The Reluctant Psychic Ch. 17byonly_more_so©
If you are new to my Reluctant Psychic series, please consider starting from the beginning. The story, characters and events in this chapter will make more sense when given context from the preceding chapters.
If you're returning, welcome back and I hope you enjoy the story.
Anna and I stared at each other, both at a loss for what to do. The only doors in the room led to my memories and my emotions. The former was a source of shame, and the latter something too disturbing to confront. Even if I did go through those doors, they didn't provide an exit. That only left the window.
I looked out the window of Anna's room and my view of the girls was suddenly eveloped by a blinding light. The light seemed to warp my view of the girls and form a tunnel into the distance. I felt a sudden heaviness in my stomach as I realized I must be dying.
I must have said something to that affect, since I felt a sudden slap on my shoulder and Anna said, "You aren't dying, just watch for a minute." I rubbed my shoulder, a bit surprised to realize I could feel pain in what felt like a dream.
I watched, and sure enough the light went away. There was a dark spot floating in space where the light had been. On the edge of the dark spot, I could make out what appeared to be a penlight. Soon the penlight disappeared once again behind the bright light. On either side of the light I could just make out Magda's face.
I corrected myself, one of the images was Magda and the other was Katia. I couldn't tell them apart from their appearance, but my powers had no problem discerning the difference. Suddenly the shade was dropped and Anna pushed herself between me and the window. As the shade closed, my powers evaporated.
"How did you do that?" I asked. But another question came to mind, "How did you know about the flashlight?"
"This isn't the first time you've passed out, you know," she said. "Normally they don't do the whole flashlight thing, but now that you have a doctor in your h—" she stopped, reconsidering what she was going to say. "Your home," she finally concluded, shrugging her shoulders.
Before I could say I wasn't aware of having flashlights being shined in my eyes, she said, "as for the other thing. I hoped that it would work. Since you've been here the only time you've used your powers was when you looked out the window." She pushed me away from the window and said, "now turn around, I want to hear what's going on."
I walked sullenly over to the bed, sitting on the far side. I hear the shade being raised and the window being opened. Then I heard the girl's voices fill the room.
"This has happened before?" a slightly anxious Katia said.
"It's happened a few times," Magda answered. By the way she said it, I could hear the lie. Apparently Katia heard the lie as well, since Magda quickly amended, "It happens every couple of months. He doesn't do well with surprises."
"How long does it usually last?"
"Usually only a couple of minutes, but once it took a whole day."
"What did the doctors say? Did they do a CT scan? An MRI?"
I heard Betsy's voice chime in, "We didn't take him to the hospital, we were," she paused. I could guess the look she exchanged with the other girls before she finished, "busy."
I felt my gaze pulled towards the door to the hall. As I watched the hall door opened of its own accord and I felt the memory coming for me. That would have been the hand washing episode, when I'd lost control of my powers and thrown what amounted to a tantrum. I felt grateful that Katia didn't ask what had kept them too busy to call for an ambulance.
"Well, if he doesn't wake up soon, he'll need to go to the hospital for some tests. Even if he does wake up soon, he should go to the hospital for tests. A man his age, and with his health shouldn't pass out from a little surprise."
There was a long silence and Katia asked, "What did she say? I still don't know much sign language."
"Tiff said that it was a big surprise. He thought we were all on the pill."
"Well, the pill isn't 100%, so with the amount of sex going on it's still a possibility," Katia said. The way she said it sounded odd. I turned back to the window, to try to see the expression on her face. But Anna must have anticipated the move since I felt her hands on either side of my head, directing it back to the far wall.
"Just pay attention. You might learn something so you don't have to rely on your powers so much."
There was a silence, finally broken by Gwen, "He got snipped." The silence was almost palpable. The girls must have been starring at Gwen because she added, "What? That's what he said when I asked him about the little scar. I cried the whole day when I found out what that meant." From the sound of things, she was crying again.
"So, he's had a vasectomy and he managed to get eight of you pregnant?"
"Actually," I heard Susan pipe in, "I think I might be pregnant too. I kind of feel it, even if it's too early for the test." This announcement was met by a soft murmur of excitement.
