Friday, January 22, 2010

Hunt For The Dark Phoenix (part 22) [Friday Fiction]

This week's Friday Fiction is hosted by the talented Lynn Squire over @ her blog, Faith, Fiction, Fun and Fanciful. Click here to read and share more great fiction!

Author's Ramblings(and recap): Well, as usual, I'm waiting until the last minute to get around to writing this installment. Sorry. School+Life equals...busy. I think. Anyway, there's quite a bit of dialogue in this piece, this time around, hoping to bring in some more action next week. We'll see. Thanks so much for the wonderful comments-I'm glad y'all are enjoying this as much as I am, writing it. Someone mentioned I ought to add a recap, especially on account of length, so...recap.
RECAP: Eira narrowly escapes death by a Rock Titan known to the Dark Phoenix. She has spent the last two weeks in one of his healing trances, drifting in and out of consciousness. Her memories resurface during this time and when the nightmares become too close for comfort, her new master offers a distraction by playing games inside her head--through a mindlink. This works for awhile, until now.


Eira soon lost track of how many games they played. At first, she won the early rounds and he lost nearly every other time. After that, it evened out, and then he was still winning.

And winning.

“There’s something wrong here.” She mumbled, after awhile, chancing to look up to see his face. His mouth twitched, ever so slightly at the left corner. “Why are you winning?” The expression of innocence was almost convincing. “You’re cheating!”

Eyebrows went up. “Cheating?” The word was pronounced with some distaste. “Really, I would hardly need to cheat to win this…” His forehead neatly creased into perfectly crooked lines. “And I don’t cheat!”

“Why are you winning!”

“Because you’re not paying attention?” He suggested, ever-so-helpfully and far too cheerfully.

“New game.” Eira said, flatly. “This one’s jinxed.”

“I don’t believe in jinxes.”

“I do. New game.” Eira wrinkled her nose, waiting for him to reset the game pieces. She’d yet to memorize the pattern for the pieces, but it was much more interesting to keep looking over her shoulder, rather than bothering to see how he reset the game.

He cleared his throat a moment later and she turned to see the pieces had been reset. She chewed her lip for a moment, puzzling over the first move and then followed through. A muffled expression of exasperation spewed through her lips a moment later.

The head shifted, his eyes laughing at her as he studied her reaction. “Not paying attention.” He murmured, scooping the pits into a pile. “Games are over. You’re in good enough humor, time for lessons.”

Her wail of protest was almost immediate. “Nooooo! I don’t wanna meditate!”

A curious sound strangled itself within his throat and he took a moment to compose himself before speaking, the eyes crinkling at the corners, betraying his silent amusement. “I said lessons, not meditations.”

The mental-Eira offered a pout, deigning to thump her feet on the ground from the position where she sat, sprawled out on the ground of her mindscape. “It’s the same thing!”

“It is?”

“Yeah-huh!”

“It is not.”

“Is too!”

“And you would know this, how?”

“It…it just is!”

“I refuse to acknowledge that with an ‘is too’.” He said, dryly, shifting to his feet.

“Ha! You already said it! Is too!”

“And up with you.” He stood over her, one hand outstretched. “Enough sitting around.”

“I like sitting around.”

“You won’t like it when I’m gone.”

“Where are you going?”

“Back to my own consciousness.”

“I thought you were gonna keep me company!”

“I was. I have been. I am…I just think that you could use something new to distract yourself besides a game.”

“I don’t wanna distraction.”

“Yes, you do.” He paused. “Note to self, you are grumpy and entirely out of sorts after you’ve had a healing. When you start whining, I know that you are doing perfectly fine, therefore whining means you are okay.” The corners of his mouth curved up. “Lessons, apprentice. You will need time to get used to your own feet again. Lessons are different from meditations.”

“What’s the difference?” Eira took the hand, adding a little hop. “My feet are fine in here.”

“Because in your head, you can do virtually anything.” His hand settled on her shoulder, steering her forward. “ In reality, you haven’t moved on your own for a prolonged amount of time, namely, no physical activity, with your vitals supported through an energy system.” A frown passed briefly over his face. “I will have to rework your healing system at another time, but for now, I need to see some progress besides your lack of…attention.”

“What?”

“Now I know you’re doing fine. I shall see you in a moment.”

“Wait! You’re just going? What about-”

“I am returning to my own consciousness and I will wake you once I am there.”

“Don’t just leave me here in-”

“It will only be for a minute.”

“I don’t care!”

“You’re working yourself up into a-” He broke off for a moment. “You’ve been fine the entire time I wasn’t here, were you not?”

“No.”

“No?”

“Yes.”

“Yes?”

“Maybe…?”

He looked away for a moment. “Yes, no or maybe?”

“I don’t know.”

“Eira.”

“Maybe?”

“Maybe is more no than yes. Are you going to tell me what this is about, or would you prefer that I guessed?”

“You can’t guess.”

“Excuse me?”

