Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Dreams of Stars Part 7

            Deborah flopped out onto the bed and groaned.  Tired couldn't begin to describe how her body felt, and yet, it wasn't complete exhaustion.  She wasn't sure, but if felt as if she were actually stronger now than she was before this trip, much stronger.  Well, after walking almost 90 miles in two days, one and a half really, she should be much stronger.

            The door opened with a click.  "Here," L’lorne said, tossing a bottle of soda onto the bed next to Deborah.  "That's the one right?"

            "Yeah," the girl replied as she cracked the bottle open and let the cola and vanilla flavored drink slip down her throat.  "Thanks," she said after a nice long swig.

            L’lorne sat down on the other side of the bed and leaned back against the headboard.  "Good.  You sure you don't want to get anything to eat?"

            "Nah, I'm not hungry."  She should be, but she wasn't, very strange.  "Besides, we can always have a good breakfast in the morning."


            Silence settled into the room as they sat on either side of the bed, staring at the far wall where an old, nearly obsolete, television sat.  L’lorne reached for the remote on her side of the bed and looked at it for a moment.  "Don't bother," Deborah replied.  "Already tried it.  The TV's fried."

            "Really?"  L’lorne clicked the power button on the remote and the TV lit up.  She handed the remote to Deborah.  "Seems okay to me."

            "Yeah, well it wasn't working." A quick series of clicks and Deborah found something to watch for a bit and settled down with her drink.  Time seemed to drag, the lack of motion down the seeming forever highway had warped her perception of time.  As the current show ended, after taking far longer than she could ever remember it taking, she glanced up to see if L’lorne felt the same.

            The woman was staring off into space.  Again.  "Uh, are you okay?"

            L’lorne's head shook in a bit of surprise.  "Oh, I'm fine."

            "Yeah," Deborah said with no small measure of disbelief.  "You know, you've spent most of our time together just staring at nothing.  Don't pay attention to anything."

            "I do," L’lorne countered.  "I'm just used to be on my own for long periods.  That and I get caught up in my reading a little too much."

            "I guess I can understand that."  A beat.  "Reading?"

            L’lorne chuckled.  "Sorry, slip of the tongue."

            "How are you reading?  I don't see a book or a display or anything."

            "Really?"  She leaned forward and lowered her hand over her eyes, holding for just a moment, then dropping it so that her eyes could be seen.  A sparkle of color covered L’lorne's eyes from corner to corner, lid to lid.  Deborah backed away in a moment of a shock.  Immediately the movement was followed by a whispered term of amazement.  L’lorne pulled her hand back up across her face and the colors vanished.

            "What is that?"

            "Implants," L’lorne said.  "It's a display implanted into my eyes and hooked wirelessly to my portable computer."  Her sleeve pulled back to reveal a rather bulky, at least for a woman, wristwatch that Deborah had, until now, not seen.

            "And you've been reading a book on it?"

            "And charting our route, looking up places to eat, stay, and double checking news sources about, well, everything you've told me about what happened to your mother.  It's pretty handy that way."

            Deborah could only shake her head.  "That's just incredible.  No wonder you've been so off most of the time."  A moment of silence was filled only by the low hum of the television.

            "You want to see this stuff?"

            "What, you're going to take out your eyes or something?"

            "Not so much."  L’lorne reached behind her back and snapped the arm back up.  Delicately placed between her forefinger and thumb appeared a pair of sunglasses, the wrap around kind with a sturdy black frame.  "Here."

            "Uh, thanks, I guess."

            "Just put them on."  Deborah looked up at her, carefully holding the glasses in her hands.  "What are you worried about, they won't bite."

            A raised eyebrow was all the argument Deborah could come up with, and finally she put them on.  The room lit up.  She dropped them down again, checking to ensure that yes, the dim bulb of the nearby lamp and the glow of the television was the only sources in the room.  Back up, and the room was at full color.  Every shape highlighted as brightly as possible, every color standing out like a spot light had been lit in the room.  "Whoa," was all she could say.