Katia's voice cut through the whispered encouragements and asked, "How does a man who's had a vasectomy father ten children? Maybe even eleven?"
"That's what I'd like to know," Anna and I said in unison. I was secretly pleased to hear our voices mingle like that. But the pleasure quickly evaporated as Anna's hands on the sides of my head kept me from turning to see if it'd made her smile too. Then something else clicked in my head, "Did she say ten?"
"Shhhh... I'm trying to listen."
There wasn't much to listen to. The girls were all talking so quickly it was hard to make anything out. One thing that did become clear was that Gwen was the only one to have noticed the vasectomy scar, or at least to understand what it meant.
I heard Gwen's humming. The humming seemed to be growing louder because one by one the girls stopped speaking. The room was silent except for Gwen's music for a minute before Betsy said, "Gwen is there something else you want to tell us?"
"Well, I was going to wait, but I really want to get a dog, one of those little ones with the floppy ears."
"No, Gwen is there something about the vasectomy, about being snipped?"
"Oh! I asked him why he made it so he couldn't have any children. He said it was because he had crummy jeans he didn't want to pass on to his children and that if it weren't for that he'd love to have children. Then one day on TV I saw a show where a guy got unsnipped at the hospital," Gwen slowed to a stop. "Did I do something bad?"
Poor Gwen, I thought. She saw the world through the eyes of a child, everything in such simple terms. But behind the seemingly vacuous gaze lay a mind as clever as any adult. I'd wondered why all of my jeans had disappeared after my appendectomy. I briefly wondered how Gwen had talked the surgeon into reversing my vasectomy when he did the appendectomy, but it didn't really matter.
The girls were all chattering again, but I didn't want to listen. "Anna, could you please close the window." Apparently she was just as surprised by the latest revelation, since it took her a moment to register what I said. With a hasty, "of course," she moved across the room, closing the window and lowering the blind.
I laid down on the bed, turning my back on the window, and the confusing world that lay outside of it.
* * *
I don't know how long I lay there, curled up on my side. I was too stunned by the recent revelations to think, let alone face what seemed to be happening. After a time, I heard Anna open the window once again. The girls' voices intruded on the silence, but my mind was incapable of understanding anything they said. The ebb and flow of the mingled voices soon lulled me to a sort of half sleep.
Nightmarish flashes intruded on my thoughts. They arrived and disappeared so quickly that I couldn't even tell what they were about, only that they scared me to my very core. Each time I would become aware of my body, lying locked in sleep paralysis.
A number of flashes went by, before I remembered that this wasn't really my body lying curled up on my side. Were these nightmares part of my dream of Anna's room? Was I finally going crazy, like my grandfather?
Eventually, the aftershock of the terror induced by the nightmare flashes subsided, and I could once again think rationally. As rational thought became dominate, my pulse slowed, my adrenalin ebbed and I would be lulled once again into the state between waking and sleeping. But the peace never lasted long before another nightmare would flash through my mind, starting the cycle again. The only thing that changed was that I became increasingly aware of the cycle itself, which in no way mollified the abject terror of each episode.
* * *
I was trapped in my dream body, a body that was paralyzed by sleep, when something changed. The world seemed to heave around, and I couldn't even reach out an arm to brace myself. I could feel my body resting heavily on the bed, but my other senses told me I was falling.
A hand on my shoulder suddenly snapped me out of the nightmare cycle, and my hands instinctively grabbed the bed to brace against the spinning of the world.
"You were twitching again. I can't even imagine the nightmares you were having," I heard Anna's voice say. It wasn't the often angry voice that I usually heard in my head. It was the soft, loving voice I remembered from before, before I'd ruined her life and my own.
"You've been asleep for a long time. It's hardly surprising considering how little you've slept in the past few weeks." I rolled onto my back and looked up into Anna's face. She sat on the bed next to me, looking down with a mixture of compassion and something darker.
"What do you mean? I've been sleeping fine," I said.
"So having sex two or three times a night for the past month doesn't interfere with your sleep?" She crossed her arms and the compassion quickly faded from her face.
