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Volgin's Day Out

June 2009

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Ocelot ?

imre_nico in the_vicious_pet

TVP: Chapter 63

Posting two chapters. This is the first.






Chapter 63.

How do you feel at the end of the day
Just like you’ve walked over your own grave
Why are you frightened, can’t you see that it’s you?
At the moment there’s nothing - so there’s nothing to lose .
(Paul Weller)




In the wake of the experiment, there was overlapping silence.

The noeticist had examined Adamska’s eyes with a pocket beam. Measured his pulse and the pressure of his haunted blood.

He was unusually pliant.

Raudive sat in more silence, frozen like a waxwork, staring down at his dials as if his fingers itched to man them, couldn’t wait to play the reels and revel in the epiphanies they contained.

Ocelot didn’t care about any of them: not the Latvian, or the afterlife complaints choir, nor Doctor Vasiliev with his assiduous manner.

Nor did he care about Ivan Raikov, who stood beside him in yet another swath of silence, his manner quietly and unusually mercenary. His eyes flicked across every action committed, analyzing each thing the parapsychologist enacted upon Adam, who in his well-battered state could summon no other response than yielding to his examination, perfunctory as it was.

“Da, he’s cooked. Take him, go,” Vasiliev had said, decisive, and urged them toward the door, even as Raikov seized his white lab-coated sleeve and caught him in a hard glance, demanding answers without speech.

“It’s fatigue,” Vasiliev reassured, in a quiet aside. “It will pass. Let him sleep.”

More silence, as they walked through the depopulated halls abreast. Ocelot would not remember any of it later.

Silence like snow, which began to melt the closer they came to something like sanctuary.

“I imagine-” began Ivan, carefully, when they reached quarters.

“You can’t imagine it, Raikov,” Adam said, flatly.

His voice was peculiarly devoid of timbre.

Ivan paused.

“- that you’ll want to be alone for a while.”

Ocelot turned, dully incredulous.

“You’re insane,” he managed, through his teeth, with a faint hint of his customary vinegar. “You’re not going anywhere, comrade, until you put me back together again.”

Raikov seemed to be searching his face, brow fixed; aesthetically pained, the handsome man’s version of apprehension.

“Are they still clamoring?” he asked, softly.

Ocelot laughed, blackly amused from where he hung at the end of his rope.

“Relax, Major. Every circuit lit up today, thanks to you. The switchboard flooded, the system crashed. My mind is cabbage and kasha, Raikov. I’m not hearing a fucking peep from anyone, dead or alive.”

After a moment, Raikov exhaled, nodding.

“Khorosho,” he said, pulling out his keys. “That’s good.”

Adam stared fiercely at nothing as the Major hastened to unlock the door, letting it swing open unimpeded.

“There,” he said. “Adam?”

When Ocelot made no immediate move, he reached out, grasping his forearm and drawing him inside.

Even looking at him with glazed and sightless eyes, Adam could sense the weight of compassion there, like a fragile, guarded darkness Raikov held carefully within his mouth. Even in their occupation, some sacred things were selected to survive, guarded and cultivated, personal to each man.

Adam himself had not kept much empathy; Ivan’s compassion was a topiary Eden, feathery and nocturnal, that thrived behind curtains and between sheets.

“It helps you in your work, doesn’t it,” muttered Adam, as Raikov eased him into the room and onto the edge of the bed, where he sat, listlessly, glaring up at his benefactor.

“What?” said Ivan, gently bemused.

“Nothing,” muttered Ocelot. “I don’t know.”

“Do you want Pentazamin?” asked Ivan, after a moment.

Adam closed his eyes.

“No,” he said. “Nothing is coming tonight. Just sit down, Raikov. Stop…hovering.”

Raikov paused, then nodded.

“Da. That’s best, isn’t it.”

“Too much light,” Ocelot said. “I need it dark. Please.”

Ivan obliged, flicking off the side lamp. For a moment their world went dark, and then faded into vague, cool blueness.

He sat down on the bed beside Adam, leaning back against the headboard, drawing his legs up and crossing them at the ankle.

Adam lay beside him, sprawled where he fell, but his breathing betrayed his state.

“Think you can you sleep?”

Adam was quiet for a moment, as if trying.

“…No,” he said, after a moment.

Ivan understood that kind of mental exhaustion, the way that physical sleep could be elusive.

“Never mind,” he said, low and calm. “This is enough.”

Ocelot nodded numbly, eyes closed.

Another silence spun out above them, lengthened and fell.

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