Waiting for Magic …

“Trevor, HELP!”

Trevor Kinkaid woke with a start, jerking straight up into a sitting position.  The loud cry had awakened him, but he saw no need to go running around the house in an attempt to see who had made it.  First of all, he knew his house was empty.   Secondly, the cry had not been a physical cry.  No, the cry had been a mental one, that had screamed through a normal dream with an intensity as great as any physical scream.

Most people would have dismissed it as simply part of the dream, but not Trevor.  Past experience had taught him that dreams were, in fact, when the mind was at its most receptive to the minds of others, and when most mental messages – especially inadvertent ones – were delivered.  Besides that, Trevor knew how he dreamed, and he didn’t generally switch gears that quickly in his dreams.  And a dream about  writing a mathematics final didn’t fit well with someone else crying out for help.  HIM crying out for help, maybe, but others, no.  Then again, since he was out of school and working for 10 years, dreaming about mathematics finals didn’t fit with anything else either.  And since he’d generally hated math, there was no reason for him to take mathematics courses willingly and so …

Trevor yanked his mind back to the real issue of the mental scream.  His mind always had a tendency to wander when he was just waking up.  A brief reflection on the cry that he had “heard” revealed that he recognized the mental signature as well as the mental representation of the voice that had cried out.  The problem was that he couldn’t recall whose mind or voice it was that he remembered.  This generally meant that it was someone whose mind he had picked up BEFORE he had fully come into his powers, since for some reason his mind sorted mental impressions to the minds that they were associated with much better than it did with voice impressions.

Trevor sighed.  Unlike others with his abilities, he generally avoided meditation as a way of exercising or enhancing his powers.  This was probably because his mind tended to wander too much when he meditated, meaning that it took him far too long to figure anything out since he kept getting distracted.  However, in this case meditation was the best way to get to the bottom of this, as it would allow him to filter out the known impressions and get to the right mind/person correlation that was stored – he hoped – somewhere in his mind.

Moving from the bed to the floor, he sat in a cross-legged position and closed his eyes (he hated this part of meditation too).  He cleared his mind and allowed it to simply drift through his mental framework in an attempt to match the mental signature with a person he had known.

It took him 10 minutes to get a match, which he considered to be a long time.  Normally it only took him about 5 minutes to make these matches or come up completely empty.  At any rate, he now recalled whose “voice” had screamed in his mind.  It turns out that it was a girl he had known in high school.  They had been acquaintances, and he’d even asked her out once.  She’d said “No”.  Well, he had been a geek in high school.  Actually, he still was a geek, to be totally honest about it.  At any rate, they’d gone on to different schools and he thought of her amicably enough, but there wasn’t any deep connection between the two of them.  So why had he heard her cry out?  And what did she need help with?

“Oh, bloody hell, “ Trevor commented.  “More meditation.”

In order to find out what circumstances she was in, he needed to get in touch with her mind again.  That was generally an easy thing when he was in close proximity to someone.  It was much less easy when he wasn’t, and in this case he had a pretty good idea that he wasn’t.  That meant he needed more mental firepower.  That meant meditation.  That was a right royal pain in the …

Trevor sighed again, and let his mind drift again.  This time, he didn’t relinquish ALL control of his mind, but instead guided it over the waves and eddies of human consciousness in the same way that a sailor guides a sailboat over a lake or a river or the ocean.  Well, size-wise it was probably closer to oceans, and sailors didn’t have to provide their own winds, but that was the general idea.  It was odd that no one had ever come up with a GOOD analogy for the process …

Trevor refocused as his mind – and therefore his “boat” – had started to drift again.  And while he could indeed “multi-task” while doing this, it wasn’t recommended, as it would get him off track.  And cries for help usually demanded immediate attention, and so he didn’t have the time to let his mind wander.

