"I hear voices, "she said, "at night, sometimes, but usually in the day."
This startled him, "these voice-" he began, his disbelief showing when he said "voices", obvious to anyone who knew or could know, that he was only doing this because he had to, because it was his job, because he would get promoted, a raise.
"I hear voices," she repeated, staring at him, daring at him to deny it. He shifted in his seat and nodded, and opened his mouth to speak.
"I woke up early today…" he looked at her, "did the voices tell you to wake up early today?"
"…I don’t know why. I had had a dream," she continued, ignoring him. "But it had nothing to do with the dream, it had, in fact," here she paused, knowing she had contradicted herself, "to do with something my friend said, my friend had to get up early today –earlier than me- and though I had already spoken to my friend last night and knew my friend wouldn’t be on line, still…"
He noted how she refused to say the sex of her friend.
"I’m not saying their sex because it’s not important," she said sharply.
He looked up from the cream-colored stationary set his wife –then girlfriend- had given him when he’d received the diploma and had started his practice. He put the pen down on the richly carved, and incredibly costly, wooden desk, the pen made a delicate "click" sound when it touched the wooden surface.
"… I was driven to the comp terminal to see if my friend was on line even though I knew my friend wasn't", and of course, my friend wasn't. Then I began to hear voices."
"That’s all very interesting," he didn’t believe a word of it, "what is your name?"
"Your daughter is crazy, she has a problem, she is instable." He informed her parents some months later, after studies had been made.
"Is it mental?" the mother asked.
"Did I not just say she was crazy? Does not that imply-" he was cut off.
"Is it mental?" she repeated.
He glanced at his colleagues. How to explain to a suffering mother that her daughter suffered from one of the most, if not the worst, disabilities known? Another one stepped in, "We’re sorry, there’s nothing we can do."
As he saw and mistakenly read the look that passed through her face, he added, "We tried, we have done tests, administered medicines, left it alone. Nothing, there is no effect. She, how can I put this delicately, her ‘condition’, her case, is very unusual, we’ve never seen anything like it, and I assure you, ma’am, we’re the top specialists, all of Earth knows that."
"What’s the treatment?" the father asked.
"We just told you that there is no-"
"What’s the treatment?" he repeated.
It’s been 6 months. 6 months since I’ve been stuck here. They think I’m crazy! Can you believe that! That’s the most outrageous thing I’ve ever heard. Crazy. They don’t know what they’re talking about. I do. I’m sure. I’m right. I know. They’ll see. They’ll be sorry.
The next day, I can’t believe it’s only tomorrow. Time goes by so slowly. Phooey, what is time anyway? Something made by humans to have at least the minimum control, and yet, IT controls us. Child against parent. So sad, so, so sad. It’s a pity, I’m sorry, sorry. Very funny, that I’m sorry, real sorry. What am I talking about? I don’t even know.
Did you know, that these one-sided conversations are real fun, really interesting, they are. What am I talking about, they wonder, wouldn’t you like to know! I need a journal, I have to write. The voices won’t stop. Hey, if I can move things, then I should have that journal, or at least something to write on, I don’t even have something to write with!
Maybe if I trace on the dirt here. There, that’s better, no, it’ll get erased. Oh!
"Have you evaluated her condition?"
He rubbed the back of his neck, "Ahh, well, actually…um, if you have studied the patient, you’ll realize that it isn’t that simple."
"No," he was feeling better; maybe he would get the raise after all. Or even better, the promotion.
"She’s in Isolation right now…"
"Isolation? Why? Is she that bad?"
"Bad! She’s worse!"
The other man raised his eyebrows in question.
"She is not stable, and her condition is unusual, even for her type of patient. I suggest you go see her yourself. That is, if she’s still human…"
ISOLATION. They think this is some joke. They don’t realize that being alone is my true defense against them. They think that’s their weapon, when in fact, it’s mine. My strength is their weakness. I can handle Isolation; I won’t crack like they expect me to, like they would. I’m not them.
And poor Them, they who birthed me. My parents, is it? Yes, my parents. It’s not their fault, they tried, they really did. I forgive them. I can’t blame them. I love them. I’ll spare them. They won’t have to suffer. Not like I did, do, will have to. Yes, that’s right, that’s ok…
"I’m letting her out."
