Chapter One Hundred Sixteen: ‘Vision in the dark...’
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The Elroys’ shared room was quiet. The three children hung around their father’s bed. Ramira was sleeping; Marcos looked like he was having a silent conversation with Shenado; and Emiliana--she was trying to read a book she’d grabbed off the shelf.
Trying and failing, unfortunately. She just couldn’t seem to focus on the words anymore. Things kept distracting her, things she couldn’t quite grasp. Fleeting sensations. A flicker in her eye. A twitch in one of her horns. And sweat--warm and then cold and then warm again. Even her own breathing was starting to play tricks on her. Easy and then erratic and then easy again. Over and over.
She didn’t know what was happening. Some kind of panic attack? She’d never had one before. Was this what they were like?
But for some reason, she wasn’t even concerned. Not about herself, at least. The only thing on her mind was to bottle it up. To not let anyone else find out. They’d just worry about her. Become scared for her. It made no sense, but right here and now, in the middle of whatever madness this was, not inconveniencing anyone seemed like the most important thing in the world.
At this point, the book in her hands was just a tool to help conceal herself. As long as she could look like she was reading it, everything could still be okay. The problem, whatever it was, could still pass. It could just go away. It could. It had to.
Then came Chergoa’s echoing voice, ruining everything. ‘Hey. Is that interesting?’
Interesting? What was she talking about? Oh, the book. Of course. Emiliana had to answer, though. What was this damn thing even about? She’d picked it off the shelf for a reason. She just had to remember.
Birds? No. Eyes. The book was about eyes. Bird vision was just one of the earlier parts. She’d picked it in hopes of learning more about ocular anatomy, but it wasn’t particularly helpful, as she already knew everything that she’d managed to read.
‘...Em? You awake?’
Emiliana’s hands twitched as she realized she’d taken too long to respond. ‘Y-yeah.’ Oh no, that was stupid. She could have just pretended to be asleep.
‘You okay?’ Chergoa asked, hovering in front of her. ‘Hey. You’re shaking. What’s the matter?’