Two of Cups closer comes, crowned by the Magician.
Sometimes Knight, Fool, Thief, but always the Physician.
Who is the Shadow man, The World upon his heel,
Tossing Ace of Coins on edge, stopping Fortune's Wheel.
Safe in The Priestess columns, Queen of Cups is musing.
Hanged-Man and Hermit speak, they keep it all confusing.
Hermes shadow stretches long, The Chariot comes a'callin
Rise The Moon, Reverse The Devil, The Tower goes a'fallin
Shadow Man! What have you done? Rainbows in the sky
Inverse The Star, The mill chase cease, the Silver River dry
Well, that is the problem with remembering something that hasn't happened yet, especially if it's happening now. The bits get jumbled up. Not the big bits, mind you. The smaller details of the puzzle. It's easy to manage a puzzle by finding all the edge pieces and sorting by size and color. But putting all the smaller things in order is a lot more difficult; even more so, when the pieces are not the same size or aren't there.
After the gravitation comment, the Shadow man pointed his metal wand at the headboard. I lost consciousness...again. I say that because I don't know how to explain visions within dreams, which occur without sleeping. Maybe I should say, exposed to different reality. If what the Shadow man said was true, then dreams can be their own reality. I suppose it is all relative.
Being that my perspective of reality changed, I couldn't tell you where I went. I could only describe it as a hovering within a defined space without boundaries. I can tell you what I saw and what I heard, but not in any details.
I met The Woman. Only she wasn't a woman. We had a conversation, I think. It was a cacophony of speaking and singing. She was wrapped in a golden scarf; like a goddess of myth and legend. She told me important things and then told me I would forget. It was my job to stay the course. I remember her saying not to get upset. And not to let him get upset either because he shortly would. She spoke of words and numbers, trees and light. But most important of all, she told that healing was coming. The Shadow man had a plan to keep me awake. So, this was the only time I would able to speak directly with her. She told me more, but the memory has been obscured. It seemed like only a few minutes when I opened my eyes again.
The Shadow man stood above me, withdrawing his hands from my head. "Jessica, can you hear me? Can you see me?"
"What did you do? My head, it hurts. And everything is blurry," I responded.
"I figured it out. Why you were sensory challenged," He said. "I have never met a human with such a telepathic range. Never mind, one being on the TARDIS."
"What do you mean?" I asked. I didn't get up from the bed. It felt like a horrible hangover.
"Jessica, you are telepathic. What's more, you were picking up the TARDIS. That is why your brain was shutting off other senses. It couldn't process all the information it was picking up. It was trying to compensate. It had too," He explained. "It simply could not function with all that information rocketing through your head."
"Why?" I asked. My senses were slowly rebooting. It made me feel inferior. Part of me wanted to be angry; the other part gave up. It wasn't my fault my monkey brain wasn't evolved like his. With a brain like that, I do not ponder at the reason for two hearts. They provide the coolant system to his over-clocked, over-powered, CPU whose heat sink was his hair; which explains why it is always out of control.
He began to laugh. "Well, I think so too!"
"That my hair is always out of control."
"Yes. I dampened your range. You will still have that telepathic field around you, can't get rid of that. You will still pick up people in close proximity. Also, I am standing right next to the bed. So I can hear you too."
My vision became clear and focused. I sat up slowly and looked around. The room was the same, but he was still static. I rolled my eyes and huffed. "You are still a static man." Something was on my forehead. I reached up to touch it. "What's this?" I asked. "It feels like a bindi."
"If you like but don't touch it. That's a bio-molecular...you know what, let's just say it protects you from sensory overload," he said. "And as for the static, that will work itself out."
"How do you know?" I asked.
He shrugged. "I don't. We will have to find out."
I got an intense flash of feeling that he was amused by my situation. But he wasn't laughing specifically at me. He was excited by the puzzle of it, the curiosity of the mystery. The Shadow man had met other humans with telepathic abilities, but none that would qualify as a "plug and play" feature. The way in which I had gained entry of his TARDIS. The flower that injected me was a thing he couldn't ignore. All the clues rushed through his head, and it ended abruptly with a single thought. These were all connected. He didn't know how but he was going to find out. And it was going to be fun.
His thought process started out slow, like a sluggish locomotive. But it increased speed to the point I couldn't keep up with it. I wondered how it was that he could.
"Sometimes, I don't, Jessica," he said. "I miss things too; little things get drowned out. Well, they appear small at first. Then, in hindsight, they turn out to be catalyst events. Well, until I figure it out. Then, hindsight becomes foresight I can work backward from that."
"That makes sense, believe it or not," I said. I stood up slowly. My head had completely cleared by this point. I could feel his impatience growing. "All right, all right. Give me a moment," I said.
