Chapter 31: Fairies
X had determined that he would only tolerate this for another minute, and then he was out of this place. Nothing could keep him here, he wouldn’t stand for it.
Lenora held something up, and he made a face at it.
“Don’t you like colors?” Lenora sighed.
“Mrow.” The CAT-II commented from its perch on the top ledge of the futon-sofa.
“No. Yes. Red. I like red.” X hissed. He ran a hand through his still damp hair in dismay.
Lenora had offered him her shower, and he had taken it. He had been hypnotized by the swirls of red at his feet and how they disappeared into the drain. It was almost like they had never been. He must have spent a lot of time in there, because the water started getting cold and he hadn’t even used the soap yet.
When X had come out, he couldn’t find his clothes.
Almost as if she knew, Lenora had called into the bathroom, “I’m washing them. I have a few things I picked up for you if you want them.”
X hadn’t answered. Instead, he had caught his reflection. He looked into his own eyes for some time, as if that would help him figure out the pieces of his mind that were locked away from him. The reflection didn’t have any answers though – only more questions.
Why didn’t he look familiar? Why did he look like a stranger to himself? He had circles under his eyes and he was thin, but he thought at least he would have had a spark of familiarity looking at himself in the mirror. Maybe it was his eyes… He looked into his own eyes and he felt…
The lights had flickered and he saw the motion mirrored by the pulse in his eyes. He saw himself smile and it was like a complete stranger smiled back at him.
How much of him had they taken?
“How about this one?” Lenora asked, holding up something green.
“It isn’t red.”
Lenora sighed, and tossed it onto the futon.
X tightened his crossed arms, tapping his bare foot on the carpet. Right now, he was in a towel. A comfortable towel, sure, but he wanted his coat back. He wanted his crappy pants and his holey shirt and his mismatched and worn socks, and the stolen boxer shorts…
“It isn’t red, don’t put it near me.” He heard the impatience in his voice.
“I think it would look nice on you.”
X looked away from her and mumbled something about killing several dozen men without hesitation.
The sound of her light giggle made his lips curl into a smirk. The sound was pleasant, despite the buzz of familiarity in the back of his mind. Somewhere he had heard a laugh like that before, but he didn’t want to bother with the headache of trying to remember it.
Not like he could go back to that life anyway. If it was even still there.
“I think these should fit you… I checked the label on your old pants, but… the tag was worn off…”
Lenora held up a pair of black pants. X cocked his head to the side and gave them a thorough scrutinizing.
“Not enough pockets.” X concluded.
“It has four pockets, see? Two in front and two in back, see?”
X scoffed. “They aren’t big enough. I need at least two more. Big ones.”
Lenora dropped the pants back into her lap. “What for?”
Some of her black hair was over one eye, and the rest was tossed over her shoulders.
She looked so familiar and he couldn’t figure it out – but it didn’t hurt when he thought about it, so he kept puzzling over it as if it would help. For a moment he thought she might be someone he didn’t like – but immediately he dismissed that idea. He remembered people he didn’t like.
She reminded him of a fairy. Why the hell he knew what a fairy was boggled him, but he didn’t think about that. Apparently fairies gave him headaches too.
X shrugged. “Guns. Knives. Electrical tape. Fairies.”
Lenora seemed to acknowledge this and she started poking through the shopping bag again.
“How about…these?” Lenora held up another pair of pants, and tossed them over to him.
He caught them with both hands out as far from him as he could, like he didn’t even want to touch them. Which for some reason was true. He wasn’t sure why he did it, but it seemed like the thing to do.
Shit, shit, pull yourself together. X straightened again and tried to act normal.
It was harder than it looked.
“Can you fit fairies in those pockets?” X could feel Lenora’s smile from where he was standing, and he scowled in response.
“Fairies aren’t real.”
X gave her a brow-quirked smirk and shook his head. Silly girl. He shook his head again. It was getting fuzzy in there, and he had to focus on these pants.
X inspected them. They were gray, and had a lot of pockets like his old ones, except these had a strap of fabric at the hip, like a loop. He tugged at it and gave Lenora a quizzical look.
“Oh. Those are carpenter pants. That’s where they hang their hammers. The carpenters.” Lenora had a bit of red in her cheeks, and she put the stray hair behind her ear.
X frowned. He didn’t like it when she did that, the blushing nervous thing. His right eyelid twitched and he looked back down at the pants.
“Commando.” X giggled, feeling the mania creep into his voice as he started to struggle into the first leg of the pants.
“What? OH.” Lenora exclaimed, tearing through the bag again and quickly tossing something else at X. “No, no, here use those.”
It hit X in the chest and fell to the floor. X blinked at it.
Super Saver Six Pack of boxers! Six for the price of four! Super comfortable and Super Stylish! Buy now and receive a coupon in your CoreComm account for a set of matching undershirts!
Lenora’s voice snapped him out of the memory of the commercial on the ad-screen. He slowly smiled over at her through the rough haze of the migraine, bending to pick up the package of boxer shorts.
“Super comfortable.” X mumbled.
X opened them up and started to struggle into them, receiving an alarmed squeak from Lenora as the towel slipped off. The CAT let out an indifferent ‘Mrow’ from the window and also turned away.
The boxer shorts were bright yellow.
But they were super comfortable.