Archive for September 22nd, 2010

Sep 22 2010

…and Back Again

Published by under callie

Callie held her breath to better triangulate where the voice originated.  She tested the absence of light by waving her hand across her face, close enough to feel the breeze from its passing on her nose.  Nothing at all visible: Callie kept her eyes tightly shut, to minimize the damage to her senses a sudden burst of light could give, and focused on her hearing, touch, and proprioception to assess her surroundings and to find the speaker.

“Where do you think you are?”

It sounded as if the voice was coming from in front of Callie, a little left of center, so she moved as quietly as she could in that direction, halting as the next sentence came from behind  her.

“It won’t be that easy.”

Obviously sound was unreliable as guidance, so Callie tuned it out and focused entirely on her kinesthetic senses to find her target.  She could tell the voice tried speaking a couple more times but she was no longer recording it even in short-term memory.  A trickle of air along the outside of her right arm had her attention; following that perceived vector back to its probable source seemed like another false clue, but scanning in an arc around that point gave the slight hollow feeling of someone displacing air off to the left.

She moved forward quickly, hands outstretched, her right grasping something soft and tenuous as she came almost within reach.  The presence moved away with a low chuckle; Callie was left holding something that felt like long, thin silk fibers against her skin. Quick exploration with her fingers found a flexible shaft — another feather, much more realistic than the metallic one she still had tucked into her belt.  She slipped this into a pocket for later examination, and resumed her attempts to find the other person in the room.

The bright flash she’d been half-expecting came next, orange and yellow coloring her eyelids bright enough to make her eyes water slightly even while still closed. She turned her body to angle toward where she thought the other now stood, and waited for another signal.


Callie wasn’t pleased to start hearing the voice again consciously, but she tried to remind her senses to ignore the auditory signals as unreliable.  Her anger was fully engaged now, a lovely slow burn and build that she was nearly ready to let free.  She felt air displacement from movement again and launched herself at the probable source, this time keeping low in the hopes of unbalancing the other when she made contact.

She connected solidly with a human body shape, but when she tried to take a firm hold she found her fingers slipping through yet more wispy feathers and then holding air, soft laughter coming now from across the room.  Callie felt distinctly more disoriented than she was used to, and suspected more infuriating mind games.  She stayed crouching down, breathing slowly to clear her mind enough to  try again against her unseen adversary.

“Haven’t you figured anything out yet?”

Whatever was unbalancing her didn’t seem to have taken over vocal cords, so Callie stayed silent.  And waited.  No more taunting words were forthcoming, and to most people it would seem that Callie was alone in a dark room.  She rolled backwards suddenly, colliding against legs standing no more than two steps behind her, and scrambled to pin down the person.  Just as Callie took hold of a pair of shoulders, her hands sinking finger-deep into silken threads, she felt a bone-jarring blow echoing through her head, and the blackness without filled her mind within.  As she sank into oblivion, she heard,

“You’ll have to try harder than that.”


When Callie returned to consciousness, her eyes instinctively opened to show clean white tile an inch away from her nose.  Familiar white tile and grout; after a moment, Callie lifted her head to see that she was laying on the floor of her kitchen.  She jumped up, grabbing the counter as her legs were initially unsteady, then moved to check the front door.  Locked, and no key visible.  She looked back at the counter and saw the dirty martini she’d mixed forever and a day ago still waiting.  She checked the side of the glass; it was warm, a little circle of condensation around its base.

She wondered if she was supposed to think her adventure out of doors had been nothing but a dream.  Other than the passage of time indicated by the warm drink, nothing seemed out of place.  She checked her pockets for the key and found the feather she’d pulled from her invisible captor.  In style and pattern it reminded her of a peacock feather, but the colors were a riot of reds and oranges and yellows, gold and copper and silver.  She checked her belt and the sharp metal feather was also there.  No dream, then.

Callie set the two feathers neatly side by side on the counter, then picked up the drink and downed it in one gulp.  It was time to plan.

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