Her mind ran constantly. Even when ‘sleeping’, technically. In her human form she could feel her body churning, burning, the light flaring under her skin along with the energy, fire, magic star stuff—
That wasn’t even going into what she could see/hear when other people were around. She’d only tried to explain it once to her father and brothers, and she could tell that they didn’t believe her. Living in New York City had been like being forced to stay in a rave house with wild monkeys who had just been given a cocktail of marijuana, coke, and alcohol. The apartment building they had lived in had had at least twenty people on their floor, with plenty more upstairs and down. All of whom were busy at all hours of the day and night. It was a relief when they moved out to the upper part of the state. At the very least, there were only three souls and minds that pushed at her own. These, however, she found she did not mind as much as the multitudes of the apartment building and the city. She was there to feel the house grow, to see the family slowly grow and then fracture into nothing, to lose the souls that she had come to know so well. And then to slide out, as though the world were a thing existing independent of herself and her mind. She was locked off, quietly watching as time slid backwards around her. And then she was roughly yanked out, a tool a SLAVE A THING A WEAPON-.
Even still, there were others. They were mutual through their shared experiences. It was funny how even with terrible things happening, there could still be things that made it brighter, made things worth getting up in the morning, made the possibilities equally scary and hopeful all at once. And when it was done, it made getting up every day less of a maybe and more of a certainty. Had to, there were people waiting for her, at least for now.
At least for now.
Everyone made noise. It was something that Nur learned very early on when it came to living. Shant’s noise was the first he heard, a steady thrum that reminded him of cold winter days, the biting crackle of ice when it was walked upon. He figured it was an elemental thing, humans only had the barest amount of a hum to them.
At least, he thought it was just an elemental thing. Then he met Tully, Ru, and eventually Sparks. Tully’s noise was a constant thrum that rose and fell in waves, usually during high or low points of emotion. If Nur had to peg Ru’s noise as anything, it would be the song of a flute, lilting and subtle. It tended to get higher or lower depending on the form she was in, highest when she was a crow, lowest when she was a wolf, and her ‘normal’ form somewhere in between.
Sparks himself was a conundrum, and for a while, Nur couldn’t tell quite what he was hearing when he listened to Sparks’s noise. It took until he was sitting in the kitchen of Karl’s house not over a thousand years into the future, listening to an odd-sounding song on the radio. Mallory had said that it was by a band called Daft Punk, though the sounds were nothing like anything he had heard prior to this point. Though, not quite, and it took him a while to place where he’d heard something like it before.
Sparks. The sounds drifting out of the radio speakers reminded him of Sparks.
“Seriously, what’s the problem? You’ve been sitting in this one spot for hours, and Karl’s going to need to put the truck back eventually…” Tully hoped this pleading worked, given that she’d been at it for what felt like hours now. Granted, when Nur had come to her, tugging at his sleeves and haltingly explaining that his fellow elemental had holed himself up in the darkness of the garage, she had been prepared to be in this for the long haul. It was either her stubbornness or Shant’s and she intended not to be the one that broke first.
The elemental finally fidgeted and spoke, the harsher, whispery voice even more quiet than normal, and oddly subdued with its usual growling undertones almost absent.
“…It’s too hot…”
And Tully could feel herself mentally face-palming and taking quick note of her memories, noting that on the thermometer upstairs outside of the kitchen window it had been about eighty-five degrees Fahrenheit. Not a problem for the other elementals, the skeletons, Sparks, or any of the rest, and certainly not a problem for her, but for Shant the muggy summer heat was probably more than a little uncomfortable.
It was a problem, but at least it had a specific cause. Problems with causes were far easier to deal with than problems that had basically nothing fueling them, this coming from experience in her case.
“Alright, wait here. Be back in a moment.”
A few minutes later saw Shant set up in the wine cellar with ice and Nur by the door, setting up a checkers board the way he did before Shant had gotten used to the whole idea of actually living in a house. As they started their own form of the game, Tully quietly went back upstairs to sprawl back on the couch.
Tobi stood tall in the afternoon sun, feeling the rays steadily warm his rocky exterior. Tilting his head back, he tried to soak in the feeling of the summer noon turning to night, listening to the wind whistle through the trees—
–Wind howling over the sandy hills and dunes, the sound of many feet marching in one great mass—
—opening his eyes with a loud gasp, air rushing to fill an inside broiling with magma and heat, he looks, and sees no sand, no hills, just the trees and long grass of Karl’s property stretched out before him. He knows without looking that the house is behind, can feel the faint shifting of Gale, Ioban, Nur, and Shant inside. It’s a bit harder to notice Ermir, but when they’re near a constant source of ‘noise’ like Tully, it’s hard to tell differences.
