Zinnia had taken Graciela to her home base. Dionysus had returned to Lily and Alexia to alert them to get their things packed. Together, Dionysus, Graciela, Ellery, Lily and Alexia would be returning to the so called new dimension. The plan was simple, once Graciela got her memories back she would go along with Cassius’ instructions as per usual. This was to not only garner his trust but buy Ellery some time to find and dismantle whatever the man was planning. “So what do I do?” Graciela asked.
“I’m going to implant the records into your mind using magic, then Ellery is going to use his powers to help your memories grow,” Zinnia said. “I think that will work out nicely…I hope. You sure you want to do this?”
Graciela nodded. “I need to know everything. I feel like…” She placed a hand on her heart. “The darkness inside of me, what will become of it?”
Ellery frowned. “Darkness? What do you mean?”
“It lives inside of me,” She replied. “I think it has power over me. Will it get my memories too?”
“If it can’t access your brain, then no,” Zinnia replied. “Does it normally read your mind? Hear your thoughts?”
“Yes, it does. It’s very invasive and I can’t get it to stop sometimes,” Graciela admitted. “Might be why I have no friends.”
Ellery frowned. “I’m not quite sure I know what you mean about the darkness still. Darkness is a concept, not a person.”
“It could very well be a powerful entity,” Zinnia said. “Maybe Adriel knows something about it. He was a ghost at one point, and death is probably the closest thing to darkness. I’m not discounting anything Graciela says. My father had literature on just about everything you could imagine. The one thing I’ve learned from him is that anything is possible.”
Adriel wasn’t with the group. According to Zinnia, he was acting as a distraction to the Dimension Police so he couldn’t stay in one place for too long. He was the decoy, and the decoy couldn’t lead the DP to the real resistance. That would destroy the plan set in motion. “I have a friend named Asher who has close ties to death, and he said he used to be able to quell the darkness. So, maybe you’re right. I can’t really explain much of what it is. It’s kind of always been there.”
“The voice talks to you?” Ellery asked. “What kinds of things does it say?”
“It told me years ago that it lived in my heart. It grows stronger when I feel bad about myself. It said my body was it’s temple, because it got never ending strength from my insecurities. I’m not sure how it got there or why…” Graciela shut her eyes. “But it’s here to stay now because a few days ago it told me that we are one. It thinks that someone tried to get rid of it but in turn took away my memories.”
“What does being one entail?” Ellery asked, furrowing his brow. “I don’t like the sound of this.”
“I’m not sure, to be honest with you. But the darkness hasn’t been able to hurt me, at least not as it used to. It can say things to me that are rude and play on my insecurities but I can’t feel it getting stronger. It just feels to me like a bully making remarks but the kind that says it so much that the words start to lose their power. The darkness told me that it doesn’t benefit from my fears any longer. It wants to know just as well as I do, what happened to get us to where we are. It says whatever happened wasn’t part of the plan and I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.”
“In any case,” Zinnia began. “It doesn’t sound like knowing things can help the darkness hurt you. If it cannot feed off of your fears and is just a part of you, the memories should do little more than just enlighten you both.”
“Which could be dangerous,” Ellery said. “We don’t know enough about the darkness to go through with this.”
“But we also don’t have much time to save our dimensions. My father said that the Grays are the key. So….here we have Graciela Gray in front of us and you want her to stay in the dark, so to speak? If she retains the knowledge than we have the power over the council. We choose what happens.” Zinnia crossed her arms over her chest. “I can implant these memories in a way that will not harm you. Ellery can help them grow over time so that you will not be overwhelmed and so that your brain does not implode.”
“And I want to do that,” Graciela cut in. “I just wanted to let you guys know about the darkness first. Just in case that would be a problem.”
“No problem can’t be solved,” Zinnia said simply. “It seems like you want the darkness vanquished anyway, right? So if it knows more, maybe there will be an opportunity presented that we might not have gotten before. The darkness could prove useful or we might be able to destroy it completely.”
“If you want this Graciela,” Ellery said. “I can help you do it. But remember your promise to us. Do we have your loyalty?”
Graciela nodded. “You want to save my dimension and the DP just want to point their fingers at whoever destroyed it. So yeah I can back you guys up for my family and for the people of our home.”
“Good. Then in the meantime I’ll be scouting the new world and trying to find out what this Cassius guy you told us about wants. Alexia and Lily can help with that,” Ellery said.
“I’ll be your contact with the outside dimensions,” Zinnia said. “So you’d best keep your promise to our group because I know where your siblings and cousins are.”
