Home » The Crystal Hall » Fan Fiction » Entanglements (Prologue: Dr. Mindscape gets a new patient)
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|Entanglements [message #56826]
||Sun, 15 April 2012 18:08
Registered: May 2011
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Prologue: Dr. Mindscape gets a new patient
March 6th, 2007, ARC (Arkham Research Consortium New Hampshire)
Dr. Ralph Templeton III, Esq. reclined on the bed in his cell, trying to find a comfortable position that didn't cause his pale blue jumpsuit to ride up on him as he read the latest issue of Developmental Psychology®. His glasses lay on the small table beside his bed, next to a picture of a slender blonde woman, as he rested the journal on the relatively expansive surface provided by his stomach, and he gave a small sigh as he recognized the name of a former colleague attached to one of the articles.
He set the journal aside, his interest suddenly waning, and stared at the picture of the woman for a moment, then kissed his fingertips and lightly touched them to the picture, a wistful expression on his face.
He heard a quiet sound and reached for his glasses as the door to his cell opened, squinting at his unexpected visitor.
"Yes? What do you want?" he asked somewhat querulously.
The blonde young man flashed him a generous smile "Hello Doctor. I've come to provide you with an opportunity to repay some of your debt to society." He dropped a set of files several inches thick, along with a DVD in a jewel case, onto the small computer desk that took up one corner of the cell.
Dr. Templeton ignored the files and glared at the young man.
"That's odd, I rather thought I was repaying my debt to society by allowing myself to be incarcerated here, rather than remaining at large and causing various members of Humanity First to soil themselves at the thought of receiving a visit from me."
"Ah...Be that as it may, the boss man thinks that your unique talents may be well suited for this problem. It's pretty unusual, a set of siblings who seem to have been merged with each other, possibly through the actions of an unknown entity. However, their condition is unstable, and deteriorating. "
"Sounds like you need a warper or a mage. Besides, I had my right to practice revoked after the trial. Legally, I can't see any patients."
"We don't need you to be their therapist. We need you to confirm that there is something left to work with."
"Chris, unless I've suddenly gone senile and begun imagining things, you are a telepath, as is Dr. Otto. Either of you are quite capable of detecting and communicating with the mind of even a comatose patient. You hardly need me to do that for you."
"We can confirm that there is...something in there. But we can't get a lock on anyone. Too many odd echoes and some strange kind of interference. Dr. Otto got a migraine after a few attempts."
"Ah, so you naturally thought of using one of your inmates as an expendable resource in case these children are host to some extra-dimensional fiend waiting to burst forth once it has sucked their withered husks dry?"
Chris flashed him a quick grin, "See, I knew you'd understand. But seriously, we don't need Dr. Templeton the psychologist. We need Dr. Mindscape, Master of the Mental Plane. C'mon, it will look good at your next parole hearing."
"Ugh, do not remind me of that odious codename. That should have been all the evidence they needed to support my insanity plea. And I highly doubt it will make a difference at any future parole hearing. I've never made a secret of my intent to continue culling the ranks of Humanity First if I'm ever released."
"Er...yes." Chris paused to regroup, then forged ahead. "However, these are not members of Humanity First. They are three children who have had some sort of uncontrolled power manifestation that will soon kill them if we do not find a way of stabilizing them."
"Appealing to the better nature of a convicted mass murderer? An intriguing ploy, I must admit."
"These are mutant children who are imminent danger, not adult members of Humanity First. You did a lot of good in the mutant community before the, um, events... that led to your personal war with Humanity First. But if nothing else, we both know that you are bored out of your mind here. Think of this as a puzzle, one that only you have a chance of solving before their condition becomes terminal."
Dr. Templeton rolled his eyes, "And now the flattery. I highly doubt I am the only one who can handle this for you. I predict that this is yet another attempt by Dr. Otto to get me to become more engaged with and involved with my own rehabilitation."
"It can't be both? Truthfully, we are running short on time. You may not be the only one who can do this, but you are the only one who is here and has a chance to do something before their condition deteriorates further. We're not sure how they've lasted as long as they have."
