Back in the room, Cavalier gestured to have Sid lay down on the bed, fluffing the pillows, and pulling the blankets up over him, she at last asked. ‘So, you comfortable? Any tension in your neck or anything? You know what, never mind, we’ll figure that out. Just, adjust if you have to okay?’
‘Pretty sure you were sitting up for this’ Sid replied, adjusting his shoulders and legs, his hands arms changing positions several times, before he finally settled.
‘Ah, but I’ve had a lot more practice. This is your first go, and its not going to be easy. You ever meditate at all?’
His still open eyes shot her a questioning look. ‘Three guesses’ he replied.
‘Well, that’s what I figured, which is why this is going to be hard.’ she tapped him on the forehead ‘This’ another tap ‘Never’ again ‘Stops.’ she withdrew her hand, and sat down on the edge of the bed next to him. ‘And that’s going to make this difficult, and worse I’m not exactly good at this, but I’ll do my best. Promise me you’ll take this seriously. No commentary.’
The lingering kiss of drink buoyed his feelings, he could still feel his inner reactions pushing him to show his edges, but something in her earnestness convinced him to ignore those impulses, he was almost enjoying himself. ‘No promises.’ her face formed a pout ‘But, I’ll try okay. That thing was weird so if you’re telling me this is the trick.’
‘It’s, trick adjacent.’
‘Either way.’ he did his best to fully sink into the mattress and pillows. ‘Let’s give it a go.’
‘Okay. Close your eyes, and listen to my voice. I want you to imagine, you’re laying out on an empty beach’
Sid floated in the darkness behind his eyes ‘As if I’d find an empty beach?’
‘Hush, you said you’d try.’ she tapped him on the nose. ‘So, you’re out on this beach, lawying on the warm sand, looking up at the sky, listening to the waves roll in. You feel the water rise, just a little, splashing on your feet, and as it recedes, its pulling your stress out of you, and as it rolls in, it brings refreshing warmth. With each wave that comes in, it crawls a little farther up your body, now its mid way up your leg-’ he found himself feeling a warm tingling in his feet, but as she said, it was hard. His mind continued to counter each thing she said, while he tried to push his mind to think about what she was saying. A warmth moving up his body, okay, he could do that, wait, crap he got to far ahead, she was just now talking about his hips. He found himself just thinking about whatever the last thing she said was.
‘Feel the glow of happiness, warmth, and love fill you, as the water fully covers you, and it pulls back pulling the last drop of stress from your body. Sid could admit, he at least felt relaxed, and quite comfortable. His wandering mind slipped over to therapy, and how he imagined it must go like this, but her words pulled him back, thinking about his breaths now apparently. He suppressed a snarky comment.
‘Now, with the last of the water receding, you sit up, and look around and you see you’re on a different beach, and in the distance, up a dirt path, you see a tall building, of red brick.’ Sid focused, and tried to move in his mind, the dark behind his eyes still present, but by degrees he could see flashes of what she described, but what color was the door-’
‘the large rosewood door-’ what color even was rosewood? His mind filled in the blank with a kind subtle pink wood, its thick grain clearly visible to him, and it was strange. He felt like he’d seen it before, but doubts bubbled at the edge of his mind.
‘Now open the door, and step inside, and you’ll see-’ but he saw the library before she’d said it, he could see the miles of bookcases, a white shimmering veil off to his right, seemed to mark the edge of his vision, but something in him knew it ran deeper, to his left, a veil of darkness, doing much the same. He thought he heard humming. Who was that-
‘At a desk to the right, you’ll see the librarian, an old creature, glowing with light-’ what a pretty smile, the phrase came form somewhere in Sid’s mind before he heard Cavalier ask ‘Isn’t it such a beautiful smile?’ Now that was weird, he thought, he’d not been ahead of her, or had he?
‘Ask him to take you to your book’
‘My book?’ Sid mumbled, his body felt like it was asleep, or like he was frozen, unresponsive, saying even that felt like too much.’
