TBOTSG-Chapter 3

August 17, 2023

Reeza. Even her name has a special ring to it.

Filip’s thoughts slowly formed inside my mind as if they were my own. The thoughts of others were unclear to me and came as if from the most remote corners of my mind. However, the intensity with which he thought about me added a completely new layer on top of my own and it drowned them completely. I could only hear what he was thinking.

He looked at me in the rearview mirror and I could see with my own eyes the expression of his thoughts. I would have known he was thinking of me even without being able to read his mind, but the fact that I could see my own reflection with my mind’s eye, as well as being able to feel his complete deep admiration, akin to veneration, made me nostalgic. I like to be venerated. The most beautiful thing in the world. Perhaps I would have abandoned them a long time ago had I not had that pleasure, a thought that surprised me by its sincerity as well as by its ability to drive all the intruding ones away. This and the fact that, by looking at my hands, I started to realize just how human I was. Have I really become human again? Was it possible?

My thoughts were starting to slip through my fingers, so I propped up my head with my hand, feeling myself sliding back into a state of daydreaming, despite my efforts to stay alert. I knew this world was supposed to be safe, but the jumble in my mind, the sudden way I found myself here…

A vivid memory from the hospital reappeared in my mind, complete and immersive as if I were there again. My forehead lightly touched the window during tighter curves, allowing me to relax and slip into a deeper sleep. The same kind of odd, repetitive, and familiar sound, beep-beep-beep, brought me back entirely to the moment when I first opened my eyes in this world. Or maybe re-opened, to be more accurate.

I felt as though I had lost touch with the world; as if I were waking up from the dead. And I was trying my best to do so, but I couldn’t focus or remember anything. I had only one kind of feeling. One that was difficult to find a name for, because I hadn’t felt it in a long time. Centuries? Millennia, perhaps? It was back when I found the toga and the pendant in front of the greenhouse, all intertwined in a pile of bones. That image made me open my eyes wide. I had seen the hospital hallway back then. Objects that seemed both foreign and familiar were everywhere. People too. Some were busy with tasks. Others were sitting in chairs or lying on beds along the corridor. A woman dressed in a white coat noticed that I had opened my eyes and approached me. She asked me some questions, and my lack of reaction made her uncomfortable. She asked someone if I had any family, then I think I dozed off again, just like now, against my will. I don’t know how long I stayed in that hallway. Or how many times someone came to ask me something. Every time, I felt like I was slipping back into non-existence without being able to make a sound. I had forgotten what it was like to sleep, to have the sensation of not knowing yourself. Things I hadn’t experienced since transcending. Things that had ceased to have meaning for me, but were now regaining their existence. I smiled at the irony of the situation and regained my hope.

When, at last, another woman came to ask if I was feeling better, I was in an even greater state of confusion than before. I had just then realized that I had a body, and the heart of this body was beating violently and erratically like a wild animal that had just been caught in a trap. I had so many questions that I couldn’t formulate one before another took its place. I felt not only that my body and mind were now solid, made of flesh and bones, but I had the sensation that everything was on the brink of liquefying within me and was becoming just like the sea of lava.

I managed to stand up, knocking over things and grabbing onto people, and I headed toward a mirror. Those around me were trying to pull me back to where I came from, constantly asking me things and refusing to let go. However, for me, there was nothing else but the slightly blurry image in front of me. I don’t even know how long I stared at my reflection. I wasn’t in my old body. I couldn’t have been, because it had died so long ago that I had forgotten what it looked like. This realization calmed me. What I was seeing now was the manifestation of one of my avatars. Certainly, one much more real, more physical, more… tangible.

I grinned, a realization dawning within my dream, once again comprehending the significance of the image in the mirror. Through my mind’s eyes, I perceived my reflection growing increasingly vivid, this time caught in the rearview mirror: Filip searched for me with a worried countenance as if having misplaced something dear. And so I smiled, a genuine smile that transcended the boundaries of mere wakefulness. No need for sight. I concluded that this lad, with his reminiscences of youth and his fervent admiration directed my way, embodied precisely the ailment required during this phase of convalescence.

‘M,’ I murmured without realizing, and several moments later M was already calling Filip. The realization that I had summoned him without even being aware of it brought about a sense of relaxation. It was reassuring to know what I was capable of and how strong our connection was.

Something caught my eye. To the right, in the back seat of a car waiting at the traffic light just like we were, there was a girl gazing dreamily out the window. She had a contented smile, and that made me want to focus entirely on her. I closed my eyes and saw her playing with a puppy in a yard with tall grass, overgrown with weeds and wildflowers. I saw her happy and radiant, just as she looked on the outside. I wondered… I raised my right hand and, with a gesture, summoned the clouds and darkened the sky. Then I clapped my hands together hard, and lightning followed by a loud thunder split that imaginary sky in two, frightening the girl and jolting her out of her own reverie. When I opened my eyes, the cars were already in motion, and she was looking at me through the windows that separated us, puzzled but frightened as if she knew that I had invaded her mind.

Filip felt pretty much the same way, wondering why I had clapped my hands, but he didn’t know how to ask and was overthinking unnecessarily. I smiled at him in the mirror and felt a wave of warmth. Another time, it would have left me indifferent, but now I laughed out loud, which made him blush even harder and feel even more confused.

I’ve changed. Could it be because of this human form? I needed to decide what to do next… and for that, I need M. M who materialized next to me at the hospital when I shouted his name back then, in my confused fury. This told me that my power existed beyond the limits of this repulsive body. I had this thought and immediately saw how Filip’s facial expression had transformed into one of disgust. I need to control myself, and that won’t be easy.

This lack of control reminded me of the moment at the hospital when the woman in the white coat tried to give me a sedative because I seemed uncooperative. When she touched me, I felt a strong repulsion, which manifested as a surge of energy that threw her away like a rag doll. She was lucky to have a few onlookers behind her who softened her fall. Chaos ensued. People screaming, bewildered, not knowing who to blame. Women complaining. Children yelling as if someone were cutting off their hands. Security arrived. Other doctors came. Paramedics. People upon people, all against me, determined to immobilize me. The surge of energy had left me drained. And these confused, angry people were roughing me up, poking me with needles, holding my hands and feet, striking me, and in the chaos, sometimes striking each other. Weakened, I remembered M. I tried to break free from their grip, but I began to be inundated by their anger, the images they saw, the fear they felt, their confusion. Their thoughts and sensations pierced me so violently that a deafening pain made me see white before my eyes. The last thing I remember is M. As he materialized in their midst, he grabbed a man by the shoulder and tossed him aside. When I felt his energy, I lost consciousness.