Fiction on Odyssey: Recoil, Recall

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I wasn't sure why I felt so uncomfortable a couple hours before. Miss Cate was only brailling Dad's face, nothing more. I'd seen kids at school do a lot worse, yet I felt like I shouldn't have been in the room, like they should have been alone together. I wish I could have seen what happened during the session, but, you know those stupid confidentiality rules. That, and I can't get into his records. I've tried. That work for the revolution paid off a little too well. I probably should have left it alone, but I've always hated not knowing things. And what made things worse was when Dad finally returned home.

I was just finishing up my dinner when he'd come back, and he was definitely in a mood. Don't get me wrong, he gets them sometimes, but they usually last all day. It's the days where he comes to breakfast with his shirt unevenly button, his tie on backwards, and drinks straight black coffee instead of a cinnamon dolce. None of that happened today.

"Dad," I called to him, "I got you a beef lo mein, your favorite, it's in the kitchen."

"Right, of course," he replied passively, "I'll save it for later, I'm going to bed."

It was only maybe 7:00.

"Did you eat at all today?" I asked.

I had to ask. Sometimes he didn't eat that much on the bad days. You know, I remember that he was and is praised for taking care of a girl like me, but sometimes I have to be the one to worry about him.

"Yes, of course I did, Trina. You saw me eat a full breakfast today, didn't you?"

Oh yeah. I did. He peeked out of the kitchen to check on me, and I saw it. Usually when he pretends to be okay, he'd fake a smile like always, but his face looked blank and kinda... melancholy, for lack of a better word.

"Are you okay, Dad?"

His expression never changed, but I heard him sigh in annoyance.

"I'm perfectly fine, Katrina," he replied firmly, "Now, if you don't mind, I need to be alone."

With that, he disappeared into his bedroom. That was a definite lie, but I couldn't exactly press him without making him more upset. It wasn't the first time that a patient had gotten to him, but Miss Cate didn't seem like the type at all. She was harmless on the surface, and after some poking around, both in the old house and in cyberspace, there weren't any major skeletons in the closet. Then again, even with all that research, I still didn't know too much about her. I couldn't wait to ask her the next day.

I'd half expected to see a change in her, maybe shaking a little, any sign at all of guilt or insanity. She seemed the same as usual, except she was almost... happier? She beamed as soon as she heard my cane.

"Katerina! I'm so glad you're here!"

I approached her slowly, trying to see up close if there was anything else remotely unusual. Still nada.

"I feel like you're upset, is everything all right," she asked.

i guess I should be direct.

"Miss Cate... Did you ever... You know.... Kill anyone... Or anything like that? I mean... Since you were with the revolution in all..." I asked.

She looked a bit surprised and her lips started to purse. Luckily, she didn't seem upset, but deep in thought.

"I don't believe so..." Her tone was suddenly grave. "You'd think I remember something that awful. Why do you ask?"

"Well, it's just, last night, my Dad-"


I swore she perked up a bit too much at the mention of him.

"Was he upset after I left?"

"Yeah.... he was," I said uneasily, "He wouldn't say why.... But that's just him."

"I don't get it."


"I probably shouldn't tell you this, but aside from the brailling, I only did so much as shake his hand. He has nice, very soft hands...." she started dreamily.

I gagged a bit, and she must have heard me, so she did her best not to go into that much detail... For the time being.

"He seemed very tense the whole time. He sounded pleasant.... He has a very, very nice voice too... Anyway, he was good at sounding calm, but I felt that he felt very uncomfortable. Yet.... I felt more comfortable than I have been in years just being around him. You should know I'm not one of those people who enjoys other people's pain... Unless they're Sympas of course, but he..... " she trailed off again.

Of course he made her feel comfortable. That's what shrinks are supposed to do, so they can do their jobs. But Miss Cate seems like she already trusts Dad with her life, and she'd only just met him. Even the ones that were as "nice" as her I heard took a few sessions before they reached that level. Besides, with the way Dad was acting both before and afterward, there was no way in hell he would have done enough to have her like him this much. I looked back at her, and saw that she'd since removed her necklace from her shirt and was fingering the ring at the end of the chain. Only this time, she didn't look pensive. She was almost smiling.

"When is his birthday, Katarina?"

Well that was random.

"His birthday? Why?"

"Oh, just a question... You understand, I like knowing things too."

"It's... December 7th. If you're talking presents, that's not for a while-"

Miss Cate chuckled.

"I knew it. I knew he was a Sagittarius."

Why did she care so much about Dad's zodiac sign? What did that have to do with anything?

"What, Dad?" I asked.

Miss Cate was silent for a long time, but kept smiling, as if she were a daydreaming tween girl.

"You know.... Him."

Oh... Right. The jewels on the ring. She couldn't possibly think that wasn't just a coincidence. She could just be crazier than I thought. Or maybe Dad was hiding something, as usual. She recognized him when they first met, and I think he might have too. Still, they acted very different around one another. It was times like these I wished I was working on a makeshift time machine instead of optics.

"And he said his eyes were blue when I asked... Electric blue. Marcel.... I should have known... I've always liked that name. Marcel.... Marcel...."

I rolled my eyes at her latest thought out loud, not that she'd care either way. Worst of all, I probably started something, and worse than that, I didn't exactly want to stop it until I knew everything that happened in the past.

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