Posts Tagged ‘psychic’

Intuition

Posted: October 25, 2013 by writingsprint in Drawing
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electron microscopeLaurie slid the steel sample into the electron microscope. The test started running. She coughed. Her eyes stung, and she coughed again. She imagined the color blue.

“Are you all right?” the lab tech asked.

Laurie cleared her throat. “Yeah, I’m fine.” Rationally, she wanted to ignore it, but she had a feeling like her feet just turned to lead and her whole body went cold. She felt like someone was about to grab her. “I’m going to step out for a second.”

“Take your time.”

Laurie walked out to the hallway. She dodged some of the shop crew. A lift truck went by carrying a pallet of excess computers. Laurie opened her lab coat. She went with her feelings. She imagined sand in the distance. The beach.

Her twin brother Phil was on vacation in Cancun. He liked to snorkel. She found a quiet corner and backed up against it. She pretended to read email on her iPhone. She swiped and tapped the wallpaper picture of her horse, as if she read something fascinating.

She felt chill fear. She could almost taste the salt water.

Ridiculous. She was a scientist, not a psychic. But if this was real, and she could help one inch, she was going to.

Laurie concentrated as hard as she could. “I don’t know if this is legit, but if you’re in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore,” she whispered. “Then pop on your back and kick. Relax. Breathe. I don’t care if you’re fucking tired, you can swim for the rest of your goddamned life. Just start swimming. They’re looking for you. They’ll find you. See you when you get back.”

Laurie took a breath. She went to the nearest vending machine and bought a bottle of water. One of the finance guys walked by. She gave him a pleasant hello.

She had an idea. Laurie dialed Phil’s number. When his answering machine beeped, she said, “Phil, it’s Laurie. Hey, look. Do me a favor. I know you just got back, but when you have a minute, rack your brain and tell me what you were doing at… 1:00 Eastern, March 3rd, while you were on vacation. That would be Wednesday. Probably drinking margaritas, but I just wanted to check. See ya.”

A data point was a data point. She was a scientist, after all.

Meet Amy

Posted: September 16, 2011 by writingsprint in Dream Girl, postaday2011, postaweek2011, Writing
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Tom breathed. He opened his eyes. The air felt frosty, making his skin feel like sandpaper. Amy sat on the end of his bed. The room looked whiter, like he’d adjusted the colors that he usually used to look at the world. Amy looked just like she had in his dream. The same hair, dress, and eyes.

“Amy?” His voice sounded muffled.

“Yes.”

“What’s… am I dead?”

“Dreaming. Like last night.” She paused. Amy spoke slowly, and her eyes had little fire. It didn’t suit her. “It’s gone for now. You’re safe.”

“You saved my life. Thanks.”

“How did you know you had to invite me in?”

He gestured at the stack of books from the library. “Light reading. They say it helps the ghost to connect to reality.” She laughed, then winced. The effort hurt her. The world became foggy. “No… no!” Tom reached for her hand.

Her voice sounded like a whisper. “It’s all right. I’m tired. Fighting it off took a lot out of me.”

“Can I help? Can you…” He gulped. This really didn’t sound like a good idea, but there were stories of psychic vampires, ghosts that fed on the life energy of the living. “Can you use me? Like a transfusion?”

“Think about me.”

He thought about her dancing on the ledge. He liked her smile, and now that they could talk, he liked her voice. The fog cleared and she came into focus, bright and sharp. She seemed satisfied. Happy to see him clearly again. Then her face turned black and she slapped him so hard across the face that it made his teeth clack. “Don’t you ever, ever, ever ask me that again! Do you hear me?”

He held his face. It stung like being hit by a snowball. “Fine. Blame a guy for asking.”

“Don’t tempt me.” Emotions flickered across her face. He felt sad; it was coming from her. “I… sometimes I can’t help it. I don’t want to be like that thing.” She missed being alive. He could tell.

To be continued

Shattering

Posted: July 22, 2011 by writingsprint in postaday2011, postaweek2011, Science fiction, Shatter, Writing
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“Now we run more detailed tests on you.”
“Where? At some lab in the middle of the desert?”
“No. Here. Now.”
Bob looked from Waltrip to the doctor and back. “You’re kidding.”

