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PATIENT - X First Edition

by Colin Duck ©2012 by Colin Duck.

ISBN: 978-1-4716-8597-2

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ~Edmund Burke

Colin Duck PATIENT - X

In memory of Jamie Henderson. You were a dear friend, and you are missed.


Wendy Peterson was a small town girl from a small village in California known as Crescent Mills. The population of this village was a mere 250 or so people and comprised mainly of countryside and small family run farms. Unlike her brothers, Wendy longed to see the world and was fascinated by people and their problems. An avid listener with a non judgemental personality was perhaps one of the reasons why so many of the townsfolk felt they could confide even their deepest darkest secrets to her, even as a small child, but certainly wasn’t the only reason. Not one for gossip, and almost biblical at keeping secrets, Wendy perhaps knew those who would talk with her regularly more than these people’s spouses, parents or immediate family. Like when Bob Terence confessed his secret love affair with Patsy Milton to her, or when Toby Tuckerton broke down in hysterics after he’d murdered his neighbour’s dog for keeping him awake at night. Wendy always felt compassion and empathy for those who spilled their darkness and was convinced that everyone was primarily good, but sometimes unforeseen circumstances or getting a little lost from time to time made people do bad things. Being lost was one thing, but some people are so lost from birth, that there is no good and only pure evil within their souls. Perhaps if Wendy had considered such a grim possibility, her life would have taken a very different path indeed to the one she was fated to live. What most people did not realise however, was that it was her special ability which lead people to reveal their innermost thoughts to her. Many people would call her psychic, but it wasn’t thoughts or future events or spooky visions that Wendy received, it was merely a suggestion she placed in the heads of those she talked to which got them to spill their beans to her. Similar suggestions aimed at her parents was the reason she had such a large collection of books, despite her family being quite poor and uneducated, but what was a curious, intelligent girl to do when

the local library was used more for town meetings and yard sales than it was for loaning out books to any of the town’s folks? Wendy loved books and to read, and was top of her class in almost every subject. Had she not been such an attractive girl, this probably would have resulted in her being bullied. But everyone loved her. Only her mother perceived her as a problem child when she would find her avoiding her farm work chores curled up in the barn with a book instead of milking the cow or raking the forty. It was of little surprise to most folk when on her graduation day from her senior year at Crescent Mills High School that she announced she had applied to Oxford university in England and was to move there in the fall of this year to study criminal psychology. Once again, that same power of suggestion she used made this quite acceptable to her parents, who otherwise would have preferred her to stay and work on the family farm and perhaps marry one of the local boys from one of the neighbouring farms. Wendy was so excited, now 18 and full of promise and about to take her first ever flight in an aeroplane, she sat and waited to see who her passenger would be. Would this gift of hers still work at 30,000 feet? she wondered. With not so much as an electronic calculator throughout her life, she checked in her journal to make sure she had all the details needed for her journey. Wendy hated gadgets and technology, and found them more distracting than useful, and always wrote in the neatest prettiest handwriting which she’d almost designed as an art-form of its own, completely unique to anyone else's. She was meticulously organised. As Wendy went over the final details in her notebook, an elderly gentleman put his big brown bag into the overhead compartment and slowly sat down in the seat beside her. “Good day madam!” he said in his ridiculously strong British accent. He made a hat tipping gesture despite not wearing one on his head which made Wendy smile. “Hi, I’m Wendy!” she said. “My name’s Norman, pleased to meet you miss!” said the man. “You going back home?” she asked with anticipation.

“Lord no! I’ve lived in Florida now for 38 years” he proclaimed with a proud tone in his voice. Wendy gave him a look as if to say “continue...” “I’m visiting my son in London, he’s getting married!” he grumbled. Wendy had gotten good at picking up on subtle tones in people’s voices which made her suspect that he was not entirely pleased by this event in his son’s life. “Oh, how lovely! I’m moving to Oxford to study criminal psychology!” she stated proudly. “Criminal what!?” snapped the old man. “Criminal psychology” repeated Wendy, this time much slower like she was talking to a 2 year old trying to teach it a new word. “Oh! What’s that?” asked Norman. “Well, I’ll be studying what drives people to commit certain crimes and try to help those who are damaged or broken!” explained Wendy. “Damaged??” Norman laughed. “People aren’t radios little madam, some people can’t be fixed,” began the man. The man struggled with his seat belt and attempted to figure out how to fasten it, but was obviously needing some assistance. Wendy saw this and began helping the man and fastened it for him. The man looked at Wendy with surprise, not expecting an 18 year old girl to be quite so helpful and as he looked into Wendy’s eyes, she gave a reassuring smile. The man leaned closer to her and began to whisper “Some people.... Some people just do bad things because they enjoy it!” Wendy contemplated this for a split second, and her face turned quickly into a frown, but almost like she was rejecting a flavour of ice cream in a parlour she quickly shook her head and dismissed the possibility that he was right and changed the subject. “So, you must be excited about the wedding then?” she asked smiling again.

The man groaned at this question, like he’d been asked to climb 50 flights of stairs instead of taking the elevator, and then paused as he tried to think of the correct response. “Once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all!” he stated. Wendy could sense there was something about this wedding that he found uneasy and perhaps opposed, so she let her gift go to work on the old man. It was the same thing every time she wanted to get to the bottom of something, she simply looked harder into the person’s eyes, like she was digging deeper, beyond their eyes perhaps right into their soul. For Wendy it was like seeing a visualiser on a computer with bright shapes and colours animating towards her. This was a mixture of aura, thoughts and perhaps even synapses directly from the brain she was seeing, and she was able to read and identify some of them. A dark patch which looked like a fully blossomed rose amidst the twirling, bright steams of concious always indicated a negative thought, feeling or secret the person was attempting to hide, and yet they were perhaps the easiest to spot. She’d also at this point noticed that different colours normally represented different emotions. For example, when people talked about love, the colour was very red. Hate was often a blue or purple colour, and yellow and oranges represented a strong feeling of guilt or regret. His colours were varied, a little mixture of everything, although she thought for a moment that there was more red in him than any other emotion, which was always a good sign. A person with much love in their soul is always sweet, she’d once concluded. Even Wendy wasn’t sure how it worked, like a 3 year old using an iPad, she just learned through practice that to focus on one of these dark spots, and turn them white, caused the person to talk about and reveal whatever they were attempting to hide. The biggest dark patch flashed white, and the man’s eyes suddenly sparkled like a child who suddenly realises they are in a lot of trouble and have to face the music with their parents. “Well, to be honest. I don’t like the woman he’s about to marry!” he stated.

“Oh really...?” Wendy asked in a very interested tone. Wendy’s work was now done, once someone starts telling you about their secret, the rest flows by itself. She knew no more dark patches should appear and need lighting up, since he’d already revealed his hidden emotion, all that was left now was for him to tell her in his own way how he felt. Sometimes however, depending on the secret, a lie could reveal a new dark patch in the mind stream coming at her. But for small little secrets such as this one, people never lied once they got over their initial reluctance. “Well, I think she’s after him just for his money!” said Norman. “Oh no, that’s terrible. Do you think she loves him anyway?” she asked. The man struggled to answer this question, not because he was trying to deceive her or hide any further information from her, but because he genuinely wasn’t sure himself. He groaned to reflect this. “I just don’t know. Have you ever had a bad feeling about someone that you just couldn’t explain? Like a gut feeling?” he asked. Wendy nodded. It was this gut feeling which always provoked her to start using her mind bending ability on someone, if she felt she was not getting the whole truth. “I think I know what you mean” she said slowly, but then smiled again as if to reassure the old man that everything would still be all right. Norman rustled around in his cardigan pockets and pulled out a bag of Werther’s Original. “Would you like a toffee?” he asked, offering the packet to Wendy. “I’d love one!” she said, reaching into the bag. The plane took off and the two exchanged friendly chit chat throughout the journey, and Wendy helped him with the in-flight movie and headset. It wasn’t like her to get so wrapped up in such trivial secrets as this, but perhaps leaving her home to start a new life

had sparked some kind of new curiosity within her. For the whole flight she wished she could use her special ability to find out about Norman’s son and the woman he was about to marry and put the old man’s mind at ease. Why should she care, she would never meet the man again. She would never meet his son or the woman, but for some reason, she couldn’t get it out of her head. The concept of marrying someone for their money hadn’t really hit her personally before today. Living in such a small poor village, nobody ever had that problem where she came from. She’d read about such women in books and despised someone who would abuse the sacred bond of love in this way, but this was no character in a book... this was a real person. And the idea of such a woman in the real world abusing such emotions in this way made Wendy very angry indeed. These thoughts quickly disappeared almost the second the pilot came over the intercom and announced that the plane would be landing shortly. Wendy was now getting excited and getting her head in the game for the next part of her adventure in which she now had to find the student accommodation she’d be staying at for the next 5 years. As she walked off the plane, she studied the signs carefully for the baggage claim area and followed them down what seemed to be never ending corridors and tunnels. On her way, she heard a groan which sounded like the old man, and as she turned to look behind her, saw he was struggling with his large brown bag. She backtracked until she caught up with him and carried it for him. “Allow me!” she said. “Why, thank you madam! You’re such a sweet young girl!” said Norman. “It’s no problem!” said Wendy, giving her usual sweet smile. Several minutes after the two of them reclaimed their suit cases, they made their way towards the airport exit, Wendy still carrying Norman’s bag. Then a middle aged couple reached out towards Norman opening their arms.

“Dad!” said the man. Wendy stopped and put Norman’s bag down beside him, as he greeted his family. She noticed a very attractive blonde woman stood with Norman’s son who was now hugging his father. Her body language seemed to indicate impatience and boredom, but her false smile seemed to hide this from the two men. She wondered if this was the woman he was about to marry. “I’d like you to meet someone!” said Norman. “This young lady is Wendy, she’s my new best friend!” he stated with glee. Wendy shook Norman’s son’s hand. “This is my son, Robert!” said Norman, “and this is Betsy, his fiancé!” Wendy wasn’t one for giving false smiles like the one Betsy was wearing as she shook her hand, and instead looked at her with distrust. A mixed signal to the woman, her hand saying pleased to meet you, and her eyes and face saying, I don’t trust you as far as I could throw the plane I just stepped off! Wendy stepped into mind reading mode and saw mainly orange swirls coming from Betsy’s thoughts. There were no dark patches because as of right now, she wasn’t hiding anything. You had to start digging to bring up those thoughts, but Wendy was sure if she asked “do you love this man?” or “are you marrying him for his money?” they would appear if they were there to hide. Of course, Wendy was no idiot. She couldn’t come right out and ask such a question to a complete stranger, but if she was diplomatic about it... maybe she could get an honest answer to such a question without directly asking it. Wendy had a trick up her sleeve, reverse psychology always did the trick for those who didn’t know her. If she made up a similar story and presented it to the woman, this would reveal those dark roses in her aura if she had anything to hide. “I hear you’re getting married? Congratulations!” said Wendy.

“Thank you,” both Betsy and Robert said in complete unison. Wendy still looking into Betsy’s aura said. “I just broke up with my long term boyfriend because I found out he was stealing my money off me!” Wendy said, and sure enough a small dark rose appeared in Betsy’s visual mind stream. Betsy, her mouth now open with shock and a look of total confusion on her face had no response to this. Lighting up such a small memory in her head too early wouldn’t lead to a full confession, but would more likely result in a statement such as “I do love him” or “I don’t just want his money.” Wendy was sure she could make the memory, and come more forward in Betsy’s thought stream by adding more thoughts to her head this way. “Yeah, he’d just proposed to me but I guess he only wanted to marry me for my money!” she added. Betsy’s mouth opened wider still and her eyes filled with fear, as if being accused outright by the girl of her lover’s father’s suspicions. Sure enough, the dark rose shape grew bigger and came further forward in Betsy’s mind. At this point, Norman was becoming horrified too and reached out to Wendy and was about to tell her to stop. But as his hand grabbed Wendy’s arm, and before he could speak, Wendy flashed the rose with white bright light causing Betsy to reveal all the fears this rose comprised of. “I already have a boyfriend! We planned this together!” said Betsy. Both Norman and Robert’s attention now turned fully to Betsy, them now showing the open mouth shock face which Betsy was displaying just a moment earlier. “What??” asked Robert stepping towards his future bride. Betsy turned now to Robert but continued her confession. “I’m so sorry, it was all his idea. We owe so much money to loan sharks, and... and... I just didn’t know what else to do,” Betsy started sobbing towards the end of her sentence.

“Let me get this straight.... You have a boyfriend?” asked Robert, his voice cracking up in pain. “Yes, yes! I was going to divorce you and use the money to pay off our debts. I’m so sorry Robert. I can’t go through with it. You deserve better!” sobbed Betsy. “And yet you would have gone through with it wouldn’t you?” Wendy muttered quietly to herself, but loud enough for the group to hear. “I don’t understand. How could you...?? Do you love me?” asked Robert. Betsy’s hands held Roberts and she looked him right in the face saying “Yes, yes! I do love you Robert.” Wendy saw a new black rose appear in Betsy’s mind stream, and so she flashed this one white too. “No, no I don’t love you - I’m so sorry!” she sobbed, as she started running away. She ran straight out of the airport screaming in tears and remorse. This caused Wendy to walk away too, there was nothing more to say and the situation had become awkward and uncomfortable, but she still felt like she’d done the right thing. As she was leaving she turned around and saw Norman and his son still frozen in a state of shock, she felt bad for them but thought it was a lesser of two evils. It was at this moment that Wendy realised how lucky she was to have such a gift, and was sure she could do wonderful things with it. She’d never face this problem. She knew she would marry someone who genuinely loved her. How could anyone hide it from her? And as this thought entered her head, she wondered how many relationships between lovers, wives and husbands were not so genuine and honest.


Wendy worked hard in university, and never used her ability to cheat or gain advantage over any of her classmates. She had a very strict set of principals for certain things. But despite working so hard to achieve her grades on her own steam, other students quickly started noticing that there was something very different about her. Most of the girls hated her. She was perhaps the prettiest girl in her year which didn’t help, but also most of the boys were quite fascinated by her which caused her to be outcast and envied by her female rivals. As usual, the popular guys were good at hiding their true intentions and emotions towards the girls they secretly desired, but very soon after Wendy started... they were all opening up to her and telling them how much they all wanted to sleep with her or start a relationship with her. Wendy, having used her tricks to get these confessions was quickly becoming a super celebrity on campus. All the boys shared their lust openly for her, and all the girls constantly talked about her with envy and distrust. Wendy however, wasn’t interested in any of them, rejecting each and every proposal. She could have slept with any of them, and probably picked a serious boyfriend out of the more sincere amongst them with ease, but it wasn’t this kind of superficial love Wendy was looking for. She knew that it was her looks and her mind spilling skills that had gotten her into this situation, and neither of them made her heart flutter in the slightest. It was a certain kind of mind, or a certain kind of personality that she so desperately sought. But mainly, perhaps she just wanted someone to really connect with. All her life she’d been different from everyone else. And although she had no illusions that a guy would appear who had the same ability as her, she longed to meet someone who too was different and an outcast, looking for a similar connection.

It was at a party that the horny guys had invited her to where she finally met Dean. Dean was an IT student at the university, and had not been in the student bar before. He first caught her attention by refusing any alcohol, the only guy there who wanted to stay sober and didn’t seem too interested in trying to flirt with the girls. Instead, he sat quietly typing away on a laptop, drinking a can of coke. Wendy was intrigued. He was not submitting to the constant peer pressure to drink a beer and was taking some flack for it. Being called homo, poofter and other such remarks but ignoring them completely. At first, she just kept looking over at him hoping to catch his eye. This always worked with all the other guys, a few glances at them and before long they would come over and try their luck, but this guy hadn’t even made eye contact with her. It was then that Wendy actually danced for the first time. Wanting to be noticed by the strange sober computer boy, she started dancing to a song she secretly despised hoping to grab his attention. Attention she was grabbing all right, but by every other guy in the entire room, some of them now coming over to try and dance with her. Ricky, one of the guys who was popular with all the other girls started putting his hands on her waist and moved in to start some infamous grinding. At this point, Wendy pushed him away quite violently, causing him to drop his can of lager which echoed a loud shatter sound and finally caught Dean’s attention. “Hey what’s your fucking problem bitch?” asked Ricky. Wendy looked over at Dean who was now fully looking at the commotion and making eye contact with her. Time seemed to freeze he’s finally looking at me she thought. Should I smile? Start dancing again? But she was still angry at Ricky and unable to smile, and dancing would probably only encourage him to try his moves again. Instead she just kept looking into Dean’s eyes which seemed to last forever. In reality, the eye contact lasted a sheer 3 or 4 seconds, before Dean’s eyes returned to his computer screen causing Wendy to head to the bar for another drink. She hoped that now he had noticed her and seen that she existed that he would now continue to look at her which might indicate some interest on his part. But as she sat at the bar, listening to the same pathetic pick up attempts from the guys sat there, he never looked over even once from his computer.

Perhaps life’s irony was at play here? All eyes were on her except the eyes she wanted to look at her. Or perhaps the reason she was focused on this guy was because he seemed so uninterested in her in the first place? Even Wendy couldn’t answer this riddle, but she was determined to find out more about him. “Hey, can I get 2 cokes?” she asked the student bartender. “You want some vodka in it?” the guy muttered in a tone of confusion. “No! Just coke thanks!” she said frustrated. If it hadn’t been for her ability, perhaps she wouldn’t have had the nerve to be doing this, but she reassured herself that she could pull anything off if she really wanted to. Her plan was simple, but filled her with fear and panic. Walk over, give him the drink and start a conversation, she thought, Ask him what he’s doing on that computer thingy and see how it goes. She started walking over with the 2 cokes. The one he was drinking couldn’t have even been from the bar, because these were in tall glasses and his was in a can. This intrigued her ever more. Perhaps irony and fate were at work here again, but as she walked right up to Dean, about to hand him one of the glasses, one of the drunk guys dancing nearby danced backwards and knocked her flying into the tables Dean was sat at. Coke spilled all over Dean, and all over his brand new expensive computer, causing it to spark and power off. “What the fuck!!??” screamed Dean. “Oh my God, I’m so sorry... I...” screamed Wendy. “My laptop, you killed my fucking laptop! I haven’t even paid for it yet!” Dean screamed. Wendy was horrified. The drunk guy causing this accident hadn’t even noticed what had happened, and yet she was apologising and to be taking the blame for this catastrophe. “I’m sorry. I’ll buy you a new one... I swear!” Wendy stuttered, her face now glowing red with embarrassment.

Dean attempting to dry coke off his computer which was now not powering up at all. “I’m dead, I’m fucking dead. My report is due next week, and my computer won’t even switch on now!” Dean explained in a state of panic. “Oh my God. Let me pay for it, I’ll buy you a new computer!” said Wendy. “It’ll still be under warranty, I won’t have to pay... but it’s my report I’m worried about. I don’t know if it’ll still be on there now.” explained Dean. “I’m so sorry. I don’t know what to do?” cried Wendy, now on the verge of tears. “There’s nothing you can do.” explained Dean in a sad hopeless tone. Dean quickly, and angrily stood up, gathered his things and left the student bar. She never saw him again for 2 months, until one day in the campus cafeteria, he was stood in line to buy a sandwich and another infamous coke. Wendy grabbed a salad and fresh orange and joined him in line, now standing next to him. “Hey, sorry again about your computer and your report!” she said. Dean turned with a look of confusion on his face, as if to say: are you talking to me? Then, a second or two later as the penny dropped he smiled. “Oh, it’s you! handshake.

I forgot all about that... I’m Dean!” he offered a

“So did you get it back?” asked Wendy, sounding overly concerned. “My computer or the report?” Dean asked. “Erm, well both!” added Wendy. “Oh yeah. I actually managed to fix it myself later that night once I dried all the coke up from all the circuits!” explained Dean.

“Oh, cool!” said Wendy, pretending she understood. “Now the keys are a bit sticky, and my fingers smell of coke when I type for too long,” laughed Dean. “Really?” asked Wendy, still sounding very guilty, and scrunching her face up at the thought. “No, I’m just joking!” said Dean in a reassuring tone and making a waving, forget about it, hand gesture. “Listen, I’m sorry I was rude to you. stressing me out!” added Dean.

That report was really

Wendy gave a single nod, and then looked down at the food options on offer whilst she thought of something else to say. “So, are you good with computers then?” asked Wendy. She realised it was a stupid thing to ask, since she knew absolutely nothing about technology or computers, but wanted to keep the conversation going. “I guess you could say that yeah. I’m studying IT here, and I’m hoping to get into programming! - Why?” asked Dean. Asking why she had asked was a result of Dean’s previous experience of girls on campus, who only ever talked to him when they wanted their computer fixing, or help with it. So it was his assumption that this might be the reason she had asked. Wendy however, was quite paranoid about being asked why she wanted to know this, so thought of a good reason to suddenly be interested in computers. “Oh, well I was thinking of buying one for my reports but I wouldn’t know where to start!” she said nervously, giggling under her breath. That was an outright lie, and she imagined that if Dean had the same ability as her, would he be looking at a dark coloured rose shape in her mind’s aura?? Wendy had never ever had any intention of owning anything electronic, and didn’t even have a mobile telephone. And yet, here she was talking about buying a new computer. It was insane??

