HIDING THE ELEPHANT
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Gently now. ‘C’mon. Let’s go. There’s nothing for us here.’ The ‘us’ will tie them together, clasp their hands and their hearts closely while they walk out into a shared sunset. ‘C’mon.’
The weighted octopus moves still higher, still further out, longing to be caught and unburdened. ‘C’mon.’ Patience cuts sharply through Grant’s middle and hardens his calves and shins into a knot. But his warm, friendly hand is a steady, welcoming beacon.
‘I’m not ready.’ Checked by the whisper the movement stops in mid air.
‘You are. We both are. You’ve said so.’
‘I’m not ready!’ The cry thrusts the arm sharply forward into a blast of noise and sparks.
Grant steps back, quickly and sideways from habit. There is no pain. In the eye-watering acrid silence, worryingly, there is no pain and no sensation. He should have been hit. He was too close not to be hit.
‘I’m not ready. There are still things to be done, places to visit,’ comes ghostlike from the chair. ‘And neither are you, Inspector. You don’t deserve me yet. You’ll have to earn me first.’
Unbelievably, the miss was deliberate. Delivered to warn, to grab and assert. There is nothing Grant can do about the beads of sweat along the hairline, trickling down past his ear.