“I’ve been to town a few times in my life and I’ve never seen a stationery store…” Jeron grumbled as drove out of the Mist, “You sure there’s one out there?”
“It’s up north a bit in another town on a Main Street,” Daniel replied from the back seat, his eyes glued to the GPS on his phone.
“Well, you’re gonna have to tell me where to go, because I’ve never been anywhere but Gatton.”
“Don’t worry, I will!”
Sylus leaned on his armrest letting the warm air of the Mistless air wash over him. It was one of the few feelings he and Qaitax both shared and enjoyed. He wanted to share this moment with Qaitax, but he wasn’t sure how to go about allowing them to feel things at the same time. He ended up simply zoning out, reducing his own conscious presence.
That is dangerous.
One of us must be in control at all times. You cannot simply doze off like that.
“And why not?”
Qaitax was silent.
Saari’s attention turned to the one-sided conversation.
“Is there something I should know?”
Jeron glanced to him out of the corner of his eyes, “Everything okay over there?”
“Yeah… I think… Maybe…”
Daydreaming is acceptable. Your mind remains functioning though not fully attentive to reality. However, these… Zoning episodes where you cease to think at all are very dangerous.
“It’s a human thing, Qaitax…”
You must unlearn it. If you wish to retreat from active thought, I can take over, but we cannot do this thing where you try to share forward consciousness with both of us or neither of us at all. It must be you or I, Sylus. Not both or neither.
“Why can’t we both just relax?”
“You know, you’re better off giving me an answer than the silent treatment.”
“Fine. Be that way,” Sylus huffed as he returned to gazing out the window. Careful not to “doze off” this time.
Saari let herself return to gazing out the window.
You should tell him.
When he is ready.
Sylus remained silent for the rest of the trip as Daniel lead Jeron along a very new set of roads. The ended up in a brick-built town that looked like it’d been trapped in time. Vintage signage hung from the buildings while old-looking lampposts lined the streets.
“Looks a little like New York,” Daniel remarked.
A painful sensation shot through Sylus. His face crinkled up as a massive cringe overtook his features. Jeron caught sight of his reaction and gently placed a hand on his lap.
“The store should be on the left…”
Sure enough, on the left side of the road, a few blocks down on the main drag, was a brick building with a sign hanging over the sidewalk:
“I like that name,” Daniel said as they slowed down.
“Where do I park?” Jeron looked around nervously.
“There’s a spot down there!” Daniel pointed ahead.
“But… That’s parallel parking… I can’t do that…”
Daniel looked at his phone. Their slow pace began upsetting the vehicles behind them as a series of honks filled the silence. Jeron’s grip on the steeringwheel tightened. Sylus placed a hand on his lap.
“There’s a municipal parking place a few blocks down. On the right, too, so it should be easy to get into.”
Jeron slowly put his foot on the gas as he gradually returned to the speed limit. His sat completely upright, eyes staring dead ahead, terrified of missing his turn. After what felt like an eternity, signs for the lot started showing up. As soon as they reached the parking area, Jeron did a hard turn off the road. A car honked as they continued on their way down the road. Still rigid and wary, Jeron found a spot and pulled in. It took him a moment to put the car into park and another long minute before he released the steering wheel. Sylus patted him on the lap. With a deflated sigh, the tension dissipated and Jeron turned the car off.
“We made it!” Daniel cheered as he threw open his door.
Jeron took Sylus’ arm as he moved to open his door.
“Look… I figure you and Dan need some time…”
“Sy… You really haven’t had any one on one time with him since you got back. This whole journal thing… It should be between you two.”
Sylus sighed deeply. “I missed his tenth birthday…”
Jeron sat back.
“Hell, I missed his ninth, too,” he forced a laugh, “I missed so much…”
Jeron put a hand on his arm. “All the more reason to spend this time with him.”
“What about you and Saari?”
“Well…” Jeron leaned back into his seat, “I asked Aria to meet us back in Gatston. She’s been wanting to evaluate Saari again and I figured we’re already out…”
“Y-you’re going there?”
“It’s not that far, Sy,” Jeron sighed, “I promise. Fifteen minutes away at most.”
Sylus bit his lip.
“Spend the day with your son, Sy.”
“D-do you think he wants to spend time with me?”
“I do, Sy, I really do.”
Sylus cringed a bit.
“He loves you, Sy…”
“After everything? After all the shit I’ve put him through?”
Jeron sighed, “He knows things are not normal. He knows his father is different.”
“Tentacles, Sy, tentacles. Jesus, do I really have to clarify that?”
“I don’t think he even thinks about that…”
“Go spend time with your son, Sylus Synclaire. You need each other more than ever.”
“I need you, too, though…”
Jeron leaned across Sylus’ lap opening the passenger door, “And I’ll be back to pick you up in a few hours.” He kissed Sylus lightly on the nose, “Now get out of my truck. I have an appointment to keep.”
Sylus sighed as he slid out of the vehicle.
“If something happens, I’m a text away, okay?” Jeron smiled.
Sylus nodded grinned in reply before closing the car door.
“Jeron and Saari aren’t coming?” Daniel stepped away from the truck and watched as it pulled out of the parking spot.
“It seems they have their own plans…”
“Is Qaitax okay with that?”
Sylus chuckled lightly to himself as Jeron turned back onto Main Street, “He knows he doesn’t have much of a choice. If Saari agreed to go with Jeron, then he has to accept that.”
“But is he okay with it?”
Sylus turned to his son. “Honestly? He’s nervous, but he won’t bother us. I promise.”
“Can you ask him what kind of book I should get?”
“Dan it’s up to you…”
“I mean, like… Are any materials better than others?”
Sylus paused a moment in thought.
“No, we are NOT getting a flesh-bound tome!”
Sylus turned to his son again.
“Leather’s skin right?” the boy added.
Sylus cringed. “I mean you’re not wrong…”
“So I need a leather journal! I’ve always wanted a nice embossed one… Maybe with a lion’s head on it! Or a spider!” Sylus shuddered as they crossed the street, “Or maybe a raven!”
Sylus chuckled as he took his son’s hand, “Let’s just see what they have. This place might just retail mass-produced stuff so please don’t get your hopes up too high…”
“A place called Taleweaver’s Haven has to have really cool stuff!”
“I hope the product lives up to the exterior…”
“It will! I know it will!”