Kasim huffed and paced, but looked at Kaleigha instead of speaking.
“We aren’t human?” Kahrim whispered. His framed sagged so much that he looked deflated.
“No,” Ilma shook her head. “That is why you become as such when you die.”
“What about you?” Kaleigha thought of the word ‘fadian’ again and felt the strange emotions run through her. “You are still human.”
“Yes,” she said carefully. “I am a scientist. The fadian taught me just enough magic to be of use to the experiment.”
“How?” Kaleigha felt increasingly detached from the group in the forest. She saw flashes of other scenes when she closed her eyes. She saw the woman, dressed in the comical medieval garb reclining on a hospital bed. The bed was etched with strange markings and twinkling crystals of many colors hung from the ceiling.
“I was the volunteer,” Ilma said proudly. “You are my creation. My children. Well, my great-great- grandchildren.”
“Where are we?” Kahrim asked, looking up at the empty sky. “In a lab dish? Or in a witch’s looking glass.”
“You are in my mind, Kahrim.” she said gently. “The pretty village was my task. A combination of old and new structures with a small population. It was perfect! The Liberty Fadian was the first to succeed in creating a new thing.”
The siblings were silent, so Ilma continued.
“We had to be sure it was real, so I came in to visit. On the third visit, I could not get back and now I remain.”
“How did you get stuck here?” Kahrim asked, sounding as breathless as Kaleigha felt.