Dr. Templeton stared at Chris, drumming his fingers on the cover of the closed journal, then abruptly nodded. "Very well, I will consider it. Explain to me their situation and why it is that you need me."
Chris nodded to the files and DVD he'd dropped onto the desk. "Pop that disk in, it has a video showing them in their current condition."
Dr. Templeton scowled as the video began to play. "Hmph, don't you people maintain your equipment? The quality is terrible. And... why are you keeping them in a parking garage? I know you have top notch medical facilities here."
The scene on the computer screen was grainy, but showed a wrought iron platform with a worn mattress covering it. In the background could be seen concrete pillars and wall markings indicating this was lvl 4 of a parking garage. But the camera was focused on the form of a teenage girl, on the bed, dressed in torn and stained jeans and a yellow sweater. She appeared to be 13 or 14 years of age, and painfully thin. Her hair was a light blonde, but darkened to brunette at the tips. Her eyes were closed, and her face contorted in pain as she shook with some sort of fit.
There was a burst of static, then the video showed a teenage boy in her place, also wearing torn and stained jeans, and a black t-shirt. He had a thick head of dark hair and strong features locked into a scowl, his teeth bared, although his eyes were also closed. His whole body convulsed as if he were struggling against something, and the iron wrought bed shook.
There was another burst of static, and when the image stabilized the picture quality had degraded even further. What lay on the bed now was barely recognizable as human, the flesh melted like candle wax, the eyes, nose and mouth distorted and out of place. One of the eyes focused on the camera and blinked. Then the entire amorphous shape shuddered and convulsed, features sliding into place, and for a moment a young boy lay there, his body rigid and trembling, his face held together by an effort of will. His androgynous features were pale, his head bald except for a few stray wisps of dark hair, and his pupils were black. Even through the poor quality video, Dr. Templeton felt as if those eyes were pulling him into their depths. The boy stared into the camera lens for a long moment and finally whispered "Help..." Seemingly exhausted by the effort he closed his eyes, and began to dissolve into the amorphous collection of mismatched features again. Dr. Templeton felt his gorge rise, and fought to keep his expression neutral. There was another burst of static and the form of the girl lay there again.
Chris quietly turned off the video. "They are putting out some kind of interference, something we are tentatively calling an entropy field. We can't get the camera any closer without it starting to break down. We can't use any electronic medical equipment on them, it all breaks down before we can even get it hooked up. They tried to load them into a cargo container and bring them here suspended from a helicopter because any vehicle they were loaded onto broke down before making even a single mile. Three of the six cables holding it snapped before they were forced to land. We finally procured the services of a long range teleporter to bring them here from Arizona, and even that almost didn't work. It took her two tries and she's currently nursing a migraine. Those bursts of static that coincide with the shifts between forms are a pulse of electromagnetic radiation being released as they change. Something happened to those children, something terrible. And we don't know what it was. An extreme example of burnout? A ritual gone awry? Or worse, someone with the power to do this to people at will, and these are merely the first victims? We are hoping you can find out, and assist us in helping them."
Dr. Templeton nodded slowly, and reached for the files. "This is a lot of paper work for three children. How do you even know it's these three children, and not a single out of control shapeshifter?"
Chris explained as Dr. Templeton skimmed through the files. "Their mother identified them, or at least two of them, Jared Dominguez and Carmen Dominguez. She wasn't able to positively ID the second boy due to his extreme physical changes, but tentatively we have him listed as their brother, Randall Dominguez. As for whether or not it's truly them, that's what we are hoping you can determine."
"Hmph, the mother can't recognize her own son, even if he's been disfigured?" Dr. Templeton spoke without looking up from his perusal of the documents.
"Yes, well they don't have a happy family history. They've been in and out of the system their whole lives. I spoke with a social worker after the mother proved unwilling to talk to us. The boys are fraternal twins, their father is unknown, the girl is actually a half-sister, from the mothers identical twin sister, father also unknown. Twins must run in the family or something. The girl's mother died during childbirth."
