Excerpt from working novel, “Radio”
Unfortunately, with each room and corner, I found not one shred of evidence of what I was looking for. I even checked the basement: in and around the washer and dryer, the air ducts, and the abandoned, cobwebbed metal shelves with a few rusty nails resting on top. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I was beyond frustrated. Where are these scents coming from? And why did they appear to be stalking me causing a twisting knot in my chest? I could feel the rage building up inside of me because I felt more insane than I had before I had started my search for a particular sign of Grey-M operatives having been here that I was nearly tempted to scream out loud. But I didn’t want to cause any damage to the “new” house or my unit, so I tried to take some calming breaths, trying to find a more rational explanations. Like maybe, the wet dog and baby powder aromas were just really hard to get rid of. I mean I’ve never had a dog or lived with a baby, so how would I know if this theoretical conclusion was the case. Yet, based on my past experiences with the foul odors in some of the vans my unit and I had to endure, perhaps if all the windows were to be open, it would alleviate these three annoying and combining scents. Then there was the potential reason for the third odor. The landlord could have baked something, so that when my unit and I arrived, we would feel like we were at home and feel all gooey inside… no pun intended.
Yet all of this seemed far fetched. You and the rest of my unit would have every right to say that this was just my wild imagination running amuck and heightened due to the recent death of my mother.
But you see, as my breathing became slightly more even and the rage of frustration slowly diminished, though the beating of my heart still raced, I remembered, prior to my unit’s escape from the compound, overhearing Grey-M had been developing ways to give targets a false sense of ease by means of sound or smell long before they sent in a team to attack. They used, if memory serves correctly, a minuscule cylindrical device placed in high corners of a room or space. I overheard this, quite by accident— well not exactly, when the scientists were doing tests on me to ensure the formally dominant ability of my father hadn’t gone into remission. I hadn’t thought much about it at the time because my unit and I were sure any of our plans to escape would work. Nonetheless, any information, no matter how small or big, from the scientists had been stored deep in my memory incase it would be useful for our potential escape.
It didn’t, when my unit finally agreed on a course of action on how to escape, but the knowledge— as you’ve already noticed—stuck with me. And as I looked around the basement, my back to the staircase, I failed to hear, though not unexpectedly, Feather coming down until his hand rested on my shoulder. I jumped a little before turning my head to look at him.
“Are you okay?” he asked with concern.
I’m not sure, I telepathically replied before projecting the memory of the day in the lab, before unsteadily continuing, The smells of baby powder, wet dog, and the freshly baked goods… I-I don’t know.
I didn’t know what else to say, as I became aware of Vapor opening the front door with muffled speaking to a strange man and the heavy waft of pizza took the place of the three aromas that had bagged me for who knows how long. But in true Feather fashion, he wrapped his arms around me from behind. Though, he usually spun me around to hug me in a very platonic way, I strangely welcomed the intimacy of the gesture and leaned further into him until our bodies seemed to meld into one. I reached my hand up to intertwine my fingers to the back part of his hair by his neck. Similar to the moment we had shared after I had discovered my mother’s butchered body, I wondered why this closeness felt so right. He didn’t show any sign of pulling away, but I had the need to delve into his mind to see if he was feeling the same way I did.
Unfortunately and quite peculiarly, I wasn’t able to get a reading. It was as though he had found a way to shield his thoughts from my telepathy. I would have asked why, but I was too exhausted from all the searching throughout the entire house to ask. I allowed his natural earthy musk and his embrace wash over me until I no longer felt paranoid, frustrated, or crazy. It wasn’t until I heard the whining of the top step and heard Dialect speak, that Feather and I pulled away from one another and returning back to our brother and sister status.
“Pizzas here!” Dialect almost shout with glee.
“We’ll be up in a minute,” Feather said, as I turned my whole body to face him.