A/N: Long chapter that was long overdue.
Chapter 9. (Origin)
“On time,” the third figure revealed himself, his face covert, “have you considered what I said?”
Both women looked at each other, uncomfortably.
“Yes!” The second woman bellowed, the first one only brushed away a hair. “I considered what you’ve said, and my answer is yes, I’ll do it.”
“And, how about you?” He glanced meticulously at the first woman, “Do you agree with what she said?”
“No. I don’t. I’m out of here. I can’t–I’m sorry, I just can’t.”
“You can’t? Shocker,” he spat, a balance of flatness in his voice and from a lack of surprise. A moment’s hesitation startled the woman when he shoved something onto the ground, and passed it over, it laying gently still. She inspected it briefly, eyes rolling upwards then downwards.
“Want to reconsider? Perhaps you’ve made the wrong choice,” he gestured when the woman bothered to glance up.
It sounded all too familiar. She further evaded it by asking further, “What is this? What are you really anyway?”
“A society…” He trailed off.
“Have you reconsidered yet?” He glanced to a band, enwrapped around his pretty wrist, motioning her to ‘hurry up.’
Well, it certainly wasn’t a question that could be avoided. The first woman glanced at a solid rock that dashed into the lake at a distance, the man followed her gaze, and his features tightened thoroughly. The second woman caught on and ushered the first to concur with her statement, but that was something that she could not hold over her conscience, that failure.
What was beside her foot was an envelope. She glanced at the aging man who wore cloth robes, decorated with emblems, and she lagged the proper thought. Wearily, the envelope was picked up off of the floor.
It was a haze. All of it was a haze. The flickers of white, the flickers of white paraded in perception when she opened the envelope.
Her eyes spoke more than her features could reveal. The man only slightly grinned.
It was a dull, banal thing. The dream. Diane was considerate in the act of thought that she never experienced anything spiritual directly if she disregarded that sign that presented itself a hazed dream. If it were a dream, could it be true? The book’s words rang back at her:
“I could understand the occurrences between dreams and reality–and dreams are fiction…”
If dreams are fiction, or to say they are purely fictional, what must it take until they start resembling through reality? The mirror setting, that reflection that finds itself into a universe, paralleled by a moment’s warning; and it was all in a dream, she had to remind herself. It was merely fiction, unless thoroughly evinced in real life. The only thing that followed her was the trembling caution that shortened her rational thought; and another would be believing the dreams.
It couldn’t explain the oddities that maintained a central focus for these past few months. There was no logic to break at with nuts or bolts in a pocket to fiddle with. She thought of all these things, the hiccups that surmounted themselves like a plague within her life. If there was anything to trust, where could she turn? If there were a semblance of answers, where would she find them?
A branch clawed at the window. A jolt of a storm pushed through, with then only patters on the ceiling to what can be compared to hitting a can over and over and over on the ground to dent it just a little. She closed the window shade, and she sat silently as Dvorak was playing in the background. It was a bleak setting.
The flares of a momentary light pushed through beyond the window, not of lightening, but of a misty light that had popped into the crevices—and it swallowed the gapes of shadowy dew that left lingering on a pivotal, vital thing—an unfinished thought. What must she do now? Would she choose correctly? That was the main question at play.
Choosing made the way of the path darker than it should be—she would have to choose a path away from here. She could no longer listen to this, she listened to it far too long.
She was taken out of her trance. Silence was deafening. She nearly hesitated, confused on all counts, and noticed something deeply uncanny.
It’s not raining? She intently gazed, and let the inner workings of the ambience proceed themselves with no caution; she let it go through her senses.
Dvorak was never playing in the background. The window had no droplets of muggy rain to behold into the warmth of a glistening light. She pushed herself off the bed, leaving her blankets folded over themselves as she sprung; she unlocked the window, pushing it upwards, and put one hand out. Her fingers, lankily, were checking the humidity. Not muggy. The warmth only laid on her skin, practically brightening. If it were raining, there would be a sudden heave of that foggy feeling—the one that creeps over on the skin that feels like steam. It’d make you want to run back inside. It just does.
She felt like that too somehow.
“How long did you say you had the book?” Diane sat down.
Linda shrugged and wiped her glasses. “Since I was a kid.” She appeared to be disinterested, if not, then a bit bored, “Didn’t we already talk about this?”
Diane ignored her, electing to ask, “How many years ago was that?”
“Um, I’d like to say around eleven or twelve. Around there.”
I need to get her to focus. This isn’t going well.
“Hmm… You told me that it had an unknown author, and,” Diane pondered aloud, arching her foot against the edge of the wall, “you have no idea why your father gifted this to you.”
“Why all the questions? Did something happen?” She asked, tugging at a thread on her pants. She moved her head up. “This is just weird, don’t get me wrong, though, it’s just too sudden. I want to know why.”
“It’s now… a personal understanding. I mean, with the way everything has been contorted and (my) perception has been quite dysfunctional, I figured I’d push myself further off the brink, and then see what happens. It’s quite jovial.” The dreams, she thought of next, continued in each discretion of terror. Accidents, foggy settings, the slip of reality from one separate peek in the mist of visions… and the book was among the arcane. The most recent vision detailed something to do with it–it wasn’t that it was evil–it was something to cling onto.
“That’s one way of looking at it,” Linda admitted, drumming her fingers on the sleek shined table, where as she did, the walls croaked a croak. It made Diane remember something.
“Was it raining today?”
“No, not at all.”
The pierce of silence surmounted hearing; Diane could only hear the muted taps ringing into her ear-drums, going from a shadowing, grown pigment to a shrill reverberation. Deaf. “It w-wasn’t raining? That’s what you said?”