Chris reached into the stack and pulled out a document. "Get this according to their birth certificates, they were all born on the same day, within 15 minutes of each other. All three are thirteen years old, born in Phoenix, Arizona. They were raised by their maternal grandmother until the age of six, when she passed away. After that, they lived with the boy's mother and , except for a brief period where child services removed them from the home, but they were returned to her after a few months, for unstated reasons just a vague reference to 'incidents' that made them unsuitable for foster care."
"Identical twins who become pregnant at the same time and give birth within minutes of each other? And no one knows who the father is in either case? Seems more than a little unusual."
"Yeah, but like I said the mother, one Sandy Dominguez, isn't talking. Couldn't wait to wash her hands of them, as a matter of fact."
Dr. Templeton frowned as he held up the bulk of the files, his eyes hard. "Most of these are medical records for Jared Dominguez. Diagnosed with possible schizophrenia at the age of 8, but no follow up treatment and no tests to confirm it, in fact it's never mentioned again. Multiple broken bones over several years, cuts, burns, food poisoning, much of it supposedly 'accidental' or 'self-inflicted'...this kid has seen more abuse than most people see in their lifetime."
Chris nodded "Yeah, the social worker said he had anger management issues, and would physically attack anyone who threatened his brother or sister. Apparently Jared went after the mother's live-in boyfriend with a baseball bat when he was ten, he later claimed that the boyfriend was molesting his sister. That's the incident that caused them to be temporarily removed from the home. And Randall and Carmen both have a laundry list of 'accidents' that have landed them in the emergency room, just not nearly as extensive as his. All the signs of child abuse, with Jared taking the brunt of it."
"This should be sufficient information to start constructing an avatar template that will let me contact them, assuming their minds ares still intact. Where is the incident report? The more information I have the more accurately I can define the mindscape, and the stronger it will be. Children rarely have well a defined mental landscapes, so I will need to provide most of the structure and context."
"It's still being reviewed by the higher ups. I'll try to get you a copy of it, but I can tell you that there's not a lot in it. Eye witness accounts state that the boys were having an argument on the street corner, then one of them went into some sort of seizure. The sister showed up, and a few moments later there is an explosion that sends a ball of plasma into a nearby van and incinerate its occupants. The police are still trying to identify the remains, but it's taking time as they have to use dental records. The children were found at the bottom of a ten foot crater blasted into the sidewalk, in their current condition."
"Then there is only one more thing I need before I begin."
"What's that doctor?"
"For you to stop treating me like I'm an idiot!"
"Why are these children so important? Why go to so much trouble to bring them here rather than sending a team to Arizona? First a freight helicopter, and then a teleporter? For a few disadvantaged children from a barrio in Phoenix? As unusual as this power manifestation is, nothing you've told me explains why you have gone to such lengths. Something caused it. Something that has ARC scared, or they wouldn't be here right now." Dr. Templeton folded his arms and stared at Chris, waiting.
Chris paused for a moment, his eyes unfocused as he communicated with someone telepathically. "Ok. I can't tell you all the details, because we don't know them ourselves yet. What I can tell you is that they detected traces of Mythos biotechnology in the remains of the van that was incinerated. Due to the interference they are emitting, we don't know if the Dominguez siblings have been infected or not. Based on the appearance of Randall, we are working on the assumption that they have been infected. We are hoping that you can make a positive determination, or at least stabilize them so that we can take more aggressive measures without harming them. If someone is using Mythos tech in Arizona we need to confirm it and find the source. We already have a team in Arizona investigating this, but so far they have no leads."
"You were going to let me enter a mindscape based on a potentially Mythos tainted mind without any warning?"
"There was little point in sharing that information until you'd agreed to do the job, and now that you have, we've warned you. You've dealt with the Mythos before, it's one of the reasons we need you now."
Dr. Templeton scowled, but let it go. "I'll need a time to go over the files and work up an initial avatar template. I'll also need samples of hair or skin from each of the forms they go through. And don't interrupt me until I call for you." With that, he ignored Chris and focused on the files. Chris raised an eyebrow, then shrugged and walked out, closing the cell door behind him.
