4.4: A 'Spiritual' Abduction
`I said to the Sun,’Tell me about the Big Bang.′ The Sun said, ‘It hurts to become.’`
I am gonna save you the nonsense of this journey that seemed to almost not end on this goddamned day, and just sum it up for you.
So yes at the end, after lots of roaming around and shop-exploring, Tobias managed to steal the charger which he exaggeratedly described as an extreme, heart-‘re-borning’ (you know, since we have no hearts) adventure. In the meantime, I just leaned against the shop from the outside, watching people come and go by, under the harsh sun and under the influence of heavy, noisy traffic as I swatted flies that don’t get swatted away (to my immense displeasure) because they obviously can’t fucking see me.
I wished at a moment, when a fly literally pierced my heart and left from my back, to return to the Darkoom. And now, really, what I’m doing is, blocking Tobias’ animated, repetitive monologues about how he dropped something and freaked a customer out.
“-my hand went through his head!” He breathes out. “I wondered for a second if his head disappeared, you know-”
“Tobias-” I shake my head. “I don’t care. Really-”
Tobias’ lips freeze before curling into a smile. ”Okay.”
I nod and lift the phone. “We should find a place to charge that-”
Tobias nods. “Yes, but I think that that should wait until we’re transported to someone’s house. Maybe your house or something-”
“You don’t think we should break into a house for a charge port?” I ask with a smirk, letting my fingers all over the BlackBerry’s buttons.
“Well, that would involve me going alone. Again. Really, it’s risky if, in that period of time, you get sent to the Darkoom-” He arches a brow and leans closer to me. “I honestly don’t want to get lost-”
I give him a weird look because he was just all alone in that shop two minutes ago, but I decide not to engage in more conversation because I’m sure that there won’t be anything on the phone. I mean, what could it possibly hold that would explain Sierra’s apparent resentment for me?
I sigh as Tobias holds my hand, and we start walking on the dirtied pavement, occasionally passing through a person or two. The street is crowded and wide with two rows of shops and parked cars on both its sides. We are currently on its right side, walking under the bright sun.
It seems to have gotten hotter cause people everywhere are fanning themselves. A woman on our side with three wailing children attached to her is fanning herself with a brochure about the grand opening of a new restaurant. Another has a small, pocket-sized fan held right in front of her face. And a man in a taxi is fanning himself with a newspaper.
It is amusing and almost draws a smile on my face. Because I can’t feel the heat of course.
Tobias swings the charger in front of him and looks at me. “So what now?” He asks.
“I suppose if our purpose is done here, we’re going to be transported soon-” I say boredly as a guy in a baggy, orange shirt, and denim shorts, with a Golden Retriever, approaches us. I prepare myself to get walked through, but it never happens.
The puppy has stopped walking and is grunting, baring its canines, and erratically wagging its tail. Tobias and I glance at each other before stopping in our tracks and staring back at the triggered dog.
I certainly hate dogs. In fact, I hate any breathing creature (sometimes it includes humans). So I sincerely hope it doesn’t get to pass through me.
The guy struggles to hold the leash that’s keeping his dog in place, and I know this isn’t a good sign. Are we triggering him? Can this one creature see us? Feel us?
“I love dogs,” Tobias whispers with a smirk and mischevious eyes as the dog barks and jumps in our direction, despite the guy’s struggles to hold him back.
“I think we should leave-” I say, pulling Tobias in the opposite direction, but he doesn’t budge.
It’s clear to me that we are the cause of the dog’s chaotic behaviour. It’s like how in horror movies the dogs are the first to get disturbed and the first to die due to a malevolent spiritual presence. It’s the same here.
“What’s wrong with you, Benji?” The guy shouts out with a frown and pulls him toward himself. Looking at the guy, I can tell that he looks familiar with his tall frame, green, wide eyes, and his mob of dark hair.
I can’t just put a finger on it.
Tobias lets me go and kneels down in front of the dog. I sigh wearily, purposefully not reminding him that I might lose him in this dimension.
Well, let him get lost.
“Hey, Benji,” Tobias whispers with a wide smile and rubs the dog’s fur. The dog gives in with a whine and stares at him doe-eyed. “It’s okay-” He tells him, and I’m almost repulsed by how nice he insists to be.
The dog relaxes and stops barking. The guy, of course, thinks that he’s the reason why his dog has backed down and takes credit for it. ”Good boy-" He says.
“Tobias, get up-” I demand, and he turns to me with a surprised smile.
“I’m taking that dog from this guy-” He says as matter-of-factly.
“How?” I ask with a smirk, confidently crossing my arms across my chest. It’s impossible.
