The Guides, Nash & Agnes

Nash is seated in a small, sparsely furnished room with just a cot, a tray, some folding chairs, a tiny kitchenette containing a hot plate and a half-size refrigerator. He’s occupying one of the chairs, with his hands folded in front of him and his legs extended and crossed. Agnes appears before him.

“I heard about the explosion,” he says. “Is he all right?”

“Of course,” Agnes says. “It took some insistence on Agnes’ part, but she convinced him to alter his course. She’s now in the spare bedroom at his family’s house.”

“Good,” Nash says. “I trust she’s fitting in as well as can be expected.”

“The wife isn’t happy, but she’s willing to see where it leads for now,” she says. Nash nods. “You caused quite a stir at that art show. They’re on the lookout for you now.”

“When I’m ready, I’ll let them catch me,” he says. He notes some hesitancy on her part. “You haven’t seen anything have you?”

“No,” she says. “It’s all static right now.”

“Something else on your mind?” Nash says.

“I’m just not anxious to go back into that crazy woman’s head,” she says.

“The price we pay for a job well done,” Nash says.

“Easy for you to say,” she says. “You manipulate their minds. It’s child’s play for you. Second sight isn’t as pervasive.”

“I have offered to teach you some techniques,” he says.

“Only so much can be learned,” she says. She leans her head back and stretches. “Ah, the sound of silence. I do miss it with all those voices.”

“Tell them to shut up. You can do that, you know,” Nash says. “I’m sure poor Agnes would welcome the relief as well.”

“It’s only temporary,” she says. “Before long, they’re back with a vengeance.” She walks away from him. “It takes too much energy to stay on top of it, so I save my resources for when I need my wits about me.”

“Probably not a bad idea,” Nash says. “My guy pretty much checked out a long time ago. Nothing like Joe Bedford.”

“Right. He was a mess,” Agnes says. “When do you plan to make contact?”

“Give it a few days,” he says. “Let them get used to having you around.”

“The wife has a sister, who sounds like she could be a receiver,” Agnes says. “She’s under observation at a hospital right now, but she’s going to be joining them as well.”

“That should be interesting,” Nash says. “She’s not violent is she?”

“Maybe to herself,” she says. “Not sure where her delusions originate, though.”

“Make contact, find out what you can,” he says.

“Way ahead of you,” she says. “Are you planning to hop to any other realm?”

“Not if I don’t have to,” he says. “I don’t think I could endure another round with the sarcastic aliens just now.”

“They are tiresome,” Agnes says.

“Spend all their time sipping tea and thinking up witty quips to hit us with and then call us idiots,” Nash says.

“Oh well, guess I’d better get back,” she says. “Don’t wait too long. I don’t know how long the wife will be willing to put up with having two crazies in the house.”

“Not to worry,” he says.

Agnes walks toward the far wall, fading as she goes until she vanishes completely.

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