ladyfirestarter: (watchful)
[personal profile] ladyfirestarter
"Susannah? Sorry to bother you at home, but I think you want to know about this."

She's watching the kids through the first-floor library window as she speaks. Maybe twenty of them are out there in a loose clump on the lawn, most of them standing, some kneeling, two or three stretched full length on the grass. A few of the regular staffers who happen to be mind-blind are out there among them, including Ree Tassenbaum, currently bending over one of the prone kids.

Most of the standing ones are rigidly poised, each with an arm extended forward, parallel to the ground; each holds one of the objects they've been making in the art workshop, like pendulums or distorted yo-yos, a clay weight attached to the end of a braided lanyard cord. The weights swing free, strangely heavy for clay.

She can't hear it from here, but she knows the kneeling and reclining kids are still humming, an eerie wordless harmony that set her teeth on edge when she heard it before.

They're all staring in the same direction, northeast, with a terrible intensity of purpose.

"It started about five hours ago, and it's been building. There's this sort of ... buzz, all the psychics on staff have been getting headaches from it -- Ted finally had to help reinforce all our shields, or we'd be out for the count by now -- but the kids have been reacting differently to it. Focusing on it, ignoring everything else to focus on it, like they can hear something in it we can't. Maybe half of them rigged up these contraptions that look a hell of a lot like miniature Manni plumb-bobs, and a few of them have been compulsively writing --"

The pencils are still scratching, in the room behind her. Arbalest and Roberto and Matthias, sitting at one of the round library tables; quite calm, even serene, producing page after page covered with the swoops and curls of what Ted finally recognized as the high script of Gilead.

"-- it's big, whatever it is. I didn't think taking this through channels was a good idea --"

Out on the lawn, Ree straightens up, shaking her head.

"But I don't think it's an attack. I think it's a message. And I think maybe you want to see it yourself."

Pause.

"Can you get out here? The short way?"

It's an effort to pull her gaze away from the window, but she manages it. The fixed door is in the second-floor corridor of Main, all the way at the other end of the campus; she's got to start moving. None of the kids look up as she pushes through the library doors, letting in a draft of hot dry air.

"Five minutes?" She starts across the lawn toward Main, skirting wide around the kids. None of them appear to notice her, and again it's hard to look away. Ree catches her eye and looks a question. Charlie spreads her free hand: you got me.

"Susannah, if it's a message ..." She lowers her voice uneasily. "Who's it coming from?"
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ladyfirestarter

May 2014

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