"What?" I asked. "What am I doing?"
"That thing with your hands. Rubbing them together like they're cold."
I looked down and saw that I had indeed been doing it, rubbing unconsciously. I forced myself to stop. "It's something from beyond the grave. A genetic spirit phone, I think."
"I have no idea what you're talking about," she said.
"My grandfather used to do it," I explained. I moved again, holding one hand palm down and still while rubbing the knuckles of the other hand back and forth beneath it. "I don't think he even knew he was doing it. I never did it before myself, but in the past week I've been noticing that I've started."
I nodded. "Gets weirder. I've started holding my hands like he did, too, when I'm sitting and watching television." I slouched down in my chair and let them drape loosely over my stomach, fingers curled slightly, the pinkie of the right hand barely touching against the thumb of the left.
"I've never paid attention to the way you sit and hold your hands," the Muse said.
"Trust me, I didn't sit like this until a couple of weeks ago."
"So what? You're telling me that you're possessed by the spirit of your dead grandfather?"
I looked at her a minute, and then shook my head. "Nah. I'm not that insane or anything. I'm sure I'm just having some sort of twisted psycho break from reality or something."
She leaned forward and pressed her hand against my forehead. "You don't feel warm."
"I don't think imminent mental collapse is usually presaged by a fever, Muse. Thanks for worrying, though."
She shrugged. "It's in my best interest to keep you sane and healthy. I'm not quite sure what I'd do without you. Die, probably."
"Old muses don't die," I said. "They just fade away."
"Gak," she said. "I'd rather not linger and waste away like Keats did."
She sighed. "John Keats, you heathen. Get away from the television and read a book once in a while."
"I know who Keats was. I'm not completely ignorant, thank you very much."
"Nope," she said. "You're just possessed."
"Sometimes, Muse, you're really irritating."
"You love me."
She kissed me on the forehead. "I'm going for Chinese. Call me later, especially if your head starts spinning in a circle or you start floating in your bed."
"You'll be the first one I call," I said. "Right after I get Max von Sydow in here."
"Glad you're taking this whole possession thing seriously."
"The only thing I take more seriously, Muse dear, is my love of John Keats."
"Bite me," she said, smiling, and dashed out the door.