Part 6 and final. Start with "Coming Out Fighting" below and read upward.

I got my first real bout of stage fright that evening. I was trying out a new song in a style I’d never done before. There was no wall of power, at least not for the first bit, only a single triangle jingling out a haunting melody.

The morning after,
The tears and laughter,
There’s nothing left of the life that I knew.

Aggie was gone. I knew that because I shot her. She’d had a gun pointed at Jenna and had already shot Luka. Her hatred of the Garridans had driven her to kill children.

The morning after,
It spirals faster,
I’ve lived a lie but I know now what’s true.

Luka was treated and released at emergency. Her organs weren’t in the same place as a human’s, which saved her life. But it triggered something else; she fell into a coma just after we got home. Jenna said that was normal, and we took her at her word.

The morning after,
Start a new chapter,
The morning after my life without you.

Trevor held me once the girls were safely in bed. I felt so alone, so hopeless and lonely, but he stayed with me. What happened next... maybe it was tension sex, or rebound sex, or any of those words we make up to hide ordinary human passion. All I can say for sure is I moved first and he assented to my desire.

My life has changed and I can’t see where it’s going;
The change is fast and it shows no sign of slowing;
I’m rushing blind
Into the depths of time
I’m terrified ‘cause I’ve got no way of knowing.

In the morning Trevor and I talked it out. He isn’t the girl of my dreams, he never can be. But he’s a friend, and he’ll stay with me as long as I want him. He even offered to pretend to be a girl in the bedroom if I’d show him how. It sounds weird, but it’s the best offer I’ve had in a long time.

The day is new and it’s bright and unforgiving;
My only hope is to just go on with living;
The rain will fall
It does that after all
And I’ll be fine if I only keep on giving.

Jenna says her sister is going through pupation, turning into a proper human. It’s sort of an alien puberty. The injury triggered it prematurely, but before long the others will do it too. I’m not supposed to worry, just keep her warm and wash her down with water a couple of times a day.

The morning after,
I am its master,
I can decide everything that I do.

The Garridans have been driven off and the human race is rebuilding. I’d love to say we’re doing it right this time, but old hatreds are already resurfacing. Someday we’ll go out there and exact justice; maybe we’ll even find out why they attacked in the first place.

Time will tell.