And She Dies Again And Again


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Scene Title And She Dies Again And Again
Synopsis The worst day of her life happens again and again for Tamsine.
Date December 21, 2009

Dinner, then rented movies in front of a roaring fireplace — the blizzard has kept Tamsine and Len in for the past few evenings, not that either of them are complaining. More and more evenings have been spent together, despite the lengthy drive back to wherever it is he works, and the petite redhead is getting used to the giant cowboy's presence. She can't remember ever feeling quite so safe and cared for in her life.

Len's already in bed when she slips in from her shower — she prefers hers at night, and so her hair is still damp, smelling sweetly of shampoo that mixes with the scent of her soap and lotion on her still warm skin. "Brrr, it's cold," she murmurs as she wraps her arms around him, kissing him softly. "Goodnight," she murmurs as her eyes close.

It was one of those lazy days for Len. No pressing Company needs. Everyone seems to have a handle on their business, so he stayed indoors with Tamsine today and they had a wonderful day. IT was one of those lazy days though, that just makes you that much more comfortable and sleepy, so crawling into Tamsine's bed at the end of the evening, he was already yawning. He can hear the shower, as he slips under the covers and pulls her side over and returns her kiss and embrace with one of his own. He reaches up and brushes her cheek softly with one of his fingers as he looks into her eyes and whispers. "Sleep well, love. See you in the morning." With that, his eyes slowly closes and he drifts off to sleep.

"Always do, when you're here." It's true: Tamsine feels safer with him in her house than without, and who wouldn't? No waking to bumps in the night when Len is there. No need to triple check the locks and windows. She snuggles closer and soon enough, her breathing slows to the steady, shallow rhythm of slumber, her arms wrapped around his body loosen and relax, falling slack on the mattress.

The night continues onward and morning soon comes, or so it seems. There's a voice that calls out several times. "Mom! Mom!" When Tamsine would wake, the familiar cowboy would not be in her bed and the face of her daughter Liliana would be peeking into the room. "Are you going to wake up? You're going to be late for work." The dark haired teen reaches into to flick on and off the light a couple of times. "I don't ever think I've seen you sleep in this long." The familiar smile that Tamsine watched grow from infant to child to teen is just barely there as she moves into the room and sits on the edge of the bed.

It has to be a dream… but it doesn't feel like a dream. If anything, in the fog of Tamsine's mind, the past several months seem like the dream rather than the very clear and vivid appearance of her daughter next to her. She can even smell the strawberry shampoo of Liliana's hair. She reaches out to touch the girl's cheek, sitting up suddenly when hand makes contact with skin. It's real. She grabs Lily into a tight hug, her tears wetting the girl's long dark hair. "Lily!" she gasps. "Are you… what day is it? The calendar date." Lest her daughter say something as obvious as "Tuesday."

She doesn't squirm too much, though her mother is freaking her out a little. "It's the 14th, Mom. You know, March? I have a 'school thing', remember? I have been telling you about it for a couple of weeks now and you said I could go." Slowly, the girl's arms go up and wrap around her mother and she gives her a hug, slow and reluctantly. "Why are you crying? Is… there something wrong?" Liliana asks as she tries to pull back to look at her mother.

The last ten months are erased — all the pain, the suffering, the guilt. It was all a dream, all some crazy nightmare stemmed from her overactive imagination? Tamsine laughs aloud, covering her mouth and shaking her head. "No, I'm good. Great, in fact. Forget work — I'll make you pancakes before you go to school," she announces, swinging her legs out of bed. "Chocolate chip pancakes." Usually her mother is all about sensible, non sugary foods for breakfast. Whole grain bagels and fresh fruit. "Race you to the kitchen," she challenges, pushing Lily in front of her toward the hallway.

Lily stumbles forward a little. "I'm gonna be late, mom." In fact, Liliana already has her backpack on her back as she heads down the stairs with her mother behind her. "How about for dinner instead?" There's something about her brown eyes that almost looks regretful, but she manages a smile as she stops at the door and turns around. "Can we have it for dinner instead? I don't want to be late."

