45: The Hardest Word
Once again, he stood in that place he did not know, where titans stood in deathly silence and a pale, luminous figure hunched over computer console, a twelve winged shadow anchored to her shoulder — and then he was back where he started, back in his hotel room, snapping awake with force enough to shatter his newfound vision and scatter its pieces to the aethereal winds, never to be seen again.
Just like a dream, he thought.
He sat up, swallowed a mouthful of water, and marked another failed attempt on his cellular. Even if he could remember everything he saw in vivid detail, there was nothing to prove it anything more than wishful thinking, a personal fantasy where Emily had hidden herself away where no one could find her. His overactive imagination.
It would have been much easier to prove otherwise if he could at least hold his astral form for more than a moment, of course. The night before, when he’d inadvertently witnessed Katrina and their friends discussing his condition, he had heard enough for Katrina herself to validate the experience. The same was true of the incident a week previous, no matter how much he’d tried to deny it at the time. If he could only hold on long enough to speak with Emily, then maybe he could find a way to prove things more than just a dream — but common sense was intent on denying him that chance. After all, how could he possibly bear witness to events hundreds of metres away, if not thousands, just by closing his eyes and thinking about them? It was absurd, the stuff of fantasy stories, not scientific studies!
Rubbing the cramp from his neck, he headed downstairs. Maybe Chris had been right to offer him those research papers after all.
Chris, however, was nowhere to be found and, not wanting to leave his apartment without something to back up Katrina’s faith in his abilities, he turned to the pile of empty pizza boxes Joel had left behind and began shovelling them into the kitchen vendor.
He couldn’t ask Chris for help. Not now. Not after he turned his back on him. Chris would never let him hear the end of it. He needed to find somebody else who understood this whole projection thing. Somebody with first-hand experience.
Captain Espinosa! She was skilled enough that Dante had seen her in multiple places at once, each one of her projections acting independently of the others.
He jammed the last of the boxes into the vendor. As if someone of her calibre would have time for an unscheduled lecture, especially with a student who had always treated her meditation lessons with disdain. No, Dante only had one choice. He had only ever had one choice.
There’s an old draft of Dante struggling with a meditation lesson somewhere.