“I’m going to hook you up to some monitoring equipment and see how you respond…”

The world telescoped while Dr. Sekare stayed still, like the scene in Vertigo when Jimmy Stewart looks down the stairwell. Something was happening. Sekare was lying, feeding him small truths.

“…These will be very detailed, intense tests compared to a therapy session. If we have positive results, you’ll be moved…”

They were going to kill him. Bob already knew that, but now it was only minutes away. They were going to run the tests and put a bullet in his brain. No… not a bullet. Bob sensed a bomb under the floor of the building.

It had no mind, nothing that a psychic could detect. Bob sensed the screams and fear of everyone in the house, including himself, reaching back from thirty minutes from now. Bob remembered something about a book called The Wreck of the Titan, written over a decade before the Titanic sank. The book was about a luxury line striking an iceberg and sinking. The connection thrummed like a guitar string inside his head. He shaped the sound, and perceived some of the voices, the weeping. His face felt wet. Bob wasn’t crying, but he could feel the tears of people crying after the explosion.

Bob played guitar, and knew how to strike a chord and make it reach the back of the room.

“…You’ll live comfortably, and tests will continue…”

Bob held up his hand. “Doc, I’m really sorry to have to do this. I am.” Waltrip’s hand drifted to his pistol. “Dude, don’t even try.” He looked at Sekare. “This is for your own good.”

Bob struck the chord. The line between present and past snapped taut. The shockwave of fire, steel and hot gas became real in Bob’s mind. His head threw back in the chair, and everything happened at once.

“WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING???”

Bob consciousness sucked to a single point the size of a pinhead and exploded. It felt like Bob himself exploded. Everything that Bob could perceive in that instant — the bomb, the room, Sekare, Waltrip, and the entire house — exploded. The bomb blew apart. The house blew apart. Sekare and Waltrip were blown through the walls. Pieces of the house went soaring into night and landed who knew where.

It felt like hours later when Bob opened his eyes. The dust hadn’t settled yet; it was only moments. Bob was the center of the blast, so nothing had landed on him.

He stood up on shaky legs. Past, present and future were flowing randomly inside his head, but were settling back to ‘now.’ It was because his life was no longer threatened.

For now.

The street was dark; power was out. Bob climbed over the debris and walked, a nameless stranger fleeing the explosion. Sirens were coming. He couldn’t be here.

Bob sat in an easy chair that looked like the same one they had Adrienne sitting in. She was safe, on her way out of the city, to “someplace else” to stay for a while. Waltrip had promised that their only interest in her was to get to him, and that she wouldn’t be harmed or followed. He had believed what he was saying was true, and none of the other minds around Bob had believed otherwise.

Waltrip sat across from him, to Bob’s left. Dr. Sekare had walked into the room just after Bob sat down, and stood across the room from Waltrip, on Bob’s right. Dr. Sekare said to Bob, “You don’t look surprised.”

“We’ve been throwing around your name for the past half hour. I haven’t trusted you for about three years. You knew that already.”

“And I can’t even read minds.”

“So now what?”

“Now we run more detailed tests on you.”

“Where? At some lab in the middle of the desert?”

“No. Here. Now.”

Bob looked from Waltrip to the doctor and back. “You’re kidding.”

When we last left Bob, the bad guys had kidnapped Adrienne and Bob was trying to talk them into setting her free:

Bob didn’t expect a government hit man to have a sense of humor. Why not, though? They were completely in control. As he the agent chuckled, Bob had flash images of dollar bills and MRI machines, magnetic slices of human brains. He wasn’t working for the government. This guy used to be government, now he was corporate. There was more money in the private sector, less pesky regulations. “Let her go first. Bring her back here, and I’ll go with you.”

“I don’t think so.”

Adrienne gasped.

Now Bob lost control. Every glass in the room shook. A couple of the pasta jars cracked with sounds like pop guns going off. Bob’s world expanded. He could hear every heartbeat in hundred yards, hear every breath, and hear every thought as if he was part of 23 separate conversations. The spotters outside were panicking again. The agent in the back yard was running to the front door.

The one in the kitchen with Bob had his heart pounding and he was thinking about going for his pistol – a Glock 19 semi-auto that he hadn’t fired in a year because he’d had to garrote two targets – oh, Bob wished he hadn’t learned about that one.

His name was Kevin. Agent Kevin Waltrip was sizing up Bob to see what was happening. Bob was unstable, but Waltrip himself wasn’t threatened, yet. Waltrip had been briefed by Dr. Sekare. The doctor was afraid that tasing Bob would scramble his brain chemistry too much. It was good to be fragile.

