Martha sat in the center of a wooden bench while Rossin paced around the cell
Avoiding stepping over her 3 cell mates
He was scratching his chin
One of the cellmates leaned back - stretched their foot out.
Rossin pass through it, unnoticed
'He literally has no link, not just hooks - as if he is a robot!'
"You said they were in media - he doesn't consume any...
Ergo - no hooks."
A cellmate asked
Rossin waved his hand at that
His free one
"Who are you talking to, miss?"
Groaning, he laughed
'Children books, radio, newspapers, billboards.
Fucking billboards - and he just happened to not see anything.
Not once - in his life.
He looks like he is what, 40?
You really think a 40 year old detective could live his life without consuming any media...
This by the way includes textbooks.
You do not appreciate exactly how saturated this world...
This country is in these hooks.
He is either a statistical anomaly...'
'He is missing part of his brain.
You saw him scratch at his head - he probably has a scar back there...'
"So he's a brain damaged detective?"
'Not sure how.
I, my writer, always thought the link was tied to consciousness...
Any injury that would cause the link to fail would also put you in a coma...'
"Maybe he was in one?"
The other people in the cell shared glances.
Nontalkative as they were, they were clearly being put off by her talking to thin air.
Martha looked at them
'I doubt it would be one you wake up from...
Which - also, by the way, is exceedingly rare.
You do not just wake up from a coma: that happens on TV.'
She asked as she gestured to the three in front of her.
Rossin glanced around
"Should we be talking now?"
We can always have them forget after - or during.
Are they making you uncomfortable?'
But I don't think they think I'm sane."
She shook her head
If you want me to, I could just hook them so they turn around and will not hear us.'
"It didn't work with the detective."
Martha said quietly
'The detective is a fluke...
One I - My writer - would have loved to study...'
"What if it's me?"
"What if I damaged something, when I was stopped?"
'More reason to give it a try...
Just let me keep control from me while I am connected and we will be fine.'
The tone had an undercurrent of aggression - one that expected an answer
Martha nodded, and switched the flip in her brain
Before she knew it she was outside herself in that shadowy perspective
"Hey lady, I said who are you talking to?"
Her three cellmates stood up, and walked to the front bars
Each standing in a row - facing outwards
Martha walked over to them, watching them stare out of the cell
None were talking to each other
She glanced up at the corner of a wall
A small black camera was pointed at the holding cell
"You can take back control now, they'll stay like that until we say otherwise."
'What about cameras?'
Rossin turn toward the camera
"Again, it really doesn't matter, but..."
target_mems = Self =>
Rossin looked back to her
He sat down
"Anyone who sees this will forget they saw you, and also destroy any tapes or recordings.
We would do that on our way out anyway."
Martha tilted her head
"Which reminds me.
Now's as good a time as any - what you did: you shouldn't do it again.
Not until you know exactly what you did - I couldn't get you out...
And I wasn't with you."
Martha searched for the words
'What exactly did I do? I just remember...'
Rossin signed and leaned forward across the bench
'Like I just...
Rossin struggled for the right word
"You weren't exactly in your own head.
You didn't stop you just stopped being in you...
And you weren't through the link, just probably right between your mind and it...
You took a step into the back of the mind but didn't go in...
You were stuck.
There's a threshold, a barrier - one you have to have some..."
"Momentum to make it though...
Otherwise you get lost in the weeds of your mind..."
Rossin nodded then spread out his hands
'But I am here now.'
Rossin sat up
Aware of something
Martha pressed the switch
She felt herself cycle back underneath her skin again.
It felt like a constant ripping and a stretching that bordered between pain and pleasure
"I couldn't do anything to bring you back.
It took something physically frightening enough, to trigger an automatic response...
A base instinct for self-preservation.
When part of your mind started moving again, you latched back in."
She struggled to find the words
"I don't think I want to get used to that, it's like crawling back underneath your skin... from..."
Rossin was sitting where Martha had been in that shadow perspective
She closed her fist a few times, testing.
Rossin walked through the bars toward the door
'He is close.
The door opened
Pausing Rossin's warning as it passed though him
In strolled a man
Not in a police uniform but.
A white suit that looked like it belonged on a luxury cruise line.
His smile made him look like a predator ready for a meal.
He quickly glanced at the 3 standing in front of the bar and leaned over to look at Martha
'And about getting out of here.
I expect it would be a good thing to do sooner rather-'
His voice reeked of condescension, and a trace of annoyance
"Do you know where I was?"
'He was in fiji, tell him that.
Keep your head still, just answer.'
Behind him was an officer, a large one she could almost remember seeing before
"A long flight, and I find you here..."
Normal words from the stranger's mouth and the officer obeyed
He strolled in and sat in the cell across from her
The did - walking back into the offices of the station
He gestured towards her cellmates
Martha saw a glassy stare of the police officer glimmer in acknowledgement
After some rustling the three continued to walk forward outside the cell.
A bit more rustling they and proceeded to walk out of the room.