She's such a good kid. Straight A student, with the exception of a B+ in Algebra, the bane of her young existence. "Breakfast for dinner, like all those old moms think is such a great idea?" Tamsine says with a smirk, wrinkling her nose at the thought of such a thing. "Fine. If you really want it — or whatever you want. Your choice. We can go out, if you want instead." She ruffles the girl's hair. "You know I love you, right, kid?" she asks, her own dark eyes sparkling with love and tears as she looks at her beautiful daughter before her.

Lily makes a face at the ruffling of her hair. "Moooooom!" she drawls out as she looks into the nearby mirror and fixes her hair. She places her hand on the doorknob for a moment. Then it seems like a sudden impulse when Liliana grabs her mother in a long tight hug. "I love you too, mom. Don't forget," she whispers before pulling away and slipping out of the door. If Tamsine looks out the window she could see Liliana pause at the sidewalk and look back at the house before taking off down the street and disappearing around the corner.

Willing — ecstatic in fact — to believe that it's really, truly March, Tamsine heads into the bathroom to seek evidence. A curling iron still warm, recently unplugged, a purple toothbrush that's damp to the touch, a lipgloss tube on the counter; they all serve to prove her daughter is alive and well. She gets herself ready to go to work at the city's social services and welfare building. All of her coworkers smile and greet her with cheerful good mornings as they have every day of her career. Things are back to normal. Better yet, they were never not normal, she tells herself.

However, normal as things may be, as Tamsine is getting ready to head to lunch, a co-worker runs up to her and shakes her head. "Have you heard? They just found 36 teenagers.." Through the doorway of her office, a police officer can be seen. "Looking for Tamsine Whitaker?" The expression on his face is nothing less tham somber.

Oh God. This… she remembers this. Tamsine's hand comes up to her mouth again, and she shakes her head. "No. No, no, no." She backs up from where she stands at her file cabinet, until she's backed up against the window, her face as pale as the blandly painted walls. Maybe she dreamed everything as a premonition, and it's only now coming true? How could she miss the chance to set it straight? What had her daughter said? She had a school thing to go to? A project for class? Oh, god. "No! It's not true — it's not true," she whispers, staring at the police officer with eyes already spilling tears, knowing what he is about to tell her.

Those words never come as she feels a hand move on her shoulder. "Mom? Mom? What's wrong?" Lily kneels down in front of her mother as Tamsine sits on her bed now. "What's not true? Is everthing alright?" The familiar brunette hair and brown eyes are looking back at her now as Lily's voice fills the room again. "Are you going to work? I have that 'school thing', don't forget. I've been telling you for a couple of weeks now. Maybe you should stay home today? You look pale? Are you sick?"

Tamsine looks up, brown eyes wet and confused. "Lily — you're here!" She hugs her daughter, tightly, as if not to let go this time. "Just a bad dream…" she murmurs. She has to get herself together, for her daughter's sake. Her daughter is alive and well and doesn't need to see her go to pieces over a dream, no matter how real it seemed. "School thing?" she echoes a moment later, shaking her head. "What school thing? Tell me exactly."

"I told you before, mom." The slight tone of annoyance at having to go over this all over again for her mother. "Some kids at school are getting together. It's kind of a support group, I guess. We just talk about differences. We try to help kids fit in." It's the same story she's told her mother before, if it can be recalled. "I shouldn't be out too late, but I need to get going or I'm going to be late for school." Lily stands and starts for the exit of her mother's bedroom.

"No," Tamsine says suddenly. It might be the first time in recent memory she's said the word to her daughter, in relation to her daughter asking permission for something. The girl has always been sensible, never asked to do anything that would be considered dangerous or inappropriate. No middle of the week sleepovers, no asking for piercings, not even asking to date yet. "No, you can't go. You have a history test tomorrow and I'm having someone come over today to help you with your algebra homework since I know that class is giving you a headache, and God knows I can't help you much. So no. Today you can't go. Maybe next meeting of this club, Okay?"