It all took a second, but it felt like ten seconds to Bob. He couldn’t hold onto it. His expanded awareness shrank back into his own head. His ears were ringing. The shaking glassware in the room calmed down. “I do think so,” Bob said. “You’re the ones with the guns. You don’t need her for leverage.”

“Give me my phone and I’ll give the order,” Waltrip said.

Bob slid it back to him. Waltrip was still pretty shaken up. He’d done some nasty things in his day, things that would make a snake’s scales stand on end, but he’d never experienced anything as supernatural as what Bob had done. Bob was getting flash images of the project, how long Sekare had studied him, tinkered with him. Logos of companies that Bob had never seen before were blinking into his mind. Waltrip spoke quietly into the phone, giving the order to bring Adri back here. He wasn’t lying, and he wasn’t planning to double cross either of them. Waltrip was worried about what Bob was capable of now. Actually he wasn’t too worried. Bob wasn’t a killer. In Waltrip’s mind it was a critical factor. Waltrip wanted a raise.

Funny.

It took about fifteen minutes for them to bring Adri back to the house. Bob, Waltrip, and agent #2 were sitting in the living room at opposite points of a triangle from each other.

Bob stood with the back door behind him, so that the second agent wouldn’t have a clear shot on him except through the door. It wouldn’t stop a bullet but it would stop a taser, which was all he was authorized to use.

The agent took out his phone, showed it to Bob, and set up the Skype connection. “He wants to see her,” he said to whoever answered. He waited a moment, then tossed his phone over to him.

The connection was live. Adrienne looked okay. She was holding the phone at the other end. She was sitting in an easy chair, in the corner of a room, and didn’t look tied up. There was nothing descriptive about the room behind her; he couldn’t see the carpeting and the walls were painted off white. It could have been any apartment or house. She gasped when she saw him. “Honey?” she asked.

“Hi Adri. Are you okay?”

She looked up past the phone, at whomever was keeping an eye on her in the room. “Could be better, but they haven’t hurt me, if that’s what you mean.” She smirked. “I tried calling out to you with my thoughts a dozen times. I guess it doesn’t work from across town.”

Bob looked up at the agent across the room – he was surprised to notice that he hadn’t picked up his name yet. The agent smiled. “I’ll make a note of that for Dr. Sekare.”

“What do they want?” she asked.

“Me. I’m not sure what exactly for, yet.”

“What’s the plan?”

“I guess I’m going to do what they say.”

“Are you sure that’s what you want to do?”

36th and Fairview. They had her in a house on 36th and Fairview. It was only a few blocks from here. There were two guards watching her. The first agent was cool as a cucumber, but the second, who just found out he couldn’t come in through the back door, lost control for a second there.

“Yeah. They don’t want to damage the package, so they won’t hurt me. I won’t let them hurt you.”

“Just don’t be a hero, okay?”

Bob asked the agent, “I’m not going to have to be a hero, am I?”

“My orders are to get you there as undamaged as possible,” he replied. “If you get heroic, I’ll do whatever I need to do.”

“Mace, drugs? Stun gun?”

He smiled again. “I’ll surprise you.”

Bob didn’t expect a government hit man to have a sense of humor. Why not, though? They were completely in control. As he the agent chuckled, Bob had flash images of dollar bills and MRI machines, magnetic slices of human brains. He wasn’t working for the government. This guy used to be government, now he was corporate. There was more money in the private sector, less pesky regulations. “Let her go first. Bring her back here, and I’ll go with you.”

Dangerous Kitchen

Posted: February 21, 2011 by writingsprint in postaday2011, postaweek2011, Science fiction, Shatter, Writing
Tags: ,

The dangerous kitchen
If it aint’t one thing it’s another

– Frank Zappa, “The Dangerous Kitchen”

Bob couldn’t feel Adrienne’s mind. Even if she were dreaming, he would get strawberry fields, zombies and black, pizza and chocolate, weird sensations of whatever she was dreaming about. Either they moved her or they had her very, deeply sedated. That was just a wild guess. Bob used to watch a lot of TV, until the day he caught his reflection in the picture tube and woke up in a pile of… never mind.

