The rating for the first episode, posted here, is E; I will post Non-E episodes on Amazon.
| Therefore I closed in on her.
“Desperate to get home before engaged by anyone,” was my pert aside to which the old lady reeled at once to size me up. She had been intercepted. Her course laid, planned, and plotted was interrupted and she could no longer traverse the expanse freely. The premises were patrolled now by one of those confounded conduct Nazis.
“What?” She spied me uncertainly.
“You looked to be in somewhat of a hurry. You looked as if somewhere else was your salvation. I'm sorry I stopped you,” I lied.
“No. How has your day been?”
I always find it irritating to be engaged in dribble and hated at once where the conversation was headed. Therefore I decided then and there to be far too engaging and agreeable, far more giving with my responses than the question asked for.
“I was pretty well yesterday when I was engaged in the art I just, this morning, finished. However, now that it is finished I feel pensive and don't appreciate the piece at all. Consequently, I feel rather lame today.” This was followed with, “If I actually had a project I could work on, I'd be great. I could do a portrait of you, if you'd like. I'd make it nice and artistic, very complimentary. You have a good face for art.”
Pausing, I amused myself with the effect the conversation had had on her and nearly smirked. She was frowning and looked comedic, very disgruntled and the expression was indicative of a vanity that had, very nearly, been flattered, much to her disapproval. Therefore, she merely shook her head and was gravely reticent. After a while the lack of response hit me and I found myself searching for a good idea to come to me, brought down a bit by the glumness of her demeanor. I couldn't let it defeat me, couldn't let the stress and and havoc it wrought upon my consciousness best me. Figuring I suffered from too much of the contemplations and preoccupations I could sense of her psyche or the amount of damage done it by the haphazard vanities her ego teased itself with daily to pretend to a invincibility that none has ever achieved, I stepped back and nearly retreated. The strictness of her mentality was suffocating and, at such nearness to her presents, intolerable. Therefore, by reason of my most impressionable subconscious, I should have given up my best resolves to temporarily reform her character to a presently more satisfied and receptive individual and resign her as a lost cause. However, I did not.
“Have you seen Randal lately? I know he's always checking up on you whenever possible and last I knew he was casting around somewhere for a good book to read while on break,” I baited her sweetly. “I know you go to the library as well as local bookstores regularly. Maybe you ran into him?”
“Last I saw of him he was berated last Tuesday by Wren for getting out whenever he had the chance and forgetting the time. I don't have any confidence he wasn't sacked.”
“No. I saw him Wednesday working.”
“He looked bored?”
She didn't try to deny or confirm my inference, so I explained, “You seemed to indicate that he was actually engaged in his work. The only time that he is actually 'working' is, in fact, a sorry excuse for the only term, whether it be called by loose association of the word or not. The only time he is at all mimicking the gestures of honoring his employment at all is when he stands around like a scarecrow, dopey and inactive like a dummy. I don't know why he holds the job, he hates it so.”
“Well, he appears able to handle it.”
I held out for more; then, having waited for a few minutes, as this was the only input I got in return, I retorted, “No, not really. He's been living life like a log. He should try to apply himself, maybe take things better, try to improve himself was my thought on it. I hoped he would do better, whether or not that is unfair of me to expect rather than simply wish. I mean, I'm not his mother-- father, whatever. Do as he pleases, I guess.”
I was quieted by the diverting gesture the lady made as she stared hollowly upon me when trying to balance on one leg. At her age this action was strange to say the least, the execution of such balance being almost impossible, and I was irritably amused at the sight of it. I was silent. The cause of such a gesture was no doubt its effect as silence secured her victory, unfortunate as her goal was. Especially in view of its consequences. Long term. In the long run the bitty would lament her solitude. Regret her solitary habit. Eventually.
“Well, I have to be going,” she abruptly announced, straightening herself and with the obligatory pleasantries she promptly disengaged me, working her hardest to move herself from me as much along and far away as her little old legs could carry her..
