tagSci-Fi & FantasyThe Music of the Mind Ch. 17

The Music of the Mind Ch. 17


Well, here at last is the next chapter. As always thanks to Lady Cibille's for her editing help. I want to thank everyone who wrote to me to tell me their thoughts on this story. It helped me to keep writing it. I hope you enjoy this, and of course feedback welcome. Replies guarantied. Cheers, S.T.

* * * * *

Chapter 17: Sympathetic Waves

I awoke gently, as if from a long summer sleep on a weekend. The first memory that came to mind was that of sleeping on the ranch, the smell of summer drifting through the open window.

Then the memories of the last 24 hours began to rise to the surface of my mind and I opened my eyes to look around Suzan's ugly guest room. Meg was asleep in a ball on the other side of the bed, her hair tussled and gently snoring. She looked like a child so innocent was her face.

I looked at the nightstand, and the two alarm clocks I had set both read 2:56 pm, only 4 minutes before I had set them to go off. I rose slowly so I wouldn't disturb Meg, turned off the alarms, and dressed before heading downstairs.

The afternoon light was beautiful, slanting through the blinds into the great room. Dimitry slept in the large arm chair, the foot rest up, and his sister still slept on the large couch, her long dark hair covering her face almost entirely.

I walked quietly through the room to the kitchen, still amazed at how rested I felt. In the kitchen I quietly made a new pot of coffee, before heading out onto the deck to think. I would wake the others in a bit, but I wanted to savor these few moments alone to think over the evening to come, and the plan that I was formulating.

I went out through the sun room attached to the kitchen onto the large deck. The view of Boulder from here was beautiful. The snow from the previous night had melted away leaving a landscape of golden colors, and fall browns.

I leaned against the rail in the warm fall air, and looked out at my home for the last 10 years. I thought of my friendship with the girls, and all the things we had done together here. This place was not just a collection of places, it was the place I had grown into an adult, and made a life for myself, however strange that life had become.

I am sure I would have spent a long while musing about my life, and letting the melancholy part of me have its way were it not for its arrival. As usual I felt it before I turned to see it standing beside me. The sunlight almost glared off its skin, as if it were reacting to something unnatural.

"I wondered if I would be seeing you again before the day were out." I said looking at the being that had thrust me into all this. It looked at me for a few moments, its face impassive, yet I had the strange sensation that it was in a happy mood.

"Yes human, I thought after tonight I may not have another opportunity to speak with you. You know what it is you face tonight?" Its voice rang in my head, and made me clench my jaw against the pain.

"What, besides a psychopath? Yeah, genie, I know. I know we may not come out on top, but dam it we have to try. That man is insane. Do you know what he did to his own children?" I said the anger and outrage rising in me as I spoke.

"You would be more suited to be worried about what he will do to you. For this reason I have come to give you one more piece of advice." I stood watching, waiting and not willing to interrupt this creature if it wanted to offer more help. "When you fight, remember that sound travels through many things. The music you hear is not so different from the sound around you. Sound at the right tone can bring down even the tallest building if it finds its weakness." For a moment I just stood looking at the genie. My first instinct was to say something smart assed, but caution got the better of me.

"I'll remember. May I ask you a question genie?" It simply nodded at me. "When this is over, and Dolkoff is dead, will you take the gift away from me since I will have done what you wanted?" As I said this I knew I was taking a gamble, but I had to know if my suspicion was correct. I had to know if I had suffered through all of this, made my friends to suffer, and in the end would gain nothing lasting from it.

The genie eyed me for a long moment before its mouth split into a smile. Never in my life have I seen anything so alien, so terrifying as that beings smile. It sent a chill right through the core of me, and made me want to cower on the deck at its feet.

"That is a good question human. That was my plan at first, but after watching you, and how you have used it I am now not so sure. Perhaps your performance tonight will help me make my final decision." Then as suddenly as it had appeared it was gone. The warm fall sun did not warm me as I stood there shivering from forces other then cold.

