3 CHAPTER 2: The Second Taste
An ethical dilemma is a decision making problem between two possible moral imperatives, neither of which is unambiguously acceptable or preferable. It is sometimes called an ethical paradox in moral philosophy. Would this paradox be a paradox for someone without fear? Does the abstruse nature of the problem come from the situation, or the emotion that dictates the outcome? I am not sure. What I am sure of is, I have never had difficulty in my ethics. Nor have I ever suffered, or in my case, had the pleasure of the curse/gift that is regret. It would be a logical step, however, to attribute this to my condition for it can be considered too much of a coincidence if it were not so.
That night, alone in my room, I embraced the briefly forgotten. I thought of what I did, then about the girl. Who was that girl? What was I feeling? How did I end up a 100 meters away from where I was without knowing it? Why were things frozen during whatever it was? So many questions and with a little less than nothing to go on can make for a very short investigation. Firstly, the girl, I didn't recognize her. Her image was never stationary enough for me to decipher. She shifted in shape, complexion and color. Only the jet black long wavy hair was constant, like the anchor that holds strong while the ship dances for the sea.
I have always known my inability to feel pain made me unusual. Was I even more alien than I thought? Was it simply an extension or manifestation of what I have always been? Maybe my lack of pain was a symptom whereas I had constantly seen it as its own condition. No-one knew about my distant relationship with pain. That may have had to change. I had to find out what was going on. Just as I had reached a consensus with myself the feeling returned.
The sensation got more intense this time and it started from my feet and soon manifested within my eyes. Everything turned bright for a second. I felt weightless creating what I found to be an illusion of fragility. I started to struggle as I ripped by duvet apart checking that I had not become a phantasm, that reality was still influenced by my will. Before I knew it I abruptly stood on the bed and punched a hole in the wall above my bed. Cracks began to travel on the wall from behind my fist. The stone beneath my knuckles became malleable for an instant forcing it to conform to the shape of my fist. A small cloud of drywall dust settled on the bed and the corner of my desk.
Although I could still see nothing but silver, I sensed her presence which I certainly couldn't explain. I reveled in the exoticism of the feeling. Just as she came in I closed my eyes, protective over my new state and determined to keep it private. As I slowly opened my eyes again I could see her and Justin staring at me with blank faces, conscious of how I searched for their reaction. The truth of how strange what I had just done was a hard thing to play off. The feeling had vanished and all that lingered were us three, standing still, waiting for the others. The room was still dark but one of them had turned the hallway light on which then peaked into the room, teasing our sights. Suddenly Ariadne turned around. I Stared at dark shape outlining the back of her head waiting for what I thought was inexorable
"I'll call a plasterer tomorrow." She said.
Justin on the other hand gave me a droll grin and joked "You're a lot stronger than you look peewee".
And that was all there is to it. They left me in my room as if nothing happened. As I laid there waiting to creep into the abyss of my mind I knew I was going to have to discuss it with Ariadne and Justin eventually and the worst part being, I didn't have a clue of what had actually just happened.
Next morning was as normal as could be. Ariadne was busy trying to assassinate me with her food, I was doing homework and Bishop was working on his dad's Cadillac. Seemed all three of us were ready to give it some time before we got back to the subject. Some things are better left boiling for a while, makes it easier to chew when you get down to it. The house was.
Nicolas and Edmond came over that morning with Edmond obviously looking under the weather.
"You done it again, huh" said Justin as Edmond came in.
Edmond was known to stay up till the early morning locked in his room doing god knows what.
"You ever gonna tell us what you get up to? The longer you don't tell us the more curious I get. Now I'm just worried it might be some mundane shit. That would be disappointing" Nicolas added.
"Nah, nah, nah. A man's secrets are his own." Edmond responded.
"Probably got some evil mastermind Keyser Soze level masterplan brewing. Come on man, let us in on it. We could probably help." I quipped at Edmond.
"I would have thought at least you would understand" Edmond jeered.
"And what's that supposed to mean?" I queried.
That had earned me a good 10 second silent stare from everyone in the room. Guess I do like to keep myself to myself most of the time.
'DING'. The microwave notified the room it was done almost as if to demand the stares stop.
"Ahh, the food is done" Ariadne smirked as she approached what we all at that moment considered the weapon, as what came out was sure to be as deadly as a bullet.
She had barely reached for the handle of the microwave and before I knew it I was running to school after Nicolas, who was running after Edmond, who was running away from Ariadne.
As we turned Legdebrook Street we lost the heavy-duty aroma of whatever came out of that microwave. And so, as Edmond slowed down so did me and Nicolas. Edmond wasn't exactly the fittest man on earth and the struggle he was in with his breathing was evident. His weight had always been a problem but he was too suited to his lifestyle to change. As we tried to catch our breath I recollected how different Nicolas and Edmond were. Nicolas was the total opposite of Edmond and how they became friends mystifies me to this day.