I slumped as I tramped onward, once more alone, like a mirror without a face to reflect or the dusty web given up by the skillful bug and felt smothered as if caught in it myself and wound up within it. The depression of the odd entity was stifling to me much as if it had taken up residence in a new host, and so I was down and out. I looked for opportunity to defy the convention and edify the experience, as always, instead of my punishment being my instruction. This my tendency, this a phobia, to let nothing go to waste. If I could not appreciate it, perhaps someone could take pleasure from it, this my thought-- being as when one is so thoroughly stripped of resolve, so listless or defeated, one wants to be beat on by someone willing to do the job. Someone with unwavering resolve and that I could enjoy from my misfortune. I needed someone who could make use of the limpness within, strip me of some of it by freezing the loosened determination – could extract it and possess it, and thereby injecting their own iron resolve within, my all too limber limb would supplement the suppleness with the fraction provided me of ready restraint, and thus they could remove it and in return secure themselves a more adaptive form. They would otherwise seek to conquer,failing, smother themselves between the roof of the reality they'd rejected and the ever expanding bulk of the illusion they'd pumped all their sweat and blood and respiration into, never minding the nature, its crushing purpose, of such as others got the hell away from instead of jumping on it and trying to tether it all the while it still sucked all the human by-products and excess substances and excretions. And this for their single-minded focus. At least more inflated and buoyant for the obligatory instruction and the criticisms they extended were they given the chance, they could puff themselves up with what bloated my perception and thereby maybe float away. Free and happy. Saving both themselves and me. And, anyway, I was looking for Randal besides, so the shop was my natural destination. And like a wayward balloon I drifted onward toward it.
I was traipsing through the doors, well famished for negative feedback, when I found employer and employee alike standing at attention, the former occupied with a customer, his countenance affected as much as the latter affected to project an indifferent air I knew at once to be merely a disguise for the wretched gall of tedium Randal kept within himself as if to ward off misfortune, much as one keeps a dollar against calamity. This his religion, this-- that anything too spontaneous or impassioned tempted fate. Swaddling his presents and rendering him thereby inconspicuous stood caution in his shoes.
Randal was evidently depressed – although, to a degree, I had a sneaking suspicion he enjoyed the rampaging, internal wallowing, the fermentation of an ailing presence of mind and resultant laziness of habit. It was the only state of being he had at all besides the occasional honest evaluation he offered that, coupled with heady self-appraisal, although none too lively, was incorrigible – to a point. He was always sober and even somber for ever as long as I knew him, but, without being ingratiating or familiar, was somehow irrepressible, in both good and bad ways. And yet it was always only too subtle an example of cockiness, such as was only too pale a shade of resolve to be readily apparent. The glow from within-- that would brighten his puckered face, impish and somewhat stunted, indicative of all sorts of mischief, but his conduct was evidence of very little of it, and his clownish exterior betokened nothing of merely self-assured stubbornness besides such metaphorical deafness that seemed to sing within him like spitefulness. Sting o' sour. Contentious. But without the usual flair that would have betrayed it.
Seductive and crippling to the ego, rendering one unjustifiably powerless against his suggestive nature – suggestive due to his slyly mischievous (subtly so) qualities – he was, and this power over all entities was not to be condoned as it was due to the attraction generated in his defiant spirit by the appeal of unconventional tendencies in war with, and in contradiction to, his many weaknesses. His habits were all unattractive and amoral and these characteristics were, of themselves, unappealing. However, his spirit, as it was, was most subjective and sentimental, unable to unburden itself or pretend to the briefest or barest shade of impartiality or discretion. He could no more reserve judgment than he could suspend his existence merely at will. Unfortunately, original or unique taste or appreciation was an impossibility to him, beyond him as it was and this he felt sharply. It was there beneath his every action, a suspicion; his fascinations, were they all projected onto him by the strongest present influence? He never cared for anything that was not popular, although his enthusiasm was real at once when realized. Devoted, as he was, to none – no standard, not one – and never a standing resolution for long, it was his nature to condemn all practices and methods as futile; he had no ability to weed out objections from the reputation of anything less popular and therefore it was nonconstructive to one's psyche to applaud what seemed like conflict itself as one did, as one would, cheering the demise of all out the jaded expectations of experience. It was humiliating, actually-- especially in view of how unremarkable his visage, although a superficial point against him. But it so happened that so smug was he one readily engaged him, readily and unwittingly, ignorantly expecting – intending, actually – to disprove, to devastate the conviction of he so seemingly invincible – a front, one suspected, considering his few assets, only to have a number done on their self-esteem and their sensibilities entertained.
