I was seeing from another person's eyes, staring at a row of screens. Each displayed a different graph or diagram. My hand - their hand - scrolled through layers of a brain scans, leaning forward to examine the different colors and sections.
What was happening? First I'd heard whispers, and now I was inside someone else.
And the whispers. But they weren't really whispers, were they? No one's lips ever moved and no one ever responded to them except me. And anyway, some were intimate, and I wondered if anyone would really share them aloud.
Remembering back to Sam's interest in comics, I saw only one conclusion: I was hearing thoughts. And now, it seemed, I had hopped into someone else's consciousness. A doctor. Was he my doctor, and I was asleep in a hospital bed somewhere? Maybe he saw on the diagrams the origins of my new abilities, maybe there was a scientific explanation.
And maybe, just maybe, my parents were waiting for this news in a waiting room just down the hall. Maybe they'd finally realized that they did, in fact, share something: me.
For a moment, I wondered what Sam would think of everything that had happened. He'd tell me about some comic book hero, and use his knowledge to teach me to use my new powers. He always did love comic books and superheroes. How proud would he be if I used these new abilities to save people, like some mind reading super woman.
But I wondered, what else could I do, beyond listening to thoughts and jumping into other people?
If I was in another person's brain, could I control them? I tried to move their hand, but it continued to scroll through colorful diagrams. I tried to simply close their eyes, and except for blinking, nothing happened. So, it seemed, I was just along for the ride.
As it tapped a few buttons on the screen, I saw that the hand was bony, with long fingers and rough skin. I was inside a man, who was probably a doctor. At least I knew something. He stopped and examined one of the scans, shifting forward and squinting hard.
"Dr. Marlowe, we're ready to start," a woman said behind me.
Dr. Marlowe stared at the diagram for a second longer, then turned around, stood, and followed the woman. I saw that both the woman and Dr. Marlowe were wearing white blazers and white pants, and I wondered if this was some new medical field fashion trend.
We walked to the door of a small office and stepped out onto white tiled floors. Fluorescent lights glowed above us and shined on pristine white walls. Everything was white, and I felt a distinct urge to ruin it. There were more doors along the hall, but all of them were closed, and no one was in the hallway except us. It didn't really seem like a hospital, though it did have that sterile, chemical smell.
We turned left down a similar hallway and entered a room to our right. The room was lit by the glow of screens, which displayed more diagrams of brains, but also a map of a body. A window stretched along the entire length of the opposite wall, and in front of it was a panel of buttons, levers, and switches. At least twenty people, all in the same white attire as Dr. Marlowe and the woman, scurried around the room, looking through the window, analyzing different screens, and sitting at the control panel. They each wore the same white blazer and pants, and their faces glowed eerily in the light from their respective screens.
Behind the window was a brightly lit room, completely white, with machines hovering above a girl strapped into a reclining chair, like one you'd see in a dentist's office. Thick straps wove around her body so densely that little of her body could be seen, yet I saw that she wore only a simple white gown like that of a hospital patient. Her body seemed unbelievably tiny and weak below the massive machine that spanned the entirety of the ceiling. It was metallic and shiny, and tiny wires slithered down and intertwined with her body.
Her eyelids fluttered awake. Suddenly, I was opening my own eyes and looking up at the endless machine. It was like some dark cloud above me, and the wires like drops of rain.
I could hear the whispers again: the thoughts of the scientists who inhabited the control room. This time, they didn't start slow like they had before; they bombarded me already, and I closed my eyes tight in an attempt to block them out.
Without realizing, I'd started moving the few parts of my body that weren't restrained, curling my toes and tapping my fingers against the arm of the chair. I pretended I was playing Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, and as I pressed my fingers into the chair, I hummed the song out loud. The intruding thoughts faded to the back of my mind; they were still present, but my brain was much more preoccupied with the song.
Suddenly, the table started to rumble beneath me, shaking against my tapping fingers. I opened my eyes wildly and saw the machine above vibrating, lights flashing across it.
All at once, the room erupted in darkness and a searing pain jolted through my body. I felt a scream tear through my throat, but I couldn't hear it. My back tried to arch against the restraints, my toes curled and my hands forced themselves into tight fists. Every nerve was tormented, every muscle ripped to indistinction, as if giant godly hands had taken my body and twisted it, breaking every bone and shredding every muscle. Lightning bolts of agony seared across my skull, exploding in a headache incomparable to any other.
I couldn't decipher how long I'd spent suffering, but it felt like hours until the machine went quiet. My throat felt raw and my muscles fatigued, as if I'd run a few thousand miles. I couldn't move, not even to lift my fingertips and resume the Fifth.
And yet, I felt energized. I knew, physically, I was finished. But my mind flourished as if it had been plugged into the machine and charged like a battery. Inwardly, I felt limitless. I felt like I could fly.
Gently, the thoughts of the scientists started trickling into my mind, each floating on a different string of notes, each playing it's own song on my internal piano. I placed my fingers on the keys and started playing, enhancing their songs, deepening the melodies. Listening.
YOU ARE READING
When Chloe's brother died, Chloe's life began to fall apart. Between her parents' relationship falling apart and having to start over at a new school, Chloe doesn't think her life could get any worse, until she starts hearing voices in class. From t...