FIVE: Episode Forty-Eight is based off the following book excerpt from my science fiction, supernatural, thriller, The Contingency Generation.
I flatten out the printer error log containing my first message from Five. I turn it so the text is readable to her. “This has to be Kate’s copy. Why is it here?”
“I hoped you’d find it.” Still holding the book, Baph struggles to shed her coat.
I watch her for signs of masking. Baph holds the highest level of expertise in the art form, but so did Kate, and Kate made sure to pound into me several self-preservation tricks to uncover targeted deception.
“Please understand. I took it, because I knew someday I’d need your help.” The voice comes out pleading.
“Help with what?” I sneer, shoving the paper closer to her.
Underneath my fierce gaze, the heshee’s face shifts multiple times and then abruptly contorts into an expression I don’t at first recognize until her eyes fill with tears, and she sits to dab at her face.
The quiet sobs are unexpected. Be careful. Don’t let sympathy mask your purpose.
I hold on to my suspicion but decide to play nice. Leaving the desk, I move to shut the study door. Baph shifts in her chair when I pass, and the voluminous Hermes scarf enveloping her petite neck slips sideways. The revealed skin shows unmistakable signs.
“How long have you been ill?” I ask, knowing the answer by the maturity and location of the bruising that it’s been a while.
“Four years and two days.” Baph sits up straight and pulls the material snug again, using the book to anchor the scarf against her chest. “I’ve passed the Corpound stage, and diagnostics show I’ve moved into Elwinde.”
I read the pain in the jaundiced eyes and know no imitation can produce the effect.
“Death. Maybe weeks. Maybe days. I don’t care anymore. I just want to go home.”
“Where’s that?” Compassion overrules. The stages of the Bonemic plague are merciless.
“Five. It’s all true you know. There’s more to life than what’s here. Fol’s been banned from all of it, so he wants life to renew on earth, but I just want to be left alone. You’ve got to help me.”
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