20 juin 2015

Chapter 15

           This must be some kind of otherworldy hallucination…

Either that, or the last few events in my life have never taken place, because I’m pretty sure I’m currently standing in my room! I’m standing. No fractures, no gashes. As if the whole thing’s never happened.

All around me is personal stuff I’ve been hoarding for years, old records, and Parisian dust. Yep, this is my room alright. And man am I happy to see it!!! I feel a lump in my throat as my brain tries to figure out how the hell I got here, and if I should trust this to be reality. It all looks, feels, and smells eerily familiar, although… there’s a light scent of smoke in the air. My eyes quickly scan the place, and I swiftly take a step back as I see my bed abruptly burst into flame. After a second of frozen panic, I run towards the door, and violently try to twist the knob and bang at it, but it feels more like stone than wood. This can’t be real 

Like dry leaves, the records start catching fire, one by one, in a domino effect, rushing all the way to the curtains. Fuck!!!

“GINNY!!!” I bang again, and again, to no avail. 

And then, like an incandescent, deadly Egyptian cobra, a flame slithers up my entire arm, without a sound. I shriek from the pain, and…

My eyes open to a more recently familiar setting: airy, white, whipped-cream-shaped silk. 

Soaked in sweat, I quickly check my arm, and my eyes ball out. Are these… burns?! The entire limb is riddled with sores, so much so that they’ve covered the initial wound…

No, wait…

Where is that wound?! I squint.

Naw… No way.

I try to move my arm, which should be impossible, with this kind of fracture…


I DID IT!!!! 

I may have given myself a dozen burns instead, but I actually healed an open fracture!! I might even have fainted from the pain at one point – I shudder at the thought of rising flames – but I actually DID IT!!!

Not sure it should be done on oneself though… The energy it takes to make it work and the excruciating pain that comes with the process, are enough to wear anyone out. 

Peter was right… Energy. The keyword is Energy.

But no time for musing right now. Someone could come in at any moment, and I need to get this done. On all the wounds. Tonight.

Come to think of it, is it even night time? Does that exist over here?...Well, the only way I could check is by standing on my own two feet. 

The face and eyes will be the trickiest; I’m not sure I’d like to end up with burn scar tissue all over. I’d probably become the first Elf in History with a skin condition. Great. 

 Okay, hipbone, it’s just you and me now…


            I don’t know how long I’ve been at this, but it felt like hours. And I was so lucky – and quiet – that Peter didn’t march in to check on me for the millionth time.

            I’m so sore it feels like I’ve been dragged across boiling asphalt for days… I had another couple of blackouts, all leading to the same, blazing dream. And the wound at the back of my head took over fifteen tries to heal. I was too terrified of giving myself a brain injury… Hey, not like I know what I’m doing here! But the rush is indescribable. I’m in a whirlwind of sweat, fear, throbbing, concentration, tears, and abrupt incredulous chuckles. If this weren’t so horrible, it would be cool.    

What is not cool, however, is the only remaining wound: my swollen, inflamed face. How the hell will I go about this, when the simple idea of going near my eyes freaks me out? And what if I just mess it up and… maim myself? Thoughts like ruining my entire genetic legacy fleetingly cross my mind. The prospect of losing every trace of Erik and Oda in me, is distressing. I close my eyes and decide to take a few minutes. I’m just so… overwhelmed. You can do this! No one can help you here but yourself. Do it!

As I open my lids, I gasp loudly then bite my lip.

Sshh! If they hear you, you’re screwed!

But the surprise is too big to repress: A few inches from my forehead, a small speck of light floats soundlessly, a little like a firefly. It’s tiny and only bright enough to catch my attention. I watch it drift there, straight above me, with slight, weightless motion, just like the statues outside.
However I’m too dog-tired to be wary, and it looks so… reassuring that I decide to go for the next sentimental interpretation: whatever it is, it’s here to give me hope. I really can do this!