I myself was in awe of his unfaltering confidence, the while realizing that misplaced confidence denotes an easy prey, and therefore I, in contrast, checked my optimism often. His cockiness never failed to save Randal, however, from those who spoke too sweetly to be other than an artificial sweetening, false presentation of good intent that, unmasked, showed itself bait conned to caught the fish. Perhaps because he was so inherently distrustful of that which functioned or operated beyond his inner world or personal revelations to be lead astray by honey tongues and was at once too unstable to be understood easily and cornered and too single-minded to be swayed from his intent.
I always felt a hint of desperation upon sight of him, not that he was capable of impairing the psyche beyond tearing up hedges of positive self-image planted within the subconscious to protect the human necessity, self-interest, of the individual. No, he had no overwhelmingly effective measures against the security of self and could not be of much significance to the imagination. He was actually only too easy to keep at arm's length, too easy to overlook or disregard much as if one were a lap dog on a leash and capable of retaining the length of the leash between owner and pet – and never in range of his boot. He could not make one cry, ever – so far as I know and was therefore, despite all his unaccountable charm, incapable of meeting the need I had of being brought low then, brought to penitence of spirit. I felt meanly glad at it – this influence beyond him. That which was, metaphorically and otherwise, center of my focus being outside his abilities.
The customer Randal was uninvolved with as Wren was occupied was a young lady of glum and vain countenance and the cause of the traces of insecurity he exhibited out of concentration unlike I had formerly seen. Wren's.
“No,” the lady interrupted, ungraciously, “I have it here in the letter. I didn't hear it at all. It's here in black and white. You can see for yourself,” and she thrust it in his face.
He took it, reproved. His face was intent and his eyes embarrassed.
“See, Z,” the young lady crowed, “Unless you can't read.”
Wren's composure was solid. I might have blushed. He took the letter obediently and studied it without complaint, well-behaved, well-trained. Then his stout front was exposed for what it was when he returned the paper, finished with it. “Sorry,” he mumbled.
“Well,” the young lady said, impatiently. Her eyes bored into him.
“We have no Mrs. Knapp employed here,” he returned, voice husky from embarrassment. I am the manager. I could not possibly be mistaken-- I mean, I could not possibly, could not not know if such a person were employed here. I am sorry. I – Miss--”
She nodded, and after a moment's pause he continued, “I apologize and see that of no fault of your own you are mistaken – the letter is recent; it mentions actual events of a recent nature, inexplicably.”
He was silent, as if he expected her to cave in, whether it be a confession or simply acknowledgement of an impossible scenario. I could see he was being put on the spot unfairly and knew well the cost of his embarrassment, knew only too well the price that was to be paid for the rare experience of shame he had been brought to by this young lady– that is, I did not see how she would be able to withstand his revenge once he had planned a fitting form of retribution for the embarrassment she readily dressed him for-- metaphorically.
Wren was tall, well-dressed, had a fair complexion, blue eyes, and now hoary hair that when dyed made him appear thirty-some, no matter his actual age. His mien was apparently passive and patient, as if he never talked. As if.
