Why is there a pulsing sound in my ear inal?mbricos,otc meds for ringing in the ears meaning,wax buildup in ear treatment medication - Step 2

Lita Hoile hurried toward the Psychiatric Ward of Munson Hospital as her pager went off for the second time. The colors of mangled innocence were the hardest to endure… for both the victim and the healer. He came lumbering down the corridor: a hulk of a man reeking of old sweat and malt whiskey, features little more than a shadow in Lita's mind. It happened so fast: Bill chugging past her in a blur, launching himself at a silhouette of fire. The orderlies pulled Sarah's father to his feet and dragged him down the hall, security guard trailing warily behind them. Lita had known about the eclipse for weeks - vaguely, through half-heard conversations and snippets on the Evening News. She gave up after a couple of hours and plopped down in front of the TV, ready to soak her brain in something tepid and mindless.
Lita lay awake in bed for a very long time, unable to escape the glow of her own ripening terror.
She remembered seeing it on the screen at the beginning of the interview - something foreign, Slavic perhaps.
Allendale Lane lay nestled in a middle-class neighborhood less than a mile from the hospital.
Lita walked around the side - past a row of scraggly hedges - saw a crowd gathered in the tiny back yard: men and women, boys and girls huddled together on a carpet of dead leaves. She had her answer, as he stretched out ebony fingers to grasp her hand: Sceadu was no prophet of the Darkness. The old priest hunched in the doorway - more ancient than she remembered - hands quivering with palsy. Someone grabbed Lita's arm and yanked her into the room, pushing the door closed behind her. Papa Baxter flashed scarlet as the flames tried to burn through enshrouding darkness, but his Light shrank back to a line of burning blood. Lita spent the rest of the morning working with Sarah, trying to heal the bruises Papa Baxter left behind… feeling her own spirit dim as she watched the little girl sink deeper into the jaws of the eclipse.
She stared at him - not his dying Light, but him - tousled hair and steel gray eyes, hawk nose and quirky grin.
Fury kindled deep inside, burning through the fear, rising from that dark abyss into which she felt herself slipping… felt them all slipping.
A new Light bloomed on the horizon: brighter, more glorious than any human mind could fathom. Light beckoned in the distance: a special kind of radiance, requiring a special kind of vision. I wonder… would the mythic heroes of ancient Greece or Rome or America have given their deaths to save their brethren?
I met Whistler in the seaside village of Mezkor, on the western coast of the supercontinent. There was nothing mysterious about why Deepspace Development Corporation had been so eager to send a survey team.
Yet another reason I am a cynic: cynicism provides a convenient facade for cowardice to hide behind.
On the morning the trouble started, we were walking a familiar stretch of beach near the village: sand glistening like snow, sun shining down so hot and bright that the ocean sparkled like a molten mirror. Synobians looked remarkably humanoid, considering the vagaries of evolution: two arms, two legs, bipedal gait. Riddles within riddles… or so it seemed, after the translator finished tying his meaning into knots. After a long day of misunderstanding Whistler in ways variously novel and familiar, I sought the only solace available on a remote survey mission: a fistful of aspirin and a bottle of synthetic scotch.
Dexter pulled the orb from my shaking hands, teeth gleaming inside a dark tangle of moustache and beard.
I stowed the ghost stones in back of the skimmer - under Whistler's careful scrutiny - then steered us in the direction he pointed: over the forest, toward the cliffs that ran along the coast north of A Camp. Hordes of insectile creatures poured from the mound, swarmed over Krysta's body in wriggling profusion. We dragged our macabre cargo through the forest despite the moonless night, our path lit by the eerie glow of luminescent fungi. I programmed the medibots as best I could to recognize the offending organs, then injected them into Whistler's neck.
I passed my vigil leaning against the trunk of a mushroom fern, listening to a symphony of unseen creatures prowl the alien night. I have since often pondered what life was like for Lazarus after the world moved on to other miracles. Dexter Conley emerged from the shadows beneath the cliffs, followed by a younger man: Paul Killian, the rookie supervisor Jenny Margolis had left in charge. Dexter waded out into the tide, stomping and flailing and cursing in the area where Krysta's stone had disappeared.
A glistening island of silver flesh breached the sea behind him, rising up and up, like a mountain spawned by the titanic collision of undersea continents.