Tobias slowly gets up, and I can see how the dog seems mesmerized by him. Tobias then reaches for the leash and tugs it free from the guy’s hand. Surprised that his methodology has worked, he lets go of the leash and grins at me.
“Like this!" He yells out. ”Run!”
I am as shocked as the guy who’s staring in his hand at the gone leash. I can’t form proper words when I realize the dog’s coming for me. My eyes widen, and I absently backtrace my steps.
“Tobias!” I yell out, but he doesn’t seem to respond in his excited frenzy, so I stare in fear at the dog running straight in my direction.
“Hold the leash!” Tobias calls out, and I look around confused.
I shriek when the dog leaps at me, and the leash flies right in front of me. My reflex actions quickly take hold of it. The dog has successfully and unfortunately passed through me, but I’ve got the leash.
“Run!” Tobias calls out again, and I find both him and the dog’s owner running toward me and the violently barking dog. It’s like a spiritual abduction. It’s almost exciting.
And I do. I run as fast as those non-solid legs can take me, and it’s either that I don’t sweat or I can’t feel my sweat which is bloody crazy, amazing.
We obviously have an advantage over the guy because unlike Tobias, he can’t see me. I round a corner, into an abandoned, disgusting alley, but we haven’t lost the guy yet.
“HOLD THE DOG IN YOUR ARMS!” Tobias yells from a distance, and I look back at him like he’s lost it because there’s no way that’ll happen. I almost feel sympathy for the guy who’s clueless to all the scheming that’s happening around him and is just yelling ‘Benji!’ like his life depends on it.
“IT’LL DISAPPEAR-” He continues saying from behind me, and I shake my head at how ludicrous this sounds as I vehemently promise myself that Tobias will get a piece of my mind after this whole mission impossible is over.
I stop in my tracks, look at the dog in panic, and quickly swoop him up in my arms, eyes closed, praying God not to punish me for this vile act. I turn around, to find Tobias, and the guy standing still, Tobias looking triumphant with a flushed face, angry hair, and a wide, toothy smile, and the guy looking everywhere.
“This is crazy!” Tobias announces and laughs to himself as I stand expressionless, holding Benji with his tongue up my nose.
The guy pulls out his phone with a disappointed sigh and calls someone.
“I’m telling God about this-” I pant out, glaring daggers at Tobias. ”This was- this was-” I shake my head.
“Fun, exciting! No, wait, exhilarating-”
“No, no-” I shake my head. “I hate you-”
“Hey, you -uh-”
“Roseline-” I say absently, shaking my head, and raising my threatening index finger.
Tobias shuts up, and I blink at him.
“What?” I say angrily. “This is insane! No one- no one does that-” I shake my finger. “Besides, I hate dogs!” I pant, and he approaches me. “I strongly dislike them-” I wheeze out. “And you didn’t even ask! You just- you just told me to pick it up and run like a lunatic. You didn’t- you didn’t warn me-”
“Hey, hey-” Tobias stands in front of me and holds down my index finger. “Relax-” Then he steps even closer to me and lowers his eyes’ level to mine. “Rosey-"
I stare into his hazel eyes and surprisingly calm down. And it’s weird because instead of challenging him by keeping our eye contact, I fail, gulp, and look away.
“Don’t call me that-” I say crossly, looking at the damp path beneath us. “And take your dog-” I shove the calm, suddenly loving dog into his arms, and Tobias lifts his eyebrows.
“Can’t you see?” He says, looking at Benji with wide eyes and a small smile. “He loves us-”
“We stole him-” I say and glance past Tobias’ shoulders at the empty, narrow, graffiti-filled alley.
They guy’s gone.
“He just joined our dimension-” Tobias replies coolly. ”Rose, please, we’re having some fun-”
“My name is Roseline.”
“I’m trying out different nicknames to figure out which one works out for you-” Tobias argues as Benji sniffs him.
I narrow my eyes at him. ”Don’t-”
“Look, Rosa, we were meant to steal Benji. Why else wouldn’t we be returned to the Darkoom?” Tobias asks critically, and I sigh exasperatedly as Benji wags his tail.
“How is he related to my death?” I grimace as I watch Benji drool all over Tobias.
“I guess we gotta figure this out-” Tobias replies, his thin lips curling into a charming grin. ”Rosey-”
“My grandma used to call me that. I hated it-” I deadpan.
“It has a nice ring to it-” Tobias defends.
“You know what else will have a nice ring to it?”
Tobias sighs dreamily. “Wha-?”
“Leaving you in this dimension,” I state seriously.
Tobias scoffs. “You wouldn’t-”
“Look, Rosey, you need to understand something-” He tells me. “In our previous lives, we were losers who couldn’t afford to do what they wanted most-”
“Speak of yourself-”
“We have the chance to frame this life as we want-” He says eagerly.
