Johnny gaped at the street vendor.
He hoped the chinchillas wouldn't come any closer, wouldn't start creeping around his feet close enough for him to start recognizing features, appealing to him on that obnoxious, innate cuteness level. damn.
the chittering grew louder, to the level of a dull roaring.
The street vendor pulled Johnny's lemonade out of his pocket. "Here, man. no charge. Just try not to take all day, aright? I got a business to run up there."
Johnny shook his head. "Why do I have to do this, huh?"
The vendor just gave him a look, rolled his eyes. kept silent.
"Are they important? i mean, significant?"
"Dude, all the questions are yours. all the answers are yours, too. jus' get on with it."
Johnny hesitated, his finger poised above the button.
He pressed it.
there was a small piff from somewhere far back in the crowd of small furry bodies, and then Johnny's mind was flooded with information that wasn't his own. The chinchilla's life and memories and impulses and feelings and ..thoughts? but not thoughts, just the entire content of the small dead creature's brain.
but i'm dead, too Johnny remembered, a piece of his own psyche surfacing in the confusion. He opened his eyes, not having realized that he had closed them. The vendor smirked and walked away. Johnny stood still, not knowing whether to follow or stay, to try to find the dead (exploded, he suspected) chinchilla, or to walk on further into the darkness.
next: merlynspen... the ellenator.