We've learned a great deal since Dexter - may he roast in Hell - pointed us in the right direction. She spotted Bill Meltzer outside one of the examining rooms, face unusually grim, straw-blond hair mussed where he always ran his fingers through it when a tough case had him stumped. The brassy gleam of self-confidence suffused him, surrounding a sickly yellow core of doubt.
A little girl crouched in one corner in a faded jumpsuit covered with leering images of Minnie Mouse. Sarah rose on spindly legs, held out the hand that did not have its thumb jammed in her mouth. Lita steered her down the corridor toward the Cafeteria, scanning for the first glimmer of trouble.
She grabbed a Diet Coke and a bag of stale pretzels, went straight to her Mac, and dove into the Net, surfing for anything she could find on the eclipse.
A nightmare chased her out of fitful slumber well after midnight, snapped her eyes open as she struggled to untangle sheets grown clammy with her sweat. Lita passed them on the way to work: a parade of zombies with blank, black crescents slicing through their Inner Light. A wedge of darkness curved along her side, leering at Lita like the sideways grin of some toothless demon. That self-proclaimed prophet from the Evening News, he saw it too: the knowledge had been there, hidden in his spooky eyes. She walked it, to give herself time to think about what she would say… about how crazy she would sound if this man's particular vision did not coincide with her own. She stumbled past Sceadu's startled neighbors, past their barking dogs and squealing children. He peered at her from behind glasses ridiculously thick, making his eyes look like a pair of watery amoebas trapped beneath the lens of a microscope. Lita spent most of it wrestling with blankets that offered no warmth at all, sobbing into the darkness… watching it eat away at her. Doctors, nurses, orderlies, patients all moved in a languid fog, as if the darkness had filled their limbs with sludge. A week ago he would have argued and cajoled, refused to give her peace until she surrendered.
Lita swung her eyes toward the bed, saw the tiny figure buried in a nest of pillows: wide brown eyes staring blankly past both of them, little mouth sucking fiercely on a thumb. She worked through lunch, devoid of appetite, focused her remaining strength on breaking through Sarah's shell of silence while counting the hours - the minutes - until totality. Just before three, Bill Meltzer popped his head inside the door and tried to smile, his Light a mere flicker of blue and yellow. At least forty of the Hospital staff sat, stood, or lay up there already, with a few of the ambulatory patients sprinkled among them. You taste so very sweet, as I knew you would, but perhaps I'll start with the choicest morsel first. She dragged the child after her, stumbled toward that lone, unblinking star, knowing there would be no other chance.
It streamed from her in all directions, crackling through the void, sheathing other souls in incandescent armor. It swelled across the sky, boiling away shadows, chasing Darkness back into Its lesser Kingdom.
Terran history preaches again and again that the most courageous sacrifice a human being can make is to give his life for the lives of others. The natives seemed to have no use for the interior, and that was exactly the part of the planet for which DDC Management lusted. The bloody thing still could not untangle the spaghetti of Synobian grammar; its lexicon remained limited and imprecise. Slick salamander skin buried beneath a carpet of symbiotic sproutlings that drew nutrients from dead epidermal cells in exchange for protecting their host from the relentless sun.


We stood in silence, watching some of Whistler's fellow villagers frolic in the surf a few hundred meters from shore. At first glance, it looked like the biggest pearl I had ever seen: twenty centimeters across, shimmering with nacreous luster. I went straight to my berth and collapsed on the bunk, exhausted to the marrow, yet - as pathetic as it sounds - I was afraid to sleep. Dexter fidgeted beside Jenny while three members of her team trained laser pistols on the Synobians. An area we had scrupulously avoided, since Whistler made it clear from the first days of contact that it contained hallowed ground.
Dexter - and whoever had helped him sabotage the skimmer, a feat which bespoke a technical expertise far beyond his depth - would be waiting. I tried to analyze her condition with the medikit, but Synobian physiology did not lend itself to analysis with human medical tools. We brought her to a clearing with a large earthen mound near its center, at least two meters in diameter. I could barely see what lay beneath the mass of chitinous scavengers… and still, I saw too much.
He probably meant what he said, but the substances used to erase memories were very unpredictable. Its lower ring of eyes fixed on the tiny human floating beneath them as immense jaws parted, as saliva mixed with brine cascaded in a dozen waterfalls between rows of spiny teeth.
