Author’s Ramblings: This week’s installment is a tad short as I’ve been trying to find a way to work Eira’s healing out, without spending a lot of time leaving the DP twiddling his thumbs. As if he really could stand to do that. ^_^
Her fingers were moving.
The first shudder came.
The Dark Phoenix sat beside her, leaning against the tree overshadowing them both at the edge of the clearing. It provided a decent backrest as he whittled curves and whirls into the pile of fruit pits at his feet. His hands were busy, in order to keep his mind settled, and his energies calm while he waited.
His hands paused for a moment, as he watched her, brow furrowed. The trance was deep, but it shouldn’t have carried any physical repercussions. He finished the last symbol on the brown seed and tossed it to the tidy little pile. He’d figure out what to make with them later, if his mind still demanded a distraction.
Shifting, slowly, he moved to sit cross-legged beside her, reaching for one hand. It had been over a week since he’d cut her feedings down to twice per day and thrown up a shield every night. Deene hadn’t dared to show his face yet and the Dark Phoenix appreciated that particular fact. He wasn’t ready to deal with the delinquent Titan, much less to be civil about it. For Eira’s sake, however, he did hope that Deene would take his time in trying to find their camp again, if he had finally put himself back together.
Clasping her cold hand between his own two, the Dark Phoenix counted her breaths and matched the timing with the occasional shudder. It didn’t appear that she was dreaming, but her face gave away nothing as to where her mind was.
Knowing all too well the torture his own healings could be to himself, he finally closed his eyes and let his energies connect, slipping slowly into the open stream in her mind, pushing gently to make contact.
He felt her surprise and then his mouth twitched as the flood of words came straight towards him.
It took a moment to digest.
And then he smiled.
The pain was the most obvious thing registering in the muddle of her mind. Eira twisted within the painful prison, feeling bothered by the presence of light, instead of the blissful darkness that had claimed her consciousness more than once.
It seemed to be a monster, preying on her in the worst ways possible, ripping her to shreds and feasting on the sanity that remained. That particular thought troubled her, though and Eira tried to make herself think again, to wonder, why and how, and whether thinking was actually a sign of healing, or rather a warning of something else to come.
“Eira?” His voice would cut through the fog and his hands would help her sit up just enough to make swallowing the food and easier task. “Time to eat.” Would be the usual phrase and she would know enough to keep her mouth open. It was the only control she could wrangle from her aching, burning body.
Not hungry. Eira wanted to tell him. No food. Sleep. Black. Dark. No pain.
But even as her mind put these needs together, her mouth was just as useless as her voice in offering her opinion. Instead, her lips parted and the usual fare trickled in, a flavorful broth she could never quite place. It did wonders for bringing a temporary blanket of warm fuzzies to the surface, but not much else.
Time passed by the sound of his voice. There was always a little speech to accompany each meal. He would explain how the healing was going, how much time had passed and whether there was any progress.
Eira wasn’t sure why he bothered.
Death seemed so much closer when her eyes were open, her mind awake. It was miles away when the blackness settled in around her. There was absolutely no sense of time or life as things moved in and out of whatever realms they seemed to be stuck within.
It was when the dreams started in, that Eira decided she had to find a way to talk to him. He wouldn’t let her stay awake any longer than it took to eat. The moment the last mouthful had been swallowed, he would wish her a pleasant sleep and then one hand would rest over her face, two fingers closing her eyelids and the other three pressing gently.
The triangle formed would be visible in her mind, a ribbon of golden-whiteness and then it would fade away and everything would simply disappear. In those moments, things would shift to a void, somewhere time had stopped and clarity was no longer a dream. In this strange place, her memories floated to the surface and played out as if they were part of a dream sequence. In this expanse of nothingness, things were returning to life and taking on forms Eira couldn’t place.
It was as if her mind was clearing faster than her body was healing and the dreams were taking every ounce of new energy and willpower she managed to pull from her battered body. The pain never ceased, even in the dreams, it merely dulled, a constant pull, bringing to mind two singular fears.
The nightmare was much too real this time around and Eira felt it move through her in waves of doubt, fear and complete helplessness. There was nowhere to run, no one to hear and her screams were locked within her throat.
It seemed as if the ground was shaking again, but she couldn’t be sure. She was only trying to run on sinking ground. The images hovered just behind her, looming larger in their approach as she sunk deeper into the black space swallowing her up again.
Her arms swung wildly trying to clutch at something and even as her fingers struggled to move, it was if they were freezing, as the blackness swallowed her all the way up to her neck.
And then something warm caught hold of one hand and she was being pulled up and out, away from the horrors within her mind. The thread of warmth was the semblance of sanity she needed, as it carried her through the fog and to a place where things were brighter.
Eira was floating, the pain fading marginally as the black shifted to a gray color.
The voice was unexpected and somewhat distorted, before an image appeared, slowly and slightly taller than her own figure. She tried to make him out and then took a step backwards with a cry.
“Hello.” His head titled forward, the expression mildly amused. “Are you all right?”
“What?” The answer popped out, the standard reply for everything.
“It would appear that you are.”
“In your head…on the outside.” He beckoned to her and began walking along the grayness.
“You’re in my head!”
“On the outside…I just wanted to be sure you were doing all right.”
“Why didn’t you wake me up, then?”
“Your body needs the rest.”
“You seemed…disturbed, I just wanted to be sure-”
“How did you know? I mean, how could you tell?” The mental-Eira licked her lips, her pale face shifting to even paler shades. “Was I…doing something?”
“By something…what exactly are you referring to?”
“I don’t know…anything. What made you think-”
“You were shaking—then your hand twitched.”
“So…I must be missing something.”
“Mostly, yes. You haven’t moved in nearly two weeks, except when I feed you energy so you can stay awake long enough to eat. Your body isn’t even allowing the food to be processed, it just converts it to energy within minutes of consumption and continues the healing cycle.”
“You really need to work on that.”
“I can’t work on that!”
“Calm down, please. I am not trying to upset you and in this state is extremely importance for your mind to stay as relaxed as possible! I’m not…I am not…Eira!”
“You’re not all right…what’s going on?”
“Nothing because you do not feel like discussing it, or there is something else occupying the immediate space in your mind?”
“Why do you have to make it sound so…so…” The mental-Eira did not bother to finish in the sentence, instead she looked over her shoulder, scanning the mindscape for any signs of the monsters from earlier.
“Who are you looking for?”
“No one or nothing?”
“I don’t wanna talk about it.”
“It’s bothering you.”
“It may be hindering the healing process.”
“I don’t care about technicalities.”
“It isn’t a technicality…it is an interference.”
“I don’t wanna talk about it!”
“I am not saying you have to…but I am trying to understand this.”
“What is there to understand!”
“Your healing process is a…mystery. I’ve given you a unique healing orb that your entire body rejected. Your own self-healings make you violently ill, to the point where you are barely better off with them than without. I cannot pinpoint the exact origins of your energy and that creates a problem.”
“I know you’re saying something, but right now all I’m hearing is gibberish.”
“I know…so let’s change the topic, what’s that behind you?”
“Where?” The mental-Eira whirled around, already backing away from the invisible danger. “What is it? I don’t see it!”
“I don’t either.” His voice was calm, collected and clearer this time around.
“That was dirty trick!”
“Was it?” The gray began to shift, blurring back to the original black. “You should be safe here. In the gray area, things might filter through, but here…you will be fine.”
“This…the black.” He tilted his head, extending a hand. “Come…let’s walk for a bit.”
“Where are we going?”
“Nowhere in particular, but the walking helps.”
“With the pain? Everything still…hurts.”
“I know…because your consciousness is still connected to your body—which is a good thing—but it doesn’t put any barriers between the pain and reality.”
“So I’m really in my own head?”
“Yes. But you’re in the outerspace, which is where your thoughts are generally polite and the things shared within, are usually the things you would share. I do not intend to venture any further.”
“Why’d you come?”
“I need a reason?”
“Yes. Duh. You’re in my HEAD!”
“Very well then, the most obvious reason is that I merely wanted to be sure of your state of mind.”
“What’s the not so obvious one?”
“Distractions are good for the pain.”
“Pain’s not that bad.”
“For now or later?”
“I don’t know.”
“Do you want to know?”
“Then I will not tell you.”
“What’s the other reason?”
“To keep you company if you like.”
His mouth twitched. “Good. Because I was actually working on something.”
“A game.” He put a hand in his pocket and drew out a handful of irregularly shaped brown ovals, moving to sit comfortably on the ground, spreading the handful out in front of him.
“A game?” Eira immediately sat down beside him as he began to lay the pieces out on the floor. “For points? How do you play?”
“It’s actually very simple…”
“What are they?” The fascinating object was held up for inspection. “It looks familiar.”
“It should…you ate the fruit it belonged to.”
“Can I have it back?”
The single pit was reluctantly handed over. “I like it.”
“I’m glad you like it, but we can’t start the game without it.”
“Is it hard?”
“You would have to be the judge of it.”
“There’s a judge?”
“You really are not listening to me, are you?”
“I have to listen?”
“Focus, Eira…focus. I refuse to let you win without earning it.”
“But…I’m kinda not feeling well…you know, I’m like in this healing thing…don’t I get a handicap?”
“You haven’t even heard the rules yet.”
“Do you need one?”
“Against you? Yep.”
“Really…I’ve almost been insulted.”
“I play fair.”
A giggle escaped. “I don’t doubt the fairness, but I wanna win!”
“Winning with a handicap-“
“I’m sick! C’mon! Please?”
He smiled and then reached over and handed the pit back. “Very well.”
Suddenly, the black didn’t seem that bad after all.
© Sara Harricharan