As he read the files, which included reports from social workers, school records, police reports and medical records, Dr. Templeton began to develop a picture of the life the three Dominguez siblings had lived. Neglected by their drug addict mother, abused by her boyfriends, and failed by an overloaded social welfare system. In addition to Jared's issues, different counselors had noted that Randall and Carmen both showed signs of mental and physical abuse that continued for years but was never conclusively proved, despite frequent visits from social workers.. Even if he could make contact, the siblings would be slow to trust an outsider, especially an adult. He would have to be very careful when dealing with them.
Once he'd learned as much as he could from the files, he set to work creating a new avatar template, and prepare the Mindscape ritual.
The Mindscape was his power, a unique blend of magic and telepathy. It created kind of psychic pocket dimension themed after the subjects mental self image, and then pulled the subjects astral avatar into the mindscape. Within the mindscape, thoughts, desires, and fears all became phy manifest. Events and actions within the mindscape would have very real effects on those inside. By its very nature, the subject had a great deal of subconscious influence over the environment inside their mindscape, it being a reflection of their own mind. The mindscape could be dangerous, and permanent mental damage was always a risk, but when properly used it lead to breakthroughs that would otherwise take years of therapy, or would even be impossible by conventional means.
The avatar template was a cross between a spell and self hypnosis. Using a template allowed him to modify his own astral avatar, attuning it to the target's mindscape, protecting him and giving him more influence and control when he entered it. Given enough time and information, a detailed template would allow his avatar to assume total control over another persons mindscape, as several members of Humanity First had found out, to their regret.
The template he was working on now would not be the strongest, but he didn't have time to make it stronger, and it would have to be fairly general purpose, using factors common to all three siblings, since he wouldn't know which of the three he would initially make contact with, and only had the reports to work with. And now there was the possibility of one or more of them being infected with Mythos elements. He soon had a flexible template that would let him deal with a variety of possible scenarios, and give him additional protection against mental influence and corruption such as that caused by exposure to the Mythos.
Preparations completed, he called for a guard and grudgingly allowed himself to be fitted with something laughably called a "Psi-nullifier" helm, which was little more than a shock collar connected to an ECG if he tried to use his telepathy the ECG would detect the change in his thought patterns and shock him unconscious.
His escort took him out of the main ARC building into the 4th level of parking garage, which had been emptied of cars and now had a ring of equipment and personal 30 feet out from a wrought iron bed that had seen better days. Dr. Templeton waited impatiently while his escort officially handed him over to Chris, and Chris signed off on the transfer.
"Fine, fine, you have dotted the eyes and crossed the tees, now get this contraption off me before I get electrocuted for thinking the wrong thing."
[Updated on: Fri, 20 April 2012 16:09]
|Re: Entanglements [message #57023 is a reply to message #56826 ]
||Fri, 20 April 2012 16:10
Registered: May 2011
Location: Phoenix, AZ
"Sorry for the inconvenience Dr. Mindscape, but it's the rules. They needed me here or I would have escorted you instead. I should also inform you that this is being recorded, so codenames are in use for anyone with a secret identity." Chris explained as he quickly unlocked and removed the device.|
"Next time you require my services make sure that you are available to escort me. I hate that thing, if the calibrations are off you can get shocked for just for thinking about telepathy, rather than actually using telepathy. The armed escort was hardly necessary, either, and quite unfriendly to boot."
"Sorry again Doctor." Placating the irascible Dr. Templeton was much easier than arguing with him in the long run.
"Who here is using a codename? My identity was made public during the trial."
"About that...as you know, part of the deal that has you serving your sentence here instead of in a prison is that we will be able to study your technique in action, and try to replicate it."
"Hmph, I thought you'd given up on that, since you've failed on all your previous attempts. What does that have to do with using codenames?"
