T Minus Six Days
Nevena sits in her room and she thinks about secrets. She thinks about the secrets that are bone-deep, those that we won’t tell anyone- be they boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, friend or family. Then there are those secrets that are shallow pools- like a year ‘misrembered’, a dress that looks ugly on a friend- an opinion you won’t tell. There are secrets that aren’t really secrets- Barack Obama’s middle name, that the Swedish Liberals want to increase taxes and so on.
What Verde, using Rune’s body told her is a secret that probably falls in the first category.
She and Rune dances in the warehouse, an odd slow dance to a very fast house-beat.Rune slows.
“What”, she asks.
“Rune is out now. It is I that needs to tell you something. Something important.”
She stumbles over a step. This must be Verde, the soul-piece of Old Greyscale himself that is talking to her. The Rune she is looking at… he’s not the same Rune. His bearing is straighter. More confident. His choice of words and the structure of his grammar is archaic.
“What I am about to tell you, you must never reveal. He will not like it, nor will he ever forgive me for it. But I must tell you, lest the heart of this nascent relation wither.” Her apprehensions increases.
“Rune..” She inches closer.
“Rune has Aspergers.”
She blinks. She expected something worse. That he had faked the car-crash that hurt his eyes. Something along those lines.
“So Rune won’t tell you, and I want him to have happiness, and he will not be happy as long as he keeps this secret tight at heart.”
Back in the present she dials the boy in question.
“Are you still hungover?” No need to bat around the question, she figures.
“Ugh, yes”, he says. She’d never tell anyone, but one of the things that attracted her to Rune was his voice. A voice like a doctor, or a old radio-operator. Mellow, like oak. She shakes her head. Listen to me- I sound like I am in love. The thought arrests her. Love…? No.
The feeling she experiences is like walking on brittle ice, hearing the telltalle crack, and realizing that the foothold isn’t as firm as one quite thought.
Her finger hovers on the red cancel-button.
“I am sorry.” Click.
She scratches her chin. Fuck, why did I do that? Because I like- no let’s be honest- I am starting to fall for him?
Did Nevena just hang up on me? But she was the one who called! I redial the number.
“You have now reached Nevena Stanislaw. Unfortunately she can’t be reached right now. Press 1) to leave a message…”
I call her a second time. A third. Then a fourth. After the fifth time I stop. This is ridiculous. Why won’t she answer my calls?
I drag up Google and check various search-engines regarding ‘moody girls’ but nothing that sounds credible goes up. I don’t think Nevena is from Venus, nor do I think that she is going through menopause. Ugh.
“However….” I call Elena.
“Elenie, Nevena just called me, then hung-up. What does it mean?”
“And good evening to you too. Have you irritated her lately?”
“Hmm.” I got blotto at the pre-party for the Bonfire Ball. But I can’t tell her that. She’s human- and I hope I wasn’t that bad. ” I don think so.”
“Well, think harder. She wouldn’t hang up on you for no reason, would she?”
“You are going to have to speak to me; I can’t hear your mumbling.”
“Reason. She called me, then she hang up. As if she realized something.” And thus, I realize something. … had a wonderful conversation with Nevena– Verde’s words. He told her something. And now she is acting up. I put one plus one together. I don’t believe in coincidences.
“Rune?!”I won’t do what Nevena did to me; canceling on someone just like that.
“You are the most clever, the most beautiful girl I know, and now you have helped me solve a mystery.”
“Ehmr, thanks I guess?”
“Talk to you later. I have got an interrogation to do.” Now I cancel the call.
A minor application of will, and I am in the Summer Isles.
The air is static here, like before lightning falls. I look up, seeing a wall of dark clouds obscuring the sky. The water too, are disturbed. Symbolic much?
I take a breath.
“Verde! Get your scaly ass here!”
The surface of the ocean in front of me boils into steam, and Verde arises from the depths. His size used to scare me, but in this place he can’t kill me. Maybe hurt me. But not kill me.
Green orbs of the color for which I named him zeroes in on me. He inclines his gargantuan head.
“What did you tell Nevena? You told her something; and now she won’t return my calls.”
He tilts his head, obviously reviewing what has happened through my memories. Verde raises one giant claw before his eyes. He turns his back to me, and mutters. After a while he crawls back into the ocean.
“Erhm, Verde?” Any anger I felt has disappeared in face of Verde’s strange behaviour.
“Verde, please just tell me. I can handle it.”
Verde’s words, when they are spoken, are low and afraid.
“I wanted to make things better. I wanted to do what you could not. I told her that you had Aspergers.”
I stagger. The color leave my face. I focus—
–and when I open my eyes, I am back in my body, in the real world.
/Rune, I- Just shut up. Don’t talk to me. EVER!!!!!
I get up and pace. She knows. Oh.My.Fucking.God. She knows. I can’t show my face at Ochre. What if she tells everyone? What if she breaks up with me? Everyone will be looking at me, and they’ll think, there goes Rune Fallowfell. You know the one- the one that has that mental condition. Like a sociopath, they’ll say.