We were as nervous as two kids contemplating an adult-sized prank. In his room he paced while I made tea and turned the lava lamp to low.
I said, “Corso gave us some kind of drug. What do you think it was?”
Chase said, “I’m pretty sure the drugs had nothing to do with it. It probably was an amnesiac of some kind. Twilight sleep.”
“Miss Howk said it was a sedative.”
“Twilight sleep’s scopolamine. Locoweed. It has hallucinogenic properties.”
“But our experience couldn’t have been a shared hallucination. Hallucinations don’t find bodies.”
“Well, it could have been some form of mental telepathy.”
“You mean, like, we already know everything, and we just picked each other’s brains?”
He threw himself on the bed, arms behind his head. “Or we picked Corso’s brain.”
I shivered so violently I huddled by the radiator. “I’d rather fly into hell itself than into Corso’s brain,” I said.
“I’m not afraid,” said Chase. “I’ve been there.”
The tea kettle whistled. He launched himself forwards.“Sleepytime OK?”
“Seems appropriate.” I looked outside before fixing the blinds. It was a drab, drear winter day, utterly lacking promise. A good day to take the kind of nap where you don’t wake up till spring.
“We need ocean sounds,” Chase called from the kitchen. “Google them on my laptop.”
But if the dream lab experience left something to be desired; why recreate it?
Chase appeared in the doorway with steaming mugs. “It’s only a tiny monster. Shouldn’t we stare it down?”
I certainly agreed in principle. All the monsters of memory have to be stared down. Could Chase teach me how to do it?
Presto. Ocean sounds filtered through the laptop speakers.
We took a couple sips of bitter tea. It triggered memories all right. Corso’s stained glass window crazy-quilting in front of my eyes; my broken window at Hadleigh looking back at me; pink dust sifting through the air at Howk’s place.
“I’m scared,” I said.“Stay close to me.”We lay back, mugs of tea forgotten on a packing crate. “Let’s match our breathing,” he suggested.
I had need of his body heat. Deep breath in, deep breath out. A little ripple of pleasure ran through me.
“This is like a really fun date where I don’t know where I’m going,” I said. Bex was never the ringmaster of such things; he wanted me to make the responsibility of choice so he could yell at me later.
“You’re right,” said Chase. “It might be wonderful. We shouldn’t go in scared.”
It’s true. Back at dream lab I had wished I’d fly.
“Mmmm,” Chase murmured. “Feels good.”
“Where are you?” I demanded. “Don’t leave me behind!”
He embraced me harder. “Imagining I’m in Shelby. If Shelby had wings we could really leave all those other idiots behind.”
“Take me,” I whispered. Snuggling.