Consequences Part 5

September 23rd, 2011 by Wordsman


Everyone stared at him.  Only Wachowsky, who was blessed with the considerable inertia owed to a man who consumed more tortes in a week than most people did in their entire lives, was able to take the outburst in stride.

“The kid’s right,” he grumbled in his usual, semi-comprehensible manner.  He gestured at the screen.  “This damn fool doesn’t have any idea what he’s talking about!”


At that moment a voice pierced through the rapidly hardening concrete sludge that was filling Peter’s mind.  It did not replace the music, nor was it louder than the music, yet somehow he was able to understand it.  He looked around the room to see who commanded this magical voice, but no one was talking to him; they were all arguing with Wachowsky, who was arguing with the man on the screen.

In a moment of clarity (or insanity, depending on how you look at it), Peter realized that the voice belonged to the woman who had attacked him in the subway station.

“This is it?” the voice asked.  “This is how you spend your time?  Sitting in a room listening to rich old men bickering about what words to use in a document that you don’t know anything about?  This is what’s so important that you’re too busy to help me?”

Peter, now convinced that he was losing his mind, gave up.

“Excuse me,” he said, standing up quickly and not even noticing the pain when he slammed both his knees into the thick mahogany table.  “I need to go home.”

He exited the room as quickly as possible, taking three tries to find the door handle, and pinwheeled dangerously back through the hallway to the elevator.  He hit all the buttons, unable even to guess which was which, and collapsed into the car, hanging onto the railing as if it was the only thing preventing him from plummeting into the Grand Canyon.

Peter wasn’t sure how he got out of the building without being stopped by security.  He had no memory of the process.  He wondered if this was what it was like to be on drugs.  The only comparable experience in his life—the day he got his wisdom teeth removed—patterned similarly.  His first memory was of gradually regaining awareness, accompanied by a slow realization of dull, throbbing pain, this time in his knees as opposed to the back of his mouth.

Then he heard a loud sound: “TZAMON BOG, TZAMON BOG.  EXADON YULITE.”

He was on the subway.  And he was home.

For about a second, Peter thought that having been able to get from Millbury Tower, across Dipaoli Plaza, and onto the subway without getting himself killed was the most amazing thing that had happened to him all day.  Then the ramifications of the fact that he had actually heard the subway announcement hit him.

The world was no longer simply a whirlwind of hateful noise.  The strange tune was not gone, but it was significantly softer and less menacing.  As he stepped off the subway into Simon Park Station, it grew softer still.

A wave of euphoria washed over him.  He felt like skipping all the way home—that is, until he remembered that his legs still felt like someone had taken a baseball bat to them.  Even so, as he limped through the turnstile and toward the exit, he relished the diminishing of the music that had nearly melted his brain with every step he took.  When it was gone completely, he stopped, took a deep breath, and let out a shout of pure glee.

He heard a noise to his right, presumably in response to his outburst.  Since being able to hear things again was still something of a novelty, he decided to check it out.  Then he froze like a man who has just realized he is about to step on the third rail.

Peter was staring at the old woman.  He was standing in the exact same spot where she had grabbed him several hours earlier.

A curious blend of emotions was running through the recently decongested paths inside Peter’s head, so when he said, “You did say I’d be back,” he probably looked about the same as he did when she had slapped him.

The woman stared back, looking just as shocked as he did.  “Yeah,” she finally got out, “but I didn’t believe me.”

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