*A quick note from one of the authors: Sorry for the delay in getting this part uploaded, but both WordPress and Blogger have been making changes to their systems lately and that threw me for a while. I’m still having trouble with Blogger, which hosts the sister-site to this blog, so this installment is only appearing here. Hope to keep things more regular in the future as this story has grown much larger life than I’d originally anticipated. But the payoff will be well worth it I think. I love exploring some of the new ways of using Nathan’s abilities. So without further ado, let us continue the story…”
After a few seconds, Nathan came back with Dr. Jack. If I could have, I would’ve been grinning from ear to ear. Yet somehow he sensed the change in my attitude towards him. For one thing he smiled, then came over and pulled up a chair next to my bed. My mind raced with questions, especially one… but then I remembered I couldn’t speak or use my hands.
He must’ve seen something in my eyes, because he frowned and asked softly, “Is my being so close a problem?”
Forgetting myself I started to shake my head a little too vigorously, which caused me to let out a groan of pain.
Nathan reached out a hand and touched my brow and said, “Easy. Listen, I can tell you want to say something important. And I think I know a way to help, but I’m going to need you to trust me. Can you do that?”
I managed a little “Uh-huh…” noise in my throat.
“Good,” he replied gently and held up a hand. A moment later, a greenish mist began emanating from his sleeve. Before I knew it, I couldn’t see his hand anymore, only the mist, only now I could also detect little flashes of blue in the miasma. “If you breathe this in, it will allow us to make a mental connection between us. I won’t be able to read your mind, but I’ll be able to get impressions of what you want to say and I can act as your voice. Are you all right with that?”
This time I gave him several muffled but eager “Uh-huhs.”
“Okay,” he nodded and brought the sleeve with the mist closer to my face. “Now, just breathe normally, there’s no need to inhale deeply.”
For the record, I really tried to do as he instructed. But I was so eager to try to communicate with everyone I wound up doing an impression of a junkie with couple of rolled up twenties stuffed up my nose.
Nathan pulled his arm back and stared at the now empty cuff muttering, “I’m going to need that hand back eventually.”
I started to mentally apologize when suddenly I heard my thoughts come out of his mouth. “Sorry about that. I hope I didn’t… Oh my God you’re talking in my voice!”
Nathan gave me an embarrassed grin. “I hope you don’t mind, I just thought it would be easier to do things this way so these two would know who’s saying what.”
Glancing over at Brian and Dr. Jack I could see they were both staring at us in surprise.
After a moment Brian said, “I had no idea you could do that, Nathan.”
“It’s a little something Otto figured out some years ago on one of our expeditions to another Para-Earth,” my hero explained shyly. “We already knew I could help pacify a being who inhaled my mist form, by making our intentions known that we weren’t a threat. But he thought I could take it a little farther if I put a little more of myself into the mist to establish a rapport so to speak. Mind you it only works with beings whose minds are similar enough to ours in thought for me to understand what they want to say. Believe me, it doesn’t always work, but I knew it would in this case.”
He turned back to me then and asked, “Are you okay? Or is this too weird?”
Taking a deep breath, I shook my head slightly and thought, “No. In fact it’s more than I hoped for.” Admittedly seeing and hearing my thoughts coming out of his mouth, was kind of weird, but not so much that I didn’t want him to break our connection. With this new method of communication available to me, I told them everything that had been troubling me. They listened patiently and gave me all the assurances they could. But when I told them about the unfinished sculpture of my grandfather back in my studio and how important it was to me, they fell silent.
I think a full minute passed before Nathan broke the silence. “Even if we brought the piece here, there’s no way you could work on it. Not with your hands in their current state.”
I shook my head sadly.
He took a deep breath and looked down at his own. He had two again which surprised the rest of us.
Glancing up he noticed the rest of us staring and grinned sheepishly. “Sorry, felt weird just having one, so I shaved a pound or two from other areas and grew a new one.” Then he turned to me and asked, “Here’s a thought. With our connection, would I be able to finish the piece under your guidance?”
“Have you ever worked with clay before?”
“No, but I’m a fast learner,” he replied.
I sank into my pillow a little more and thought about it. After a few moments, I shook my head ever so slightly. Whenever I worked in clay there was a connection between me and my creation. I knew how the clay should feel as I smoothed and shaped it. There was no way I could convey these concepts and techniques by simply instructing him.
Nathan must’ve ‘heard’ my thoughts because he began nodding his head. “Yeah, I didn’t about that. You and the clay kind of become one when you’re working with it.” Then he stood up. “Let me give it some thought. I think there might be a way to help. Okay?”
I carefully nodded. And that’s where we left things. He came back the next evening with the most unbelievable suggestion I’d ever heard.
TO BE CONTINUED…