"Allow me to introduce you to Synesthesia, she is an intelligence analyst on temporary loan to us from the government. Her power allows her act as a link between another person and a computer, transmitting all their mental and sensory data to the hard drive in digital format, and allowing full playback of the events later."
He gestured to a petite young woman who was bald except for a blue Mohawk that flowed into a braid stretching down her back, sporting blue tinted wraparound sunglasses and a tight blue tank top under her lab coat.
She gave Dr. Mindscape a cheerful wave. "Dr. Mindscape, I'm a big fan! I can't tell you how thrilled I am at the opportunity to work with you."
"Good god. What are you, fourteen?"
Synesthesia flashed a bright smile, showing her dimples. "Don't let my size and sunny disposition fool you, I'm thirty two and have been working as an intelligence analyst for over a decade."
Chris interjected, "Doctor, I have the samples you requested, and we can get started whenever you are ready."
"Oh, good." The doctor mumbled as he approached the outer perimeter of sensors and equipment that surrounded the bed. He noticed that there was a fine cobweb of cracks in the concrete radiating out from the bed, as if the concrete itself was slowly giving way under the weight of the bed.
"Hmm...the effects of that entropy field you mentioned, I presume? It looks as if the concrete is starting to break down around the bed." As he spoke there was a burst of static from the monitors and the form on the bed shifted slightly. "And still shifting between forms... is there a pattern to it, or has it been random?"
"Um...the intervals are random, but they always go through the same sequence of forms Jared, Carmen, and then Randall. Then it repeats." Synesthesia answered.
Dr. Templeton nodded, and stood there silently for a minute, surveying the scene and mentally running over his plan of action. Finally he nodded again, and picked up a grease pencil from a nearby table and started scribing arcane symbols in a pattern around the bed. Once completed he mumbled a few words and applied a bit of his small Essence reserve to activate it...and then watched for several more minutes, wincing whenever the teen on the bed changed forms.
"Um...Doctor? I'm not familiar with this part of your Mindscape technique."
"That's because this is just a basic detection spell. As I suspected, that entropy field isn't just disruptive to electronics, it's also gradually degrading the spell, and it's worse when they shift forms. But I should be able to adjust for that. I'll need to carefully time the activation of the Mindscape so as to minimize it's effect."
Dr. Templeton scribbled more symbols around the bed, had them bring in a heavy mat and layit beside the bed, surrounding it with symbols as well, and then pulled out the papers that contained his notes for the astral template, and made few adjustments to them. Finally, he signaled that he was ready to begin.
"OK Doctor, I'll be maintaining a mental link with you so we can record everything you experience, if things go wrong we'll pull you out." Synesthesia gave him a quick thumbs up.
"Oh, please. I'm hardly worried about three scared children. This obviously isn't a major Mythos incursion or one of the interns would have started gibbering by now. There may be a minor entity in there with them, but nothing strong or we would have seen signs of it already. It will be difficult and delicate, but nothing too dangerous for me. I invented the technique after all."
"Nevertheless, we need to monitor your interaction with them, for your protection and theirs."
Dr. Templeton rolled his eyes, but grudgingly acquiesced. "Very well, but don't interfere and keep any conversation to a minimum. This is delicate work and I don't need you jogging my elbow."
Dr. Templeton lay down on the mat, and put himself into a trance that enhanced his memory and reaction times. He didn't used to need the ritual circle or trance to do this, but most of his specialized tools had been lost when Humanity First burned down his office, and the rest were destroyed or confiscated when he was captured by the authorities. Recreating the arcane symbols and telepathic engrams from memory took longer, and meant going back to basics, but it was only a minor setback to a man of his talents. He soon had the telepathic construct and intertwined strands of magic complete, forming a seed of creation waiting for the final infusion of his power. When the moment was right, he focused his thoughts on the ephemeral construct, and felt it begin.
Nothing appeared to happen at first, but within the astral plane a new pocket dimension was being created, one composed of pure thought, with none of the gross matter of our world. A tiny, unblemished universe, a blank slate waiting for a mind to give it form and structure. Then the next part of the spell activated, using the samples collected from each of the siblings, forming a link between them and the newly created mindscape, manifesting their astral avatars and drawing them in.
