February 2, 2023

Unsettling Developments

By aarondkey

“I wasn’t intending to go back to your house,” Timonthy said in a worried tone. He thought back to his daydreaming: wondering if it could become reality. “I was planning a holiday and then I need to go back to work.”

“You can do that just as well as long as you stick together,” Stolid answered solemnly. “It makes no difference. To be honest I can’t think of any logical reason why someone would want to hurt you. I think it was just a one-off or a mistake.”

The look on Gerard’s face was unimpressed. Timonthy thought of the mission Gerard had been given by Stolid to keep him and Paris safe and could understand why this sentence didn’t fill him full of confidence. Perhaps Stolid was just trying to reassure him for the sake of his future life.

They all turned at the sound of a loud entrance. It was Rael looking worried.”Elena told me there had been some trouble,” he said. “I’ve just got back. What happened?”

“Just another person with Power using it to create visions,” Stolid said nonchalantly.

“Is that all?” Rael replied heavily. They both smiled as if agreeing to relegate the conversation to a later time but still relishing the challenge of solving the mystery.

“It was just you two affected?” Rael asked. Timonthy nodded slowly.“That is strange,” Rael mused. “I imagined that you were the least likely to know someone with power like that, apart from us, of course.”

Gerard frowned without speaking, with good reason probably.

“I’m off to bed then,” Rael said. “Are you walking back that way, Damon Ich?” This was so obviously a command, they almost saw Damon Ich snap to attention.

“Do you feel like we are in some inexplicable, unknown danger?” Gerard asked, and his tone sounded pleased rather than scared. “I just wish that they could talk about it in front of us. I think it is out of respect for your health or just your peace of mind.”

Timonthy grunted a laugh.

“I feel more alive than I have felt for a long time,” Gerard said.

“This time Paris was not affected, but you said Stolid, Damon Ich, told you to keep us both safe. Perhaps she might be in danger next?” Timonthy pondered.

“Were we in danger even?” Gerard mused. “Damon Ich said it was just a vision not real.”

“I suppose we could have fallen over an edge that was really there but not in the vision or we could have panicked and been in real danger. It is disturbing to think that there are times you can’t rely on your own eyes to tell you what is there.”

“Whatever we decide to do we will need to make sure that Paris is safe too,” Gerard said. “I imagine it will be harder to stick with her every minute of every day, so that will be tricky.”

They fell into silence, musing on the events of the day and the implications for the future, until Stolid came back and sat down again.

“It definitely wasn’t Rael,” he said without pausing for a breath. “He was convinced it had been me, until I managed to persuade him otherwise. Something stopped him getting back before dinner which was his original plan. This was so unusual he knew something had happened even before he spoke to anyone.”

“What I want to know,” Timonthy said heavily, “Is why you thought Paris and I were in danger. Gerard said you thought that.”

Stolid smiled weakly. For the first time he avoided looking directly at Timonthy.

“I can’t explain that very well,” he muttered. “It was just a feeling I had, or a vision of a possible future in which neither of you were there. I thought, until today, that it was your heart that threatened you but that problem had gone away. I’m not sure about Paris, but I can’t find her in the future….”

His voice trailed away and Stolid hid his face by lifting a tankard to it and hiding behind a long drawn out draught.

Timonthy was aware that he was speechless although there were lots of things he wanted to say. He noticed that that sensation he had become used to feeling when shocked, a missing part of him that ached, was not there. In a way, that made him feel lonelier than ever, not whole.

Stolid at last put down the tankard and scratched the back of his neck with an exaggerated gesture of relaxation.

“What do you mean, you can’t find her?” Gerard asked mildly. “I mean, what does it mean?”

“I… don’t know,” Stolid admitted. “Perhaps that her future is undecided: that she is torn between two choices. Perhaps that she has chosen to live somewhere I can’t find her. I was more worried before Rael started to talk about asking her if she would like to live here….”

“No!” Timonthy said, outraged but then he fell silent as if considering. “She would be safe here,” Stolid said apologetically. “Rael and Elena consider her as their grandchild. They would do everything in their power to keep her safe and happy. I think that would explain why she seemed to have vanished. This is somewhere I would not have thought to look. Anyway I’m going to find somewhere to sleep now.” Stolid got up abruptly and dashed out of the hall. Timonthy and Gerard looked at his departing figure in surprise.

“Do you think he was trying to avoid telling me the truth?” Timonthy asked suspiciously. “I suspect he was trying to avoid…Koa,” Gerard said with confidence as the man himself stumbled into the room.