Christiana couldn’t help but touch absolutely everything she came into contact with. She wandered the barren wasteland, bending down to touch the ground and letting her fingers trail and path to the remains of a building, caressing the charred brick and soaking in the tingling feeling it was sending throughout her body.
“Oh, I totally get why Daniela wanted to be stuck like this.” Christiana said. “This is so cool.”
“It gets old quick. Trust me.” Connor said.
“Stop ruining my buzz.” Christiana said and wrapped her hand around the top of a broken down wall, sending vibrations soaring through her body. “Oh wait, never mind. You can’t.”
Connor chuckled and he jogged to catch up with Christiana who had ran ahead to another building, climbing onto the rocks. She closed her eyes and tilted her head to the sun. The bright light felt as if it should burn but she felt nothing other than the faintest sense of warmth and a light, floating feeling flying round her head.
“This is awesome!” Christiana shouted into the sky and set off into a run again. The energy she felt didn’t seem to dissipate and the more she ran, the more free she felt. She kept on going, vaguely aware of Connor’s feet behind her.
“Christie, wait.” Connor called out.
Before Christiana could acknowledge his call however she ran straight into what felt like a brick wall and suddenly she was flying backwards, landing heavily on her back. She didn’t hurt, although her hand instinctively went to her back, expecting a pain to be there. When she had finally confirmed that she was okay and that she didn’t feel any pain at all, she peered forward to see what she had hit. There was nothing there. Just an open wasteland.
“What just happened?” She asked Connor who was now knelt by her side.
“You reached the limit.” Connor said.
“Stylo1 only has a certain range that it can keep hold of a Walker for. You’re lucky, if you had been going any faster you’d have dissolved completely and woken up back in The Bubble. A transfer that quick can feel a little weird.”
“How much is a little?”
“Katie did it once and spent the next 48 hours in bed with vertigo.”
“Nice.” Christiana said. “You could have warned me.”
“I did.” Connor replied. “I said wait.”
Christiana rolled her eyes and held out her hand to be helped up. Connor stood still, staring down at her hand suspiciously.
“What?” She asked. “I don’t bite.” She threw Connor a mischievous smile. “Unless you ask nicely.”
Connor flashed Christiana a welcoming smile. “Don’t tempt me.”
“So? Are you going to help your girlfriend off the floor or what?” Christiana asked.
“I would, it’s just…” Connor seemed to falter. “We haven’t touched yet. And for one Danel to touch another? Well let’s just say, it’s an experience unlike anything else. If I’m honest, it’s one of the main reasons why I invited you out here in the first place. But the first time it happens, it would probably be a good idea for you to be firmly standing and balanced on two feet.”
Christiana peered up at Connor curiously, but accepted his bizarre explanation and pushed herself up off the ground. Once she was up and standing she gazed seductively into Connor’s eyes.
“So, what was that you were saying about us touching?”
Connor gave a small inviting smile and took a step closer to her, keeping his hands hovering inches from hers.
“Stay still.” He whispered.
Christiana did as she was told and waited with bated breath for Connor’s move. Agonizingly slowly, he lifted one of his hands and brought it close to her face. With the tips of his fingers, he slowly closed the gap and gently stroked her cheek.
Immediately Christiana felt an electric current so tantalisingly strong that it sent her body shooting backwards into a broken wall behind her. She clutched onto the brick and tried to catch her breath. Her entire body felt like it had just come alive and was now vibrating at such a pace she had to close her eyes to try and regain some control.
“Holy crap.” Connor called out from far away. Christiana kept her eyes shut, her head still spinning uncontrollably. Suddenly Connor’s voice was by her side. “Are you okay?” He asked. “I didn’t know it was going to be that strong. It came out of nowhere.”
“Just give me a minute.” Christiana said. Her eyes still firmly shut although her head beginning to spin less than it had been before.
“Guys?” Liam’s voice seemed to come out of nowhere. “Is everything okay? The monitors here are going a little weird. Where are you guys anyway?”
“Near the border.” Connor answered. “And we’re fine, I think. Just a little shocked that’s all.”
“What happened?” Liam asked.
“We touched for the first time,” Connor said. “It took the wind out of us, Christie looks a little shocked.”
“That happened from touching?” Liam asked, there was a pause and then he was back. “You guys aren’t trying anything freaky out there, are you?”
“Liam!” Christiana said. “Get your head out of the gutter. We’re fine.” She turned to Connor. “I’m fine, the world was just taking a little spin. But it’s stopped now.”
“Okay, well. I’ll leave you guys to it, I guess.” Liam said. “Just, try not to blow up the machinery. Kelly may be close to you both and all, but I’m pretty sure that she’ll kill us all if we break this thing.”
“We’ll be careful.” Christiana said, her gaze was still locked with Connor’s and suddenly all she could feel was a craving to touch him again. “Do you feel that?” She asked
“The need to touch you?” Connor asked. “Yeah, but that’s a feeling I’ve pretty much grown used to.”
“I take it, that doesn’t usually happen?” Christiana asked.
“The first time is always a little more intense than the others, but no, I’ve never thrown five feet into the air after touching another Walker before.”
“Why do you think it happened to us?”
“My main theory probably has to do with the fact that the Danel has our emotions heightened.”
“But I thought it was hard to hold onto your emotions when you’re like this?” Christiana asked.
“It’s the main side effect, yes. But I’ve trained to hold onto my emotions and you’re feeding off me at the moment. Once you learn how to access that side, it’s pretty hard to turn off or control.”
“Which led to the flying?”
“That’s what I reckon.”
“Is it weird that I want to try it again?”
“Very. But you’ll get no arguments from me.”
Christiana smiled at that and stood up straight.
“My turn.” She said. “Stay still.”
Connor kept her gaze and did as he was told, his body taking the form of a statue as he waited patiently for her move. Christiana mimicked his previous actions and raised one hand towards his face, this time reaching for his forehead. She let her fingertips hover for a moment a mere couple of centimetres from his silver skin as a moment of doubt and fear flashed through her. As soon as it was there however, a longing to feel him again took over and her fingers shot forward and touched his head.
Immediately the pulses started again through her body, but she gritted her teeth and stood her ground this time, rooting herself to where she stood so that she wouldn’t fly off again. Soon the feeling seemed to grow and without realising it, she had placed both hands around his neck, her body pressing into his. He wrapped his arms tightly around her and both of them did all they could to ensure that every part of their bodies available was in contact with each other.
The vibrations increased and decreased in velocity the longer they held on. After a while, Christiana realised that she wasn’t only experiencing the reaction of his touch, but experiencing him. She felt elated; love pouring into every part of her. She felt happiness and peace and excitement and adoration. She felt it intermingle with her own emotions which seemed to become unlocked the moment she felt his. She held on tighter and buried her face in the chest of the man she loved, all of a sudden completely overwhelmed by sensation and joy.
And then she felt something else. Something that was so alien to everything else that she was experiencing. A dark chasm of deep unending sorrow that grew in intensity until it started to take over all the other feelings she was experiencing. Soon, it became too much and she let out a cry and pushed Connor away from her, breaking the link.
Connor let go and staggered back from her push, his face a question mark as he tried to search for her reason for letting go.
“What is that?” She asked, her voice soft and cracked in pain for Connor.
“Why are you so sad?”
“What? I’m not…”
“Connor, it’s deafening. That pain that’s there, it’s horrible.”
Connor continued to look confused for a fraction longer before he shook his head sadly.
“There’s a lot to be sad about.” He said simply.
Christiana felt her heart break at his words. She closed the gap once more.
“Oh, baby,” she said and took hold of his face in her hands, welcoming in the pain once more. She reached onto her tip toes and kissed him gently on the forehead. “Don’t carry that alone. Please. You can always talk to me.”
Connor pulled away to give Christiana a dubious look.
“I think you counselling me would definitely constitute as a conflict of interest.”
“I meant talk to me as your girlfriend, not your therapist.”
Connor gave a sad smile. “I know. There’s a lot there, that’s all.” He widened his smile. “I’m a lot better when I’m with you though. So don’t worry.”
“Connor, telling me not to worry is like… I don’t know, something that’s really ridiculous.”
Connor laughed at that and Christiana felt some of the pain ebb away for a second before it seemed to bounce right back with a vengeance and Connor stepped away from Christiana’s hold.
“What is it?” Christiana asked.
“There is something that I need to talk to you about.” Connor said.
“Not here.” He said and offered his hand. “Let’s walk back and we’ll talk when we’re inside.”
Christiana looked at him curiously, unsure as to whether this was just a ploy to shut her up.
“Unless you’re not finished looking around out here?” Connor asked, misreading her apprehension.
“I’m good.” Christiana said, and slipped her hand into his, a tirade of vibrations all a little subtler than previously immediately entering her body at his touch.
Both lost in their own thoughts and the comfortableness that came when they were together, they walked the half hour back in silence, their fingers interlocked with each other.