Bob was told to go into Adrienne’s house. He went in. The two minds inside were on the first floor, in the living room, so Bob went in through the back. Bob shivered. He felt closer to their minds now, and it was like being in a cold, old, drafty prison. These people had seen some very awful places and they knew how to put their feelings in boxes. He didn’t know what to do. He had to save Adrienne, but where was she?

“I’m in the kitchen. Come in here and talk to me,” Bob said.

One was whispering to the other that he would go in, while the other came around the back. Bob almost laughed. When you could read minds it was like watching a child wearing a sheet and pretending they were invisible. Bob took the wooden doorstop off the floor and jammed it into the door crack behind him. The guy could always bust through the window, but why make it easy? Bob was angry at them for putting him and Adrienne through this.

Someone dressed in a black jacket, blue jeans and sneakers came in. His hair was gray, and enough of his face was in covered in weaving shadows that Bob wasn’t sure what he looked like. “Mr. Parr, thank you for coming,” he said. His voice was hoarse, like he’d smoked too many cigarettes in his… no. Bob caught the vivid image of a bullet wound to the throat. “If you’ll come with us, we’ll release Ms. Miller tonight, and release you in due time.”

“Where is she?”

“She’s safe.”

“I want to see her.”

“I have no way to –”

“Look, I know you’re lying. You can Skype a picture of her through your smart phone. You were planning to show me if I pushed, so I’m pushing.”

This got a rise out of him, inside. Outside, still ice water. “If you can read my mind, you know she hasn’t been harmed.”

“I know you think she hasn’t been harmed. I don’t care. Let me see her.”

When we last saw Bob Parr, our psychic migraine sufferer, he was working at his job, and trying not to eavesdrop on an argument.

The whispers from the other side of the building stopped being whispers, and they stopped being rhythmic. The words were coming and going now, and they were more taut, like chords played at random, or like a mariachi playing one riff, then another, then another. They made sense separately, but together, it sounded pretty but wasn’t a song. There was a conversation going on and it wasn’t about sports.

“Keep your nose clean, Bob,” he whispered to himself. “Don’t even think about it.” But he was thinking about it. Every time he practiced, he learned he could hear thoughts farther and farther away. It made Bob itch, wanting to know what he could do.

Bob filtered out the argument. He thought of the words, then he thought of the words with a blanket wrapped around them. Sort of. He learned to do it when he couldn’t get a car salesman to talk to him straight, so he tuned out the words until he only heard “blah blah blah.” The argument got louder and more insistent. The words were knocking on the doors of his brain. Louder. Harder. Banging a heavy police flashlight on the door.

Bob forgot he was polishing a mirror.

A bead of sweat dripped into the corner of his closed eye, and he blinked. He only caught a look at it for a tenth of a second. He saw his face, looking sweaty and scared, and he saw the white tile of the bathroom behind him.

Time slowed down and world telescoped. His heads, in the reflection and in real space, stayed still. The tiles in both places seemed to get farther away. His breath was the sound of smoke coming out of Hades. He could see the heat of his breath disturb the air in front of his mouth. All the hair on his head felt like it was standing up, and he could count sweat droplets touching his scalp. There were 79.

Oh no.

He gripped the sink and heard the bolts in the wall creak. His skin became X-rayed and he saw the blood in every vein of his body pulse with a single heartbeat. When the blood hit his head, he heard it roar in his ears with the sound of water rushing through a hose. The lights in the room surged. Spotlight. Solar flare. Nova. Bob let go of the sink and grabbed his head. He fell.

It could have been seconds later, minutes or hours. Bob didn’t know. He was still twitching, his left arm and right leg were twitching, and the right side of his face was numb. The side… bluh… Bob blinked and it hurt. He looked at the surface of the bathroom’s drop ceiling. The black spots of the surface looked like a dirty sponge. His mind was blank and he wasn’t filtering anything out.

Inside his head, he heard one of the voices from the argument say, “I thought this was the best way to make contact with you, Mr. Parr. Dr. Sekare said you were nosey. We have Adrienne. Go to her house and meet us there.”

Working a day job is a trip when you’re psychic. It feels like you can hear everyone talking at once, and when you talk to someone, half the time they’re thinking about your nose hairs, your clothes, or what you look like. Oh, they’re thinking about whatever the issue is, too, but you can’t separate the person from what they’re talking about. Half the time people were preoccupied more with how they felt about the person they were talking to. And if the person they were talking to was good-looking, forget it. The words were serious, but the thoughts were, “Wahoo! I’d love to hit that!” and “Hel-lo, sailor!”

