"Okay," I said aloud, "First I'm going to place the sculpture inside the kiln and set it to just under 200 degrees." As I/we spoke, I did exactly that. Opening up the kiln and then ever so carefully placed my masterwork inside. Then I proceeded to set the kiln in motion.
"How long will this take?" Brian asked curiously.
"Possibly, until morning or noon," I answered, and proceeded to settle down on the couch Brian had been sleeping on earlier.
"And then it will be finished?" asked Nathan through our shared mouth.
"No, that's when I HOPE it will be dry and safe enough to proceed with the actual firing schedule I mentioned before," I answered.
I suddenly felt a sense of unease inside. "Nathan?" I asked mentally.
"Someone needs to be here the whole time, and I didn't bring anything I might need," he answered.
"Yeah," we shook our head, "I hadn't anticipated such an eventuality."
"Oh dear..." I murmured aloud, which caught Brian's attention and told him the situation.
He smiled and assured us that a call to Jack would take care of that problem in no time.
Still Nathan seemed uneasy. After a bit of mental urging he told me what was bothering him. "I've never had someone inside my head when I've had to satisfy my 'needs'. I was figuring on having you back in your own body before it became a necessity."
Now, I understood. But if we were to dry my sculpture in the kiln, I needed to be here. Especially if I wanted it to be ready on time.
Taking over the mouth again I said, "Brian please make the call so we can have everything Nathan needs while he and I finish my sculpt."
Inside our head I heard Nathan saying, "Are you sure about this?"
"Yes," I replied. "You've done so much already, the least I can do is not let you be deprived of what you need."
"You do realize that when I 'drink'..."
"Yeah, I get that. I'm just going to tell myself we're drinking a Bloody Mary." To my relief, he didn't argue. Which is good because I then thought about the literal version of the drink I'd mentioned, I began to get uneasy myself.So together we settled in on the couch, while Brian called the hospital. About half an hour later, Dr. Jack showed up with what Nathan needed, as well as some regular food.
The four of us sat and ate (well three actually ate), but still I got to enjoy experiencing how Nathan's sense of smell and taste worked. He's got much more acute senses on both those fronts, than I had expected. Of course, when it came to what he really needed, I went to my 'Happy Place' inside our shared head. Although I have to admit, I did kind of take notice of what the blood tasted like and how his body reacted to it. I can sympathize with how taking in blood is not something that is 'optional' for him. But I won't go into that, it's not my place to go there.
But afterwards, 'we' felt much better and after shooing Brian and Dr. Jack to their respective homes, Nathan and I began the long 'firing'. We passed the time sharing thoughts and life experiences. Too numerous and private to share here. Then after morning came and I was convinced the clay was dry enough, we fired the kiln up to a proper level to finish what I had started.
These next hours would be crucial and we'd have to watch the piece as carefully as possible. I had noticed that during the drying, I could actually hear some of the moisture escaping the clay inside the kiln through Nathan's ears. I found this very reassuring. It meant that if any cracking began to take place during the final firing, we'd hear it and could take action.
After setting things in motion, we began the last stage of our vigil. To pass the time I convinced Nathan to pull out some of the clay here in the studio and we began working with it. It was kind of fun to experience with him the joy of going from doubtful about his ability to create with clay to enthusiastic. It took me back to my first time working with the creative process in three dimensions.
Of course we kept an eye on how the firing process was coming along as we passed the hours. I thought heard a pop at one point, which turned out to have come from outside. Damn his hearing could be a little too good. When evening came, we started to let the kiln and it's precious content cool down. I knew at this point there was nothing else we could do and let Nathan know.
"In that case, I think we should let you get back to your body for the night," he replied.
The next thing I knew I was staring up at the ceiling of my hospital room. A moment later, Dr. Jack's smiling visage came into view.
"Welcome back," he smiled, "Blink once for yes and twice for no. Everything go okay?"
I responded as he instructed.
"So it's all done?"
I blinked twice and spent the next ten minutes answering his questions. By the time we finished he had a pretty good understanding of where things stood. "I see," he nodded, "So Nathan will be taking you back again tomorrow. I'll make sure you're still undisturbed, aside from the staff again. Hopefully, tomorrow will be it."
So did I....
TO BE CONCLUDED NEXT TIME...