I awoke in the hospital. Twinges ran through every muscle, pain constantly buzzing at the edge of my awareness. I lay spread-eagled on the bed, and tested every joint. It didn’t feel good. Each one was like an overly tight spring, threatening to unwind violently at any moment. This would spell disaster for my poor overstressed body. It was like caffeine withdrawal on a scale most humans would never endure, combined with a hearty round of opiate withdrawal and some severe depression to add texture to the whole mess. I looked up, and saw Officer Blanski sitting in the bed next to me. He was in a hospital gown as well, and when he saw that I was awake, his arms wrapped around me. “Wait, wait-”
In a very real sense, I am everywhere. I am the wind, and the wind is very nearly everywhere. It is a kind of limited omniscience, which is a contradiction in terms, but illustrates the point nicely. If a human being had such awareness, it would be convenient, but they would not be particularly omnipresent. Human focus is limited to a single place at a time. Mine is… less so.
David Crenshaw stood at the top of the suspension bridge, staring down at the water. It was a very long way away. He was not yet a doctor, and would not be for another fifteen years. He did not have the distinguished silver hair and fine, vulpine bone structure that would make him both charming and well-trusted. He did not have the boundless inner confidence that would buoy him through his everyday life. What he had at the moment were a million regrets, the memories of lingering laughter mocking and fluting as it crashed back and forth in his head. Cars rushed past as he stood at the edge, a simple fence between him and the end.
I slowly trailed my fingers across the desk. I wanted a drink.
I was the first to arrive at the conference room. I had something of an unfair advantage, being the Sister of wind. Someone had even left a window open, which made it easy to slip inside.
Mickey’s day had started out half-decently. He didn’t have school today, though it was a Wednesday. It was still the summer, which meant he didn’t have to deal with school for at least a little bit longer. August was disgustingly hot, but it was better than sitting in class, being mocked, failing exams, making his parents angry. Summer school had ended a few days ago, and he had only a few precious days. So, he and his family were going to Madison Square Garden. His father had brought up the idea, and Mickey had gone along with it. They’d gotten into a cab, which was a rare treat. Usually they had to pile onto the subway.
I never got the chance to see my father’s corpse. My mother told me she didn’t want me to remember him that way. I’d imagined it, had nightmares about it even, but they remained distant and blurry, more feelings than actual images. I’d always felt I had a terrible visual imagination, and it was a blessing where my father’s body was concerned. I’d imagined claw marks, gore, blood, things that would haunt me forever. Sitting here, now, in my desk, I realized that there were worse fates than being splattered with red food coloring and modeling clay like a horror movie extra. My father’s body probably looked like the tonfa he’d given to me. A simple, broken thing.
I watched as Dane sped off, and tried to stand up straight. I took a breath, and the world spun around me, my stomach coiling. I have not needed to eat food in the better part of a century, but there is still a phenomena I’m familiar. When you grow hungry enough, your stomach will hurt. In some cases, this can reach a point where it is difficult to tell whether you’re hungry, or ill. The body links the two experiences together, making you nauseous when you consider eating, despite the fact that eating is the only way to fix what is wrong with you.
I stalked out of the conference room, frustration boiling inside of me. She was a police officer. A half-decent one, from her records. I’d pulled them up, and they’d all been in order. Li Fang Fen had joined the force in Binghamton about eighteen years ago, and she barely looked like she was out of her 20s. I guess people just didn’t notice these things.