After

TRIGGER warning  – child sexual abuse, trafficking, cult abuse.

This is out of context unless the blog has been read in a chronological order.

Guinevere, 5 years old:

”If someone asks whether you belong to The Society or The Family, you say The Family”, Eric’s mother instructs me.

”What is The Family?” I ask. We’re standing outside doors leading to a room which seems like a huge ballroom to me. It’s an elegant hall with parquet flooring and empty of furniture except for a table full of drinks. I’m wearing a very pretty lace dress that once belonged to Victoria, but I didn’t get to wear panties underneath and I don’t like that. Camilla, Lucio, Victoria and I stand still behind the double doors. We’re waiting for someone to announce our entrance. Eric is quiet beside me, his face collected and distant. He’s shut the door to all emotions – I’d better do the same.

”The Family? We’ll tell you when you’re older.” Oh, I hate that answer, but today I accept it. Today, I will behave. I’ll have to endure the things I hate most – nudity and touching – or some bad people will do to me what they did to the person who got killed. One of Eric’s Selves is here and he’ll have to obey too. I repeat the rules in my head: No biting, no hitting, no kicking, no strangling, no spitting, no chasing with knives or shards of glass, no peeing on others and especially no pooping. No screaming. Giselle will help me with that. No threatening to curse people. I sigh. I look at Eric and my heart breaks. I can do it if he can.

”You need to use the bathroom?” Eric’s mother questions and I nod. I don’t need to, but I better go all the same so I don’t pee myself from fear.

A man announces Eric’s family with the names of their bloodlines. I wait outside the door. I’m to enter by myself, since I’m of my father’s bloodline too. It’s his last name they say first and then my mother’s last name. Everyone looks at me when I walk in. I’ve been told my Grandfather was a madman, a genius and an eccentric. He died before I was born so I never got to know him. A fearless man. They want to know if I am like him and being like him is a mortal danger. I try to smile at the assembly but I feel my knees shaking. I hurry over to Eric’s family. I signal to Eric I need to go pee again and in the bathroom I cry and cry. When I walk out I’m calm again. Some man asks how I’m doing and Camilla answers:

”She’s just nervous.” The man offers me something to drink and I say ’thank you’, swallowing it all at once. It doesn’t taste good, but in a while I feel more relaxed. Actually, I feel like dancing. Why is there no music? Eric’s mother laughs.

”This is just a meeting, to mingle and show you off. Show how obedient you are!” She raises an eyebrow at me. In response I gaze at the windows. It’s starting to rain. I could be a bird. I could be flying across the sky, dodging the raindrops. Suddenly I hear Harry’s voice in my head:

”You will be free.” Whenever did he say that to me? 

”Can I run around a little?” I beg of Eric’s mother. 

”Yes, but it’s important you stay in this room or the one adjacent”, she instructs me. ”Eric, please, keep an eye on her.” Eric nods. I start dashing around, twirling to a music only I can hear. Lucio joins me and we’re laughing, dancing and skipping through the rooms. Eric follows us but he is not enjoying himself, he appears worried. I do not remember why I felt afraid before. Oh, the nudity. I can do that! It’s nothing!

”So this is the little saint”, an old man leers. ”And the martyr who won’t touch children!”

”It’s all lies”, Eric retorts.

”Ha! I heard it from a trustworthy source”, the man counters. ”I don’t believe you’re one of us unless you prove it.”

”Look at us”, Eric says. ”Is she a saint? Am I a martyr?” When he touches me I keep still. He told me before we came here this is like a theatre. Today we need to do what they ask of us, or they’ll murder us. If I don’t kill myself first, he muttered. I can’t stand anyone but Eric touching me. But he can’t stand himself touching me. His arms are filled with scars. The man is angered by our show.

”I’ve been fooled, misled! Damn your father!” He shouts, spit flying through the air. My father? What has my father done?

”He said you were a saint! The greedy bastard! He’s never getting any of my money!” With that, the man stalks off.

Camilla, Lucio and Victoria disappear one by one. Strange people lead them away. I cling to Eric’s arm, but then a man gestures at Eric to follow him. Eric leaves me by the side of his mother, walks over to the table and downs several drinks in a row. Then he follows the man. Even in my hazy state of happy dancing, I feel something is wrong. What’s going on?

”She’s not trained.” Eric’s mother is conversing with a woman standing next to her.

”At her age? Why not, for heaven’s sake?”

”She’s been difficult. Also, her mother is a Normal.”

”I thought she was of the family *********?”

”She is, but her mother is an outcast. She’s being trained by the rest of us but she’s not easy.”

”I want her.”

”Only if I’ll go with you – believe me, you do not want to deal with this one alone.”

I don’t want to remember the details, I only know I behave as well as I can. When you can not keep yourself together, all you have to do is obey. Don’t think, just obey. Next customer is a man. He insists on having me alone and asleep – I have to drink something before he carries me away. In the car on our way home, I’ve got blue marks from fingers on my neck. Eric is staring at me and crying. 

”I’m reporting him!” Eric’s mother is upset. ”She could have died. And she didn’t even cause him trouble! She was asleep! There is nothing she could have done to offend him!” 

The Family is an organization of accredited magical bloodlines within The Society. For a bloodline to be recognized as magical, it needs to be incestuos and have several individuals with dissociative identity disorder. That’s not enough, though. The bloodline needs to have its own legacy of using dissociation in a ’magical’ way – a legacy of creating several ’Selves’, techniques for using those Selves to keep secrets, going on Spirit journeys or other psychic abilities. This may sound like utter lunacy, but The Family is older than science. Its beliefs stem from a time when psychiatry wasn’t invented. If this was a novel, we’d learn more of The Family with every chapter. Sadly, this is all I was ever told. I was born into this cult and I never even learned its origins. Maybe no one is meant to know? Harry explained it like this:

”Members of The Society are slaves and prostitutes, but we’re The Family. We’re high-class slave-prostitutes. Let’s drink to that! I’ll never be free in this life. If you ever see your chance – run!” 

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