Posted November 3, 2019 at 12:00 pm

Numair seemed almost puzzled by the question. "I'm not," he said.

"But--" Hawk started.

"Everything that I see, I can correlate to real, concrete things, however invisible," Numair continued. Hawk's heart was beating very fast, and Numair could see it in the clouds overhead, as a silent flicker of lightning beneath the surface. He explained, "The brain simply does not know how to translate something so abstract as 'emotions' or 'death', so it fills in the gaps with sensations I can interpret. Perhaps this is your experience as well? I can't say why you would see death as an 'owl,' that is a shorthand your own brain has come up with, if you are like me. But the salient point, I suppose, is that what you are experiencing is real."

Hawk was silent. Numair's words ran, in his head, against a cascade of memories. They butted up against doubt, and hostility, and isolation, and sometimes violence, until they ceased and he was still. Janis had gone to sleep in a patch of sunlight against the wall. One or both of the clocks were ticking seemingly very loudly into the quiet.

Finally, the silence was broken. "...I should really make my way home soon."

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