114 Alaia and I are kidnapped
Looking from Angel to Alaia and back, I feel my loss with unbearable sharpness. I feel as I've not felt since before I met Marc, back in a time that seems long ago although it's only five or six weeks. Since then I have often chosen not to tune in to people I've been with, but always knowing that at any moment I could look at their internal lives at will. Now I feel vividly that I am watching Angel with a human gaze—a weak, powerless gaze that discerns only the surface of a person, having to use mere guesswork in order to fathom and appreciate all those rich ingredients of emotion and imagination that the person will probably be both unwilling and unable to put into words. Being one of my four targets, Angel has been laid so bare as to feel more like you than any other pronoun. From now on, though, it's certain that Angel will only ever feel like he or she, but never you again.
It makes me sad, because I wasn't made for this, clearly. The fact that I'm designed to have the power I had until a minute ago, namely more than just an average allocation, is surely a simple truth—a blindingly obvious one, indeed. I have contempt for any process by which this truth has violence done to it, as has just occurred. I'm disappointed, as I was honestly expecting the system of power-allocation to be more impressive than it's now revealed itself to be. I've given that system the benefit of the doubt, over the last few weeks, deciding to trust that it had some rightness or intelligence in it—but evidently not.
Next, however, I realise something whose magnitude eclipses even that: Angel now has the powers I myself had until a minute ago.
Watching Angel's shocked face adjusting to this thunderbolt of an exchange we've just made, I know the feelings he is having, because I recall them from when I first ferried them out of my office building and saw them behind my eyes in the building's mirrored façade on Liberty Street: "Some brand-new power – some great new capacitance."
"Hey, baby Angel," calls a familiar deep voice. Angel pauses, then with a dangerous smile spreading across his face he turns to see a self-assured Lucan swaggering down the Avenue towards us with Kev, thirty metres away.
Angel doesn't reply. I watch him tweaking his new-found gaze and homing his focus in upon Lucan, who has guessed nothing odd yet. I glance at Alaia, who is staring from me to Angel with horror: yes, she's understood exactly what has happened here. I imagine she's also forming the same intention I'm forming: we need to get the hell out of here.
With Lucan and Kev only a few metres away from him, I surmise that Angel is still psyching himself up to turn his gaze upon Lucan—and now I see he's done it. Followed by Alaia, I shuffle surreptitiously back to the side, where I have an equal view of both their faces: Angel with his back to the sea and Lucan facing him...
And Lucan freezes, seeing Angel's deadly eyes where they hang upon the night, transfixing. "Oh, fuck," he murmurs in horrid shock. The energy in Angel's eyes is vicious, sensual, magnificently powerful and quite irresistible. I'm glad it isn't aimed at me, though I'm scared it soon will be. His mirrored contact lenses diminish this power not at all, but simply serve to make it even more other-worldly. A lifetime of slavery for Lucan is beginning right here, as the plaything of one whose shrieking eyes behind their mirrors promise obsessive and lifelong retribution, without the possibility of parole. So specific is Angel's message to him, that even here at a forty-five-degree angle I comprehend its meaning in a stream of fluid words, although there is nothing to hear: NOW I've got you, Lucan, with the barrel of a gun pointed up through your mouth and my finger on the trigger! Your fear, your adrenaline—they stab through the air at me. Can you hear the sucking of the sea right behind me? Can you see my eyes, Lucan? Yes, I think you can. But I see YOUR eyes, infinitely more—and your pupils have dilated. Why would that be? They are wide, 'cos I'm your drug now, forever—just like you were mine, but even more! You are addicted, and you're powerless. You're not smiling, are you? Why is that? I see your internal settings, Lucan, every last one of them—I know how to change them and I know how to TWIST you! We'll explore those settings quite obsessively, I promise you, through channels that you've not conceived, though I can feel them tunnelling away from me beneath the sand: ten billion grains making way for me, to maximise my pleasure in your twisting... I catch your wish to kill me right now, but you can't—for I can poison, paralyse and infiltrate you any time I like, draw my tongue's twin tips across your eyes at night and down across the small of your back, like a female snake. I love you when you're hurt and sad, electric with sexiness and suffering, handing up the best love of all! I'll make you want to suffer, to refine the rush you give me. I can break you, you're weak. Oh Lucan, I shall fuck with your head, you may be certain—from now on there'll be violence and gorgeousness and blood!
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THE IMAGINATION THIEF (mini-chapters 99-120)Fantasy
"The Imagination Thief" by Rohan Quine is about a web of secrets, triggered by the stealing and copying of people's imaginations and memories. It's about the magic that can be conjured up by images of people, in imagination or on film; the split bet...