Author’s Note: So, I couldn’t help hearing a certain lyric after the first part of this arc, and so I put a bit together on a song from Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” album, the song that sort of influenced this arc (mostly after the fact, with the exception of today’s bit, that was written after I got the other post ready.)
I think I have a bit of a fascination with brain damage and thinking things aren’t real.
Tynan, though, he was determined to prove that he was real, and he did.
Were the situation less pressing and he less worried about Luna succumbing to the medication that she was on, he might have gone in search of what love was, trying to figure out what she’d meant by her words before she shut him out of the back room. He wanted to explore, almost thought that would be easier than trying to fight for her, but he couldn’t leave, either.
He didn’t know what to do.
“We see friend Luna?”
“Friend Luna doesn’t want to see us,” he told Alvin, not sure how to change that. She had the shop locked up, and she didn’t leave the building, only her father did. He didn’t know what to do to get her to come out. He could have gotten in, that would have been easy. He didn’t need doors to keep him out, nothing could stop him if he didn’t want it to, and he didn’t know what he was going to do if she didn’t come out soon.
He might let the hunger take the shop door, but he didn’t know that he could trust himself to stop, even if all he wanted was to see Luna again, to talk to her. He had to make sure that she was all right. If he could see her smile again, maybe he could leave and not feel the same way about letting her father take care of her. He would be fine with it if he didn’t think that Luna herself was being suppressed by those drugs they gave her.
He waited for her father to leave and went to the door, breaking the lock. He focused the hunger inward, not caring about the pain so long as he could get to Luna. “Alvin, go try that other door. If you can’t open it, I will.”
“You cannot touch. Vortex.”
“I know—but the vortex will break the lock, and we might need to break the lock,” he said, stumbling toward the second door. Alvin opened it and flew into the back.
He had never seen this part of the building. He had thought it full of more books, but this was their home. He knew that he was trespassing, but he had to find Luna. She could not stay here, hidden away in the back, locked away from the world.
“Here, vortex. Friend Luna is here,” Alvin called, pointing two arms into a bedroom. He stepped past the wings, looking at the bed and shaking his head. She was worse today than she had been the last time he saw her. More life seemed to have left her, and she didn’t even lift her head.
He sighed. “Oh, Luna. You cannot stay like this. You have to get up. You have to try.”
“I thought you were gone.”
“I can’t leave you like this.”
She closed her eyes. “If you leave, I’m better. That’s what it is. I’ll be sane if you just go away.”
“You’re sane now. You always were.”
She snorted. “I used to let my boyfriend set my hair on fire. I got arrested for vandalizing those huge ads down on the corner—I don’t see why they complained about me putting clothes on her because there was a school down the street and I kept seeing those boys come and stare at the model in her underwear—and they took away my paints so I stole some. I used to go to the park and draw in chalk and think I could jump into them like the movies. I painted my dreams… I think that scared them most of all, the things coming out of my head…”
“I want to see your dreams.”
“They… They got rid of all those paintings. The places in my dreams weren’t fit to be seen, those dark corners of my mind not supposed to see the light…”
He shook his head. “You have a lot more light in you than dark, but if that was how you rid yourself of the darkness, like I use my curiosity to combat my hunger, who are they to say that you’re wrong?”
She lifted her head. “You would say that, wouldn’t you? You’re my mind trying to tell me that I’m fine when I’m not. The things I used to paint belonged in horror films and nightmares, and I used to be scared of them. Overactive imagination, they’d said that since I was too little to remember. There’s this dream about a monster chasing me, hunting and running, always chasing… Only when it caught up to me—the monster had my face. I swear they tried to lock me away then. I remember medication and days of sleep without dreams… The dreams have stopped again.”
“Life has stopped. This isn’t living. What about art and curiosity and learning? You can’t do that here, in your bed. You are so much more than what is here in your room. The world is bigger and the universe even more so. I wanted to keep sharing books with you. I know I left, but I just thought… I am so dangerous, too dangerous to stay… I thought I’d kill you or hurt you. I don’t want that. I still think I might, but if you’d only get up, I think… I’d stay forever.”
“You’re not real.”
“I am. I will prove it somehow, but you have to stop taking that medication and thinking you’re crazy. You’re not. Alvin’s real, and I’m real, and I’ll show you what a real monster is capable of. You’re not a monster.”
She let out a breath. “Anyone can be a monster. We just don’t always know we’re the monster until someone else tells us. There’s a reason they call jealousy the green-eyed monster.”
“Your eyes aren’t green.”
“I’ve never really been jealous of anyone. Never felt that strongly about any of the guys I was with. They never mattered enough.”
“That doesn’t mean that you’re crazy.”
“What about this… thing with us? Doesn’t that seem insane to you? I can’t touch you. You can’t touch me. Your very nature defies the laws of the universe. You shouldn’t be here, shouldn’t be real. Yet somehow you mean more to me than anyone other than my parents. Maybe even more than my dad, as much as he’d hate knowing that.”
He looked at the floor for a moment. “I never went back to see anyone else again. I never thought that one person could be enough, couldn’t keep me curious enough to make the hunger stay away, and so I never went to the same place twice, not before you.”
“I never had to fight to convince anyone they were sane before, either.”
She laughed, sitting up, but she looked so weak he almost told her to lie down again. “You found yourself one crazy human to use as a guide or whatever it is I am to you, but I suppose that helps. I’m always all over the place, so you can still be curious because you never know what I’m going to do.”
“You weren’t supposed to agree with that.”
“Do you have a spaceship, then?”
“Not exactly. I can go anywhere in space and time because of what I am—a distortion of that same space and time—and I don’t breathe the same way that humans do. Alvin, though, he needs air like you do, and so we actually… um… well, we got a ride on a shuttle that passes by the system and sort of… jumped off when we got nearby because technically, this planet is off-limits to everyone.”
She frowned. “What?”
“Humans are not yet developed, not according to the standards of the universe. This planet is to be left unexplored and untouched by more advanced societies until such time as you are ready to meet us. I prefer the undeveloped worlds, though. More curiosity here, more things to see as they’re created and learned and discovered.”
“You can’t get back, can you?”
“I can. I can go wherever I want. It’s taking you and Alvin with me that is the problem.”
She nodded. “Okay.”
“You think you’re crazy again, don’t you?”
“Maybe a little, but I don’t think I want to stay in bed anymore. You know, I think I’d rather be crazy and have you stick around than be miserable and alone and drugged.” She moved toward her closet, taking out a sweater and pulling it on over her other clothes. “Besides, maybe it’s better if I don’t go anywhere. I’m all Dad has, and I don’t know what he’d do if he was alone. Someone has to take care of him. He’s so lost without Mom…”
“He can’t make you sick just to have someone to take care of, though.”
She closed her eyes. “I wish I could touch you.”
“So do I.”