“Well, if you’re not busy, I could help you pick one some time if you like?” Dean asked, thinking that had to be the worst ever attempt at chatting up a girl in the history of chatting up girls. Yet Wendy’s eyes lit up with delight. “How about tomorrow?” she asked, like a child who’s been told they’re going to Disney Land. “Oh... sure!” said Dean, and he pulled out a notebook from his pocket and scribbled something on it. “This is my number, just text me when you’re ready!” as he handed her the piece of paper. “Uh...oh, I don’t have a phone!” she responded in disappointment. Dean actually misunderstood, it never occurred to him an 18 year old girl in the year 2010 would not own a phone. He assumed she meant she didn’t have her phone on her, so was confused by this response. Another part of him thought maybe she had a boyfriend who looked through her phone or something equally as sinister. “I’ll meet you at the statues at 11 o clock - that okay?” asked Wendy. The statues referred to the many statues in the court on university campus. “Sure! See you then!” said Dean. This was not only to be their first date, but also Wendy’s first time opening herself up to modern technology.


Wendy hadn’t once peered into Dean’s mind stream, mainly because she was too nervous during the slightly awkward conversation in the canteen, and even more uncomfortable when she showered him with coke in the student bar. She therefore had no idea what he’d been feeling during these encounters, or if he’d lied to her or kept any deep dark secrets. She assumed that this must be what it would be like for normal people to date, and because she was so hopeful about Dean... realised that taking a peak at his mind stream might not be such a good idea just yet. This was unusual for Wendy, who was used to opening people up like a tin of beans during a major case of ‘the munchies’. Although she wanted to protect herself and her feelings, she felt it wouldn’t be right to use her ability on him just yet. Wendy was excited and nervous, nobody had said that this was going to be a date, but it felt like one. At least it was the closest she’d ever been to going on a date with a guy. Really, it was just 2 people buying a computer on a Saturday afternoon - and she didn’t even really want a computer in the first place?? Sweet irony hard at work once again. She could have dated any of the other guys on campus, and they would have probably paid for everything too. But here she was about to shell out hundreds of pounds from her student loan just to spend some time with a boy she didn’t even know. Wendy was no fool, there were no guarantees from this radical event which was about to take place, so she convinced herself that she really did want to start learning using these same computers everyone else was using. She also had a feeling that once he saw how completely new she was to these computers, that maybe he’d hang around and teach her how to use it too if she battered her eyelashes at him the right way.

Dean however, wasn’t convinced at this point. He was used to girls borrowing him for his computer knowledge and discarding him once they’d gotten what they wanted. He didn’t suspect for one moment that the most beautiful and popular girl on campus, (at least amongst the guys anyway), could be interested in him for things other than this geeky computer knowledge. That morning soon came and Wendy was awoken by her alarm clock at the usual time of 6:00am. She was used to being up even earlier than this from her life back on the farm, and was still not entirely used to a beeping sound waking her instead of the kaawks and doodle doo’s of their resident rooster. Tucker was the name she’d given him, their third rooster she had whimsically named during her 18 years, and she was surprised by how much she missed him. The first one she’d called Bobbie, which she named when she was just 5 years old. When he died, their next rooster she named Plucky, in which when she entered the barn where he resided to read a book, she’d often greet him with “I’m coming in to read a booky, Plucky!” Amazingly, Tucker was a real senior amongst the Rooster regiments. Typically living between 5-7 years, Tucker was about to see his 9th birthday just before she left for England. Every time she heard that alarm clock, she wondered if he ever got to see it, and if he was still kaawk-a-doodle-dooing away as the sun made its grand entrance across California’s beautiful east skies. Wendy wondered if she’d been slightly brainwashed or if she was confirming to a modern city’s society by buying a laptop computer. What would Daddy say? she wondered. He’d say, “Them dog-gawn computers will never catch on Bunny!” in his strong American accent. Bunny was the nickname he’d started calling her when she started using a skipping rope. She’d run into the corn fields when she was 6 years old with her rope, and skip for hours amidst a sea of corn. Being so short, it would sometimes completely hide her until she jumped up as the rope hit the ground. “You look like a bouncing little bunny!” he’d once remarked to her, which had set her off giggling so much, that she actually fell over and rolled around in the corn in a fit of hysterics. From this point on, Bunny would always be his special little nickname for her. If she’d been particularly helpful around the farm, she’d sometimes get “Honey Bunny.” When she made a mistake, or said something unusual she was “Funny Bunny,” and like most children have a piggy

bank to keep their pocket money in (or an allowance as her American family would call it), she had a hollow plastic rabbit which her father had cut a coin slot in the top of his head and became her money bunny. She looked at her money bunny next to the alarm clock. Due to the figure’s tall ears which stuck up beyond the slot, this made putting coins in his head slightly awkward, but it was perhaps one of Wendy’s most prized possessions. A laptop, no matter how fancy or expensive would ever hold as much sentimental value to her as him, stood there in his dungarees with his goofy little teeth and his cheeky little smile. Her mother on the other hand would probably say something like, “When in Rome... do as the Romans do.” For her mother was less wary of modern technology, and had even persuaded her dear old Dad to incorporate such modern upgrades as a dishwasher and electric food mixer into their huge farmhouse kitchen. However, dear old Dad would probably insist on opening tins with a pocket knife rather than spend money on such a device he deemed unnecessary as a ‘tin opener’. Wendy jumped into the shower. This was a luxury she was pleased with, since back at home they only had a bath. The shower seemed so much easier, quicker and more refreshing... a great way to wake up on a morning when you’re half asleep as hot water splashed into her face and tickled slightly as it ran down her body. She’d taken showers before, in the high school gymnasium after playing netball or hockey. But when sharing such a facility with 12 or so other self concious girls, enjoying that shower was not as peaceful and cleansing as the private one she was quickly growing to love. Once dressed and dried, she grabbed her purse and made her way to the nearest cash machine (or ATM as she knew them). She had an account which was necessary for her student loan, but she wasn’t entirely sure how much was in there, or how much she could budget towards a new expensive purchase such as a computer. After entering her Mum’s birthday as the pin number, she requested a mini statement and headed back to her room. £2,647.12 read the tiny slip of paper next to the remaining balance. “Available today” was a limit of only £200 which she could withdraw as cash. She knew she was able to make larger purchases using the debit card transaction, which she’d done to pay some of her course

fees shortly after arriving to Oxford. But how much could she afford to spend at once on something she hadn’t originally budgeted for? Wendy wasn’t even sure how much a computer cost, she knew they would be expensive, but would she be looking at a few hundred pounds, or closer to a thousand?? She became troubled by this dilemma, and wondered if she should make some excuses and call the whole thing off. Her parents couldn’t afford to send her any money. Plus, she knew if she was being completely honest, this was all really just an excuse to spend the day with some boy who she barely knew. She suddenly started to feel really stupid. Surely she was beyond this kind of stupidity, she thought. There must be a way to get to know Dean, without having to seriously cut into my student budget, she thought. Just then, at 9:27am, her room mate Deborah returned from an all night party as she came crashing and stumbling through the door. “Oh my head...” Debbie complained, “I’m never going to drink again!” “Yeah, how many times have I heard you say that?” Wendy asked, with a slight undertone of sarcasm. Debbie just groaned and plonked herself face down onto her bed, as if she intended to actually die there without ever moving an inch. Then she suddenly shot up into a sitting position, turned to Wendy in excitement and said, “What’s all this I hear about Dean giving you his laptop?” Wendy took a step back to steady herself, she felt this was necessary to avoid falling over, since the surprise of this one simple question felt like a sledge hammer hitting her in the face, but without the pain of the impact. “What??” she asked. “Don’t act all innocent. He was at the party last night, and he was desperately trying to delete all the dirty pictures off his old laptop, and when I asked him about it, he said he was giving it to you for your coursework!” Debbie ranted.

“No! No... we were going to go and buy one together, but... I... well...” Wendy stuttered as she tried to make sense of this bizarre and unusual new light of conversation. “Well he must really like you if he’s going to do all that! We couldn’t even get him to have a drink with us. Did you fuck him?” Debbie asked. “What?.. No!! I hardly know him!” Wendy stated, feeling like Bill Clinton on trial for his sexual allegations against Monica Lewinsky. ‘I did not have sexual relations with the nice boy from I.T.’ “For real?” asked Debbie. “Scout’s honour!” Wendy proclaimed. “Well he wants to fuck you real bad girl. He’s kinda cute in a dorky kind of way. If you give him a blow job, I reckon you could get all kinds of sweet gifts out of him!” Debbie continued to ramble. Wendy felt physically sick now. Too much was wrong here. Firstly, what was Dean up to exactly giving her such an exotic gift when they’d barely even spoken to each other. But what really churned up Wendy’s guts was Debbie’s attitude to the whole situation. The last thing on Wendy’s mind was to be showered with expensive gifts or using sex to take advantage of a guy for such pointless superficial materials things. Sex in fact, wasn’t to even be considered until she was sure she was in love and ready to make a lasting commitment with a guy who was hopefully planning a similar commitment himself, it was against her strong moral principles. For the first time in her life, she equally felt like defending both herself and Dean at the same time. That seemed strange in itself, since defending a guy she didn’t really know, and only had intuitive feelings about could end up backfiring and kicking her in the teeth. She hadn’t even peaked at his mind stream or used her ability on him at all, and for the first time, she began to realise how blind and uncertain everybody else’s perceptions of newly acquainted people must be. Suddenly however, this began to make a bit more sense. That seemed to explain why so many people hid their true emotions and feelings from one another, and why insecurity seemed to be present in just about everyone she’d ever met. Either way I can’t accept such

an offer, she thought, maybe he was just being nice, maybe he even felt something for her himself which was making him behave unusually. Hell, she’d just been planning to buy a computer just to be near him herself. But putting all this aside, she wasn’t about to accept such a elaborate gift from anybody. When 11:00am finally came around, Wendy found herself waiting at the statues for Dean to make his appearance. The 28 statues of famous historical figures seemed to watch in equal anticipation for the events which were about to follow. Footsteps would begin to fade in, and Wendy became Tucker the rooster from back home, anxiously scanning the area with her wide open beady eyes wondering if it was him. Couples and groups of students would walk past, but Dean was nowhere to be seen. She looked at her watch which now read 11:18, still no sign of Dean. She was about to turn back and go home when the sound of running steps seemed to fade in from nowhere, accompanied by a desperate panting sound. Dean carrying a large black bag over his shoulder came running into the court. “Wendy! I’m sorry...” he gasped, barely able to catch his breath. Then, as he walked up to her and attempted to catch his breath, he continued, “...sorry I’m late, I wanted to surprise you.. so I brought this... but then I slept in and...” he said between large gasping breaths. Wendy had arrived in the court already suspicious of Dean’s intentions. Debbie’s news had made her wary, and now him showing up late seemed to make her even more so. She took a step towards him and used her ability. “Here, this is for you!” Dean smiled as he reached into his bag and pulled out a laptop computer and handed it to her. Wendy wasn’t really paying attention to his, she already knew without looking what he was offering her. She’d already had the lowdown from Debbie and besides, she was concentrating on opening up his mind stream so she could see if he was lying and discover what emotions he was feeling. “Here, take it - it’s yours!” Dean thrusted the computer towards Wendy in a repeating swooping motion, but she was looking for something else. Something seemed to be resisting her ability. There

was no stream and no swirling colours of emotions anywhere to be seen. This had never happened to Wendy before and she wondered why her ability wasn’t working. Could it be because he was out of breath and his heart was too busy pumping oxygen around his fatigued body, she wondered?? “It’s my old computer! I realised last night that I don’t need it any more, so you can borrow it to do your work on,” he stated. Wendy’s face now looked more confused than it had ever looked before. She wondered why her ability wasn’t working. She wondered about Dean’s intentions. Her face featured the look of intense concentration since she was still trying to open up Dean’s stream of thoughts and emotions. At this point, Dean felt like he’d completely blew any chance of getting to know Wendy due to being so late and losing all composure. After all, Wendy wasn’t even acknowledging his offer to borrow his old laptop and was just looking at him with distrust and confusion. This made him panic and feel incredibly uncomfortable, so he placed the computer down gently on the floor in front of her saying, “Look, I’d better go. See you around!” He turned away leaving the laptop behind and walked off into the distance. Wendy was now frozen to the spot. So much was buzzing around her head, and perhaps for the first time since discovering her ability, she was stuck in a place of total confusion and uncertainty. She must have stood there for 3 whole minutes before she finally looked at the computer and picked it up from the floor. He must be hiding his thoughts from me. He must be up to no good. Either that or my ability had suddenly stopped working, were the thoughts running through her head as she held the cold laptop in her hand. I’ll return this to him and stay well clear of that boy, that would be best! A girl came into the court and started walking towards Wendy. She tested her ability and opened her mind stream instantly and saw colours of red and orange swirling from her head. That ruled out the possibility that her ability had somehow faded or disappeared at least. With all these thoughts spinning around her head, and knowing her hungover room mate would pester her incessantly for gossip, taking a walk seemed like the next best course of action.

Wendy walked the streets of Oxford for almost an hour when her hunger got the better of her. During her walk she battled between curiosity which told her that she must find out more about Dean and spend more time with him to get answers, and paranoia and insecurity which convinced her to steer clear no matter what. This had never been a problem in the past, her ability made her so confident and made it so easy to see the truth and to be without it just seemed too risky. As her stomach rumbled, she noticed a family American style diner called Sally’s which boasted to serve ‘the tastiest American burger for miles’ and entered the establishment. She was greeted with the American rock n roll classic: ‘Chuck Berry - No Particular Place to Go’. A guy in his twenties walked up to her, with a burger shaped hat and bright yellow uniform who began greeting her. “Table for one miss?” he asked with a cheesy salesman style smile on his stubbly face. Wendy gave a firm nod and followed the man into one of the booths. Each booth had enough space to fit 4 people, and as she looked at the red leather seat in front of her, she imagined Dean occupying this space and wondered if she had been too quick to dismiss the plans of their day together. “Can I get you a drink to start miss?” he asked. “I’ll take a coke please” she stated, and as he handed her a menu she remembered the coke incident from when she’d first met Dean at the student bar. It didn’t seem like Dean was the kind of guy to take advantage of girls. He had been the only one sober, and the only one more interested in his computer than ogling girls at the party. That was what had drawn her to him in the first place, she thought. It didn’t add up to think that he was trying to take advantage since he’d left her the laptop and had now gone back to his dorm without any attempts to flirt, take her out, get her drunk or any of the things she’d come to expect from the other male students. She’d also become very good at rejecting these attempted advances from these males, so once again she wondered why she was so wary of Dean. A new song now clicked on the jukebox, sitting in the corner next to the till, it was ‘Lenny Kravitz - American Woman’. The guy in the

burger uniform returned and slapped a glass of coke down in front of her in a slightly rude and impatient manner. “Are you ready to order some food yet miss?” he asked. “Sure, I’ll take a quarter pounder cheeseburger please!” she said, wondering if it tasted anything like the ones back home. “You want curly fries or French fries with that?” he added. “Curly fries please.” As he walked away, an old lady walked past and seemed to stare right into Wendy’s eyes with a definite curiosity in them which made Wendy feel slightly uncomfortable. She walked over to the booth behind Wendy, but instead of sitting down, she doubled back on herself and started to speak. “Excuse me young lady. I hate eating along, would you mind if I joined you?” she asked, in a kind sincere voice. Normally, this kind of unusual situation would have caused Wendy to peak into the person’s mind stream, but today she just gave a nod and hoped conversation with a stranger could take her mind off things, at least until she’d finished her lunch. The lady grabbed her drink from the next booth and sat down opposite Wendy. “I come here every day for my lunch. My name’s Norma, and I’m 78 years young!” she said in a delightfully chirpy voice which made Wendy smile for the first time today. This seemed like an odd place to Wendy for a 78 year old British lady to eat her lunch every day, but pushed that thought to the back of her mind. “Hi Norma, I’m Wendy. I’m 18 from California!” “Oh my... 18?? My, you’re so pretty and such a long way from home. Are you visiting?” she asked in a musical and hypnotically engaging voice. “I’m a student at Oxford, I’m studying criminal psychology!” Wendy explained.

“Oh, how nice. Do you have a boyfriend?” asked Norma. She always spoke very slowly and musically, a voice which seemed almost impossible to shut out or ignore. Wendy paused for a moment as she recalled Dean handing her the laptop, and realised this was the closest she’d ever gotten to having a boyfriend, and then answered, “No, no boyfriend!” Norma’s face turned from a hopeful delighted look of anticipation to a slightly bemused expression, and then she smiled again, “but there is one special boy though isn’t there?” asked Norma, once again displaying a joyful look of anticipation. Wendy frowned one eyebrow and wondered how this old lady had become so good at reading people. She was starting to feel a little interrogated by the sweet old lady and wondered if this was how people felt when she practised her mind voodoo on them. She didn’t much feel like discussing these very personal concerns with a complete stranger, and would never reveal her ability to anyone, not even her parents knew about that. So, defensively she started avoiding the question. “It’s a lovely day today right? The tulips have blossomed and...” before she could finish, the old lady began talking over the top of her with a look of deep disappointment on her face. “Why don’t you want to talk about it honey? You know,... I can help!” said Norma in her usual hypnotic, music slow engaging voice. “Talk about what? I am talking with you,” Wendy said. “I’m talking about Dean. The guy who gave you that computer!” said Norma, this time in a spooky low tone which actually sent a chill down Wendy’s spine. At this point, Wendy began to feel a little scared. Who was this old lady? Someone who had obviously been talking to Dean who was now looking more suspicious than ever. And if it hadn’t been for the food and drink she’d ordered, she would have gotten up and left right there and then. Instead, Wendy opened up Norma’s mind stream and peered into it. She saw swirling colours and patterns as usual, but the variation in tones and shades almost covered the entire spectrum. Like a swirling rainbow of colour and light, she’d never seen a mind stream like this before.

“You’re looking into my mind aren’t you?” asked Norma. Food or no food, it was time to get up and leave. Wendy in a state of sheer terror and panic stood up, knocking the coke all over the laptop and as she turned to run out of the door, Norma’s cold leathery skin of her skinny bony hand grabbed her arm. “It’s okay Wendy. It’s all right. I can see it too!” Norma said in a quieter more private whispering voice. The man in the burger hat and the yellow uniform appeared and placed 2 plates of food down in front of them. “Here you go ladies... one fish pie, and one cheeseburger... oh, let me get you another drink miss,” said the man as he noticed the spillage all over the table, “I’ll get a cloth!” he added. Wendy was still stood up, and still had Norma’s hand gripping her arm. She looked at her, and then looked at her cheeseburger, as she contemplated the two options in her head. Run from the crazy old woman? or sit down and eat my burger? “Sit back down dear and eat it before it gets cold!” instructed Norma. Wendy cautiously sat back down moving only her knees, but didn’t move another muscle. She sat and stared back at Norma as she started eating her fish pie. “Mmmmm, my favourite!” Norma said. The man in the burger hat returned with a cloth and wiped up the spilt coke from both the table and the computer. “Oh no, I hope your computer’s okay!” he stated. “It’s not my computer!” Wendy replied in a monotone voice, sounding a little like a hypnotised robot. The man returned once again with a full glass of coke and placed it down in front of Wendy. “There you go miss, on the house!” he smiled and walked away.

Norma stopped eating her fish pie for a moment, paused and looked at Wendy. “Your burger’s getting cold Wendy!” Wendy grabbed the burger and took a bite. It tasted different to the burgers back at home, and she wondered if it were the cows that were different in England. Under normal circumstances she probably would have pictured something whimsical like a cow mooing with a British accent, but such whimsical thoughts were absent at this moment. “So you can see people’s thoughts too?” asked Wendy as she tasted her first curly fry. It would have tasted good if it wasn’t for the over seasoning. “I’ve been able to see them all my life,” said Norma. Wendy’s eyes shifted to the side as she tried to recall her earliest memory of mind streaming. Had she been born with it? or did it develop at an early age? but before she could answer with any kind of certainty, Norma interrupted her attempted recollection. “That’s a nice computer Dean gave you, you’re not really going to give it back to him are you?” asked Norma. “How do you know Dean? Did he talk to you? And how do you know I’m planning on giving him it back??” Wendy asked in a demanding tone. This was unusual for Wendy, she never lost her temper but this situation was becoming too much for her to handle calmly. Her emotions were ruling at this moment. “It’s all right there in your head Wendy! As plain as the nose on your face!” Norma exclaimed. “You can see all that? All I see is light and shapes!” Wendy said, her voice expressed a tone of slight amazement. The old lady laughed a real deep laugh which came from right down in her belly. A small lump of fish pie projected out of her mouth and landed on her chin which instantly made her stop and wipe it off with a napkin. “You’re still very young Bunny. I might even call you Youngy Bunny!” said Norma, with a proud, smug look on her face.