“This is a punishment, not a fucking trip-”
“Look, I just wanted you to unwind-”
“It’s not working Tobias!” I snap. “I haven’t been here for thirty cycles. I haven’t moved on from my best friend’s betrayal. My best friend whom I have last seen a few days ago when I was alive. My best friend whom I’m literally checking after, to figure out why she hates me. Okay? I’m not over my ex-boyfriend. I’m not over my mom writing riddles, blaming herself for my death for some reason. I’m not over Jake’s anger and Aiden’s lostness. So forgive me if I can’t ‘unwind’-”
Tobias sighs sadly, looks around, then drops Benji, and holds the leash. “I’m sorry. I’m moving too fast. I thought you liked it-”
“I’m just overwhelmed right now-” I tell him, staring in his soul. “Really, Tobias. I don’t understand this freedom we’re given-” I say, trying not to sound as desperate as I feel. Because I literally can’t identify one emotion. It has all mixed up into confusion. “And you’re just- you’re dragging me around in places I don’t care to be, at times I just can’t be-”
Tobias looks at me silently, then clears his throat. I try to take him seriously all the time, but his hair is an absolution of a nightmare, and his eyes are lost and indecisive. I don’t know if he really gets me.
“I understand-” He says slowly, his shoulders dropping. “You don’t want me with you-”
Somehow the thought of the absence of his irritating ass fills me with dread which surprises me. When did I get used to his presence?
“No-” I say quickly. “I- uh- I don’t want that-” I blink and inhale deeply. “I just don’t want-” I momentarily shut my eyes and sigh. “I don’t want this-” I lift an arm and lock his eyes.
Tobias nods and smiles slightly. “Well, that’s good-” He then looks upward and glances down at me. “I like being around you-”
I’m surprised by his bold reply, that he quickly takes back.
“As in, you know, you’re the only one I know-” He then looks down with a smile. “Besides Benji-”
“Roseline, you know what you need?” He says, lowering his voice, and feigning thoughtfulness.
He then moves beside me and drapes an arm on my shoulder. I almost roll my eyes and consider throwing his arm, that I really can’t feel, off of me. He then leans in and whispers in my ear.
“Rosey, you need consumption-”
I blink and scoff out a laugh. “What in the hell is that?”
“You need to be consumed, Rosey, what’s there to explain, darlin’?” He whispers again, and I look toward him and his close face.
I shake my head and use my hand to shove his face away from me, shrugging his arm off of me. I then start walking out of the alley we’re stranded in.
“That would’ve been painful, but lucky for you I can’t feel shit-” I hear him say as he approaches me with his barking dog and holds my forearm.
I scrunch my nose at him. “I don’t understand your weird vocabulary. I really just need to die. Die spiritually-”
“All I meant is that you need someone to talk to and consume your thoughts. And I’m not saying talking. I’m saying talking, talking-” He gives me a sidelong glance as we step into the bright, busy street. “Night talks. Deep conversations-” He then locks my eyes. ”Intimate ones-”
“What are you doing?” I shake my head with a smile. “You’re shamelessly advertising yourself to ‘consume’ me?”
I groan and laugh at the same time. “We’re still on the brink of ‘enjoyable’ acquaintance-”
“This ′a-word’ really aggravates me-” He says as Benji barks. “See? Even Benji is aggravated-”
I smack my lips and smile despite having a kid with a kite (that doesn’t fly because the weather now is horrible) pass through me.
“Can you say ‘aggravated’ like ten times right after each other?” I ask him.
“That’s a weird request-”
“No, it’s a weird word-” I remark.
“So any word that can’t be said ten times right after each other is a weird one to you?” He chuckles.
“Say ‘acquaintance’ ten times, Rosey-”
I narrow my eyes at him and shake my head with a smile. “You’re unbelievable-”
“And you’re a hypocrite-” He retorts. “Never ever use such words. It’s a blood pact between us-”
“We don’t bleed-” I say lamely, and he smirks.
“How do you know? We all bleed, don’t we?” He asks, quirking up an eyebrow.
“We all bleed differently-” He says.
“What do you mean?”
“Well, poetically speaking, our blood is what keeps us alive, not existing-” He tells me. “You probably bleed love. And when you couldn’t find it around you, you just snapped. Get it?”
I look at him, mesmerized by his theory. “And what do you bleed?”
Tobias gives me another dazzling smile and smoothly changes the topic. “You know what I’ve been thinking about?”
"You getting a haircut-” He says suddenly, his eyes on me. He then looks away and picks up Benji.
I remember self-consciously touching my hair as I stared into his bright eyes that suddenly dimmed out and took the world’s lights away with it.