Teasers & Deleted Scenes
Ashton, VA, August 2011
"I've been thinking about Daphne," Hafidha says.
"I've thought of her too," Katharine Allison says. "It hurts?"
Hafidha nods. "The Bug loves it when I think about her. About how I could have saved her, if The Bug hadn't won."
"The Bug wants you to think it's your fault."
"It is. I could have stopped that truck. I could have saved her with my wireless brain. The superpower of the 21st century," Hafidha says. "The Bug--"
Hafidha goes silent.
"Loves it when things go wrong." Katharine says. "The Bug couldn't have gotten better ammunition to use on you, could it?"
"No," Hafidha says. "Best thing that ever happened to It."
"Guilt. Of course you feel it," Katharine says.
"Because I'm alive and she's not. But this is different."
"Because you have a gift that could have changed things. The Bug keeps telling you the story were you were standing right there, and you would have known what was going to happen and that you would have been able to control that truck in time to stop it."
"What the Kat said," Hafidha agrees.
"Only you don't actually know if you would have been right there. You could have been tracking more of James Singh's life, finding the information we needed for intake."
"Could have been," Hafidha says.
"And then you'd be in exactly the same position. You weren't in the right place at the right time, and that has nothing to do with The Bug winning."
"So it's more Bugshit logic, you're saying," Hafidha says. "No simple explanation for anything important."
"And how does that sit with you?"
Hafidha thinks. "It makes it more human. The Bug wants me to think like a superhero. Wireless Girl saves the day--only whoops, institutionalized failure girl can't save anything. Bug logic."
"Kat." Hafidha says, shakes her head. "I'm being a jerk."
"That you or The Bug talking?"
"Dunno," Hafidha says. "I just realized I've been sitting here--Daphne's dead and gone, right down to the organ donation and I'm just whining me me me. I should have been the big hero. Only I'm useless. Oh, my pain, it hurts."
"Loss hurts," Katherine says. "Grieving hurts. The Victorians stayed in full mourning for a year. We talk about it like it was some stifling restriction. Dressed only in black, not allowed to celebrate--but you were allowed to grieve. You could cry. You could say that you wanted your loved one back, and that was allowed, expected, normal. Modern mourning doesn't even let you have a month before you get shamed into getting over it."
"The Bug is all over that too. Because Erik, and Daphne... Everything's fuel for It. Telling me that story that doesn't need to make sense." Hafidha sighs, leans back, consciously relaxes tense muscles. "I need this to be easier. Kat. What can I do to make this easier?"
"We've discussed a few possibilities," Katherine says. "Have you thought about them?"
"Yeah. And I'm still thinking."
"Do you want to talk about them?"
"No. Can you... Whatever it is you'd use to make the brochure. Can I read that?"
"I'll make you copies as soon as we're done."