Scene Seventy Six
Which is like an intervention, but more extreme.
Professor Green’s lab, with all the pretty blinking lights, disappeared, and suddenly Charlotte was in a much stranger place. It is very unpleasant to tour someone else’s mind; you don’t know your way around, and no one is motivated to give you any directions.
It is also very difficult to tell what you are looking at inside of someone’s head, except in the broadest of strokes. The fact that there are two minds in one head is a pretty broad stroke for instance and is quite hard to miss.
Charlotte could see, or maybe feel, there didn’t seem to be much difference in here, that the minds weren’t really fighting, they were both focused on the same task like two children sitting on the same couch and playing the same video game, and like two children they occasionally slapped each other out of annoyance or boredom.
One of these minds had to be Devlin’s. Charlotte made the mental equivalent of crossing herself and dived into the closest one.
It was warm inside, and the pale gold light showed up thoughts, all neatly lined up like coffins. This was Devlin’s, Charlotte was sure. She reached out with her mind and imagined stroking his hand again.
The dust motes in the sun beams started swirling like a little glowing tornados. They formed a giant face in the sky. The face broke apart and giant letters formed, they said WHO!?.
“It’s me” said Charlotte
The letters formed again WHY!? They said.
Charlotte swallowed, “Do you know what you’re doing out there?” she asked
The letters reappeared; they were much solider this time. They said STICKING TO THE GOAL, COMPLETING THE MISSION.
“You’re killing people out there, Devlin. You never killed people before, remember?” Charlotte hated herself for trying to manipulate him like this, but then she was already inside his head, so maybe it didn’t really matter very much anymore.
Apparently it didn’t matter at all. The words formed again, solid and inarguable. STICK TO THE GOAL, EVEN IF SUFFERING COMES.
Charlotte sighed; she knew how this had to end. “What is the Goal?” she asked
YOU ARE! The letters appeared immediately this time, like a child at school who is pleased to know the answer to a question
Charlotte could feel a grabbing sensation in her upper chest, “I don’t know if I want to marry someone who’s killed people” she said. She probably should have phrased it stronger, but it would be enough.
The letters took a long time to appear this time, and when they did they were weak and tentative, like hairline cracks in the light. You Don’t Know? They asked.
Charlotte decided that it was time she started being decisive. She steeled herself and stuck her chest out. “I don’t want to marry someone who’s killed someone” she said, the words even hurt her.
There was a long pause, and Charlotte was worried that she had crossed the line. Then she felt the whole mind start moving around her, it was the feeling of a mind changing direction.
Charlotte felt herself being carried along, like a woman caught in a massive swelling of the ocean. The letters formed in front of her. I WILL FIND A WAY, they said, A BETTER WAY TO ACHIVE THE GOAL!
Charlotte couldn’t remember feeling so happy before, she could feel tears starting to sparkle on her cheeks.
Then the mind lurched, and Charlotte found herself outside again. The other mind was holding on, it wouldn’t let go of Devlin’s mind no matter how he struggled. Charlotte felt the tension grow, it was like being outside just before a thunder storm hits. Then the two minds fell on each other like wild dogs, there was a huge explosion and Charlotte was blown clear out of the mindscape.
She felt her mind contract, as though it were being forced through a rubber hose. Then there was darkness.