He would not let Killian and me bundle him into the skimmer until we had finished what we came to do. I wonder, as I brood over this final entry in my mission log, if the Saviors immortalized by history are created by actions, or events, or both.
Brown hair drooped across her face in greasy tangles, wide brown eyes oblivious to the presence of another stranger. A commotion erupted in the Admitting Area ahead, a gruff voice shouting obscenities; the little girl froze, squeezed Lita's hand so tight the knuckles ground together. Flames of orange and vermilion blazed inside him; she could feel the heat of his psychic fever spraying sparks of poison. The Light of Sarah Baxter's father spat red and orange virulence in every direction… except one. Their Inner Lights glowed in tainted harmony, and a shadow carved out sections of their souls.
When they prattle on about nuclear Armageddon, they ascribe far too much power to the puny human species. Her aura glimmered above the covers: bright magenta now, with fresh streaks of violet, so much like that little girl's. She decided to visit Sarah Baxter in the Children's Ward right after her morning infusion of coffee, hopeful that they could make some progress. Lita tried to comfort the little girl, to paint the colors of her suffering with softer shades, but she could not heal that darker wound. She went to her office, grabbed a dog-eared phone book from beneath a stack of case files that looked like a badly shuffled deck of cards, fingers trembling as she turned the pages. The fresh air cleared her head: a crisp autumn day, not too cool, wind spiced with the aroma of burning leaves. She could see the mad tangle of Lights in the circle of Sceadu's congregation, each one defiled by its own vertical grin of darkness.
Anne's and wondered if the priest she remembered from Sundays long past would still be there, face as cracked and faded as the church itself.
His Inner Light glowed blue, a welcome shimmer of compassion… except that half of him was gone. Panic danced in his eyes, a spark of violet in his aura: maybe for the first time, the man was scared. For an instant, Lita stared into the depths of a shadow ripped from the body that had cast it. Somebody had smuggled a stash of leftover doughnuts from the Cafeteria and spread them out on a bedsheet like a hobo's buffet. She could no longer recognize any of the auras, spectral lines tracing perimeters of shadow.
Lita could barely feel Sarah's little hand clenched in her own; all sense of physical contact was fading like the Sun. A nightmare landscape now stretched toward infinity - barren, rocky plains of obsidian and coal, frozen crust of black layered upon black. She collapsed, tumbled into darkness, stretching out her fingertips to touch that fleeting star. She could see it - oh yes, she could see it - flaring and flickering around her, wrapping her in a halo of radiance. He sank his fangs into the child's tender spirit, ravaging without mercy, ripping open wounds that had never been allowed to heal. Coronas of white and blue and gold blazed into view, scattering across the rooftop like a galaxy of newborn stars.
Phantoms drifted aimlessly through the gloom like wayward comets deflected by the whims of gravity. Aside from one true continent and a smattering of volcanic islands, the sea covered everything, from fathomless trenches to the shallows above submerged continental plates that had drowned eons before the first Synobian drew breath. Central mountain ranges concealed a geologic treasure trove: gold, silver, platinum, copper, juicy veins of high-grade ore. Several clung to the massive dorsal ridge of a trylvol: a whale-like creature with half a dozen eyes completely circling its swollen cranium, reminiscent of a beluga with an overactive pituitary. I can't figure out what I'm dealing with… ancestor worship, afterlife mythology, tribal gods, animism?
Sits back there in civilization, with his giga-buck salary, designer drugs, designer women…. I saw no choice but to continue, relying on the cover of the forest and Whistler's home field advantage.
Two glandular organs on either side of her neck were pumping large doses of an unfamiliar hormone into her system.
I lurched into the protective embrace of the forest, following Whistler as quickly as my trembling legs could manage.
As we followed the thunderous call of the ocean, I saw the misery in Whistler's eyes and wondered whether I had saved him or condemned him to a fate more tragic than I could fathom.
Below us, beach stretched to the north and south, undulating with the coastline like an albino serpent. I prayed silently with all my might that he would not find it, that at least Whistler might die with that small measure of consolation. He shrilled a song of victory and vengeance, a sound so giddy with emotion it made my skin crawl.
Whistler lay stubbornly bleeding in the sand while we unworthy humans threw the rest of the ghost stones into the sea.
