Chapter 33

“So that’s how the blips happen,” sighed Arthur, completing an exhaustive speech on the technology behind the blips. Beatrice’s expression had faded from fury to boredom. Her eyes had glazed over, and she was entirely uninterested in hearing more about synapses and nanoparticles. Janelle, on the other hand, seemed fascinated. She was quite literally on the edge of her seat, her eyes wide, hanging on to every word of Arthur’s lengthy blip explanation.

“So what you’re saying is the blips are caused by sound waves strategically targeting localized areas in the subject’s brain? And then it causes the electrical signal in the synapse to..how did you put it?…waver?” asked Janelle excitedly, practically jumping up and down.

“Uh…yeah,” replied Arthur, looking as confused as Beatrice felt.  He looked over to Beatrice, hoping to be reassured by an amused shrug or eyeroll, but was met with a cold, unfeeling stare. Beatrice may have been bored, but she was not about to forget her anger.

To Arthur’s amazement, Janelle was still buzzing around the room like an excited child after eating a bag of Halloween candy. She was mumbling excitedly to herself, running over each individual step of the blip process, concluding with the enthusiastic “blip moment,” and then starting over again. Finally, she squealed with joy, stammered a “sorryguyshavetorun” and promptly ran out of the bedroom, locking the door behind her.

Beatrice and Arthur stared at the door, baffled. Turning to Beatrice, Arthur said casually, “I honestly didn’t think that would work that well.”

Beatrice wanted to be angry. She wanted to scream and yell, to hurt Arthur as badly as he’d hurt her. But she needed to know why the blips happened. She needed answers. They were the only way she would ever get out of this mess.

“Why do the blips happen?” asked Beatrice quietly.

After a moment, Arthur replied, “They were designed to slow down the cousins. The blips were supposed to keep the cousins from passing along information easily from one person to another. But over time, they figured out how to overcome that. Mental exercises, focus games, even dietary changes helped them figure it out. There is one aspect of the blip they never caught on to,though.”

“What’s that?” said Beatrice, genuinely curious.

“Distraction.” answered Arthur. “They’ve been able to pull off a slew of smaller projects, anywhere from one to  a dozen victims at a time. But grand plans always fall through. They get too caught up in the details, the little things.”

“Like Janelle did just now?”

“Exactly.”

“What about me? Why didn’t it work on me?” questioned Beatrice. “I felt the blips before, but I didn’t get oddly excited about the blip design like Janelle.”

“We’re not exactly sure,” said Arthur thoughtfully, “but we think it has something to do with your strict routine and laser like focus. You, Birdy, are one hard person to distract.”

Her routine had finally done something good for her. Beatrice laughed and laughed and laughed.

-M.A. Gavin

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