Bob went from office to office in jobs that didn’t work out, and finally wound up as a night shift janitor at one of the office buildings downtown. It was lonely work, but it was quieter on the mind. He had to train himself to clean mirrors with his eyes closed, or looking down at the sink while he sprayed Windex. It wasn’t easy but he got the hang of it.

3:00 a.m., fourteenth floor. Bob finished the east mens’ room and was starting on the womens’. He set up the “room closed for cleaning” signs and got to work. As he finished cleaning the johns, he could hear soft voices inside his head. He couldn’t pick out the words… low, rhythmic… probably someone listening to music, working late. It was month-end and sometimes the accountants were here all night. Bob whistled to try to even out the sound, inside his head and out. He was getting pretty good at it whistling the theme from the Andy Griffith show.

Bob pulled his cap down farther over his eyes. He broke out into a sweat all over his body. He swallowed, took a breath, and turned to the sinks and counters. He wiped the counters and sinks quickly and thoroughly. There was no problem, but just knowing that the mirrors were there – he could almost see them through the brim of his cap – made him nauseous just thinking about it. The memory of all those voice screaming was like hearing it again, hushed, waiting for him to look into a mirror so they could scream again. He was trembling, and when he finished he turned his back to the mirrors and wiped his forehead with the back of his arm. Scary but you got used to it.

Now the good part. And he did this on every damned floor. Bob picked up the Windex, grabbed a roll of paper towels, closed his eyes, and started working on the mirrors.

The whispers from the other side of the building stopped being whispers, and they stopped being rhythmic. The words were coming and going now, and they were more taut, like chords played at random, or like a mariachi playing one riff, then another, then another. They made sense separately, but together, it sounded pretty but wasn’t a song. There was a conversation going on and it wasn’t about sports.

“Keep your nose clean, Bob,” he whispered to himself. “Don’t even think about it.” But he was thinking about it. Every time he practiced, he learned he could hear thoughts farther and farther away. It made Bob itch, wanting to know what he could do.

 

This is the end of the scene in Shatter, where Bob is talking to his girlfriend Adrienne about breaking a glass with his mind.

She didn’t have the same smile in it, the inviting feeling that their kisses usually did. He touched her hair and leaned his forehead against hers. “Are you okay?”

“Well, no.” She backed up and leaned against the shelves behind the counter. They were filled with books and things that customers had ordered, and were waiting for pickup. “Yesterday you’re learning to sift through thoughts. I get that. Today you actually blew something up. Why aren’t you freaked out?”

Bob smiled a half smile. He hadn’t thought about it but now it hit him. “It was the first time I saw Dr. Sekare jump instead of me. It felt good to see him jump. I think I’ve seen enough movies with people using the Force and whatnot that breaking the glass didn’t surprise me.”

Adrienne wrote up a sign that said “Back at 1:00” and hung it in the door. She drew the shades on the front window, and she and Bob went into the back room of the store. This was where she sometimes had meetings for the local astrology club and other things. Bob made tea while she swept the room for bugs. Adrienne was an amateur conspiracy theorist. Bob didn’t sense anyone watching them nearby, but better safe than sorry. Adrienne didn’t find anything.

“I’m worried,” Adrienne said. She wrapped her fingers around a mug of tea to warm them. To her it was a small way to give something a hug; she wanted something to hold on to, too.

“Dr. Sekare didn’t know what to do about it. All he could think about was writing it down, then his mind was off and racing with implications and how it happened and anatomically what it meant. I had this sudden rush of pictures of the brain in my head, line drawings with words I can’t even pronounce, pointing to where he thought it came from.” Bob gave it some thought. “He’s going to want tests. He’s going to want to see if I can do it again.”

“Oy. That’s all we need.” She stroked his forehead. Bob smiled and let her do that. He held her other hand – carefully, since that was the one holding her tea. “How did the mirror session go?”

“Today it felt like there was a crack in my head, and I could feel it widening from the inside out.” Adrienne grabbed her teeth in sympathetic pain. “I got an idea. Today, when the glass broke, I let go and got angry at the doc. I’m thinking that, one of these days, I’m going to let that crack swallow me up and just see what happens.”