It was only just beginning to be evening when I got to City Promenade, and every step made my body wobble in a quite distracting fashion as I endeavored to show my new self.
Of course in my current state it was hard to recognize me for me—though anyone that knew me must see the resemblances or the signature of my art.
Nobody knew me that well, really.
Actually, being that this was the city promenade, many didn’t realize I was a real person at all—I was just a walking balloon, which was only mildly unusual.
Of course, once we got to Carnival Square it’d be different.
“You don’t speak Naryan,” he said. “Nor any other language I recognize.”
“You can tell?” I said.
“It’ s my job to notice things,” he said. “Where are you from?”
“I don’t know where it is from here,” I said. “But it is a world called Luna, or Weĉjo—”
“Hessoa is a very old myth,.”
There’s some places that just make you afraid to be in.
The club definitely qualified. My stomach trembled as I sat in the parking lot outside.
The name was not printed on the outside, and the anxieties started there.
Well, of course you could tell from the people going inside that it was obviously the place.
The anxieties continued, of course, with the people going inside.
There’s no way I could go inside, really. This was the point where I generally gave up, turned around, and drove home.
I shut my eyes, and breathed.
There was a knock at the passenger-side window. I opened my eyes and a supremely unattractive older man was there, cigarette in his mouth.
I reached out and locked the door. He got the hint and moved on.
That is not going to be me, I am not going to be that—
I looked at the door of the club again and more absolutely unattainable and mystifying people were going in.
I gave up, turned around, and drove home.
Now, a lot of people don’t know about Cardo. His actions are everywhere, but his presence tends to stay hidden.
He changes things.
Sometimes people notice. Sometimes they don’t.
Little nudges, bigger tweaks, major changes in the making of universes, all to sate his unending urges.
Which, don’t get me wrong, would be just fine, if that was what they wanted. But the systematic rape of world after world—I can’t let that go.
So we’ve been hunting him. A long time.
The part that bothered me most was the dreams.
The dreams weren’t mine.
Now, a lot of the random thoughts that flicker through a sleeping person’s mind are indistinguishable from the white noise to me—those thoughts are off limits, I guess.
But when the sleeping mind puts together something like a narrative—a chain of thoughts, not just scattered ones—those I pick up. Whether I wanted to or not, at least within a certain range, the dreams of a living mind spread out like tentacles, stretching out, latching on, draining into me.
And I felt bad about it, because to the waking mind, those things are personal. Sure, some people share their dreams—but even if they don’t self-censor, they do fail to remember.
It’s weird how coy the sleeping mind is with the waking one when it’s so brazen in its broadcast.
Not to mention, dreams can be some pretty weird stuff.
What do you do on rainy days?
When it was just me, well—there were a lot of games of pool in the student center when there were people, and a lot of sitting outside watching it when there wasn’t anyone.
Today was a day for sitting outside, and I watched students go back and forth, fending off the weather as they rushed between classes.
I sat back, ignoring the groan of the chair under me. Rainy days are sleepy days. I know I slept till evening, when thunder started rolling in as well…
As darkness accumulated I gave up on the rain and went home to sleep.
I woke up in my own house.
So, someone knew where I lived.
So, they’d probably gotten somebody out.
So I hoped.
They’d left me a pot of water, which I was grateful for—I ached all over and didn’t feel like getting up at all.
But I wanted to know what happened. Maybe they were still here?
“Hello!” I called out.
It was the same older maccan from the northern circle that came in from my front room.
“I was, ah, appreciating your art.” The hesitation was clear, even through the magic that made his speed seem slower.
It does seem to have that effect on people. It makes people think.
I hope so, anyway. It’s hard to read emotions at half speed.
Sometimes it gets to be too much, and you just have to take a break.
It’s all right if they see that you have to go out back to collect yourself, to keep yourself from crying.
They say it’s understandable, though they don’t actually understand the reason.
Some people’s fates just can’t be improved, however hard you try.
You know who they are.
And some days they all come in together.
It’s hard to take.
Not crying is actually the easy part—there’s one easy fix, which is to find a target.
Sadness is holding on to pain.
But sadness with a target is anger.
So I took a break, sometimes, to be properly angry. There was a dumpster behind the shelter that had many a dent in it from my bad days.
Usually I made sure there was no one around before taking out my frustration. I thought I had that day, as well, but while I was waling away at the dumpster a soft voice came, saying, “Excuse me, miss?”