My name is Serenity Elizabeth McKesson. Serenity.
Except here on Terana, I am Sarina Kelvin. Sarina.
Wherever I go, Whoever I am, I am now and always, Midnight.
I spent most of my adolescence looking for the place I am now, and couldn't find it. It cleverly eluded me, frustratingly hid, just beyond my ability to detect, played hide and seek with every nuance and ability I had. I was one of the Children of the Light, dammit, traveler in Light and Dream! And I couldn't find my Dream.
Until I gave it up. I took my big brother Andy's advice and let go of the dream, stopped trying to reshape myself into it, and I swear, in what seemed like an eye blink worth of time, it found me.
It found me in the last place I'd ever have thought, a world that seemed so exactly opposite what I sought, but there it is. On Arbor, Andy's world of Magic, I was Named. Serenity Elizabeth McKesson couldn't find Terana, but Midnight could.
I found Terana in the middle of the night. The stroke of midnight, to be precise. Fate may like to play with my family, but at least she does it with a sense of humor. Her humor is never to far away from reality's reminders though, as the sounds of squealing tires and rending metal told me.
I arrived on Terana at the scene of an accident. Two cars had collided on a back country road, and there were bits of glass and metal scattered everywhere. Nothing had burst into flames like in the movies, but the smell of leaking gasoline was in the air. I did a quick scan of the area and found a single faint life sign in the scrub brush to the south of the accident, half way down a dirt embankment. I caught her dying thoughts, and I was almost too late for even that, but I managed to grab her memories before she was completely gone. She was almost a dead ringer for me, except for her blond hair.
That was how I became Sarina Kelvin. With the sound of sirens growing louder in the distance, I worked a little with the Light, changing my hair color to match and dinged myself up with some scrapes and bruises, including a big ugly knot on the back of my head, and took Sarina's place amidst the debris on the side of the road. Sarina herself went to the bottom of the sea on far off Kite, to join the solemn wait for the end of that world. I let myself fade into self-induced unconsciousness.
I woke up with a concerned face staring down at me. A mop of curly blond hair that ran off in an unmanageable coil managed to evoke images in my mind of Gene Wilder in Young Frankenstein and distracted my eye for a moment from the kind eyes and the big toothy smile. Just as my eyes were beginning to focus, that face pulled away and an older, gray haired female face slid into view replacing it.
"How do you feel?" I was asked in Teranish. I blinked in reply and smiled weakly, but didn't answer. I was given a sip of water through a straw.
"Can you talk?" Came the next question. I nodded yes and smiled wider, but again didn't say a word. I looked around and saw that there were several other people standing behind and above me besides the guy with the mad scientist hair. I smiled at everyone and laid my head back down on the pillow and told myself to go to sleep.
When I woke up I could hear the nearby clack of heels on tile flooring. I felt someone to my left and rolled my head on the pillow to look that direction. A nurse was standing near a sink with a small table, making notes on something. I raised my head in an effort to sit up and the crisp linen sheets rustled slightly as I did, catching the nurse's ear.
"Ah! You're awake!" She said, smiling down at me. "Don't try to get up. I'll fetch the doctor."
I sent my senses out then to get a quick survey of the immediate vicinity, and to quote Keanu Reeves, 'Whoa!'. I was in a room at Bayside Hospital, in Fort Richardson. I was still savoring that information and the easy manner in which I got it when the nurse returned with two people. I recognized both of them from the scene of the accident. The gray haired woman who had asked me questions and the wild haired guy I'd seen when I'd first opened my eyes.
"Good morning!" The woman said. "I'm Doctor Gloria Tompkins. How are you feeling this morning?"
"Much better, thank you." I answered. I looked past her shoulder at the mop of hair and she caught my glance.
"This is Harvey Keaton, he found you at the scene of the accident last night. Do you remember him?"
"Yes, I remember thinking he needed a haircut." I answered. They both laughed at that and I joined them.
