Threads
By David Nash © 2016

“Would you like another drink?”

He held up an empty glass. She shook her head and plunged ahead with the conversation.

“I see them, the threads. They connect people. I know they do. Sometimes, if I like the color, I’ll bump the people together so that they meet and talk. I watch as the thread grows stronger and they find their lives intertwined again.”

He nodded and sat in the chair across from her.  She smiled nervously.

“You have a lovely place. It’s very quiet.”

“The couple in the other apartment work nights. Would you like music?”

He indicated a stereo across the room, but she shook her head. He sipped his drink and put it down on the side table.

“So you ‘bump’ people together.”

She laughed.

“I don’t always put them together. Sometimes I bump them far, far apart. Like when the thread is black. That’s bad. I saw a black thread grow one time when I was first learning. It was fascinating. They seemed to like each other. Later on, I found out one of them had murdered the other. Stuffed the body in a barrel and tried to sink it in a pond, but the police found it. He got life, but hanged himself.”

She looked down at the long narrow purse in her hands. Then she brushed away a lock of brown hair that had fallen out of place.

“You’re sure you want to hear this?”

He smiled and nodded.

“And you say you’ve been able to see these threads for a long time?”

“It started in my early teens. At first, it was flashes. I’d see a connection then it was gone. My mom took me to a doctor. It was funny; he was the first strong thread I ever saw. He and my mom…”

“What happened?”

“They got married.”

“So you got a happy ending?”

She shrugged.

“Not really. “

She glanced down, and he noticed her eyes were brown too.

“There was another thread that appeared later. It was connected to me. It was dark and got darker. He didn’t like me. He wanted it to be just my mom and him. He didn’t like anything that couldn’t be explained by rational science. When I started talking about the threads, they didn’t fit. He tried to convince me that I was hallucinating, or reading body language, or just making it up.”

She looked into his eyes. They were dark blue.

“ I ran away at sixteen. I didn’t like where it was going.”

He nodded briefly and smiled.

“So, How did you survive?”

“It’s pretty easy when you can see threads. You learn from the colors. I avoided people who had threads that were dark. I also avoided those who were too likely to turn me in to the cops. You can find people who are sympathetic when you are in the rain, or out in the cold, people who will give you a job, or a meal. I get by. “

She looked far away for a moment.

“Some of the lessons were pretty harsh though.”

He nodded again, encouraging her to continue.

“That’s fascinating. You never tried to use it to get rich?”

“Well, I did do a stint as a matchmaker. It was fun and it paid the bills. But, threads can change over time. Ones that start out really good would sometimes sour – another thread would interfere and things would go wrong…”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, sometimes people will really like each other at first, but money or children can mess it up. Sometimes tiny differences can blow up into major rifts. Then the threads can go dark.”

He nodded again, pitched his voice softly.

“So, what did you want from me?”

“Well I wanted to meet you because you have a thread color I’ve never seen.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, It’s kinda silvery and it flashes.”

“It sounds beautiful.”

“It is, and it was just kind of floating there and then it turned and it locked onto me. So, I wanted to find out what it was…”

He laughed.

“So, you met me at a bar and agreed to come to my place? Seems a bit forward…”

She blushed.

“Well, I wasn’t sure. It wasn’t dark. So, I thought if I talked to you, told you about it, maybe we could figure out what the silver thread means.”

He sat back and reached casually into his pocket.

“Oh, I can tell you what it means…”

“You can?”

“Yes. It means I can see threads too.”

Her eyebrows rose and she leaned forward.

“Really? How long have you been able to do it?”

“I was created with it.”

She sat back a bit, confused.

“I don’t understand. You were created with it?”

“Yes. And, I’m supposed to be the only one who has it.”

She sat back even further and brushed at her skirt.

“How do you know that?”

“Because, the creators told me when they made me.”

“Made you?”

“Yes.”

Her face said the conversation had definitely gone astray. Was it a weird religion? Was he talking to God? She shook her head slightly and tried to turn their talk back to the connection.

“Well it must be great that there are other people who can do it too.”

“I’m afraid not.”

“Why? Don’t you want to know you are not alone?”

“No. It interferes with the plan.”

He could see her eyes darting around the room. They came back to him.

“What plan?”

He was in control now and knew it. He sat back in his chair.

“The plan to destroy this civilization. I was sent to do that.”

Her voice was slightly mocking.

“Are you putting me on? You were sent to destroy this civilization? What’s that supposed to mean?”

“The race that created me wants this world. So, I was created to be physically just like you, except for my special talent. Then, I was sent to cleanse this world of the vermin infecting it. I use the threads to cause chaos and discontent. Eventually, the disharmony will grow so great that you will destroy yourselves. Then the planet will be re-colonized.”

She lifted her purse between them like it was a real barrier. He smiled, but there was no humor in it.

“But, now you have found me. Delicious irony.  You have been interfering with my plans, making things better instead of worse. You must be an early mutation. All civilizations eventually get the sight, but you are just a bit ahead of your time. But if I eliminate you…”

And there was a bright knife, a long shining blade, in his hand.

She stood quickly and backed away. He rose slowly from his chair. There was no need to hurry. He was between her and the door.

“Don’t believe me? It doesn’t matter. After you are gone, I’ll be free to continue my work.”

He took a step towards her. No one was going to be around for days. He could toy with her. It would be fun.

She took a step back. The wall was closer to her back now.

“No, I believe you. The thread shows you’re not lying. And I’ve seen other indications in people that have been brought together that should never have met.”

“You were a fool to come here alone.”

He took one step closer. She stepped back and her heel hit the wall. No place left to run.

“I had to,” she said.

He smirked.

“And why is that?”

The knife swayed menacingly back and forth.

“Because,” she said, “if you turned out to be dangerous I had to make sure no one was around.”

She pulled the taser from her pocket and fired. It stuck him in the chest.

Electricity arced and his body shook. Confetti sprayed through the air. The knife dropped from quivering fingers. He collapsed to the ground shaking. His face rubbed across the carpeting on the floor, burning his skin. He trembled for a bit, then sagged.

“If you kill me then my people will just send another,” he managed to spit out.

She quickly removed a syringe from her bag and jabbed it into his arm. The trembling in his body stilled, but he couldn’t move. His head lay at a painful angle on the ground. Her body loomed above him.

She shrugged.

“Guess, I’ll have to make sure that you stick around awhile. At least until I can find others to watch over you.”

She removed a long pointed ice pick from her bag.

“It’s fortunate that you are like us. I won’t have to do any guesswork.”

She smiled.

“The injection was curare. You know, I didn’t like my new father much, but I was a good student. He was a doctor, remember?”

She rolled him on his back, straightened his arms and legs.

“It’s called a pre-frontal lobotomy. Can be done through the eye sockets if you are careful and the patient doesn’t move much. The shot will make sure of that. You’ll lose your sight, but I’m guessing you won’t need it much in the institution. They’ll keep you alive. I’ll follow up when the news hits the papers, so I can make sure you stay that way.”

She moved his head so it was facing the ceiling.

“I know you won’t move, but I didn’t bring any anesthetic. So this is going to hurt a bit. But don’t worry… I’ll bump somebody to find you in a few days.

The ice pick slowly moved towards his right eye. He tried to blink, but failed.

“Not that you will care much…”

David Dougher – author, ballroom dance instructor, computer consultant, game designer, and odd fellow.
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