He felt it when the first mind entered the mindscape, and it began to change, molding itself to match...then he felt a second mind enter, and then a third...then fourth, a fifth...a dozen...the mindscape began to expand uncontrollably, far beyond anything he had prepared for. He felt his carefully horded reserves of Essence being drained from him as he fought to stabilize the mindscape, and a sudden fatigue as his mental reserves were also drained. Then his own Astral Avatar spell kicked off, right on schedule.
He was floating over his body, looking down. An overweight, middle aged man with thinning hair, currently bleeding from the eyes and nose and convulsing in a seizure. He could also see Synesthesia, falling to the floor with her eyes rolled back as the Mindscape pulled power from her through the mental link. Technicians scurried about, then he felt himself drawn into the Astral Plane, and into the Mindscape. He felt himself starting to black out, and grimly hung onto consciousness as he fought to keep the mindscape from collapsing.
He finally found himself floating in the emptiness of space, spiraling into a solar system that was grossly out of scale, given that he could somehow see both stars and planets clearly. It was composed of two stars orbiting the accretion disc of a central black hole. The closest star was a red giant with a single metallic grey planet and the other was a yellow sun with a small green planet surrounded by a white ring of fire. From the dark planet stretched black chains that disappeared into the black hole, and similarly beams of white light stretched from the ring around the green planet into the black hole.
"Ugh...Dr. Mindscape...what happened?" Synesthesia's mental voice sounded faint and distant.
"What happened is that I have succeeded in creating a stable mindscape vastly more complex than any I ever attempted before, in spite of ARC's gross incompetence." Dr. Mindscapes mental voice was tinged with the exultation of an athlete who has achieved the 'runner's high' after pushing themselves to their very limit. "There is far more going on here than they told me. It felt like a multitude of minds were linked together, not just three children."
"Sir, I'm sure they gave you the information they had."
"Oh, I believe you. That is why they are grossly incompetent rather than criminally stupid."
"Er...right. So why does this look like you are floating in space?"
"This is merely a symbolic representation of the minds that are providing the structure for this mindscape, based on my subconscious impressions. I've had to create blended mindscapes before when the subjects are mentally linked, but never one this complex."
"Doctor, I think we should be pull you out and study this new data before proceeding. You nearly stroked out there."
"Oh, it's far too late for that. I doubt that I would succeed at a second attempt to create a mindscape of this size and complexity, and without my presence the mindscape would quickly collapse, likely causing irreparable mental trauma to everyone within it." He was overstating the danger involved, but he really did not want to try and do this a second time. He was physically and mentally drained, and whatever was going on, there was a very good chance the three Dominguez siblings would not last until he recovered enough to try it again.
With a thought, he summoned a mirror floating next to him, and looked over himself over. Reflected in the mirror was a muscular man in his early 20's with a full head of blonde hair.
"Oh hush. In here, self image is the most important factor in your appearance. But considering who we are dealing with, an adult invading their minds will not make a good first impression."
He focused on the mirror and his reflection changed, becoming shorter and younger until a boy of thirteen looked back at him. Nodding in satisfaction, he dismissed the mirror. "This should help me get my foot in the door."
With an effort of will he propelled himself towards the red giant, and the metallic "planet" orbiting it, which as he approached took on the appearance of the Death Star. He tried to stop himself so that he could examine it more closely, but as he did so "up" and "down" re-oriented he found himself falling through the metallic skin of the "Death Star" as if it were mist, and barely stopped himself from slamming into the ground at the last moment.
"Whoa, Doc, you OK?"
"I'm fine, I was simply caught off guard. Whoever this is, their mind is strong. Once I got to close enough, their paradigm overrode my own, pulling me inside."
Once inside he felt the world around him shift. Looking around, he now seemed to be at the gates of a rather grim institution that looked like a cross between a penitentiary and a school, if schools had barred gates and razor-wire along the walls. From one of the central buildings he could see a massive black metal chain extending up and disappearing into the dull gray sky. In fact, everything was in shades of gray and black, from the buildings to the metal bars, to the asphalt under their feet.
