Questioning the ClearMature

Upon waking, Rayan had expected to be confused, amnesia-ridden and full of pain. Instead, he was just angry and afraid. He could remember everything that had happened to him. The only thing he wasn't sure of was the passage of time. He'd been in a dreamless sleep, and the room he was now enclosed in had no windows, so he had no way of even knowing what time of day (or night) it was.

Well, he was sort of sure of what had happened. The events seemed clear in his mind, but... a floor warping and sucking people up like that wasn't supposed to happen was it? Could it have been an elaborate hallucination? Doubts began to creep in, clawing at his thoughts and pulling them apart. His memories were certain all right - there were no gaps or vague experiences - the problem was that they didn't make any sense.

He decided to turn his attention outwards to the featureless room. That was a much easier thing to think about. It housed a small single bed, a chair and a plain steel table. The walls were unpainted plaster board and the door was a wooden, matt white block with a grey handle. He'd been in prison before, and although this room was as boring as a cell, it didn't look particularly strong or reinforced.

As his eyes settled on the door, wondering whether it would be locked, the poorly painted grey handle moved. The door opened quietly and the man they had met in the alley entered.

Rayan instantly felt nervous, though the man's manner was distinctly friendly and unthreatening. He couldn't help but feel the guy emitted an odour of "wrongness"; it reminded him of eating gone off food, or that sound created when a person dragged their nails down a blackboard. It wasn't evil... it just made you shiver.

"Rayan, isn't it?" asked the man, sitting in the chair. There was no effort of the chair being uncomfortable on his face, though from the looks of it the floor would've been softer, "I'm John."

"So is generating floor custard your party trick or something?" muttered Rayan, sitting upright on the bed, cataloguing John's irritatingly mundane features. His glasses were moderately unconventional, but his face was so quotidian that Rayan struggled to identify any distinguishing features or blemishes.His eyes were a simple dull brown, his complexion slightly tanned and lightly wrinkled.

"Something like that. Perhaps only suited to private celebrations," responded John.

Rayan noticed with some discomfort that John spoke with utter sincerity. His words felt detached and emotionless, almost like they were coming from a machine rather than a human.

"Feel like letting me know how it's done?"

"You know a magician never reveals his secrets," John laughed, but Rayan doubted it was genuine. He noticed the smile never got close to his eyes.

"Are you okay?" asked John.

Rayan frowned. He'd not been expecting a question like that.


"Sorry. We forget that outsiders aren't used to our... skills. It can be quite a shock to the system I suppose,"

"I have a fairly open mind," Rayan said abruptly. John's attitude was setting him on edge, and he didn't like it. Situations like this were meant to go a certain way, with the bad guy mouthing off and Rayan attempting some sort of daring escape. They weren't supposed to be sitting having a conversation in a perceptively unsecure room. He wouldn't have been surprised to be offered tea and biscuits.

He scrutinized John, but got nothing. He was like a blank canvas. Was this man dangerous? A threat? He was certainly powerful, and had knowledge of things Rayan didn't understand. Should he try to fight? Would there be any point or would this guy destroy him in seconds? He looked like he had a bit of muscle but Rayan imagined he was stronger. However, when he'd faced this man before he hadn't been defeated by physical strength...

For a brief moment Rayan saw the floor in the grey room warp like the alleyway had, then it was gone.

"Good. That's a very valuable thing to have."

"Wha-?" Rayan hit himself and tried to come back to reality, "So..."

Rayan paused, trying to suppress the rising anxiety that swirled inside of him, "Are you going to tell me anything of any use?"

He nodded, "Of course. Do you feel stable? I want to show you around. We're an out-of-government organisation researching into things that are... parallel to some of your research. We thought we might be able to help you, and you might be able to help us."

"You're not really telling me anything I hadn't already guessed," Rayan stood up and folded his arms attempting to look authoritative and confident, "I think I've had enough of bullshit. I want the cards on the table about what's going on here."

"Sure, sure," said John exasperatingly slowly. He stood up and met Rayan's gaze, "But first, let's get some tea and toast. I imagine you're hungry."

Rayan was about to splurt profanities when his stomach betrayed him with a loud rumble. He groaned in defeat and followed John out of the room wondering when exactly the world had become totally unfathomable.

The End

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