The Durants: Part IV



“Bionca! How many times do I have to tell you?! Get down from there!” Gaia chastised her six-year-old in exasperation. Bionca had grown into an unusual-looking child. Her skin was in splotches of Gaia’s own dark skin, mixed with the pale skin of her father. Similarly, her hair was a strange amalgamation of gold and bistre.

“Awww, Mom, you’re no fun!” Bionca whined as she leapt from the roof of the clinic. As he hobbled out, Dr. Carlton looked bemusedly from mother to daughter. The girl had never learned to fear the doctor’s appearance. Zoran had left him one leg and nose short, as well as a thick red scar encircling his neck. The other Hyrans still recoiled slightly anytime they caught sight of him. He felt a camaraderie with the Harbinger, ostracized as she still was.

“Hey Doc. How are ya doing?” Gaia greeted distractedly, keeping an eye on her energetic child.

“I’m the same as ever. Listen, Drake heard someone’s looking for you again, Gaia. Be careful.” Dr. Carlton’s voice was tinged with worry.

Fear widened her eyes. She still had nightmares about Zoran and her bleak existence of six years prior. The first and last encounter the Taeshan officer had with Bionca was one too many for Gaia’s taste. She still felt a grim satisfaction knowing that Zoran would never bother them again. “Thanks Doc. I’ll keep an eye out. Hopefully the government hasn’t started to investigate Zoran’s disappearance….” she trailed off as her daughter shrieked berserkly before bounding away.

“Bye Mom! I’m gonna see if Oscar can play!”

“Bionca! Come back here!” Gaia yelled as her daughter’s form melted into the horizon, further obscured by the setting sun.

The little girl was prone to wandering through Hyra on her own. She loved watching all of the people running about their business, though the only ones who would talk to her were the Sullivans and Dr. Carlton. Today, however, she felt an inexplicable excitement. Bionca skipped through the streets, passing by Drake’s store. She listened for Oscar’s giddy, snorting laugh. When silence was the only sound to greet her, she continued on, only to be knocked down by a cloaked figure. The woman lowered her hood while offering her hand, revealing sandy auburn hair and deep green eyes that felt oddly familiar to Bionca. “Hello, little girl. Can you help me find someone?”

Rising, Bionca looked down shyly, remembering her mother’s warning about the intentions strangers might have. She pivoted back and forth on her heel then locked eyes while tilting her head up. “Who’re you lookin’ for?”

A small smile that failed to reach her eyes appeared on the woman. “Her name is Gaia Durant.”


Defeated, Gaia started her trek back home. She’d stopped by Drake’s store to see if Bionca had actually gone to play with Oscar, but luck was not on her side. As she neared her home, she could faintly make out light seeping from the cracks in their outer wall and made a note to fix that. Closer still, she heard her daughter’s high, honeyed voice and relief swept through her. It was immediately replaced with alarm when she heard a woman respond. Had a search party for Zoran finally found its way here? Swallowing the lump in her throat, she steeled herself and burst through her door. A faintly sulfuric smell cut by roses made her nostrils flare. As if in a dream, she swayed toward the woman, hesitant hope beating inside her chest. “Mina?” she questioned.

The woman looked over her shoulder, a smile dancing across her face. Though Gaia was too exuberant to notice, Bionca saw that it still had not reached her eyes. Eyes that her mother shared. “Hello sister. It’s been such a long time.” She rose gracefully, dusting her carmine robe off. “I’ve been searching for you since you escaped from Taesh.” Mina took a step toward her sister in a nearly threatening manner. “Tell me: Where is that foul boy who took you and ran?”

Bionca coughed, looking between her mother and her aunt, wondering why they were set on edge by each other. The door creaked open and all other thoughts were driven from the little girl’s mind as she chirped “Daddy!” and skipped to her father.

Brion smiled warmly at his daughter, twirling her as she leapt into his arms. He set her back down after kissing her forehead. “Hey there little one. How was your-” He stopped suddenly as he felt a knife at his throat.

“Gaia, it’s this scum’s fault our parents were murdered!” Mina barked.

Tears sprung to Gaia’s eyes. “Mom and Dad are… dead?” she asked in a whisper. “How long ago were they…?” She looked to her husband, whose fiery blue gaze had lowered somberly to the ground. The scar under his right eye stretching from temple to jaw seemed to burn with guilt.

“Their bodies weren’t even cold before the two of you fled!” The blade pressed deeper into the man’s throat. A line of blood appeared.

“Brion…Is this true?” Droplets descended down Gaia’s face.

He looked up at his wife, grief and guilt dimming the flame that was ever-present behind his eyes. “I’m sorry Gai. I should’ve told you when we left….”

Furious coughing erupted as Bionca tugged at Mina’s robe fiercely. “Leave my dad alone!” she shouted, spittle flying everywhere as the coughs wracked her small frame.

Mina looked down at her niece dispassionately. “He let our parents die, then you married and had a child with him?” She glared at her twin. “Disgusting.” Scoffing, she withdrew her weapon and exited with a flourish of her cloak.

Bionca hugged her father desperately, the coughing vanished. She took his face in her hands. “Are you okay, Daddy?”

He gently embraced his daughter back as he looked up at his wife. “I had to get you out of there. My father had your parents killed to break you. I couldn’t stand by anymore. I’m sorry….”



Brittany Teodorski


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