While sliding face-first against the wall
The stranger looked on, his eyes went from wide to narrow in the span of a second
"Take those with you."
He turned to face her
Martha looked at him, unsure of how to answer
"So why are you here?"
He extended his hand - Martha took it and shook it
"You choose to be here, I want to know why?
I'm Felix, nice to meet you."
Felix sat down across from her
Right next to Rossin
"Alright, so Martha..."
"Why are you here?"
Rossin perked up
"I killed someone..."
'Tell him you were bored.'
Felix paused, considering
Haven't done that before."
Martha looked up sharply, eyes darting to Rossin, who shrugged
You know you can bring them back right?"
Martha tried to remain calm.
But her chest hollowed, an on mix of terror and relief
Rossin smacked his head as Felix tilted his head
'I tried to tell you...
But you stopped listening to me...'
"Empathy is good. It was a mistaken then..."
"They're in the back of the mind, somewhere - you just need a...
Vessel - to house them."
'Just another human?',
'Any living thing?',
'Would people recognize them?']
She held her tongue - intent to ask Rossin later
Felix leaned in
"I figured that's why you were here.
Looking for some lowlife to make the world a little better with their absence."
"I was at your house... the son of that dead fellow seem quite distraught."
"It was an accident."
"Good. Wouldn't want you doing that sort of thing to good people."
Bits of relief fell through her
"Next time I'll practice on bad people."
He leaned back
"Much less work if you break things..."
"So you want to fix him - fix your mistake."
She did those trolly problems in college - morality tests.
And this one hadn't exactly come up
'Okay, so he means a trade - one life for another...'
Martha waited for Rossin to supply a time frame, he did and then some
"How new are you to...
Knowing about all this?"
"A few months now.
Last night was my first time using a hook...
A small heat in his voice, not directed directly at her
"A few mon - who said you were ready?"
"So you did it on your own, behind your teacher's back?"
A small eyebrow raise
Subtle - Martha barely noticed
"No - I... am self-taught, I don't have a teacher...
Other than what's in my head."
"Undernet ring a bell?"
Felix smile brittled and his eyes narrowed
Rossin waved his hands - urging Martha not to speak
Martha started, then stopped
Rossin paced around the room faster
Rossin paused, and looked at Felix in disbelief - inspecting him
Suddenly Rossin smacked his head
"Do you want one?"
Rossin leaned in again studying the man
He was almost... excited
'Stupid men, he thinks your pretty, use it...
That is something they teach others - do not share the power...
It could be a trap. but...'
'Narcissists love a good ego stroking -'
Her lip curled just a bit - the way she saw it done on tv
"I've been looking...
Have I found a good one?"
He smiled back
'Just enough to...
He lowered his head
"Top of the class..."
"Now: about who you killed."
"Do you want them back?"
"I don't want to kill anyone to bring them back?"
"Because I don't want to kill anyone."
"You already have.
The total number of people you've killed will remain the same.
The difference is in the quality of the person you killed."
He didn't wait
"Okay - first lesson.
"You are a god.
You decide who lives, who dies, who does what, who is what.
Take a step out of personal morality.
Ask the question: would the world be better if my neighbor was still alive and a psychopathic killer was dead instead?
You have that choice.
By not doing that and letting your neighbor stay dead.
You're making a choice.
You are saying you would rather have a random killer on the loose than your neighbor.
Is that what you want?"
'That escalated quickly...'
"I'd have to find a psychotic killer first.
I don't exactly have access to a lot of them."
He suddenly turned his head to the side and screamed
The police officer shuffled in
A blank stare across his face
"But you do...
What do you think...
Right - you're new."
Rossin put his hands up in a calming gesture
"Go get us a killer, a real psychopath."
Albert walked out of the room, and was back in moments
He was holding another scrawny police officer by the collar.
In Albert's grip raised just enough for his black shoes to leave the floor
'Let this play out, it is what I was trying to tell you earlier.'
As requested, he raised it to his forearm
Revealing the track marked at the elbow's bend
"Well that was fast. Looks like...
Raise your sleeve up a bit, would you."
There was a twinkle in Felix's eye, a glint of pure delight
"Yep, looks like heroin to me.
So let's go make him your new neighbor."
He turned back to Albert
"Always leave a place better than you found it...
It's bad form to trash the playground."
He extended his hand to her
"Bring him to the car..."
Martha took it.
Rossin leaned over to her
"Let's get out of here, shall we?"
They exited the room the holding cell was in.
Only to find the police station quiet and still.
With no police officer, or anyone in the station moving or making a sound.
They stood where they had been doing something.
Eyes all glassy forward staring showing nobody was home
Albert pushed open the double front doors to the station and opened to dawn's light.
As they closed hands twitched and faces contorted
Where people spilled papers they cleaned up.
Where coffee was spilt it was soaked.
Each were busy in their own personal mess they didn't notice each other's
'This is a stroke of luck - him not trying to erase you...
I think that is lucky at least...'