This one’s a short chapter. Honestly, chapter breaks may still shift but finalizing those is pretty low on my list of priorities at this point. You can find the rest of the chapters here.
Two weeks after the three-day telepathic hell fest, Carson petitions the Educational Board, receiving preliminary approval pending completion of the teaching program. He enrolls, tackling the challenge with a determination that has him finishing it in a record six months, a frenetic period during which he’s hindered only occasionally by the remnants of allucinari and somehow always makes time for his efforts to broaden my perspective through human media. The colleagues who oversee his supervised teaching can’t praise him highly enough, nor can the Board find much to criticize in the yearlong outline he provided for his course. The school schedule is modified to include his class, and he’s given a room, supplies, and a generous salary. He’s astounded by how simple the process is.
I’m equally astounded when he tries to pay me rent after receiving his first paycheck on the day before his class begins – many Shelter jobs provide a ‘start up’ check to help employees settle in.
<How much do I owe you?>
<Nothing,> I reply briskly, glancing at him before returning my attention to the advancing and receding line ahead of us where ocean meets sand. Two miles of beach fall within the field of the Resonance Deflector, a fact I’m increasingly grateful for the longer I’m
I stop short a couple paces from my bedroom door. Carson’s in the hallway, staring at the wall. Then he touches it, shakes his head, takes a couple steps, and stares again. He’s clearly unaware of me so I send him the lightest of telepathic nudges, a gentle nok.
“Eyan!” he exclaims, hastily distancing himself from the wall and giving an abashed smile. “Hi.”
<Hi… What are you doing?>
<I’m looking for the hallway computer interface.> He gives me what I can only describe as a partial glare, as if it’s my fault he can’t find it.
I laugh, walking past him halfway down the hallway and gesturing at the wall to my right. <It’s here.> I activate it by touching the camouflaged panel at eye level. It’s virtually indistinguishable from the surrounding paint when deactivated.
Carson joins me, shaking his head at the computer. <Why is it hidden?>
<It’s not hidden, it’s discrete.>
He frowns. <What’s the difference?>
<Subterfuge versus aesthetics.>
The corners of Carson’s eyes crease with amusement. <All right. Why are they discrete?>
<Because computers are just tools. We don’t want them dominating our lives the way humans have let them.>
His mouth thins. <I wish you wouldn’t disparage humans so much. We would be just like them if not
I’m submerged in my novel today, reading it after too long away to get a sense of what is left for me to do. I decided to take a break to post an update to the end of Chapter 5. I literally just did this earlier today so there may be typos.
This happens right after Eyan is given the memory as punishment:
The Council allows us to leave.
<I’m going to find Mara,> I tell Carson. <I’ll meet you at home.>
<All right,> he agrees.
We part ways on the street, him heading toward my house and me toward the one Mara shares with her amari. From the way her amarim greets me, I don’t think she knows I assaulted her daughter, who she tells me is at the park.
I find her walking under the trees with Yhuri. They stop when they seem me approaching.
<Good afternoon,> I say to them both.
They don’t return my greeting. She’s clearly told Yhuri, who rightly shows none of the warmth she did when I went to the hospital to see Carson.
Recognizing that I have no right to ask to speak with her alone, I get to the point. <Mara, I apologize. I was trying to help Carson, who lost hi-> I stop myself with the shake of my head. I sigh. <I didn’t come here to give you excuses. I just wanted to say I’m sorry that I harmed you.>
Mara and Yhuri exchange a glance. Mara
We return to the Shelter once my conscience gets the best of me. I leave our reentry to autopilot and all goes as planned.
<Back to the house?> Carson asks on our exiting to an empty room, the ceiling already back in place.
It’s still but that won’t last. <Or as far as we make it.>
He shoots me a quizzical glance. Before I can elaborate, Davonte and several others – the Council, I realize with some surprise – enter. It’s a crowded fit for such a small space. I resist the urge to quip about a road trip.
Davonte is all in black except the yellow sapphire pendant that makes me look at her eyes, ablaze with that fury I know so well. Face rigid, she advances, flinging an avalanche of anger. It hurls into me with such force that I stagger back and gasp, temples pounding. Carson remains steady. Not a loss of control then. A focused explosion, the equivalent to a punch.
