My parents used to travel a bunch.
They never took me.
I don’t know if it was because they were older and didn’t feel they were up to taking care of me when I was little, or they were simply sick of the hassle dragging a child around with them. Whatever it was, we never went farther than Grand Rapids on any kind of regular basis, and all my semi-siblings and their children would come to Key West to visit.
That’s not to say they didn’t travel. They’d go off every few months for a weekend, or maybe a week.
I’d be shipped over to Aiyana’s and we’d have an extended sleepover. It was a blast for me, for us, because Cass had her own room, and we’d stay up late and play and giggle and laugh. Sometimes, before I learned how, she’d read to me. I would try to introduce her to some of the shows and movies I was already starting to get into, but her interest was always just ‘polite’.
Huh? Oh, no, she never got dropped with us. Well, once, but that was for a funeral, a friend of her parents, not family. We did sleepovers, of course; what kids don’t? They were run-of-the-mill sleepovers, though, just a single night.
But her parents, when they did travel, always took Cass with them, along with her brother the snot. That would be Shawn. They never went out of the country; I think I’ve mentioned before why not.
Maybe I haven’t.
See, when they were in college, her folks were involved in all sorts of protests and demonstrations against the Northern Imperium government, and the Daley Dynasty in particular.
I have to back up again.
The Daley Dynasty has ruled the Imperium since its founding in 2040; at times, it’s been a tight grip, and at other times they’ve loosened it. Officially there’s a constitution and freedom of speech is guaranteed, but like most things in the Imperium it all depends on the whim of the Imperial Hand, currently His Benevolence Richard VIII.
One of the things the Imperial Internal Affairs Bureau did, and still does, is monitor the social media of the current crop of young idiots. Zeus love them, social media has to be the best tool for control every created! Who needs spies and espionage when college students are going to put everything on the ‘net? Political leanings? Hello, have you seen them?
Right, so the IAB watches college students in particular. Aiyana’s parents were passionate and vocal about their opposition to the Daleys and Imperial policies. It didn’t get them in trouble, though; not directly. Like I said, Free Speech is officially a thing.
What it did do was put them both on the ‘untrustworthy’ and ‘to be watched’ lists. It also got their travel privileges revoked. Oh, they could get passports, but they were only valid for travel at the sufferance of the Imperium Border Control agents. They learned this fact when they tried to get to the New Confederacy for their honeymoon and were denied permission to exit.
Now, the Imperium’s a pretty big place, being the former states of Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Still limited, though, and not much fun. I mean, sure, Chicago is a neat city, but you can only walk around downtown so many times.
Well, after our little Helloween escapade, life was quiet for a few weeks. The annual Harvest Festival came and went; we didn’t care about the Festival, we just knew we got a half-week off school. Over the weekend, when we all got together for the big supper, my parents said they had an announcement.
Dad pulled some strings and got the travel ban lifted on the Cassidys, and so over the Winter Solstice break, and a bit more, we’d all be going to Florida in the New Confederacy.
Cass and I nearly bounced out of our chairs in our eagerness to hug him, but he held us back. I was afraid for a second he was going to say something like, ‘Not you, Kendra,’ but he just got this big smile on his face.
“We’re going to take you three to DisneyWorld.”
Damn. Shawn too.
“Tammie and Charles are going to get their honeymoon, finally –”
Which meant nothing to me, being six.
“—in Key West.”
“But we live in Key West!”
Cass elbowed me and said, “No, the island! Can we go too?”
Her dad looked down and said, “No, sweetie.”
Cass started to pout and Dad leaned over and whispered to Charles. “Maybe we can do something at the end; we have plenty of time to do everything. We’ll work it out.”
I know nobody else heard it, which surprised me. Even when I was little my peculiar genetic inheritance was evident if you knew what to look for. All I knew is I could hear things others couldn’t, and I definitely heard that and nobody else did.
“Key West is pretty,” Cass said. “But what’s DisneyWorld?”
Yeah, she asked that question.
I’ll tell you more next time.