The Center of Gravity

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Episode 6: Reality

The air was squeezed out of my lungs, and even if I was expecting it, I panicked. It was only for a moment, like the time before. Silence taunted my ears, reminding me of my life when I was alone only three days ago. The images on the TV screen were frozen, as well as Seth’s expression.

I couldn’t decide what I felt guiltier about-- freezing my friend in time to give him his memories without him knowing, or feeling enjoyment with the fact that I had that kind of power. I could literally do anything and no one would know.

Not that anyone was around to catch me.

I exhaled, shivering in the bland temperature as I gazed into the night of the outside. The compass in my hands brought more questions than peace and I began to wonder. Why were they hiding it in the first place? It wasn’t dangerous, more like a privilege.

My gaze went to the staircase. I could investigate.

Before I could stop myself, I was tearing up the staircase. I hurried into the room I found it in and searched quickly, not wanting to keep Seth trapped in his mind for too long. There was nothing unusual, nothing even indicating it was there.

I moved into the next bedroom, the master. It was evident Seth had picked this room to inhabit. The bed was unmade and most of the clothes I found for him were in piles on the floor. To make it even more unorganized, there were papers strung across the floor with writing scratched on them.

I snatched up one of them from the floor to study it.

We danced

until we collapsed

We laughed

until we couldn’t breathe

We cried

until the tears ran out

We stole glances

until we were caught

I smiled a bit at the poem. Maybe he used to be a writer. Maybe he was becoming one.

I sat down on the blanket beside his bed, reading the words again. What if he was writing about us? My heart swelled at the thought.

Yawning, I put the compass around my neck. I closed my eyes for a moment, but that was all it took for me to fall asleep.


» Day 58 «

“Rowin?” a voice said in a soft whisper.

“Mmm?”

A familiar, quiet laugh came from the edge of the bed and I rolled over, refusing to leave my sweet oblivion.

I peeled open one eyelid to see Seth sitting on the corner of the bed, wringing his hands almost nervously.

Reluctantly, I pushed myself into a sitting position, then crawled over to him.

“You were tired after the movie, huh?” he stated, staring at his hands.

I felt my eyes got wide as my hand flew up to grasp the compass, but there was nothing. I glanced down quickly, dread filling my gut. Had he found it? How was Seth here if I stopped time? Hadn’t I fallen asleep on the floor?

“Where is it?” I asked, searching through the blankets and pillows to get a glance of the brass.

“What?”

“My... necklace,” I answered, throwing a pillow off the bed.

“You had a necklace?”

His question made me freeze and I whipped my face back to him, only to notice something that caused my heart to skip a beat.

His brilliant blue eyes had dulled to a near gray. His cheeks seemed to have sunk in, giving his face a hollow look. Almost all the color was gone from his face, leaving him sickly pale.

“What?” he asked.

I cocked my head to look at him. He didn’t look this exhausted last night.

“N-nothing... Just-- could you help me?”

We both began the hunt as I described it to him.

If I didn’t find it, then where was it? I had it on before I slept. Seth couldn’t have taken it, he didn’t even know I had it. Maybe I was putting too much trust in him. But he had been frozen in time, how could he? If it wasn’t him then...

In my frustration, I groaned and flopped back down on the bed.

“Just forget it,” I said, closing my eyes.

“Be careful what you wish for,” he muttered.

“Sorry--”

“Don’t be,” he interrupted, not sensing my sarcastic tone. I opened my eyes to see him standing next to the bed. Without another word, I got up and went down to the kitchen. He followed.

“I’m sorry we couldn’t find it.”

“It’s fine, Seth.” I turned to him in the middle of the staircase, my heart pounding frantically.

He stepped down a couple steps so he could look at me evenly.

“I remember something,” he said, a heaviness now filling his tone.

“What is it?” I asked eagerly, waiting for this moment. One last trace of the compass still remained in my life.

“I could’ve gone without remembering this one.”

The light in his gray eyes faded and he took a deep breath.

“Seth?”

“Something happened. One minute my family and I were all in a helicopter together and the next it was only me... I don’t know, but it feels like it was my fault.”

His voice was laced with pain and I couldn’t keep myself from caring about him sincerely any longer.

“Is there anything I could do?” I asked, empathy overtaking me.

He thought for a moment, swallowing hard. Finally, he looked me in the eyes.

“Could you take me there?

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