There's a slight look of disbelief on Liliana's face as she looks at her mother. It's been quite a while since her mother told her no to something. Of course, Liliana is typically a good girl and never in trouble for really anything at all. "Why are you being like this? I hardly ever ask for anything and now you want to tell me no?" There's a brief flicker of defiance that flashes across the young girl's face. "Well, I'm going and if you want to ground me, then ground me later." The words that seem to want to follow never do. She turns and runs out of the room and soon the front door slams shut.

Tamsine shouts for Lily to return, then follows, despite being in sleep clothes: a long t-shirt and a pair of shorts — out onto the street to shout but she's already gone, out of sight. "Goddamnit," she swears to herself, and heads back into the house to change. She'll have to get dressed, call into work, then go pick up Lily from school and keep her home for the day. Whatever it takes for this day to pass, for this horrible date to make it to "tomorrow" with Lily still alive.

Before she can even turn around to step into the house, a police cruiser is driving up to the curb. In what seems like only moments after Lily has stormed off and disappeared, a police officer has stepped from his car. "M'am? I'm looking for Tamsine Whitaker? This is the address I have listed." If the policeman has any qualms about Tamsine's appearance, he doesn't show it in the least.

"What… no…" Tamsine begins, glancing the direction that her daughter ran off in. It's too quick; nothing could have happened that quickly. Lily couldn't have been in an accident; she'd have heard the sirens, even heard the squeal of brakes or a blare of a horn. There's no way her daughter could be too far away to hear some sort of incident. "What is it?" she asks, backing away, face crumpling as she assumes the worst that she is certain will come.

The officer slowly approaches Tamsine as she is backing away. "I'm sorry to have to come tell you, but I should find out before I say anything." He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a photograh of a smiling Liliana. "Is your daughter Liliana Whitaker?"

How does he have a picture of her? She frowns and shakes her head. "This isn't happening. I just saw her, she just left me, like a minute ago," Tamsine says, as she backs into the door with no more room to go. "Yes, she's my daughter, but she can't … you're not telling the truth, you can't be." Not that he's said anything yet — all he's done is asked questions. He hasn't given her the news she's sure he has come to give.

"The school has called because your daughter has missed class today, along with 35 other students. There is concern." The officer continues to step towards the mother though she cannot see his eyes as he has mirrored sunglasses on. "Do you know where your daughter might be now?" Just then his radio squawks and he reaches for her, turning his back towards her for a few moments as he talks in hushed tones to the dispatcher. The only words she could possibly hear are his last. "Understood. I'll let her know." He puts the handset back on his belt and turns around. "M'am, about your daughter. I'm afraid I have some horrific news."

"No. No, it can't be. It's only eight in the morning, how could they miss school?" she cries out, her eyes leaking tears as she falls to her knees on the stoop. The western sky shows that her words are not true, for it's nearing sunset. Somehow the day passed in a blink of an eye. "Oh, my God. This has to be a dream. It can't be true… she was right there," she screams, breath coming in choking sobs. "It can't be true… not again…"

The officer shakes his head. "M'am, it's nearly three in the afternoon. It's the middle of the day." He bites his lip as he considers telling her the bad news he has. "M'am, are you on any medication that would cause you to sleep through the day or sleepwalk into the street?"

"No," Tamsine murmurs, opening the front door, stepping in, then slamming the door in the police officer's face. If he doesn't say the words, it didn't happen. If no one says Lily died, maybe she'll come home, safe and sound. She leans against the door, closing her eyes, covering her face as her shoulders shake with sobs.


"Why are you crying? Is everything okay?" Liliana is there and she has her hands on her mother's shoulders giving her a little shake. "Why are you crying? Has something happened?" There's a ring of confusion in the young teen's voice. "Tell me!"

She can't do this again. And again. And again. Living through it once was hell on earth; this is the deepest, coldest, loneliest circle of hell, deeper and darker and more tragic than anything Dante ever envisioned. She frowns, looking up, seeking her daughter's eyes. She doesn't trust that it's Lily anymore — perhaps it is a demon wearing an angel's face.

"Lil… oh, God, Lil. You tell me. What's wrong and how can I help? What can I do? Talk to me. Tell me what you need to feel like you belong, to feel safe, to feel not afraid anymore. Tell me what I can do to help. I'll do anything for you, you know that. Whatever it is, we can fix it. Just tell me."