This was enough conclusive proof for Wendy, she hadn’t shared her father’s nickname for her with anyone since coming to England. There was no way this woman wasn’t able to read her thoughts, and not just the current ones either, but deeper more hidden thoughts and memories which were last dug up much earlier today. How was she able to do all that, and would Wendy herself ever be able to finetune this ability to this degree she wondered. Then, as if directly answering these exact questions, Norma responded... “Well sure Bunny, you’re still learning, and with plenty of time, patience and practice... You’ll be able to dig much deeper too! But I’m not exactly who you think I am either” said Norma. “Holy shit!” Wendy replied in complete amazement, and then as she realised what she’d said, she put her hand over her mouth as if trying to undo the swear word she’d already spoken. This kind of language would have resulted in a good smack from her parents, even at age 18, and swearing wasn’t a regular part of her publicly used lexicon. “Aren’t you going to ask me?” said Norma. “Ask you what?” asked Wendy. “About Dean, child!” said Norma. “What about him?” asked Wendy. “Oh Lord! You’re as green as the first training bra your mama bought you back in 2005.” stated Norma. Wendy’s eyes became large and wide. Another hidden secret the old lady had dug up direct from Wendy’s mind, and now made public for the entire population of Sally’s American Diner. Wendy finally began to understand how intrusive this ability was, and how easily it could be abused (especially at Norma’s level of ability). “You were wondering why you can’t see his mind and if you can trust him weren’t you?” Norma asked. Wendy was beginning to feel more like a prop in a play than an actual character, she didn’t have to speak lines or show body language or expressions in order for the audience of Norma to comprehend her. All she could do was be used and manipulated in whatever way this powerful old lady desired, and no amount of

resistance or distancing could stop her. She was merely a puppet, and Norma held all the strings. “Okay, so tell me,” said Wendy. “Dean is a wonderful young man, and I can promise you he can be trusted with your heart,” Norma said. Wendy should have been happy to hear such news, but two disturbing thoughts crossed her mind. (1) How can she read Dean’s mind through hers, and (2) How could Wendy be sure the lady was telling the truth or if she could trust her? “I can also tell you that if you do open up your heart and your trust to him, your ability will begin to grow. Love grows the spirit!” “I don’t understand, who are you? Why do you care about any of this anyway?” Wendy asked in an upset, overwhelmed tone. “Listen to me Bunny! This is important.... The reason you can’t see Dean’s mind stream is because his is locked. He’s one of God’s special people who isn’t tuned like the rest of us, to protect him from...” she hesitated. “...well, just to protect him! My husband was the same, we can’t love a person who’s mind we can see, that would take all the fun, trust, surprise and everything else worthwhile out of it. Dean is the one for you, so hop along Bunny! Time is running out...” explained Norma. Wendy now felt more confused than ever and slightly nauseous. The old lady was supposed to be helping and giving her answers, yet she had more questions and confusion than ever before. This morning, her only concern had been how much money to spend on a computer, and now, she was so overwhelmed with crazy information she felt like her head might explode. The old lady had even mentioned God at one point, and Wendy had never even considered herself a true believer of God. Did the old lady believe that this mind streaming gift has some kind of religious connection? “I don’t understand. Who are you? Why are you here?” asked Wendy, her voice now on the verge of tears.

The old lady put her knife and fork down, her plate now empty, folded her arms and looked at Wendy with sympathy. “Poor Bunny, it’s a lot to take in isn’t it? Please excuse me...” said Norma, as she started to get up. “Wait, where are you going?” asked Wendy in sheer panic. “Well, my bladder’s not what it used to be you know,” Norma replied. “Hang on, I’ll come with you...” Wendy added. It seemed unlikely that a frail old lady of 78 would be escaping through the bathroom window, but Wendy couldn’t chance it. She finally had someone who could give her answers, help her develop her ability and share experiences of their gift with, no matter how creepy she was. She followed Norma close as she went into the toilets. “Are there any others with this gift?” asked Wendy. The old lady gave a disgruntled groan, and replied “I’m sure there are, but you’re the first I’ve seen in quite a while.” Wendy felt a little deceived as Norma entered one of the cubicles, her answer had seemed somewhat vague. ‘Not in quite a while’ suggested that Norma had met others, but was reluctant to talk about them. Still, best wait until she’s finished on the toilet, especially if she’d inadvertently hit a bit of a soar subject. Wendy didn’t actually need the toilet, but she thought she would try to go anyway. After a few minutes of trying, she eventually gave up. “Norma, are you all right in there?” asked Wendy. There was no response, so Wendy exited her cubicle and gave a light tap on Norma’s cubicle door. The door slowly swung open to reveal an empty toilet. Wendy panicked and ran out of the toilets, hoping to spot her. Sure enough, as the diner’s doors were closing behind her, she saw Norma leaving, making a left down the street. Wendy ran after her. Just as Wendy reached the doors, a strong hand grabbed the hood of her hooded sweatshirt and pulled her back. It was the waiter in the burger shaped hat. “Excuse me miss, you haven’t paid for your order!” the man said, in a scolding tone.

“One minute, I’ll come right back!” said Wendy, struggling against his grip, still trying to chase after Norma. “I don’t think so little Missy!” he said, pulling her further back into the restaurant. “We’re not going to have a problem here are we?” he asked in a surly tone. “No, I’ll pay... how much?” Wendy asked, her voice spoke as if time were of the essence. “Ashley, bill please - table 47!” he shouted across the diner at an overweight girl who was manning the till. “Sure Ralph!” she responded. Ralph kept his grip firm on Wendy until the large woman handed him the bill. The whole process took about two minutes, but to Wendy it seemed like forever. “That comes to £24.65” he stated as he held his hand out flat to receive the money. This is great, the old lady’s getting away, and has obviously lumbered me with the bill too, thought Wendy. She reached into her purse, pulled out a crisp 20 and a slightly crumpled 10 and thrust them into Ralph’s open (gimme) hand gesture. “Keep the change!” she said, in a fast rushed pace. She once again tried to head for the door, but was still being held firmly by the grip of Ralph’s burger greased hand as he held onto the hood of her sweatshirt. “LET ME GO!!” Wendy screamed. Ralph looked down at the money, and then closely at Wendy’s face. “Don’t let me catch you in here again!” he said in anger, speaking through his teeth. Then finally, his hand let go and Wendy sprinted for the door. She burst through the large glass door, almost knocking over an elderly gentleman who was reaching for it, and headed left down the street in search of Norma. “Norma! Norma!! NORMA!!” she screamed, as she ran down the street weaving in and out of pedestrian traffic. She couldn’t have gotten this far, what seemed like an hour getting out of the diner couldn’t have been much more than 2 minutes in reality. She

scanned up and down the streets, but it was no use at all. She was gone. As she started walking back to her dorm, she remembered the laptop. In all the hurry and panic, she’d left it on the table in the Diner, and wasn’t even entirely sure it would still work. This was now the 2nd computer she’d spilt coke on, and owning a computer herself was beginning to seem like a dreadful idea. She entered the diner, and her good friend Ralph came over. “I thought I told you not to come back here!” he snarled. “Relax, I’m just getting my laptop!” explained Wendy. As she walked up to table 47, she noticed a family were now sat in the booth. “Where is it?” Wendy asked, turning to Ralph. “Have you lost something?” asked Ralph. Wendy frowned and stared into Ralph’s eyes, with an intimidating look on her face. She opened up his mind stream, and sure enough she was greeted with swirling patterns of blue and purple, and a small dark rose shape growing in the middle. “What have you done with my laptop?” she asked, with a slightly threatening tone in her voice. “You didn’t have a laptop!” Ralph replied, and seemed to emphasise the ‘you’. Wendy flashed Ralph’s dark rose which was the same size as before, but despite not growing, this had to be the shape that represent his lie. “There was a laptop on table 47, but after I cleaned your coke off it, you distinctly said that it wasn’t yours!” Ralph stated. The sneaky bastard was right of course, she had said that it wasn’t her laptop after he cleaned up her coke. Her ability had still worked, but his method of withholding the laptop from her involved Wendy’s previous carelessness when asked about it earlier. “It’s not mine, it’s my friends...” said Wendy, she leaned closer to Ralph and said in a slow, threatening voice, “now give it back!”

Just then, the large girl on the till spoke up “Your friend... she took it with her. I saw her grab it as she left!” “What friend?” “The old lady you had lunch with!” Just to make sure, Wendy checked the girl’s mind stream and sure enough, she was telling the truth. Who was Norma? (if that was her real name), and what was she up to? Best of all, what could she possibly want with Dean’s laptop?? When Wendy returned to her room, she flopped down on the bed, in a similar way to how Debbie had flopped earlier that morning. She cried into her pillow, and as the warm salty tears ran down her face, the pillow became saturated with her deep sorrow.


Monday morning, on her way to her first lecture, Wendy looked out for Dean. She equally wanted to see him, but also hoped she’d avoid him at the same time. Every boy with a similar frame caused a little nervous flutter of butterflies in her stomach as she looked closer, but none of them were him. When she entered the theatre, she got flashbacks of the old lady as she watched other students open up their laptops in order to take notes. If only she could track her down and make her give it back, and then she remembered her first words to her. “I eat lunch here every day,” she’d stated, which had caused Wendy to wonder why such a modern diner full of young students would attract such an old lady in the first place. That’s it! That’s it!! I’ll go there during my lunch break, and demand she give it back. Professor Simpson greeted his students whilst sipping coffee from his oversized mug and began to write on the huge whiteboard “The motives of a killer.” The class was about to get very interesting to Wendy, since the previous lectures had covered the basic psychology which led to petty crimes, and eventually worked up to motives for rape. She’d always wondered what could have happened in a person’s past to motivate them to kill another human being. The first slide illuminated the large projection screen which outlined the typical profile of a killer. Usually young males (20-40) who seem ordinary to neighbours and colleagues. Move house frequently, perhaps to distance themselves from crimes. A history of unstable relationships and employment, often carrying out itinerant jobs such as bouncer, driver, wheel-clamper, bartender. Often loners, living in solitude. Pathological liars, lacking empathy and often with a background of assault, trespass and burglary. Wendy scanned the guys in the lecture theatre, and realised this profile probably fit many of these young males. Childhood abuse and neglect came up as the top psychological motives for serial killers. Next were those with mental disabilities and those who claimed to be

acting upon voices from God or Satan to rid the world of a certain group of undesirables. Finally, sexual gratification or seeking the enjoyment of power when taking a life came up on the screen. “Harold Shipman, aka: Dr Death seems to be one exception,” Simpson stated. “Perhaps replaying his mother’s death who was dying of cancer and administered morphine by her doctor to ease her pain and suffering, gave Shipman a thrill of endorphins which he became addicted to replaying in his later life. But since he’d taken this secret to the grave, nobody could ever know for sure.” “Then, there is the psychopath who just seems to have no motive, and has killed in the name of pure evil!” Simpson added. The screen changed to the slide of a bald man, who looked about 50 and who looked normal at first, but Wendy noticed something in his eyes which made her cringe and turned her stomach. “This is Tod Selby. He committed a series of murders with a kitchen knife, stabbing various victims in the throat as recent as 4 years ago in the Midlands area. He is an exception to the rules of most criminal profiles. When asked why he did it, he claimed it was purely for fun.” Simpson explained. He then went on to explain that after killing the victim, Selby would gouge out the victim’s eyes right out of the socket, one of the sickest crimes in British history up there with Jack the Ripper. Wendy read the notes on the screen about him. These included such bullet points as, no specific victim type, glory killing, no mental disorder, intelligent man with a respectable manager’s job - he was the only killer mentioned who didn’t seem to fit the typical ‘killer’ profile. As Wendy gathered her belongings and started to leave the lecture theatre, Simpson grabbed her arm and stopped her. “I’ve been informed that there’s a personal item of yours in lost property at reception, you’ll need to go and collect it!” he said. She made her way to reception and showed her I.D. card to the smartly dressed woman manning the desk. “Apparently, you have something for me in lost property?” Wendy asked. The woman bent down for a moment, and reappeared with Dean’s laptop in her hands. Wendy’s face lit up like a Christmas tree.

“Oh wow! Do you know who handed it in?” she asked. “She wouldn’t give her name, but she was a very old lady with a big smile.” Norma, (or whatever her name was) must have returned it for her, but why did she steal it from her in the first place? Wendy grabbed the laptop and put it in her large college bag. Now she could return it to Dean, and just hoped that the spillage of coke in the diner hadn’t disabled this machine too. “Oh, one more thing, can you tell me what room Dean is in?” “Dean...?” repeated the receptionist, as if prompting her for a surname. “I don’t know his surname, sorry. I know he studies I.T. though!” The receptionist paused for a moment, as if checking in her head if it was okay to reveal such information and then ran a search on her computer. “Aaah, yes. We only have one Dean here, Dean Cooper. He’s over in the Winston house but I can’t tell you which room I’m afraid. Not without his consent.” “Okay thanks!”, and off Wendy went for her lunch in the canteen. She hoped to spot Dean there, but as she sat and ate her lunch, it was looking like he’d gone elsewhere for his lunch that day. As she finished the last bite of her sandwich and stood up from the table, Dean walked into the cafeteria. “Dean!” she shouted, which caused just about everyone in the room to look right at her. She felt her face glow a bright red, but decided this was no time to be concerned about embarrassment. She was just so pleased to have the laptop back, so she could return it to Dean. “Dean, over here!” she repeated. Dean stopped in his tracks, looked at Wendy and hesitated for a moment. In truth, due to Wendy’s silence and refusal to take the machine, he had convinced himself that she wanted very little if anything to do with him ever again. Especially since he’d showed up

late on Saturday. Then, as his brain told him ‘look you idiot, she’s calling you over’, his face gave a relieved little smile which he tried to conceal, but wasn’t quite able to hide it. He came over and sat at the table with Wendy. “Hi! - Do you forgive me?” Wendy pondered this for a moment, she wasn’t quite sure what he was referring to. If anything, she felt guilty about being careless with his laptop and actually felt like she was the one who needed forgiving, not him. “What for?” “Being late on Saturday, I really didn’t mean to...” Wendy interrupted him in mid sentence, waving his apology attempt away with her hand. “No, no. It’s fine. I should be the one who’s sorry, you just surprised me with the computer. I should have thanked you instead of being so suspicious, it’s just...” Wendy stopped herself. What she was about to say was that it was just that she couldn’t see his mind stream, but how would she ever explain that? As she tried to think of a way to change the rest of the sentence without sounding suspicious or strange, Dean spoke again. “Look, I really like you...” Dean’s face was now the one which was glowing bright red, “...I mean, I don’t want to upset you or anything. How’s the laptop?” Wendy displayed a brief look of regret, and shame. Tilting her head down slightly for a moment. “I erm, well, I.. I had another accident!” she handed the laptop to Dean who now looked slightly confused. His mind was playing scenes of Wendy getting electrocuted by his laptop, or tripping over it or perhaps trapping her dainty fingers as she closed the lid. “Oh, are you all right?” Wendy smiled, and had a little chuckle to herself, her head still looking down in shame.

“No not that kind of accident. I spilt coke on this one too.” her voice now low and quiet, almost a whisper. Dean smiled, and then laughed hysterically. His laugh gave Wendy relief, she wouldn’t have blamed him if he’d picked it up and hit her with it after man-slaughtering two of his computers. “Wow, you must drink a lot of coke.” he chuckled. Wendy considered this, and actually, she never drank coke. She was a fruit juice and water kind of girl and had only started drinking coke since meeting Dean a few days earlier. She thought she would keep that to herself for now and just gave a little shrug. “I’m sorry Dean, is it okay?” Dean opened the laptop and powered it on. “It still boots!” he said, with an air of excitement in his voice. “Although the keys are a little sticky,” he added with an amused little smirk. Then, his eyes looked opened wide with surprise, and he added, “wow, you’ve been busy!” Wendy leaned forward, looking surprised herself. “What do you mean?” “All these folders on the desktop!” Dean announced. Wendy had no idea what this meant. Folders and desktop were words she associated with a secretary or an office, but had never learned enough about computers to know they were also terms used in the digital world. She was now faced with a dilemma, she wanted to explain that she hadn’t so much as powered the machine up (mainly because she didn’t know how), but realised that wouldn’t explain it having been used unless she admitted to losing it and allowing it to be swiped by a random creepy old lady at a local diner. Norma must have used the machine before returning it to her. What would a 78 year old lady want with Dean’s laptop? and what had she been doing on there? There was a safe and sneaky way to perhaps find out. “So, my work’s still on there then?” she asked, cunningly.

“Sure, I’m looking at the folders right here!” Wendy concluded from this, that folders must contain some kind of work which had been done on the machine, so she added “can you help me print it out?” “Sure, we can go to the library, but they’ll charge you 5 pence a sheet, and it looks like you have a lot of pages here. If you like, we can go print it on my printer in my room?” Wendy tried opening up Dean’s mind stream again, it was like an auto pilot response to his invitation, and then she was reminded that it wouldn’t work on Dean. She wondered what colours she’d have seen. Would they be the safe, gentle colours like reds and oranges? or would she see darker, aggressive blue and purple intentions from him? “It’s colour!” Dean added, he sounded like a small child bragging proudly. For a moment, Wendy felt uneasy, she was thinking of Dean’s mind streaming colours and as if responding, he’s said ‘it was colour’. Then she realised he was talking about his printer. She felt reasonably safe with Dean, and reminded herself that every other girl in the world (except perhaps Norma), had to use these basic instincts when deciding to accept or decline such invitations. “Sure. Aren’t you eating?” she asked. “I’m not hungry,” said Dean. That was true, but strange, since he’d been dreaming of the cafeteria’s awful chilli con carne all throughout his IT lectures. However, sitting with Wendy seemed to satisfy a different kind of hunger. “I’m free now. Do you have classes?” Dean asked, hoping she’d be free this afternoon. Wendy looked at her watch, she was due to attend more psychology classes in just 10 or so minutes but decided to skip them for today. “No, I’m free!” she said. “Cool, let’s go then...” Dean stood up and they walked out of the canteen as his belly gave a subtle rumbling complain as if to say (sure, she’s a nice girl but I still need feeding). Food however

seemed like a low source of energy compared to the presence of Wendy’s company, which seemed to energise him in a way he’d not felt before.


As Wendy walked with Dean into Winston house, she began to notice how different it was to her girls dorm. The carpet felt a little sticky, as years of spilt beer had accumulated, and there was a slight stale beery smell wafting down the halls. As she walked past doors with loud televisions blaring and rap music thumping over the sound of male laughter, she wondered how clean Dean’s room would be. “I like your accent, you’re from America?” he asked. “Uh-huh, California!” “So are you one of them surfer girls?” “Ha, hardly... I live in a small farming town called Crescent Mills. The beach is about 40km away. I don’t know what that is in miles though.” “So you live on a farm?” “Yeah.” “That’s cool! I bet your Mum’s a good cook.” “God yeah, I miss her cooking,” she laughed, thinking back to the huge farmhouse meals sat around the dinner table. “Well, maybe I can cook for you some time, I do a wicked spaghetti.” This made Wendy smile, and blush a little at the same time. “A boy cooking, now that I gotta see!” “I’m banning you from drinking coke anywhere near a computer though!” he joked, as he touched her arm with the back of his hand.

Wendy laughed, it felt good as if Dean still liked her despite the dumb clumsy quirks which had led her up to this point. She couldn’t help but wonder if part of that was just pity. “This is me!” Dean stated as he stopped outside one of the doors. Room 47. He took out his key and fumbled with the lock nervously. It took him a few attempts to get it into the lock, and he even dropped the key twice before succeeding. This put Wendy’s mind at ease, despite not being able to look into his mind, this intense fumbling suggested he too was nervous, and probably not used to taking girls into his room. She wondered if he too had butterflies fluttering in his stomach. The room was vacant, his room mate no doubt was most likely attending the afternoon classes. There were countless star wars and other movie figures balanced on the book shelves. Computers, gadgets, devices and toys laying on desks and shelves everywhere. A few posters of semi naked young women with absurdly large breasts posed over the beds and computer desk. “Take a seat!” Dean gestured with his hand at the one chair at the desk, and Wendy sat down. He powered on the printer and sat the laptop on the desk whilst standing directly behind her. Reaching beyond her in order to do so, his arms occasionally brushed past hers. As he powered on the computer, a warm sigh of his breath gushed down her neck, giving her a slightly warm tingle as it flowed over her skin. As the machine booted up, he crouched down beside her, placing his hand gently on her shoulder to steady himself. His hand was warm and a little sweaty, and he seemed slightly nervous and uncomfortable. As the icons appeared on the desktop, she saw little yellow folder shaped icons with text under them. One read ‘Mind Stream’, another read ‘Tod Selby’ and the last one was named ‘Astral Projection’. Norma must have put these on there, she thought. She also wondered what kind of information would be spitting out of Dean’s printer if she printed them all out. Mind Stream was obviously about her and Norma’s gift and ability, which wasn’t safe for Dean to see. Astral Projection sounded like some kind of movie theatre technology which made no sense. And Tod Selby seemed familiar to her somehow.

Almost instantly, the 50 year old bald man from the morning’s lecture flashed into her head. Tod Selby was the name of the psychotic serial killer who had stabbed people in the throat 4 years ago. Why would Norma be writing about Tod Selby, and what had she written? Better yet, why did she want to pass this information on to Wendy? “Shall I print them all?” Dean asked. Certainly not. What if Dean became curious and read or inadvertently saw information about her unique gift or ability. He’d think her a freak. Astral Projection held no meaning, but she couldn’t risk it being something equally as personal. But Tod Selby seemed like a subject that Wendy might not only benefit from in her studies, but seemed like it might pass as genuine research for her course. “Just Tod Selby for now thanks!” Wendy had no idea how to use a computer, and no clue how to even open these files, but if she paid close attention as Dean now printed the Tod Selby folder for her, perhaps she could continue to borrow the laptop and read the other items alone in her room away from prying eyes. She watched Dean’s hands closely as they navigated the touch pad, double clicked the left button on the Tod Selby folder, and double clicked the first document within it. Pages of text quickly filled the screen, and he sent it to his printer. “So is Tod Selby your boyfriend?” Dean asked. “Nah, he’s a serial killer we had to write about for my course!” “I see” Dean replied, with a slight tone of disappointment. He was hoping she would say that she didn’t have a boyfriend. Wendy watched the sheets fly out of the printer, filling with rich, dark text and wondered what was written on them. She felt like a bit of a criminal lying to Dean. In her 18 years on the planet, she’d hardly ever told a lie, hidden truths or emotions from people. And yet this one sweet guy, who she really wanted to trust and really wanted to spend time with, was quickly becoming the victim of her slowly accumulating deceptions.