I turned to look back out across the city and collect my thoughts. Did it really matter to me if I lost the gift if I was able to get Jill back safely, and make sure Dolkoff was finished, well I guess I could live with that. Though I knew, I would miss it. The gift was like being given another sense, another way to see the world and those in it.

The genie had told me that my reward would be something to make me happy. I had definitely questioned many times if that was the case, and now I believed the genie had only given me the gift to get even with Dolkoff. Still, looking back I think I had known joy in a way I never knew possible with the gift. Yes, I would miss it if it was gone.

I turned to go back into the house but stopped as Anna emerged from the kitchen clutching a large mug of coffee and still looking bedraggled from bed. The sun on her pale skin and jet black hair was an amazing contrast, and it occurred to me, not for the first time, just how beautiful this woman was. I was glad that the inside more closely matched the outside now.

She smiled as our eyes met, and raised her cup of coffee to me in a salute, which I mimicked. She joined me at the rail, and we looked out together on the city for a few minutes before she spoke, her Slavic accent tickling my ear.

"I feel like, how you say, a butterfly emerging from its cocoon. Everything is new, yet everything is familiar." She shook her head as if to clear away some demons that haunted her this morning.

"How can everything not feel new after what you went through this morning. I think you need to take it easy on yourself, give yourself some time to heal, and to assimilate everything you learned." I said in my best imitation of Ellen's demeanor. Anna looked at me, and her face was grave.

"Did you know I woke when you walked by this morning? I sat and looked at my brother's face as his slept. I love my brother, but I tried to kill him. I am so full of shame and guilt, what kind of person would do such a thing." Her voice was almost a whisper when she finished speaking. I thought hard for a moment before replying.

"A person who did not have free will to choose her path. Anna, you felt what was caged inside you by your father. You have not been free your whole life. None of us blame you for your actions, not even Dimitry. Least of all him, he has lived with the same burden. You have a great deal of work to do to find yourself now, don't add an extra burden of guilt."

As I finished speaking I reached out to her note, leaving my shields open and sent her a gentle note of comfort, and understanding. She jumped slightly then I felt her ring a note of gratitude and thanks in my own mind. I almost laughed to think here I was letting a person I had feared yesterday, into my mind today. The world is truly a miraculous place.

"You are a kind person Mike, and I am so grateful to you for helping Dimitry...for helping me as well." I could feel the self loathing and doubt in her.

"Thank you for accepting my help." I said smiling at her. Her face lit up with a smile and I felt almost a jolt of physical attraction so radiant was her beauty.

Anna suddenly smiled wider and began to laugh, and I realized we were still gently in each others music. I felt my face grow red with embarrassment. "Anna I'm sorry I ..." She waved her hand as if dismissing the issue.

"It is nothing, Mike; I take it as a compliment. You are not the first man to find me beautiful though I think you are one of the few I did not resent. Perhaps that was part of my father's curse too."

I thought on this for a moment before replying. "I don't think so Anna, I think that was your way of keeping some semblance of control over your life, when you had so little control over other things." She did not turn but continued to stare out at the bright fall light on the city below.

"Perhaps you are right. I have so much to discover about myself. I find all things that poured out of me this morning are still there, though from your help I can examine them without too much pain, and I have these memories from all of you of how you dealt with your childhoods. Still, I have to decide what I think, what I feel about each thing. It is overwhelming. It is like gaining best friends who you know everything about, yet still feel apart from."

"Perhaps you should think about seeing Ellen for a while after this is all over. She is a very good psychologist." Anna laughed.

"Don't I know it! I spent how many hours with her in my head keeping me from exploding." I chucked.

"So you did." I said. Inside her I could still feel the self-doubt, the self-loathing she had. I could feel, in a sense the conflict in her to cast off her past and accept that she could make her own future fighting with the fear that she was already lost.

I could feel her lightly in my mind, and then gently, as if on instinct I began to replay for her my memory of the night with Meg in the club. I let her see the exchange with the man, how I had lost control and killed him, and then my terrible guilt. Then I gave to her my memories of Meg at the hospital, and my getting to know her since then. She accepted it all with growing trust, and even caring.