Will trylvols someday gather - far beyond the sight of land - to sing their haunting tributes to the child who gave everything to protect their aggregated souls from damnation? And something she rarely saw in Bill - bubbles of lavender floating through the rest, flashes of pastel fireworks. A line of darkness nibbled at the edge of him, curved across the molten surface of his soul like the shadow of some invisible moon. A chuckle turned into a groan: Channel Eleven was running a fluff piece on myths surrounding the eclipse.
Lita felt like a trespasser at the scene of some pagan ritual - she could smell the tang of a nearby barbecue, hear the sizzle of roasting meat. She leaned against a mailbox on Fifth Street, gasping for air, ignoring the stares of passersby who could not see their own souls slipping into oblivion.
Bill always shot her a smile in the mornings - something between a smirk and a leer, usually accompanied by some crack about waking up his libido. She looked down at the little girl clinging to her - saw darkness spreading through the child's tormented Light like a tumor - and knew her tears could not wash away the stain.
She watched in awe as the black disc edged further into the last vestige of the Sun; the sliver of yellow fire seemed to brighten, fighting in desperation to repulse the final charge of shadow armies. Sceadu's roar battered her from every side - she could feel him closing in, breath hissing against her neck like blasts of arctic wind.
Light, shimmering and liquid, flowing into every chamber of her soul, covering her like another layer of skin.
He also ran the kitchen - easy duty, since the meals practically prepared themselves - and served as unofficial bartender.
How's he expect you to reason with a walking compost heap?" I felt my temper smoldering, fed by the scotch in my belly, but I was too exhausted to give Dexter a lecture on universal tolerance.
Me, it just seemed a little spooky, but Johnson in Precious Metals recycled his lunch after thirty seconds, tops.
Laser burns had stripped away sproutlings from her abdomen, leaving charred patches that seeped purplish fluid. I caught up with him near our encampment, relieved that we would soon be on our way, putting kilometers between ourselves and that wretched stretch of woods.


The bones did not just glisten: they shone in the twilight as if they had been carved from mother-of-pearl.
Waves thundered against the sand, foaming and bubbling as they slipped back into the cerulean embrace of the sea.
The trylvol writhed in surf too shallow to support its bulk, a great fleshy tanker run aground. A release of hormones triggers a pupal stage: the body dies while the skull seals around a brain that is undergoing drastic chemical and structural changes.
The organs in his neck were the harbingers of change, secreting the hormone to initiate his glorious transfiguration. He has warned the trylvols about us: what we have come for, and what we may take if we are not stopped. His headaches grow worse as the brain imprisoned in his skull presses out against the shell of an egg that will never hatch….
The only total eclipse that will hit Munson in our lifetimes; the umbra will pass over us almost dead center. Not too little information, but too much: Celtic dragons swallowing the Sun, Mayan gods demanding bloody sacrifice, Chinese emperors cowering from celestial omens of their own demise.
Lita sank into the crumb-filled cushions of her couch and listened to the reporter interview some crackpot who claimed to have the gift of prophecy. For centuries, shamans from your local Pottawatomi tribes have predicted that a day would come when Gitchi Manitou would place His hand over the Sun and send the wendigoes into a Night That Is Not Night to eat the souls of the unworthy. Part of her had vanished in a smooth, black arc, as if the night had loosed invisible piranha to gobble her essence with geometric precision. Friends she had known for years at the Hospital seemed remote, disoriented, floating through the halls like the ghosts of the recently departed. Is this how the cancer patients feel, watching the tumor grow larger on every x-ray, knowing there's no way to stop it?
She dialed Directory Assistance, already feeling the sinking sensation in her gut, the certainty that he would not be listed. She rang the doorbell half a dozen times, heard the harsh electric buzz reverberating inside the house. She could not see him, but she felt him even before he spoke, his words as chill and merciless as winter wind. She lay in bed well past the piercing reveille of her alarm, wondering if there was any point to going in. Lita shuddered with relief… and anger, rising in a molten tide, overflowing the black barriers that squeezed her soul like a vise.
Bill had several extra pairs of glasses distributed by the Munson Science Club for viewing the eclipse; he gave her and Sarah each a pair.
The Lights of those around her joined in the battle, losing ground to an enemy they could not even see.
She saw something at the edges of her vision: a microscopic spark, a single pinprick in Sceadu's suffocating shroud.
