Ryan noticed that there was a lot going on in the world, that other people didn’t seem to see. Or perhaps they didn’t care? Whatever it was, it was like everyone else walked through the world with misted glasses. He didn’t think this was arrogance – he didn’t feel pride in this situation – he was just aware of it.
Ryan would be in a shop, talking to the clerk while the air in the room moved in waves. The surge of air from one part of the room to another looked like a flock of starlings just before they roost for the evening. The door opening would bring not just a physical reaction, but a visible one.
Similarly, he would smell the moods of people that he met. The smell would even change while he was in a conversation with a person. As a child, Ryan had assumed this was normal, but a few strange looks from others, and he had learned not to talk about it in public.
Toby clambered and staggered through the final trees from the forest and back into civilization. The darkness of the dense undergrowth gave way to the banal, gray reality of suburban life.
As soon as he stepped, at last, onto the sidewalk, what had happened mere moments before did not feel real. Despite this, he ran. He ran and ran until his legs started to feel like jelly. He then ran some more and kept on running until he reached the road his home was on. As he reached that road, however, he started to think. His first thought was that he was definitely running for no reason. But immediately afterward, his second thought was that he could not run home without giving away where he lived. If he did that, he would never feel safe.