            "Go look outside," L’lorne encouraged.  Deborah hopped off the bed and opened the curtains of the small room.  It should have been dark, just after dusk, with a warm red glow far to the west and the first shadows of the night taking over, but instead it looked like midday, the sun almost could have been high in the sky, lighting everything in its perfect glow.  The glasses dropped down again, confirming the time of day, then back up and into place.

            "Is this how you see everything?"

            "Depends on what I need to see at the time."  She motioned for Deborah to return to the bed.  The girl settled down on it just as the weather came up on the television with the meteorologist commenting on an odd warm front that had settled over the region, but L’lorne made it a point to turn it off.  "Won't be needing that anymore."

            "These are like your implants, right?  Just in a clunky form?"

            "Pretty much.  You'll have full access to the entire database," she held up her watch.  "As well as anything that happens to be on the local airwaves."

            Deborah gave a grunt of agreement.  "That's all fine and dandy, but how, exactly, am I supposed to get access?"

            "It reads your thoughts."

            "Be serious."

            "I am," L’lorne said with a hint of mocking shock.  "Is it so hard to believe that something that is implanted into the eyes wouldn't be controllable via your thoughts?"


            L’lorne sighed.  "You'll have to trust me on this one, I'm afraid.  If it'll make you feel any better, you'll have to say what you want it to do, to start with."

            "Still rather unbelievable."

            Another sigh.  "Okay, now I want you to say ‘access database.’  Not just say it, but think it really, really hard."

            "And this will work?"

            "I guarantee it."

            Deborah took a deep breath and stared forward with intensity.  "Access database."  There was a flash of color, then the word 'Delphi' appeared in large, stylized letters, and faded away only to be replaced with a single word, 'Command?' followed by a blinking cursor.  "I think it worked."

            "Yes, it did.  Now you can look up anything you want.  Just say ask it."

            "Right."  Deborah sat there silently for a moment, her mind flashing around for something.  "Uh, I can't think of anything," she said finally.

            "I see," L’lorne leaned back against the head board.  "Okay, what's your favorite band?"

            "Art Flexible," Deborah replied.  "But it won't be in this database, they're this local group that had maybe three records, and they burned and distributed the lot themselves."

            "Well, take a look anyway."

            "Okay, okay."  Another deep breath.  She thought about the band, the disk cover, the music.  "Find Art Flexible."  The cursor filled out the name, and in a moment her view was covered in information.  "It's the whole band," she muttered, and it was.  From biographies of each of the members, to the complete song lists of all their albums, all of it was there.  As her eyes moved to each of the categories, the section would enlarge and the full story would appear.  She zipped her eyes away, and the section reduced back down and the main view returned.  "This is so awesome."

            "Glad you approve."

            "The only thing that would make this better is if it had the music so I can listen to it."

            "Who says it doesn't?"  L’lorne tapped the ear piece of the sunglasses.  "It has mini speakers here.  Look for the section about the songs, and you should be able to bring up a proper playlist."

            Deborah did so, and soon the music, a weird combination of tech and rock poured into her ears.  She groaned with joy and settled back.  "Oh, this will make walking so much easier tomorrow."

            "I probably should have given you them earlier," L’lorne replied rather sheepishly.  "But I kind of forgot you didn't have them already.  I'm just used to people always having them."

            "That's alright," Deborah said lazily, the music having nearly completely taken over her thought processes.  "Oh yeah, what was that thing you were reading, maybe I'd like to read it too."

            L’lorne went from sheepish to sad.  "Oh, well it's called "What We Left Behind," by Roxanne Ernstrom.  It's an old love story, you wouldn't like it."

            "Oh, a love story eh?  Thinking about your lost love again?"

            A sly smile.  "A little, yeah."

            "Well, let me bring it up, maybe I'd like it after all."

            "I don't think you'd understand most of it."

            Deborah sat up angrily.  "Where the do you come from that you can say what I can or cannot understand?"  As she said the words, the image on the glasses flashed for a moment and a map appeared with a little X marking a position.  "What the. . ."

            "Should have warned you, sometimes it takes your requests literally," L’lorne said, not without some measure of irritation.