He now spoke with some resignation. “I am most uncomfortable to be so unhelpful, but there's nothing I can do, Miss--”
The young lady instead waited. I cringed; she had read him wrong if she thought he was as cowed as he appeared. I turned my attention upon her, as if to gauge her assumptions and attempted to engage her subliminal impulses.
The effort necessary was minimal. What was the motivation was obscured, but I read of a mind that was, to contradict appearance, most easily placated and, at the moment I concentrated on the blond, easily found I could trace the mode of her mind by the pace of her words. Place it, whatever.
I am a psychic and, strange as it seems, am little better at predicting human response than your average Joe. I am. I am as unremarkable as your lamest duce, most ordinary dude, being as it is I try to iron out as many character-revealing folds from my demeanor as possible, limiting the eccentricities that lie beneath the surface, struggling to conform every idiosyncrasy to the norm – convention. Not that I succeed, but as I will not demonstrate fiendishly dashing or reckless, or careless behaviors – anything that would seem too unproductive, pointless or irresponsible and be resented as presumptuous or irreverent or patronizing – even ingratiating. I spurn common cattiness and artificial good nature like a wiser fish, a more wily one, a hook. I see familiarity as the bait and avoid it all too easily, and, being a psychic realize it for what it is – exoneration of the predator. Condescension. I am too smart to let my ignorance be prize, prizing intellect to be more than he who would fish for self-destruction, for whatever the reason, but, at the same time, I long for the snatching snag that be interaction with other individuals. Therefore, I was snagged then by my own vain self-esteem-- or the need to communicate, whichever you call it, it's all the same to me; this oppressive sense of unstable self-pity by defying it with resolve. Resolve to achieve the attention of another.
This communication was of a peculiar kind, however, and such contact as I established was without the response I might have acquired by another means. I focused on the speed of her movements and the scale of her gestures and must have gained the touch of her mind upon my own as I reached out to hers. I could easily rate her mood by demonstrative expression of the being, but there was another level to the exchange-- or is, I feel whenever I imagine I find a new understanding of the individual in question and collect such a comprehension of the character that I am almost apprehensive of possible taints acting upon my own by such an impact. I can feel it, even, at times. Such a force of energy within another body. The range of their imagination-- and that within hers was most illustrative, most indicative, of a slumbering consciousness.
The inner atmosphere of her mind was balmy, all sticky and sultry and undisturbed. She did not, at present, resent the obstacle to her aspirations, the father figure other girls her age might have disdained and she too, as was the intended recipient of the yellow packaged parcel in my hands, seemed to be an individual without malice. She merely spoke in the icy tones she did because she was flirting with the touch of presumption that flitted about the fringe of her internal, conscious sensibilities with drowning, dazing, undeniable gall, toying with the ends of her sensitive feelers.
Drafts breathing within, she was almost buzzed upon the stimulant. Therefore what passed through her mind was, most assuredly, “I have no doubt of being satiated in my pursuit. Someone will undoubtedly be moved by my entreaty--” which was all it was to her, in contrast with the image she presented as an impatient female employing familiar reasoning, that be her vanity, as found its solace in incoherence such her gender engages with a purpose and entitlement superior to any man that ever lived.
This superiority I in no way mean to belittle. Mostly because when I disengaged my own egotistical energies of will and spirit she seeped strongly into them. Further I sought to comprehend her, captivated by the coma, seduced; I slipped beyond the warmth and on into the devastated abandon of every human, a layer of being that lies between consciousness and, firstly, subconscious of mankind, a wall of deep, penetrating misery internally haunting, possessing capacity to reform identity as has been shaped and forged by arbitrary instruction. It projected itself within my imagination, this face of hers, the wall. It welcomed me, this looming monster of sizable ego.
The face was insipid, eyes dull, not awakened-- boring into blank, lids heavily dragging over the whites. Malcontent. Unhappy. And I shuddered off this gross reality and resisted the protective covering isolating a subconscious that must be dying. I went no further, but shot a retreat inward, cowering before the wall that separated my own consciousness from the sublime, arrested from further withdrawal by inability alone. And there I trembled.