"You can’t do that, it would be inhumane!" This wasn’t right. This would ruin everything. Everything! Calm down, get a grip.
"She’s not an animal, Isolation isn’t the treatment for her."
"There is no other treatment."
"That you know of, my friend, that you know of."
"I can’t believe this. Do you know, are you even aware, of what that implies? The complication? The consequences? You are risking too much."
"I know my limits. I know what I’m doing."
"I sure hope you do…"
FREEDOM. What is this word? What does it really mean? This, this that I am, this is a shadow of that which I am supposed to be. And I keep asking myself philosophical questions that have no answer. And is my sanest moment now? No, my friend, rather, this is my worst hour. It comes upon me, the hour in which I cannot be controlled, and I am in my right mind…
"There, you’re free…" the man paused. What, is he expecting an answer, a "thank you"? Well, then, he expects too much.
"Ok, then. You have been read the Terms, and you understand the conditions by which you have been liberated, and ended your period of Isolation. You have agreed to these terms and will in no way break or bend them."
She will, but I won’t. "Yes."
"Very well, just sign here please," the man thrust the papers at her, pointing to where she was to sign. She picked it up with cautious fingers and began to read it.
"That’s not necessary, you don’t have to-" his words were stopped. He cleared his throat, suddenly uncomfortable. They had been right, about her, they had. He wasn’t so sure anymore.
She picked up the pen and swiftly signed.
"Thank you, that is all, the guards will escort you out."
She made a small sound in her throat as she glanced at the "guards". In his mind he clearly read "I can escort myself out." She got up, and was out, past the shocked guards, before anything could be done.
"We have discovered something new."
"She has some, unusual –you might say- abilities. Remember the voices? Well, apparently there’s more to the story."
"Interesting. Like what?"
"Well, in this type of thing, you expect the usual, the moving of objects, reading minds, but it goes beyond that. She takes it to a ‘higher’ level, and the rest are nothing compared…"
"I would like to see, these ‘abilities’."
"I’m sure that can be easily arranged."
"I’m looking forward to it, then."
"I wouldn’t be so sure."
"What is your name, child?" Does he not know that I’d rather not answer.
"Are you bothered because I asked your name, or because I called you child?" I’d rather not answer. Why doesn’t he get it?
"What do you call yourself?"
"I need to call you something, I cannot refer to you as ‘she’, or ‘the girl’, or just simply ‘you’. No, you need a name."
"So you have something to put in your Records? Is that it? Avynn."
"Very well, Avynn. Let’s begin-"
"I’ve always thought," she said, "that the people who must, absolutely have to, leave a ‘mark’ in this world is because they are so desperate, they must have some sort of attention. They cannot bare the thought of having lived a life in ‘vain’, for nothing."
"Interesting point of view."
"I know what you’re trying to do. You think I’m crazy, demented, out of my mind, delusional, hyperventilating, that I have ‘delusions of grandeur’, I’m not right in the head, and now you’re thinking that it’s obvious, that this just proves my case, because the craziest of patients will always say ‘I’m not crazy’, when they are. But I have always thought, that the ‘crazy’ people are the ones that most make sense. You should be smart enough to know that by ‘crazy’ I don’t mean in the medical terms, but what the worlds call crazy, the outsiders, the ones no one can accept, because they don’t, they won’t they can’t understand them, because they are the ones that are truly free."
"And, are you one of those?"
She eyed him critically, deciding. "Depends."
I was loose, out in the city. I could do whatever I wanted. What were they thinking? And so here I am. I’m looking at a park, with pigeons. There is an old couple, an old lady and man, feeding the pigeons. Trees swaying in the breeze. Children playing by some swings. Ancient swings. Dead children. Birds no longer seen except in the specialized zoos and museums, and holographic images like the one I was now watching. The only thing that have it away was a flaw in that particular design, it was old, every 10 minutes the image would flicker, and ripples would pass through it. The swings would stop in mid air, the colour of the people’s hair would change. The childish laughter would turn to a low deep rumble. The clouds in the sky halted their movement. Then everything resumed. This only lasted a few seconds, and only the observant eye could see it, also, if you were smart enough, you would have noticed that the people never left, they just moved around, but they were always there. No parents came for the children, and after almost 20 years after having been put up (it was old then), the couple was still alive, and the children hadn’t grown. And it never rained. That was the thing that captured me, that it never rained. It was the perfect world many wished to live in, that many had gone seeking. Because there was no rain, no rain to swallow things up, to destroy, so there would be no need for it to be life-giver either.
