Earth, Sky, Fire and Rain - Chapter 22 (30/3/08) - U2 Feedback

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Old 03-30-2008, 07:57 AM   #1
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Earth, Sky, Fire and Rain - Chapter 22 (30/3/08)

This one's kinda short too...

There's some swearing, so tune out now if you're easily offended.

Disclaimer: All total bollocks, not to be taken seriously.



end of chapter 21:
----------

"I'll let you know," Glen said at last. "If I get the number from you now, I'll probably just abuse him in a bad moment."

"If you want to do that, I won't object," I said, perfectly serious. It wasn't fair to Ed, I knew, but his feelings were the least of my concerns at that moment. If abusing Ed would make Glen feel better about this whole thing, then so be it.

He looked at me with a strange expression. "You mean that."

"I do."

Glen looked thoughtful again, and I wondered if I hadn't gone too far. Did he now think that I was inviting him to abuse Ed so that it would look as if I didn't care about him? All this second-guessing was making my head hurt. What a tangled web... and I'd never set out to deceive anyone.

Glen didn't say anything more about it that night, but I didn't get much more work done before I went to bed.



-----------
Chapter 22:
-----------

You keeps telling yourself that you're here but you're not alone
And you get the feeling that your mind is not your own
[...]
Strange how you can change and end up at her feet
You keep telling yourself but you know you're not to be believed



I woke up early the next morning, abruptly wide awake. I quickly scanned for any memories of dreams, and found none. So that was what a dreamless sleep was like... I'd missed it. I luxuriated in the total blankness in my memory since I'd crawled into bed, eight hours earlier. I felt free. Free of those disturbing dreams, free of the burdens of dead or imaginary people. Free from having to struggle to make my experiences fit into the real world.

I looked across to where Glen was still sleeping, through the dim light. His broad back was towards me, sporting the occasional coarse hair. I loved him. We'd been through rough patches before, we could survive this. I felt more optimistic now than I had for over a week. Moving carefully, I snugged up against his back, and dozed until the alarm went off.


I insisted on cooking again that night, and this time Glen gave way. He joked that I was just trying to get out of washing up... or else I was trying to poison him. That joke fell flat, though. And once again, after the meal, we sat in separate chairs while I tried to concentrate on my report. I'd got a lot of it done during the day, but I tended to write better in the evenings. Usually.

Maybe an hour passed, as Glen flicked channels on the TV.

"It could have been poison, you know," he said out of the blue.

"What, the meal? That's gratitude for you..." My attention was still mostly on what I was typing.

"No, the hallucinations. I don't see why he couldn't have put something in your food..."

That got my attention, and I bit back frustration. "I was out in the field, Glen. How could he have done it?"

Glen was shaking his head stubbornly. "I think your initial instincts about him were accurate. You thought he was a jerk the first time you met him, someone not to be trusted."

I opened my mouth, then closed it again. It wasn't safe to defend Ed.

"Did you keep food in your car? Or water?"

"Well, yes..."

"If he got in there and saw your notebook, he could have tampered with that, too. And he could have found your car while you were away from it, mapping."

I rubbed the bridge of my nose. "Okay, but I didn't feel any symptoms, aside from that one, specific episode. I felt fine beforehand, and, well, I was in shock afterwards, but I didn't feel drugged or anything. And that still doesn't explain how the exact same thing happened to him."

"All those dreams could have been symptoms. Maybe there are drugs that work over long periods of time, accumulate in your body, or something. And the fact that he managed to convince you that he was experiencing the same thing, that it's even possible that any of that was real... well, maybe that was a symptom too. If your resistance was low, he could have convinced you of anything. And I think it's significant that you haven't had any dreams since you got back – all these mysterious things happened while you were around him. I can't believe that's a co-incidence."

Glen watched me as I processed this. "The dreams I had in Australia...?"

"Those could be co-incidental, just normal dreams. Everything could have grown out of that."

I thought long and hard. I forced myself to be objective, cold and logical. Anyone else would have agreed with Glen, I was sure. There was a question I had to ask, however, before I was prepared to think that I could have been so thoroughly duped.

"But why would he go to so much trouble? What's his motivation?"

"For a start, rape." Glen spoke baldly, and the word fell with shocking resonance into the room. "But your nail broke, and he backed off."

I was trying to gather my wits to reply that there were easier ways to rape people, but Glen continued.

"Aside from that, like you said at first, he's probably a nutcase, although not as harmless as you thought. Some sick people just enjoy trapping people in elaborate webs of lies, watching their lives be unravelled. Perhaps he's hoping that we would break up over all this, and then you would turn to him."

My head was spinning by now. Everything Glen was saying made sense in one way, but it was completely at odds with what I wanted to believe, about Ed and about myself.

That made me think of those conversations with Ed, where he'd argued that wanting to believe something (or not) didn't make it so... or words to that effect. Ironic that something he'd said to convince me of his point of view was now working against him.