For the first time in Wendy’s life, she now began to understand why people kept things hidden and told lies to protect themselves. She even felt a little guilty for being so quick to open the truth within people and forcing it out of them over all those years. For it was because of this desire to be liked by Dean that caused her to keep things from him. If she admitted to losing his laptop, he’d think she was careless and irresponsible. The last things which Wendy in fact was. If she told him about her ability, he’d think she was a freak. These were the thoughts which now tortured Wendy’s niggling conscience. “So what made you want to study criminal psychology anyway?” “I don’t know really, I guess I want to do something which could help people.” “Help people how?” Dean asked in a curious tone. “Well all my life, I’ve wondered what makes people do things to hurt others, and from my experience it’s just that people sort of lose their way.” “So you think that serial killers are just lost souls needing guidance?” “Well, you’re over simplifying, but yeah... that’s sort of my reasoning!” Wendy explained. Wendy glanced over at the printer and to her horror, she was confronted with a large colour image of a young dead woman, covered in blood from a severe knife wound in her throat. This was a genuine crime scene photo, the kind which were not available to the public. How did Norma get hold of this? and why did she want her to see it? Dean looked and saw this too and immediately lowered his head in disgust looking away. “You mean to tell me whoever did that had a genuine REASON??” Dean asked in definitive anger. “I’m not saying it’s right, but sometimes people do bad things because bad things were done to them, and I guess they don’t know any different!”

“Don’t know any different?!? Anybody who can do that to another human being has no soul, no humanity so far as I can see!” Dean screamed. He was enraged at the thought of someone defending or attempting to justify these kinds of inhumane actions. His printer had now began printing a second murder victim photo in full colour. He leaned over to the printer and stabbed the power button with his finger. The device cancelled the half finished print and spat out the current sheet before completely powering down. “I’m sorry, I can’t print this.” Dean sounded distraught and overwhelmed with disgust. He grabbed the sheet which had printed and handed them to Wendy. “I’m sorry, I haven’t got the stomach for this!” he announced as his eyes started to swell up with pain and tears, and then he grabbed his coat and left his own room in a hurry. Wendy just sat there for a while. She didn’t blame Dean for freaking out, the image had been particularly disturbing and his reaction was a good sign of a conscience. It did however reflect baldy on her. There was no way to explain having such vivid, gruesome pictures on his laptop either, not without confessing everything. She now began to feel that any romantic intentions Dean may have had towards her, would probably now be as dead as the poor woman in that photo. And who could blame him? There was nothing she could do about it, all was lost in the delicate early stages of a newly blossoming friendship between Dean and Wendy. The only thing she could do now was to inspect the entire contents of the laptop in the privacy of her room and try to make sense of it. Find out whether the destruction of her attempt to fulfil her desires had been worth whatever sick information Norma had put onto that computer. As she grabbed her laptop, she felt overcome with sadness and pain. Tears started to run down her face, but she wasn’t entirely sure what had caused them. Was it the misunderstanding in Dean’s mind as he saw the detailed horrifying image? Or was it the image itself, that poor innocent woman laying dead in a pool of her own blood? It was perhaps in reality, a little of both. Wendy grabbed the computer and walked to Dean’s door. Then she realised Debbie would be a distraction, peeking at the contents of

the laptop, so decided to stay. She sat on Dean’s bed and wiped the tears from her eyes as she turned the laptop back on. Once again, she saw the desktop and the 3 folder icons which had been put there by Norma. She opened up the Tod Selby folder and began to read. The files contained actual police evidence leading to the arrest of Selby. Finger prints, witness statements, details on the murders, victims, motives and everything else the authorities had collected in evidence against him. Then, at the end of all this were actual video recorded interviews and minutes with psychologists, trying to find out why he’d committed such atrocities. SESSON 1: October 8th, 2005 - 3:00pm. Tod Selby psychiatric evaluation: Dr Mendez. DR MENDEZ: Do you know why you’re here? SELBY: They all fall down! DR MENDEZ: I’m sorry? SELBY: So am I. Let me guess, it’s your job to get to the bottom of this gigantic can of worms right? You want to find out what makes me tick, why I did it, and blah blah blah. DR MENDEZ: Let’s talk about your first victim, Patricia Longhurst, 37, mother of 3... SELBY: Aaah that sweet sound of her screams. You wouldn’t believe how much she begged me to do it. DR MENDEZ: She begged you to do what exactly?

SELBY: To kill her of course. (Patient laughing, appears proud). DR MENDEZ: So you were doing her a favour? Because she asked to have her throat stabbed with a ten inch kitchen knife? SELBY: Doctor, doctor, doctor! They all begged me to do it... eventually! DR MENDEZ: Mrs Longhurst was a proud mother, a wife and a part time teacher. Why would she beg you to kill her, she had a happy fulfilled life. SELBY: She begged me to kill her because I gave her a choice. DR MENDEZ: You were playing God? SELBY: God? No, no no... God doesn’t come into this at all. He lacks my kind of discipline. I gave her a simple choice. DR MENDEZ: To live or die? Why would she choose to die? SELBY: You know you’re a terrible listener for a shrink! That’s the fourth time you’ve interrupted me now. You keep asking me questions and then try to answer them for me. Is that what you want? Do you want to put words into my mouth? You have a pretty mouth doctor. I’d like to put something very sweet in your mouth... IF IT WOULD JUST SHUT UP FOR A FUCKING MINUTE!!

Now, where were we? Oh yes, you wanted to know why she chose to die? Well, I simply told her she could live and watch me kill each of her three children whilst I made her watch, or she could beg me to end her life and therefore her suffering. We all suffer doctor. We suffer from the sickness of love. DR MENDEZ: You see love as a sickness? SELBY: (Laughs) Well of course it is! That’s why I’ve been free all my life to do as I please, because I’ve never loved. Love is nothing but a weakness. DR MENDEZ: Would you have really killed her 3 children if she hadn’t have begged you to kill her instead? SELBY: But of course! DR MENDEZ: Okay, so why did you take out her eyes? SELBY: Oh that part’s just for fun! DR MENDEZ: You enjoy taking people’s eyes out? SELBY: Well isn’t that what society teaches us? Every corporation, every government, every employer.... they all have our eyes out don’t they? So we can’t see the sickness that surrounds what’s become of the world!

DR MENDEZ: Well thank God we stopped you! SELBY: Stopped? Oh no... this is just the beginning my dear. Keeping me locked up in here won’t stop me fulfilling my destiny! DR MENDEZ: Destiny? SELBY: Mankind must pay for its sins. DR MENDEZ: Well you’ll certainly pay for yours. I want you to tell me about your childhood or your parents. We couldn’t find any information about them. SELBY: Let me guess, you’re wanting to blame all this on my abusive childhood? That would help you sleep at night wouldn’t it doctor. After all, evil is the result of abuse, neglect and unfulfilled love right? .... WRONG! I kill because I enjoy it. It’s that simple. And don’t think you’ve stopped me because I’m in here, you’ve merely delayed me for a while. You see, I’m not just a regular guy... I’m much more powerful than everyone else. DR MENDEZ: Really? SELBY: You think I’m crazy. You think I have some textbook psychotic disorder like schizophrenia. I know, I can read your mind! DR MENDEZ: Can you really? Then what am I thinking about right now?

SELBY: Oh, I can do better than that doctor. I can tell you what colour panties your 6 year old daughter is wearing. What’s her name again? Lizzie! DR MENDEZ: How the fuck do you know about my daughter? SELBY: Relax doctor. You don’t want that blood pressure problem of yours to get worse do you? I see everything, it’s a gift really. I’ll tell you what, I’ll make you a deal right now. The same deal I offer all my so-called victims. If you unlock my restraints, and beg me to kill you, I’ll let your daughter live. DR MENDEZ: You sick bastard! Don’t you EVER mention my daughter again - DO YOU HEAR?? - Interview terminated NOTES: I refuse to interview this subject again. He should be executed without a full psychiatric evaluation. - Francesca Mendez. Wendy had read the minutes for the first interview from Dean’s print outs, whilst the video of it also played in the background. She double clicked the second video interview, and watched as it flashed up on the screen of Dean’s laptop. SESSON 2: October 15th, 2005 - 3:00pm. Tod Selby psychiatric evaluation: Dr Thompson. DR THOMPSON: Okay, I’ve read the notes from your last evaluation. How did you know about Dr Mendez’s daughter?

SELBY: Ring-a-ring-a-roses, a pocket full of posies. A tissue, a tissue - they all fall down! DR THOMPSON: Answer the question Selby! SELBY: Does your wife Sarah know about you and Tommy? DR THOMPSON: Selby, stop playing games and answer the question! SELBY: I don’t play games doctor. You’re the one who likes playing games. Your poor wife really doesn’t know you’re a homo does she? DR THOMPSON: Look, we’re here to talk about you! Tell me where you’re getting your information from! SELBY: It’s all right there, in your head doctor. Streaming colours and swirls look so pretty, like your poor wife’s face. It’s about time you came out of the closet don’t you think doctor? DR THOMPSON: Who... who are you? SELBY: Who me? - Oh, nobody! Everybody! - Who knows? DR THOMPSON: Can you really read minds? SELBY: Oh I can do much more than that! I can programme them... like me to demonstrate?

DR THOMPSON: Be my guest. SELBY: Well, you see that fancy Parker pen in your hand? I want you to hold it up to your right eye. That’s it, rest it in the outside corner of it. Now push it in there. Deeper, harder. Beautiful. Wendy watched the video play as the doctor followed Selby’s instructions as if under some powerful hypnosis. The doctor screamed in agony as he sat there and gouged his own eyeballs out of their sockets with his ball point pen. Blood poured down his face like thick, red, streaming tears. You could hear the moist gouging sound as the pen caused the eyeball to bulge and resist against the pressure of the pen and its own socket. Amidst the screams of agony, you could hear Selby laughing with pleasure as the doctor removed his own eyes. These screams not only echoed on the video, but seemed to echo furthermore in Wendy’s head. Wendy just sat paralysed with fear and horror. She wanted to look away, turn, close the screen or just close her eyes, but she couldn’t. She was frozen in time and space, and the video kept playing the real, inescapable horror which felt like slow motion but wasn’t. Selby laughing psychotically as the doctor removed his second eyeball from its socket. And then, as if switching off this psychotic laugh like a light switch, he stopped laughing, turned to face the camera and spoke. “Come stop me Wendy. I’m waiting for you.... Bunny!” his voice whispered above the screams of the now blind and bleeding doctor, with a sick, twisted smile on his face sending chills down Wendy’s neck and throughout her spine. She slammed the laptop shut as fear engulfed her. She struggled to get her breath. The room was spinning, along with her head. Unable to breathe, her head echoed the terrible haunting sounds of the doctor’s screams and the psychotic laughs of the criminally insane. He’d mentioned the mind stream. He had the same gift as her and Norma, but he was purely evil and sick. He also seemed to

be able to put new thoughts into people’s heads, making them do things against their will. Wendy almost lost conciousness, but came slightly back around as she threw up all over Dean’s bed and the computer. Her head still spinning, the colours in the room bleeding into one another, and a severe pounding of her own heart thumping through her head like a bad migraine. Another dose of vomit came up through her body, like some poison which had gotten inside her and was violently getting out. She sat there rocking back and forth on Dean’s bed as the room seemed to spin endlessly. Time also seemed to no longer exist or matter any more. Trauma had her now, in its cold hard grip as she sat there, hugging the laptop and herself, her legs hunched as she tried to become a giant ball. Dean returned with a bottle of coke, and saw Wendy hunched up on his bed. Crying and shaking, shivering and rocking, breathing and coughing... struggling and fighting to get a grip back on reality. He rushed over, dropping the coke on the floor and placed his hands on her shoulders. “Wendy?? Wendy?? - What’s wrong, are you all right?” he asked nervously. He grabbed his phone and dialled 999, about to phone an ambulance when Wendy finally noticed his presence. “Hold me!” she sobbed hysterically. Dean hung up, dropped his phone on the bed and went to put his arms around her when he noticed the laptop which Wendy was holding tight against her chest through her interlocked arms. He tried to pull it from her, but she was gripping it so tight, she’d caused dents in the skin of her arms from the edges of the computer. “Put this down... it’s all right...” Dean said softly, still trying to remove the laptop from Wendy’s terrified death grip. Her grip was so strong, even the jaws of life used to open elevator doors probably wouldn’t have released it physically, like those rabid dogs whose jaws lock on their victims. He repeated, “it’s all right, you can let go,” this time his reassuring voice finally reached Wendy and she relaxed a little, allowing Dean to pull it from her and place it on the bed.

Wendy’s face was covered in tears, her eyes red from sobbing and vomiting. Her face now etched with lines of pain and her eyes dull and disorientated. She was struggling to make sense of her surroundings. When she finally met Dean’s gaze, his heart broke as he saw the pain in them. He saw helplessness and desperation behind a reservoir of tears that longed for the reassurance of comfort and safety. Now was not the time for bashful hesitation, he wrapped her in his arms and held her tightly. “It’s okay. I’m here!” he said, gently and reassuringly. He held her and rocked with her despite the smell of puke, despite her knees and elbow digging into him and causing him some discomfort. He understood she just needed to be held and protected right now. He’d read that from her eyes somehow, as if seeing into her soul for a moment. This girl who had always seemed so confident, strong and unbreakable, now felt as fragile as a life-size papier-mâché doll. After about five minutes, she moved her defensively folded arms from in front of her and wrapped them around Dean. They held each other like that for almost an hour until she was finally able to speak. “Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been able to see things in people.” “What sort of things?” asked Dean. “Internal things. anybody before!”

Like thoughts and feelings.

I’ve never told

Dean didn’t answer, and just continued to embrace Wendy as she spilled out her feelings and fears to him. Revealing those innermost secrets which she’s never even told to her parents. She wasn’t entirely sure why she was telling him, or if she should trust him. But something about the way he’d comforted her had opened her up. “I thought I was the only one until I met an old lady the other day who had it too! She was better than me at it, she was able to see things deep within my mind.” Wendy sniffled. “I’m not sure I understand what you mean. Are they like psychic visions or dreams?” Dean asked.

“No. It’s a little like looking through a kaleidoscope, I just see things, like shapes and colours but I don’t fully understand them yet. She tricked me and stole your laptop from me, I didn’t want to tell you cause I felt stupid. She put those files on there before returning it to me.” “So she put those... those...” Dean struggled to talk about it but had to “..those sick photos on there?” “Yeah, but there’s more. There’s a video too. He’s able to see things too... that.. killer, but he’s sick and evil. He can make people do things. You think I’m crazy don’t you?” she asked. “You’re not crazy, just upset... he, he can’t hurt you though right?” “Right, but he’s hurt others. I can’t believe he’s like me!” Wendy sobbed in shame. Dean grabbed Wendy’s arms and shook them “Listen, you are not like him do you hear? You would never hurt people like that... right??” “He, he.. he spoke to me on that video. I’m so scared... he knows about me!” cried Wendy. “That’s got to be pretty intense, I agree... but he’s behind bars now. He can’t hurt you. Nothing bad’s gonna happen to you, it’s okay...” Dean put his arms back around her as he played back the conversation in his head and tried to make sense of it. “So, does that mean you can see what I’m thinking?” he asked. Wendy laughed, a short nervous laugh, “Not you for some reason. You’re the only one I’ve met who’s thoughts I can’t see. I don’t know why that is...” “But you can see other people’s thoughts?” Wendy nodded. “Do you think I’m a freak? Do you think I might be crazy?” “You’re asking the I.T. student? - You’re the one who’s studying psychology!” Dean smiled and Wendy gave another, longer laugh.

“This is the first time I ever felt scared or bad about any of it. When I was little, I thought everyone had it at first. But then I realised I was wrong.” “Well, I had a feeling you were special. But I never imagined you were this special!” Wendy smiled, which quickly turned into concern “Please don’t tell anybody about this will you?” “I wouldn’t know how even if I wanted to. Don’t worry, I won’t say a word!” “You know, it’s more difficult to trust you than anybody else. Normally, I’d be able to see if you’re lying or how you’re feeling right now. But I’m blind when it comes to you. I want to trust you Dean, and I get the feeling you’re a good guy.” Dean didn’t answer, he just leaned forward and kissed her on her forehead.


The following 2 weeks, Wendy rarely used her gift. Instead she concentrated on her lectures and her study and often found herself in Dean’s room watching movies during the evening. With Dean, she not only felt safe, she also felt more like a regular girl and less like a sideshow attraction. Part of her felt guilty about being so quick to use her ability on people, peeking at their secrets and thoughts. The other part of her was scared, having seen a much darker side of her gift in Selby. Dean, despite being curious about her tear filled confessions seemed to sense this. He had questions wandering through his mind, but thought it best not to ask them. One night, when they were watching Stephen King’s Misery, he was haunted by a flashback memory of his own. As he watched the author’s car roll off the snow covered road at the beginning of the film, he confessed a secret of his own. “When I was 7, I was in a car crash with my parents. My mother was killed, and my father ended up in a wheelchair. I was raised by my grandmother. They removed a piece of glass from the back of my head which had pierced my brain. A few millimetres to the left or the right, and I would have been severely brain damaged. But instead, it damaged a part of my brain which isn’t used.” Dean said as he lifted his hair up and showed Wendy a large scar at the back of his head. “I’m so sorry” Wendy said sympathetically as she rubbed his scar. The scare felt smooth and raised slightly above the healthy skin which surrounded it. “It’s funny, but I remember my grandma tried to stop us from leaving that day. It was as if she knew something bad was going to happen. We all thought she was crazy at the time, but now... well I just don’t know what to think any more.” “Maybe your grandma has it too?” Wendy asked.

“That’s what I thought when you told me about your... erm, gift?” “I wonder if this is why I can’t see your thoughts?” Wendy asked as she continued to rub the lumpy scar tissue on the back of Dean’s head even though his hair was now back down. She then remembered the folder called ‘Mind Stream’ which Norma had placed on Dean’s laptop. Wendy wondered if there were answers within those files, but quickly remembered the horrifying content of the Tod Selby folder which had physically made her sick and scared her half to death. “Will you do me a favour?” Wendy asked. “What’s that?” “Do you remember me telling you that those files on your laptop had been put there by an old lady??” “Yeah, I think so... but wasn’t that what caused you to...” “I know, your poor bed sheets,” Wendy laughed nervously. “I never looked at the other files on there, and I’m scared to look at them alone. Can you just, well, sit with me whilst I take a look at them?” Dean pushed the pause button on the DVD player and opened up the laptop. The world’s toughest machine which had withstood 2 litres of coke and 1 litre of puke, all at the hand of Wendy the destroyer of computers. Not to mention his new computer which had required opening up to clean out the circuits in order to get it working again. “Hmmm, it still smells of puke,” laughed Dean. Wendy laughed too, followed by a deep sigh as if preparing for some terrible chore. Dean, who was sat directly behind her kissed her on the back of the neck to comfort and reassure her. She lifted herself up and sat back into his lap. “At least if we sit like this, I can’t puke on you,” joked Wendy. She gave another big sigh and began looking at the folders on the desktop as Dean rubbed her right shoulder.

“Okay, mind streaming. Here goes nothing...� Wendy muttered as she launched the icon into action. A document sprung up on the screen which contained the following...

MIND STREAMING ABILITY. The human mind houses both thoughts and emotions which will appear to you as shapes and colours. The flow of patterns and colours is caused by the synapses activating within the mind, but these are only the concious layer appearing to you. There is a sub layer of sub concious which needs to be opened up in order to access deeper thoughts, memories and emotions. You do this by looking for a static shape which other patterns flow towards. Much like the dark rose shape which can be activated by filling with light, these bright coloured static shapes can also be filled with light. When activated, new patterns and shapes will emerge which is the area of sub concious opening up to you. In order to access the information and memories contained within these areas, you must learn and understand the language of the soul. Every pattern and shape actually contains a live recorded memory, much like a video tape. In order to play these, you must look BEYOND their colours and patterns, like a magic eye picture. These memories are then fed and played directly to YOUR OWN sub concious, so please be careful. The sub concious is a delicate and fragile spiritual plane, and flows through every living creature like an ocean of thoughts and memories. Much like an oil spill, this ocean can become dark and polluted with bad thoughts, evil memories and twisted intentions. Practice on someone you trust, before delving into the minds of the unknown.

“Does any of that make sense to you?” asked Dean. “A little. I figured out that colours represent emotions, but the patterns are still a mystery to me.” “Jedi mind games,” teased Dean. “Practice on someone you trust,” recited Wendy. “How ironic, you’re the only person I trust and the only one who knows about any of this, but I can’t see your mind at all!” “That’s because I don’t have one!” Dean joked. other folder?” he asked.

