Something's different. I am different, more than usual. What happened?

"Mr Toulouse, would you be kind to stop dreaming? We're in the middle of a crisis. And it's time for your presentation." Fatty growled in his direction. A man ignored him and walked to the laptop area. "What seems to be a problem, Mr Toulouse? Did you forget how to press start?" Fatty obviously picked on him today. Sevan Copolous, the man's colleague, sighed and helped the struggling man. He ignored Fatty's unprofessional behaviour and seated himself.

"First of all, the crisis our boss is talking about could be avoided by cutting the benefits for CEO's and their emergency packages. 67% of whole earnings are going there. This money could be more effectively invested and doubled.

Second, the firm's hierarchy doesn't make any sense. We, analysts, are at the bottom, though we are key players. Without our assessment of your financial abilities, you'll be damned.

So, you wanted to hear my opinion? It's based purely on facts that we collected during a crucial period, as you can see in the following graphics..."

He was speaking, and they listen. They were not only listening but they were also mesmerized. For the first time in his life, he was feeling powerful. Important. He blocked out all taunting comments from his boss, concentrating only to deliver the message.

"It's already past midnight. Why are you still here, Mr Toulouse?" A screeching voice of cleaner penetrated man's ears and awakened him fully. "I'm sorry. I didn't realize it's this late. Today you'll have not much of a job here, we got a huge meeting in the conference room. I came here just to make some coffee." The cleaner smiled. "I'm happy to hear that. My wife is about to deliver our firstborn. I hoped I could finish earlier to be with her." An analyst grinned.

"You know what? Go, I'll clean my office and Mr Copolous' office for you. I'm not rushing home anyway, and you can enjoy your good news without focus on dusting my messy worktable." The cleaner nearly hugged him but then recomposed himself, thanking him instead.

After the cleaner left for the hospital, Mr Toulouse started to clean his office. The building was now empty, but he wasn't afraid. The silence was welcoming as his headache was reaching its peak. Absentmindedly, he hit a colleague's desk and realized some papers fell out. Sighing, he was about to put them back when something there caught his attention. It was a slim working file with his initials on it. He didn't remember being assessed by anyone recently, and his curiosity won over his morals.

Project name: Wordie, aka Henri Toulouse

Project main goal: Test and discover the source of Mr Toulouse's unique ability

Expected complications: NO THREAT

Mr Toulouse opened the file and started to read. As he was focused on the text, he didn't realize what happened. He wasn't in the office anymore. He was back in place so familiar it was nearly painful. He was home. A real home.

After two unsuccessful attempts to put papers on the table, he realized the table is no longer there. He looked around and nearly screamed. "How in the damn of damned I get back there without moving my ass..." he growled, uncomfortable in his current position.

As usual, when in an unknown or threatening situation, he stopped thinking and breathed in and out to regain control of it. Afterwards, he sipped an ounce of his whiskey flask, always carefully tucked underneath his working jacket. This small ritual calmed him down to the point he was fully operational. Ready to deal with whatever is thrown in his way. How?

By the power of the words. Or how they call it- by daydreaming. Because that's me. I'm not dreaming in pictures. I'm dreaming in words. The right words need to be spoken, written, felt.

Walking forward through the myriad of words, he was looking for the right ones. The ones with the answers he longed for.

"Where's the Information?" He heard someone's question though no one should be present. It was his mind, after all.

"Where's the Information?" The voice sounded eerily familiar, but he couldn't recognize it. Suddenly, he bumped into someone else. Both screamed and quickly took a step back, shaking. Henri was looking at the person in front of him. "Evan? Evan Merrel? What are you doing here? And what's the Information?" Evan, a boy around the age of 6, giggled.

"You're not dead. Neither I. But still, I am here, and I was looking for a way out. I don't like silence, you know." Of course, you're deaf. And you seem so real. That's not just my memory. This is not how I remember my brother by blood. My best friend before- Evan grinned viciously, and Henri trembled. It didn't happen before.

"You can read my mind, right?" Evan shook his head, laughing:

"No, silly. Your face is more readable, believe me. I can see what's happening inside your supercharged brainie. No need to hiding it."

Henri did have a plan, but this little piece of his, possibly dead subconsciousness, was in a way.

"Wordie. Interesting nickname. Kinda cute. Like you. Innocent. Harmless. Picked on by everyone more muscular, masculine-" All of a sudden, he lost his voice and looked at Henri, surprised.

"I need to think how to get out of there. As the usual way is not- appropriate."

"Now I am interested. What is it? Why you are ashamed of it? It's some kind of 18+?" Henri gagged but recomposed himself enough to answer. "If you are my subconsciousness, you should know." Evan went quiet. This time from his own actions. "I'm sorry, Henri. I shouldn't bring that up. I know you're struggling. But go home and sleep it off."

I should go. But, what is Evan doing here? Let's take him home. Henri grabbed the boy's radiating shoulder and pushed him forward slightly. In mind, he opened all barriers that blocked the exit. At the last "gate", he stopped, looking at the boy.

"I never let you go. Did I?" Evan smiled, this time genuinely.

"You kept your promise. Now it's time to let the pain heal. It's time to say goodbye, Wordie."

"Don't call me that," he grumbled, and before he could finish his sentence, the brightness of his office's light blinded him for a moment.

With a file spread on his knees, he slowly regained his sight and looked around carefully. He was back in the office, unchanged. Sighing, he put the file back, leaving it unfinished. Maybe something it's better not to know; for your own sanity.

It was around 3am when Henri Toulouse left the building. He checked the time twice to be sure he is not dreaming. He wasn't. He spent three hours reading three pages of the document about himself. Project Wordie. For a long time, no one knew what's lies between its lines.

Upon arrival at his place of living, he noticed a slight change. Words, usually circulating around him, now rested peacefully on their respective pages of his own memoir, named Life and Death of Evan Merrel.

He was the source of the whole of his magic. A small boy, bullied and unimportant, who became the powerful magician of the word. He dedicated his efforts to find a cure for his stutter.

In the end, he won. Evan Merrel died to give birth to Henri Toulouse.

August 11, 2021 22:33

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RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

We made a writing app for you

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