“I count as a success, then?” I asked.

“You’re as close as I could get.”


“Did you ever love me?” I asked. God, it hurt, because I knew the answer. “Or was I just a means to an end?”

“People define love in their own ways,” Mother said. “Some people say love is about duty. Or loyalty. You owe me your very life. The way our relationship has progressed is completely your choice.”

“No, you made all my choices for me.” Either through manipulation or emotional blackmail.

“Have you considered I have motives?”

The pull of the power she had over me was the only thing keeping me in my seat. I decided then and there, no matter how many hours or minutes I had left on earth, that she wasn’t going to dictate one more second.

“Your motives are the least of it. I don’t know one true thing about you, and I don’t want to.”


“You’re wrong about that,” Teague said to Hallie. “I think there’s plenty you want to know about me. About you.”

Seconds ago, sadness had hung off Hallie’s frame like an empty husk. Now it disappeared and was replaced by determination.

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“No, there isn’t.” Hallie squeezed my hand. “I’m done talking. As of right now.”

She leaned back in her seat and imitated zipping her lips and throwing away the key. It was fiendishly immature, and just the right choice to piss Teague off.

Teague stood and turned her back on Hallie.

I had tried to check out emotionally and play the part of the cool observer, but right now I wanted to get ugly. Anger would’ve satisfied me on a primal level, but I chose a more balanced playing field. My weapon would be intelligence rather than emotion. I spoke up. “Tell me your motives.”

When Teague turned around, I realized how much she and her daughter resembled each other. Remarkably so. I knew how beautiful Hallie would be twenty years from now. My job was to figure out how to get her there.

“I don’t think so. You aren’t part of this,” Teague demurred. “I know your weaknesses, Dune. I know you can smell the water from here, and that it calls to you. I even know what it says.”

I felt Hallie tense beside me, but thankfully she was stubborn enough to stay silent. I stood and stepped forward, completely disrespecting Teague’s personal space. “I don’t need a translator. Tell me, Teague, what is your goal? Power? Or is it just the idea of conquering time?”

“I don’t need to share my intentions with you.” Teague looked from me to Hallie. “I’m here to talk to my daughter.”

“She doesn’t want to talk to you. I’m the only reason she’s still sitting here, so if there’s something you want her to know, I’m the messenger.”

Teague’s eyes were a deeper hazel, but she and her daughter shared the same slender build and tall frame. Their dark hair shone like silk in the sunlight, and they had perfect bee-stung lips. But where Hallie’s face was still soft, Teague’s was nothing but hard angles. Less in her appearance, more in her countenance. Other than that, they were alike.

Exactly alike.

The truth sneaked in and blindsided me. I took a step back, staring at Teague. “Do you have the transmutation gene?”

Teague offered a bemused smile in response. “You and Hallie haven’t discussed my ability?”

“She told me you’re a human clock. You always know what time it is, down to the second without looking. Half metronome, half party trick.” Hallie had also told me Teague didn’t use it very much. “If you were around someone like that every day, it would get old pretty fast. It might be amusing to a child, but eventually the novelty would wear off. They’d stop asking for demonstrations. You could stop faking it.”

The deep lines around her mouth told me I was on the right track.

“Instead of digging up specimens with the Infinityglass gene,” I asked, “why didn’t you just use your own?”

“Use my own? That’s a ridiculous assumption.” Teague crossed her arms over her chest. “I—”

“You couldn’t take the chance that having a child naturally would create someone like you. You had to make sure the specific gene was isolated. You needed exact proof.”

She leaned down to pick up her purse. “When my daughter is ready to talk to me, let me know.”

I stepped in front of her. “How long did it take before you considered cloning?”

“Cloning?” Hallie stood, too, giving up her vow of silence.

I got out of the way and let Hallie take over.

“Is he right?”

“Not cloning. You’re genetically engineered.” Teague sounded bored. “It’s not a quick explanation.”

Hallie took a step back. “You’re an Infinityglass, too.”

“I’m not.” Teague tilted her chin defiantly.

“She’s telling the truth,” I confirmed, staring Teague down. “Because she never activated, either because she didn’t want to or she didn’t know how. Or both.”

Hallie’s eyes burned with the truth. “How much of Dad’s ‘protection’ was really you? Did you feed his paranoia to make it easier to keep me under your thumb? How much did he know?”

Teague didn’t answer. She wasn’t even looking at us. She was staring at a rip.

It spread across the park like an extended movie screen, the edges undulating in the breeze.

Except the air around us was still.

It expanded into a rip world bustling with industry. Buildings under construction. Workmen busy at their tasks. Shiny metal signs hung everywhere, displaying the words WORLD COTTON CENTENNIAL, 1884.

“It’s the world’s fair,” Teague murmured.

“It’s a rip world. Your first one?” Hallie asked. Her mom didn’t acknowledge the question. “They get better. See the people in the present disappearing? It’s because the past takes over.”

Teague watched as the rip expanded again, and another building came into view. Electric lights hung everywhere, the name Edison prominent on all the accompanying equipment.

My chest felt like a semi had parked on it. Hallie and I’d talked about the next rip she’d encounter, and what the last one had done to her. What would this one do?

Hallie stood, her back to the rip. “You know how I feel about Jackson Square after what happened. I won’t go there on a good day. There’s no way in hell I’d go past the place where Benny bled to death now.”

Teague’s head jerked up and she focused on Hallie’s face. “Why?”

“The rips come from the past, and they possess me. I troll around in their memories, and they live inside my skin. That’s what being the Infinityglass means. Thank you so very much.”

The rip world grew wider, taking over another section of land. A building made of glass appeared in the distance.

Hallie’s focus shifted to something behind us, her eyes following it in a circle. Horses on a track. “You can blame yourself for this, Mother.”

“I didn’t start it,” Teague said. “Jack Landers is the one who broke the rules.”

“You perpetuated it. You threw in with him,” Hallie argued. “You let him look for the Infinityglass, and the whole time you knew it was me.”

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