Listening 3

October 20, 2010
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The boy and the girl stop for the night at a run-down Dari Mart. The boy searches the proximity for monsters, finds there are none, and they settle in and eat the pastries and drink the warm soda. The boy scrubs the blood off his hand from what the shadow thing did to it.
All electricity and running water are gone. It is utterly dark.
“Why is this happening, Empathy?” The girl asks quietly, putting down her Twinkies and curling up into a ball to sleep.
The boy doesn’t answer, his expression flickering to a grimace but then softened to something pensive.
“Carina said it was a sickness. Something wrong with the mind. Ironic…” He rolls his eyes and mutters the last word so that the girl doesn’t hear. But he says more in his normal voice, “She said that humans were going to end up like this no matter what, and there was nothing I could do to stop it. She said we were all going to turn into monsters one day…”
The girl whimpers a bit and curls up tighter.
The boy takes off his blue jacket and tosses it to her. The girl clutches it and wiggles into it like it was a blanket.
“I didn’t mean to become a monster…” She whispers, her voice barely audible.
“I know. It’s not your fault.” The boy reaches over and pats her head.
The girl is silent for a moment.
“How come you didn’t become a monster?”
The boy blows out his breath, the gust blowing his bangs out of his face. “No idea. I asked Carina once and she didn’t tell me.”
“Maybe it’s because we needed you to help us get out of our monsterness.” The girl said.
“That’s what I think. But sometimes I wonder… why would something happen like this? Why would such an epidemic happen?” The boy leans against a rack, accidentally knocking over a box of M&M’s. He sighs and picks them up. “Is it an outside force or something? I don’t know…”
“Big stuff to think about.” The girl buries herself in the boy’s jacket.
“Well, it’s a big problem.”
The girl peeks out to look at him. “How long have you known Carina?”
She pouts and huffs. “How come you always question my questions!?”
“Well, I’m not expecting them!” He looks at her defensively, frowning. “And I dunno, since I was five.”
“How did you ‘meet’ her?”
“What do you mean?”
The girl looks at him, raising an eyebrow. “You know what I mean. I mean she’s a voice in your head. Did she just appear?”
“Well… yeah.” He looks down, lines creasing his forehead as he frowns deeper and thinks harder. “We grew up together. My parents thought she was just an imaginary friend, until of course, I didn’t outgrow her.”
“What happened?”
“Well…” But then his expression changes into a look of slight frustration and pensiveness. “I don’t want to tell you. You’re too young.”
“I’m not too young!” She protests and sits up. “Besides, I deserve to know! You’re our town’s savior!”
He blinks, his demeanor of dark musing sliding into surprise, as if he wasn’t anticipating that.
“W-well…” He stops to glance at her, then realizing that he was giving in and really stops. “I’ll tell you later. I’d rather not now.”
“That’s not fair!” She screeches.
“Life isn’t fair.” The boy lets a few cackles slip and lies down on the floor to go to sleep. “Just go to bed, Angel, we need our strength.”
The girl growls, but curls up in the boy’s jacket and mumbles curses. “You’d better tell me later…”
A slight smile appears on the boy’s face, but he lets it fade.
“Did Carina ever tell you that you had the power to help us?” The girl asks suddenly.
“Hey, I thought we were going to sleep.” He scowls, muttering quiet enough so she can’t hear, “This girl just asks nonstop questions…”
“Just answer this one, pleeeeeeaaaase…”
“Okay fine.” He sighs. “Yes, she did. She told me that the first day she talked to me. She said ‘everyone has a special power. You have one that’ll save the world.’ But I didn’t believe that really until now.”
The girl sucks on her lower lip, appearing to think. “So that means I have a special power too?”
“Well yeah, I guess so.” The boy says and closes his eyes.
“What is it? Will you ask Carina?” She looks hopeful.
“Sure, sure. In the morning. I’m tired. And Carina’s unresponsive. Go to sleep.”
“Fine. Goodnight.”


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