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{February 2, 2013}

Mantis again found herself on the roof of her apartment building; a cigarette between her lips as she looked at the city several stories below her. The smell of smoke filled the air around her along with the haze that came with it, which wreathed around her head like a smokey halo. Her dark brow was furrowed slightly as she studied the twinkling streetlights. A small sigh slipped past her lips, along with a thin stream of smoke. Much had happened in the ongoing year since she had been gone. 
It had been on impulse…stupid impulse, but still. Mantis had left a year ago in the middle of planning a trip to Europe, without word or warning to her beloved bosses, her friends or even her love. Yet, her escapade had been successful. Mantis had left under the convincing of a person she hardly knew, in fact she found that she could not remember this person’s name. As she searched her memories, she found that she could barely make out the man’s face from the image drawn up by her mind’s eye. She could not even recall the past few months in which she had been gone. It puzzled her, and it disturbed her greatly that she could not remember an entire year out of her life. She did, however, remember how it began…

~{“It’s amazing… those eyes,” he muttered softly, studying Mantis’ eyes -strange that she could remember the intense and marveled manner of his gaze but not the color. “It….makes perfect sense,” he muttered softly under his breath as he placed his hand on her forehead and tilted it back slightly to peer closer at her confused eyes. She stiffened suddenly at the contact and confusion only became more prominent, but she kept her eyes focused on his. 
“Show me,” he demanded suddenly, moving his hand from her forehead and stepping away from her. “Show me what you can do, Elizabeth.” 
She felt the color drain from her face and she stepped away slowly. “H-how do you know my name?” 
“You’re mind, girl! Show me!” he said enthusiastically. 
Mantis fell still and she stared at him for a long moment before her features darkened defensively. “I don’t know what you are talking about.” 
“You do… You do, Elizabeth, I am sure. Show me.. please. I need to see how far you’ve come along.” 
“Enough!” Mantis snarled, “Get -Out- of my store. Now.” 
Mantis vaguely remembered a feeling of desperation roll off of the man’s skin over her own. It was a forewarning to when he stepped forward, entering her space uncomfortably. 
“Not before you show me.” 
With a gritting of her teeth, Mantis reached behind the counter and pulled her pistol. She held it lowered at her side and rubbed her finger over the safety idly. 
“I said get out.”
“Wait! Wait… Please, I can help you, you know. I can help you tune it, that little ability you have. Make it so that you have more control…” 
Here this man came, out of bloody nowhere, offering her a solution to the problem that had plagued her for too long. Her mental…abilities had began to grow out of control; voices had refused to silence for days at a time and every emotion of every person within a ten-mile radius burned over her skin. She lived with the fear that at some point, she would accidentally invade the mind of someone she cared for and collapse their sanity -God forbidden it be Descabella. It had grown so terrible that she had been forced to delay the trip to Europe to help her friend Con retrieve a missing journal. If this could help in someway…then perhaps she could have some chance at control, some chance at a normal life for once. 
“You can help me?” she asked carefully, screaming at herself for even considering accepting help from this stranger who somehow knew her… 
“I can. I can make it so that you’ll have all the control in the world.”
“I need you to help me track down a book… It’s an oldie, but a goodie. And I heard that you are relatively good at doing such things.”
“What does a book have to do with this?” 
“It is just important. It will help me… Help you…” 
“What’s the book then?” 
“Sleeping Beauty. But..It’s a special edition of the story. The only copy of sorts.”
Mantis frowned slightly. ‘Why would a grown man be looking for a book of fairy tales?’ 
“That’s a strange request. But, if you really can help me with this…thing… then I will help you. I will find this book of yours.”
“Wonderful…” he replied. Mantis remembered his brilliant smile perfectly.}~

He was indeed able to help her with her problem. Voices no longer plagued her mind and she could choose when she wanted to feel the emotions of another person, her mental barriers were at least ten-times stronger than they had been before. She had control and he said that with practice she could have mastery. But so much had happened when she was away. Descabella and Con had vanished. Nickolas -her boss at the Fireweed Bookstore- had died suddenly of a heart attack, leaving a widowed Perry who was on the verge of getting rid of the shop before Mantis returned. Now she managed the shop on her own. It was a struggle to do so, but she somehow managed. She noted that she had grown a lot since the time she ran away. Independence was a heavy burden, but it was one Mantis preferred. It would be work to get her life back together after being gone for so long. With a sigh, she flicked her cigarette off the side of the building before standing and heading for the stairs, where Pharoh lurked as her only company for the time being.

1 Comment

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  1. Eurydice 9 years ago

    Wow…. (Beautifully written)

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