Finally, at the end I let her feel the self-loathing I still carried about that man's death, but that I had to accept it, that for the love of Meg, my friends, and myself I had to let it go and believe in the better parts of myself. It was wrenchingly difficult to share these things, but I wanted her to know she was not alone in her self-doubt, and that we all carried demons with us.

As I stopped the replay I leaned heavily on the rail to support myself, and Anna stood staring at me for long moments. Her eyes filled with tears and I could feel the tide of grief in her. Without thought I stepped forward and took her in my arms holding her gently.

She sobbed against my chest, her grief for a life now lost to her, and a new one not yet found. I didn't try to still this pain, but I let my own compassion and desire to support and help ring in the front of my mind for her to read.

When she finally stilled and the sobs stilled to just sniffles she pulled back from me. Her face was a mess with swollen eyes, and runny nose, and yet she was still the most beautiful woman I had ever laid eyes on. It made me want to laugh for some reason. Anna smiled a little two as she picked up on my thoughts.

We stood by the rail for a time again, and I began to think through the events of the last few days before I spoke to Anna.

"Look, in your heart you are a good person. You must trust in that. Whatever this little rag tag group of people here can do to help you, I know we will. Don't try to get through this alone. Okay?" Anna nodded and smiled lightly.

I felt her push me from her mind then, and slip from mine. Almost on instinct I drew my curtain closed half way. There was a long silence and when Anna spoke again it was with a quiet firm voice.

"Mike, are you going to kill my father." I felt the same resignation as I had with Dimitry when he had asked me the same question the other night. I thought of telling her about Dimitry's requirement for his help, but ultimately I thought that would be a cop out. It was my hand that would do it so to speak, it was my burden.

"Yes Anna, I don't think I have any choice. I hate it, I hate even the idea of it, but he has caused so much suffering in the world, and he will cause more if left alive. I'm sorry."

She nodded, before turning to look at me.

"I understand. I can not help you though, he is still my father." I nodded.

"I wouldn't expect you too, though I can't let you interfere either." I said my voice now grave.

"I give you my word I will not interfere." She said quietly. I believed her. I had seen too much of the beauty inside her to doubt her.

"Thank you, I wish there was another way." She nodded and smiled at me again.

"So do I Mike, so do I."

¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬ I decided to walk the mall on the way to my shop. The weather had changed abruptly as night fell, and clouds blew in over the Flat Irons. Now a gentle snow was falling, welcoming in the early winter with large wet flakes. I could feel them stick to my eyelashes and they brushed my face.

I could feel the others nearby. We had rented a van for everyone to squeeze into. Well, everyone but Dimitry and Anna, they had decided to stay at Suzan's. They had done what they could, and to ask more of them then to just stand aside would not have been fair.

We hoped that the girls could gain clues about where they were taking me, so that they could follow and be as close as possible. Dimitry had said physical closeness would lend additional strength to me. I think also the others did not want to be left sitting at Suzan's, the movement at least gave the perception of action.

As I passed the grind I smiled in spite of the circumstances, and felt a reflection of that through the bond with Wendy and a little remembrance of fear from Meg. The music of the others danced in me now filling me with a constant emotional support.

The last few blocks to the store felt like they were only a few steps so quickly did they pass by. As I stood in front, I looked through the windows at the beautiful furniture inside, and then thought of the puzzle box that had arrived here weeks ago. I thought of the events that it had set into motion, and a shudder ran through me as I thought of the genie.

I was so deep in thought that when the van pulled up to the curb in front of me I jumped. It was an old van that said H&G Plumbing on the side. Two men sat in the front seats of the van, they motioned me to the back where I heard a loud squeak as the back door was pushed open from within.

I could see all of them in the plain of sound, their curtains tightly drawn. I walked around behind the van to find one man holding the door open, and two more inside. The man was young, hardly more then a boy. I saw his hand shake slightly as he gestured for me to get in. I wondered if he was scared or cold. The thin goatee on his chin was so wispy I wondered if he was even 18.