“What’s in the

Wendy launched the astral projection folder which contained a screen capture of a standard Wikipedia article on the topic. Astral projection (or astral travel) is an interpretation of out-of-body experience (OBE) that assumes the existence of an "astral body" separate from the physical body and capable of travelling outside it. Astral projection or travel denotes the astral body leaving the physical body to travel in the astral plane. The idea of astral travel is rooted in common worldwide religious accounts of the afterlife in which the consciousness' or soul's journey or "ascent" is described in such terms as "an...out-of body experience, wherein the spiritual traveller leaves the physical body and travels in his/her subtle body (or dreambody or astral body) into ‘higher’ realms." It is therefore associated with near death experiences and is also frequently reported as spontaneously experienced in association with sleep and dreams, illness, surgical operations, drug experiences, sleep paralysis and forms of meditation. It is sometimes attempted out of curiosity, or may be believed to be necessary to, or the result of, some forms of spiritual practice. It may involve "travel to higher realms" called astral planes but is

commonly used to describe any sensation of being "out of the body" in the everyday world, even seeing one's body from outside or above. It may be reported in the form of an apparitional experience, a supposed encounter with a doppelgänger, some living person also seen somewhere else at the same time. Through the 1960s and 70s, surveys reported percentages ranging from 8 percent to as many as 50 percent (in certain groups) of respondents who state they had such an experience. The subjective nature of the experience permits explanations that do not rely on the existence of an "astral" body and plane. There is little beyond anecdotal evidence to support the idea that people can actually "leave the body." “Why did she want me to see this?” Wendy asked herself. “Maybe she can levitate too?” joked Dean, Wendy responded by punching him playfully in the leg. “Who am I going to practice on?” “Levitation? Well if you’re planning on leaving that hot body of yours, can I borrow it for a while?” Dean received a second punch in his leg, this time a little harder and higher up, closer to his thigh. “I’m being serious. Part of me thinks she’s crazy, but the other part thinks she might be right about the patterns. If I test it out, and she turns out to be right, then maybe there’s something to this other stuff on here too?” “Could be. Want me to put an ad up on the campus bulletin board? - Wanted: willing guinea pig to undergo mind reading experiments. Must not be psychotic, but open to suggestion!” Dean was expecting another punch in his leg, it was starting to feel a little like foreplay to him, but instead Wendy closed the laptop, took the remote control and resumed the movie.

“You know, just because you were in a car crash, doesn’t mean you get to be an asshole!” “I’m sorry, I was just kidding...” Dean whispered as he kissed her neck again. “..and don’t think that kissing me will make me instantly forgive you either!” “I thought you said you couldn’t read my mind?” joked Dean. Wendy smiled, but was glad he couldn’t see it sitting behind her, it would only serve to encourage his cheeky banter. He was getting far too comfortable and cocky for his own good, and despite feeling a little ridiculed by him, she also felt for the first time in her life that someone actually accepted and understood her, in spite of him knowing her secret. To be accepted for who she really was, was a luxury even her parents were unable to provide for her. On her way back to her room that evening, Wendy decided to check out the campus bulletin board. It was there when an advert caught her eye. ‘GIRLS: Make some quick cash by babysitting, call 07123 400400 and join the Little Tinkers agency - no experience necessary’. That was it! - The perfect way to try out Norma’s mind streaming techniques in a safe environment. A child’s mind would be a great way to practice safely, without having to worry too much about invading someone’s privacy. She’d also earn some extra money too, which wouldn’t be a bad thing. She took the leaflet off the board and put it in her bag. The following morning, before her first lectures, she went straight over to Dean’s room. After knocking on the door, Dean’s chubby room mate Steve answered, still in his underwear. “Dean, it’s your girlfriend!” said Steve. Dean appeared, fully dressed but still clearly half asleep, “Hey, what’s up?” “I need to use your phone!” Dean handed his mobile phone to Wendy and she dialled the number on the leaflet. A recorded voice-mail greeting played.

“Hi, thanks for your interest in the Little Tinkers babysitting agency. Leave your name and number, and we’ll get back to you!” Wendy hung up the phone. “Damn it, there’s nobody there.” Dean grabbed the leaflet from Wendy and read it. “Little Tinkers? kids??”

Babysitting?? - I thought you couldn’t stand

“I can’t, but I need someone to...”, her voice now turned to a secretive whisper so Dean’s room mate, Steve couldn’t hear, “...practice on remember?” “Aaaahh,” Dean said, confirming he now understood her neurotic logic in all of this. “You really need to get your own phone if you’re going to start baby sitting. One of the girls in my class does it, they send her a text with the address and the time on it.” “R i g h t . . .” Wendy sighed, realising she’d been defeated by modern technology, (or her lack of it). “Look, take my phone for now - but don’t read my text messages. Once you’ve had an interview, you can give it back and I’ll let you know when you get any texts about it,” said Dean as he handed her the phone. “Thanks! - But what’s your number?” This time Dean sighed, “My God, it’s like dating a cave woman some times!” “Is that what we’re doing, dating??” Dean smiled but didn’t respond. Instead he wrote down his number on the back of a pizza menu and handed it to her. “That’s the number you wanna give them. Oh, and remember! - No reading my texts okay?” “Like I’d even know how?? I can barely make a call on this thing!”

“Now, can I finish getting ready, or do you need me to hold your hand and help you cross the road too?”, Dean stood looking at her with a big smug grin on his face. “Wait! - What do I do if it rings and it’s for you?” “Just put it to voice-mail!” Wendy looked at Dean with a blank expression. “Press that one there!” he said as he pointed to the end call button. “Oh, and tell your room mate I’m not your girlfriend!” “Okay sweetheart. See you later honey!” Dean’s voice was full of sarcastic humour. “Did you just give her your phone?”, Steve asked in disbelief. “Yeah.. she’d be lost without me!” “What kind of 18 year old girl doesn’t have her own phone?”, Steve asked. “The kind I really wanna keep!” “So what’s the deal with you guys? Have you... ya know...” “That’s none of your business tubs!”, Dean said as he pushed in Steve’s well rounded belly. “But, you have told her haven’t you?” “Told her what?” “How you feel about her... Oh come on Dean, it’s so obvious. Have you even kissed her yet?” Dean processed the question in his head, and remembered a few times he’d kissed her on the back of her neck whilst she was sitting in front of him, and the one time on the top of her head when she was crying. They’d never kissed properly though, and he wondered how he might go about doing such a thing.

“Jesus Dean! - And I thought I was a loser!” “Shut up!” “You need to take her on a real date and then kiss her. If you don’t, I fucking will!” Dean just smiled and nodded, “okay thanks for the advice, Dad!” Dean had felt quite fortunate to get Steve as his room mate. Most of the other guys would have been comparing her breasts to celebrities, or describing in gross detail what they’d like to do sexually. Stevie however was one of the good guys, a regular softy. Meanwhile... Wendy called the babysitting agency once again. This time she left Dean’s number on a message. She then went into her lecture, and began taking notes. It was an incredible surprise to Wendy how much of a distraction Dean’s phone was to her studying. She kept checking the phone for new messages or missed calls and wondered how any of the other students managed to get any work done at all. Then, about an hour into the lecture, just as she was starting to forget about it, it rang echoing throughout the lecture theatre. “Mobile phones on silent please!” screamed the professor as the whole theatre turned their attention to Wendy, and her new loudly ringing friend. She didn’t even know how to do such a thing. “I’m sorry, please excuse me!”, she ran out of the theatre glowing bright red with embarrassment. As she left the professor added... “Anybody else more interested in hosting a party line than learning the syllabus??” Now, as Wendy stood in the corridor, she answered the call. “Hello?” “Hi, is that Wendy Peterson?”, an elderly woman’s voice asked. “Speaking!” “This is the Little Tinkers babysitting agency. I understand you’re interested in doing some evening work for us?”

“Absolutely!” “Well, let’s see... can you come for an interview at four o clock?” “Sure. Where is that exactly?” “Our office is based on campus, next to the student union office.” “Perfect, I’ll be there!” “That’s great, we’ll see you at four then, bye.” “Thanks, bye!”


Wendy looked at her watch whilst standing outside the Little Tinkers office, which was really just a small room on campus, she saw it was 3:55. She knocked on the door. A woman’s voice called, “come in!” Wendy entered the small room, the walls were plain white and there was a small window which was so misted with grease and dirt, that you couldn’t see through it clearly. A small elderly lady with school teacher glasses perched on the end of her nose sat at a desk with a computer and a telephone on it. This was barely an office, but she sat down and hoped for the best regardless. “Wendy Peterson?”, the old woman asked. Due to the room being so small and empty, her voice echoed making it sound as though they were conducting this interview in a toilet. “Hi!” Wendy said, and offered a friendly handshake. The lady had a faint smell of perfume, she was dressed in a blouse and a skirt and looked very serious and professional. The woman looked down at Wendy’s hand through her glasses, as if inspecting some strange alien creature, but didn’t shake it. Instead she made a gesture with her hand, beckoning Wendy to sit back down... she did, expecting a full criminal background check and aptitude test. The interviewer woman had been clicking frantically at the computer and barely even so much as glanced at Wendy. Then, several clicks and keyboard taps later, the woman turned to Wendy, “Age?” “I’m 18!”, she tapped on the keyboard twice in short bursts and then turned to Wendy again. “Course?” “Criminal psychology!” The woman looked at Wendy for a moment before entering it into the computer, as if confused by her answer.

“Sort code?” “078527” “Account number?” “62937972” “Okay, you’re set up! £5 per hour paid directly to your bank. We’ll text you with an address and time, if you can’t make it, reply NO within 10 minutes and we’ll text someone else. No alcohol, no tobacco, no drugs, no friends, no boyfriends, no parties - do you understand?” Wendy nodded. Thank God she didn’t say no mind manipulation or telepathic experiments on unsuspecting children. “If you fail to show up to an appointment you’re terminated. If you break any of the rules you’re terminated! Any questions?” “Aren’t you going to interview me?”, Wendy asked as she scratched the top of her head. The woman laughed.. “Interview’s over. Any problems, call our number and leave a message. Welcome aboard!” this time, the woman offered her hand to shake but didn’t get up from her seat, Wendy reciprocated. The woman’s hand was cold and leathery, much like her personality (or lack of it). “Thanks, I won’t disappoint you!” said Wendy. “Well the pay’s not much but it sure beats working in a strip club!” Wendy left with the horrific image of the old woman grinding against pole, illuminated by neon lights in the background and collecting notes in her thong. An image that would later make her chuckle. She thought about the protocol of replying NO within 10 minutes to an appointment, a task which would be difficult if not impossible unless she had her own phone. She already felt bad about putting Dean out so much and borrowing all his toys and gadgets all the time. So instead of attending the library to study, which had been her original plan, she headed into town to purchase a phone of her own.

She entered SIMPLY PHONES, the first mobile phone shop she came to and was immediately approached by an eager spotty young sales assistant. “Hey there lady, welcome to Simply Phones. something in particular?”

Looking for

Wendy hesitated for a moment. She didn’t want to blow her student loan, and it needed to be simple to use. “Cheap and easy.” she said. “Aaah yeah, cheap and easy. Just how I like my women,” the assistant joked, but Wendy did not look amused by that comment. He cleared his throat and continued, “Well, step right this way. We have the new Nokia 5-12, the Galaxy ZR20...” “Just a basic phone will do!” Wendy interrupted. Naming the latest models available for purchase made about as much sense to Wendy as listening to a quantum physics lesson in Swahili. “Well, they’re all pretty similar, but I guess the easiest to use would be the Nokia!” “I’ll take it then - how much is it?” “Well if you take out a monthly contract, you can get the phone for free. You sound American, do you make a lot of long distance calls?” “No contract. The pay and go thingy!” The salesman looked at Wendy the way he might look at an alien after stepping out of his UFO, then she saw his eyes light up and noticed him rub his palms together. “Aaah well, with pay as you go you pay a lot more for your texts and calls, and if you’re phoning America...” Wendy began to feel impatience creeping over her. All she wanted was to buy a phone, hadn’t she already explained that to him? “Look, I only really want it for texts and the odd phone call. No international calls and I don’t want a contract. How much?”

The salesman looked disappointed, obviously his commission on this sale would be minimal if any at all. His hands which were rubbing together now dropped down by his side. “£85 for the phone and SIM, and it comes with £5 calling credit to start ya off.” “Finally..., that’ll be just dandy!” “What network you wanna be on?” Wendy looked at him bewildered and confused. “You gotta pick a network miss. Cheapest pay as you go texts are with T Mobile.” Wendy took out her purse and bought the phone. The salesman rang it through and activated the SIM. “Your mobile number’s on your receipt. Have a nice day now!” Wendy left the store realising it would take her 17 hours of babysitting to pay for her latest purchase. She wondered how many hours it would have taken working in a strip club. There was still time to study, even after her little shopping spree, so she started heading to the library. On her way there, she was stopped dead in her tracks at a newspaper kiosk by a familiar image. It was a headline “Elizabeth Mendez brutally murdered in her home.”, there was a picture of a teenage girl smiling under the headline. “Elizabeth Mendez, I know that name...” Wendy muttered. “Hey you wanna read it, you gotta buy it!” an obnoxious man lectured from behind the kiosk. Wendy bought the newspaper, and continued on to the library. Once she got there, she sat down and carried on reading the article. Elizabeth Mendez, 11 years old was found brutally murdered in her home yesterday. Her throat had been stabbed with her mother’s kitchen knife, and then her eyes had been gouged out of their sockets. Wendy immediately thought of Selby.

A man was arrested at the scene of the crime, neighbours had called the police after hearing him breaking into the Mendez property followed by loud screaming. When police arrived, the man was found sobbing over the dead body in hysterics, claiming he’d lost control of himself, and claimed he couldn’t stop himself from doing it. He had been taken to a psychiatric hospital after claiming he’d been temporarily possessed by some evil spirit, and was unable to control his actions. The man, George Everet, 44, had no previous convictions or history of either mental instability or violent actions. The upcoming court case would decide if he was to be ruled ‘mentally unstable’, since Everet confessed to hearing evil voices in his head whilst carrying out the violent murder. He was to undergo psychiatric evaluation to assess if he was stable enough to stand trial. Elizabeth’s mother was then found 2 hours later in her bath tub and had slit her wrists. The words “I’m sorry Lizzie” had been written in blood on the wall and found above her body. “Lizzie Mendez??” Wendy muttered. Wendy sprung up out of her chair and rushed over to her room. She flipped open the laptop computer and opened the Tod Selby folder. Scrolling down to the first psychiatric interview, there she saw the name again. SELBY: You think I’m crazy. You think I have some textbook psychotic disorder like schizophrenia. I know, I can read your mind! DR MENDEZ: Can you really? Then what am I thinking about right now? SELBY: Oh, I can do better than that doctor. I can tell you what colour panties your 6 year old daughter is wearing. What’s her name again? Lizzie! DR MENDEZ: How the fuck do you know about my daughter?

SELBY: Relax doctor. You don’t want that blood pressure problem of yours to get worse do you? I see everything, it’s a gift really. I’ll tell you what, I’ll make you a deal right now. The same deal I offer all my so-called victims. If you unlock my restraints, and beg me to kill you, I’ll let your daughter live. DR MENDEZ: You sick bastard! Don’t you EVER mention my daughter again - DO YOU HEAR?? - Interview terminated Wendy looked at the date of the interview - October 8th 2005. Today was November 7th 2010. If Dr Mendez’s daughter “Lizzie” was 6 at the time of the interview, then 5 years later... today, she WOULD be 11 or 12, depending on her birthday! “If you unlock my restraints, and beg me to kill you, I’ll let your daughter live,” Selby had said Wendy began ranting to herself in disbelief... “No way, it was Selby. It has to have been him somehow. But how was he able to get someone hundreds of miles away to kill for him?” She then opened up the astral projection folder. Out of body experience. To leave one’s own body and travel places in spirit form. That was it... it all added up. Selby said he hadn’t been stopped from killing, only delayed. He’d found a way. It all made perfect sense in a weird x-files kind of way. Wendy now stormed out of her room and rushed over to Dean’s to share the news. When she got to his door, she knocked so hard and fast, that 2 of his neighbours popped their heads out to see what was going on. “Hey beautif....”, Dean began greeting Wendy, before she spontaneously interrupted him.

“Look! chest.

Look at this!” Wendy thrust the newspaper into Dean’s

“Pleased to meet you too, come on in!” Dean sang sarcastically. Wendy burst into the room, in a state of manic excitement. Her energy and vibes seemed to overflow the room with her anticipation. “Errr, I’m gonna go take a shower!” Steve said, and excused himself leaving the room, as he headed to the boys communal showers. “Have you read it yet?” Wendy asked. Dean hadn’t even looked at the newspaper yet, he had other things on his mind. “Do you like Chinese food?” he asked with enthusiasm. “What??” “Chinese food... do you like it?” “What’s that got to do with anything?” “Well I was thinking you know, we always just sit in here and, well I thought it might be nice to erm, you know, err.. go out and..”, Dean was stuttering despite mentally rehearsing his proposal in his head all day. To his surprise, Wendy lit up and followed with a positive response, “That’s a really good idea. Steve will be back soon, and Debbie’s home too - so we need somewhere where we can talk about this! How about the library?” “Actually.. I was thinking somewhere more romantic with like candles and music and... there’s this great Chinese restaurant on Penny Street.” “Chinese?”, repeated Wendy. “Yeah.” “Okay, sure. I guess I could eat!”

Wendy was in a hyperactive state of mania, she had so much excitement and anxiety about her new theory that food did not come into the equation for her until this point. Dean on the other hand had been heeding Steve’s advice, and was determined to set up the perfect romantic evening. Of course, Wendy was anything but a normal girl, and had deeper concerns right now than the status of their relationship. They left Dean’s room, and headed to Penny Street. “So how did your interview go?” Dean asked. Wendy sniggered under her breath “You could hardly call it an interview. It seems they might have hired me even if I’d been wielding a chainsaw. Oh, I bought my own phone, so you can have this back!”, Wendy handed Dean’s phone back to him and gave a sweet little smile of gratitude. “Oh thanks. Any missed calls?” “Nope. So where are we going exactly?” asked Wendy. “The Bamboo Orient, it’s a quiet little place, should be private enough for our top secret conversation....”, Dean then muttered quietly under his breath, “...or a date!” Wendy didn’t seem to hear, “Can you help me set my phone up?” “Sure!” They arrived at the Bamboo Orient, a small little Chinese restaurant with Chinese lanterns and its name spelt in large bamboo letters above the door. There was a strong smell of fried rice and soy sauce emanating from within the restaurant. “This looks like you might need to make a reservation!” said Wendy as she noticed the tiny little restaurant had very few tables inside. “Already taken care of!” Dean smirked. A very small middle aged Chinese woman greeted them as they entered the establishment.

“I have a reservation for Cooper!” Dean said. It was only then that Wendy noticed that Dean was actually wearing a shirt, instead of a usual t-shirt and even had shoes on his feet, which normally sported his slightly tattered Converse trainers. It finally occurred to her that he’d certainly given this some thought. She looked around, every table was set for just 2 people, except for a large Asian family in the far corner. Each table was draped in a dark silk tablecloth and had a single orchid and candle in the centre. This seemed like a popular choice for couples to dine. “Why are we eating here?” she whispered to Dean. “Well, you wanted some place quiet right?” “Oh. I thought you might have been trying to take me on a date there for a moment!” Dean said nothing, but smiled as he thought she’d finally picked up on his plans. Perhaps they could both get what they wanted, once Wendy spilled this excitement about whatever she’d been rambling about, perhaps they could enjoy a romantic evening together which might finally put some perspective on their relationship. “Right this way sir,” the Chinese woman led them to a table situated in front of a white coal fire, under some more lanterns with orchids and bonsai trees casting their shadows through the flames which seemed to dance to the soft Chinese flutes and harps playing gently in the background. Wendy noticed this and thought they looked like little ballerinas, dancing on the walls. They sat down at the table. As Dean looked at Wendy in the glow of the flames and candlelight, he was overwhelmed at how much this seemed to enhance Wendy’s naturally beautiful face. He tried to take a photograph in his mind since he suspected he’d want to recall this image in later moments. She was tapping her feet, unable to sit still in her chair. Dean wondered if she was nervous, after all, this was their first real date. He hoped she wasn’t bored. The truth however, was that Wendy was anxious, she was waiting to continue her previous conversation about her theory of Selby, but wanted to wait until they had some privacy. “What can I get you to drink?” asked the Chinese waitress.

“Shall we get some wine?” Dean asked, with a look of hopeful desperation filling his face. “No, none for me thanks!” said Wendy, making a swooping motion with her hands. “Oh come on, just one bottle!” Wendy frowned, her right eyebrow lower than her left. “Pleeeeaaasssseee????”, begged Dean, giving her his best puppy dog look. Wendy looked at the Chinese woman who was trying not to laugh, but failing to conceal her amusement. She gave a swift but subtle nod as if to say ‘go for it!’. Perhaps she just wanted to sell some wine, but perhaps she genuinely thought Wendy should let her hair down a little. “Okay, just one.” “Great! White or red?”, asked an excited Dean who now seemed content. “White, .... please,” said Wendy. Dean made a ‘big’ gesture to the waitress with his hands and mouthed ‘big bottle’. She smiled and scuttled off to the bar to fulfil his request. He turned to Wendy, with her usual expressionless face of totalitarian seriousness, and gave her a cheeky little smile. It was difficult to know if she was buying into any of this, or if she was even enjoying this. At least the wine might be able to move things along, thought Dean, trying to stay optimistic. “Are you wearing aftershave?” Wendy asked. “You look amazing in that candle light!” Dean replied, as if avoiding the question by changing the subject. Wendy turned and rummaged in her bag for a moment. She pulled out the newspaper and slammed it on the table. The cutlery jumped almost an inch in the air and then crashed back down on the table causing a couple behind them to jump in their chairs. Dean jumped too, his face now portraying that of a man who had just been

taken by surprise. For a moment he thought she was angry at him, but it was just Wendy’s neurosis in full motion. “Read it!”, said Wendy impatiently. Dean took the newspaper, shaking his head in disbelief. So much for the romantic conversation, he thought. “What am I reading here?” he asked reluctantly, followed by a quiet sigh. “The murder article on the front page!” Wendy was back in manic mode, anxious to spill her new theory on Selby. “Who says romance is dead?” Dean muttered to himself. As he finished the article, he was surprised by yet another loud thud and a faint smell of stale puke as Wendy now slammed the vomit stained laptop on the table. “Now read this interview with Selby, these are the minutes from the video! And check the dates.. the dates!!” Wendy demanded. Her excitement, combined with her anxiety made her sound a little crazy. “I take it you haven’t been on many dates have you?” Dean asked sarcastically. “Just read it!” Wendy screamed loudly, causing some other couples to look over in disgust. The waitress came over with 2 glasses and a very large bottle of white sparkling wine. “Can I ask you to keep it down please,” the waitress asked, scrunching her face in on itself as she did so, as though the request itself might be considered painful. “I’m sorry.” Wendy whispered. “Are you ready to order?” the waitress asked. Dean looked at Wendy who hadn’t even gazed at the menu yet. She gestured at Dean to continue reading from the laptop as if to say, “hurry up and read it!” Her impatience was a force not to be reckoned with, as Dean was quickly discovering.

