A long time had passed, at least to the human world of quickly changing news and low attention spans. Soon other issues had pushed the scandal of Jamie Sidler and New Life off the front page and into the back of the newspaper. People hardly cared now and already a new company ‘Global Enrichment’ had already shifted into the open position.
Rumor had it they were already creating plans for a whole new VR world. A chat-scape. Something fresh and new to take advantage of the dying cybernetic toy robots.
It had comforted some fears in Notnow, who had learned to enjoy reading the black and white print.
He wasn’t sure why at first, but after a while he realized it was a great source of information. He would seek out the written word as quickly as he had taken to the keyboard.
He learned that Jamie, the woman lawyer who had come to the office with her thugs, had been killed. It eased his little mind when he would sit and wonder when she would ever seek him out for revenge.
He could almost imagine the scene as it was described in black ink. She had hung herself in her custody cell while waiting for a trial. Around her neck a fine nylon rope of synthetic design. Perfectly good for hanging. He couldn’t help but wonder how she did it, or what she was thinking as her feet kicked out under her.
There were suspicions, of course, that someone had helped with the apparent suicide to keep her quiet- but no one seemed to take a real interest. It made him feel safer.
There was genuine delight in the pages he read where he saw how humans seemed to be so oblivious to things. In a few statements Jamie had declared before her death that it was Don’s creations which had left her thugs bloodied and the office in shambles.
He knew this as truth. Yet they played if off as a lie, without question.
She even sputtered things about Vincent but that tended to be ignored. Everyone claimed Vincent made them do it. Yet in his logic this also meant that perhaps, he had.
No one believed her, but the small tattered monkey, and at least in belief he was aware of the man. Aware of his threat.
As time passed he was proud of Maven. She learned very quickly how to appear more human. Her wings would be strapped down against the small of her back. Her speech was much better now as well with a proper voice box. Yet he worried as well.
Maven would spend long hours going through the old worn church. Her eyes copying down the stained glass until she knew every scratch, every line. She would go to each window and etching and stare at it for a very long time.
She wanted to understand. And deep down Notnow had no answers. He only hoped he could keep her from losing herself in the questions.
Hank had changed as well. Not only had he slowly gained Notnow’s trust, he was also a gentle man who was very good at repairing them both. He found purpose with the two strange beings, which he still claimed were otherworldly. He treated them both as a simple new start. With them he had indeed found some sort of salvation.
It seemed like they had built themselves a little home, a place of sanctuary for them in the run down church. Only he wished they didn’t need to hide as they did.
Eventually the quiet and peace just wasn’t enough for them. A driving force in Notnow made itself aware. He needed others.
He wasn’t sure if it was some form of message from the Dreamsnake living in the dark recesses of his head, or his own desire not to be the only one.
Either way it made itself alive to him in a dream. A passing flurry of images he learned to simply listen to.
He saw a large grouping of Monkey’s together. Hundreds of colors together and thriving in their own place. Forming their own world. The large eyes and the proud tails showed them happy, aware.
It reminded him of the abandoned Monkey’s in Don’s office. His audience, which was abandoned soon after he was repaired the first time. It stuck out in his memory that he could still feel their eyes at the back of his neck. Reminding him he was something different. He was needed.
In that world he became normal. He was no longer broken and no longer exceptionally different; merely the First. The mentor. He had children and companions and he woke with this feeling of wholeness that he lacked at his own creation.
It seemed to drown out the part of him that still nagged at the back of his skull telling him all this was simply the process of a broken circuit. That maybe there was nothing alive about any of them.
While the world went on oblivious – as if nothing had ever happened, he began looking for ways to make his own dreams come alive. A way to build a world for them and their kind.