"What are you talking about? I haven't been having sex two or three times a night." Anna was glaring at me fiercely and I amended, "Sure I usually have sex before going to bed, but I certainly haven't been waking up to have more sex."
She continued to glare at me. "You don't think I know when you have sex? I won't say my world gets rocked, but the lights dim, and a veritable flood of lust pours into the room." She stopped for a moment, and I was greatly disturbed by the look that crossed her face. Lust was a strong component of the expression, but there was anger as well. "And I feel it. Every time you enter another woman, I feel it as if you were entering me. I could be sitting at my desk writing, when I suddenly feel a wave of lust and your cock entering my vagina, my mouth, or my ass. The closer you are to the woman, the more strongly I feel it."
"When you contented yourself with one-night stands, I hardly even noticed. But when you make love to the girls, it's like you are making love to me, especially the ones that have been with you the longest." She seemed almost ashamed, "I feel so dirty."
I tried to stammer an apology, but nothing seemed adequate. Had I been raping Anna all these years? I don't think I could live with that sort of shame. I tried again to express this, but Anna put a finger to my lips. "Let me finish," she sad quietly, insistently. "It doesn't feel like rape, at least not what I think rape would feel like. I feel dirty, because I want it. I want to take the girls' places, to actually be able to wrap my arms and legs around you. Then, when it's over, I'm alone again, thrown back into my own body. If this can be called a body," she said, gesturing to herself.
She sighed, the points of color on her cheeks slowly fading, "But my point is, I know when you have sex: Two or three times every night, not including the nightcap."
"But I don't remember any of that," I said vehemently. But even as the words slipped out of me, I remembered waking up to find Linda having sex with me. "Was I awake?" I burst out.
"What do you mean were you awake?" she asked.
"Was I awake for the two or three times during the night?" I asked. She still looked incredulous, so I added, "I woke up the other morning to find Linda having sex with me, or just finishing up." I thought back and added, "and it's happened with Gwen as well."
"Are you suggesting that the girls have sex with you while you're asleep?" she asked. After a moment, the look on my face must have convinced her, since she sighed and said, "I guess it makes sense, since you were pretty lousy." She thought about it a moment longer, "Now that you mention it, it did feel like I was," she blushed and stammered a correction, "that the girls were just trying to make you come, rather than enjoying the act itself."
"Why would they do that? If I were asleep, it isn't like I'd be enjoying it, at least not consciously. And if they were just trying to make me come, they wouldn't be enjoying it."
"No, they enjoyed it, just not as much as usual," she said. She thought for another minute before saying, "What if it has to do with your powers?"
"You mean: I make them have sex with me because I dreamt about it?" I asked. I really tried not to use my powers to take women against what would normally be their will. But, even though I tried to control the subconscious use of my powers, I wasn't perfect. Apparently, even unconscious my powers leaked.
"What did you say about using your powers unconsciously?" she asked.
"I didn't. At least not out loud," I replied. She waved her hand as if whether I said it out loud or not was irrelevant. I responded by saying, "I was just thinking, and I mean thinking, that maybe I made them do it unconsciously. I have always had a problem with my subconscious using my powers, what if I can do it unconsciously as well."
"You can definitely use your powers unconsciously. That's why the girls' part of the house is so far way, to help prevent your dreams from taking over theirs." Her face suddenly lit up, "But what if that isn't enough?"
"What do you mean? That they need to move to another house now? Or I do?"
"No, what happens after you have sex?"
"Well, generally a bit of cuddling, and a nap," I said, at a loss for where this was heading.
"No, you lose your powers. If the girls figured out that you have mental powers, then they are probably sharp enough to have figured out that you lose your powers after you have sex!"
I thought about that for a moment and blurted out, "Katia!"
"What's she got to do with this?" Anna said, a bit peckishly.
"Every time I've been around Katia, I haven't had my powers. Every time I felt my powers coming back, something would happen and I'd have sex with one of the girls. Like during dinner her first night here. Heck, I couldn't use my powers at all the first day she was here."
Another light went off in my head, "And the only reason I had my powers for the funeral was because I locked the door to my room." I looked at Anna, and remember that she'd warned me to lock the door. "How did you know?"