“Can we get some pork spring rolls to start please?” Dean asked. “Of course, of course. You decide on main course yet?” she asked in her broken English. “Can you give us more time please? I’m sorry!” Dean said softly and twisting his mouth apologetically. “No problem sir!” and she scuttled off again. “Can’t this wait?!?” Dean asked. His tone made it sound more like he was saying, ‘can’t you be reasonable?’. “Please, just read that one interview and then you’re done!” pleaded Wendy, making an up and down hurrying gesture with her hand. Dean read the interview and then closed the laptop. “Okay, so what’s your point?” “Did you notice the dates?? ...and the name??” she asked. “Well, you don’t think it could just be a coincidence?” The waitress returned and placed a small plate of well presented pork spring rolls on the table and smiled. Dean picked one of them up and started to eat it. Wendy grabbed one too with one hand and spun the laptop around to face herself with the other. She made a yummy noise as she clicked a few times. Just as Dean swallowed his first mouthful of delightfully tasty spring roll, she thrust the computer’s screen in his face presenting it to him which now contained a full screen high resolution image of one of Selby’s murder victims. A young woman’s face, with bleeding empty eye sockets, she was dripping tears of blood down her cheeks. Her finger tapped twice as if to draw Dean’s attention to this gruesome detail. Then her finger moved down to a large hole in the victim’s neck where several knife stabs had penetrated her neck, causing shreds of skin to flake out of the wound, and blood to clot all down the woman’s neck. Dean turned instantly white and pushed the plate of spring rolls away towards Wendy.

“That’s ruined my appetite!” he said, now feeling incredibly sick. “Look, see. This is how Selby kills his victims, the same way the article mentioned from the murder of Lizzie which happened YESTERDAY! You think that’s also a coincidence?” Wendy ranted, quickly and excitedly but ended with aggression in her tone. Dean’s guts churned as he now felt sick to his tomach and pushed the laptop away with his hand. The stale smell of puke from the machine, literally inches away from his face and the recurring images from the screen flashing through his mind made his spring roll come back up into his mouth for a moment. He stopped it with his open hand and then took a large sip of wine in order to force it back down. He then felt his stomach complain as the vile acidic mixture came crashing down into his guts. “Remember me telling you about that old lady who took that laptop?” Wendy asked. Dean just sat there and raised a finger indicating ‘one moment’, as he battled with this stomach, breathing deeply to encourage some oxygen to come flowing back into his brain before he was physically able to respond. “Yeah?” Dean asked, more confused than ever, and still trying to recover from the intense nausea which now seemed to fill his entire body. The blood still drained from his head, his heart still struggling to regain full circulation. Wendy closed the laptop and put it back in her bag. “Well I think she’s been trying to tell me all along. Selby threatened to kill Mendez’s daughter, and now she’s dead. But not only that, he also said they hadn’t stopped him from killing, only delayed him!” “Yeah, but Selby’s in prison right?” “Sure, but what if he’s using astral projection to leave his body, and is able to use his powers to control people like puppets to do his killing for him?” “Wendy. Don’t you think that’s a little far fetched?”

“Aaah, maybe you’re right. But I’ve just got a feeling about all this ya know?” “The thing is, even if you are right, there’s nothing you can do about it.” “I guess you’re right” sighed Wendy. Dean poured out the wine. First Wendy’s glass and then his own. Not that he was sure he could stomach a glass right now. He took a large sip, his stomach settling down slightly complained only a little. The colour had finally seemed to return to his face and he’d won the battle of the regurgitating pork spring roll. He looked at the menu, but he time the food came, he was sure he’d be back to his usual hungry self, with a returning appetite and colour back in his cheeks. “Oh, what are you doing for Christmas?” Dean asked, peering around the side of the menu. “I dunno, why?” “You’re not going home?” “What? ...home California?? No, I can’t afford the flights.” “Well, I’d have to check with my grandma but would you like to join us for Christmas dinner? I’m sure you’d get along quite well.” “I, I dunno. Let me think about it!” “Oh, but just a word of advice. No serial killer talk at the table, think you can manage that?” Dean asked, rapidly flicking his eyebrows up and down as he waited for a response. “And yet you keep wanting to spend time with me!” Wendy sang as she smirked. “Yeah, I’m a glutton for punishment.... and Chinese food!” “So is this supposed to be our first date?” Wendy asked, smirking once again.

“Well, I imagine it’s probably the closest thing I’m gonna get with the likes of you, yeah!” Dean muttered from behind his Bamboo Orient menu. “Cool!” Wendy smiled, and took a sip from her glass.


The next morning Wendy awoke with a slight headache, undoubtedly brought on by the wine from the Chinese restaurant. During her morning shower, she received her first text message. It was from Dean. Their first real kiss had been a little awkward as they left the Chinese restaurant and went their separate ways. Dean had insisted she spend the night whilst Steve was sleeping at a friends, (sleeping in separate beds) he’d suggested, but Wendy had still refused. She had felt a little manipulated by Dean and had felt slightly under-dressed for the occasion and unprepared too. This had started to make her feel a little uncomfortable towards the end of the evening, and Dean understood that Steve’s best intentions, encouraging Dean to consummate their relationship had probably been a little ill timed. Due to this, the kiss itself was less organic than either might have desired, and in fact felt more like unspoken date protocol than genuine chemistry or affection. Wendy simply hadn’t been in the right state of mind for the date. Her mind bubbling over with new information and a desire to better understand her predicament, whereas Dean had been planning it all day. Ironically, the reflected memory of the Chinese restaurant would hold more romantic significance for Wendy than the actual event itself, but Dean still felt like he’d rushed Wendy into something she wasn’t yet ready for. Wendy looked at her phone, the text read: Sorry about last night, let’s Saturday? x


Wendy hit reply and typed: Sorry I’m such a freak! x and hit send.



Dean then replied: Don’t forget to send your new number to Little Tinkers x Wendy thought about her new babysitting gig, and was actually quite looking forward to it. She planned on trying out Norma’s mind streaming techniques on her miniature sized guinea pigs, and wondered if they’d sit still long enough for her to do so. She sent her number to the agency and went to her lectures for the day. As Professor Simpson started packing his things away after the lecture, Wendy approached him and wondered what his opinion on the recent Selby style murders might be. “Can I talk to you about something?” she asked Simpson. “Will it take long? I have plans for lunch!” “I just wondered what your opinion was on the recent murder of Elizabeth Mendez, have you read the article?” she asked handing him yesterday’s newspaper. Simpson snatched it from her, put on his glasses and read the article. “Sounds like a cut and dried copy cat killing to me!” “What do you think about his claims that he wasn’t in control of his actions?” “Well it’s all very convenient for psychopaths to use all kinds of insanity pleas. You should know from my lectures that the voice of God, or instructions from Satan are all common justifications for such heinous actions for these people. Now if you’ll excuse me...” Simpson started walking out of the lecture theatre. “Did you know that Lizzie’s mother was Selby’s first criminal psychologist after the murders?” Simpson stopped dead in his tracks and looked at Wendy with suspicion. “How could you possibly know about that?” he asked. Wendy shrugged. “Look, your job as their psychologist is to determine if

they’re mentally fit to stand trial. Beyond that is just good old fashioned curiosity... and that never helps anybody!” he stated. “But shouldn’t we try to understand why people like him do these things?” Wendy asked passionately. “You can’t help them! They’re sick and evil and twisted. And it’s too late for their victims too. A good criminal psychologist can spot if the killer is faking insanity, but either way the end result is the same. The victims remain dead, the criminal remains guilty... it really is as simple as that.” Simpson walked off. Wendy considered the possibility that George Everet, 44, with no previous convictions had indeed been manipulated by Selby into doing his dirty deed. If that was the case then George shouldn’t be found guilty. She’d already witnessed the intense power of mind control from Selby’s video. If this kind of power had been unleashed beyond the confides of Selby’s prison cell, then Selby would be unstoppable. He’d not only continue his killing sprees, but would also be imprisoning his innocent host victims too. If she could look at Everet or Selby’s mind stream, she’d know if either men were lying. Not that such confirmation could ever hold up in court. Wendy wondered why Selby hadn’t been executed for his crimes. Why was he still imprisoned and why had he not received the death penalty? As this thought occurred to her, she chased after Simpson. “Just one more thing sir, why didn’t Selby get the death penalty?” “You know the answer to this Wendy, he must have been declared not mentally stable to stand trial!” “Well then, why isn’t he in a mental institute then? Why is he still in prison?” Simpson paused for a moment, you could almost hear the cogs turning in his head as he pondered the scenario over himself. “That’s a good point. It’s been nearly 6 years now. Are you sure he’s still in prison?” Wendy nodded. To be fair, she wasn’t entirely sure he was still in prison, but the information she’d been given by Wendy certainly

didn’t seem to contradict it, and it did seem like a logical question to consider. “You must be wrong, he must be in a mental institute. He would have been successfully evaluated years ago. I’ll speak to my sources and find out for you. Is this for your paper?” Simpson asked. Wendy nodded. She wasn’t yet writing a paper on Selby for her essay, but perhaps she should be. “I’ll let you know what I find!” proclaimed Simpson, as he left the campus in search for the perfect double cheeseburger. Wendy had lunch plans of her own, she was meeting Dean in the cafeteria. As she walked up the long steps towards the entrance, her phone beeped indicating she’d received a text. Tonight 7:30pm - 11:30pm: 21 Harland Avenue. the message had been sent by the Little Tinkers agency. Wendy smiled. She’d finally get to try out her new ‘Jedi mind tricks’ as Dean would almost certainly say. As she walked in the cafeteria, she noticed Dean sat with his laptop near the entrance. He gave her a wave and she smiled at him. She grabbed a salad box and paid for it and then joined Dean. “Guess what, I have my first babysitting appointment!” “Oh cool! So I guess I won’t see you tonight?”, his voice had a slight tone of disappointment. “Nope, you’ll have to cope without me! You know, it’s not good to obsess over American girls?” Dean smirked. “So the Jedi mind games are fully on?” “It would appear so. Oh, and my teacher’s gonna do some research on Selby for me!” she said in excitement. “You know, it’s not good to obsess over crazy bald psychotic serial killers?” “It’s for my paper!” Wendy proclaimed.

“You know, I worry about you...” Dean joked, “...most girls are obsessed with fake nails, fake hair and fake tan. You’re obsessed with dead bodies and psychopaths!” “At least I’m not fake though... and you should know I’m not like most girls by now!” “Yeah, so does last night’s crowd at the Bamboo Orient..” Dean smiled. “Look, I’m sorry... but you did take me by surprise ya know?? I promise I’ll be a good little girlfriend on our next date - deal?” Dean’s face lit up with a cheeky, almost sensual kind of smile which seemed to evolve from some internal thought. Wendy wondered what he might be thinking and felt a little disappointed that she’d never be able to use her ability to take a peek and find out. Perhaps, she thought, those kind of thoughts were best kept hidden from potential partners, especially at such a delicate (beginning) stage in a relationship. “Deal!” said Dean. “Speaking of which, I checked with my grandma and you’re officially invited to join us for Christmas dinner. Are you coming?” “Sure, but only because I feel sorry for your dear old Grandma!” Wendy teased. “Great, I’ll let her know you’re coming.. but on ONE CONDITION!” Dean emphasised. “What condition?” Wendy muttered through her mouth full of salad. “You leave all your murder paraphernalia at home. I’d like to ENJOY my Grandma’s Christmas dinner if that’s all right with you?” Dean said snidely. Wendy nodded, “Sure!” “Last night was like having dinner with Quentin Tarantino!” Dean joked.

When 7 o clock came around, Wendy became anxious and nervous. She wondered what kind of child or children she’d be looking after, and realised she had little experience with kids. She re-read Norma’s notes on the laptop and started walking to her first babysitting appointment. The night was dark and cold, and every breath seemed to form little clouds of condensation in front of her, which had barely disappeared as her face walked through each one. The flowing nature of her breath made her think of the swirling colours in a mind stream, and she wondered how difficult it would be to start opening these streams up and get them to play their memories directly to her subconscious. She also wondered if Dean actually believed any of this. He was so good at using humour and sarcasm to deal with her neurotic tendencies, that she wondered if he took any of her ability seriously at all. It was difficult to tell with Dean, who just coped with everything life threw at him in a laid back, easy going kind of way. This was made even more impossible due to the fact that she was unable to see Dean’s thoughts at all. It probably didn’t matter too much to her whether he believed her or not. The refreshing thing to Wendy was that he just accepted it all, without judgement or argument. Not that she’d ever revealed this part of herself to anybody else, not even her parents, but she doubted that others would accept it so passively. Wendy’s main curiosity was what Dean saw in her if he did think she was nuts. If he didn’t believe in this gift, did he think she imagined it? Didn’t that matter to him? And wouldn’t that mean he was dating someone who was not entirely mentally stable? It was Dean’s amazing coping mechanism that impressed Wendy the most. If he was asking himself these questions, then it obviously didn’t concern him too much whatever the answers might be, so it seemed irrelevant for Wendy to concern herself too much with those questions either. She thought of an old quote she’d always liked which she’d read in one of her books back home, ‘If the problem can be solved why worry? If the problem cannot be solved worrying will do you no good.’, it had been Shantideva, an 8th century Indian Buddhist scholar who had said it. This seemed like the perfect advice to moot those concerns.

As she turned onto Harland Avenue, she was presented with large old fashioned town houses with large bay windows and tall steps leading to the front doors. Some even had Christmas decorations up already, and families gathered around their television sets, and the animated light softly glowed through the glass and onto the street. She found number 21, and walked up the steps to the front door. This house had no sign of Christmas decorations yet, but it was only November 8th. A small glowing doorbell button sat in the wall next to the door, she pushed it and could hear a steady high pitched ring emanating from within the house. A middle aged woman answered the door, wearing a long black dress and reeking heavily of perfume. “Are you the babysitter?” she asked. “Yes. I’m Wendy!’ “Come on in...” the woman said as she rushed back into the house, giving a shiver sound as cold air rushed up the entrance hallway, “we just have the one little monster, his name is Lewis. Make sure he’s in bed by ten, he’s our number just in case,” she handed Wendy a scrap of paper with a mobile telephone number written on it. Wendy followed the woman into the living room which featured heavy flock wallpaper, an oversized mirror and dozens of little family photographs scattered across the wall. A deep red carpet covered the floor that was so new and thick, it sank down slightly with each footstep. Sat in the middle of the living room floor, she saw the back of a young boy, probably about 6 or 7 years old as he sat there watching cartoons on the television. He had dark hair which was shaved short and was wearing blue coloured ‘Ben 10’ pyjamas. His mother kissed the boy on the top of his head, “now you be good Lewis!” she said in a parental, musical singing voice. A portly shaped man peeked his head in the living room doorway, “come on, we’ll be late!” he said to the woman. He glanced at Wendy for a brief moment and gave a single firm nod, and then the couple left, singing their last goodbyes to their son before disappearing into the cold night air. “So you must be Lewis!” Wendy said as she approached the little boy.

The boy turned and looked at Wendy with a blank expressionless, unimpressed face, and then turned back to his cartoons. Wendy sat down on the sofa and looked at her watch. It was going to be a long night. She’d never tried to open a mind stream from the back of someone’s head before, but given the situation, it seemed like it’d be worth a try. She certainly couldn’t imagine the boy losing interest in his bright, rapid cartoons. Wendy concentrated hard on the back of the boy’s head. Colours started to appear, but they were smaller and faster moving than an adult’s mind stream. She began to wonder if reading a child’s might actually be more difficult than that of an adult’s, but she had all night and was determined to learn more about this ability. She squinted her eyes to narrow her vision, but that made the boy’s swirling colours go dim, so she tried focusing beyond the boy’s mind like in Norma’s notes, but the cartoons on the television stole her focus instead. She wondered if the room was too bright, perhaps turning off the light might help. Wendy got up and switched the living room light off and then sat back down. The boy turned and watched her for a moment, and then went back to his cartoons. Concentrating harder than ever, Wendy focused on the boy, the colours were brighter, but the cartoon playing just beyond them was too much of a distraction from what she was seeing. If only there was a way to switch off the television without arousing suspicion. She looked at the chair in the bay window which was at a 90 degree angle to the boy. If she sat there, the television would no longer be in her view when looking at him. She got up and sat down in the chair. The boy looked at her in disbelief, shook his head and then resumed watching the cartoon. Wendy squinted her eyes, and focused on the boy, the colours were bright and intense and finally she had a good view with no bright animated distractions. The swirling patterns were rapid and intense, filled with oranges, yellows and reds - but she needed to translate these into something tangible. She focussed slowly, out beyond the colours and patterns, and sure enough, as her eyes relaxed, the seemingly random swirls started to form an image. It was like looking into a river after throwing in a large stone, as the ripples faded in diminishing returns, the distorted motion of the waves became static and an image became clear.

There were definite shapes and forms here to study, dark black edges to the shapes too. She tried to focus on them which brought everything back to swirls again, like throwing another rock into the pond. To see these properly she needed to do the opposite and relax, let the images come to her rather than force them back into focus which only seemed to blur them back into nonsense. Once again, she concentrated on the swirls and allowed her view to relax beyond her field of vision. Images were again forming, and there was movement to them too. It looked like a rabbit, running through the boys mind. Yes, it was definitely a rabbit... it was, it was.. Bugs Bunny. Wendy sighed, frustrated. Those damn cartoons were distracting her focus once again. Then she realised the television was a good distance from her view, and off to the side. She turned and looked at the screen and saw Bugs Bunny put a finger of his white gloved hand into Elmer Fudd’s shotgun. The boy was watching Bugs Bunny, and she’d seen this from his mind’s eye. It had to be working then, it had to be. She had to be sure though, in case the large mirror had somehow projected light from the television into her field of view, or some other optical illusion had caused what she’d seen. She repeated the process again, this time the image came quicker and clearer. Sure enough she could see Bugs Bunny torture Elmer Fudd, not quite as clear as looking at the television, but it was certainly there and was definitely coming from the boy’s mind. Then, as Wendy smiled, “What are you doing?” Lewis asked, the image quickly dissipated as Wendy’s concentration shifted to the boy. He was looking right at her with a disgruntled expression on his face. “Oh, ...nothing!”, Wendy quickly turned to the television and wondered how long the boy had been watching her, cross eyed and concentrating hard. It was probably a good idea to practice on a child after all. She had an idea, to involve the boy in her experiments would be a safer option and would give her more definitive results. She needed to look into the boy’s mind that was pure thought, and not just receiving signals through the boy’s eyes. He needed to be thinking of something, and she could then attempt to ‘see’ what he was thinking. “Hey Lewis, do you wanna play a game?” she asked.

“What sort of game?” the boy asked, with a distrusting look and suspicious tone. “Do you have any playing cards in the house?” The boy immediately stood up and ran out of the room. He soon returned with a deck of cards and handed them to her, “it’s missing the 4 of spades!” he said. “That doesn’t matter!” Wendy said optimistically as she shuffled the cards. She fanned them out face down and offered them to Lewis. “I want you to pick three cards, but don’t let me see them okay?” she instructed. The boy glanced at Wendy for a moment, and then carefully picked three cards from the fanned deck. He ran back to the middle of the floor, sat down again cross legged, but this time facing Wendy. He carefully studied them and then held them tight against his chest, “are you gonna read my mind?” the boy asked. Wendy nodded. She sure was going to try all right, but this was no kids birthday party trick. Wendy interlocked her fingers and stretched out her arms, and tilted her head from side to side as if stretching in preparation for an Olympic marathon. “Right, one at a time okay?” she said. The boy nodded. “I want you to pick one of those cards, close your eyes and picture it in your head!” Lewis closed his eyes and pressed the palms of his hand flat against the back the cards which were still tightly pressed against his chest. He took a deep breath, his eyes still closed, then he quickly opened them and looked straight at Wendy. “Wait!” he shouted, and sprung up onto his feet. He came running over to Wendy, grabbed the rest of the deck which Wendy had held out to him, and placed them down next to him as he sat back down. Wendy smiled, she thought this was both cute and amusing. He closed his eyes again, with an intense look of concentration on his ‘oh so serious’ little face. Wendy opened up the boy’s mind stream, the colours fast and vibrant, swirling a little slower than before but still faster than an

adults. Her eyes relaxed and the patterns started morphing into definite shapes and objects. As her eyes fully relaxed, the number 7 and a diamond shape formed from the boy’s mind stream, filling Wendy’s vision. “The 7 of diamonds!” Wendy said quickly and confidently. The boy opened his eyes and frowned. “Lucky guess!” he said. He looked both unimpressed and suspicious at the same time, but was keen to move on to the next one. He took a quick peek at his cards again, pulled out the 7 of diamonds and placed it face down in front of him for Wendy to see. “Okay, see if you can guess this one!” he said, closing his eyes once again and taking in another deep breath. Wendy shuffled herself more upright in the chair, and concentrated once again. Another image formed even quicker than before. It was a club shape this time, with the letter K next to it, and a crystal clear drawing of a king, in full glorious Technicolor filled her mind’s eye. “King of clubs!” she said, this time her voice was full of excitement. The boy opened his eyes, and actually made a quiet wow sound. He peeked at his cards again, pulled out the correct card, and placed it next to the 7 of diamonds for Wendy’s benefit. “Can I keep my eyes open this time? I think you’re cheating!” the boy said. “Sure, but I still need you to concentrate and picture the card in your mind!” Wendy explained. The boy nodded. Wendy cleared her throat and repeated the process. This time, everything reflected back at her, the swirling patterns went out of focus and the image came through crystal clear, but it was herself she could see, and not the cards. It was like watching herself on a TV screen through a tiny camera, the camera being the boy. It was his actual vision she could see, just like when he was watching the cartoons. “Are you thinking of it?” she asked, still concentrating and allowing the image of herself to flow through her subconscious. “I am... I’m thinking of it” the boy said.