<Explain yourself,> she commands icily.
<It’s my fault,> Carson interjects. <I wanted to collect my mom’s Imprint and Eyan helped me.>
<As admirable as that motive is, it does not excuse attacking a fellow Chosen, stealing this Shelter’s only ship, and risking that ship’s destruction, or worse, capture by the DOH!>
Each word is a pulse of pain. I wince, grateful
This is the first paragraph of my novel the Other Side, of which I posted an excerpt a while back:
My name is Taia Marie Eaton. I am 23 years old. A graduate of UCLA. A planner. A dreamer. A teacher. A student. A woman of creativity. I am multifaceted and always changing. Contradictory. Flawed. I am things I like and things I dislike. Intelligent. Questioning. Beautiful. At times, selfish. Doubtful. Complacent. Always striving to give. To ask. To be. To try. To improve.
I generally think the novel has a really good premise that I did the most obvious possible thing with. Just the fact that a romantic love story is important to it is proof of how much my writing preferences have changed. If I were to rewrite it now, the closest thing it would get to having a romantic love story would be for the main character to be in a happy relationship that adds no drama to the novel at all.
What really strikes me about this paragraph now is that she knows she’s beautiful. So while it may have a love story, at least it doesn’t involve the cliched protagonist who doesn’t think she’s beautiful and doesn’t expect any guy to ever think she is. So that’s a win for past me.
Necessity keeps me going. Necessity always does. I’m a doctor. When people are hurt I have to help them. There is no other way for me. It almost makes it easy. Or at least simple. I don’t have to think about anything other than the patient, their vitals, their treatment. And when I’m done with one patient there’s another. Enough to fill all the minutes. So I let them.
Inspired by yesterday’s post, here’s the first paragraph of a Sherlock Holmes fanfic I wrote on 02/01/2017.
I was so angry at his deception that I quite lost my senses. I walked out of the club while he was explaining his exploits to Lestrade, flagged down the first cab I saw, and asked the fellow to take me to his favorite restaurant. Once there, I ordered myself a simple meal, some good wine, and ate without fully registering the name of the establishment. Outside, another cabbie took me to his favorite hotel and I spent a quiet night hoping Holmes would not somehow manage to track me here, assuming he cared to try.
The question being, of course, would Sherlock Holmes be able to find him?
The longest minutes are the ones when you wait, not knowing what’s going to happen, not knowing what may have already happened. It would be easier if you could do something to help the people whose lives are in limbo. But maybe they’re not in limbo. Maybe they’re already gone and you’re just counting the minutes until you find out you never got to say goodbye. Right now you don’t know and the waiting feels…eternal.
My alarm rouses me at 0530 for food duty. Rolling out of bed, I mentally probe the household and am relieved to discover Carson, his essence a rippling pool that is at once refreshing and tinged with grief.
<Eyan?> he questions, fatigue etched into the two syllables of my name.
<Sorry,> I apologize, <I should have noked. I wanted to make sure you were back. Didn’t mean to bug you.>
<No, it’s okay. I didn’t mean to worry you.>
<We have food duty today,> I inform him hesitantly. <We’re supposed to be in the kitchens at 0630.>
Maybe I shouldn’t have told him. He’s new and I could go without him, say he’s mourning the loss of his amarid. No one would question it.
<Okay,> he agrees simply.
Zantia, the elderly woman in charge of food services, welcomes me back to Headquarters with a warm smile, shaking Carson’s hand when I introduce them. The first thing she asks of her fifty or so Tuesday helpers is that we divide ourselves into groups: chefs, assistants, and deliverers.
I find myself explaining this to Carson proactively. <Chefs need no guidance, assistants are those who feel comfortable cooking under supervision, and deliverers, well…that’s pretty self-explanatory.>
<I’d like to sign up for chef duty!> Carson exclaims with such exuberance that my chuckle is shared by several neighbors.
Assistant is the role I typically
As is the case often, whether for better or worse, yesterday evening did not go as I planned. Practically everything I set out to do took longer than expected. I decided to go to bed rather than post here.
The tiny quote below is from a story where the character’s wife has just died (remember how I’m mean to all my characters?). It strikes me today that it applies to so many different relationships that end for so many reasons.
“We were happy together. Why doesn’t it ever last?”