Not satisfied, Gigi also walks forward and puts her arms around Abigail, asking, “So, AB is the main person on Juniper pointing others to God, right? Well,” she leans her forehead against Abbie’s and whispers, “Where’s AB right now?”
Abbie whispers back, “Not here.”
Ent copies the act. “Where’s your replacement, for that matter?”
“I guess she’s not here either.”
Gigi then asks, “Who’s been the host for what belongs to AB? Who’s been the teacher and guide on the most important location in the entire System for the past several minutes…and who was the FIRST one of our family given the face of Grace? Heh heh”
“Well,” Abbie says, “I might have been the first in our family, but I’m sure there were others before me.”
“Where are they?” Elfie asks.
“Alright, alright, I get it.” She hugs them and cries. After a few minutes, however, she looks at Doug and says, “I didn’t just tell them so they’d hear a story of how I was replaced and my reason for even being created given to someone else. I told them the story of a girl whose very birth was only the knee-jerk reaction of making a second-place fill-in for someone else’s failure…and even with all the hard work she put in over the years, doing everything that was asked of her and more, in every way thoroughly exceling the expectations of everyone…her hand-me-down reason for existing was ripped from her fingers and given to her children, with her never doing anything wrong to lose that. Doug, I think maybe you should look into those changes made to the schedule today. As I recall the very first name you said was aggressively scratched off from the Juniper visit, I think it’s possible the lesson of forgiveness and grace wasn’t for the kids, but for the one who may feel just as overshadowed by her replacements as Cici often is by Keb and Miss.”
These words shake everyone to the core, causing Doug to give his sister a hug, apologizing for the abrupt exit, but assuring her he’s only doing so to take heed to her advice. Since it was her idea, she tells him, “Stop apologizing and do what I said, silly.” The others give a quick hug and rush back to Dogwood, having finished their field trip, as awkward of an end as it is right now.
“Is there a final exam?” Owan asks.
“You’re so immature, Owan!” Faye roars at him.
“You all pass,” Doug says in distracted desperation.
“Woo, yeah!” Faye says, dancing giddily.
Doug paces the lunchroom floor, verbalizing all the clues from today, “Heavy emphasis on female characters, mainly those that would’ve been a part of Duplica’s adventure. We have blatant removals of Keb and sibling stuff and that ‘sarcastic warning’ about the Viewfinder. And then, we have an all-female army attacking the Dolphin church. That’s just wrong! And the crowning achievement is not wanting anything to do with the two System Guards Elfie and Golmer. They also had no interest in Ti Chi’s story, but had us scheduled to hear what’s been rehearsed dozens of times and might have not had the same impact without the unscheduled addition of Ina. In fact, let’s back up a second. In any other situation, I’d head right for what is covered up, and yet I went along with one vital change to the attendance out of a lack of interest, which has been the driving offense in all of this, a lack of interest, a forgotten character.” With all this in mind, Doug speaks into his wrist computer. “Show me an image of the XI System Guard Elfie.”
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