She could hear his voice twice, one which was the boy speaking to her and the other was quiet and echoic. She closed her eyes, the visions went away and now she could just see black, but the voice seemed to be repeating itself and becoming more clear. Mow-a-maah, mow-a-marrs, mow-a-harrs, fow-af-harrs, fow-ofharts, FOUR OF HEARTS! “The four of hearts!” Wendy screamed. The boy held the back of the card out, gave a little smile, and then showed it to her. Sure enough, it was the four of hearts. Wendy clapped and gave a little excited shriek. “How did you do that?” the boy asked. “It’s magic!” Wendy said. The boy jumped up and sat on the arm of the chair next to her. “Do it again, do it again!” he cried. They played right up until the boy’s bed time, trying various different mind guessing methods, and Wendy was getting better as time went by. She was able to hear his thoughts, see his mind’s eye as well as his actual vision, and was starting to get the hang of switching between the two. When she tucked him into bed and went back to the living room, she was absolutely exhausted. The ability had drained most of her physical and mental energy, but it was worth it. It had been fun, and she’d even started making a new friend out of the process. When Lewis’s parents returned home and gave her a lift back to her campus, she felt really good about the whole experience. She’d learned more in that one night than she had throughout her entire education. If only the lectures on criminal psychology were this fun, she thought.


When the weekend finally came, Wendy was looking forward to her second date with Dean. This time, she felt prepared and would try her best to be the good little girlfriend she thought he desired. In truth though, Dean wouldn’t change a thing. He thrived on the roller-coaster adventure that was Wendy Peterson, although he could live without the crime scene photos during dinner conversation. “Hey, you look great” he said, and kissed her on the cheek. “Thanks!” “You ready to get drunk?” he asked. “Damn straight!” she said through a sigh of relief. “After all this babysitting, I need some adult time!” “You’ve only seen three kids!” Dean said sarcastically. “Then how about you do it instead. Besides, this mind reading gift of mine really takes its toll on me!” “You still making progress?” “Absolutely, but my last 2 kids are a pain in the ass. I hope I get to see Lewis again! - He’s adorable.” “Aaah, Lewis... you’re first victim. I take it he’s still your favourite then?” “Yeah, well last night I had twin girls. They’re a handful and weren’t really interested in playing my little guessing games. It’s harder when you have to dig into minds without a willing participant!” Dean laughed.

“You still don’t believe me do you?” Wendy asked. “I wouldn’t say that! - I’m still waiting for a live demonstration, until then I reserve the right to remain sceptical.” “Maybe I’ll do your Grandma over Christmas dinner!” “Aaah, the perfect Christmas gift from my sweetheart. Just what I always wanted, to see my dear old Grandma get Jedi mind-fucked! Maybe you can find out where she hides all her money?” he joked. “Well if I do I won’t be telling you... I have a student loan to pay off! So where are you taking me exactly?” she asked. “Wherever sells cheap alcohol!” “I hear that!” she responded. They walked down the cold, endless streets of Oxford holding hands looking for a bar. They passed a few, and each one they approached they looked at each other and shook their heads, until they came to a busy joint with a large sign in the window which said ‘STUDENT DISCOUNT’. “I think we have a winner!” Dean said, as Wendy looked at him for confirmation. “Get your student card out for the lads!” he added. “Just so long as that’s all you’re getting out,” said Wendy As they entered the bar, their ears were attacked with loud rock music. Linkin Park was playing, and screaming across the room. There were electric guitars pinned on the walls, and posters of young rock bands. There was a stale smell of lager and the floors were a little sticky as they walked to the bar. “Whatcha drinking girlie?” Dean shouted over the music. “Just a vodka and coke!” she screamed. “One pint of Kronenbourg and a double vodka and coke please!” Dean bellowed at the young spotty barman with greasy hair. “I asked for a single!” Wendy screamed.

“Nah-ah! Tonight, I’m getting you drunk Missy!” Wendy pulled out her purse and Dean pushed it back down. “Save it for a rainy day!” he shouted. Dean paid, grabbed the drinks and walked over to the only empty table which was filled with empty, dirty glasses by the window. He took the empties over to the bar as Wendy sat down, and then joined her. “Jesus, it’s really loud!” Wendy cried, right before taking her first sip. Dean looked at the huge speaker which was situated next to their table, as it bellowed electric guitar, and high pitched rap lyrics. He took his big heavy winter coat off and hung it over the speaker grill. It made little difference to the actual volume, but it did seem to filter some of the ear piercing trebles from the area. “That’s actually a little better,” Wendy said. “I’m not just an ugly face!” Dean smirked, and took a gulp from his pint glass, leaving a thick foamy moustache on his upper lip as he sat it back down. Just then, Wendy’s phone vibrated indicating a new text had arrived. Sunday 7:30pm - 11:30pm: 21 Harland Avenue. - They asked for you personally! “Guess what? I get to see Lewis again! They asked for me personally tomorrow night,” she shrieked in excitement. “That’s great! You must have made quite the impression!” Dean said, shifting his bottom lip tightly to one side and nodding his head. This was his hallmark ‘I’m impressed expression’ which he made quite regularly. Wendy’s smile dissolved into concern for a moment, “you don’t think I’m in trouble do you?” she cried. “Well that depends! Maybe he told his parents about your Jedi mind games?” Dean squealed. Wendy thought this over. It was quite possible Lewis had mentioned those games to his parents. Perhaps they were planning on confronting her about it.

“Don’t worry about it, I’m sure it’s all fine!” Dean shouted. That night Wendy found it difficult to sleep. Both a mixture of too much to drink, worries about her 2nd appointment with Lewis and the argument she’d had with Dean. Once again he’d begged her to spend the night in his room, but she refused. Only this time, his drunken self didn’t want to take no for an answer. He hadn’t gotten a little firm with her and was last wearing a bit of a sulk on his face as he slammed his door. This was the first time they’d parted on bad terms. It wasn’t that she was worried about Dean forcing himself on her or trying to rush her, since he wasn’t like that or so it seemed. It was her own emotions and desires that concerned her. She was probably attaching too much weight and significance to the idea of it being her first time. Most of this had been her old school farm values bestowed upon her by her mother. This she was thankful for, otherwise her prom date would have probably been her first. Fred Wise certainly had tried his damnedest after the prom, but she knew he was never going to be a long term partner. But it felt right to give that part of herself to Dean. It was more a fear of disappointing him or making too many mistakes that worried her. She also knew herself well enough to know that sleeping over would inevitably lead to sex. Dean would probably be quite happy sleeping in separate beds and keeping his hands to himself, but Wendy couldn’t say the same for herself. There was no doubt about wanting him that way, it had taken some will power and restraint on her part up to this point. But she wanted the time to feel right, which up to this point that ‘perfect moment’ hadn’t come. These thoughts, along with various scenarios played out by Lewis’s suspicious parents, asking her what these games were about continued to spin around her head. Eventually she fell asleep... She was running through the corn fields back on the farm in sunny California, wearing a long white flowing nightie. She was searching for Lewis as for some reason he was lost in those fields. His voice would echo from different directions, screaming the names of cards. “6 of spades!” so she ran to his voice on the right. “5 of hearts!” so she turned around and ran to his voice from behind.

“4 of clubs!” that came from the left, so she ran there. “3 of diamonds!” that was on the right, so she turned again. “2 of hearts!” she turned around and followed the voice. “Ace of clubs!” this came from in front of her, she pushed back the corn with her hands and moved on. “Help me Wendy, Help!” the voice cried. She ran, faster and faster, “Lewis! Lewis!!” she cried. “He’s here Wendy! He’s here!!” Lewis cried. Wendy ran faster and faster through the corn, dark clouds were now rolling over the sky, covering the sun and casting their shadows onto the corn fields like dark flowing liquid coating the landscape. Sweat was dripping down Wendy’s face. “Hold on Lewis, I’m coming!” she cried. Running as fast as she could as thunder boomed from the sky. She tripped and fell into an opening in the corn. As she stood up, she saw a scarecrow dripping with blood in the centre of the crop circle. She hesitated and walked slowly towards it. “Lewis!?? Where are you?” she cried. There was no answer, but thunder boomed once again as rain came pouring down, washing some of the blood down the scarecrow’s torn, brown cotton jacket. A hand grabbed Wendy’s shoulder, causing her to jump and scream. She turned around, and saw Tod Selby squatting on the ground holding a large kitchen knife with his other hand. He was turning it slowly from side to side, which caused it to glow bright and then dark as light reflected from its steel blade. A sick twisted grin filled his face, and his eyes gleamed in delight, shining like the blade. As she looked down, Lewis was unconscious and lying on his back, draped over Selby’s knee. Playing cards now rained down from the sky, as the thunder boomed echoing throughout the dark sky. Selby lifted the knife high into the air, its bright shining blade glistened as it pointed down towards Lewis. “No! No!!” Wendy screamed at the top of her lungs, she reached for the knife, but her movement was in ultra slow motion. She couldn’t move any faster, or react any quicker. Time itself had slowed to a crawl. The knife came down into Lewis’s throat as blood sprayed up, high into the air. Splashing first Selby’s sick demented

smile, hitting his teeth and lips, and then hitting Wendy in the face as she screamed in absolute terror. She jumped up from her sleep, sweat was pouring off her body and the deepest of chills ran up her arms, down her neck and through her spine. Wendy cried, it was the worst nightmare of her life, and so terribly vivid too. She could almost taste the blood in her mouth as though it were real. She gulped, sobbed and struggled to breathe in a fit of panic and hysterics. Looking at her clock, it was 4:44 exactly. She had to see Dean. She needed holding the way he’d held her before. Why hadn’t she stayed the night? Was God punishing her? Wendy ran in her white nightie, the same one she’d been wearing in the dream was exactly what she was wearing now. Had this been a warning from Selby himself? Anything seemed possible in these still hours of morning. She ran in her sleepwear through the campus, bare feet slapping again the freezing cold concrete. Still sobbing and struggling for breath, her face drenched in tears and the salty taste of them in her mouth which made her think of Lewis’s blood. She burst through the boy’s dorm and down the hallway, sobbing uncontrollably. Then she burst through Dean’s door. He must have forgotten to lock it in his drunken state as it flew open and slammed against Steve’s bed which was fortunately empty, causing Dean to jump up in his bed in surprise. Wendy threw herself at Dean, wrapping her arms around him. “It was horrible! It was awful, Lewis’s blood in my mouth!” she cried hysterically. “It’s okay!” Dean said, running his hands up and down her freezing cold, sweat covered arms. “You probably had a bad dream!” he said softly. “It’s Selby! He’s here... he’s here Dean!!” she cried. Dean rested his head on her shoulder which was shaking along with the rest of her body. “He won’t hurt you Wendy! He won’t hurt you... I won’t let him!” he said, kissing the side of her stone cold neck. He gathered up his bed covers and wrapped them around her as she sat there rocking her back and forth, running his hand over her long tangled hair.

She stayed with Dean until it was time to get ready for her appointment with Lewis. Dean suggested she cancel, but Wendy insisted that she go. “I want to make sure he’s okay! I can’t get the image of him lying there out of my head.” she said. Dean understood her logic. “Want me to come with you?” “I wish you could but ‘No alcohol, no tobacco, no drugs, no friends, no boyfriends and no parties’,” she recited. “Those rules sound familiar... Do you work for my Grandmother?” Dean asked sarcastically. “I gotta go and get ready,” said Wendy, she was still wearing her white nightdress. “You can’t walk across campus dressed like that in broad daylight!” Dean said as he threw a baseball cap at her “, wear a disguise.” Wendy threw the cap back at Dean as he caught it like a baseball player. “I’ll be fine!” she said and kissed him goodbye. “Well, have fun!” Dean said as he grabbed his laptop. “I will” said Wendy as she left the room.


On her way to Harland Avenue, she wondered how likely it was that Selby had personally sent her a warning. If he was capable of astral projection, then he may have been right there in her room. She certainly wouldn’t be refusing Dean’s sleepover invitations from now on. Of course, it could also have just been a really bad vivid nightmare, but the fact that Selby had left her a personal message on his psychiatric evaluation video... “Come stop me Wendy. I’m waiting for you.... Bunny!” ...was enough to make Wendy’s skin crawl at the thought. It also worried her that Lewis had been killed in her dream. She was definitely going to give him a big hug when she saw him. As she turned onto Harland Avenue, she thought about some new mind guessing games they could play together. Think of your favourite food. Think of your favourite drink, your favourite flavour ice cream, and so on. This would also be a great way to get to know Lewis better too. She walked up to the house but had to stop suddenly. There was a white plastic tape with blue writing blocking the steps. Wendy looked closer and saw the words ‘POLICE! DO NOT CROSS!’ written across the shiny plastic strip. Wendy’s heart stopped dead in her chest, and fear started rising up through her body. This was now a crime scene, and the police had sealed off the house to the public. Something bad has happened here. Please God no, not Lewis!, she thought. Wendy searched in her handbag and found the scrap of paper she’d been given by Lewis’s mother. ‘Just in case’ she’d said, and wrote her mobile number on there. Wendy took out her phone and dialled the number. A woman’s voice answered. “Hello?” she sounded disconnected and emotionless, almost robotic. “Hi, this is Wendy Peterson, your babysitter!”

There was a pause for a moment. “-Oh, I’m so sorry. I forgot to cancel. You can go home dear,” the woman said. “Oh no, I was looking forward to seeing Lewis. Can you say hello for me?” Wendy closed her eyes tight. This might not be a good thing to say, but she had to find out what had happened. She waited for the response which felt like minutes, and prayed for a ‘yes’, or ‘certainly’, but not the other. Anything but the other. “He wouldn’t stop talking about you, ya know? ‘Wendy plays this guessing game, and she always gets it right’ he kept saying. He really liked you!” the woman’s voice was turning to tears. Wendy gulped a sick, acidic swallow. Tears were forming in her own eyes. She spoke about him in past tense, why is she talking about him in past tense? “He’s dead! My poor little boy is dead!” the woman screamed in agonising pain down the phone. Wendy hung up, fell to her knees and cried in pain like never before. The pain was so raw and crippling and seemed to come from so many different places. She felt pain for Lewis. Pain for his mother and pain for herself. The dream flashed over and over in her mind, Selby’s sick, sadistic smile. The blood spraying from Lewis’s neck. The cards raining down, floating and spinning from the dark thundering sky. There was no horror worse than this. This was pure hell on Earth. “SELBY!!!” Wendy screamed, damaging her voice. “No!!!” Wendy just cried there on the cold street as it began to snow. She couldn’t hear her phone when it began ringing. She couldn’t feel the snow laying around her. She couldn’t even feel time, as almost two hours passed by. She wasn’t really there on that street. She was somewhere else, a dark, empty void which consumed her with pain and suffering. It was Dean picking her up off the street that almost brought her back to a concious reality. Her legs cramped and barely able to walk were numb with cold and a lack of circulation. Dean had phoned the agency to get the address after Wendy had ignored his calls for over an hour. Once he found her there, crumpled on the floor like a discarded old rag doll, he knew this was to be his horror too. Perhaps many guys would walk away and not look back, but there was no way she could face this alone. He didn’t

understand it, not any of it. But he knew how he felt about her, and that whatever she was facing, she couldn’t do it on her own. He picked her up and carried her in his arms. Her legs couldn’t support her, even to stand. There was no way they could have walked in that snow. It was there in his arms when her body completely shut down, and perhaps her mind too. A self defence mechanism, forcing her to into unconscious sleep because her mind simply couldn’t cope. A semi coma to protect the fragile thread of life left within her. Her legs were grazed and pale, and colder than ice itself. Dean wasn’t sure if he was carrying a corpse. She was so pale and motionless, and her skin felt like a piece of meat that had been left on the kitchen counter overnight. He tried to feel for a pulse, but couldn’t find one. Then, he hovered his hand just under her nose and mouth, he could feel a very soft warm breath that was weak and slow, but she was breathing. She was still alive, but barely. He began to run. Her life as well as her body now balanced precariously in his arms. The first thing he needed to do was to get her some place warm, and immediately following that was to phone for an ambulance. The campus was 20 minutes away on foot, and not all that warm either. As he ran out of Harland Street, he saw the lights of a petrol station glowing across the street. The ordinary glow of fluorescent light from the window was like some divine light beckoning to him. He ran across the road, causing oncoming traffic to swerve to avoid him and burst in through the petrol station doors. They hit his arm so hard, this would later come out as a large swelling bruise, but in the midst of panic he hardly felt it. He placed her down gently on the petrol stations cold tiled floor, the cashier watching him looked both concerned and gob smacked. “Is she all right?” the cashier asked. “Phone an ambulance!” Dean screamed. He ran to a pile of travel blankets and started taking them off the shelf, knocking other products off in a fit of urgency. “Hey.. Are you gonna pay for...” “FUCK OFF!” Dean screamed. He unwrapped the blankets and wrapped them around Wendy’s deathly cold body. He touched her forehead with the back of his hand. She was still ghostly pale, but she was still breathing. The cashier finally reached for the telephone and

started phoning for an ambulance. Dean leapt up and grabbed a travel pillow and placed it under Wendy’s head. “Come on Wendy, don’t you fucking die. Don’t fucking die on me!” he said, checking her forehead once again. Her lips were blue, and her face had tiny ice crystals glistening under the strong lights. A young man entered and looked in shocked amazement at Wendy’s pale, motionless body. “Is she dead??” he asked. Dean leapt up once again, pushing the man out of the way as he grabbed a bottle of mineral water from the fridge. He opened it and gently put the neck to Wendy’s blue lips as his other hand lifted her head up towards the bottle. “Drink this baby, come on... take a sip!” he said, trickling a thin stream of water into her mouth. Wendy coughed and spluttered the water back up, her eyes still closed. “Where’s the ambulance? Did you phone for an ambulance??” he screamed, turning towards the cashier. “It’s on its way!” he responded. A small crowd of people were now gathered around Wendy, looking down in morbid curiosity. One of them was a teenage boy in a red baseball cap “I think she’s dead!”, the boy said. Dean leapt up, grabbed the scruff of the boy’s t-shirt and slammed him against the wall, knocking several air fresheners off a display stand at the moment of impact. “She’s not dead - DO YOU HEAR!!??” he shouted through closed teeth. A big, stocky man reached to Dean and gently pulled him back away from the boy, who was now on the verge of pissing his pants. “Easy fella, take it easy!” he said. Dean’s grip on the boy’s t-shirt loosened up, and Dean saw blue flashing lights in the distance through the huge window as he turned to look at the man who had just pulled him back. He focused beyond the glass and saw 2 ambulance men wheeling over a stretcher and heading over to the doors. The men in fluorescent yellow vests lifted Wendy up onto the stretcher and wheeled her into the ambulance. Dean followed holding Wendy’s icy cold hand along the way. A paramedic in the ambulance checked for Wendy’s pulse and then peeled up her eyelids and inspected her pupils. “She’s gonna be all right - right??” Dean asked. “She’s got hypothermia. paramedic explained.