"Do you remember the accident?" The doctor asked. I had Sarina's memories, so I did.
"Yes. There was another car. It seemed to come out of nowhere! I never even saw someone driving. Is everyone okay?"
"The driver of the other car did not survive the crash." Harvey said. "The police report says it appears he was driving with his headlights off. They think he was intending to commit suicide and you and your car were just in the wrong place at the wrong time."
I thought about that for second. The first person to respond to the scene of my accident has enough pull to see the police report on the accident before the 'victim', me, is even conscious?
"Do you remember your name?" The doctor asked next.
"Where do you live?" She asked.
"I don't know." I answered. That generated a look of concern. "I was moving here from Circle Lake to start a new job. My employers are supposed to have found me an apartment, but I was going to get that information when I got here."
"Who is your employer?" Harvey said. "We should contact them."
"The Fort Richardson Metropolitan Museum of Art. My boss' name is Jack Pelham." I answered. "I have his number in my purse somewhere I think. Did you find my purse?"
"We did. Relax everything you had in the car with you has been recovered and the police have it safely stored away."
"The police again!" I said.
"Its nothing to worry yourself over. Someone died. There's always an investigation, and everything is considered evidence at first."
Again my mysterious rescuer seems to be intimately familiar with what the police were doing. I must've given Harvey an odd look. He raised an eyebrow in response. I suddenly felt a wave of forgetfulness wash over me, but I got my defenses up just in time and fought it off. Harvey the mop-head's eyes went wide.
"Excuse me for a moment, would you?" The doctor asked. "I've got to go check on a few other patients." She never even glanced at Keaton as she left.
"Well, you're quite the surprise." Keaton said the minute the door closed behind her.
"I guess I could say the same about you." I said. "Your being at the scene of my accident was no coincidence, was it?"
"No, I was trying to catch up to the car that hit you. The driver had been sent off on a task by someone and I was concerned that it would end in someone's death. I was surprised to find that one who died was the agent I was following."
"There are some big unknowns in what you are telling me. Can you make it a little clearer for me?"
"Not today. Not here. I'll see you again after you get settled in. Do you recognize that there are bad guys and good guys in the world?"
"Well I'm one of the good guys. I think you will be too, down the road, but all I can ask is that you trust me just the tiny little bit required to let this all slide for now, okay?"
"Alright." I answered.
"I usually do a nifty little disappearing trick about now, but that probably wont work with you, will it."
"No, but I"ll pretend it did if it makes you feel better."
I got a grin in return and Harvey Keaton walked out the door without another word or glance.
I slept through the night. At least as far as the nurses and doctors were concerned. In actuality I pulled my mind into a little corner of the Dream World and pored over Sarina Kelvin's memories. I hadn't gotten to them in time to get a good feel for her mind, only the memories, but they spoke volumes. No boyfriend, no friends, incredibly focused on her craft and her career. Especially since the death of her parents five years earlier. I delved into the memories of my education and training. I was an expert at art preservation and restoration. I protected expensive and ancient art objects from damage due to wear and tear, weather, age, anything that can cause damage. To a lesser degree, I worked to repair damage to the same.
I met Jack Pelham for the first time after breakfast. I was officially discharged into his care. I had to hold my hands out for him to show him they were steady.
"They said the big knot on the back of your head had them worried for a while." He told me on the way out.
"Yeah, I guess I was a bit goofy for a while right after the accident and wasn't talking. Then last night there was a momentary panic because they thought I had amnesia."
"But your okay?"
"Yeah." I said with a laugh. "They asked me for my home address, and I couldn't give it to them." He laughed along with me then.
"Because I hadn't given it to you yet."
"Exactly. I explained that to the doctor and everyone was happier after that."
The car we climbed into was interesting, as was the chauffeur who drove it. Based on what I'd observed so far in the hospital and here outside it, Terana was firmly stuck in the 1950's technologically. The chauffeur finally confirmed for me that the fashions were as well.
.... There is more of this story ...