It's so damn hot. Torrid, sweltering, wherever you go you can just feel steam rising off you in waves. You're sticky all the time. I hate it. When I go outside there's just this endless desert and the sun beats down mercilessly, as if it was put there to torture us. A lot of other things seem like that, too. So I can't get comfortable, the days pass by in a haze. I don't know what I'm doing. I wander. It seems like I'm just drifting in nothingness; I go through the motions of life, but what does it mean? Max looks concerned now and then, but it doesn't matter to him. He and his tortured-soul love are basking in mutual eye-gazing romance, now that destiny's gone home so she can't fuck up their relationship any more. She fucked up my life, though - I can't escape my destiny. She's there everywhere I turn, taunting me, bewitching eyes and teasing smile telling me how gullible I am. She invades my mind every second, and I hate the smug sight of her. I can't believe how she could do that to me. I still don't believe it. I panic and think up ridiculous explanations of how it was someone else doing it all. I thought she would never desert me. I scorned Max's stupid one-love with Liz, but I thought Tess was the only one. That we were different... the story of every love affair from the beginning of time. Pathetic. I dreamed of her at nights, lighting up the dark. I lived for a glimpse of her smile. I want to rip that smile off her face, tear out the beautiful blonde hair strand by strand, rake my nails down her pale skin and watch the blood ooze out and hear her scream. Most of all I want to touch her.

I want to escape from this, lose myself. Where the hell do I go? I'm trapped in this shithole town with nothing to do. I would like to go and drown myself in drink, fuck some random stranger, but I almost know every man - and every woman - in Roswell. Screams echo through my head of agony and frustration, I can't let them out. Maybe if I drove out one day into the desert, opened my mouth and screamed my pain to the universe. But if I did I feel like everything in me would escape. Every molecule of breath and soul and life rush out so I'd just be an empty shell and they'd find me there a dry husk in the morning. Maybe that wouldn't be such a bad idea. And I would float up in atoms of gas, over the endless black void, out towards Antar and reach my princess. Why is she there in everything?

Once she told me that we'd loved before. In soft whispers, stroking me. She said Vilandra and Ava were passionately in love, told me that history always repeats itself and Vilandra could never have resisted Ava. I screamed at her then, ranted. I'm not fucking Vilandra... I do what I want to do! Whatever Vilandra and Ava did a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away has nothing whatsoever to do with me. I'd never do what she did. She smiled and kissed me, called me Isabel, and I succumbed. But I wasn't the betrayer, she was the betrayer. All that time she lay in my arms she was plotting. She turned against me! She told me she loved me, and she killed my boyfriend and stole my brother's child and left me for another world.

We were the same, we were mirrors in a foursquare. I felt electricity the very first time we met, when I glimpsed her that one day at school, so far away from what we would become. Hard to believe that that new schoolgirl was my great love and ruler of a planet and supreme betrayer. But still I felt sparks, blue sparks perhaps, leaping between us. My hybrid blood crying out to hers. She was the only one who could understand me, we were born to love each other. I lived for her. I would have died for her. I killed for her. I saved her life. She left me and hurt me and never said goodbye, I'll never see her again! I would have gone with her, I loved her so, if she'd wanted me. I can't bear that I'll never touch her treacherous skin again, kiss her treacherous mouth, gaze into her treacherous eyes. I don't know if I can get through the next minute without her. The thought of my life fills me with horror and reduces me inside to a gibbering wreck. Help me, Tess. Come back to me.

I can't think. I need to get out of here, and almost without knowing but still with perfect clarity I dig out, from where I stored it all those aeons ago, the red sating, and I take out my picture of her. I wanted to burn it but I saw the licking flames and I saw her eyes watching me and I knew I couldn't. I put it in my drawer, and I could feel her mocking eyes boring into me through layers of wood. I see her face and a fire surges up in me and I feel like I'm dying, truly I can feel it clenching at my heart and squeezing my throat. I can't live. I can't live. I run outside and drive mindless, the night surrounding me thick like honey. Even still I am trapped, shut in by the dense air. My hands lead me of my own accord to that place. Where we emerged, where we stood and dreamed, where she took off and escaped this planet. Pain, I've never felt pain like this. I don't know what I'm doing. I stand in the middle of the bleak, bleak desert and the dry sand stretches out around me forever. My clothes are constricting me. I slip every bit of them off and they fall to the ground, forgotten. I stand naked in the dark, feel the heat of the night air against my skin, and raise my face to the stars, loneliness welling in me. The universe stretches out into infinity. I look up into that boundless sky, and wonder in despair which tiny firefly of light she's circling.

The dress lies in a dark formless mass on the sand. I pick it up and I draw it over my head, feel its coolness on my flesh. It is alive, I walk a circle in it and it faintly rustles. For once I feel like a princess in this, a broken-hearted princess. I remember how I cradled her in my arms, protected her from evil. The cloth seems to have her essence in it. Smooth and red, passion, blood, roses. She bled that day, I stroked the wounds and licked off the blood, tasted the metallic tang going to my head. Ecstasy, wonder. I was in her, I loved her completely. I'm holding her picture and looking into her evil eyes. I can't see anything but her. Blind, I appeal to the stars and stroking her face I fall into that void. Suddenly I'm floating, I'm nowhere, I'm everywhere, I'm dust. Then my breath is sucked away and I'm flying on a dizzy wind, flashes of colour and dazzling light whipping past my eyes. When I land I'm huddled, frantically drawing in air, and I thin for a moment that I'm still in the same place; but it's day now, and the light that relentlessly beats me is redder than our sun, and hotter. The dunes are higher and the mountains craggier. Fear thrills me, because I know where I am, and why, and I try a futile attempt to treat it with contempt and mockery. Even the dreams here are the same. Classic anxiety dream, but the scorn won't take a place in me. Sorrow and pity and hate. I see her, walking among swirling sands, my heart stabs. Tears deep within my chest, it rips and bleeds. Unthinking I walk unseeing towards her, unhearing I see her swathed in soft green unfeeling I clench the air hard in my hands, and I am nothing.

