Excerpt from working novel “Radio”
It’s nothing. No moment was shared with anyone, I thought to everyone and glared at Vapor, hoping for whatever reason that Feather’s feelings weren’t hurt in anyway by Dialect’s truthful guesses.
“But you totally—” Vapor said.
Drop it!! I telepathically yelled.
“Okay, okay. Geez— sorry,” Vapor replied.
The unit remained silent as Blank turned onto Northside road, as the noise of leaf blowers revving and lawnmowers putting could be heard in the near distance, we saw our new home. At first glance, the house looked like some boring cookie-cutter white suburbanite structure that had started out small and then had been added onto in a failed attempt to make it a grander home, more like a Californian contemporary. The tall trees cradled the back of the house and the neighbors across the street seemed luckily not to be at home or at least uninterested in us moving in.
After Blank pulled the van to a stop and turned off the engine in front of the house, we all exited and began to unload what was in the back of the van and the attached trailer. I immediately went to find my poor duffel bag in the trailer, the bottom completely covered with duct tape and swung it over my shoulder before snatching some of the large pillows that would act as our living room furniture. Blank and Vapor had always tried to find a house with not only a place to train, but also fully furnished. However given the choice between a secluded place to train or a fully furnished house, the first choice would always win. From what I could see through the left side windows, this place appeared to be not single piece of furniture. I hoped there would at least be beds left from the previous tenants, but as the saying goes “Beggers can’t be choosers.”
And when I had entered the front door, a strange feeling washed over me that I nearly dropped the large pillows squeezed on either side of my armpits. It had nothing to do with the lack of furniture or how spotless the living room’s hardwood floors and the segway middle area leading to the kitchen. It was the overwhelming and pungent aromas of baby powder, freshly baked goods, and wet dogs. Now, one could easily write this off as nothing more than there must have been a young family with dogs living in the house and that they had just moved out before we moved in. Though this still didn’t explain the smell of freshly baked goods. And if my unit and I were normies, these aromas would have been very welcoming. However, most decent people or even the landlord would have throughly cleaned the entire house as an act of kindness for the next tenants, making the smells to be faint to being nonexistent. But this wasn’t the case here. This mixture of aromas appeared permeating from every corner as I move slowly through the living room to the kitchen that it almost made me want to vomit.
Luckily I didn’t, but I couldn’t shake that something was very out of place in this small house. I could feel my heart thumping against my chest and my body tense as I mentally prepared myself for what I must do for the precautionary safety of my unit. I dropped the very large pillows and my duffel bag to the floor, my bag making a heavy thump on the kitchen’s tiled floors. The less distractions the better, though the bombardment of the three scents weren’t helping, I needed to stand very still and closed my eyes so I could focus and stretch out my telepathy better in searching for the minds that weren’t my unit members’ or our new neighbors. Silently standing in a room wasn’t an unusual thing for my unit to see me do because it had been my duty to do a mental sweep during our past missions for Grey-M Industries. What can I say but that old habits die hard. Yippee-ki-yay mother— yeeee-aahh…never mind...bad joke.
Now I can only imagine your confusion as to why these three scents were still immensely bothering me, but if you can just give me a moment or so, I’ll explain to the best of my ability. When I continued to use my ability until it made my head hurt, I couldn’t sense a single Grey-M operative’s mind. I felt completely crazy and paranoid because I was so certain that the operatives had been here before we had. This should have calmed my nerves, but instead it made me more determined to get to the bottom of these now extremely annoying aromas. With the lack of furniture near by, I looked around me find the next best thing and that was the stepladder in Surge’s hand not a few feet away from me. Wasting no time, I darted towards him and snatched the ladder from his grasp, while ignoring Surge starting to say “what the—.” Because the next logical thing for me to do was to search the whole house. Again, please put your utter confusion on hold for a bit longer.
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 very much frustrated especially because the three scents were very much present in every inch I had searched. They were like twisting knot in my chest and I could feel rage building up inside of me that it nearly drove me to scream out loud. You and the rest of my unit have every right to call me paranoid, buy if you had seen the atrocities my unit had seen, you may understand that one can never ignore their training or instincts, especially when my life and the lives of my unit’s were at stake.