The trouble with Suspension Drops, Nathan prematurely recalled, was that one’s eyesight became somewhat blurred for several hours.
He’d remembered this the instant he left the tiny bathroom and entered his bedroom to dress. For, once there, the flush fixture overhead illuminated within a circle of its own influence, and hesitated to stretch its wattage beyond. Nathan’s floor, bed, and cave-dark closet were imperceptible to his altered vision.
He cursed, quietly, and decided to find his comm. Pillowed barefoot shuffling drew him and his outstretched, groping arms slowly toward the nightstand where he’d last seen it. He hit the bed; grunted, turned, and walked along it to the head.
There! Nathan pawed at the shiny device; grasped it clumsily. Drawing his comm to his face, he said, “Light.”
Nearly instantly, he yelled in a different sort of ocular agony as the light activated. He’d not known, of course, that he’d picked up his comm upside-down. The beam had blared out obediently, directly into his strained and straining eyes.
Nathan closed them. A square of blinding white flashed repeatedly against the dark undersides of his eyelids. He wished for tears; for the ability to squint away the blinking spots.
After taking a few calming breaths, and dropping his hand to point the light downward, he squinted his right eye open a slit. He could make out somewhat more of the bedroom now. Thus directed, he walked gingerly to his closet.
He panned the tiny spotlight ’round the door-less alcove that passed for clothing storage in this cheap apartment, noting a muted glint from drywall patches and exposed wall-pipes. The light reflected shabbily from a plastic-bagged suit hanging between a few wool warmers and two basic liners.
“Some boss,” Nathan mumbled. He re-thought, remembered his reflection from the bathroom mantra. He straightened, and determinedly whispered, “I’ll have a full wardrobe, this time next week!”
Nodding to himself, he reached his left hand forward and withdrew the suit. It shushed in a slithering sigh across the uneven floor as he carried it to the bed. Carefully clumping his bedthings to a disorderly pile, Nathan lay the rented costume on the mattress.
Ironic, he thought, that this suit was his ticket to actually paying for it upon its return to the shop.
He set the light in the blankets, pointing harmlessly at the wall. Holding his breath, he slit open the plastic suit-covering, and began the hurried carefulness of awkwardly dressing himself.
Continued from Skinwalkers, I.