|Jocelyn Klaes || Hel (tohelandback) wrote in paxletalelogs,|
@ 2017-10-10 20:43:00
|Entry tags:||hel, loki|
season of illusions, pocket full of doubts
What: Masks & Voices & Reality TV
Where: Nishka’s - Pax 502
When: Evening, October 2nd
Jocelyn finished drying the last of the plates from dinner, tucking them away in their proper position, and reaching for the pair of wine glasses perched on the shelf above. “Hey, Nish?” she called out to her friend, who had already made her escape into the living room. “Was the sparkling cider I brought okay with you, or do you want me to grab something else while I’m in here?”
Nish looked up from Bear, who she’d been petting on the couch, “no, that’s great, thank you,” she said appreciatively. “And thanks for helping with the dishes, you didn’t have to do that!” She made room for her friend on the couch, Bear purring and wedged between them, and reached for the glass Jocelyn brought for her.
“I know I don’t,” Jocelyn replied, as she relinquished the extra glass to her friend. “But I don’t mind helping - it gets us to watching the show faster.” She smiled and sat down next to Bear, carefully shifting in place until she had her bare feet tucked up underneath her.
“So...I wanted to show you something,” Nish said, getting up from her seat and retrieving a box from the nearby bookshelf, setting it on the coffee table and sitting back down. “This was left in front of my apartment door yesterday..” She opened it, and inside was a glittering mask, the appearance of icicles unmistakable on it. “I’m assuming because of that note from the management that you got one too?”
Jo nodded, and reached into the tote bag she had brought to carry her contributions to the evening’s meal. She pulled out a tissue paper wrapped item, and carefully freed it, holding it up for Nish’s inspection. “They were a lot kinder with your mask than mine - my whole mouth is covered.” She giggled. “Do you think it’s meant to be a hint that I talk too much?”
Nish chuckled, but gently took the mask from Jo’s hands, her brows raising as she inspected the detailed paint job. “It’s gorgeous though,” she said, admiring the two sides of it. It reminded her a little of the painting she’d bought from the gallery, two faces in one. It was interesting, but lately the painting seemed to be speaking to her more and more. She sighed, setting it on the coffee table next to hers. “I need to tell you something,” she said, sounding incredibly reluctant to even bring it up. But the mask seemed to be the kick in the butt she needed to say something.
She looked up at her friend, a slight frown on her face. “So...this is going to sound really...weird,” she said uncomfortably. “Lately...well, I’ve been...hearing things…in my head.” She bit her lip, waiting to judge her friend’s reaction before she said more.
Jo looked at her friend, thoughtfully. “Okay…” she prompted, her tone a mix of concern and doubt. Then she thought about the weirdness that she had encountered over the last few months, and decided to ask: “Do you think this is ‘see-a-psychologist’ voices or ‘this-place-is-weird’ voices?”
Nish winced slightly in indecision, “the second one, I think. I am seeing a therapist, but not for this...and this...I don’t think I’d share with anyone who didn’t live here,” she said meaningfully. “It’s just...I think this has happened before...but I don’t remember.” She shifted on the couch so that she was sitting on it sideways, facing her.
“Rafe told me about some things that I can’t remember...that we shared a dream together before we broke up. And that I was dreaming about a Norse god, Loki.” She hesitated again, “I think that’s who I’m hearing. He...well, he sounds angry. And he’s kind of a douche,” she added with a chuckle.
’Thank you,’ the voice said, though she could hear humour in the words.
“Loki…” Jocelyn murmured, mostly to herself. She looked over at Nish. “Is he the man in all your paintings?”
Nish’s brows rose, as if the idea hadn’t occurred to her before. “You know what, you might be right…” she said thoughtfully. She sipped her cider and then set it down on the coffee table, mulling it over. “I can’t really remember what made me paint them, which probably means it’s related. I bet they are of him...” She stood then, heading to the room she used for her office and opening the closet where she’d stashed all of the paintings, pulling a few of them out to lean against furniture and walls.
Jocelyn paused, glass resting against her lips, as she recognized the scene in one of the paintings that Nishka had set out. The cave, with its bound captive. “I think I remember that place…” she said, her forehead wrinkling with concentration as she attempted to place it.
Nish turned to her as soon as she said it. “You do? From where?” she asked eagerly. “I look at these and...I don’t remember doing them, but...there’s this...vague sense of familiarity now that wasn’t there before. I feel like I know these places too, but not enough to name them. Is that...that’s crazy, right?” she said, trying to laugh it off, “as crazy as hearing a voice in my head?”
’You’re my kind of crazy, Nish,’ she heard, triggering yet another one of those deja vu feelings that was gone just as quick as it appeared.
Jo took another sip of her drink, buying time while she tried to figure out why that place seemed so familiar to her. Finally she shrugged, and shook her head. “I can’t place it. Maybe I’ve just seen that painting before.” She paused again, suddenly struck. “Or maybe it was a dream.”
“Rafe told me we shared a dream,” Nish said slowly, thinking about it. “Maybe we did too?” she asked, searching Jo’s eyes for answers. “If we did I don’t remember...just like everything else,” she said with a sigh. “It’s so frustrating! It’s like...there’s a giant hole where all this stuff is supposed to be,” she said, gesturing vaguely to the paintings. “It’s a little too selective to be coincidence, right?”
Jo hesitated. “I remember having a strange dream, the first night I lived here. I guess I assumed that it was just a side effect of sleeping in a strange place…” She sighed. “This place can be really frustrating...have you noticed that?” Between the strange disappearance of all her food one month, the thing with her face, the strange message in her inbox, and the time that her doors refused to connect to the right places…’frustrating’ was probably putting it gently.
Nish nodded, frowning at one of the other paintings. “There have been times when I thought I should just move,” she said, sounding tired. “After I got out of the hospital, I was seriously considering moving back home. Which is hilarious, because I moved here to get away from home,” she glanced at Jo with a grin. “I was just...done with everything. The strangeness, and...the things that had put me in the hospital…” she shook her head, as if unsure. “But something about this place...these people. It’s like I’m supposed to be here.” She looked over at Jo again, forcing a laugh. “I know, now I’m really starting to sound crazy, right?”
“Maybe just a little,” Jo said with a grin. She set her glass down and reached for the remote. “But we’re probably all a little crazy, here.” She wondered, for a moment, if she should tell her friend about her own experience with hearing voices…
Say nothing! that voice hissed, as if the very thought had summoned it. Summoned her? The voice seemed feminine.
Jo held out the remote to Nish. “Did you still want to watch The Voice?” she asked. “I’m sure this place will still be crazy in a couple of hours...”
Nish hadn’t really been done talking about it, but she got the hint when Jo held out the remote. Discussion over; starting to cross into crazy town. She took it with a nod, forcing a little smile. “Sure,” she said, trying to laugh it off, “we’ll indulge in other people’s crazy for a while,” she chuckled, turning the TV on.
’Notice how quickly she changed the subject?’ the voice said, ‘she’s not telling you everything.’ Nish frowned, but resisted looking over at Jo.
Jo settled back into her corner of the couch, reaching down to soothe a grumbling Bear, who had been less than pleased by her sudden change of position. “Sorry, buddy…” she murmured, ruffling the fur behind his ears.
The rest of the evening passed in a blur of singing and heartfelt stories and the hijinks of the four judges. Every so often, Jo felt her friend’s eyes on her, but if Nishka had anything she wanted to say, she didn’t push the issue.