Ten - Ira

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We all sat on our beds, Celestia particularly flustered with the new setup. I didn't understand her frustration. The new bed with Jaysen on it was well out of her way—on the opposite wall—yet she continued to brush her hair this way then that, twisting her rough sleeve like it deserved the worst torment. If anyone should be on edge, it should have been Jaysen. I felt like my reservations were justified, too. I didn't know where Stuart got the idea to move Jaysen in with us, especially since he'd witnessed Celestia's struggles in remembering how to walk like a blind person.

My heart was still racing as my eyes darted from Jaysen to Celestia, and back again. Despite the fact that his hipster-punk style was definitely not my cup of tea, Jaysen wasn't the problem at all. I was still trying to calm myself down after the doctors blindfolded me in order to move the new guy in.

Jaysen was different—he yawned, unthreading the hem of his shirt by touch. I had never met anyone so calm about being experimented on, and so bored. Especially as he had just recently lost his sight. Had he forgotten?

"That bad, eh?" I asked.

Jaysen's head jerked up to where my voice was, blinking. Even in the darkness, I could see his whiteless eyes. Blue and green, like the sea surrounding the island. "Huh?"

"I can see you," I rolled my eyes as I spelled it out for him. "You look bored. Celestia has some water; you could drown yourself for fun?" I suggested, but my bad joke was met by silence and a shudder rippled through his body.

Celestia was doing her best to try to see Jaysen through the darkness, squinting, leaning forward, then back to where she was. "What's your name again?" she asked Jaysen, who jumped like he'd been struck by an electric eel.

"How many are in here?" he said, no longer idle. "And how many of you can see me?"

"Only me," I replied, then corrected myself. "Only I can see you right now. Celestia can't see in the dark, either."

My lack of patience was how I ended up being the happy outsider on Dell Island, and once again, it was causing me problems. "So you can see! I thought you had eye trouble?" I began to wish that I had eye trouble. I almost found it entertaining watching Jaysen squirm, failing to understand what was happening. "How is it fair that only you can see in here?" he protested.

I put my hands up in defeat, disappointed when I remembered that my gestures would go unnoticed. Celestia was chuckling, slightly in agreement with Jaysen's situation, but mostly at his ignorance. The only test subject in the lab I had truly encountered had been Celestia herself, and it was her repeated insistence and spot-on behaviour that finally convinced the scientists to put her with the troublemaker with the strange eyes and long name.

Celestia jumped in before I could find an appropriate remark to say back. "I'm Celestia, nice to meet you. I'm the other one who can't see right now." I didn't know if she was saying that to Jaysen, as her head was still turned in my direction. The poor boy only hummed in acknowledgement. "Don't worry," Celestia added with an enthusiasm I hadn't heard from her ever since she moved in. If there was enough light in the room, her eyes would have twinkled. "I'll help you settle in here."

"Yeah?" Jaysen asked in his off-handish way. "How come you're okay with... this?"

Celestia slid off her bed and walked in Jaysen's direction, making me cringe. "I am okay with this," she began, wringing her hair, "because, well, Ira's my friend and I chose to be here."

She didn't see Jaysen raise his eyebrows in disbelief. Celestia only patted the air in front of her until she found Jaysen's mattress, and asked if he was there. "You really aren't that good at this, you know that, right?" Jaysen replied with a question. I wanted to reply with a smack in his face, but Celestia seemed unfazed and soon found his shoulder.

"Good enough," she said before adding, "and better than you." Her sarcasm was something that took me by surprise, for it was something I had never heard from her before. Jaysen followed her instructional touch and slid off the bed, holding onto her arm. "Now, the key to this is to start with a blank canvas in your mind, so you can make a map of the room from scratch, rather than trying to fill in the blanks in your assumptions. I'm just going to take you to a corner; we'll start from there."

"Okay," Jaysen said, his voice wavering for the first time since he was brought in. I began to write a mental speech to Stuart about how this was a bad idea, a terrible idea.

Celestia gently guided Jaysen along the wall, until another one crossed them. "Are you ready?"

"I don't know, Cel. Am I?" he asked, trying to hide that he was short of breath.

"It's okay," Celestia assured him. "I'm right here." Silence. "Besides, Ira will warn us before we bump into anything. Won't you, Ira?"

I was surprised to hear that I was still part of the conversation. "Sure?"

"What's your name again?" Celestia asked, awkwardly this time.

"It's Jaysen." I felt the need to answer for him before he could ask another question.

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