from the OTHER archives: Socks, Part 4, Chapters 6-8

Whew! I just got done ironing out a huge plot wrinkle in TWLF. Now, instead of 80 chapters like I originally planned, it spans 59 chapters. True, I could probably afford to shove a few more scenes in there… but would it really be worth it? The extra scenes wouldn’t add much to the story. Gotta keep that action moving.

The wind blew across my sun-streaked face, the remnants of the blueberry pie lingering on my tongue.
Wait a minute- when was the last time I had had blueberry pie?

I love it when my senses decide that they’re going to start making completely random crap up. The Grim Reaper waiting for me in the shower, people calling my name when there’s nobody who actually needs me, random tastes that I haven’t experienced in months or years provoking my appetite…

“What I did then does not matter,” I heard myself saying. “What matters is now.” And what I was doing now was soaring above the clouds.
I’ve been hunted many times, I heard myself thinking. I’ve cried myself to sleep many times, threatened many times, forced to go to Oblivion many times…
But does it all matter?

I was getting away from the real world. Through the tunnel, past the Field of Bad Things, and then they couldn’t get me, for the time being…
I woke up in a haze. I saw bright lights and indistinct people and my vision was swimming. I saw crisp white sheets and myself in some clean clothes for once and someone coming towards me-

It doesn’t look like your escape from reality went too well. Next time, I would suggest decreasing the dosage so that you don’t end up in the hospital.

“Algeria, are you ok?”
It was Abbey. She had come from who-knows-where doing who knows what.

What do you think, Abbey? What do you genuinely think, if it appears that Algeria is in some sort of hospital bed? Do you think that everything is all daisies and puppies?

“Wherrrre ammmm I?” I slurred. I felt slow and crazy and silly all at the same time. I felt like the inside of my mouth was covered in molasses, and my brain too. It all added up to something; I wasn’t sure what.

It all adds up to 42. Trust me on this.

“You’re at a hospital, far away from Soona Bris, if that makes you feel better,” Abbey replied. “You had moderate to severe burns all over your body. It’s a miracle you’re still alive. Looks like the sedatives haven’t worn off yet.”

Thank you yet again, Captain Obvious. Thanks for telling instead of showing, G. It really helps.

“Burrrrns,” I slurred again, not on purpose. “Theyyyyy dooon’t huuurt rrrright nnnowww.”
“At least now you aren’t going to be tempted into fighting anybody,” Abbey semi-cheerfully intoned.

Somehow, even though my tired daze, I don’t think that “semi-cheerful” and “intoned” are words that belong together. Ever.

“I know that the first eight years of your life weren’t the best, and you either seize up or start going haywire when you see anybody that looks like somebody from Soona Bris,

Ladies and gentlemen, the original triggered.

but now you can’t do any of those. For now, anyway.” She glanced over to my right. “Rave and Riki are still under right now. You got the worst of the burns. You sure wake up fast, though.” Abbey glanced over her shoulder. “I have to go now.”
And she was gone.

Some supportive aunt, Algeria thought as she closed her eyes again. No explanation of how my friends are doing, exactly. I need answers.

It was morning of the next day when I came out of the haze and stopped feeling slow and silly. Emma was by the door with a clunky brown package under her arm.

I have the feeling that one of the worst and yet best mistakes of my life is about to happen.

“What’s that?” I asked Emma. She strode towards my bed and I sat up, all the while keeping an eye on her. Not literally. You know what I mean.

Can you stop? We get it. You’re not being literal.

Emma didn’t say anything but instead plopped the package on a part of the bed I wasn’t sitting on and started to open the package.
“Oh, looky here. A laptop,” I said in my best weird accent

when Emma was done opening the package and getting rid of all of the wrapping junk. Both the trash can and the recycling bin were now overflowing with wrapping junk. “Why do you have a laptop?”

That’s a good question. Even better would have been “why are you visiting me when we barely know each other? How are you visiting me when I live in the dream realm and you live in the real life realm? Are you dreaming right now? If so, why such a mundane scene when you could be flying over buildings, fighting fantastic monsters, maybe even transitioning to get rid of the dysphoria you’ll suffer in a few years?”

“I wanted to show you something,” Emma replied. She opened it up and started typing gibberish. Well, that’s what it looked like she was typing. Gibberish.

It’s called Spanish. Get on Emma’s level.

“Take a look at this,” Emma slowly exclaimed as she pushed the laptop closer to me. A browser window was open to some blog.
“Read it,” Emma said in a much more serious voice.

Hoo boy. Next time’s gonna be fun- a blog post within a blog post on a blog?


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