He sinks down to draw his knees up to his chest, quietly as he can be considering his body still makes the odd crackle-plunk-grumble noises that it does when he’s winding himself up. He needs to be calm. Or if not calm he needs to not be jittery inside like that bubbly stuff Sammy tried the other day. Soda, he thinks it was. It had been a good day, far from sandy landscapes and marching columns. Far from feeling like something was boiling under his rocky skin trying to get out. On good days, he didn’t have to remember, because he made new memories. The others didn’t let him feel so wrong inside, or if he still did, they didn’t let the wrongness seem so…wrong, for lack of a better word. Gale would quietly sit with him, Ioban would tell him stories while sitting in his lap, Anozon would sometimes read passages out of whatever he had on hand, Sparks would tap out beats on his arms and legs, and Tully would tell him stories, sometimes of her mother. He always felt…special, hearing those, given that Tyto had tried numerous times prior to get Tully to talk about things with little to no success. Tales such as this were halting, private things, that he kept close to the chest, and would often help to quell the churning inside of him.
He tried to remember those moments now, those small efforts everyone had made when he was close to breaking, using them and the sights around him to push back the squirming, terrible beat of the marching.
The wind blew, ruffling the leaves on the trees and the grass in the fields. In his mind memories whispered words and tapping and wind, pushing back and quieting the pounding of many on the move from so long ago. He sat on the grass behind the house, still as a statue, and let the sounds rush over and through his thoughts.
Be present, be real, be there. It’s a running mantra in Tully’s mind as she tries to focus on the room, the feeling of the bed under her body. She’s supposed to be sleeping, but her mind is racing and she can’t make it stop. She can’t relax.
She tries to move to dispel the feeling, going to curl up on her side in an effort to almost hide from it, if she were being honest with herself. But she doesn’t allow herself to linger on those thoughts for too long, not when her wrists and neck itch and sting, her thoughts race like shooting stars so bright she’s sure they can be seen through her skin, and it’s almost like she’s drowning in it all. Somehow she just can’t acclimate to the quiet, to having skin, to being…alive, a person? Either one of the two.
However, a constant thrum coming from the corner of the room reminds her that she’s not the only one in here. Sparks really hadn’t known where to go, and given that everyone seemed to be either pairing or outright grouping off, he’d basically invited himself along with her. He’d stayed off the bed, opting to basically hunch over in the corner and try to sleep. It doesn’t take long for her to realize that he’s pretty much there; Sparks has never been the sort to drag his feet when he decides to do something. The thrum of his soul quietly sounds against the rest of the static, pushing back the frenetic energy that flowed through (whatever she had that passed for) veins.
Almost on auto-pilot Tully found herself getting up from the bed, briefly standing next to it as she tried to figure through whatever impulse she’d found herself caught in. Grabbing a blanket off the bed Tully wrapped it around her frame, more for the sensation than for the actual heat, and wavered for a moment before shambling to the hunched figure and sinking to the floor next to Sparks.
Focus on the soul, focus on the way it thrums and sings inside the metal, the way the dynamicsblend, just on that and not the noise or the way things feel too big or how pure energy seems toleak from the world and yourself and how light and sound swim as one—
And suddenly there is an arm coming around her shoulders and dragging her blanketed form closer to a metal frame. Tully’s brain shifts and snaps to absorb that new bit of information, her head turning to see Sparks’s eyes alert and focused on her, glowing softly in the dark. She doesn’t really feel much of a reason to offer protest to him essentially dragging her into his lap, why bother?
Didn’t feel like there was much to bother about anyway, really…Thought things were going to be over multiple times, then they weren’t and now you’re here, and now what? Go on? After everything?
It didn’t feel right, but then again she supposed much hadn’t been for a long, long while.
Sparks’s soul still thrums under the metal, she can feel it more acutely now that she’s basically sitting in his lap. Her eyes are closed, but she can still see the mellow, calm colors gently spiraling up from the frame. It keeps her attention, draws her down, and grounds her in the moment.
It keeps her real, and it’s that realization that allows something in her mind to settle, stop turning thoughts over and over as it calms.