Malia sat on the van’s floor with her hands folded neatly in her lap. I had to review the dream six times before I noticed the dark cuffs binding her wrists. Malia looked sad and tired. The dark jumpsuit she wore had thin, red and blue stripes that looked like wires running down the sleeves and legs. I’d never seen anything like it, but Varick obviously had for his reaction was to take three angry steps forward.
The guards shifted nervously but held their guns steady.
“I’m all right, Varick,” Malia called. The light shining down on her glinted off the three tears forming tracks down her face.
“No tears, my dear,” Dr. Devya said softly. He reached down with a towel and blotted the tears from her face.
“This wasn’t part of the deal,” Varick protested. “I told you I would come alone. Why didn’t you believe me?”
“Get in the van,” Dr. Devya ordered.
“I want an answer. How do I know this isn’t just a trap?”
Dr. Devya’s laugh could definitely be qualified as bitter. “You’re not that important.” He nodded toward Malia and added, “She’s not that important, but Nadia is. She must live. Now get in or make a move that will likely get two of your sisters seriously hurt or killed.”
Varick didn’t ask the question out loud, but I felt it blazing brightly in his mind. Without further delay, he climbed carefully past Malia into the van. A hood slipped over Varick’s head, but before it could completely block his vision, I saw him reach for Malia. Even after the hood blocked his sight, I felt his odd mixture of sorrow, joy, and burning anger melt away when he sat by Malia and wrapped her in a warm hug.