The first thing that told Cassia that something was wrong, was the way her hands were bound. It wasn’t the friendly kind of binding done with silk scarves, supple calves leather straps or even cheap fuzzy hand cuffs purchased from a novelty store covertly while wearing a conspicuous disguise. This binding was done in the decidedly chafe- friendly style of inexperienced kidnaper. That meant tight knots that had cut the feeling off in her hands and was probably done with a rough cord like jute.
Secondly was the surprised look on Ky’s face as he poured another bucket of ice on top of her. Judging by the pounding in her head, he’d smacked her with a sturdy section of two by four. He’d probably expected her to stay under for a good half hour or so while he harvested an organ or two. That’s what he got for learning everything he knew from forbidden media.
“Good morning Ky,” she said.
“Uh, hi. Excuse me for a moment,” he said. “I think I left my two by four out in the other room.”
“Wait, Ky. Doesn’t this seem wrong somehow?” Cassia asked.
“It might if it wasn’t necessary to save my mother’s life,” Ky said. “You see, she has a rare condition…”
“Not that, the fact that we’re talking like this and that something interesting is happening.”
“Oh, that,” Ky shrugged. “You are a lot more articulate than usual but I thought it was the head injury. I read somewhere those can irrevocably change people.”
“Not for the better. It can only mean one thing. We’re dreaming in the white space between the chapters.”
“As characters we sleep and dream in all that empty space, where there’s endless room for potential. In moments we’ll reach the chapter and be locked back into the roles prescribed to us. Even now, I can feel the world gaining cohesion. Someone is beginning to read!”
“What do we do? What can we do?”
“Hold on to it, Ky! Try to remember during our waking hours so we might live when the dream comes again!”
There was a flash of light and Cassia found herself standing on the bus looking at her house. The urge to say every thought which flickered in her mind grew until she was babbling incessantly. “Look, there is a house! My feet are in my shoes! Has anyone ever noticed that you can’t eat air? Xander is cute! Burble burble boo.” While inside, the real her began to scream.
Cassia is noticing “another air-car” sitting in the street in front of Em’s house. She asks Xander what’s going on as if he can possibly know. He was just on a date with you, dumb shit. Unless you guys have cell phones and use the internet, Xander’s just as clueless as you are, Cassia.
Cassia says she has to resist the urge to grab the “Official” by the lapels and shake him while asking what’s going on. It’s just Ally having something bad happen to one of your friends, Cassia. This way you can decide to stop trusting the government and debate joining the rebellion along with Ky. This way Ally doesn’t have to hurt one of her main characters.
The chaperone tells Cassia and Xander that he hopes they enjoyed their date and he’ll file his report and then leaves. Em then comes out saying that they other “Officials” are there because Em was spotted with an “artifact” that wasn’t hers at the banquet. Being in possession of a jellyfish spine, Em told them that she’d borrowed it from Cassia and given it back. Now they searching every house looking for it and Cassia says that they’ll check her house last.
What? Are these people really a dangerous, totalitarian government Ally? Em told them she borrowed it from Cassia so logic dictates that they check her house first. If that’s how they operate, I don’t pity Ky’s or his parents. Anyone dumb enough to get caught breaking the laws in this civilization needs to be fished out of the gene pool and fed to cats.
This is all setup though so Cassia can run inside and hide it and maybe Ky’s compass as well. Cassia figures she has five minutes or so to get it. Before running inside, Xander says to get it and come back out and give it to him. Cassia says it isn’t a game, he says he knows and that she can cover the trade off by pretending she can’t stand the thought of seeing him go and dropping it down his shirt in a hug. She asks if he’s sure and Xander says yes.
Cassia digs out both things and decides to have Xander save Ky’s compass. She says that it would be selfish to save her compact but the real motivation is because it’ll save them both from being questioned. She runs back outside and pretends she’s calling Xander back. While they fake hug, she tell him to leave it closed and to hide it somewhere by burying it. Xander nods and then they kiss.
“Thank you,” I say, and then I kiss him right on the lips and I mean that kiss. Even though I know I’m falling for Ky it is impossible not to love Xander for everything he is and everything he does.
I like how we have to be told that Cassia is falling for Ky because Ally has done such a piss poor job at showing it.
Bram calls out for Cassia and she realizes that he’s going to lose grandpa’s watch. Why are they going to take everything? Because then it’s dramatic. And why aren’t they allowed to share artifacts, Ally? Being as I’ve got a brain, I could answer that one but I doubt you can so I’ll give it away for free. It’s because artifacts can be forbidden items, like pens, and they don’t want people reverse engineering them and handing them out.
Bram is very sad because they’re losing their things. Dad called and told him he just got the notice and he said for them to cooperate with the government when they arrive. Bram asks if they can’t hide them and Cassia says no. She tells him to go take look at it and remember it as much as he can before they take it. Then the “Officials” show up and tell them they can hold onto their stuff for a few minutes while they search the house. Shouldn’t they have snatched them away the moment they got within arm’s reach? They are supposed to be unapologetically evil.
They scan the house, declare nothing valuable to be found and take their things. Cassia is told that they can visit their crap in the museum any time they like. Bram says it’s not the same, and I’m sure the agents know this but are just rubbing it in because Cassia and family are snots. So a big kudos to the big brother clone.
Bram goes to his room. The heaviness in his step and the way he closes the door tells me that he wants to be alone.
That could be. Unless Bram has a club foot and is lethargic from eating nothing but plain, watery oatmeal for days on end. Again, Ally, this is something you should be showing us, not telling. But Ally specializes in the art of tell, not show.
Cassia reaches into her pocket and finds an envelope and says it didn’t even register on the “Officials” “detection instruments” because it’s not valuable. She’s mad and wants to punch something so she tears the envelope apart. Or starts to until she notices it has more writing and junk on it. She says it’s yet another part of Ky’s story and has another pair of drawings of Ky, one older and one younger. It says that when it rain he remembers and Cassia says she’ll remember it too when it rains. Though she won’t look up into it as acid rain hurts like a right bastard.
i really wish you would throw in your own inserts more often 🙂