Chapter 8

Sounds of screaming echo through the atmosphere mixed in with some whimpering. The echoing actually remains much longer than the actual screaming. But the sobbing still hangs in the air. It is then that Vic realizes he’s no longer in the library. He opens his eyes and spots Janine hugging herself and sobbing in hysterics. He rushes over to her and hugs her to him, soothing her as he scans their new surroundings. It is also then that he realizes Kai’s there as well. Kai’s face displays shocked mixed in with worried. Kai steps towards them at that time and looks at both Vic and Janine, unsure of his next words. Yet Vic somehow could guess it through Kai’s pale face that Kai has also been through some kind of torturous adventures like them. It’s an unsaid thing that Janine has been through it without him asking her. Her current state is too obvious. Kai kneels down next to them at that moment, patting Janine on the back as well, pondering about matters. Though both men seem to want to comfort and assure themselves more than just trying to protect Janine.
“It’s over,” Vic says, still keeping his voice low – as not to startle Janine any further.
It takes a few more minutes before Janine’s sob reduces to a minimal. They sit in silence in a few more minutes before Janine finally regains herself. They’re actually sitting on the floor at that spot, not daring to move or cause any more changes to the current habitat.
“I think it’s best that we don’t separate at all from now on,” Kai declares finally.
Janine nods in agreement while Vic speaks up to seal the deal. And Vic has already let go of Janine the moment she stopped crying and was trying to regain herself.
“What should we do now?” Janine asks, her voice still containing fear but is on a stable wavelength. “How could we separated and then end up together again?”
“It’s easy to separate,” Vic says, his deduction tone in place. “But I think I call out both your names when I was trapped in the library.”
“I did that when I was falling down the waterfall,” Kai follows.
Janine looks from one to the other, wondering if their call has connected her to them once again. She has completely forgotten to call out for help. Is that how this realm works? Upon thinking that thought, she shivers without realizing it.
“I think we should tell each other our adventure previously,” Vic suggests.
“Are you crazy?” Kai asks – though he’s curious too. But his eyes directing to Janine upon saying that makes it clear that he doesn’t want to see Janine breaking down again.
Vic understands too well of Kai’s concern. “It’s the only way to understand more of the situation. And if our guesses are true of what had happened.”
Janine lets out a sigh then. “He’s right. I can’t let this get the best of me, especially when you two are here now.”
“But before we begin, no stomping, thinking, or seeing things into being, okay?” Vic says at one go, referring to their newly acquired talents and how it could affect their current habitat if they as much as get too emotional.
Janine and Kai nod in agreement. Then they take turns telling one another of their adventures. Kai volunteers to go first. Then Janine. It’s not like Janine could face her fears head on, but she just wants to get it over with. Though it seems less frightening while recounting the events. Perhaps because having them both there with her lessens the effect.
“Who’s Margaret?” Janine asks after Vic finishes his recounts.
“My ex-girlfriend,” Vic answers, his wandering eyes hint obvious discomfort and distraction. “We broke up because I found out our different views about things. But she thought I had someone else, so…”
Janine nods, showing her acknowledgment, not wanting to force Vic into further elaboration.
The atmosphere remains silent after that – with each of them lost in their own thoughts.
“Say,” Kai finally says after a few minutes later.
The other two turns their attention to him, waiting for him to continue.
“It’s just a hunch so don’t get all offended, okay?”
“Even if we want to be, we have no choice in this state,” Vic reminds Kai of their current situation.
Kai nods. “True.” He clears his throat briefly before starting over. “It sounds clichés to death but maybe we have to conquer our own demons before we get out of here.”
Vic and Janine exchange a look between the two of them. It’s not like they don’t believe Kai. Deep down, they somehow had that hunch already. Yet they just couldn’t believe it. Why does it have to be like some sci-fi movie? But the difference is not knowing if it would actually work.
“What you’re saying is…” Vic speaks up, his eyes darting around the room. “We have to somehow convince ourselves that we’re not afraid of those things anymore so we could all wake up?”
Kai nods.
“But then…” Janine jumps in.
The guys turn to her.
“What if it’s like those types of movies that we end up crossing over – whatever that means, instead of actually waking up?”
It’s then Vic and Kai’s turn to exchange looks among themselves. The atmosphere returns to its placid state again as they revisit the situation. Vic scratches his chin as he mulls things over while Kai paces the floor. Janine’s actually sitting back on the sofa with her head facing the ceiling – or what could be called the ceiling, pondering about matters. They all try to stay calm because it could trigger their abilities to push forth if they do not take caution.