Still, it was a slow process.  Finally, he caught her mental signature and rode it down to her mind.  However, when he tried to key into her perceptual centers to figure out what the problem was, he basically got the equivalent of a mental “Do not disturb” sign.  Well, that answered the question of what was wrong.  When you got that sort of reaction, it usually meant that the mind had shut down, which usually meant a coma.  What he’d be expected to do to bring her OUT of a coma was beyond him.  But he couldn’t know anything more until he was there in person.

Normally if he’d needed to go to a person he’d simply ask the mind where it was.  No fuss, no muss.  In the case of COMAS, however, the mind clearly wasn’t going to answer him.  And that meant that he needed another way to figure this out.  And that meant …

“Astral projection”, Trevor grumbled.  He HATED all the mystical stuff.  Simply HATED it.  Meditation.  Astral projection.  Rituals.  He hated them all.  He was a straight-up guy, and his imagination and background made him the best he knew at fixing things up … once he got inside the mind.  He didn’t have much interest in anything else.  But life kept conspiring to make him do those things he hated.

He sighed, and then prepared for astral projection.  His mind left his body and traveled down the connection that he had made to the young woman.  When his mind arrived at her mind, he then “zoomed out” from her position to see what was going on.  Since it was night, there was no one by her side and so no one to potentially observe him.  That was good.  Deciding not to push his luck, he decided to zip “outside” the room and hospital and get the name that way.  It was Saint Francis Xavier long-term care facility.  That was good, since he knew where that was.  His guess, then, was that she had been in a coma for a while.  Taking the opportunity to sneak a peak at her medical chart, he saw that she had been in a coma for 6 months.  That was interesting.  However, he didn’t really see the need to pursue it at the moment and returned to his own body.

The next day was Sunday, and so made a perfect time to go for a visit.  He entered the hospital and guided himself to her room.  As he expected, there was a family member there sitting with her.  Unfortunately, it was her father, who actually knew and probably would recognize him.  Well, so much for a clean get-away …

“Hello,” Trevor said.

Her father turned bleary eyes towards him.  He looked grief-stricken, exhausted, and on the verge of giving up.  Trevor instantly saw why things were coming to a head now; after six months, the debate over whether to let her die peacefully was starting to lean towards letting her die.

“Hello … Trevor?  Is that you?  What are you doing here?” her father asked.

Fortunately, Trevor had a cover story available.  “I sometimes volunteer to help out here, when I have the time.  I don’t do much, except sit with patients and talk to them.  As you know, I’m certainly a talker,” he replied.

“Yes, of course … “ her father replied absently.

“How long have you been here?” Trevor asked.

“Oh, only about … 6 hours.”

Trevor saw his chance.  “Look, why don’t you take a short break?  I can sit with her for a while, so that if anything changes at least someone else will be here that she knows.  And hey, this is what I’m here for”.

Her father considered this briefly, nodded absently, and shuffled out the door and down to the cafeteria.  Trevor didn’t think he was as old as that, but these sorts of situations age people.

Once her father had gone, Trevor started to go to work.  Most  TPs (telepathic persons) preferred to touch the people whose minds they were entering, but in this situation that might seem out of place.  Besides that, Trevor wasn’t all that comfortable touching people anyway, so it worked out for the best.  So he simply began to concentrate as he sat by her bedside.

Cheryl’s mind seemed to have a figurative streak.  All minds do, of course, but hers seemed inordinately attached to it.  Again encountering the “Do not disturb” sign, Trevor simply “produced” a key and used it to open the door.  Immediately thereafter, he encountered a “Authorized persons beyond this point only” sign, and simply flashed a pretend badge and entered anyway.  It took a few seconds for him to proceed down a long hallway to where her mind was waiting.

Stepping into the light, he smiled.  Not only was her mind figurative, it also liked fairy tales.  Cheryl was sleeping in a large glass coffin at the far end of the room, which was designed like the throne room of a castle.  As he started down the stairs, he lost sight of her behind a large wall of thorns that grew between her and the entrance to the room.  Basically, she had trapped herself in a fantasy of Sleeping Beauty.

