Jana had pushed her bed against the wall in her room and now sat huddled in a corner. She wrapped her blankets around her head and shoulders leaving only a space for the fresh air touch her nose above her lip. It was quiet in here. Peaceful.
She sighed and shuffled deeper into her comforter. Two walls held her as she tried to turn her mind off. On the other side of one wall, Bria was broadcasting her feelings, flipping them on and off like a light switch. Helene sat with Bria, trying desperately to open her mind. They could have asked Jana to take a peek inside Helene and see if she had the spark necessary to light that fire. They could have included Jana in the exercise if they’d wanted. They hadn’t thought of her. And that was okay. What Jana desperately wanted was for everyone to sleep. Night was her one escape from the world. The truth was, she couldn’t close her own eyes until Bria was out for the night. They were too closely bonded.
It frightened her that something existed out there that could effectively sever her ties to everyone she loved. When the shadow, as she thought of it, had passed over Bria, she’d first felt a sense of intense relief. Bria had winked out and Jana had begun to slip into deep sleep, but then she’d started awake again because the absence she felt was like echoes in a void. She’d called out for Bria, “Where are you?” Just an empty echo. Infinite space followed by waves of panic from her mother.
Bria’s door had been sealed. Not locked. Not even fully closed. Just immovable. No sound coming through. No light. Jana had pounded and screamed with the rest of her family. How long had it gone on? Long enough for Helene to drive her Jeep across the Fishbowl and burst through the front door. And now she was here, to stay it seemed, in her sister’s room filling a place that Jana had always had to herself, and Jana couldn’t sort it. That was it. She couldn’t sort her own feelings.
The air in the cocoon she’d formed had grown stale. She widened the gap in front of her face and felt new, cool air come in. It snaked through the gap carrying a startling desire. This thing—presence, whatever it was—it could mute the myriad voices that crashed into her most intimate recesses, even when she clothed herself in shields. Jana brought her head and shoulders out of the blankets as an idea washed over her. She wondered, could she call it to her, this elemental beast, if that’s what it was? Would it want her? Would it listen? Or would she find herself petrified and stored in, however lovingly, in an attic—an eternity in the Fishbowl.
These were curious creatures. Not like the ones We have seen before. We were here long ago, before these straggly sticks had minds they bent or tied together. We were here all along. They knew Us then. They loved Us. We took care of each other.
Oh, it has been a long sleep. We’ve woken, each of us, refreshed but uncertain.Why have we woken? How did people gain the powers they now possess. Perhaps We have slept too long. If so, We our sorry. We apologize with great humility. Please do not punish Us. Like them, We are forgetful.