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Cleansed by Fire
Chapter 8, Framed in Pain (continued)
Bohlliam cringed inwardly. It wasn’t the first time she had pressed that thought against him. Two days of it finally bubbled over, despite his joy at having his emotions renewed. He hadn’t had any need to activate his sensorium array since she arrived in his mind. But her insistence was beginning to wear on him.
“Next time, pick someone with more money then,” he muttered.
He sensed Grace pull back in his mind, withholding herself. He felt the loss of her like the loss of a cane for a lame man. Worse, the loss of crutch for someone with a broken leg.
It wasn’t his fault. As someone with almost no resources to draw on, the only way to get from Angel City to Nova York—all the way across the width of the UPA—was to spend what little he had in real currency to get to a real city, and board a solarrail line. Free travel for those with minimal resources, and if you couldn’t bring your own food or buy any along the way, bowls of mushgrain were free three times daily.
But it was the slowest form of travel available to a traveler, and Bohlliam had sensed Grace’s frustration. His renewed emotional landscape had given him plenty to admire even in the face of her displeasure, but he couldn’t ignore her any longer.
Worse, he couldn’t bear her retreating from him.
In an effort to bridge the gap between them, he sought out with his mind, fumbling for a connection. He was a empath. Telepaths were more rare than an albino in the Amazon Basin, and he had no idea how to be one, and he still didn’t even understand who or what Grace was. Trying to speak to her in his mind was like being a three-year-old conversing with a scholar.
Nova York Why There? he stumbled out in his head.
I am there.
Here you are. Mind mine. Bohlliam responded.
Stop trying to talk. It disrupts me. Think in emotions or pictures. That is who you are.
<Confusion> Bohlliam ventured.
This is only a part of me. The rest of me is in Nova York. I must get there and put myself back together. The notion she projected seemed equal parts the faith and determination of a child and the wisdom of an aged physician.
<Need> <Want> <Stay>
My body is my anchor. I will drift apart from myself if I don’t anchor myself. I will be gone then. You will lose the emotions that I bring.
I thought so. Then get me to my body. As fast as you can.
He had one less hand to show for the journey, thanks to that wyvern. But the beast was missing its head thanks to a small explosive charge, so Bechan Adym felt he’d gotten the better part of the deal. All the more so now that he was on the shores of Europa.
It wasn’t a good place to be. Better than occupied and quarantined Isreal, but he wouldn’t be welcomed. The Catholic Union frowned on any nation giving asylum to its citizens, but it was even more unforgiving of nations taking in any who managed to get outside Israel’s borders. The Vatican kepts its Jewish charges close, and any nation that openly harbored a refugee from there risked armed reprisals.
Thankfully, the Voudoun didn’t fret much about such things, and they could help get him somewhere where he could blend in, at least until he could properly share the information he carried—with people who would understand its importance.
He rubbed at the sealed stump at the end of his arm, still expecting to find a hand there, and realized that the closer he came to his goal, the less victorious he felt.
(For the next installment of this story, which will conclude Chapter 8, click here.)