I clench my teeth, and direct my palm and wide open fingers at my face. Here goes nothing…

A few minutes later, I decide to stop. Just as with the other wounds, the burning effect started off very intensely, then faded proportionally to the healing. I try grazing my eyelids, very delicately, and can already feel the blisters forming. But the swelling has gone down considerably… Good. I gaze at the little luminous speck, and feel tempted to thank it, when exhaustion suddenly engulfs me, and I drift into a heavy, dreamless sleep…


I awaken with a start. How long was I out? Not being able to tell the time here is very frustrating. But the good thing is I’m still alone. If anyone had come in, they would have been too intrigued by the burns to leave me to my dreams…

And the small light is still there, hovering at exactly the same distance from my forehead. It looks like… it wants something.

Sorry mate, I don’t speak Elf-light.

Carefully, I test my own limbs. The left arm is still functional. I shake my head in wonder. Did I really do this?!... It feels a little rusty, but besides that, no pain. I lift it to inspect the sores, and I get a gobsmacking impression of déjà-vu: just like my former freckles, the blisters are nowhere to be seen!!! 

So that’s how it works? Healing with excruciating fire, getting drained of all possible energy, leaving sores, sleeping it off, then… voila?

My skin is a limpid tone of olive, just like Peter said, and very much like the others’. Have I really morphed into… something else? I don’t think I’ll ever wrap my head around that.

I slowly turn my glance towards the entrance of the cocoon, and to my surprise, the luminous dot follows my head’s trajectory, while keeping the same distance. I tentatively lift a finger towards it, only to notice that it magnetically catches on to my finger’s trail, and starts hovering over it. How strange!

I gather my strengths and try sitting up. It feels like I haven’t done that for ages! I get a little dizzy after the initial thrust, but it’s nothing serious. Then, like I used to do at the pool, I let my toe touch the milky ground, very softly… It feels like… it’s very subtly vibrating! I screw my eyes up, and notice that, for some reason, my toe isn’t quite touching the ground, no matter how hard I try.

I put down the entire sole… The vibration is more and more distinct. It’s almost tickling, but not unpleasant. Second sole. Hmm… the temperature is just right. Or maybe it’s because my feet aren’t really touching the ground?… Oh what do I know!

Here we go… I stand up, feeling like a trembling newborn fawn.

Yes!!! I’m finally vertical again! I swear, my butt was starting to go flat on that thing…

Lifting my head, I’m yet again faced with the light dot. What am I to do with you?

I form a cup with the palm of my hand, and raise it up. As expected, the thing catches the new magnetic field, and follows it, while keeping a safe distance. I then try to close my fingers around it, making sure I leave enough room in there for it to float… It doesn’t burn at all.

Looking down, I inspect my hospital gown. Ew. Those things are just awful. I just hope nothing is… hanging out at the back!

Nevermind that now; I need to get out of here… 

I turn towards the almost invisible exit, and start with baby steps… God it's so good to be walking again! The vibration underneath is a bit unsettling, and the idea of not actually being in direct contact with the ground makes me unconsciously feel like tripping. This will need getting used to…

 A few more steps and I’m there, staring at this eerily beautiful silk-like lining. I reach out for it, but instead of letting me touch it, it slides open, like a forming guard of honour.  

Woah… the mausoleum-like hall appears in all its oval-shaped splendor. It’s so void, yet breathtaking in its vacuity. There’s this sense of awe that one gets in old cathedrals. The convoluted web of shimmering cupolas up above is nothing if not a confirmation of that. A quick estimate of how high it is would be the Montparnasse Tower, if not higher. And yet, its only bases are walls of thin, glowing sand which seems to ripple like oily waves, now that I look at it.

As for the majestic statues, they’re all clad in much more elegant clothes than Vladimir and Nirav’s, and have a sort of intricate laurel-branch-like crown. I wonder why I couldn’t see this before…

I take a deep breath, and step out of the bubble.

