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“That’s strange?” Oh no I was talking to myself again.
I was floating, my vision blurry, like swimming in cotton candy. I had felt this way once when I was a child. As a boy I had been prone to chronic ear infections. My ears had gotten so bad that the doctors had to put tubes into my ears. The tubes would drain my ears, in theory preventing buildup of bacteria, or whatever.
The doctors had explained that they would put me to sleep and that I wouldn’t feel a thing. The black mask was placed over my face and I was told to count backwards from 10, I never made past 8.
When I woke up the world spun like a top every time I opened my eyes. There are tiny hairs inside your ear. These hairs live inside a bath of fluid and keep you balanced. Disrupting the hairs sends incorrect signals to the brain, and your brain tells the rest of you that the world is spinning in a rapid clockwise motion. Human signal processing is a lot like a computer, garbage in garbage out.
I was enjoying this floating, hazy existence when I achieved a sudden clarity. This clarity was accompanied by a sudden and sharp sensation localized in the region of my face.
“Hey, what is that?” Talking to yourself can be a very unrewarding exercise.
Oh, I know what that is…
“Ahhh!” My face was on fire, all my attention focuses intently on the fist that had just slammed into it. My hands came up to ward off future blows, Rain stood above me in a fighter’s stance. Her right hand clenched into a fist. She looked ready to hit me again.
“What did you do that for?” The pain had begun spreading down my neck.
“Sorry, you were screaming your lungs out, and wouldn’t stop, Marla suggested I hit you.” Rain unclenched her hand but stood ready just in case.
“I didn’t tell you to deck him!”
“I only know one way to hit someone. Sorry.” Rain lowered her arms to her sides.
The realization of what had been going on right before my “episode” flooded back to me.
“Rain, we have to get out of this city, and we have to do it right now.” The words flew out of me. I stood and started to move towards the door.
“Hold on there scream boy, what the fuck are you talking about?” Marla stood in front of me blocking my way, she was shorter than me, but in my current state she could have knocked me over with a finger.
My brain was on fire, too many thoughts were firing at once, my words flowed out in a torrent of babble and mumbling. I stopped talking and put my hand to my face in order to rub my jaw. The maneuver reignited a small explosion of pain. Oddly enough the pain seemed to focus my thoughts into crystal clear objectiveness.
“Boston… Boston is not safe, I can’t tell you why, but I know that we have to leave, and we have to go to Ohio, we have to get to my moms house, and then… I don’t know what happens then but I know that much.” I had to squeeze my jaw to keep my mind clear; it brought tears to my eyes.
“Are you talking about, the hurricane. It’s only going to be a category 2, Boston is going to be fine.” Rain put both hands on my shoulders and forcibly sat me down.
“No, it is not going to be a cat 2, it’s going to be something else, and that’s not the only thing, so many people, oh my god…” I was loosing it again. I could feel the screaming welling up inside, I had to fight to keep myself under control. I looked up at Rain, doe eyed.
“I need you to do something for me.” God this was stupid. “I need you to hit me again.” I pleaded with my eyes.
“What the fuck, hit you?”
“Hit me!” I screamed, surprising even myself.
The girl could swing, the hit was fast and hard, knocking my head sideways, my brain immediately became clear as my jaw erupted in a blossom of pain.
“Thanks.” It was hard to talk, my jaw was starting to swell. “Rain, I know you hardly know me, and I know I have been acting like the biggest freak in the world, but you have to trust me. Boston, New York City, Washington DC, all of them are going to get slammed by these storms, but besides that something else is going to happen, something I can’t, ‘see’.” I emphasized the last word. Using the same tone I had used to explain to her why I knew she wanted to jump off the bridge.
“You saw this, like last time.” She looked concerned, and confused.
I nodded, and started to talk again when I was interrupted.
“You two are into some kinky ass shit!” Marla threw her head back and laughed. “I once had a boyfriend who wanted me to spank him, but I ain’t never seen nobody getting their kicks from getting jacked in the face.” Her expression was a mix of ammusment, and arousal, Marla was the kind of girl who was into this sort of thing.
Rain and I looked at her in unison, “We aren’t together, and this isn’t a sex thing Marla!” Rain spat out.
“Quentin has, well let’s just say he was right before.” She paused, thinking. “If we were going to get out of the city how would we do it?” She looked to me.
“We can’t drive, and we can’t take a bus or train or plane.” The pain and clarity was fading, but I didn’t think I could take another hit. “We should walk, or I guess ride bikes.” I felt stupid saying it, who rides their bike to Ohio, but it was what I had seen.
Rain looked down; the straps of her aviatrix helmet fell across both cheeks. She shuffled her feet, causing her black skirt to swish gently back and forth. A small lock of her hair escaped her helmet, she reached up and tucked it behind her ear.
She had her own reasons for getting the hell out of dodge. Did it really matter what kind of crazy I was blurting?
She looked to Marla, and back at me, her eyes reflecting the worry and emotion she felt inside.
“Fuck it. We are going to need some wheels.”