Orion and the Girl With Ink
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Orion's Awakening came several weeks after he first met the Girl With Ink. For years he had been doing nearly any drug he could get his hands on - pot, acid, ecstasy, alcohol, vicodin, and more - and often doing large doses, to the point where he had ended up in an ER several times due to overdoses or alcohol poisoning. She had heard about his drug use, and one night at Rocky when she knew he was sober and couldn't get his hands on anything else, she offered him a new drug: DXM.
She started small, just one bottle, letting him have a taste of the body high. After the movie was over she drove him home, playing a few songs that she knew would be amplified by the drug's effects, giving him an even more pleasurable experience.
A few more nights of this and he was more than intrigued, he was somewhat hooked. DXM not only was a better high than most of the other things he'd tried, it was legal, available over the counter at most drugstores, so it was one that wouldn't land him in jail if he was caught with it.
The Girl had told him that she and her mate were interested in trying LSD, if he ever came across some that was actual LSD, medical-grade, not cut with something or one of the other synthetics that are similar. When he finally found some, she and her mate purchased enough that a few days later, they were able to pick Orion up and take him Out.
It was a beautiful night, and she had come prepared not only with acid but with DXM, iced tea, and a freshly-made MP3 cd for the car. Once he was settled in the back and thoroughly dosed, they drove around the city for hours. The first half-hour or so, while the drugs hadn't quite kicked in yet, they talked... and then they did hit, and Orion found himself wide-eyed, staring at everything as if seeing it for the first time, the Girl's words falling on now-receptive ears.
She talked about god, about heinlein's theory in "Stranger In A Strange Land" that says we are all god, about her own beliefs in a powerful force that can be used for good or for evil, about the spark of life within everyone. She talked about the city, about the fact that it was an entity unto itself, a living creature. She talked about spirituality, philosophy, music, love, the beauty that is everywhere in the world, if we only take the time to look. She talked, and in the background music played, each song chosen carefully to match well with the trip and for the meaning contained within it.
She talked for those hours, keeping an eye on him, half-turned in the passenger seat while her mate drove. She watched his face light up, watched the look of awe and amazement, watched as for the first time in his life he realized how perfect and wonderful life could BE. He stared out the window, stared at her, trying to drink it all in.
Eventually it was late, and they took Orion home. He climbed out of the car with a bag of books they had purchased for him, including "Stranger In A Strange Land", "Time Enough For Love", "The Diamond Age", "The Last Dancer", and several others. He still looked dazed, his mind full of new ideas, new realizations.
The next two evenings were spent in her company as well, more sober this time, discussing what he'd seen and what he'd felt. "Awakening" was, he agreed, the proper term for it. He had grasped, in that one night, something many people go their whole lives without realizing: he could become anything, could do anything, and he could make a difference in other peoples' lives. He already recognized what a difference the Girl and her mate had made in his.
Once shy unless among his few close friends, he began to open up, to talk to people more. His best friend and his girlfriend were both brought along on some of the evening rambling trips and late-night discussions. Something in him said that this was indeed where he needed to be, that the Girl With Ink was the teacher and guide he had been looking for.
She kept a watchful eye on him, making sure that while he was with her, he kept the drug use to a minimum, no drinking, no doing dangerous stunts. She suggested books for him to read, showed him interesting websites, and made a point of finding at least one interesting fact about Portland that he hadn't known yet to share with him every time they met.
He was fascinated, spellbound by the idea that someone with the knowledge and insight she had proven she had would be so interested in him and in his development as a human being. She didn't explain much about why she had chosen him, singled him out from the rest of the crowd, beyond saying that she had seen the potential in him.
Occasionally while she was drawing on him, she would comment about what she was seeing, why she was choosing the colors she was, explaining what she saw. In this area too he found her insight astonishing, as without knowing him much she had pointed out the specific religion in his background, his zodiac symbol, several major events in his life, his opinion of several types of music, and a few things about his personality and thought process that he had never been able to explain to anyone.
It kept him coming back, all of it. He knew that her Den was a safe place, that if he needed to get out of the house for a while he could always come there, that if he felt he ~had~ to do drugs or get drunk or something he was always better off coming to her, that while he might not get as high as he had been planning, he would have enough fun and relax enough that he would no longer need to get as high either.
He started to consider her a friend... and she smiled when he told her that, the same smile that curved her lips so often when she looked at him, the look that he could never quite interpret. She smiled because she knew that each new discovery, each moment of safety and peace, every time he chose her company over the drugs, booze, and fighting he'd been involved with before meeting her, it was another slender steel thread wrapping around him.
She smiled, and in the back of her mind, hidden deep in the shadows there, something with claws and fangs and dark, sleek fur paced, enjoying the Hunt.
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