With Anger Came Understanding
Cara had never thought of herself as extraordinary.
She had been above average, maybe; but only because of her technical knowledge and earnest desire to help others. Her appearance had always been awkward, with a girl-next-door charm that lacked the polish of pretty. Her medium-brown hair was forever pulled back into a simple ponytail, with bangs that were too long and constantly shaded her hazel eyes. Her daily uniform had consisted of hiking boots with stout cotton socks, cargo shorts, and a button-down camp shirt that shielded any hint at femininity. She’d paid the penance for her past indiscretion with a heartbreaking sacrifice, and she was in no hurry to be in a position to repeat the experience.
Thoughts of her son sparked a flare of intense anger, and Cara marveled in its heat. She had never been special, and she certainly had never been angry. Kindhearted and logical, for sure, flecked with a pure altruism that had always baffled her father. After losing her son, she had become consumed with being good, doing good – being right had never factored into the equation. A pacifist to the core, the Hippocratic oath fit her like a second skin. First do no harm.
First do no harm. The vision of the boy she could not save, his life’s essence seeping away in that horrific lab, scored the back of her eyelids. She would never be able to scrub her vision clean. Cara’s anger blazed until she shimmered with an unearthly glow. Her white eyes seemed to crackle with electricity, and her grip tightened around the hilt of her sword. The last year (years? how long?) might have been a lie, but in her heart she knew that her son was somewhere in the world, and that he needed her.
Psyche flicked her eyes in Cara’s direction, with only a small crease in the corner of her lip betraying her concern. Cara glared back. The cabin had been deathly silent since Daedelus had made his ultimatum, and Niko had left. Cara’s fury lapped at the scabbed-over wound on her pride. No matter how kind she’d been, how earnest and dedicated to their cause, Cara had only managed to earn derision and snubs from her teammates. Only Niko returned her kindness, treating her with the same affection given to an overeager little sister. She often wondered if he’d had a sister in the life he’d had before Carnival.
He’d listened patiently to her pontifications and donated generous sums of money to her various causes. His easy laugh and unapologetic air charmed her more thoroughly than any of his abilities. She’d never judged him for his unabashed conquests, and he’d never poked fun at her unflappable benevolence. Niko was the one who’d known of her teenage rebellion and the desolation of giving up her son, confessed late one night over a bottle of expensive vodka, long before the gala that never was. And Cara was sure he was the only one who’d help her find her boy before harm came.
First do no harm.
The glow surrounding Cara began to vibrate as her righteous fury solidified into purpose. Oh, she’d do harm, she feared. But first, she needed to find Niko.