Posted by Douglas, Nov 24, 2008. 2087 views. ID = 2046
This post was written in 61 minutes.
|Thanks to Sylvan Sylph for coming up with the word "fading" to describe what happens when a Kindle stops manifesting.|
Three more chapters after this one, I think.
|This post has been awarded 20 stars by 4 readers.|
|This post is Part 13 of a writing series titled Kindle.|
Two days! That's what Herald had predicted, and those two words seemed to insinuate themselves into the rhythm of Pyre's life. The beating of his heart, the clatter of trains down the railroad tracks, the rumble of cars across segmented pavement - even the peculiar iambic speech of the old homeless man - they all seemed to be saying, "Two days, two days, two days."
Two days of bliss. Two days of terror. Two days of awakening senses that left Pyre haunted and hungry for more. Two days of wanting to hide from Becca, to stay away from her. Two days of discovering firsthand the meaning of the words "will power," and finding that it was not as easy as he had always supposed. Two nights of dreams that were now his own
dreams - nightmares of being cast out of the celestial home of the Pierides, left to walk the mortal roads of life alone.
But even more terrifying than Herald's "two days" prediction, was that one shocking, perplexing question, "Are you falling in love, Pyre?"
Pyre had spent enough time among humans in his career as an Emissary of the Pierides to recognize all the signs of romantic love in Becca. He knew how she felt about about him. He looked into her eyes and saw that she would follow him to the ends of the earth, and beyond. It had happened so fast it seemed unbelievable, but he had observed human interaction long enough to know that such things were possible. Love at first sight
, the humans call it. He didn't understand what he had done to inspire those feelings, but he knew they were there.
What he didn't
know, what he couldn't possibly know, was how he felt about her. How odd
, he thought, that I can understand her better than I understand myself.
Pyre had no frame of reference to understand his feelings; everything was so fresh, so new, so completely incomprehensible. What had Herald said? "Maybe it's just the smell of olive oil making you giddy?" Well, maybe it was. Maybe Pyre was simply intoxicated by the sights and smells and sounds that were all so new to him. Maybe the turmoil of his thoughts, the speeding of his heart, and the tingling of his flesh - maybe these were all just reactions to a world that was brand new every morning.
Maybe this was how newborn babies felt during the first week of human life. Maybe.
Back at his motel, the evening of the first day, Pyre spent a half an hour standing in front of the bathroom mirror, studying his face, looking for any of those telltale signs of infatuation that he could so readily find in others. But his own face was an unreadable mask to him.
On the second of Herald's predicted two days, Pyre planned to spend the entire day locked away in his room without manifesting even once. Perhaps that would slow - maybe even halt - this process of becoming
But Becca had other plans. She wanted Pyre to meet her widowed mother. Pyre was no fool; he understood exactly what that meant, when a grown woman wanted to take someone home to meet the parents.
He wanted to say no. He tried to say no. He thought of a hundred and one excuses why he couldn't.
And in the end, he went.
That night, as always, he walked past the group of homeless men gathered around the 55 gallon drum. It was a cold night, and the men were huddled close together, even pushing one another from time to time, trying to warm their hands over the fire. There, on the far side, stood the chattering old poet staring right at him. Pyre sighed, faded, and kept walking.
The old man cried out, with a triumphant glee, "My friends, you all know me, that I would not lie - for there is my friend, the invisible guy!"
Pyre continued walking, until one of the other men spoke up, and his words rooted Pyre in place. "You crazy old coot, what are you talking about? If that guy's invisible, how come I can see him?"
Both startled and horrified, Pyre turned to look at the group, and found every eye fixed on him. He blinked, stared, then did something he had never before had to do - he concentrated
on fading. Their eyes never wavered from the spot where he stood. Uneasily, uncertainly, he waved at the group. They looked at him like he was an idiot - a well dressed, white-collar guy, trying to be friendly to a group of down-on-their luck bums. A couple of them waved back. The rest just laughed. It was not a pleasant sound.
He turned and fled, running all the way back to the motel without stopping for anything. "Two days," Herald had said. "Two days!" And Herald knew. Herald always knew.
Locked away in his room, he sat on the edge of his bed and panted, gasping for breath after his long run. He touched his face, his hands, his legs, as if he might feel
the difference of being human. His fingers trembled, and his eyes watered. Never before in his long life had he ever felt so fearful, and so desperately alone. But even in the midst of that fear and loneliness, there was an excitement, the knowledge of an adventure waiting to begin, and the certainty of what needed to happen next.
The morning of the third day, on his way to meet Becca, Duncan stopped at a jewelry store and bought a ring.Copyright 2008 Douglas. All rights reserved. FifteenMinutesOfFiction.com has been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work. For permission to reprint this item, please contact the author.
|This post has been awarded 20 stars by 4 readers.|
|This post is Part 13 of a writing series titled Kindle. The next part of this series can be found here: Time Flies.|
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