“Well, this is better than Sleepy Hollow, I suppose”, Trevor commented.  Admittedly, he had no idea what HE could do, since it was clear that she’d have to be waiting for her prince … and he was no prince.

Scanning the thorn wall, he saw immediately that her mind had summoned other princes before.  Those men that she had merely fantasized about were dressed in shining, immaculate armour.  Looking closer, he saw someone that he recognized as one of his friends from high school.  “So she DID like him, “ he commented.  “Too bad he never asked her out.  Well, he didn’t like her anyway … “

Other knights were trapped in the thorns.  These were men that she had dated at some point in her life, and their armour was generally tarnished to varying degrees.  He was somewhat surprised at how few of them there were, but perhaps she was just a bit too shy.

He pondered the thorn wall.  He could force his way through, but that might not be all that great for her mind.  But if it only let those that she liked in a romantic manner through, there wasn’t much hope for him making it through.

But as he approached the wall, it parted for him.  This was an interesting development, but he didn’t have time for that as he crept his way forward through the thorns.

As he exited the other side, he saw that one of Cheryl’s memory constructs had made it through the thorns to the other side … but lay dead in a heap on the floor.  The fact that the armour was tarnished but only minimally implied that she had wanted to marry him, but that it had fallen through.  Obviously, the thorns were not enough of a barrier for her battered psyche.  That meant that some sort of monster awaited him.

He mentally shifted to ebony black armour and waited for the monster.  And it was not long in coming.  A large dragon pounded its way out of one of the side alcoves and charged towards him.

Cheryl’s old flame had only had the power of her mental faith in him to carry the battle, and she obviously didn’t have enough faith in him for him to defeat the dragon.  Trevor, on the other hand, had his OWN mental powers to bring to bear.  As he raised his sword, he felt an odd mental boost as Cheryl’s faith in him boosted his abilities.  Allowing the dragon’s flame blast to be absorbed by his shield, he summoned a large spear and hurled it directly into the dragon’s eye.  While it was thus distracted, he sped underneath it and cut into the soft underbelly of the monster.  As was to be expected, the dragon died.

Knowing his fairy tales, Trevor approached Cheryl’s coffin.  Opening it, he gave her a single, chaste kiss on the lips.  Her eyes fluttered open.  “You saved me, “ she breathed.

“Sleep, “ Trevor said, and exerted some mental will.  And she did.

He left her mind, and saw that she was indeed sleeping normally, but her mind was home.  He, however, needed time to make his getaway.  He waited for her father to return, said his goodbyes, and left.  As he walked down the hall, it was easy for him to trigger her awakening in two or three hours … enough time for it not to be traced back to him.

The incident both pleased and disturbed him.  There’s always something disturbing when you start to ponder what might have been, and he knew that nothing good could come of this.  He couldn’t go into a relationship aided by a mental closeness because he had repaired her mind, even if she had any true feelings for him at all.

A few weeks later, he got a call.  “Trevor, it’s Cheryl.  I remember what you did while I was in a coma and I’ve decided that I do truly love you …”

“You are feeling the closeness brought about by my fixing your mind.  The feeling isn’t real, and so that isn’t appropriate, “ Trevor interrupted.

“No, Trevor, you don’t get it.  It wasn’t YOUR abilities that made me call out to you.  It wasn’t YOUR abilities that let you through the thorns.  And it wasn’t YOUR abilities that gave you the strength to defeat the dragon.  It was MY faith in you.  My heart knew what my mind didn’t, and that’s why it called out for you.  And to let that go now would be the stupidest thing I could do.”

Trevor thought for a moment.  “This is a REALLY bad idea, “ Trevor replied.

“When has that stopped you before?” she replied.

At that moment, Trevor thought that this might work out after all.

One Response to “Waiting for Magic …”

  1. More of my favourites: one shots and one hit wonders | The Verbose Stoic Says:

    […] There’s also, oddly, Ace of Base. The song I heard first and liked was of course “The Sign”, but I have to mention “Waiting for Magic”, which was the inspiration for this short story. […]

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