Monday, March 9, 2015

The Silent Room: Part 29


She woke slowly, as if from a deep sleep after a bad dream. Her body felt weighted. When she opened her eyes, the room where she found herself was airy and gently lit with sunshine. Around her, long pale curtains billowed in a slow swirl of movement. The bedding curled up enveloping her in a white cocoon of softness. It was disorienting in its cleansing lightness.

She closed her eyes again, groaning as she stretched her arms, and tried to remember where she was, how she had got here. She remembered… a ginger-striped kitten, an empty living room. Then nothing. She let her mind drift. Snuggled more deeply into her comforter.

Another thought, an important thought, niggled at the edges of her awareness. Through the cotton wool tangle of her thoughts, she tried to fix her mind’s eye on that brush of memory. A face scrubbed in shadow. Almost.

It slipped a little further away, just beyond her consciousness. Maybe she would sleep just a little longer. She turned her face into her pillow, burrowing in. Then a name slipped into her mind with the soft weight of a pebble dropping into water. Kerr. Sitting up in one swoop of motion, she opened her mouth and began to scream.

Even before her scream reached its full crescendo, she felt a strange sweep of emotions begin to surge through her body in a rushing chemical wave of fatigue and forgetfulness. Her scream thinned, dissipated. She tried to fight it. No, she needed to scream. She needed to… She sank back onto the bed, her eyes fluttering.

As her eyes fought to stay open, she felt a gentle hand stroke the side of her head, brushing her hair back behind her ear. She turned toward the motion. The form of Grandma Nan flickered in and out with the form of a gaunt man in a black suit and a crisp white collar. Grandma Nan stroked her cheek this time, a soft, regretful expression on her face.

“I’m sorry,” she said. He said.

Sora tried to separate them into two.

“I’m sorry,” they said. “It’s better if you sleep now.” The world faded away in soft dreams of wandering clouds drifting above a flock of sheep as they grazed under a lavender sky.

In the background, the cortex manipulation continued to run its diagnostic on her implant chip. When it found the glitch, it reinstalled the program and added on a few patches. Once it had completed its repair work, it restarted the program and inducted her back into the virtual main frame, this time in her own fully functional simulated world. She did not wander again into another’s dreams.

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