A Broken Reverie

So, for this prompt, I took a peek into Valdis’s thoughts on what is going on inside him.

Prompt: Insides

He looked the same as he remembered.  It was different for Ilya and Taurys.  Both of them were shorter now than they’d once been.  He was the height he also had been.  That bothered him, though.  He hadn’t been as tall as them because he was still growing.  Now, he couldn’t grow.

There were other differences, too.  They didn’t eat.  They didn’t need to, at least… not yet.  Dr. Schneider said he was working on that.  He closed his eyes and set his hand against his chest.  His heart didn’t beat in the familiar rhythm he’d once used as an anchor when he was upset.  Indeed, it seemed to whoosh, as it forced fluids that were like blood, but also entirely different, around his body.

“Valdis?”

Startled, he turned around and blinked at his cousin.  “Hey, Taurys,” he said, forcing a smile and waving.

Taurys saw right through the show of bravado.  He leaned against the doorjamb and frowned.  “What’s wrong, Valdis?” he asked, his voice soft.

Valdis closed his eyes and sighed deeply.  Then, he looked at Taurys.  “Are we alive?” he asked.  He turned away the moment the words left his mouth.  “I mean… Is this really living or…” he trailed off.

“Gilbert seems to think we’re alive, after a fashion,” Taurys said.  He set his hands on Valdis’s shoulders.  “We’re conscious, Valdis.  It’s more than we had before – shades, unable to touch anything or speak to anyone.”

“Is it enough?” he asked, his voice strained.  He shook his head.  “This body feels… cold and heavy and… the insides are wrong, Taurys.”

“Gilbert said it would be an adjustment,” Taurys said.  He used his grip on Valdis’s shoulder to turn him around, so that they were looking at each other.  Meeting his eyes, he said, “You are the only person that can decide if this is enough, Valdis.  If it’s not… I’ll help you, but you need to really, really know for certain that it’s what you want.”

Valdis bit his lip and thought about it.  Could he live like this?  Could he accept the way things were now as how they would be for years to come?  “I’ll give it more time,” he said, his voice soft.  He sighed when Taurys hugged him close.

“Maybe Gilbert can fine tune things for the next model,” Taurys murmured.  “He’s working on making it so we can eat.  A heartbeat would be… nice.”

“A real heartbeat instead of this… click, whoosh,” Valdis agreed.  He pulled back from his cousin and nodded.  “I feel better now, Taurys,” he said, his voice soft.  “Thanks.”

“Anytime,” Taurys replied.

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Fleeting Dreams

This story was prompted by a picture from the NaNoWriYe DreamWidth.  It’s something that I have been thinking of regarding my little “chorus” of people that were part of Project Lullaby (which I’ll be writing about in July).

Soap Bubbles

“You want us to… what?” Taurys said.

Gilbert fought against the flush of color that he could feel rising at the question.  Thrusting the bottle of soapy water at the agent he said, “Blow bubbles.”

Ilya frowned at the loop of metal he was holding and then arched an eyebrow at Gilbert.  “I’m assuming there’s a point to this exercise,” he said, his voice soft.  Unspoken was the request to know what that reason might be.

“All three of you are having trouble with the amount of force you use for things,” Gilbert said, rolling his eyes.  He took the loop from Taurys and dipped it into the bottle of soapy water.  Then, he blew very lightly.  A flurry of bubbles drifted away from him on the wind.  He dipped it again and then blew very hard on the loop.  The soapy mixture splattered away without forming even a single bubble.

“Ah,” Valdis said, dipping his own loop into the soapy water.  “It’s to learn better control!”  He blew on the loop and blinked when the soap splattered everywhere.

Taurys took the bottle back from Gilbert and took the loop.  “It’s not that hard,” he said, shaking his head.  However, when he blew on the loop, the same thing happened.  He blinked at it for a moment and then stalked away grumbling to himself.

Heaving a sigh, Gilbert stepped back to watch as the three test subjects began trying to blow soap bubbles.  Ilya was the first one to actually get anything like positive results.  He laughed loudly when the flurry of bubbles engulfed Taurys.

“They’re so… delicate,” Valdis said, as he managed to blow a bubble.  He tried to catch one on his wand and blinked when it popped.

