Their corner booth was in the back of the restaurant. Barlowe knew the maître d’ and asked for his regular, secluded table. He needed to talk with Abigail without being overheard. There were still so many questions unanswered.
The basics were fantastical enough, but he was expected to suspend all reason and belief, and accept what any normal person would say were the ramblings of a mad woman.
“How did you know where to look for him?”
“I was watching the news, and saw the report about Dolan being hit by a car.”
“What made you think that could be Quentin?”
“It made sense, knowing how Quentin’s mind works.” Abigail said. “He was in crisis, and needed a host quickly. Someone no one would miss, like a homeless person. Invisible to the public. Even if other people in the tent city noticed that something was wrong, who would listen to their concerns?”
“Okay, that’s logical.” Barlowe said, shaking his head at his choice of words. “But, how did you know which doctor, what did you call it, did he jump to?”
“I don’t know,” Abigail frowned, trying to remember what it was about Dr. Payne that identified him as Quentin’s host. “I just knew it.”
“But, how?” Barlowe pushed, interrogating her like a suspect.
“Once Quentin takes control, it takes a while for him to acclimate to his new host. Once assimilated, he retains his own memories, and incorporates the memories of his host.” Abigail said. “That’s how he can perform surgery, how he knows where his host lives, his friends and family, but he is still Quentin beneath it all.”
Their server arrived with their order, and for a few minutes they sat in silence until they were alone again.
“When we nearly ran into each other that first night, it was as if I saw Quentin’s face superimposed on Payne’s for a split second. I think it was some residual of when he held my essence. Whenever he’s close, I feel nauseous. It’s like perpetual motion sickness”
“Did Payne, Quentin, did he have the same response to you?” Barlowe said.
“He didn’t seem to,” Abigail said. “In his weakened state, I don’t think he was able to completely absorb me. I reanimated quickly once he took a new host. That leads me to believe, I took on a small piece of him. Dolan was newly dead, there was no essence to dispel, perhaps there was some spillage. I can’t be sure.”
“What happens to Payne when we capture Quentin?” Barlowe said. “Once he’s no longer a host, does he become Payne again? Will he remember anything about being a host?”
“I don’t know,” Abigail said. “None of Quentin’s hosts have ever survived to ask.”
“One did.” Barlowe felt like he was drowning. “You did.”