The World Beyond Dreams

Chapter 3: The Counsel

On a moments awakening she remembered nothing of fainting in the rain. She was lying in her own bed in her own room. It was evening now and her curtains shut out the pale glow of a growing night sky. She thought she had awoken in the middle of the night as she often did. She felt there was something wrong though. There was a light on outside her room. Her father should already be asleep. She glanced over at her alarm clock. It was only 8:15. Then suddenly she remembered that she had left school feeling ill and had not made it home, but she was home now. She got out of bed hitting the bare floor in her stocking feet. She glanced at herself. She still wore her rumpled, dirty uniform. Her shoes had been placed neatly at the end of her bed. She glanced out her door, and saw her father sitting at the kitchen table, a newspaper in hand. His head was bent over the page, his eyebrows scrunched together over his reading glasses in a serious manner. Her father must have taken her home, but that was impossible. He worked at the bakery on fifth street. Their apartment was stationed close to twenty third. Her father glanced up at her standing in the doorway. "Oh Nico. I thought you were going to sleep all day." he teased. "When I got home you were sleeping like a baby. You must have really been tired to go to sleep in your wet clothes like that." Her breath caught in her throat. He hadn't brought her home. He hadn't noticed the look on her face and continued. "The school called. You shouldn't leave school on your own when your sick." his voice had turned serious. "With your condition, you shouldn't go off like that."

Gabriel waited impatiently beside the large doors. The Counselors sat around two long tables and one shorter table at the head of them both. Torches were lit along the walls that night. The glass dome above them reflected the light, sending it skittering across the walls as the flames flickered. The Counselors had been called late that night, by the High Counselor, Thomas.

Thomas waited until all the members were settled in their seats before he began. He looked each of the counselors in the eye, noting their disgruntled moods at being awoken so late. Then, rising from his seat, he began,"We have talked of this many times before, but I would like to bring before you the fate of the child Nico. I know we made a decision, but Gabriel has brought some news of the child to my attention. She is very ill. Her separation has had this effect on her as we were warned. Gabriel has petitioned to bring her ..."

"This is outrageous!" A tough tall man shouted, pounding his fist on the table. "You would risk this world on.. on some child who should never have been born!" His rage shook him.

"Marcus!" Thomas ordered sternly, "Sit down. I have not finished." Marcus immediately sat down. His anger showed on his face, but he dared not to interrupt again. "The child's health is what I am concerned with right now. If she does not return here soon she may not live." He eyed Marcus cooly. "Please think about this for a moment before you make a decision." The counselor to his right cleared his throat.

"Thomas, I know that this child is not responsible for the actions of her parents, nor does she deserve to die because of our decisions," Sakai spoke choosing his words carefully. "But, we cannot save one life and sacrifice many others in return." The other counselors nodded in agreement. "If we were to bring her here, we would put our world at risk. If Akana got his hands on her.." He shook his head in despair. They would die. He knew it, they all knew it. "Our decision stands." He spoke those words looking at each of his colleagues in turn. They all nodded in agreement. Thomas bowed his head in acceptance of their decision. Gabriel left quickly and quietly to return to his duties. The counselors stood to end the meeting.