No matter how harmless the intent or nature of the image pervading my imagination – however unoffensive – the brown-eyed wench, mistress and host of this creature, made me phobic. There was this listlessness, this lackadaisical quality, impenetrable listlessness that shook me badly. Therefore, long as she lingered, expecting to be assisted as was her purpose, I doubled within and doubled my efforts to be busy by all appearances, lacking only the object to preoccupy me.
I had one at last in the very object of my presence. That is, I had one steady purpose of focus in the form of the man as deeply effected as I, albeit for other reasons. The man was alternately pale and flushed and the pitch of his voice ranged as his emotions dictated, expressions also eloquent, though not by devise.
He tried once more to sate her, confident that his attempts to appease her, were he only to manage his frustration long enough to strike upon some steely excuse that, pristine and solid as a brace, would yoke her into submission. This difficulty was accommodated by his resolve that, every bit as strong as hers, settled only on such conclusion as he declared with a groan, saying, “Miss, I really can’t read minds, the future, the past, or whatever it is you imagine. I must appear most capable and I really do not mean to perform beneath my capacity, but you are bound to be disappointed with such lofty notions, no matter how earnest and admirable. I thank you, I thank you for your faith in me, a mortal man. A stranger. But, please, respect that status.”
She frowned. “I only want to be given some idea as to how my mother knew of—what did you, what was it—of this place and the specifics and details that—how can I find her? You tell me anything and I will follow it. I am most capable of doing all the dirty work necessary. If you are covering or are ashamed of anything, hiding something from me or being dubious at all,” her brows lowered.
He stared at her. For a moment he said nothing, then, finding his voice, pronounced, “Miss, you are delusional. I’m sorry. Consult a therapist, maybe—I don’t know how to help you. Actually, I can’t help you.”
I must have uttered some semblance of my apprehension, for I found her looking at me. My mind had went blank and turned to her out of instinct and found her looking at me. Her face was angry and I, shame-faced, felt my eyes unintentionally dodge hers, mumbling, “Maybe she is doubtful of her mother’s existence as much as you. She wants to find her out of angst and a feeling of personal revenge, for whatever that’s worth. I don’t know why.”
Wren also was frowning upon me, but thoughtfully, now that I had drawn his attention to me. He didn’t seem to recognize me, such was the state of his mind.
“Miss,” he repeated, turning to her again, “I do not care if you find your mother, I have no issue with your mother, I don’t know you and I—“
She interrupted. “Alright. So, saying that you don’t know her is helpful to me in my quest only so far as you never hired her. You’ve already told me that. But someone you hire must know her, either that or you don’t know her by her name or—“
“I never hired a woman,” he objected. “Never.”
Although obviously flustered, once the manager at last retreated, finally ending communication with an affectedly humored, “that's really odd – funny even,” meant to be interpreted literally, I avoided eye contact, although she did attempt it. As she swallowed her injured pride, at a moment's notice once again commanding, she stared at me – I felt her eyes on me. Then stepped forward, pressing the other blond kid standing dumbly and inattentively about for some condition of her request to be performed. Appealed, was courteously rebuffed. And, at a loss, lingering, waiting, probably appearing on the verge of frustration and the token tear, she abode her time and left.
I looked eagerly over my shoulder for the other man. But it was just the kid and I.
“How have you been sleeping,” I inquired. “Have any more nightmares?”
“All about my arm. In a word, yes.”
“What about your boss?”
“Oh, I'll try to do better. I really do all right, though. It's just that he's most demanding-- perfectionist. Uptight. I start to be less and less keen on performing properly and let it slide because I don't care; he's impossible, in fact. I guess, by your question, that you want to see him? Shall I call him up for you.”
“No, no,” I said, affronted. “Anything but.”
