She couldn’t bear to read the e-mail, so she deleted it. It was one less painful memory to torture herself with. One less thing to hold on to. It had been a month since the sinking of Avia and, despite her aversion to searching for what little family she could have, she allowed Ryker and Ani to talk her into searching.
Feeling the tears, Vivika pushed away from the desk. It looked as plain and old as the room she managed to find at short notice. Little grooves were etched into the light brown wood. Some were simple worry lines while others were wandering doodles. She glanced down at a jagged circle and back to the window. It had become one of her favorite doodles. Whoever the desk belonged to probably etched it out of boredom but Vivika saw everything she was in that simple shape. She saw the way Avia forced her to become rigid and defensive. She saw her edges, the never-ending circle of fear and paranoia, the highs and the lows.
“It’s just a desk,” she told herself, in hopes the words would free her.
She got up and made her way over to the window. The sun, though hidden behind the gray tinted clouds, still managed to cast a warm glow. It was small, but it was there. She stretched out her arm and placed her hand on the glass. Despite the small glow, it was cool to the touch. Cool and unchanged. Balling her hand into a fist, she rested her forehead next to it and closed her eyes. Deleting the e-mail didn’t wipe it from her thoughts. Line by line, she relived the horrors of the day she was “acquired” and each passing year where she felt like a plague.
Dear Ms. Balin, we regret to inform you that our investigation didn’t yield the answers you were hoping for. Any easily accessible record of your family is nonexistent but we did manage to find something.
Vivika’s stomach clenched as the next words played in her head like a echo.
All persons connected to, and record of, Blackbird are to be eliminated.
The gentle splat of tears on the wooden floorboards soothed her. If nothing else, she could mourn them; her father, her mother, her grandparents and what few cousins that she knew and played with. She could for everyone that unknowingly condemned themselves to death when they befriended her all those years ago.
“If I only knew….” she whispered in apology, “if I knew…I would have kept my mouth shut.”
Her knees buckled from her increased trembling but she remained steady, her fist and head pressed firmly against the glass. One question circled her thoughts as she strained to remember every person that died because of her: was life worth nothing in the grand scheme of things?