"I didn't. At least, I didn't know that they were preventing you from using your powers." She took a moment to gather her thoughts before saying, "When you left the table to go find Betsy, it felt like the times you've had to deal with your grandfather. It spooked me, especially when you got up in the middle of the night to try to open the door."
"You don't think that there is someone else out there who has my powers, do you?" I asked. "I've never encountered anyone outside my family who has even a trace. Aside from my grandfather and my mom's Aunt Gretchen, both being locked in an asylum, I'm the last."
"Or at least you were," she said. She stood up and walked over to the window, opening the blinds to see out. "They're taking you to the hospital."
* * *
Anna did not object this time as I joined her at the window. The paramedics allowed Betsy and Gwen to ride with them, since they were legally my daughters and Katia because she was my doctor. I could sense that the rest of the girls were following in a number of vehicles. As we travelled to the hospital, the paramedic took various readings, and although I could see him acting on what I knew was my body, I couldn't feel any of it.
Katia spent the trip reassuring Betsy. She reminded Betsy that we were going to the best hospital in the world for neurological disorders. Betsy was well aware of this, since her donations and influence had brought it about. But in spite of that knowledge, she could only think that her real father had never woken up from his coma.
When we got to the hospital, we skipped the emergency room and went directly to testing. Apparently it had all been arranged before the paramedics had been called to transfer me to the hospital. A few of the technicians inwardly grumbled about my special treatment, but were professional enough not to say anything. The doctors on the other hand were anxious to give me special treatment, since they felt they had let down Betsy, their benefactor.
As the tests progressed, I could tell the doctors were confused by the results.
"The EEG says that he's awake. If I didn't see his body lying perfectly still, I would say the EEG says he's up and walking around."
"The MRI shows activity in the motor centers as well."
"The patient's Basal Ganglia are incredibly overdeveloped. At first I thought it must be a tumor, but it seems to be a perfectly healthy development. Actually, his Amygdala is the size of a lemon, and incredibly active." The last comment was followed by the thought that the Amygdala's size would explain why there were twenty women waiting for the test results.
There were plenty of other comments, but the general consensus seemed to be that there was nothing wrong with my brain, and that I should be awake. Most of the doctors wanted to concentrate on the structural abnormalities.
While the doctors were discussing my chart, a nurse came in. I vaguely recognized the man, which was hardly surprising considering the number of times I'd visited Betsy's father at this hospital. The man's handlebar mustache and longish hair belied the gentle way he approached me, and saw to my bedding and various machines I was now attached to.
He heard what the doctors were saying, and shook his head slightly. The man turned to the doctor, and just before he began to speak I recognized him. Not from my trips to visit Betsy's father, but before that, when I visited Anna. "Is it possible this condition can be contagious, or hereditary?"
A couple of the doctors looked with scorn at a nurse presuming to tell them their job. But a couple of the doctors knew the man well. One of these asked, "Why do you ask?"
"You said all the tests seem to indicate that he's awake. There is another case down the hall that's very similar."
"There are plenty of cases that are similar," snapped one of the other doctors. "But the abnormal Basal Ganglia is unique and must be the cause of the problem."
I could see the nurse working to maintain control. I also could see he was about to reveal my connection to Anna. I wanted to stop him, but Anna put a hand on my arm, whispering, "He's a good man, don't touch him with your powers. If you didn't resort to them so often consciously, you wouldn't use them so often subconsciously."
"I know this man," the nurse began again, only to get cut off.
"We all know this man. He's Elizabeth Haufman's guardian, and rumored to be the richest man in the state." And, the doctor quipped to himself: he seems to have more girlfriends than Hugh Hefner.
"Enough Richard, let the man speak," said Doctor Conners, one of the doctors who respected the nurse. I made a note to make sure the man got a raise or a promotion when I woke up.
"The patient down the hall, the one who has the same mysterious EEG, is this man's," he hesitated. He didn't actually know our relationship, only that I was legally responsible for her. "Well, he's either related to her or married to her. Either way, he's listed as her next of kin, and I regularly had to roust him from her room when visiting hours were over."