Spacer Compass Rose 149
  | Asymmetry | Role-Playing | Villains & Vigilantes | The Revolution | Story So Far | Compass Rose |





     "I thought I'd stop by and give him a visit. As long as I'm getting out of the place for a while." That was as good as an admission of how the whole thing still had me rattled. "Senator Woods," I moved us back onto the topic, shaking my head. "I don't know her at all."
    "Something that you can think about when you get back," he shrugged. "She's stalled for now. Certainly no one else on the team's going to spill everything."
    "No, no, I wouldn't think so." I was thinking now.
    "Well, except maybe Phoenix."
    "No, I trust Phoenix, even. Not sure why, but.... Phoenix is solid. A little impulsive. Thing is... I don't know what to do," I confessed, rubbing my forehead. "It's gonna come out, one of these days. It would be nice if somebody knew beforehand, it wouldn't look quite so bad. It would help if that person was someone who believed it."
    "Why is it going to come out?" He sounded surprised. "I mean, you'd think that They wouldn't want it to come out." I could hear the capital T.
    "They don't. But... that might be why it has to come out," I said carefully. "I'm fairly sure that Winters got her 'go' signal when I asked her about whether or not going public would be a good idea. Obviously, that's a prospect that freaks them out to some extent. They went to a lot of trouble. If that's something that I need to use someday, so be it." Though I still don't understand why it worried them so much, when it seems the odds of anyone believing the story are so low. I guess they don't want to take any chances.
    "So if we don't tell anyone now, then you have one more card in your deck."
    That was true, as far as it went. "Except... I would like someone to know, just to quiet down any public backlash that resulted. After all the crap the team has been through in the past six months, I'm not sure if the city could take it, frankly." One more perceived betrayal, and not even Albert will be able to undo the damage.
    I expect full disclosure to cost me all of the few things I have left to lose. I'll do whatever is necessary, but I'd rather not destroy my teammates' careers at the same time.
    He nodded understanding. "Right."
    "So, it's a bit of a conundrum." One I haven't been able to think through, then or since.
    "Well, while you're gone I'll feel out the members of the tribunal, see who would be most agreeable."
    "If there's anyone trustworthy on there...."
    "A trustworthy senator? We knew one of those," he reminded me cynically.
    "Good point."
    "But I'll look into it."
    "Thanks. I appreciate it."
    "And you should be getting out of here," he added with a glance at the clock.
    "Right. See you in two weeks."
    "Take care of yourself."
    "You, too. Stay off the leg."
    "Try and like, relax, up there."
    "That's what it's for," I sighed.
    I picked up my rental car and headed north. I could have arranged a plane with no trouble, but half the point of this trip is to do things differently. Stay away from my usual patterns and see what new things turn up. I found my hands hesitating every once in a while at first; an observer would no doubt assume it was because I'd never driven this model car before. Fact is, I'd never driven any car before. Nothing was as automatic as I felt like it should have been, though it did wear off eventually. I tried not to let it upset me.
    It's been quiet since I got here. I have my panic attack every morning when I don't know where I am, but I was having those at home anyway. A nightmare here and there. Every once in a while I try to think about things, and when I find myself feeling overwhelmed by it all I stop again. More stopping than starting, so far.
    I've done a lot of walking around, on the island and the mainland. Discovered in the course of it that I'm distressingly out of shape, but I'm not really interested in doing anything strenuous. The Castleview has a little library for guests, one quarter of which is Readers Digest Condensed Books, but that leaves some actual literature in case it rains. There are a couple of restaurants here, one with decent seafood and one sort of pub-like place. A few times a day there's a ferry over to the mainland, where there's two movie theaters and more options for eating out. One of the theaters shows regular run stuff on the weekends and old movies on weekdays; Thursday is horror night. Bride of Frankenstein is up tomorrow. Yesterday they showed I Was a Male War Bride, which I enjoyed quite a bit. The ferry is partly for the sake of the eight kids that live on the island and who need to be taken over to school and back every day, and partly for the two bed and breakfasts and their guests.
    I'm sort of incognito; using my real name, but that's not a big deal I don't think, given how seldom I do. I've only used my powers once this whole time; part of my attempt to do a little mental housecleaning. It's been more difficult than I expected to remember that I'm supposed to get up and walk across the room when I want something. The exception was on the second day; I went out into the woods on the mainland, closed my eyes and "looked."
    It was like a solid wall of low-intensity lightbulbs, not blinding, just... everywhere. Some of them moving, birds and small animals. After a while I found that I could pick out different tree types by their auras, though I had no idea what species the trees themselves might be. Nothing like anything I had ever seen in the city. It made me feel something I'm not sure I can describe.
    Which brings me up to today, and the weird thing. I was on a walk around the island; there's a little point I particularly like, jutting out into the sea. It's a good place for reminding myself that me and my problems really don't measure on the scale of things.
    Today when I went for my early stroll, I climbed the path to find that someone was already there, sitting on a rock well back from the point. He looked to be in his thirties, broad build, with a sketchbook propped in front of him, one of the really big ones. Beside him was a little tin full of pencils and a thermos of coffee. My first impulse was to turn around and leave this guy alone, but the drawing caught my attention. It was a sketch of a couple of windjammers working their way down the coast, and his arm was literally blurring as it moved over the paper. Then he stopped, took a drink of coffee, took an eraser, and started removing bits from the drawing. Picked up the pencil again. I was close enough now to see the sketch clearly; it was an almost photographic rendering of the scene before him, as if he had taken a picture that was somehow developing itself onto the paper as I watched.
    Then he noticed me. "Oh. Hi."
    "Sorry, didn't mean to disturb you."
    "No, it's nothing."
    I nodded politely and kept on walking, pondering his expression. Afraid? Ashamed? I know people don't like to be watched while they're drawing, but it was as if I had caught him doing something he wasn't supposed to do. I went out to the point, had my few moments of contemplating the eternal verities, and came back, which meant I was walking toward him again. He finished whatever he was working on, closed the book and started gathering his things. I had the distinct impression that I had irrevocably disturbed him, and also suspected that he was waiting to see which way I went so that he could go the other way. I felt a bit guilty, passed by with a nod, went back to the B&B and looked for a book, since there were some clouds coming up and it was probably going to rain.

| Top | Previous Page Next Page


© 1999 Rebecca J. Stevenson