As I made my way from the lab to the break room that Claire told me about, my breath did accelerate, not because of physical exertion, but in anticipation of seeing my wife again. I have to admit, I was apprehensive. Claire told me what I had already expected – that she may not know me, and that she is physically different. Heck, she might not be able to accept me because of my new physical form. There were so many uncertainties. But, in our natural forms we had been through so much together already. Surely everything would be fine. Right? Well, it’s like I told Claire, if there was any chance, I had to try. I was at a full run and came to a skidding stop again. What was that? A whisper? It wasn’t an audible sound, but it was a call of some kind. There was a door to my left, and I braced to tear it off its hinges. But, I stopped and tried the knob first. It was not locked and the door gently opened. It was dark inside. I felt for the light switch and flipped it several times, but the lights did not come on.
“Please come in,” a voice whispered in my head, “and do please quietly close the door behind you.”
“Skunk Yeti?” I asked out loud, “Is that you?”
“Sssshhhhhhhhh!!!” the whisper said, “not out loud. My people call me Jovious. I don’t concern myself with what men call me.”
“Were you once human?” I thought toward Jovious.
“I do not remember, and I have been here longer than the others. Some of us came from the wild and others of us were grown here, somewhat like you.”
And then, the room seemed to light up with a blue glow. In the room were multiple Sasquatches of various sizes, types, and colors. There was Jovious, the Skunk Yeti, and at least twenty more in the small room.
“There are many more of us, and most of us have been here since before Havoc,” he explained, “Havoc doesn’t know about all of us. We let him interact with six of us. He got far more than he bargained for with you.”
“I hope so,” I said.
“You are the only one of us who has been able to speak the tongue of men. And, you remember your past, to a degree. You had a very strong mind – for a human.”
“Gee, thanks, I think.”
“We are with you. When you disguise, we will still see you, and you us. You are the strongest one of us here, but if you should betray us, we together will punish you.”
“Why are you telling me this?” I asked.
“Because,” he explained, “we can’t keep our secrets from you. We want you working with us, and not with Havoc.”
I frowned at them, “what if I don’t want to work with either you or him?”
“Let me put it another way,” hissed the little Yeti’s mind, “you have a choice; you can either submit to Havoc’s leadership, or you can help lead us. Your vision is clear, and we need that.”
“Perhaps,” I mused, “but that’s not my most pressing concern. I have to go to my wife.”
“Ah, of course,” Jovious projected, “and, so you should. Just do understand that there is more that goes on here that Havoc does not know about than what he does.”
“Understood,” I said.
“Also, don’t worry about Claire. We’ll take care of her.”
“I’m not worried about her,” I said as I headed toward the door.
“We shall meet again soon!”
The door clicked shut behind me and I continued on toward the break room. I did kind of wonder what he had meant by they would ‘take care’ of Claire. I just wasn’t terribly concerned with whatever became of her, to be perfectly frank. I was going to have to proceed with caution as far as the other Sasquatch were concerned. Here, I was now one of them, and yet I still didn’t know anything about them, and I certainly didn’t trust them. Not yet, anyway. It almost sounded like the only reason they revealed to me at all was because they couldn’t keep their secrets from me any longer. That’s not a very good basis for trust.
All of these thoughts left my mind as soon as I saw the break room. My heart skipped. I scanned around for opposition, but I saw none. I cautiously entered the room, ducking through the doorway. Four people sat at the table. They started up as I came in, until I gave them a halt signal with my hand. They slowly and nervously lowered back to the table and continued with the game they were playing, watching me with sideways glances. They were three men and a woman, all with slicked, black hair and glassy, black eyes. They wore fitted, silver fabric uniforms. The room was fairly small, with the one table, a kitchenette, and a small couch facing a television. There on the couch was a familiar figure.
Naomi’s eyes and hair had changed from the brown that I knew so well to black, and she wore the same uniform as the other Electros. She sat on the couch with her feet pulled up beside her, as she had done so many times in our own home, long before all of this mess. I felt the tears welling up. She didn’t acknowledge me when I sat on the couch next to her, but kept her glassy black eyes pointed at the television. Her irises were so impossibly black that I couldn’t differentiate them from her pupils. Her hair was swept up on top of her head with some kind of wet-look product.
“Hi,” I whispered to her.
“Hi,” she smiled but didn’t remove her gaze from the television.
“Do you remember me?” I asked, “do you know me?”
She breathed deeply and her smile broadened, “I don’t know. Maybe.”
I took her hand in mine and brushed my fingers across her cheek, “It’s me, Reid. Do you remember marrying me?”
“Yes,” she said as though she were waking from a deep sleep, “I think so. But, I almost forgot. I think I actually did forget for a little while.”
“Yeah,” I said, “they tried to make us forget.”
“If it was so easy for them to make us forget,” she mused dreamily, rubbing my hand with hers, “it makes me wonder if anything we had was ever even real.”
“Oh, don’t say that,” I said, not being able to hold the tears back at that point, “what we had was very real, and it can be again.”
She finally made eye contact with me and said, “maybe so.”
I glanced over at Naomi’s companions, who seemed to be more and more uneasy with my presence and my conversation with my wife. “Hey,” I said to her, “you want to go for a walk with me where we can talk and have some privacy?”
“But, I never leave this wing,” she protested, “and, I certainly never leave the other Electros.”
I raised my eyebrows and nodded at her.
“Oh,” the realization washed over her face, “yes, let’s go.”
I helped her to her feet from the couch, and with fingers interlocked, we walked out of the break room together.