"You misunderstand. Surface thoughts, Jess. Those can be confusing and misunderstood. I am not impatient with you. I am impatient with myself. I need to go back to the planet I took that flower from. We need to find out what is happening with your hand. Come on."
I followed him out of the bedroom door into the hallway. The walls of the corridor were covered in circles. The circles spiraled with red, blue, and yellow lights. We continued down until we reached a corridor that went forward or straight down.
He took my hand. "Don't be frightened. Trust me."
"Okay," I said. Then, he pulled me forward, and we stepped into the tunneled going down. We fell downwards. The spiraling lights on the walls whizzed by, and I let out a yip. I could hear him laughing. Our descent slowed at the end. And then we stopped. I could see another corridor beneath us as a T section. He stepped out of the tunnel were in and pulled me with him. The perspective of my world turned right side up. We were now in the other hallway, with the tunnel behind us and under our feet.
"You may feel a bit nauseous from vertigo. It's common for a first timer," he said. "Just give it a moment."
He wasn't lying. It took a moment for vertigo to subside. Then, he was pulling me along again down the corridor. "What are these things on the walls?" I asked.
"Timey-wimey stuff," he chuckled. I huffed and rolled my eyes. "I don't want to explain it," he said.
"Then why don't you just say that. I am not a three-year-old," I said.
"Noted," he replied. "Now, here we are. The main control room. Don't touch anything this time, okay?" he gave me a look and pointed at me.
Yeah, I deserved that look. I smirked. "All right, noted," I said. Although, in my defense, I did not know about the flower. And from my point of view, flowers generally to not attack.
"Yes, they do," he said. "You aren't listening close enough." The Shadow Man opened the door to the main control room. I followed him in. "Even on your planet, flowers and plants attack people and animals all the time. Poison Ivy, Venus Flytraps, Onions; when you cut them make you cry. It's nature."
I wasn't listening anymore. I was looking at the room, and it was unbelievable. The central columns were spinning around, making noise. The console was flashing, giving readouts, blipping, fuzzing, and clicking. The column and console were sitting in the middle of a translucent metal flooring. There were two sets of metal stairs that went to the left and the right to separate lofts areas. Four massive, unmoving columns held up the ceiling of the room. On their surface, moving carvings of symbols and numbers glowed silver on the shiny, oxidized green copper surface. The walls of the room were the same green color and covered in the same spiraling circle lights in the hallways.
The Shadow Man let go of my hand and went to the console. He picked up the flowerpot and studied it. "It's dead now," he said. As he touched it, the dried up flower in the pot fell over.
"Why did you take that flower in the first place?" I asked. "It doesn't look you have much interest in gardening. And from what I have seen, your gardening skills aren't what I would satisfactory."
"What do you mean?" he asked, placing the pot back on the console.
"Your potato in the room we came from. It's all wormy and gross."
"That's not a potato, and it's supposed to look like that. That is a Forgaibah fruit, and you eat the worms, not the potato, as you so put it," he said.
"Did you pick that up on the same planet as the flower?"
He went to flip switches and pull levers. "No."
I walked in and stood next to the control center. "So, where are we going?"
"Planet Numeiah, It's a forest planet in the Kreevax cluster," he said.
I gave him a look. "Who names these places? Those are not.."
"Well, they wouldn't be would they? Humans are not the only ones to put names on things. Orion doesn't look like Orion from the other side, does it?"
It came out rude. But I understood what the Shadow Man meant. He was right to be short with me. If I was going to learn anything on the first day on the job, it should be that my way of thinking is not the only way to do things. Especially, considering that I have no idea of what is out in the universe. Shadow Man, who has lived so long and explored so much, doesn't have a fractional view of it. How was I expected to know if I didn't open my mind to the possibility that everything I think I know, isn't wrong, only skewed. The skew wasn't my fault. It comes from a lack of experience and technology, not stupidity.
Then, another thought barreled through me. I realized that the Shadow Man wanted to help change these about humanity. Fix them by teaching that the reality that they feel so trapped in, wasn't bad, lonely, or horrible; but exciting, beautiful, and unique. The greatest danger in the grand scheme of things was the fear of the unknown and the rejection of the new. The Shadow Man did not have the ability to help everyone. But he could keep this hope and perspective alive by fostering the sense of wonder into certain people. By helping the one, he could help the many.
The Shadow Man stopped messing with his controls and slowly turned towards me. "What?" he asked in a whisper. "I didn't tell you that! You aren't supposed to know that!"
I smiled at him. "Even among your own people, you were, unique."
"That is not possible! Even in a damped field! Stop what you are doing!"
"You can't stop me from thinking, Doctor!" I yelled at him. "That's why you need us. You get so wrapped up in the run; you forget what you were chasing. So, you feel guilty about it when you do remember." I shook my head. "Oh, Doctor. Don't you know that's okay? You are your own worst enemy. There is nothing more human." I reached out and gave him a hug he didn't want.