Katherine is seated in her favorite chair, knitting a scarf for her daughter. The radio is tuned to Painted Dreams, a popular radio soap opera. She chuckles at a one-liner by one of the main characters as Lillian walks in.
She takes a seat on the couch nearest Katherine, watching her knit. The two sit for a few moments until the show is over.
“Is there something you need?” Katherine asks, not looking up from her work. Lillian slides down to the floor on her knees and moves to Katherine’s side.
“Lillian, what are you doing?” She asks, leaning away.
Lillian grabs Katherine’s hands before she can pull away, and then utters words in a strange language. Katherine gasps and freezes for a few moments, and then looks down at Lillian.
“Have I been summoned?” a softer voice replaces Katherine’s clipped tone.
“It worked…” Lillian whispers, looking up at her.
“Why have you summoned me, Sister?”
Katherine tilts her head, and examines the face kneeling before her.
“It’s—it’s Ku—erm, Paolo. Do you remember?” Lillian holds Katherine’s hands to her face, letting their warmth sink into her skin. Katherine closes her eyes.
“Paolo…I haven’t heard that name in some time.”
“Please remember. I have returned to you, mia colomba.”
Katherine creases her brows, leaning forward. She slowly shakes her head. Lillian then sits back on her heels.
“I shall tell you a story, then. One of ill-fated lovers.”
Over the next hour, Lillian recounts the past of a married woman who fell for another man who was not exactly as he seemed. And when he finally confessed his true nature, she killed him and herself in the process. Abandoning her family, Abandoning their love. When she finished telling the story, Katherine’s eyes were wide.
“Paolo? My Paolo? I— I thought I’d lost you forever!” She sank to the floor to embrace the new form before her. She caressed Lillian’s hair, her lips, her cheeks. She lifted her hands and kissed them over and over again.
“This story is true? I would never! I would nev— Before I could— I wasn’t able to— and then I—I—“ the tears streamed down her face as she stammered to explain, and Lillian reached up to wipe them away.
“It’s all right, my love. I know. I know now. You did nothing wrong. You were merely a pawn in a twisted game.”
She pulled Katherine close, lifted her chin and kissed her.
“We will never be apart again. I promise you.”
Lillian woke with a start from her bed. She was sweating and breathing heavily. It was that damned dream again. No—a memory. Why that one in particular? She pulled the covers back, her body still immensely sore and bruised from the beating she had taken only two days before. At least her bones were back in place.
She got out of the bed and walked slowly to the bathroom to rinse her face. Flashes of her time with Katherine rushed her brain. When she and Amali first reunited, it was sweet. Lillian told her of the many ways she tried to find her over the past centuries, and Amali regaled her with the tales of her ascendance. Lillian was shocked at her rise to godhood; no human had ever been given the honor of becoming a deity themselves. Amali revealed to her that she had been chosen by the Supreme Goddess at birth; another first for the heavenly realm. How times had changed over the millennia.
But once she began talking to Amali of her desire to return to the realm of the gods —by force— things began to change. Lillian drifted into another memory…of Amali’s eventual rejection:
“You said you would accept me as I am, Amali.”
“I have, but what you want will only anger the gods. Why not just let me converse with them when I return?”
“Because that would be a waste of time! No simple demigod could possibly make them change their minds, no matter how ‘chosen’ you are.”
“Your words have bite, Paolo.”
Lillian sighed, taking Amali’s hands into her own.
“I don’t mean to anger you, my sweet. But trust me. I have known their kind for much longer than you. They will not be moved.”
“But were they not moved enough to place me in my position? Perhaps there’s a chance—“
“There is no chance! There is only certainty. And with your cooperation– and your power–I will most certainly be able to return and make things right.”
Amali pulled away.
“You’re starting to frighten me.”
“Why would you be frightened of me?” Lillian asked, her face crestfallen. “I only seek to ensure that we can be together forever.”
“But can’t we do that? Right now?” Amali gestured to the bedroom they were standing in. “We are both here. We can enjoy each other’s company until—“
“Until when, Amali? Until our vessels cease to function? And then what? We drift apart yet again until someone more powerful than us deems it suitable for us to be together? We are not humans; do not try and turn us into the limited fables your once mortal soul grew up with. The gods have done that enough already. We do not have to be doomed to these limitations. We can be…no, we are more than that.”
Amali searched Lillian’s eyes for a few seconds, and then took a step back.
“You’ve sounded less and less like Paolo with each passing day,” she said quietly.
Lillian exhaled sharply, placing a finger to her temple.
“It has been a long time. Even gods can change.”
“No,” Amali said, shaking her head. “I believe it’s more than that. I believe this is your true nature. Paolo would never speak like this. Paolo—”
“Paolo is dead, Amali. He died. With you.”
Amali stood still as a statue, then with a shudder, quickly dropped to her knees. Lillian rushed to her side, ready to apologize, but when she looked into her eyes, she only saw Katherine. Amali had withdrawn.
“Is…is everything all right, Lillian? You look concerned,” Katherine said as Lillian helped her to her feet.
“I should be asking you that, Katherine. How do you feel?”
“Well I…” Katherine gasped and put a hand to her mouth. She looked up at Lillian as tears flooded her eyes. Lillian sighed, and pulled Katherine close as she sobbed into her shoulder.