave the planet, but their craft have been forced back down.
‘I would suggest that they no longer have the resources that they had, and have far more pressing things to deal with than chasing a reluctant asset like you – no matter how much money has been spent.
‘I would also suggest that the most effective way you could protect yourself would be to go public. The more people that know about you, the safer you will be. Because that’s the other thing Mr Price has been conning you about. He’s been threatening you with exposure as if it’s a bad thing. And it’s not! Not if you do it yourself.
‘So that’s what I would do, Caroline, if I were you. I would come out of the closet.’
Part 5 soon
© Sue J Davis 2016
Please see Copyright Notice on the ‘About’ page.