‘Yes, your book. He will know.’ And sure enough, the strange being stood up, and beckoned Sid to another part of the library, a couple of turns in the stacks, and a small walk down a half level, he came to a corner shelf, and pulled an old tome from it’s place. The Librarian walked over to set it down on a lectern, had it been there the whole time?
‘When you look, do not read, do not think, simply let the knowledge flow into your mind, do not ask where it comes from, or who it is, I’ll leave you to it.’ Sid thought that set of instructions was a mixture of shit and glitter but he’d said he’d try. He imagined himself as it were, flipping through pages. Most were blank, some were blurry, he could make out edges, or hints of drawings words in some tongue he couldn’t comprehend.
He had just started to question the whole exercise, until he turned one page, and it had a heavily detailed fish, caught on a line, then it struck him. He could feel the fish, smell the salt in the air, his fingers damp with moisture, he heard a laugh that wasn’t his own, but it came from the right space to be, and He added the same fish from the drawing to a bucket, one of a few. He was out on a lake, in a small boat. He cast his line back out, and waited. He felt a peace, that Sid as he would have thought of himself had never felt, and it was as jarring as it was soothing.
His limbs began to tense, and sensing this, ‘Sid, Close the book, put it back on the shelf. Think hard on where it is, retrace your steps and return to the entrance of the library.’ he tried to move his imaginary self through these actions, but the tension in his body made it harder, with the strain growing more by the moment. He eventually half stumble back toward that door of Rosewood. He imagined turning to the librarian and uttering a reply. He must have said it out loud but he really wasn’t sure.
‘Now, that you’re back on that beach, go and swim, get deep, then come up and you’ll be home I promise.’ he could feel Cavalier take his hand, it was a comforting gesture, and doing as she said, he felt the tension release, and he eventually opened his eyes. ‘Jyaa ne? You had me worried there for a second, I’ve heard of people getting lost in there.’
‘There, you walked me through some goofy hypnosis exercise.’ as he said the words something in him felt amiss, like the tilted world was a little more right, he’d almost forgotten the sensation.
‘The world...fells less weird.’
‘Yes, contact with your higher self, it lets you kind of...be in both places easier. Willing to bet your other you just gave somebody a spook.’
‘Look, I don’t even-’
‘I know you want to argue. Just don’t. Okay, just take it for what it is, and well try to go again when we have a chance. But, thats where I looked to find the shoes. I promise.’ She looked, torn, like she wanted something that just couldn’t be, and there was a hint of frustration in her eyes.
‘Okay, Okay. I get it.’ Sid moved himself to sitting up, and the tension fell off in a wave, as if he’d broken the surface, like he’d been under water. ‘I’ll admit, its pretty fucking relaxing.’
‘Small victories.’ she smiled. ‘So, when can we get to something I’m really good at? I mean the shoes was one thing but you’ve not seen me in action, not really.’
‘Well, look. You and me no matter how good we might be can’t do this, and frankly I don’t trust the Murder Party coin or no.’
‘Not with a name like that.’
‘Well, that’s Hyugin’s goons, so I’m going to call an old friend, and hope that bridge didn’t get torched just yet, let him know we have something big.’
‘So, what did you see? That you don’t believe?’
‘I, think, I want to say I was a fisherman. I was, but it wasn’t me though.’ She her face grew smug ‘I mean, I had this fish, I could feel it, smell it, and it was just’ he choked up a little, ‘So peaceful.’
‘Guess thats not something you get a lot of?’
‘No. There’s no such thing as safe ground.’
‘Not even here?’
‘Maybe here, but we also can’t stay here forever.’ the warm glow of the alcohol had burned off, which confused him, as he can’t have been out that long. ‘Either way, we should sleep, at least a little more. The couple hours probably wasn’t enough.
‘Yeah.’ she agreed, crawling into bed as before, a pillow demarcating the border between them. Sid couldn’t couldn’t shake the feeling of something ominous coming down the pipe, but as he drifted to dream, he drifted once more on that lake, and allowed the peace to sink into his soul.