Gilbert nodded.  “That’s exactly the point,” he said.  He looked over at Taurys, who was finally managing to blow bubbles as well.  “Now, do you see the point?”

Taurys smirked.  “Yeah,” he said.  He blew a flurry of bubbles and then carefully caught one on his wand.  “Thanks, Gilbert.”

Heaving a sigh, Gilbert nodded.  “Eventually, you all are just going to do what I ask without looking at me as though I’ve lost my mind,” he said.

“Wouldn’t go that far, Doc,” Ilya said, as he caught a large bubble on his wand.  He blew on the loop and a double bubble floated away.  Then, he smiled.  Shrugging, he said, “But, we might actually manage to do it without giving you so much grief.”

Dreamers – part 12

This is, I think, the last section of this story.  The next part is going to be a sort of prologue, but given the time-jump necessary, it won’t be part of “To Wake the Dreamers”.  I hope you’ve enjoyed reading the story as much as I enjoyed writing it.  This section used a picture prompt from the NaNoWriYe DreamWidth.

inspiration typography

Valdis didn’t like the way things were now.  No one seemed to hear him or see him.  Worse, he couldn’t touch anything.  That was incredibly frustrating, since he very much wanted to slap Ivan.  At the moment, he was sitting on the edge of his old desk, glaring at his former boss.  He might have remained there, except that he heard someone calling him.

“We call upon the spirits of Valdis Kaslauskas and Ilya Putin,” the voice said.  “If you can hear me, speak now, through the spirit board.”

“Spirit board?” Valdis said, blinking.

He startled when someone spoke up from behind him.  “It beats hanging around here.”  He turned to find Ilya standing behind him.  Giving him a weak smile, the agent said, “Come on, kid.  This is no way to live… or… whatever.  Why are we still here?”

“Right,” Valdis said.  He blinked and, suddenly, they weren’t there anymore.  They were in a small, dimly lit room.  Four people – two men and two women – were sitting around a table.  A fifth was standing back with a notebook and pen.

Valdis blinked at the man with the pen.  “Taurys?” he breathed.  Then, one of the women spoke up.

“Ilya,” she said, her voice soft.  “Valdis, speak now.  Please.”

Ilya stepped over to the spirit board and frowned.  He set his hand on the planchette that the four people were holding and guided it towards the word “hello”.  “It’s working,” he said, his voice softly.

“I haven’t been able to touch anything,” Valdis said, his voice soft.

“Who is this?” the woman said.

Chuckling softly, Ilya said, “We can touch this, it seems.”  He guided the planchette through the letters of his name.  Then, he continued to spell out words.  After a moment, he stopped.

Taurys read out the message that he’d written into the notebook.  “Ilya,” he said.  “Valdis is here too.  Felicja… I’ve missed you.”  He looked over at the table and gave a flashed smile at one of the women.

“Eliasz,” she breathed.  “You… are such an idiot!”  Tears welled in her eyes and she gasped when Ilya tried to brush them away.  Looking at the other woman, she said, “I felt… he touched me.”

She nodded.  “I’m Madeline Schneider,” she said.  Nodding at the man across from her, she said, “You might remember my husband.”

“Doctor Schneider,” Valdis breathed.  He frowned and stepped over to the spirit board.  He chewed at his lip as he spelled out a message of his own.

Taurys nodded as he read the words.  “He wants to know why we called them,” he said.  He looked at Dr. Schneider and added, “He called you Dr. Schneider.”

“That’s Valdis, then,” Dr. Schneider said, smirking.  “Ilya was never so formal.”  He heaved a sigh and glanced around the room.  “I’ve perfect the body that I was trying to make while I was in Veligrad.”

Taurys nodded.  “I’m… using one,” he added, his voice soft.

“We called you here to… give you a chance to do the same,” Dr. Schneider said.  He grimaced.  “If you’re willing, I’ll get started right away.”

“Anything is better than the way we’ve been living,” Valdis breathed.

Ilya nodded and moved the planchette to the word “yes”.  Then, he spelled out the word “please”.

Dr. Schneider nodded slowly.  “Right,” he said, a faint smile touching his lips.  “I’ve got them started already, at Arthur’s insistence.  It won’t take long to finish with the programming and then we’ll discuss… you moving into them.”

“It’s not going to be easy,” Taurys said, smiling.  “You’ll get used to it, though.  I promise.”