In the space of a blink the mall was gone, there was nothing around socks but a white void. No other presences, no minds to leech emotions from, no structures, no ground, no sky, nothing.
after what would feel like a few minutes of lonely silence, a figure would walk into his peripheral vision. a little over six feet tall, winged and moving with feline grace, the figure is built like a big cat and covered in beige fur, save for her head and neck where a very human looking face peeks out from behind equally human looking locks cut in a Cleopatra style. The hair is black like her tail tuft and the primary row of feathers on her wingtips, in stark contrast to the lighter coloring everywhere else. A wide v shaped gold collar concealing where bare skin blends with soft fur below her neck, and matching bands decorate each arm just below the shoulder, and each folded wing at the upper bend.
she seems to be looking Socks over, as if appraising a work of art, yet she has no presence. there's no mind for socks to feel anything from her, as if she's not really here...
"You're a fascinating one... What a marvelous ability... And to think my mortal counterpart thought the dog was exaggerating about being able to sense emotions..."
For the first time in his life the only feelings Socks can sense are his own. At first it's very disorienting but gradually he relaxes and begins to enjoy it. It's his equivalent of a sensory deprivation tank and a sense of calmness washes over him.
A song from a show that one of the other inmates at the pound had sung floats through his mind, even as he floats through the void.
And suddenly everything, everything is...
Like silence, but not really silent.
Just that still sort of quiet.
Like the sound of a page being turned in a book.
Or a pause in a walk in the woods.
Like silence, but not really silent.
Just that nice kind of quiet.
Like the sound when you lie upside down in your bed.
Just the sound of your heart in your head.
And though the people around me.
Their mouths are still moving.
The words they are forming.
Cannot reach me anymore!
And it is quiet.
And I am warm.
Like I've sailed.
Into the eye of the storm.
There's no sense of time passing so the cat isn't sure how long it is before he notices the figure observing him or for how long she's been there. And somehow, it doesn't seem to matter. He takes his time examining her, even as she evaluates him and it takes him a few moments to find his voice after she speaks.
He's somewhat embarrassed to find that the first words he blurts are:
"Am I dead?"
she seems to grin at that, now in front of him and looking him in the eyes.
"No child, you're very much alive. I would ask why mortals always ask that, but, well you're mortals, so it's a bit obvious. and you'd probably take it as an actual question, not a rhetorical expression of frustration, anyway." Despite her words she still seems amused as she takes a few steps back, claws clicking against the non existent floor and echoing oddly through the void.
Gesturing around at the nothing around them she explains, "In truth your physical form isn't even here. Your body is still back at the mall. I thought being away from distracting minds would make it easier for us to talk." below them the ground seems to shimmer before becoming a faded looking view of part of the mall from above, Socks can see his own form leaning on Kaylee below them. oddly everything seems to be in a sort of ultra-slow-motion. the kind you would almost mistake for a still image were it not for tiny flickers of motion here and there.
"I see... Well, you certainly got my attention." Socks says dryly.
"Given your reference to me as a mortal, I take it you're a god of some kind? Care to explain all this then?"
"A perceptive one, yes you could call what I am that. In simplest terms, you caught my curiosity, little one." she explains, gesturing at socks, "And when I looked closer, I noticed that your ability might be a problem in the presence of one linked to me."
"They always have such a temper..." the way she says that part is odd, like she considers hostility endearing...
It doesn't take Socks long to realise what she's getting at.
"You're the source of all the anger I was feeling? But why?"
"Why does a fish swim? why does a bird fly? Why do plants seek the sun?" she asks in response. rolling her eyes. "A mother needs the will to protect her cubs, a warrior needs the desire to strike his foe. I am their drive. And as a part of me, so is she."
"Indeed, but anger on that level leads to rashness and thus to increased danger. A mother protects their kits out of love, not hate. And a warrior consumed by anger is easily tempted into a trap and dispatched." Socks points out.
"But you didn't bring me here to debate emotions. What do you want from me?"
"Well if you're going to get that technical, Hate is only one expression of Wrath, and not even the most common one. There's far more to me than that." the sphinx complains, scowling and folding her arms across her chest. "But no, you're right. As I said earlier, your ability intrigues me. I rather like my favored mortals not coming to harm by my claws, So I have a gift for you. You'll find it when you-"
-= + =-
The sights sensations and sounds of the mall are back, and Kaylee is only a single word further through what she was saying than when socks blacked out...
It all feels like a dream, and there's a sort of disconnect from reality. but, there's also a strange weight carefully tucked underneath socks collar... were he to check, he would find a pendant with a crossed sword and bow etched into it, on a silver chain.
The aggressive presence deeper into the mall is gone, unless he takes it off.
June wrote:"I don't think I've tried board games. are they tasty?"