I am not crazy, they are afraid of me, they don’t understand me, so they try to explain me, in their way, which of course, is not correct. They try to make me fit what their ideas are, their standards. They are afraid of what I can do, to them in general. They are afraid because man always must have control, but the things he created to control, control him instead. Like time. And ironically time was now one of my enemies.
"What news do you have to report in today?"
"Besides the usual?"
"What is the usual? Ever since they let that demented female free the meaning of the word ‘usual’ has changed drastically. It is now usual to hear of another ‘accident’, ‘occurrences’, ‘situation’, that happens because of that, that, uh! She doesn’t even deserve to be called the lowest of names!"
"She has struck again, then."
"As we all are very much aware."
"The thing is, her attacks aren’t like the others’. She’s different from them. I don’t know, she’s more powerful maybe. I fact, she’s antisocial, refusing to join the others. Works by herself, and does a good job of it. And the worst part is that since she attacks with the mind, to the mind, right now she’s attacking us, and she hasn’t done anything directly."
"Yes, I know. Like ripples. You have, of course, heard of the theory? It only takes one action to set off a chain reaction. All she did was mess with our minds once, and that was enough. Now we’re done for. Only once. That’ll it took."
"If they didn’t believe her cause ‘lost’. I’ll see what can be done to put her on trial again. And this time I’ll make sure that something is done."
"You can’t! How dare you!"
"Why, are you afraid?" he mocked, hoping she was.
"No, I’m angry."
That was worse. "I can and I am."
Like I said, they’d be sorry. They are deathly afraid of me. I don’t know why. I haven’t done anything. Or have I? I’ve done more that they know, than they think they know. I am in my worst moment, in my right mind, and that is my ally. ††††
"You are pleading for insanity, saying that your client couldn’t have possibly been aware of what she did, what she was doing, why she did it?"
"Then you are a fool."
"The medics have studies her, they have done extensive tests-"
"She is not an animal, an instruments, to be studied. I dare say, she is more human than we are."
"What kind of a trial can be given to one like her?"
"The kind I’m executing now! She knows what she’s doing, bloody well that she does. She knows everything you do, everything you don’t and more. Because not only can she read people’s minds, but she can talk to them, and she can hear them, but most of all, she can play with them. That is her favourite game to play. You hear? Well, I’ve had it. She’s right, I like being in control of what I do, my mind.."
"If I may be direct, you’ve let her play with you too! Can’t you see? She wants to get her a way, anyway, she can, and she’s doing it. There she sits, all sweet and innocent, but who knows what demented thing she is planning. She is obviously not right in the head, and should be left alone. Because if she isn’t then she’s a hell of a dangerous person, and for someone to do those things, and be sane and know what they’re committing, and not feel any guilt about it… it obviously has to someone who isn’t what they seem. Crazy."
"Beautiful argument, but, not right in the head?! She’s the sanest person I’ve met, therefore the most dangerous, because unlike out usual batch of criminals, she knows what she’s doing, she does it well, and with a vengeance.
"She is not innocent, she was given special talents, and she abused of them, using them in the wrong way. Not to mention that she also broke her Terms of Condition. She deserves what she asked for…"
"And that is?"
"You know, you are aware, that that is the worst punishment, the one you have received?"
"We have been long into the night discussing the matter, and everything has been taken into consideration. Your destination will not be of your choice. A small, sparsely populated planet has been chosen. Everyone there is also crazy. Who knows, maybe the people will see you as a heroine and not as the threat you are."
I feel a phantom warmth, a memory that lingers. Of something that was there. But unlike others think, it is not something that is gone, never to return, but something that will come back, because it is there, because it belongs. I am not lost, but I cannot be found. I will go, yes. But not where they expect me to. I will make my own mark. Carve my own world. I am Avynn.
©Copyright 2000 Yelitza M. Vélez.