“You got a point,” Vic speaks up again – at last, looking at Janine. “It could go either way.”
Kai and Janine return their attention on Vic – with Kai stopping his pacing already. In fact, Kai ends up sitting on the sofa next to Janine. Vic’s actually sitting on one of those squared storage boxes that could actually be used for a chair as well.
“But any place is better than here, right?” Kai asks, his eyes moving from Janine to Vic and back, pondering what their decisions would be. “We have to make a decision fast or we’ll be stuck here…”
“Are we stuck in this realm or whatever it is because we can’t make a decision to stay or go?” Janine ponders aloud.
Vic shrugs. “Or perhaps we’re torn.”
The other two have on their puzzled look.
“What I’m saying is…our body’s breaking down because of that accident but our mind is struggling to stay so we’re forced into this realm so we could resolve the conflict?”
“We won’t know until we make up our mind,” Janine points out.
“It’s our fight or flight instincts kicking in,” Kai reasons. “I mean we’re trying really hard to survive but our body just refuses to cooperate so we’re trapped here, wherever this is.”
“So what about our newly acquired abilities then?” Vic asks, pondering what Kai really thinks about it – and not trying to be a smart aleck.
Kai shrugs, his face showing uncertainty. “It’s something to protect ourselves from this strange place?”
Vic sighs out, looking down at the ground – and tapping his right foot at the same time. Not that he doesn’t believe Kai but it’s not like they could know the answer unless they choose one or another. Just like what Janine said. He could hear Janine sighing out with much heaviness within her as well. It actually reflects of both his and Kai’s mood. Regardless of what they decide, it doesn’t have to work out as they plan. So far, only two things could be ruled out, which are: (1) their newly acquired talents and (2) their ability to conjure one another by just saying one another’s names.
“Don’t sleep,” Vic hears Kai yelling out in panic at that time.
Vic finally looks up at the two and sees Kai reaching his hand over to wake Janine up. Or would that count as waking up? It’s just so confusing to actually determine the correct terms at the moment. But he knows Kai’s having a hard time adapting as well since he just told Janine not to sleep, which is odd since they are unconscious at the moment. If not, how could they travel to this realm and meet one another? Yet he rolls himself forward anyway, helping Kai wake Janine up. (Yes, the squared box has wheels on it.) They seriously do not need any more obstacles at the moment. If she wakes up, then good. But what if she ends up at some horrifying place like last time?
“I’m all right,” Janine says, finally sitting up straight again.
Vic rolls himself back to his previous spot as Kai withdraws his hand again.
“We just don’t want you to encounter those weird places again,” Vic explains for himself and Kai.
Janine nods, understanding.
“What should we do now?” Kai asks, wanting to get some flow of conversation going again.
Vic hesitates, not sure of his decision either. He takes a glimpse at Janine before turning his attention on Kai. “Whatever it is, the key is to clear our minds of negative thoughts?”
Kai shrugs again. “It’s just a guess. But I think we could agree on keeping our minds at a peaceful state. It’s like when we’re awake and we multi-task so much that we can’t even pay attention to the most important thing. But in this case, it’s our mind.”
Vic nods. “Makes sense.”
Kai’s still staring at Vic, trying to detect some kind of reaction, a more solid reaction than that. “Then?”
“I’m in. Hey, we’re already stuck here, what else could happen?”
Kai nods, agreeing with Vic’s principle. “True.”
Both guys turn to Janine at that time, waiting for her.
“No pressure,” Vic clarifies. “I mean, it’s better that we stick together anyway. So whatever it is you thought of that could stop us from our crazy gamble, then go ahead.”
Janine shakes her head. “I don’t think it helps. I mean no matter how much we think, we won’t know unless we do something, right? This is real life, not a movie. We won’t know the actuality unless we do something. Not like reading a script, knowing the answer already, and planning out a possible way to create the effect. Or like reading a book.”
“This is actually like reading a book,” Kai says. “I mean if you read a suspense one or a thriller, unless you turn to the last page first, you’re going to be stuck in whatever it is and won’t know the result until you get to the end.”
“We can’t turn to the last page and then back out on the rest of the contents,” Vic argues. Though his tone is less confident than his usual challenging one he often used on his friends in the past when he knows they’re not making sense. It is definitely not the time to tick Kai off. Not when they’re on the same boat – figuratively.
They both could hear Janine’s sigh again.
“This is hopeless,” Janine says, her voice following her expression’s decelerating in confidence.
“More like frustrating,” Kai jumps in.
They exchange another look, still undecided.
© Thursday, January 19th, 2012
Posted: Monday, May28th, 2012