Yay! I finally slept for more than six hours last night!
I actually am really happy about that. I’ve been sleeping maybe 6 hours a night at most for the last week or so, it’s really ridiculous. I wouldn’t even mind if there was a reason like a really loud noise or something but nope. Nothing. No reason what so ever. One moment I’m asleep, then next I’m awake and my brain is all “Nope. We’re done sleeping now. It’s fine. I can run on this much.”
I’m almost done with Christmas stuff too, so that’s something as well! Just have to finish off making a few gifts for some people, do another few cards, all pretty easy stuff. The only problem is gifts for family. No idea what to get them. I mean, I’d give them my love for Christmas, but it seems a little crappy as they already have it. Like wrapping stuff they already own and giving that. Though I guess if worst comes to worst, that’s an option too, “Happy Christmas! I got you your watch!”
On with the show!
Three hours later, Doug was still feeling jittery, but now it was tinged with tiredness. Despite this he still could not sleep, whatever it was that had kept him calm seemed to have worn off after the first few minutes that he was alone. So far he hadn’t let go of the black stone that Max had given him, just in case. He had learned that television inside New Town was pretty similar to television outside, except there were fewer ads, and the ads that he did see, he understood very little of them. At around one A.M. the television had switched from TV shows to a blank screen. After that happened, Doug found a book and began to read, hoping it might help relax him a little. It didn’t.
At three A.M. he went to bed, deciding that it would be good, even if he didn’t sleep, to get some kind of a rest. It took him a half hour before he finally fell into a fitful sleep, tossing and turning and waking every few moments, fearful that someone had gotten in.
When he got up the next morning, his eyes tired and sore, his muscles aching and his head throbbing dully, he dragged himself from the bed and had a shower, trusting in the cold water to wake him. With that done, he left the apartment to find two different guards standing there.
“Good morning, did you sleep well?”
“Not really. Have you been here long?”
“Our shift changed about half an hour ago or so.”
“um, do you know where I’m supposed to meet Max or?”
“Yeah, we’re to take you down to him, he’s in his office at the moment. He thought it best to let you sleep as long as you needed.”
“I didn’t really sleep all that much.”
They stepped into the lift,
“I’m not surprised after what happened. It’s understandable that you’d be a little shaken up, but don’t worry, you’ll be perfectly safe with us.”
“I thought I was safe before.”
The police brought him outside the building where there was a black car parked at the sidewalk, Doug had expected it to be a police car, or that it would have some marking identifying it as such. They got into the car and pulled out onto the road.
“I haven’t seen many police out walking the beat, are there many of you?”
“A good amount. Not as much as we’d like though. We patrol areas, but there are other ways that we keep things safe. There is a netting of spell work around the city that alerts us to certain problems. We get alerts if things happen in public areas. It makes our job a lot easier in some ways. We don’t always know what we’re going into though. The firemen have the same system, if a building catches fire they know immediately.”
“How come you weren’t alerted when I was attacked?”
“We can’t really monitor the inside of buildings. It would make our jobs easier, and people safer, but there are fears that it could be misused. The spells can be altered to alert us to other things. So we only monitor public areas unless we get special warrants for it.”
“What about ambulances and stuff? Do they get alerts when someone has a heart attack?”
“Yes if it’s in public, but if they’re in their own home they don’t. We’re starting a programme for the elderly, a kind of medic alert bracelet, it will alert someone if they get into trouble. We actually took the idea from a criminal. He was selling them to elderly people and then using them as ways to know when their places could be robbed. It was a slick bit of magic. Quite tough to pull off too. That’s also part of our jobs, we check to make sure that the spells are still going. Spell work can decay, we’re not sure what causes it yet, though we have some ideas.”
“Where do you store people that are arrested? If everyone is magic, or different, how do you deal with them? I’m assuming that a regular cell wouldn’t work”
“Well, it was difficult in the beginning, we tried to create cells that would contain anything, and while that’s a good idea in theory, it’s costly and not everything can be covered, how do you stop a being that can harness fire and one that can harness water? Individual cells take up too much space and then we’re left with problems when we run out. Mostly they’re contained by magic, in the really dangerous instances they might be put into a kind of never ending sleep.”
“So you execute them?”
“No, the sleep can be stopped, it’s kind of like the fairy tale thing, but we control the circumstances of what will wake the person. It’s actually quite handy, we can store them indefinitely while we build a cell to contain them. They don’t age, sicken or die.”
“Sounds like something out of Snow White.”
“That’s where we got the idea.”
“Are the people conscious?”
“No, to them it’s just darkness, one moment they’re being put under, the next they’re waking up. We tested it very well before hand.”
“Is it difficult to do?”
“Very, we only use it in rare enough cases. Maybe five or six times since we’ve started.”
The car pulled up outside the same building Doug had first been brought to. The police stepped out of the car, one of motioning for Doug to wait a moment. After a second, he gestured for Doug to get out of the car. The air was cold but fresh. He was starting to feel better, the nausea he had been feeling was receding rapidly now. Together the trio made its way inside and to the lifts.
Max was sitting behind his desk, talking on the phone. When then entered he waved and after a moment, hung up.
“Doug, how are you feeling?”
“Kinda crappy, but I’ll be fine.”
“Good. I know you probably didn’t sleep all that well, do you want coffee or tea?”
“No, I’m ok, thanks.”
“Have you eaten?”
“No, I wasn’t feeling up to it when I woke up.”
“Ok, well, we’ll start with breakfast then, after that we’ll go on a tour of the city so you can see the place in its entirety. I figure it’s probably best for you to take it easy today.”
“Ok. Will we be walking or?”
“No, we’ll take a car.”
Doug nodded, not bothering it ask if this was so they easily protected by the police for the day.
“Where are we going for breakfast?”
“There’s a great café nearby that does a brilliant all day breakfast. We’ll start off there, and then head on for the tour.”