            "Oh."  The map showed a river, curving up in a great hump just after it had merged with another river of equal size.  The X appeared right next to it on what would be the east side if the map was orientated correctly.  It seemed familiar, but she couldn't quite pick out where she had seen it before.  None of this truly mattered, as what caught Deborah's eye more than anything else was a series of numbers at the top of the image:

10 1 DDEFQ 99221 66345.88991. 

            "So this is a map of where you came from?"

            "Yeah, pretty much."

            "Then what's the number at the top for?"

           L’lorne seemed even more irritated by the question.  "Just a reference number, nothing you need to worry about."

            "Fine, if that's how you want to go about it," Deborah shot back.  She snapped the glasses off and nearly smashed them into the nightstand.  "I'm going to bed."

            L’lorne sighed as the girl wrapped up underneath the blanket.  It took a few moments, but she finally reached out and touched Deborah's shoulder.  "I'm sorry, I don't like talking about home much."  Deborah didn't make a noise.  "And what I meant to say about the book was that it's really, really long, and I don't think you'd have the patience to read it all."

            Deborah snapped around.  "Oh really?  Do you not think I can read or something?"

            "Oh, I have no doubt in your reading ability, but I've basically been reading it non- stop since I met you in that alley."

            "The whole time?"

            "Well, more or less.  Not when we were playing chess or you telling me about your mother, but most of the rest of the time, yeah."

            "That's a heck of a love story."

            "It has its moments, that's for sure," L’lorne said with a smile.  "When this is all over, maybe I'll let you take a crack at it."

            "I don't know, if it's that long, I might be an old woman before I finish it."

            "Anything can happen," L’lorne said quietly.


            L’lorne snapped the book closed, dropping it flat on the table quickly followed by her head and a groan of irritation.  After a moment to recover, she lifted her head up and turned toward the window.  It was snowing, again, the highlight of the sixth winter she had spent in this place.  As she watched the snow fall from inside the odd structure he had led them to so long ago now, a geyser flared up, throwing its hot steam and water high into the air, melting the slowly falling snow before it even had a chance to fall.

            "Right on time as always," he said, surprising her only slightly.

            "It's too regular," she muttered.  "It can't keep it up forever."

            "Change is the only constant in this case.  All it would take is a minor earthquake and the internal clock would be completely thrown off."  He stepped forward and tapped on the book.  "Finished?"

            "Finally," L’lorne groaned again.  "If I had known I would have to read that when you were first teaching me, I think I would have told you to forget the whole thing."  He just chuckled, irritating L’lorne even more.  "I suppose you're going to ask what I learned from it."

            "It had crossed my mind."  He sat down across from her and the last of the large pile of books that sat in the far corner.  "So?"

            "She was deeply in love with him."

            "Interesting.  You're quite right, of course, she was, right up until the end.  Couldn't even stand the thought of spending the end with anyone else.  That wasn't quite the point, but it is valid."

            L’lorne fell against the back of the chair.  "So what was the point?"

            "What you leave behind makes you what you are," he said.

            "Right, of course, it also directs every action you make."


            "So my leaving my village will direct everything I do.  Leaving my family, my mother. . ."

            "You haven't left her yet."

            She glanced around herself and out the window.  "Funny, I don't see her around here."

            "Trust me," he placed his hand on her shoulder.  "When you really leave your mother behind, you'll know it.  You'll feel it deep within your core and that's when you will finally be made."

            "And when were you made?"

            He made no expression, but the tone was one not of sadness, but of triumph.  "When my first teacher died and took his title.  Everything I am now comes back to that moment."  There was silence for a moment as they stared at each other.  "You know, maybe you should read the book again."

            "Oh no, please, not that.  I don't ever want to read it again."

            Another chuckle.  "I'm just kidding.  But you will read it again, on your own, and then you'll see something you didn't see before."

            "And that is?"




1.  What kind of person is Lcorn Llorne?  What does she look like (in your mind)?
2.  What kind of person is the Deborah Ignigus?  What does she look like (in your mind)?
3.  Does the setting seem fitting?  Would you like to know more?
4.  How did the entire glasses sequence play out?  Where could I improve it?
5.  This is probably the last major clue to L'lorn's origins, so any guesses?

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