Because of our little run we were quite early so we made a quick diversion to the shops. Apparently it took quite a lot out of Edmond and he needed to be re-energised which was weird because I never knew he was energised to begin with. While waiting outside the supermarket waiting for the boys to deal with Edmond's snacks, in the corner of my eye, I saw Miss Garcia coming out of the flat above the shop. As I was trying so hard to avoid a confrontation I barely noticed Nathan, the school's football captain, coming out moments behind her. I started to jump to conclusions and couldn't contain myself from telling Edmond and Nicolas as soon as they came out.
"You wouldn't fucking believe what I just saw! Garcia and Nathan be complicit in some teacher-student taboo."
"Ehhhhhh!?" In their own struggle to carry Edmond's food they stared at me for a second before realising the severity of the speculation that I had raised.
"You joking Arch? That's some serious shit if it's true. I thought she was nice to him cuz of his social status and that, didn't know she was bewitched." Said Nicolas.
All the way to school we were discussing how it explained a lot of her previously absurd decisions and actions and how we should have noticed the blatant indications within her character.
We had Spanish that late afternoon and as I walked the 50 meters or so from the English department to her Spanish class, I thought about what I would do with the information. Edmond, Nicolas and I had been common targets for her attempted demolitions and so I wasn't really looking to do her any favours. Class was over quickly except for the occasional stare between us three and it was off to registration. While I made my way to Mr Cruz's class I realised that she hadn't lashed out on us that today. That thought passed my mind quickly, counteracted by all the trouble she caused us. There shouldn't be any sympathy for discontinued discord.
It was the end of the day and I was at my usual spot; near the fountain exit which Charmaine used. Edmond with his usual stomach ache, suddenly hit me on my back.
"Let's go mentally terrorise Ms 'with the Stick in her back off'" he said with such content it worried me.
I suggested we waited for Nicolas who was running late from gym class. Once he was back we walked slowly to her classroom as we discussed our approach. Metres from her class we stopped and stood still, looking at her through the glass as she marked some papers. As a sign of encouragement we all looked at the each other. I bravely stepped forward and entered the class. Before I could say anything she looked at me with sinister eyes and shouted "WHO", she paused, "DO YOU THINK, you are".
I temporary halted. While I was trying to think of a way to calm the situation the weird feeling returned. Instinctively, I closed my eyes. This time it didn't take long for it to take effect but it wasn't distressing anymore. The sensation left me relieved and my body felt as light as a feather. Slowly I opened my eyes. Ms. Garcia Stared at me as she muttered "why…ar..e..are, why are your eyes silver."
I could feel, see, taste her fear. My vision was very bizarre but for some reason I could interpret it. There were silver points on everything but I could see so much detail that it felt like my sight was better than ever. I knew intuitively that the silver points were the weak points of that body or object. Then I started to feel a force trying to get out of the middle of my torso, shoulders and thighs. It was kind of synonymous to how a balloon would feel if it was filled with water and pricked three times with a needle.
I looked back up at Ms. Garcia and I saw she was on the floor struggling to breath. I looked back to tell Edmond and Nicolas to help me help her but they were in an identical condition.
I could see Edmond was struggling more than the other two so I ran to him. Just as I took a step, I flew so quickly that I almost hit the hallway wall. I didn't know where or when I became capable of such speed but there were more important things on hand.
As I turned around and recuperated, the unusual feeling left and I felt normal again, well, maybe semi-normal at least. I ran towards Edmond and found that he could breathe again. I looked up and found that both Nicolas and Ms. Garcia were alright as well. Each was grasping for air but otherwise seemed out of danger.
There was no time to waste. Too many potential questions from all that witnessed the scene and a need to think in a quiet and much less populated area overwhelmed any other current objectives. As soon as I could, I prompted Edmond and Nicolas to join me in an expedient escape. The three of us ran in panic.
As I helped them flee the scene of the obscure phenomena I recollected what Garcia said to me about having silver eyes. I was thinking about what could be happening to me when Nicolas recuperated enough to run by himself.
I asked him what happened and he responded "I don't know, I was fine one second and the next thing I know I felt like every cell in my body was being constricted".
I thought logically and realised that how the timeline synchronized between when I started to get that weird feeling to when they started to get physical pains.
Just as we went through the school's back exit Edmond woke up.
"What the fuck just happened?" He asked.
It seemed that he couldn't remember anything. Although I wanted to help them get home and make sure they were alright I needed to go to the hospital. Ariadne was having her first sonogram and it was very important to her so I couldn't miss it. Didn't want to field any questions either so it was kind of a two birds, one stone situation.