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CHAPTER 3: An Angel and a Witch, and Shocks (iii)
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She gave him a contemptuous look and then her attention went to a group of butterflies on a daisy bush across the lawn. He glanced in that direction to see a Shiner playing with them. The little shimmery shape darted in and out, whirling in an utterly entrancing manner. Then the butterflies went in separate directions, and the Shiner flitted across to a shrub where she (he was sure it was a ‘she’) perched and looked across at them.
With a shock as if a bucket of icy water had been dashed over him, Hugh realised that Tyrentia’s eyes had followed the Shiner, and that she was also looking straight at her.
‘You … you can see her!’ he blurted.
Tyrentia registered shock. Quickly, she recovered herself. ‘Oh how **** marvellous!’ she sneered. ‘Of all the people also to have the Sight, it turns out that the **** loony does! Thrillsville!’
The Shiner seemed to become aware that the two humans were noticing her, and abruptly blinked out. ‘Great,’ Tyrentia said unreasonably, ‘so now you’ve **** chased her away.’
Hugh took a deep breath. ‘I think we have a lot to talk about,’ he began, ‘and for your part of it I would like you to stop appearing so utterly stupid, and start substituting those meaningless words you keep interjecting with something a little more imaginative and intelligent.’ He was quite proud of that speech, and the look of utter surprise it produced was gratifying.
‘Well, **** me!’ she exclaimed. ‘It has a **** brain!’
Hugh shook his head. ‘You’re not even trying,’ he said. ‘How about, “Well, how remarkable! It is displaying some signs of cerebral activity!” instead?’
Involuntarily, Tyrentia gave a giggle, and then looked surprised at herself. ‘How come your father says you’re so nutty that you have to be on **** drugs all the time?’ she said in a rather nasty tone to make up for the lapse.
‘I must say, I tend to agree with that word applied to the meds,’ Hugh said ruefully. ‘It’s a long story.’
Tyrentia patted the swing seat next to her. She had lost her normal scowl. ‘Sit,’ she commanded. ‘Tell.’
‘I’ve always been able to see the little people,’ Hugh began, ‘but when I was younger they appeared clearer. I think my Mom – whose name was actually Fae, which means “fairy” of course – could also see them a bit, because she always seemed to understand. Even then, though, she and Dad would argue about it and he would say I was getting too old to be imagining things. Particularly not anything like fairies! Then, after she died, Dad started getting really worried about it. The trouble was that I’ve always wanted to watch them more than I’ve wanted to do other stuff.’
‘Stupid! You didn’t even have the sense to hide that you were seeing them after you realised that most other people didn’t? That was something I learnt very early on.’
‘Anyway,’ Hugh continued, ‘my dad sent me to a string of doctors and they said I had all sorts of things with funny letters like ADS and ADD and ADHD, and a related condition of Psychotic Sensory Hallucinations which they say is tied to a sort of epilepsy. They tried lots and lots of meds, and then said there was no option but to use the strong ones which do stop the visions, but which make me confused and dizzy all the time. They finally got me convinced that what I was seeing wasn’t real at all, and that all of it was part of a sickness in my head.’
‘Idiot! Of course they’re real! All you had to do was accept that they are part of the everyday scene and look at them only when you had time and opportunity, like I do. I mean, do you stop to look at every insect or bird you see? Same **** …’ she paused guiltily, and then went on with defiance, ‘What I ****-well mean is, it’s exactly the same **** thing.’
‘That was three words you could have saved breath and time on,’ Hugh observed lightly, and prepared to duck. Tyrentia merely glared at him, and he added, ‘More and more, recently, I started to wonder if it really was a sickness after all, and to think that even if it was one it was better than the drugs. I tried to cut down on them whenever I could get away with it.’
(To be continued with Section (iv) of Chapter 3)
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