“You’ll never guess.” She amended.

“I’ll be right back.” His hand dropped and by the time she turned around, mental-Eira discovered that she was very much alone in the black void of her own mindscape.

The uncertainties didn’t take very long to return, but she turned slowly in a circle, repeating a childhood poem beneath her breath. Perhaps if she could distract herself long enough, the Dark Phoenix would wake her before the nightmare returned.

******

The shaking wouldn’t stop.

Eira finally managed to force her eyelids upwards in order to see the offender.

The Dark Phoenix stood over her, an expression of puzzlement on his face. “What took you so long? I told you I'd be-”

“What?”

“Never mind.” The face disappeared from view and something settled beside her. “How are you feeling?”

“Horrible.” Eira answered automatically. “Actually…still hurts. A lot.”

“How bad?”

“I don’t know. Bad. Really bad.”

“But not too bad, because you’re carrying a coherent conversation.”

“I’m coherent? Oh joys.”

“On a scale of one to-”

“A hundred? Ninety-nine and three-quarters.”

“Eira.”

“What?”

“You are grumpy.” There was a snort. “I will never understand this.”

“understand what?”

“Nothing.” His face appeared in the corner of her view. “Lessons. We’re going to begin lessons.”

“Do I hafta?”

“Yes.”

“Nooooo.”

“Yes.”

“Nuh-uh.”

“We’ll start with something easy.”

“Oh goody.”

“Eira.”

“What?”

“Focus?”

“On what!”

“You do not have to be difficult about this.”

“I’m not!”

“Should I bother to say, are too?”

“Am not!”

“Shh!”

“What?”

“I suppose I should start you off on something simple.”

“What?”

“Simple.”

“I heard the simple. A simple what?”

“We’ll do an Energy Relocation first. I know I said we’d start with the Privacy Orb, but I think the relocation will suit you better in this particular moment. If you pick it up quick, I’ll move along to the orb.”

“Huh?” Eira stared at him. Her mind was trying to make sense of what he’d said, but most of it hadn’t registered past the phrase of ‘Energy Relocation’. “You’re going to do what?”

“I’m not doing anything.” He settled comfortably beside her, a small brown ball in hand. “you’re going to do something.”

“I don’t wanna-”

He thwacked her forehead.

“Ow!”

“Let me guess.” There was a tinge of sarcasm. “Ninety-nine and three-quarters?”

Eira scowled, unable to much else to express her annoyance. “Very funny, I’m still laughing.” The pain had dulled considerably and it wasn't exactly demanding all of her attention, but the tap had reminded her that it did exist.

“Glad to amuse.” He took hold of one hand and curved it around the wooden ball. “Do not tell me that you cannot do something without trying it first. In this case, I know you haven’t tried this before, if you have, I wouldn’t be directing your attention to it, regardless of condition. Now, listen and try to at least put a little effort into it? See if you can hold this on your own.” Her hand limply fell back to the ground and he caught it before the ball tumbled out. “Focus. Try again.”
He closed the fingers around the ball and lifted it back until it was parallel with her shoulder blade. “Use your energy.”

The arm wavered for a second and then thumped back to the ground.

“Ow.” Eira griped.

“Ninety-nine and a half?” He suggested. There was a sigh followed by both of his hands clasping around her limp fingers and the wooden ball. “Try again.”

“I am trying!”

“Not yet.” His head shook, ever so slightly. “Focus on the ball in your hand, Eira. Look at it
through your hand, not with your eyes, not with your head…with your hand. See it. Feel it. Figure out how to move it, how to connect to it.”

“How can I connect with a stupid ball?”

“I had no idea the ball was stupid or else I would have picked a smarter specimen.” The hands tightened. “Try, Eira.” He released his hold.

The hand wavered, feebly, before falling limply to the ground. “It’s a stupid-”

“Inanimate objects can’t be stupid.” He propped up her hand again. “Try again.”

Eira did. There was little change. It went on until she became rather frustrated, both with him
and the ball and her arm which was sore on top of the pain she was already aware of. “I can’t do this-” The surge of anger added a few points to her confidence, as Eira directed her scowl in the direction of the Dark Phoenix, as best as her head would allow.

Instead he chuckled. “Good girl.”

“What?”

It registered, briefly, that she was holding up her arm on her own, before the arm flopped to the ground once more. An expression of complete surprise stole across her face, something akin to fascination and awe. “I…I did it?”

The smile he offered was reward enough. “Indeed you did.”

“How?”

“You were frustrated.”

“I need to be frustrated to keep my arm up?”

His mouth twitched. “No. But you did need to concentrate all of one singular emotion or thread of energy associated with the emotion on one thing. Your arm. You finally did.”

“Oh.”

“Oh?” He prompted.

“Why didn’t you-”

“Do you really want me to answer that?”

“…no.”

“Let’s try again.”

Eira rolled her eyes. “Oh joys.”

© Sara Harricharan

0 comments: