He was sitting untouched by the noise and movement around him, day-to-day face glued to his head, perfectly convincing. His hands moved over the keyboard, marionette appendages on strings of habit.
“Why are you doing this?” Binker asked him.
He would speak to Binker, really speak to Binker. To others his words were read from a script behind his eyes, one written by a drudging hack, a cobbled together pastiche of remembered phrases and stock witticisms. But to Binker he could really speak, though nobody else would ever hear the words.
“I’ve forgotten,” he told Binker honestly, “It’s just what I do.”
“You’re punishing yourself,” Binker said, “But I don’t know why.”
He shrugged, actually shrugged with his numb shoulders, and turned the movement into a stretch to cover his mistake. Someone nearby said something to him. He said something back which made them laugh.
“I’ve long forgotten,” he told Binker in the silence of honesty, “But here I am.”
“Don’t you remember how many worlds there are to walk in?” Binker said, his voice low, entreating, “ten thousand thousand shades of sunlight, and every scent that ever blew on winds of hope? Walk with me there again and let us dazzle the gods and outrage the raging storm.”
“You go on ahead,” he told Binker, “I’ll follow soon.”
Binker, who had never before left his side, did.
In response to the prompt "Penitence/Remorse" from Studio30Plus