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Jesse had been told to stay away from the holo-screens, had been told to just stay in the room they’d prepared for him, to stay away from the prying eyes, stay safe, but he just couldn’t help himself. He had to know. He had to know what was going on. No one would tell him anything, and Jesse wasn’t a fool. He knew what that meant.

Even so, he wished he hadn’t, was still able to believe that his parents were at home, waiting for him, that the time he pulled away from his mother’s kiss, complaining that she was embarrassing him, wasn’t the last time he’d ever see her.

It was horrible, it was terrible, it was barbaric, and he couldn’t help but watch, unable to tear his eyes away, as the vid feed showed the earthquakes, people panicking, already partially see-through, being ripped from this reality bit by painful bit.

He’d always known that the fae were different, that they didn’t think like humans did, but until this day, he’d never realized that they were such utter monsters. His parents were somewhere out there, dying, doing something worse than dying, and he was here, in Cascadia, alive by some cruel twist of fate.

Why couldn’t it have been him? He didn’t know what to do without them, had never conceived of a reality where his parents wouldn’t be with him. This was his first sleepaway camp, by the spirits, the first time he’d ever been away from them. And now, how was he supposed to go on?

Jesse cried broken, ugly sobs as he clutched the tablet close to him, trembling.