She stands there before me, hair floating down past her face and eyes entrancing.

"Isabel?" she whispers, and I hate the way her voice creeps through my veins and turns my knees to water and stills my tongue. She takes me in her arms and I take her, I feel her lips on mine and the heat of every place her body is touching mine. A warmth spreads through me as unstoppable as night. She rests her head on my shoulder; I breathe her in.

"I knew you'd come," she says softly and with love, and bile rises up in me, black and murky tendrils entwining round my beating heart. Violently I break away and push her off.

"How dare you say that?" I say crazed with rage. "How dare you touch me?" I stand apart and grow wilder. "You have no right to speak to me, or look at me, you... *bitch*... you killed my fucking boyfriend! You betrayed me... us..." she's standing there looking so piteous and I have to stop because I can't find the words.

She says my name, pleading. "Isabel... I love you, Isabel..." Such simple words and they produce such incandescent fury.

"Don't you fucking tell me that! You don't love me, you never loved me, you lied to me all that time! I don't know what passes for love in your warped, twisted, sick mind, but in *my* world, anybody who could do... that... to someone doesn't love them one bit." My voice has grown thick with heavy, bitter sarcasm and she's been flinching at my insults. She looks so lost and small.

"I had to..." she begins.

"Bullshit. Nobody 'has' to. You can choose your own life, you can *always* choose. You could have done whatever you wanted to." A little of the old fire comes back into her voice.

"Why can't you people get that we're ruled by destiny? You can't just do whatever you want, you gotta follow the path laid out for you... look at Max, after all his protests, he ended up with me..."

"And you stole his fucking child!" She carries on regardless.

"...and you and me, we were drawn together... my Vilandra." She looks into my eyes and my voice is hard and dangerous.

"Don't you dare call me Vilandra." She's silent. "I'm not the traitor among us, I'm not the one who betrayed and fucked everybody else's lives up. Do you even have the tiniest idea what you've done to us?"

"They needed me," she says, simply.

"We needed you!" I'm shouting, and she snaps.

"You *never* needed me. I was nothing but a burden to you, to all of you, none of you cared whether I lived or died. I know that, so don't tell me you needed me, OK?"

"God, you are seriously deluded! You're so wrapped up in yourself and your pathetic little self-pity that you couldn't notice that I would have done *anything* for you? Well, my stupid mistake." I stop, breathless and not looking at her. I don't want her to know how vulnerable I am. Her voice sounds in my ear, cracking a little.

"Take me back with you, Isabel." She looks so tired, a shadow of her former self: more like the hurt and ruined Ava than my feisty, fiery Tess. My voice replying is cruel, trying not to betray my swirling emotions.

"Oh, what, the life of a space queen isn't good enough for you? Antar's not living up to the hype? Well, how would I know? Because of you, I am *stuck* on fucking Earth forever! I'm never going to *see* my home because I trusted you. God, how stupid was I?" But how could I not have trusted her, beautiful and enticing as she was? How could I have guessed what lay beneath those laughing eyes? She's so miserable there, so alone.

"They took away my baby... my child... they don't want me, they only want the four of us. Isabel... they stole my child... Isabel..." she's crying, I can't, I can't leave her there, I hold her and rest my head on hers, comfort her. She's shaking in my arms. I hold her face in my hands and stroke it, giddy with the joy of touching her again and the wonder. We're kissing, then, her mouth salty and hot against mine. And she takes me off this world and red, red roses, velvet, floating laughing blonde head, stars in the black rush round me. It's passion, this, wilder than the wildest, joy and grief. And anger, oh yes, a haze of red comes in front of me and I push her head down to the ground; she lets out a cry of pain and I kiss her violently. Rage, I bite down on her lip and heady scarlet blood sends my senses crazy. She sobs as I rip the mist covering her and tear her. My nails leave her blood trickling over her skin, and I devour her flesh. She cries out in agony, begs me to stop as I fuck her roughly and savagely in her lonely dreamworld. Was Vilandra like this? I don't know, I don't care, but maybe she was, maybe Tess remembers how her lover used to beat her like a savage and wild beast. I'm sobbing now, too, and as my high-running fury dies down I cry with her and raise her up, cradle her and whisper.

"I'm sorry, Tessa, I'm sorry, I love you, I love you," I repeat over and over again as she weeps tears I caused her to shed. My guilt builds up in my empty chest, feels like it'll explode and I hold her tighter. I can't think. Over an eternity she calms and is quiet, and I talk to her in low tones, raving truth:

"I want to be here with you, tell me how to get here... I don't want to leave... I love you, Tess, you're the only person I've ever needed. Don't leave me again, please," I'm weak, so helpless with her. Only Tess, only Ava. I know I'm talking stupid, impossible dreams and I murmur the depths of my soul to the betrayer. Vilandra rising: truly, I will do anything for her. I'm dying, sliced like a knife is cutting me up piece by piece, torn apart because I have to leave her. It has to be now - I feel a force tugging me. She raises her eyes to me and they implore me. I cling to her, we cling to each other, and I'm nothingness at warp speed again, the sky wind slamming me and then into the hard earth. I look around me and a cry comes up from my heart and wails into the emptiness. Desolation enters me, vast of space and of time and there's nothing there but mind-shattering pain.

I curl up into a foetal ball and the agony engulfs me. I watch the stars, alone.

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