Chapter 5

Ætherglow #94

[ÆON liked that]


Your sleep was restless, your dreams delirious. When you awakened you still felt lighter than air. Your proprioceptive and vestibular senses haven’t returned to you, you feel constantly off balance, yet you never actually fall--unless you want to, because it’s a lot of fun to fall into something soft with no sense of motion. Your fingers are numb to touch and pressure, barely sensitive to temperature. And any food you eat tastes like nothing.

Still, you’ve never felt so good in your life. Regardless of the danger you’ve found yourself wrapped up in, your brain is completely incapable of anxiety, and you see the situation with perfect clarity.

You’ve gone out to the park for a secret meeting. This was an amazing idea. It’s all so vibrant, the green of the leaves, the yellow and purple of the flowers. You’ve never seen such beautiful color. The insects sing a beautiful song. No less beautiful is what lies beneath the surface of it all, the network. You feel its structure, its motion, like an organism breathing as data passes through it. The overwhelming grandeur of this colony brings tears to your eyes.

There’s only one thing wrong in your world now--loneliness. It all feels wrong, empty. You’re not completely alone, you have ÆON in your pocket. But there’s still a terrible emptiness.

You find the answer to your problem at the meeting place, at the world’s edge, by the pond. You see Akiko as you emerge from the walk path between the trees. Now the radiance of the plantlife pales in comparison to the vibrant green of her hair highlights and the pale blue glow of her eyes, turning to a pale pink for a moment when she sees you. She runs up to you in a few big gliding steps, off-balance as you are. You fall into her arms, and aimlessly wrap yours around her. She holds you tight and the warmth of her skin against your face pierces the numbness of your senses.

She pulls her hands away to sign. “I felt so lonely.”

“I did too.”

“Sync is always like that...” She looks away from you.

“I wish we were still synced so you could feel how amazing I feel today,” you sign.

“I think I know, I did the same æthertrip after all.”

“I want to be close to you,” you sign.

“Me too… We’re going to feel like that for a few days, having combined the sync with a substance like that,” she signs.

“Is that it just that?”

“I don’t know… what do you think?”

1) "It's probably just the effects of the sync...": 0 (0.0%)
2) "I already wanted to be close to you before we synced.": 0 (0.0%)
3) "I don't know what's real, but there's no harm in letting ourselves feel.": 100 (100.0%)
Expired 1 years ago (2022-05-08 18:09:00)

NOTICE: this poll was conducted on Ætherglow's previous home site. After total loss of the server, we only had records of which results won, not exact vote totals.