“You're scared of him,” he observed. “Funny thing, you only ever happen to show up when you have a hankering to hear him nitpick and call out all your supposed irredeemable sins of character. You appear and when you get to the bottom of your business reveal that you are feeling singularly oppressed, eyes going 'I'm haunted, I'm haunted-- where is he?'”
“I brought you this. And, again, anything but.”
“What is it?”
“What I came to see you for.” I handed it to him.
Once secured, talons reached into the “hide” and littered the at once discarded yellow paper, revealing a painting, small and clad in cushion frame the color (rather, the fabric) the remains of a plush bed cover I'd had all my boyhood and beyond 'til the point of ruin (in whichever sense of the term you'd prefer) and beyond all that. I still had pieces of it which, having once spied it, the blond kid had kinda claimed. He’d wanted it. So saying, I had felt possessive over it to the degree that it humbled me and, out of a sense of self-discipline, I’d given it to him. It depicted the yellow haired vagabond himself (the painting did) staring dreamily of eye, posture and shade, (subdued hues that bore shape along with neutrals and the faded hints of such) composed of such tints as shaped the longing look he cast at Delia Jane.
She was in the foreground, playing like a kid with the strings of a pair of shoes painted with broad, glaring brushstrokes. And it was obvious that the boy was pining and the girl was too – for herself. She was preoccupied with herself. Feeling sorry.
The subject was meant to be vaguely mortifying as I had painted it to convey the futility of the situation, demonstrate the ridicule reality spawned, dainty irony, as it appeared to me. He wasn't shy about it; she just wasn't in touch – with anything.
“Hey, this is what you painted when you were painting her,” he said brightly. “And then you copied the sketch of me you did. I like it.”
He was very animated as he smoothed the frame and admired the portrait. “I do like the design,” he murmured, musing on its soothing hues of such delicate neutrality or faintness that it looked faded, as did the picture itself. He flipped it over and was opening the frame when I stopped him.
“I'm just trying to see it all by removing the picture; I can't see all of it,” he explained. “Don't worry, I'll put it back in. These two things match each other perfectly. Peeping Tom standing around a door, peeping at her on her white mare.”
“I'm glad you like it.”
“I do. I find it most artistic.” He, having removed it, stared at the steely hues so like the grays and bland body of the portrait, the background and foreground edged in white outlines; the subject was portrayed in shade faint enough to merit light-- black would have been conspicuous but, except against the perception of an educated eye, white rims remained my secret. My focus.
“It's a bit sly, isn't it,” he asked, peeping up at me from his bowing brow lowered in concentration. The portrait he was so hung up on-- its potency of expression so near my nature that I felt burned by the charring acid of what seemed like a rebuke of my very soul in that remark. Much as if injected with a syringe of internal conflict stabbed into me as if a metaphoric needle into my figurative dermis.
I blushed. “What do you mean,” I asked.
“The concept-- it's pessimistic. Although, come to think of it, Tom never ever really realized any misfortune. I mean, never had a lesson of it. Why would he? Kinda like-- what of it,” he explained, indicating the plush frame. Plush like a wedding cake, I thought to myself, like out of context or at least without any claim upon or relevance to the situation. It seemed so strange a thought that I lent my sublime powers of reason to the perplexing, incoherent connection I had made about the piece and a cake, unsatisfied with any immediate and conspicuous suggestions readily available.
Realization or imagination, purposing to mentally assess the qualities of each and every, supplying a symbolic equivalent to various elements in the finished work, including the moods and manners of my subjects, I endeavored to fashion a sound explanation for my mental observation. It wasn't my picture exactly that resembled such, per say, however little the frame was indicative of such nuptials, which I doubted. But there must be a key to such a revelation somewhere within the design, especially as was inexplicably projected in the mutual efforts of both works together, for me to ever have made the connection, I felt. Either that or Lady Godiva had the essence of a bride.