“You…do?” Graciela asked. “You can point me in their direction?”
“As Lily was explaining before,” Ellery began. “There’s agents watching your family members. They’re safe but do as Zinnia says if you want to know where they are. I know it seems harsh now, but we have a lot on the line. We’re giving you a lot of power that can help make this new dimension a better place.”
“Well that’s quite an incentive. My memory and my family. Ok, you have my word. The way I see it, you’re putting my life together for me.” At a cost, she knew. it wasn’t presenting itself now, but she knew there would be one. Though being in the world, drowning in not knowing….she’d give up anything to know what was what.
It was as if Graciela was seeing the room for the first time. Without the pretense of doom looming over her head, Graciela could see clearly. Her eyes were no longer focused on Ellery and Zinnia, but where she was. A dimension between dimensions, or something along those lines as Zinnia had said. It was all really hard for Graciela to get a grasp of. Graciela thought it was incredible how easily Zinnia could travel between dimensions and also how she knew so much to begin with. Zinnia was put together and knew what she needed to do. It was clear that Zinnia was fighting something bigger than all of them. Graciela felt selfish thinking how her main concern was her own memory while Zinnia was trying to not only save her own dimension but others as well. The young girl was intensely brave and strong.
“Step into this pod,” Zinnia instructed. “I’m using magic to insert the memories but the pod should help you feel more centered and relaxed. It emits calming sounds and smells.”
“So, I walk in and I get the Gray history all at once?” Graciela asked again. “Just like that?”
“Yeah. Something like that. Ellery is going to be the one helping to connect you psyche with the memories that you most identify with. Basically, he’d be awakening what was laid dormant. I mean, that’s just if you don’t make the connection on your own. We don’t know the extent of your amnesia,” Zinnia continued. “But you have Dionysus to watch over you. He’s more than he lets on, so you should be fine in his care.”
“What does that mean?” Graciela asked, but then shook her head. “Nevermind. I know he doesn’t want me to know. If he wants to tell me on his own, I’ll let him.”
“He’s someone to trust,” Zinnia said. “That much is clear, no?”
“Yeah. It is. He helped my family even when my aunt screwed him over like she did. Er, I mean…”
“I don’t care about that woman,” Zinnia said. “So trash her all you’d like. Now, come on in. Step into the pod.”
Graciela wasn’t nervous at all. She had little else to lose. Half of her family was trapped , the others were scattered across dimensions, and her own memories were gone. So, what would she be giving up? If this failed, would it really be hurting anyone? “I’m ready,” Graciela called once she was nestled nicely in the pod. “Is it going to hurt?”
“I imagine you’ll have a headache,” Ellery said.
Graciela gave him a thumbs up. “That’s cool. As long as I don’t spontaneously combust.”
“I can put you out in a matter of miliseconds,” Zinnia said. “No need to worry. I wonder if sleeping will be better. It might all just feel like a really long dream. And then you’ll wake up and things will make sense.”
“I’m a vampire,” Graciela said. “Little makes me tired.”
“Magic,” Zinnia said with a small laugh. “Magic always does the trick.” She snapped her finger, watching the girl slowly lull into a sleep.
“Zinnia, wait,” Ellery said. He grabbed her arm. “Are you sure this won’t hurt her?”
“Nearly positive. Graciela Gray is the daughter of Charlotte Gray, who is a descendant of the agent of death himself.” Zinna waved Ellery off, letting him know she’d not speak of anything more regarding the girl’s lineage. “Point is, she has a powerful bloodline. She can handle anything.”
“You know all of this from your dad’s information?” Ellery asked. “Really?”
“I’ve memorized the Gray history from beginning to end. At least what was known to my dad. So yeah, something like that. You think I’d just leave that burden on someone else? Whether I’d like to admit it or not, I’m part of that family line. Besides, I should be able to you know as they say, backing up the files. Though, Graciela will be able to fill in the blanks I’m unsure of.”
Ellery nodded, feeling somewhat more at ease. “Well, okay. Since you’ve thought of everything.”
“This will be good for us,” Zinnia said. “We need her to secure this new dimension away from the council. You want that, and we’re a team. So if your way gets us a new home, one that’s safe and free, then fine. I’m willing to try it.”
“And Graciela is the right to lead?”
“Why not?” Zinnia asked. “I’m getting tired of being in control anyhow. If anyone can do it, it may as well be her. Now, help me out here. I want this to be as painless as possible for her.”
AN: Thanks for voting in the poll! Graciela will be receiving her memories and we’ll go through all of her past and then return to the present!