I remembered Ed looking me in the eyes, and swearing he'd never seen my notebook. I'd believed him, hadn't been able to bring myself to call him a liar to his face. It hurt to think that he might have lied after all, that I'd been right in the first place, and had then suffered all the guilt of thinking I'd been wrong. Had I been under the influence of some psychedelic substance, on top of all the shock and fatigue? Had Ed been playing me for an idiot all this time, was that why he'd argued so hard against the food-tampering theory?

It hurt worse to allow the possibility that I was stupid enough to be taken in by something like that. But it made sense. People got fooled by con-men all the time... it was only arrogance to assume that I was immune.

Hot, angry tears stung my eyes. Anger at Ed, at myself. At Glen, for thinking I'd been fooled, before I'd considered it. But I supposed that he could see more clearly, since he wasn't involved.

I made myself say the words, through the hurt. "You're probably right. Fuck!" I shoved the laptop to the floor, flung myself out of the chair, and stormed about the room looking for tissues. Glen wisely did not challenge the 'probably'. I repressed an almost overwhelming urge to kick the laptop – fortunately, I didn't have any shoes on, and the prospect of smashing my toes helped to dispel the violent impulse.

"Fuck!" I exclaimed again, scrubbing at my eyes. "My god, I can't believe I'm that fucking stupid..."

"Hey, hey, it's not your fault," Glen soothed, getting up to embrace me. I stood stiffly in his arms, not willing to surrender to my own apparent idiocy. Part of my brain was still sure that what I'd experienced was real, that Ed was more or less genuine, and that it COULD have been something inexplicable... but right at that moment, I was also aching to repair my relationship with Glen, to have my life back the way it had been before. The part of my brain that wanted that, and the part that didn't believe in re-incarnation, were too much for the part that still believed Ed.

"What do you want a gullible fool like me for?" I muttered, finally hugging Glen back.

"It could have happened to anyone. But it's over now." He had the grace to not sound smug or superior. I was just glad to feel close to him again.


I continued cooking for the rest of the week, as I'd planned to do the day after I got home, but Glen finally insisted that the normal order be restored. I was a trifle relieved – I'd just about exhausted my supply of reliable recipes. I'd finished my report for the Geological Survey, and been paid, which was always the best part. In another few weeks I would begin the core-logging job, which would last a couple of months at least, and give me something to do over the winter. Eyeballing metre after metre of cylindrical rock cores and marking the grain size and carbon content on a chart wasn't riveting, but it was easy. I was almost looking forward to some mind-numbing drudgery after all the recent mental upheavals.


-------------------------------
"Right? One, two, three, four..."

"............"

"Aw, for feck's sake, someone wake him up!"

"Hello, is there anyone home?"

"Reg! Snap out of it, man!"

"Feckit, just throw somethin' at him."

"I really wouldn't –"

"Ow! Hey!"

"Don't look at me, HE told me to throw somethin'."

"Oh, and you always do as he says, do you?"

"I know I keep telling people we're lost in the music, but come on..."

"You looked like you were a million miles away; we've been shouting at you for five minutes."

"... More like a few thousand years away."

"What? Hey, where are you off to?"

"I just... remembered something. Won't be long..."


"There's definitely somethin' not right with him."

"I'm supposed to be the one runnin' off all the time."

"Yes, but at least when you are here, all of you is here."

-------------------------------



Time passed, and Glen asked me at some point if I wanted to pursue some sort of legal action against Ed, but that was almost as ridiculous as any of the rest of it. And besides, I really didn't want to know once and for all whether or not it had all been an elaborate deception. Deep down, I couldn't quite believe it had been... but I also couldn't ignore the possibility. It made an awful, prickly sensation in my guts every time I thought of it, which I was trying to do as little as possible. All I wanted was to forget it had ever happened, and get on with my life.

So far, so good.

----------------
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Old 03-30-2008, 12:45 PM   #2
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You're right. It is so far so good... Nice and Edgy...
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Old 03-30-2008, 01:10 PM   #3
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i like!
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Old 03-30-2008, 02:14 PM   #4
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"All I wanted was to forget it had ever happened, and get on with my life. "

For some reason I don't think it will be that easy. (Hope not anyway!)
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Old 03-30-2008, 02:33 PM   #5
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she just can't forget Ed!
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Old 03-30-2008, 05:03 PM   #6
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I like this Ali.

How could anyone forget Ed??

question though.....is he ever going to tell her who he really is?
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Old 03-30-2008, 10:35 PM   #7
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Aw, does she really think he did that to her?!?!
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Old 03-31-2008, 06:33 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bono Mot
For some reason I don't think it will be that easy. (Hope not anyway!)
....

Quote:
Originally posted by dianepm
question though.....is he ever going to tell her who he really is?
Weeelll.... not exactly.

Quote:
Originally posted by zuropa_fit
Aw, does she really think he did that to her?!?!
I don't think she really does... but I guess at that moment, under those circumstances, it was easier to believe Glen, at least on the surface...

Gawd, don't start me on analysing this thing, I'll never shut up
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Old 03-31-2008, 11:51 AM   #9
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Great, as usual, but far too short!

*anxiously awaits next chapter*
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