He tells himself there is more than this. More than the moment that defines his existence and more than routine that binds day to day. Perhaps, in that seductive span, the Before there had been something.
Not quite a hope, never a promise, but for all the vagaries just below the surface of his mind there is a sense of something that niggles. Something lost. Something that needed to be found.
An oddity amongst the order, an instinct of self-destruction that runs afoul self-preservation.
Darkness has no taste, no scent, it just is.
Yet it does.
Before avows that there was, is, shall be something more. But the Before is so chalked full of delusion via hallucination that while he wants to believe sense forbids him from blindly following the half mad impulse (instinct and exhaustion make him do it anyway, it’s not blind, simply compulsion folded to after too long a day). Old cliché’s non withstanding he’s hesitant to trust a source whose tools unhinge the few scraps of sanity that are his own.
Sense, he suspects, is like routine. Implanted, enforced with obsession, insurmountable… So long as he adheres to… well what he adheres too.
Yet breaking the pattern has its own dangers.
Sense, like Routine, are both gears on the clockwork of the complicated, compelling, route that is his life. He can hear them grinding, grinding what he’s unsure. But there is a subtle sound to it. The kind that defies descriptors and inspired headaches and nausea.
There’s medicine for that, so his doctor would clamber, but he turns her down. Shreds the prescriptions she presses into his hands, and flushes the pills left in his house.
He’s got enough factors controlling his life; he’s not adding chemicals to the mix.
Back and forth, he paces the length and width of his rooms, breaching those without a thought he traces the familiar route without seeing. The inconsistencies jangle, no robes, no dark.
Save that little skein, too thin to be little more than shade. He finds it pacing under a tree between here and there. The shade is so light its bitter is lost and it smells sweet.
No talismans click and clatter with each step. Though he knows it his hands rise up to arrest the motions of nothing and therefore close upon nothing. Still he holds to the pattern, to the path. In his mind he’s taking tangents and angles, perusing back ways instead of sunlit ones.
In this, his body complies to the patterns that guild his life.
That rebellious hand fisted over his heart tells more of his internal state than he’d like to confess.
Journey’s end. The entrance’s a blur, the surroundings a smear regulated as nick-knack. Another door, passed without recognition then forgotten. Beyond the barrier is white, all white, yet there is nothing bright about the room. Even with all the windows wide and the sun shining there’s a depression to the whole. One desk, its top smothered in papers –work- awaits him.
The path’s ended for now, reality and realization settled in.
He’s here, not going, not there.
He’s in his place, his task before him.
His hand looses, he looks about, seeing the rooms other occupant. Hazel hued eyes flick over him, stray to the fist that quickly unclenches and slips into the nearest pocket.
Mouth open, the entrepreneur who never meant not be was clearly intending to say something.
“I was… I mean…” One arm reaches, fingers brush the arm that wasn’t.
The motion is vaguely reminiscent of an embrace.
Lips pealed into a soft snarl –not soundless, hardly gentle, the volume is merely subdued- the traitor shook his head.
“I’m not,” he breathes, “not you son, not your friend. We’re together because they say we were supposed to be. Lack of personality conflict, that’s what the test said. Compatible tasks, lack of conflict, potential for humanization and eventually integration. That’s all this is.”
And with that he threw himself into his char. Snapping up the pen he glared down at the piles before him. Click, click, open, shut, he twiddled the mechanism with unfeeling fingers.
“Don’t you think… aren’t you thinking… that by thinking like that… means it won’t ever stop. For you?”
Click, open… click… “You’re a fool if you think this will stop, for either of us.” Release, a near soundless shudder as it locked closed. “What are they going to do, to give your arm back, after you reform? How can they reimburse you, for all these years, with munney?” He smirked. “Unlikely.”