I kinda thought that there was something about it in the way that the lady was leaning forward upon her pearly white horse, sitting so as to face the outline of such wooden frame as that upon which Tom rested. The figures were wooden and the entire image was copiously distributed upon the cloth, evenly, pattern evident like a checkerboard. Therefore Lady Godiva and Peeping Tom were very simply rendered and the shapes roughhewn, conveyed as overly exaggerated forms and upon the fibers this had the effect of inexplicable depth; smaller than could depict detail precisely and hardly three-dimensional, the image the cloth was thick enough to give depth to had the effect of a decorative piece, much like the Nativity or, and all the more so, the little bride and groom toppers on the imagined cake.
Maybe I merely romantically wished it, enthused with the subject that my willing imagination should shove my desire so perfectly in my face and capture the sentiment so eloquently, then and there possessed by the promise presented in the detail, that I felt my heart flip at the prospect, much like a nauseating twist in a vehicle of some sort at a rapid speed, and that I could feel the swiftness of a hungering belly now full. Or the gesture of one's stomach at such a time. It felt rather as if I had consumed a fistful of sugary calories and my stomach was geared to such high anticipation that my blood was but sugar water coursing too suddenly at all points of pressure within my body. I was high-- high and my mind was blown.
It was at this point that Wren returned to the counter and I, much too inebriated to make comment further of any kind, dizzily lulled on my buzz until he suddenly snagged the vessel speeding rapidly upon frothy waters swollen with rain and heavy flooding that it threatened to capsize, much like some unseen menace strikes the unwitting raft. It threw me, springing me from my coma like cold water.
I had the uncomfortable impression that Wren was upset; he was not the easiest person to know and still less easy to please, so I feared his temper much as if I was recipient. Even so, drawn by some invisible attraction to the risks, I was tempted nearer by the threat of rebuke. I was drawn in as if hypnotized by a mesmerizing viper.
Thereto the task of appalling him, so long as I only shocked him, rewarded by the life that crumbled to dust like the phoenix, the life that flamed visibly back in the flush of surprise, the unexpected every human being paid toll to by being unprepared and ever will. This was a form of revenge that compensated for so many losses of dignity and composure over the years, the revenge that I wished upon a dozen individuals for a dozen injustices.
It was something other than violence, it was the position, power, of superiority I felt upon having sparked disarray, emotional disarray, through little other than suggestive means. This chaotic measure appeased me, made me feel pacified and good.
But here was something—I felt a disturbance that conveyed such note of dissonance as was inconsistent with Wren’s typical bearing. There was a tremor in his presence, this tremor conveyed all too easily by the unnecessary hush that swaddled his presents. This was gauged by the pace of my own thoughts, moreover, which served to tag the apparent frequency of his own and, lo, the guy was simply in a lax daze. This tremor, then, was physiological, nearly indicative of a biological excitement in the veins and the extremities, nearly too weak to be noted. The sentiment, were the lag one, seemed to be similar to that—to the vibes the female had exhibited, besides. The glaring laze and blaze of desensitizing light and warmth was apparent in his memory, only as that experienced by one on the other end. Something about the enthralling rapture that lit upon my hairs, transmitted by Wren and intercepted by myself, was proof of contagion inevitable. I found he was still thinking about the girl, was appraising her intent and purpose as best he could from her presence—a presence now absent. A presence recalled. He was thinking about her; the sentiment was intoxicatingly stale and sedentary, much like stagnating, rancid pools of fluid that fermented thick as wine, lingering on the air that, stuffy and musty, conveyed it like it be, an intoxicant. It smothered the lungs like smoke. That is, it could not be from a fresher origin, I knew. No such still prevailed from anything more present.
The potency, such puissant form to Wren, the retiring manager, Wren the antisocial was, as such, a focus of such strength as complicated the instability reminiscent in the young woman’s force of presence and now magnified in a new host. Therefore I shuddered and took leave of the two as soon as ever I was able, fearing for the integrity of my own soul because of the poisonous touch of one absent.