The teen's voice is a little more somber as she returns her mother's gaze and offers a small smile. "There's nothing you can do, mom. I have to do this. It's the only way that others will see that being different isn't bad. Don't you see? It's already done. No matter how many times you try, the end will always be the same. It's the way it has to be. Let me go, okay?" Liliana places her hand on the doorknob, though Tamsine is still leaning against the door.

"No… you have to let me make it right, to protect you," Tamsine pleads, looking up at her daughter as if their roles were reversed. "Please. Let me tell you about my own power … that no one knows I'm Evolved and I've been safe all this time. You don't have to die. You can be special and live in this world, live with me and grow up and do wonderful, amazing, extraordinary things with your life! You don't have to die because you're afraid. I won't let anything hurt you ever again, I swear, Lily, please!" She puts her hand on Lily's, her own pale skin on her daughter's darker hand, trying to keep her from leaving.

Lily's eyes narrow at the confession. As her mother speaks, she gets more agitated and the frown on her face deepens. "You knew all this time and you never told me? I felt all alone this whole time and it took me finding other friends to finally feel like I could fit in." Liliana backs away from her mother now towards the stairs. Tears begin to stream down her cheek. "This is YOUR fault, mother! I HATE you!" She turns and runs up the stairs and soon a door slams shut.

"I didn't know you were!" Tamsine protests. "Not until … not until today." Today, yesterday, the day before that — today seems to be in a constant loop, a mobius strip of despair, grief, and guilt. "I know it's my fault. I didn't know. I thought I was protecting you! I thought it was for the best, for both of us, but I was wrong, I know that now!" she calls, pushing off the door and running up the stairs to her daughter's room. Her hand turns the knob.

The door is locked, though she can hear the girl wailing uncontrollably behind the door. "I have to make a statement. We all do. You can't stop me now. It's too late!" There's a sound of a window smashing as the girl sends her desk chair through it, then a scream followed by silence as the girl leaps out of the second story window to the ground below. If Tamsine were to try the door now, it would miraculously be unlocked.

"It won't work! You have to listen to me — it won't help. It won't work. People will still be afraid, people will still think the worst of people like us! This isn't the way!" Tamsine cries out as she keeps jiggling the doorknob with one hand, pounding on the door with her other. The door swings open, and the redhead all but tumbles into the room. She heads to the broken window to look down. "Lily! Oh, God. Please…make it stop. I can't bear it again. I can't lose her again." And again. And again. The seemingly endless loop of sorrow and regret is the worst torture she could possibly imagine.

Strong hands grip her shoulders and pull her back against the large hulking body behind her. "You were crying loudly. I finally found you in here." The male voice is heard as Len wraps his large arms around her from behind and pulls her back against him having no clue what she's just gone through. "It's okay. I'm here." He tries to shush her as he presses his cheek against her ear. He knows the holiday season is approaching and it's always a hard time for those who had lost someone during the year.

"Len," Tamsine whispers, and there is some relief in the single word — relief that he's here, that she hadn't lost him by going back in time; relief that if he's here, it means she won't relive the death of her only child over and over and over again in the sickening loop. "It was so real. It kept happening. No matter what I did. It didn't change — she still died." She turns in his arms to wrap her arms around his body, burying her face against his chest. "It wasn't a normal dream."

"It was only a dream, my love. I'm right here." He holds her close and rocks her gently from side to side as he presses against her as firmly as he can without crushing her. "She can never die. We won't let her. She'll always be a part of us." It's a promise that Len plans on keeping, no matter how hard it may be.

"At least you're here," Tamsine says softy, her voice rough and husky from her harsh sobs. "I can't sleep … I need for there to be a tomorrow. I can't … I can't do it again. I can't see her die again or hear that she's dead. I thought it'd be so wonderful if I could see her one more time, but it just makes everything hurt so much more." She wipes her eyes and frowns as she realizes she's actually in her daughter's bedroom, a room that's been sacred, untouched but for cleaning since Lily's death.

Taking Len's hand, she leads them out into the living room, where she lets him hold her and console her until dawn finally breaks, and she is sure that time has moved past the worst day in her life.

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