A loud huff abruptly stops me in my tracks. A few meters to my right stand the only three people I know in this new universe; three individuals who are now eyeing me like they’ve just seen a ghost.

The first one to move is Nirav. He lithely puts his hands behind his back, lowers his head, and freezes in that position. Vlad, whose mandible is almost touching the ground, throws very quick glances his way, though he can’t help but stare back at me every time.

Peter, however, gives me a look that sends my heart racing through my system.   

It’s hard to describe. There’s a side of “I knew it” in that gaze, mixed with intense wonder, evident pride, and… some scorching emotion I can’t identify, but that still manages to turn my insides into goo. He’s like a young version of Christopher Plummer in The Sound Of Music, when he stares at Julie Andrews with this intimidating yet gloriously loving look, while indulging in a small budding smile. A shiver swiftly slinks down my spine. 

“… How?” Vladimir whispers, barely containing his amazement.

“Must be the brooding-bubble,” I offer the excuse I’d been mulling over in the last hours. “The transformation must have really kicked in, because I no longer feel any pain. Is that normal?” I ask, while internally doing the I-own-you dance.

“Well…erm… we have no history of…” Vlad mumbles, then seems to prefer staring to speaking.  

I discreetly exhale. That’s what I’d been betting on all along: their lack of information in such matters as morphing humans and their potential healing powers. Yes, maybe I CAN do this…

Peter’s awestruck stare turns progressively into a sly, amused smirk, as he slowly kneels and puts his palm against the quivering ground. Gradually, the vibration under my feet seems to increase. I look intently at the bright floor, and see a sort of beautiful, creamy, undulating motion advancing my way, fast. I raise an eyebrow at Peter. What is he playing at?

Suddenly my entire balance is off.

Oh so it’s a test then!

Okay, Alberic, it’s ON!

When the small waves reach me, I try to keep my balance by bending with the motion, like I’m so used to doing in the metro. But a fraction of a second later, it’s no longer enough.

I’m NOT giving them the satisfaction of laughing at me!

I spread my arms out, making sure my fist stays closed around my little glowing friend, and start oscillating, ridiculously, in a desperate attempt to remain standing. I hear no laughter yet, so I’m able to stay calm.
The undulation keeps getting stronger though, and I know I’ll have to come up with something else quickly.

It’s amazing how Peter can just wield the earth like that… It’s like the vibration rebounds against his hand and ripples all the way out to me. But if that’s true, then maybe… I close my eyes and try to really sense the tremors under my soles. I sort of feel like the luminous speck now, in its inherent skill to just… ride the energy wave. Maybe all I have to do is…not resist. I lower my arms, and feel increasingly… lighter. I open my eyes and see Peter’s grin spread from ear to ear, as the other two just look baffled beyond their wit. 

Glancing down at my feet, I realize that the waves are still there but I’m just…hovering over them, as if magnetically attracted yet kept at bay, both at the same time. And it feels AWESOME.

I wonder if I can provoke that too! I bow down and, with my free hand, carefully touch the ground, using only one wary finger. It tickles, but I can fully sense it: there’s some sort of power there, in constant yet subtle movement. I slightly push down, only to hear a rustle of thuds and laughter. 

I look up, and see all three Elves on the ground!

“And this is what she can do with only one finger!” Peter gloats to the others, while locking eyes with me.  

He gets up and advances towards me, making me nervous all of a sudden. Will I be able to lie to him too?

As he gets closer, he spontaneously reaches out for my closed hand. Should I reveal the light speck to him, and to everyone? Either way, I have no choice. They’re the only ones who could tell me what it is.

I put my hand out, and delicately open my fingers. The small firefly happily bobs out, then steadies itself right above my palm.

Without warning, Peter jumps back, and turns towards a terrified-looking Vlad, as Nirav lets the scariest of frowns etch itself on his panicked face.

“What?... WHAT?!” I demand.

Peter turns back to me, with a furiously clenched jaw.

“They know… They all know!!!” 


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