A Fiction Agreed Upon. Episode Six: Threshold. Part Three.

PART THREE.

In the dark of the night Clio trailed around Rainbow’s home, her one eye roving over some the scientists curiosities. This was undoubtedly the most boring part of her job as a Muse. The waiting. When she’d had her sisters and son around it hadn’t been as bad, but now on her own Clio was relegated to re-reading the ancient earth texts Rain had carefully stored on her bookshelves. She was starting to wish for any company, even Spectra’s, when out of the corner of her eye, she noticed the large hound pad past, making her way to the back door.

“Smart dog,” she muttered to herself as the hound stood on her hind legs to press the door knob down then nose it open. Rather than letting the door swing shut behind it, the dog carefully picked up a stone it it’s mouth and positioned it in the door, preventing it from closing.

“Curious and curiouser,” Clio muttered, setting her book aside and getting up to follow the dog out. She phased through the door easily enough and walked over the slightly dry grass to where, much to her surprise, all of the dogs were assembled. She sat down, knees folder under her and resting back on her heels.

While the dogs weren’t talking, she had the definite feeling they were certainly communicating. One of the them would bark or growl softly, the others would respond, yipping, shaking or growling back.

“I’ll be struck, Spectra might be right,” the older Muse muttered, and hoped that the Hyena trickster might never find out she admitted it aloud.

The dogs stayed on the back lawn for nearly an hour before the big hound, yawned and stood up. She was easily the tallest dog there, and with a quick shake she turned and trotted back up to the house. One by one the other dogs followed her in. Clio stood and stretched, strolling alongside the smallest one, a fluffy tan dog with bright black eyes who stumbled once or twice in her exhaustion. They filed into the living room where most of them curled up on the rug, closing their eyes and falling asleep.

However the big hound, the curly haired white poodle and the long short dog went off to in the direction of the bedrooms. Clio followed along, figuring now was a good a time as any to check on her charges.

Three of them were asleep. Rain, with her long dark hair spread over her face and pillows, and her faithful cane next to her bed. Richard was on his back, frowning thunderously even in his sleep. Wryly, Clio wondered if he was dreaming of ghosts. Finally Robespierre was tossing and turning, sleeping clothes stuck to his body with sweat. When the poodle saw this, she whined, and leapt up on the, resting her head next to the distressed sleeper. It seemed to calm him somewhat, and Clio left slightly amused at the dogs reaction.

Leonardo was still not asleep. Examining his intense pose, Clio wasn’t even sure if he was aware that it was nighttime. The Italian was busy writing notes in his sketchbook, pages already scattered around him.

“A true follower of Hephaestus, aren’t you?” She asked the mortal teasingly. Leonardo smiled and shook his head at something he read, going back and scratching out part of his notes. “Hmph. You seem to learn better than your fellows at least.” She sat herself at the end of his unused bed, ignoring how she sank into it several inches, rather than the bed giving way under her weight. The downside of being incorporeal.

Leonardo sighed gustily, running a hand through his dark hair and then stroking it over his beard. He seemed surprised when he ran out of hair to pull, looking down. He chuckled ruefully.

“Keep forgetting you aren’t in your sixties anymore?” Clio asked rhetorically. Leonardo rubbed his eyes and sat back, yawning massively into his hand. Clio laughed. “You look just like your name sake when you do that!”

She moved out of the way when Leonardo stood up and stumbled into the bed, landing facedown and slumping into the mattress. It was a far cry from his usually graceful bearing.

His snores started almost immediately and Clio sighed.

It was times like this where she’d give up limbs, love, vitality to have the gift of dream walking like Spectra did. She was intensely curious as to what her mortal charges might have been dreaming.

Of their past lives? The strange future they were now living in? Past loves, or of their enemies closing in around them? Did they dream at all?

Clio sighed again and walked soundlessly over to where Leonardo had been sitting. She Leafed through the sketches. He was already drawing to the small portion of the world he’d been exposed to. Rain made her appearance as Athena, an old Milianese captain’s helmet on her head, while her braid curled around her face like a serpent. He made sketches of the inventions she shown him, and geographical maps of North Dakota. Richard popped up as well, Leonardo already speculating on his uneven shoulders, and a hurried drawing, no larger than Clio’s palm, was of a curved spine, nearly exactly like the scoliosis that Richard suffered from.

Leonardo seemed to have developed an interest in the bullet scar in Robespierre’s face as well, since he had one full sized drawing, and several in minute, drawn to detail it. In a gory example, Leonardo had apparently speculated on how Robespierre had been shot, and showed an eruption of blood pouring from his mouth.

Finished with her snooping, Clio rearranged the papers back on the desk. She looked over at the sleeping Italian again. He seemed peaceful in his sleep, face lax, and Clio grimaced, thinking of the days ahead of the three men and Rain.

“Yeah, well, enjoy in while you can,” she told him, before quietly leaving his room.

XXX

Leonardo was not entirely sure what time it was when he woke up, face pressed into the sheets. He hadn’t slept until late and he was surprised to find his internal clock wasn’t entirely calibrated to the new surroundings yet. However when he sat up and stretched, still amazed to find that after years of waking with creaking and aching bones he was now able to move as smoothly as if his joints had been recently oiled, he looked out the window and found that the sun was already overhead and warming the earth.

Leonardo got up and stripped to change clothing. His nose wrinkled when he realized he smelled of sweat, and the odd sharp tang he was coming to associate with the future. The old clothing, Leonardo neatly piled at the end of the bed and made a mental note to ask Rain about later.

Standing bare in front of the replicator, Leonardo took his time and slowly flipped through the variety of clothing that it offered. This machine, much like the one back at Rain’s lab, did not seem immune to being charmed, and therefore Leonardo soon found himself well threaded in a rose colored shirt, and the same kind of lose hosiery that Rain had foisted on him the day before.

‘Denim’, she called it.

How they got the weave that close, Leonardo was looking forward to finding out.

Down the stairs and through the living room, Leonardo was only able to find Rain and Robespierre.

“Richard left hours ago. But Ava was following him, so I’m not very concerned,” Rain told him. Then she wrinkled her nose at him. “You know I think you could use a shower Leonardo.” She glanced over at Robespierre as well. “Probably you and Richard as too.”

Rain heaved herself to her feet, and gestured for them to follow her.

“I don’t know why she keeps expecting us to know where things are in her house,” Robespierre muttered tartly.

Leonardo shrugged. “She probably keeps forgetting we aren’t from her time.” Robespierre coughed under his breath.

“She likes to remind us well enough.”

Rain opened the door to a room that was tiled from floor to ceiling in white and blue granite tiles. When Leonardo stepped onto the floor, it wasn’t cold, but instead a pleasant warmth on the bottom of his feet.

Rain was standing next to an alcove and they watched her twist one of the silver knobs. Steaming water poured from a spout over her head. She pointed at the knobs. “Red is hot, the blue is cold, and the one in the middle changes where the water is directed. The three of you can use this bathroom.” She limped past them, ignoring their amazed expressions. “Like hell I’ll let you use my bathroom,” she muttered.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s