"This is an unusually well defined mindscape. Looks like they have isolated themselves, putting up barriers between them an the outside world. Let's go inside and see if we can get them to open up a bit." With that he walked up to the barred and locked gate and laid his hand on it, concentrating a moment.
Frowning, he tried again. Still nothing.
Looking embarrassed, he tried knocking on the gate. The sound echoed off the walls, but there was still no response.
"Hello...?" His voice echoed as well, fading into the distance.
"Is this standard procedure Doctor?"
"What did I say about unnecessary conversation?"
"Of course Doctor."
"This isn't funny. I've always had the upper hand in any mindscape I've created, able to control my immediate environment. Creating this one took a lot more out of me than I thought, because I should be able to open the gate or make a doorway in the wall, in spite of any mental defenses they put up."
They were interrupted by a rumbling noise, as the ground and buildings were shaken violently, followed by the sound of falling masonry. Dr. Mindscape fell to his knees, clutching his head.
It was over as quickly as it had begun. Holding one hand to his aching head, Dr. Mindscape climbed to his feet. He could see the massive chain had torn a long gash through the upper floors of the central building, and one of the outlying buildings had collapsed against the outer wall, creating a hole big enough for him to clamber through.
"What was that?"
"Something just caused a massive disruption in the mindscape. It appears to have created a gap in the mental defenses here, but it may also be causing very real damage to their mind. We need to find find out what exactly is going on here, and quickly." As he spoke he climbed through the hole in the wall and crept inside the "school". Moments later there was the grinding sound of stone on stone. Looking behind him, the breach in the wall had repaired itself.
"So whose mind do you think we are walking through right now Doctor?"
"It's a school, so likely to be one of the Dominguez siblings. If I had to guess, I would say Jared. This would be someplace he felt in control. He physically dominated most of the children in his age group by all accounts."
"Traumatized children act out in different ways. If it makes you feel better, most of his actual fights involved older children."
Dr. Mindscape suddenly felt energized, and his headache lessened in intensity. "That is odd. I suddenly feel much better."
"Oh, they just hooked your body up to an IV and gave you a stimulant. I wasn't kidding when I said you nearly stroked out there."
"Hmph. Well, I guess they aren't completely incompetent after all."
"Aw, you big softie."
They walked down a hallway lined with lockers, classrooms on either side, all in the same unrelenting gray and black color scheme.
Dr. Mindscape suddenly looked around, puzzled. "There's someone here. I can feel them, but I can't get a fix on them."
At that moment the sound of girl sobbing could be heard faintly coming from one of the classrooms.
"Hmm... well isn't that convenient."
Dr. Mindscape cautiously opened the door and looked inside. What he saw was not a school classroom, but a girl's bedroom with unicorn posters on the wall and a bed with pink sheets and a frilly bedcover. Unlike the school with it's unrelenting gray and black color scheme, this bedroom looked normal. He stepped into the bedroom and immediately noticed that it was oppressively hot in there. Opening the closet door he saw a frail Hispanic girl huddled in a corner, about 10 years old with dark hair. She looked at him with a terrified expression in her brown eyes.
"Carmen? Is that you?" Asked Dr. Mindscape uncertainly. He would have given long odds against finding her in this mindscape.
She nodded her head, tears streaking her face. "No! Don't let him hurt me...he's coming for me. When we came to this place he said he could do whatever he wanted to me now! Please mister, get me out of here!"
"Who is coming for you?" asked Dr. Mindscape. Something felt wrong with this situation. He wasn't sensing any falsehoods from Carmen, but then he was having trouble getting any kind of read from her. He wiped the sweat from his brow. It really was getting stuffy in this room.
He felt a faint buzz in his ear, causing him to shake his head and rub his ear. Then the heavy thud of massive footsteps could be heard from out in the hallway, and an almost palpable air of menace filled the air, causing him to forget all about the faint ringing in his ear.
