Ch 8 ~ Down the Rabbit Hole
For all she knew, the young romantic couple had sat at their table with their cell phones glued to their ears and with their free hands intertwined for quite a while. Possibly close to a half an hour already or more. Emily had lost track of time, not an unreasonable thing for her particularly when she transitions between the future and the present, but she was also fairly sure that losing track of time might be a chronic condition for the young romantic couple as well. She shrugged. Well, perhaps that’s true for most people in the world.
They hadn’t changed their physical positions, the young romantic couple, but plates littered with crumbled nakpins cluttered their small table top. Emily wasn’t at all certain how they had managed to grow another set of hands to use for eating, but somehow it appeared that they had.
“What if we become the medium. What if…we are the medium,” Forge repeated because he felt it an important enough point that deserved to be repeated. In fact, it seemed to be his only point which suggested to Emily that in point of fact, he had something to prove.
“I think you’re going over the edge, Forge. And I say that kindly.” And, indeed, Emily’s voice had been very kind when she uttered those words.
The connections our brains make…she paused slightly and smiled internally. She felt the redheaded young man’s energy. It soothed and excited her all at once. Yet she couldn’t dwell there too long (although she remained keenly aware of the energy from the redheaded young man) because another feeling much less pleasant kept bullying its way forward. In fact, it had crowded in on her mind like an angry mob, the mounting overload of chaos and noise that had been flooding her senses. It was nearing its limit, she was fairly sure. The back of her head ached in a recognizable way. A way that usually indicated that her brain couldn’t process to much more. At least, that’s what those types of knots at the base of her skull always felt like her body was telling her.
Oftentimes, Emily’s body spoke for her brain when her brain couldn’t seem to find the words. It was another one of her quirks that she had learned to listen deeply to. And it was always shortly after those signals, if you will, that — at least for Emily — the sensory overload reached some limit and broke through some kind of threshold or barrier, carrying her to a place where all the data impulses around her were filtered automatically for her — beyond her say-so — or by her or to her through some mechanism or another. She didn’t know which or how, but she was grateful in one sense. It was nice that a part of her mind (she assumed) wouldn’t tell her what was going on because when it did do one of those surging information dumps, it was just too much. Sometimes all the noise gribbed itself around her body and rattled her so hard intside that she just about hyperventilated and probably physically vibrated. A near panick attack? Maybe. Her best defense was to pause and to focus on her breath.
What really mattesr?
Emily knew she wanted to continue feeling his soothing-intoxicating energy so she focused a portion of her mind quite fixedly there. And she knew she should be polite enough to continue to hear — okay, even to genuinely listen to — Forge because to not do so would be completely rude and thoughtless, so she focused a portion of her mind there as well. And for good measure, she kept an eye on Pat, because something was troubling her there, and half an eyeball each on the slight man seated in front of the slight woman who continued to slouch over the tabletop, hunkered over napkins on which she doodled.
Does anybody doodle anymore? She shook her head. Guess it’s just a feeling, she said to herself after glancing across the half-wall divide at the two slight folk seated separately in the other portion of the diner. Guess it’s just a feeling…
“M’dear.” His voice was quite a bit more firm, nearly terse.
“I’m not at all accustomed to being ignored quite so summarily or so blatantly. At least be decent enough to indulge me by feigning interest. I quite know you’re not listening.”
“What if we’re the medium…” she repeated softly, realizing Forge was entirely right to chastise her for her lack of attention.
He smiled a little.
“Indeed. We’ve long since been the messengers. We’ve long since had a message. What if we’re now able to be all three. The messenger, the content, the broadcast station.”
After a long pause (several long seconds), she said, “I’m not at all sure where you’re headed with this, Forge, but I do know you don’t ask these things without a purpose in mind. So, okay, if I’m trying to understand what you’re saying, then I have two questions.”
“Only two?” he twitched his nose as if her statement smelled badly.
“Well fo rthe moment…”
Pat zipped past, pausing only to expertly arc some piping hot coffee into their cups. Catching the torn packets of sugar with her eyes, Emily realized they had been sitting at th ebooth for quite a while.
Forge lightly spread his hand across Pat’s slender wrist, which had the effect of generating a snarl to rise just barely up from the base of Pat’s throat. But she switched gears quickly, Pat did. She was on the job afterall and always put in an honest day’s work. She hit the pause button in the back of her eye, freezing whatever reality show she was currently watching in the back of her head into place. Only then did she look at Forge, but when she did, she studied him with no small amount of displeasure.
“This will only take a moment, I promise you,” he said evenly, then returned his gaze to Emily. “Two questions, then?” he expectantly.
“Yeah,” she replied slowly, “You see a business opportunity in this messenger-message-medium idea?”
“Indeed. Second question?”
“…isn’t,” she started even mor eslowly, “isn’t that what’s happening already now?”
He grinned. Pat raised her eyebrow impatiently.
Without knowing why, Emily suddenly realized she could expect to be seated in the booth for a very long time this day.
NaNoWriMos total word count this chapter: 1,070; total word count todate (not including this notation) this chapter: 9,970.