Still she chased the star, pulling Sarah with her; she could see it pulsing in the darkness, heartbeat of a lost and distant world.
Blurry images paraded past my eyes: jagged cliffs, thundering seascapes, jungles bursting with flora I could not name. The bastards who pump us through i-space to make their fortunes owe us a lot more than a little scavenging on the side!
I knelt beside Whistler and activated the translator, wondering if Dexter's glare would burn a hole in the back of my head.
When I asked Whistler, he indicated that they were vital to her welfare, and I knew with numb certainty that random tinkering on my part could only make matters worse. I could only follow Whistler with my eyes as he approached the naked skeleton of his brood sister.
Blood oozed from the blackened stump like blueberry syrup to stain the sand a deep burgundy.
Dexter swam farther from shore, dove, let out a whoop as he broke the surface with a shimmering oval in one hand. Trylvol digestive enzymes weaken the shell sufficiently for the metamorphosed brain to emerge, wend its way through the trylvol's sinus passages, and assume its rightful place.
He knew I could not save the rest of his brood siblings without his help, so he had me destroy his only chance to join them. Lita grabbed the little girl and held her tight as the Light of terror screamed silently around them. A disheveled Bill Meltzer crawled off the man's chest - huffing and puffing, angrier than she had ever seen him - and tried to straighten his unruly mop of hair. Even Bill Meltzer - hyperactive Billy Boy - barely said good-morning to her in the Cafeteria, his smile as bland and lukewarm as the eggs. Sarah's father glared back at her, chest heaving like a man in the throes of a coronary, meaty paw brandishing a very nasty knife. Perhaps that explained Mystery Number One: villages ringed the coast of the supercontinent, but we had yet to locate one more than a hundred kilometers inland.
An electric tingle traveled up my arms and down my spine, rising in intensity, pulsing like the beat of some invisible heart.
You may have more degrees than the average stellar core… but out here, you're still a grunt.
He pulled out one of the two orbs nestled within and stroked its surface with the reverence of a temple acolyte.
For just an instant, at the edge of the clearing, I paused to look back at our fallen comrade. He took one step toward Dexter, stone held out like a child slaughtered to appease an evil god.
Many brains assemble in the massive cranial cavity of a single host: five trylvols hold the majority of clan Mezkor. He glared at the security guard, who pointed his pistol between the orderlies, trying to look like he had the situation under control.
Lita wandered familiar corridors made strange by the unnatural way light mixed with shadow, chased by the echoes of her own footsteps.
Then the wall of bodies parted and Sceadu strode toward her, a smile splitting his dark features. She stumbled around the corner, not quite able to catch her breath, not quite sure where else to go. Anne's scowled down through the gloom as she climbed the stone steps to the massive oaken doors, pushed. The last precious breath of light died in a blackness more dense and inescapable than anything Lita had ever known. Joy warmed her like the kiss of Summer, filled her with so much Light she felt that she might burst. A thousand shattered memories fought to assemble a consciousness that belonged to someone else.
He wandered onto the beach with the reverent steps of a pilgrim who has finally reached the holy shrine. They will sell DDC those precious rights to the minerals locked beneath the skin of the supercontinent.
We were close now to whatever sacred place Whistler had been guiding us; I could hear the muffled roar of the ocean in the distance, could smell its briny tang.
He stared at the immense wake of the diving trylvol, and something collapsed inside him… something that had been waiting for one more little push. Anne's in years - not since she was a fidgety child ruffling the pages of her hymnal - but she needed help.
Papa Baxter still burned, but no longer a feverish inferno - more like a campfire sputtering as the last log splinters into embers. As she stared into that lonely star - Sceadu's laughter ringing in her ears - she realized something else: Sceadu could not see it. As I flailed away in horror, one emotion dogged my escape after all the rest had evanesced into oblivion. Patches of its bony surface - especially those in areas where no bone had any right to be - bore the unmistakable sheen of fresh growth.
Whistler gazed up at me with large, liquid eyes that would have looked haunted on any creature's face. The ghost stone catapulted out over the churning foam and splashed into the surf at least ten meters from shore.
But those rights will be contingent on an irrevocable ban against exploitation of the ocean. Finally I began to understand: he wanted me to remove the strange organs at the sides of his neck.



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09.05.2015 admin



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