"Eeek!" the girl cowered in the closet, shaking like a leaf.
Dr. Mindscape stared at her, and then at the door, which had somehow closed itself without him noticing. The booming footsteps came closer, the whole room shaking with every step. He felt his heart pounding in his chest and part of his brain was yammering at him to take the girl and run, to escape back to the real world, right now! He clenched his fists and took a deep breath, forcing his heart to slow down as he considered the situation. Something was definitely wrong here.
The door exploded off it's hinges revealing... a muscular thirteen year old boy in black jeans, a black T-shirt, a black leather jacket with a length of heavy chain wrapped around the right arm (one end of the chain hanging loose), and a switchblade in his left hand. It was Jared, and the look of raw fury on his face made Dr. Mindscape take an involuntary step back.
"Don't let him get me!"
"What the are you doing here?" Jared growled between clenched teeth, glaring at Carmen.
"Whoa, Jared just calm down here and let's sort this out, OK?"
"Who the hell are you, choad-face?" Jared snarled at him.
"Please, he's going to hurt me again, please take me away from here!"
"Jared, I'm not going to let you hurt your sister." The situation was rapidly escalating out of control.
"Oh shut the hell up." Jared swung his arm with the chain wrapped around it, and the chain stretched out, wrapping around him until he was cocooned in its links. Dr. Mindscape struggled to free himself, but the boys will was monstrously strong.
Carmen muttered "Merda!" as she darted from the closet and made a break for the doorway.
Jared contemptuously flicked his switchblade at her, pinning her to the floor by her foot.
"Figlio di puttana!" she screeched as she clutched at her foot, then her eyes widened in panic as she realized that Jared had closed the distance between and now had her by the scruff of the neck.
"What the fuck do you think you are doing?"
He shook her by the scruff of the neck. "Speak English! English!"
Her voice deepened, and became more mature and masculine as she gave him a defiant look. "You may be doomed, but that doesn't mean I have to die with you. I almost had him convinced him to pull me out of here and leave you to rot. I was going to finally be free of you, you little psychopath."
Jared stared at her for a moment, then reach down and pulled the knife out of her foot, casually licking the blood off the blade as she screamed in pain.
"Tell me... do you think I'm going to hurt you less because you look like my sister, or do you think I'm going to hurt you more for insulting her? This is her bedroom, when I found her after that bastard hurt her!" This last was delivered in a shout, his face less than inch from hers as she desperately tried to pull away from him, panting in fear.
"OK, I can see where that was an error in judgment.."
Jared stabbed her in the stomach with the knife and ripped upward, drawing the blade through her face and over her scalp. Her flesh split and sloughed off like an old coat, revealing a creature that looked like the descriptions of the Devil from the middle ages. Small goat horns, a goatee, red skin, leathery wings, goat legs, red eyes; gaunt and bony except for its paunch. It was also far larger than had been before its disguise was removed.
"Argh! That hurt you little stronzo!"
Dr. Mindscape felt the fog lifting from his mind while Jared argued with the ...devil. He was finally able to focus and free himself from the chains.
"DR. MINDSCAPE CAN YOU HEAR ME?" Synesthesia's voice suddenly thundered into his skull.
"Good lord woman, yes I can hear you. Are you trying to give me an aneurism?"
"Sorry, sorry! You stopped responding when that ... thing started working it's mojo on you."
"It was trying to manipulate my mind, for some reason it's trapped in here and it thinks I can get it out."
"Do you think that's Jared's evil side or something?"
"Oh please spare me the the amateur psychology. No, it is not his hidden 'evil side'. It speaks Italian for one thing, and Jared doesn't seem to understand it."
"Yeah, I guess so. Besides, Jared seems to have that whole 'evil' thing covered just fine on his own."
"Enough of that. Evil is a subjective term."
"Say that to the kid bullying the devil."
[Updated on: Fri, 20 April 2012 16:19]
Current Time: Wed May 22 20:56:20 EDT 2013
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