“Yeah, why?” Linda asked.
“N-nothing. I was mistaken, I guess. Maybe I’m thinking from the other day for some reason. Anyway… I guess I want to… I want to learn more about the book.”
“I’m not the expert,” she summarized flatly. “I’ve had it for years, and I never really could push myself into, you know, actually reading the entire thing. I was hoping you would do that, to be honest, when I gave it to you. I figured, eh, it can help, and it can also piece together the background of it too, or something… I don’t remember thoroughly what my thought process was.”
“Right, but when you read it, what happened?”
“It’s weird. It gave me a lot of different thoughts when reading it,” she paused, then shifting a bit uncomfortable, “mostly anxiety, dread. It was just strange, and I don’t know, I guess I told you this already, but it really scared me.”
“You were young at the time,” Diane notes, but went on, “Do you think about that?”
“Yes,” she hesitated, but glanced downwards. “It’s still hard to read when I pick it up.” She made a face, her skin dissolved to a lighter color, flushed, “Well, that’s not entirely true–If I really needed something from there, I would push myself to read it. It’s so easy to drop it and pick it back up.”
“Huh.” Something to pick at, something, something… “When, or rather, how many months or days after reading would you stop and then pick it back up? Would you stop here and there, maybe say, you’d come back to it later? Or, alternatively, what made you drop it completely?”
“This feels like an interview.”
“Fine, fine. This is going nowhere, you know that? I would read before bed, just a little, not too much. I didn’t get that far, and I would do what you did–I would jump around in some pages to see if it would, as horrible as it sounds, would get anywhere.”
“I only did that to see if it would pertain to my problems,” Diane carefully corrected.
Linda sighed, eyes lurched to anywhere else. “Okay. I don’t have that much to remember from the book.” She rubbed her face, and as she did, she perked up slightly, a jolt from the act of remembrance, “I think I probably have some blocked memories of it… I don’t know. Somethings click and then they don’t. They just don’t. Nothing would make sense, and…”
Linda left it at that, rolling the thoughts throughout her head. Diane looked on, unsurely as she inquired, “Did anything happen?”
“No. I, I don’t think so…” She propped her head onto her hand, “I just never understood why my dad would give it to me. It was so strange… Maybe I’m mixing things up and it was just some stupid nightmares–”
“Nightmares?” She wasn’t sure what to else to ask. “It gave you nightmares?”
Linda went on, “It was probably from what the guy would talk about–the spiritual things. I did like that stuff, I would read all types of genres–even things that couldn’t be proven–and stuff like that would scare me and give me nightmares. The book was nothing different.”
“Hmm… This needs to be looked into more,” Diane muttered to herself. Linda just looked at her for a brief clarification on whatever she had just mumbled to herself. The madman.
“I was thinking if there’s a history to this that we can research…” her voice trailed away, but picked back up, “but, no, no it can’t. Where would we go? It has no author, it can be described minutely as a troubled writer to his journal, or at worst, fiction–” She was cut off.
“Why is fiction the worst? I’d probably hop on a coyote with joy to the sunset in Arizona if it meant that it wasn’t real. That would mean that it didn’t mean anything at all.”
“Because,” Diane began carefully restraining, “Because that’s the point. It would mean that I was relying on this for something that could have never have made an impact… Something that would mean that–that I truly have issues.”
Linda drew back visibly, a tad of sympathy in her features. Pity. “Let’s not go there yet, alright? Do you think it can be researched?”
“Well… maybe it can,” she rolled the thought around. “Hmm, where did your father buy it from?”
“Garage sale, I think.”
“In your neighborhood, right?”
“Yeah, sorry,” Diane winced, “Stupid question. Maybe we can track down the owner of the book, and get why they sold it. That is, if they still live there, or depending how old they were, if they’re even still alive.”
“I have no idea who sold it to my dad. He just came back with it one day, and it all went downhill from there,” Linda mumbled. “If we did happen to go into the neighborhood,” she sighed, “there would be no way of knowing who had it, unless we knocked on everyone’s and their literal neighbor’s doors as solicitors.”
“This really doesn’t help. Is there anyone in your family that might have knowledge of the book?” Diane grabbed at the table’s ledge as she exhaled.
“My mother might. I don’t know. She really doesn’t like talking about anything that happened just right before dad died.”
“At a garage sale?”
“I’m an optimist,” her shoulders deflated, her arms gave out to the sides, only revealing a small indication of her present mental state. She made a face, but then looked up, “Do you think someone would be willing to claim it?”
“I’m not giving it up, Diane. That’s my father’s.”
“I know that, I do, but hold on there,” she raised her index finger to caution her, “If we post it somewhere, maybe its origins can be determined? Maybe if we post it as a lost item from nearly a decade, maybe, I’m hoping, someone who actually owned the book will claim it as theirs.”
“That–I, I can’t do that. They would want it back, and…” She stopped herself, and trembled off the thought stoically, “It was a garage sale. It was purchased. It’s not a missing item.”
“No one needs to know that exactly. For all you know, it could have been an accident that it was up to purchase, don’t you think?” The hardening silence stared back, stately, reforming into the cold recollection of the moment’s tension. “It may cover more of what this book is. It’s,” she hesitated briefly, but Linda most likely didn’t notice the digression, “It’s still yours. No one can take that away.”
“Okay,” she breathed. “Where would we start? If you’re right, this may bring closure… for… for the both of us.”
“I have an inkling of an idea,” Diane slowly smiled. It finally felt that there was something tangible in the midst of chaos.
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