I climbed inside to find two more youths sitting against one wall of the van, so I chose the opposite. The interior looked as though it had been stripped. It had clearly once had racks and boxes bolted to the walls and floor, but now it was just an empty steel shell. It had no connection to the front cab, and no windows in the back area.

The boy who held the door climbed in and joined his friends on the other side, all of them looking at me. I could feel the hum of the others now heightened connection within me, waiting for an attack of some kind. It did not come, and the van lurched as it pulled away from the curb.

I thought of talking to the three kids across from me, but figured I would better save my energy and my breath. They were at that age where fanaticism came easier then reason, and the power that Dolkoff had given them probably fed that fanaticism. I would get nothing out of them.

The van bumped along as we stared at each other. I thought how this was like some kind of junior high staring fight and felt a ripple of amusement from the girls at my thoughts. The boys seemed to think it was important to not look away when I met their eyes. I wondered what was going on inside their heads.

I contemplated if I wanted to take them out before we got where we were going. I didn't want them joining in the fight, I figured we would have enough on our hands with just Dolkoff without extra helpers.

I sent a pulse of inquiry to the group, to get their feedback on these kids. Almost immediately I got from them that they thought they should be dealt with, but not killed if possible. Knocked out was the gist.

I sighed and pulled the connection to the girls into sharper focus in my mind, felt their energies form within mine as I looked at these three across the plain of sound in my mind. They all had defenses up, simple and tattered though they were, so they appeared more like voids of sound then anything.

The strike had to be quick, before they could signal to the others, and we should wait till we got to where we were going. Come to think of it, we should disable the driver and his friend at the same time. That would enable me to enter where ever we were under the conditions I wanted, not by the rules of the others.

I began to watch all five of the people accompanying me. Each of the girls chose a different person to target. I would hold them in my mind, and they would funnel their attacks through me at them to strike simultaneously. I would assist with any that needed help. As soon as one was down that person would help with the rest.

I found it very fatiguing to communicate with the short pictures and thoughts that we used through the gift, but eventually everyone was ready, and I sat quietly in the van as it bumped along.

About 15 minutes later I could feel the van slowing, and then climbing a steep road with many turns. I could see the level of apprehension and alertness in my guards go up a notch, and I signaled the girls to be ready.

The van came to a stop with a lurch, and I heard the engine die as the boy who had shepherded me into the van moved to open the door. I sent the signal to the girls and they all struck at once.

We had practiced this some at Suzan's house this evening before leaving on the advice of Anna and Dimitry. I opened my mind through the bond to the girls fully, and focused on keeping my shields tight and strong.

Each woman reached out with a series of fast attacks of sound energy that tore at the guards shields. The boy opening the door fell almost immediately to Tuyen's attack, and she refocused on the driver who seemed to have resisted Ellen's first attack well.

The driver fell almost immediately under the attack of these two, and I focused on the co-pilot in the front with Wendy. He went out almost immediately under our combined assault. By the time I looked for another target the other two guards were unconscious as well, having fallen to Meg and Suzan's attacks with help from Tuyen and Ellen.

I could feel the buzz of adrenaline and the feeling of triumph from the girls at our easy victory. I send notes of celebration, but also caution to them. These guards looked very new, and had hardly reacted at all to our attacks. They may very well have just been given their powers, and sent out to escort me as expendables.

The emotions of the girls calmed, and refocused. I checked the pulse of each of the guards and found the ones in the back with me still alive but unconscious. I opened the back door emerging slowly.

The van was parked in the foot hills overlooking the southern end of Boulder. I was in a small parking lot of a professional looking building. The building had the look of an office or official building that had been empty for some time. The landscaping was overgrown, and discolored streaks of rust ran down the front where a sign had been removed some time ago. There were no lights on in the building that I could see

Report Story

bySolitary_Thinker© 42 comments/ 27457 views/ 18 favorites

Share the love

Report a Bug

3 Pages:123

Forgot your password?

Please wait

Change picture

Your current user avatar, all sizes:

Default size User Picture  Medium size User Picture  Small size User Picture  Tiny size User Picture

You have a new user avatar waiting for moderation.

Select new user avatar: