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Old 10-16-2011, 10:40 PM   #1
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No Love Lost, Chapter 9

Yeahhh I'm writing a lot at once it's because mural painting is so damn tiring!

***


Chapter Nine. They Keep Calling Me.

lieutenant's house/ mirror events/ leaving

It wasn’t until he left that he started being alive again.

There were so many points up til now that were like starting over. Blink into existence, the air around you thin, the second skin of it breached with the action on any possibility. But for a moment a taut thin layer of indecision where Ciarán was neither one nor the other, not himself yet because he still had to choose.

The family out hiking that had found him didn’t really forge a name for him; he filled in the space of their son away in college, and didn’t really need an identity—a space was filled. He knew it was different, though, because he tossed and turned and felt the sheets rough over the wound knitting itself back together and if someone came and asked if he was alright, he always answered in Gaelic, and the self reflected in their eyes was someone very different, all large eyes and pain and anonymity. His feet didn’t fit in the other boy’s shoes. He went about barefoot until he could stagger about enough to go to the porch and scrape the mud off his own boots with his fingernails. Long thick curls of brown, and half-moons under his nails. The woman, Irene, caught him outside and forgot he was a stranger, before he looked up with startled eyes and freckles and she looked down instead at the puckered skin stitched together near his ribs. “You alien,” written across her face like a slap as she didn’t meet his eyes, before she could help it.

For about a day it was very obvious that he didn’t recognize anyone. Of course he didn’t; they were all unfamiliar. But his eyes were all unfocused for about a day. Perhaps for this reason and the brief lack of mobility (you were lucky, the doctor said, he was told) there was almost no sound around him. It had grown apparent that if Ciarán was talked at, he didn’t give a shit. He was already planning to go back. His thoughts had a focus and he wouldn’t get distracted. But he forgot, because it took a while to recover, and in the total silence he still hadn’t awakened yet. As himself. He was still in that in between state.

He missed someone. He missed a lot of someones. It ached like something lodged within him and pulled out. The doctor, he was told, in a rare forgetting of silence, said his head might have gotten a slight concussion but nothing all that measurable. That wasn’t quite the reason he couldn’t sort his thoughts out.

History had a way of repeating itself. It really, really enjoyed it, in the case of Ciarán’s life. Forgetting was a temporary occurrence while the body shut the brain down for healing, when signals were getting too confusing. History also repeated itself across different people; away from something he would only know years later was having a bad effect on him, he improved despite other injury. And Joe and Irene looked at a long hospital note, another moment of synchronicity. He didn’t hear them whispering as he drifted in and out of consciousness on that first day.

“What did that mean?” she pointed to something on the diagnosis.

“It could mean anything from substance abuse to someone trying to do something to him.”

“It’s so hard to tell. I hope he’s alright.”

“Well, we have no way of knowing what happened. And…”

“What?”

Joe’s mouth tightened in exasperation. “Isn’t it weird,” he explained, “that this kid washes up on the riverbank with a concussion and a wound in his side and god knows what else that other thing is—“

“Joe—“

“And he’s obviously not from here and that fucking accent, Irene, what is this kid up to?”

“Joe, what are you trying to say?”

“We just—“ He let his gesticulating hands drop to the tabletop and looked at her pointedly. “—we should try and find out what happened.”

“What, do you think—“

“I have no idea what shit’s gone down, but there’s gotta be something behind this.”

Irene laid a hand on her husband’s arm, her eyes tight. “Can’t you shut up for now? I don’t care if your job is boring, if this is some way out to have a little fun, just stop it. He doesn’t need any questions asked of him.”

“Who said—“ he began, before she cut him off.

“Job. Marriage. Your decision.” She left the table then, and when she’d reached the other end of the house, sighed and leaned against the far wall. Here she came to think. She closed her eyes and tried to hear the trees outside. It was her grandparent’s house, and a long time ago when there had been a forest just by the backdoor, you could hear the wind through the leaves here where the walls were thin. She narrowed her eyes, thinking she’d heard something, then realized it was just her breathing, and gathered herself back together.

Joe was probably still wondering how that conversation had turned into an argument. She’d let him think it out. He was too busy wondering, probably, to notice anything around him. Like how the two of them, like this house, were only an object, something functional and everyday, instead of something alive, something that had once captured the wind.

She was about to go outside, but heard an echo of herself: breathing—and remembered once again, she forgot so quickly, that they did indeed have someone else with them. Laid a hand on the door and saw the boy was asleep. He muttered something unintelligible when she neared, eyes shut, and turned on his side, exposing a long line of red scored with black dashes of thread. His breath rose and fell. She wasn’t sure if he was in pain (or if she should wake him), she just looked at his skinny ribs as his chest expanded, contracted, and thought he looked nothing like her son. Even so, he reminded her of Avery. Which got her to wondering, as she closed the door behind her and made her way back outside, if Avery ever returned (if Avery was even alive), would Joe even notice.

Outside the leaves were already blurry in motion, falling late in the season, so her eyes blurred the scene very little.

Ciarán had a very vivid dream he remembered nothing of in the morning. In the sort of shadow haze that comes at the beginning of wakefulness, the woman’s face and the man’s face seemed familiar. The man, he wanted to say, was the wrong one, as he had the woman by the arms and looked into her eyes, in the wrong way.

And the man told her, “You have to forget this ever happened.”

She looked down. The man moved closer. “Do you hear me?” he asked. “I’m saying, keep silent. Don’t speak of this. Ever.

Trust me,” he said, narrowing shadowed eyes. “It’ll be easier if you don’t.”

Ciarán wanted to intervene, but in this dream he had no power, very little focus, and the figures were already distorting and fading.

He woke up with his heart pounding. His head was clear, his side ached. Leaves fell outside his window. It was totally silent. He rubbed his head, wanting to go back to the dream already dissipating. He missed…he wanted…something. Someone. Many someones. Then he blinked into the sunlight and focused his eyes and with the clarity of day, the longing too dissipated. Barely an echo of a heartbeat he could hear to remind him. And no rhythm and no music to remind him of others.

He straightened, noticing with a shock it was freezing. How had he been sleeping in so little clothing? Perhaps he’d had a fever. No, it had hurt his stitches to have anything…anyways. He scrabbled around for a shirt, pulled it over his head, and made his way barefoot to the bathroom, wetting his hair in the faucet and shivering when it made runnels down his back. But the cold felt heavenly against what was now only a line, no thread, no stitches.

He was starving as if he’d died. Went to the kitchen and wolfed down food, cheeks burning when he tried to remember the people’s names. The man looked at him funny. The woman just looked sad. He wondered if they argued like the man and the woman in the dream. But she didn’t seem like she was told to forget things. Too much memory obvious on her face. Before he left, he could already see a preview of the sadness of when he would be gone.

“He reminded me of Avery,” Irene sighed, leaning against Joe. He held her a moment then was back to his old self, saying matter of fact, “He was nothing like Avery.”

“Do you think he’ll ever come back?” she whispered, obviously not talking about the boy who had left sometime when he wouldn’t be noticed.

“I don’t know,” Joe replied, and just for a moment, let the world show its heavy weight in his expression.

History liked to repeat itself, or mirror events. In his IV he'd gotten what Ace had stumbled upon as an antidote. Like him, Ciarán got a recovery, before he decided to leave and fuck it all up once again. Somewhere else, somewhere he still hadn’t found yet, there was instead of a recovery a beginning decline. Their paths would cross again. Or so he hoped. Because there were only so many times this synchronicity of events would nudge his life in the opposite direction.
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Old 10-17-2011, 01:10 AM   #2
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I think Ciarán needs a hug. And yea.

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Old 10-17-2011, 11:00 AM   #3
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he does...
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Old 10-20-2011, 05:45 PM   #4
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Iiiiinteresting.

(no, nothing more to say... sorry)
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