We’re gonna do what we can!” the

The ambulance doors slammed and the vehicle started to move, followed by the sirens screaming up on the roof. “Blood pressure 140/90. Heart rate 54. Body temperature 24. Bair hugger stat!” One of the paramedics pulled out a blue insulated blanket and placed it over Wendy’s body. “Don’t you dare die on me Wendy! Just don’t...” Dean said softly. As Wendy lay on the stretcher, somewhere between life and death, she began to float up out of her body. She couldn’t feel any pain, and didn’t hear any sounds, except a constant flowing noise of the universe. This sounded like a detuned radio’s static, but was lower pitched and quiet. Time seemed to follow that flowing low hiss of the universe, and everything here was infinite and without end. She could see herself lying on the stretcher, pale and lifeless. She could see Dean holding her hand and the paramedics attempting to bring her around. Firing the defibrillator onto her chest and pumping the oxygen mask over her face. She could see the thoughts of everyone in the ambulance, flowing endlessly into a single concious stream which flowed through time itself. Like a rainbow of colours and swirls flowing along a steady river of life throughout all space and time. Wendy realised that she wasn’t really here, nor was she the pale motionless body lying on the stretcher. She was conciousness itself, and was only seeing the light from where she was within the eternal concious stream. She was concious of the ambulance, because that was the part of the stream she was currently in. The floating up was merely her ascending into a higher level of awareness. She could float back down if she lowered her concious level, but there the stream was weaker and disconnected from the rest of the stream. She floated higher, above the ambulance and could now see the road above the it and other traffic driving nearby. Large flakes of snow fell from the sky, and some of them passed through her, but she couldn’t feel it. Here, the stream was thicker and wider still, and more connected to other streams, running in many different directions, like entangled strands of spaghetti. She followed one of the streams and saw the roads, buildings and countryside from her new position in that stream, almost instantaneously. There was no physical body to move any more, to travel was merely to think. To think in a particular direction, moved her to that

place of conciousness, and then she was just there. She thought of her farm back in California, and instantly found herself there. Now floating above her parent’s farm, in that part of space and time, looking down on the fields and her house. It was day time here, light from the sun lit up the corn fields in colours more vivid than her physical eyes could ever see. She began to float down, until she was inside her house. Her mother stood cooking in the kitchen, chopping up carrots before adding them to the large boiling pot. She was wearing a new apron with a picture of a donkey on it, grinning and holding a red apple in its mouth. Then she wondered what her father was doing, and instantaneously, as her thought jumped to his location, she found herself floating directly above him. He was out in the field milking the cow. Finally she thought of Selby. She didn’t want to, but before she knew it she was floating above him as he lay on his bed, sleeping in his cell. She wasn’t scared because she knew there was no physical body for him to harm. Only her position at this moment in the infinite stream of conciousness that surrounded everything. She floated slowly around his cell, exploring it and noticed several newspaper articles pinned to his wall. These were the articles from his murders back when he was a free man. Clippings from the reported murders, but nothing about his captures or arrest. Then, on the next wall, a single article was on display separate from the others. She recognised it immediately. It was the same article she had herself about the murder of Elizabeth Mendez. These were his trophies, a sick dark ego bragging about its achievements. This was proof enough to Wendy that Selby had indeed caused the killing as his physical body remained here in his cell. She had an idea. If Selby had been able to possess people in spirit form, maybe she could too. Perhaps she could possess Selby right now, and force him to kill himself as she controlled his body. She floated around his cell looking for a suitable weapon. This would be a new experience for her, and Selby was strong and experienced. If she managed to enter his body, she’d have go be quick and organised, since she might not have a great deal of time to act. Even then, her spirit might not have to strength to override Selby’s spirit, but she

had to give it a try. She was here after all. opportunity to save so many others.

This was fate, her

A leather belt would do the trick, but although she found trousers folded up on a chair, there was no belt. Perhaps she could use the chair and smash his head in with it, but that seemed like it might take while, and probably would render him unconscious as opposed to killing him. Finally she saw a small mirror hanging on the wall by his cell door. It was perfect, she’d enter his body, run over to the mirror and smash it with the chair. Then with a shard of broken glass, she’d stab him in the neck with his own murderous hands. It was almost poetic, a taste of his own medicine, she thought. She floated over to his body until she was directly above him and then started to descend, drawing closer to him. Although jumping back and forth throughout the concious stream was instantaneous, moving up and down in it was slow and required intense concentration. This made Wendy anxious as she felt like entering him slowly might alert him to her presence. Selby’s eyes opened wide and he looked right at her. He’d woken up and she was sure he was now fully aware of her spiritual presence, it appeared he was looking right at her, into her vision. She had to continue trying to descend any way. Selby sat up quickly in his bed, the upper part of his body physically moved through Wendy like the flakes of snow as she floated above the ambulance, but this time she felt something. It reminded her of that shuddering feeling people sometimes get when they say, ‘someone just walked over my grave’. Then there was an intense bright flash of light. Was she now inside Selby? Had it worked? As her eyes started coming into focus, the light grew dimmer and she could see colours and shapes, but they were so out of focus that she couldn’t tell what they were. She was definitely seeing through physical human eyes again, since her spiritual conciousness saw everything crystal clear with no depth of field. Almost as if everything was always in focus and everything appeared flat, but had multiple dimensions at the same time. She could also hear new sounds fading in over the top of the low hissing flowing sounds of the universe. It was starting to feel cold too, very cold. There were people here too, people all around her. As her eyes came into focus and the sounds around her faded in, she realised

where she was. She was back in the ambulance, and back in her own body. Dean was crying, tears streaming down his face which was now changing to joy and relief as he saw Wendy looking at him through her eyes. The paramedics next to her removed the defibrillator which must have gotten her heart beating once again. She probably should have felt glad, knowing she was still alive, but the pain and the cold throughout her body was agonising. Outside of her body there was no pain, no fear and no feeling weak and drained of physical energy. She had been pure energy and conciousness herself, and almost wished she was back there. Back inside her body in such a weak physical state, her conciousness was short-lived, she soon blacked out.


Wendy came back around at 11:24 the following morning. Now lying in a hospital bed, Dean was asleep in a chair which was situated at her bedside. To her other side was a saline drip, which fed into her left arm. She tried to sit up, which was made extremely difficult due to the fact that she could barely feel her legs. They felt so numb, that the movement of the hospital bed sheets only echoed a tingling sensation in her upper legs like a foot that had gone to sleep. She lifted up the covers, her legs were black and blue. She tried to wiggle her toes, but was unable to do so. A heart rate monitor beeped steadily which was now increasing a little in speed as she began to panic a little. She began trying to sweep her legs out to the side of the bed by twisting her lower body. As they stuck out the side of the covers, she shifted herself forward, sticking them out further. As the back of her knees hit the corner of the mattress, her legs hit the floor like a large mallet. Once again this only produced a slight tingle sensation, despite the impact they’d clearly received. The sharp slapping sound her bare feet made caused Dean to wake up. “What are you doing?? Nurse!” he cried. “I need to get the newspaper” Wendy said, in a weak, low broken voice. “You need to rest! Lay back..” he said, as he fussed over her nervously. He grabbed her arms and started pulling her back into bed, “Nurse!” he cried once more. Wendy tried to resist Dean’s efforts, but was too weak. “Get off me! I need to look in today’s newspaper!” she snapped, although her voice had more breath than volume to it. This small outburst caused her to cough uncontrollably.

“You’re staying right here, you almost died!” Dean said firmly, his voice full of pain and worry. “I’ll get you a newspaper!” Wendy nodded gently as the nurse came running in, who now also began to help Wendy back into her bed. “Wendy, stay right there... you’ve been through quite a lot, the doctor will be in shortly!” she said, as she sat Wendy up and carefully positioned the pillows to support her. Dean reached into his coat pocket which was hung over the back of his chair and pulled out his wallet. He then left the room in search of a newspaper. “I can’t feel my legs.” Wendy said, followed by another bout of coughing. The nurse looked at Wendy, unsure how to respond. Finally she said: “the doctor is on his way!” An Asian doctor with strong smell of aftershave entered the room and rushed over to Wendy. He pulled out a small light from his coat pocket and began shining it into Wendy’s eyes, inspecting her pupils. “How are we feeling?” he asked in a cold and systematic tone. “I can’t feel my legs,” Wendy repeated. “That may take a little time...” the doctor responded, and then walked to the end of her bed to inspect her charts. “Will I walk again?” Wendy asked. “There’s no permanent damage, you should be fine. But you need to rest Miss Peterson!” he ordered. “You were exposed to the cold for quite a while, and have suffered some hypothermia.” “When can I get out of here?” Wendy asked. The doctor waved his finger at her, “Not until we say so.” He pulled out a long metal pin and poked one of Wendy’s feet, “can you feel that?” he asked. “Just a tingle!”

“That’s good that you have some sensation already,” the doctor said sounding positive. He moved the pin further up Wendy’s leg, half way between her foot and knee and poked there. “How about there?” he asked. Wendy nodded this time, “Yes, it’s still numb, but I felt it.” “Excellent, just one more...”, he positioned his rod up just past her knee and poked there. “OW!” Wendy screamed energetically, followed by a disgruntled frown. “You are healing very fast,” the doctor proclaimed. “Not if you keep stabbing me I won’t!” said Wendy, her frown then turned into a slight look of amusement. “You were also a little dehydrated, but that’s looking good now. You can have a light lunch, and you’ll feel much better once you get some energy back,” he stated. “Did my heart stop?” Wendy asked. “You don’t need to worry about that,” the doctor explained, “just concentrate on getting some food, and drink plenty of water today too.” The doctor left the room, and skimmed past Dean as he returned with the newspaper. He handed it to Wendy, who smiled at him. Dean’s face however portrayed that of a man full of seriousness and concern. “How are you feeling?” he asked. “I’ve had better days,” joked Wendy as she frantically flipped through the newspaper. “I thought I’d lost you, I.. I.. I’ve never been so scared!”, Dean’s eyes began to fill up a little. “I’m all right,” Wendy said very casually, not looking away from the newspaper.

Dean grabbed the back of the newspaper, clenching it with his fist and pulled it from Wendy’s hands. Its pages scattered slightly as it fell on the bed. “It’s NOT all right!” Dean screamed softly, but with a definite tone of anger and fear. “You flat-lined back there in that ambulance. You have no idea how that felt do you?? I’ve never been so scared...” he cried. Wendy’s eyes flashed with regret, she grabbed Dean’s hand and looked sincerely into his eyes, “I’m sorry.” Dean was now sobbing uncontrollably, “The paramedics were about to declare you officially dead, but I begged... I begged them to keep trying. Your heart stopped for three minutes and forty seven seconds, even when your heart started again they were sure you had brain damage!” Wendy recalled her floating experience, and was surprised that in real time it had been less than four minutes. In that short space of time, she’d been to see her parents, visited Selby, and almost entered his body. Then she wondered if it had been real at all, or perhaps some kind of dream. Can the brain still dream without oxygen? she wondered. She leaned towards Dean and put her arms around him. As he sobbed in her arms for almost a minute, she wanted to share her out of body experience with him, and tell her about Selby and the death of dear sweet young Lewis. But she guessed that right now, he wouldn’t want to hear it. Instead she asked, “How did you find me?” “When you didn’t answer your phone after trying for an hour, I got worried. I just had a really bad feeling, so I phoned the agency and they gave me the address,” Dean explained. “My hero... you saved my life!”, said Wendy as she kissed Dean on the forehead. Dean’s face was wet with tears, he wiped them away and took a deep watery sniff. He just stared intensely at Wendy for a moment. “So what’s so important about the newspaper?” Wendy looked racked with guilt for a moment, perhaps her first concerns waking up this morning shouldn’t have been the murder of

Lewis, or confirming Selby’s guilt. Poor Dean had been through a lot of pain because of her, and now admitting her continued obsession with Selby and the murders to herself didn’t sit so well with her conscience. “Did something happen at that house?”, Dean asked, “It’s been closed off as a crime scene hasn’t it?” he asked delicately. Dean already suspected that something terrible had happened which had caused Wendy to collapse. He was fully aware of how close Wendy had felt to Lewis, and how sensitive she was when it came to people she cared about. Wendy nodded, “That’s what I wanted to find out. I spoke to Lewis’s mother, and she told me he was dead... I guess I wanted to know how he died,” she said, sounding like a guilty child who had been caught stealing from the cookie jar. Dean picked up some of the scattered pages from the newspaper, and handed the rest to Wendy, “I’ll check these.” Wendy watched Dean as he scanned the sheets of newspaper, looking for a story. She wondered how she’d managed to be so lucky to find Dean, who after everything she’d put him through, was still dedicated to putting her concerns to rest. Picking up the remaining sheets of newspaper, she joined Dean in looking for a clue. “Here, I think I found it!” Dean said. He twisted himself round so that Wendy could see the article, and lay next to her as he began to read it to her. BOY BRUTALLY MURDERED BY HIS FATHER Yesterday at 4:44am, Michael Anderson, 46 stabbed his own 6 year old son to death with a kitchen knife. When police inspected the body, they found a large stab wound in the boy’s throat. One of the boy’s eyes had also been hacked out using the same weapon. Investigators believe this was done post mortem, but an autopsy scheduled later today will confirm these beliefs. The boy’s mother, Paula Anderson, 39 reported the crime in progress, telling officers her husband had been acting strange in the moments leading up to the murder. She told police

officer’s he had not been himself whilst committing the crime, and Michael had been hysterical and in tears as police arrested him. He had begun trying to cut his own wrists as police confiscated the weapon from him. Wendy felt a chill down her spine as she recalled her dream. When she’d awoken that night, the clock had read 4:44, the exact time of the actual murder. “Only one of his eyes, he must have been disturbed,” Wendy muttered to herself. “I’m so sorry!”, Dean said, “I know how much you liked that boy!” Dean’s eyes shifted to the side for a moment, as he began to access his memories. Then his eyes opened wide as he recalled Wendy’s nightmare on the night of the murder. “Wendy... did you dream this?” he asked. Wendy nodded, “Well, it was Selby in my dream, and I was back home in the corn fields... but yes, I dreamt that Lewis had been stabbed!” Dean turned white, his face showed concern. “No way... no way!” Wendy sat there looking at Dean, trying to read his face. Did he believe her now? “I don’t like this!” he said, looking at Wendy. She wondered if she should tell him about her out of body experience, but thought that might be too much for him to handle. He was struggling with the little information he had already, and she didn’t want to worry him any further. “What does this mean?” he asked. “I don’t know” Wendy said. She was sure she actually did know. Selby was floating around, entering innocent people and carrying on his murders right from within his cell. The boy had been picked by Selby either as a message to her, or because there was some kind of link between her and Selby. This couldn’t be mere coincidence. “Maybe you had a connection to the boy after doing your, your... ya know, mind thing!?”, Dean speculated. It no longer seemed fitting to

use the Jedi joke, since it was now starting to feel very real, and of no laughing matter. Dean tried to push these thoughts to the back of his mind. He wasn’t comfortable thinking about it, and was severely freaked out by the whole thing. All this time, he had previously thought that Wendy’s obsession with Selby was related to her studies and her natural curiosity, but now, there were too many coincidences for there to not be a connection. He tried to change the subject a few times, and just spend casual time with Wendy. Asking her how the hospital food tasted, asking her about her home back in California (she told him about her nickname Bunny which her father had given her). Thoughts however kept popping back into his head, making him feel uneasy. When evening came, he was asked to leave the hospital. Visiting hours were over, and the nurse had suggested that Wendy try to get some sleep. Dean could probably use some himself, feeling fatigued and drained by the whole experience, and the snacks from the vending machine had failed to give him any substantial energy or nourishment. Dean kissed Wendy goodbye and returned to his dorm. He pulled out a microwave meal and ate it in front of the television. The thoughts of the dead boy and Wendy’s near death experience kept haunting him as he sat there. After finishing his meal, he laid back in his bed watching the TV and hoped to catch up on some sleep. His mind wouldn’t settle though, and he knew he’d not only be unable to sleep, but wasn’t even able to follow the plot of the film. He looked over to his computer desk, and saw the ‘puke stained laptop’. Perhaps he should inspect those files which Wendy had claimed an old lady had put on there. Maybe he could help spot something which might help Wendy. But mainly, his own godforsaken curiosity was just niggling away and wanting to seek answers. Dean read the files, and used the internet to try and find more as he did so. All he was able to find were news reports on Selby, and spiritual nonsense on astral projection. Nothing useful, unlike the police reports on the computer, which certainly hadn’t come from the media or internet. Then he found one of the video files from the psychiatric interview. His skin crawled as he sat there watching Selby grinning a sick and twisted smile, toying with his psychiatrists in a dull interview room.

Then, he got to the end of the 2nd video, and watched in total horror as the psychiatrist gouged his own eyes out with his ballpoint pen. At first, Dean was sure this had to be a prank. It didn’t even look real, and let’s face it... couldn’t be real. Surely, nobody had the ability to hack into someone’s mind and make them cause physical harm to themselves. He paused the video, as he felt sick and decided to do a quick search on Google.

MIND CONTROL e As expected, the results were a mixture of fictional stories, movie plots and conspiracy nut-job nonsense. Nothing conclusive or considered a reliable source had anything to say on such phenomenon. He went to close the laptop and try once again to get some rest, but as he did he accidentally pressed the space bar which caused the video to resume playback. “Come stop me Wendy. I’m waiting for you.... Bunny!” Selby’s voice whispered above the screams of the blind bleeding doctor, with a sick, twisted smile on his face. Wendy? Bunny?? There was no way both names could merely be a coincidence. Had Wendy seen this video? he wondered, Why hadn’t she told him about this very significant detail? Dean wanted to go straight back to the hospital immediately and ask Wendy about that part of the video. However, visiting hours were over, both he and Wendy did need rest, and he’d be able to handle the conversation better first thing in the morning. Dean failed to get to sleep that night, and instead kept hearing that eerie whispering voice, taunting Wendy to come stop him. Who the hell was this guy? Who was Wendy for that matter?? Why couldn’t he have dated one of the false nail obsessed girls from sociology? Eventually, Dean went for a walk to try and clear his head. This was at about 3:30 in the morning. He found himself outside the Anderson house, though he hadn’t intended to go there. As the stood outside the property, he looked down at the floor where his feet were. This was where Wendy had almost frozen to death, he thought. He looked up at the houses’ large bay window and tried to imagine the

horror Lewis had experienced. To be attacked by your own father wielding a kitchen knife. Possibly possessed? It still seemed too far fetched, like the plot of some terrible horror novel, written by the kind of guy who couldn’t get a girlfriend. But what if this is real? he thought, How could anybody, least of all frail, sensitive Wendy possibly stop him? Dean returned home, and drifted off to sleep for almost an entire hour, before reawakening to the cold blue daylight, seeping in through his window. Meanwhile, Wendy decided to phone her parents, to let them know she was all right and try to add some validity on her out of body experience. “Hello?” her mother answered. “Hi Mum!” “Wendy! Good to hear from you, how’s England?” “Yeah, not too bad”, Wendy didn’t want to worry her mother, so decided not to mention her near death experience. “That’s great, anything interesting happening?” Yeah plenty, Wendy thought. I died and came back to life, I’m trying to track down a serial killer and I’ve started babysitting. “I’ve started seeing this guy, he’s real sweet!” she said. “Oh? What’s his name?” she asked. “Dean. Listen Mum, this may sound like a strange question, but have you by any chance bought yourself a new apron lately?” Wendy asked. “Why yes, I bought one from town the other day. Why?” “Does it have a donkey on it with a red apple in its mouth?” “How on Earth did you know that?”

“Lucky guess!” “You’ve been speaking to your father haven’t you? He hates it, wanted me to get one with a big pair of boobs on the front instead!” “Yeah, sounds like you made the right choice. Listen, I gotta go...” “Okay, you take care now ya hear?” “I will Mum, love you!” There was no way the apron could be a coincidence. That ruled out the possibility of it being a dream. Unless her mind streaming gift now came bundled with psychic dream abilities. This had to mean that she had indeed had an out of body experience. If she’d been able to do it, then it sounded plausible that Selby was able to too. Norma, the old woman must have been right.


Once Dean returned to the hospital, he was glad he’d had some time to think. There was no point in mentioning the video to Wendy, if she’d already seen it then there was no use in reminding her about it. And whether she’d seen it or not, in her current condition, causing unnecessary stress and concern probably wasn’t such a wise move. “I brought you some flowers” he said, as her placed them in the empty vase beside her bed. “Wow, nobody ever bought me flowers before”, she said, grinning proudly. Just then, her teacher Professor Simpson walked in. “Aaah, so it’s true... you really are sick!” he said, plonking a bottle of Lucozade on her bed stand. “I knew you wouldn’t miss one of my lectures unless it was serious,” he joked. Wendy smiled. “Aren’t you supposed to be teaching right now?” Wendy asked. “Well, Mrs Callaghan is standing in for me today as I have some urgent business to tend to, so I thought I’d stop by. I found out about Selby. You were right, he’s in Foston Hall prison!” explained Simpson. “So why isn’t he in a mental institution then?” Wendy asked. “Well that’s the odd thing. He’s had 2 unsuccessful psychiatric evaluations, which both ended badly. They wouldn’t give me the details, but nobody will agree to re-evaluate him. I think he must have caused some unique problems.” said Simpson. Wendy nodded. She already knew the details behind those evaluations, but thought it best not to mention that to Simpson. “He’s now known as Patient-X amongst the psychiatric community, since nobody will dare evaluate him. It’s quite strange

really, I’m sorry but that’s all I can tell you. If I were you, I’d write about somebody else for your essay, unless you want to be frightfully unpopular within the psychiatric community.” advised Simpson. “Thanks sir,” Wendy said. “Well, I wish you a speedy recovery. Come see me in my office if you need an extension, I’m sure we can sort something out.” Simpson said, and left the hospital to tend to his business. “Want me to get you a newspaper?” Dean asked. “I’ll come with you, I could use the exercise. I walked to the toilet myself last night!” “Wow I’m impressed - you’re house trained! But the newspaper shop is much further, are you sure it’s not too far?” Wendy shook her head vigorously. She was determined to get back on her feet again as soon as possible. “Maybe I should check with the nurse...” Dean said. “I can do it!” Wendy argued, flashing an intense frown over her look of determination. Dean helped her get out of bed and stand on her feet. As he let go, she wobbled slightly and Dean caught her and stopped her from falling. “You’re so stubborn aren’t you?” he said. “I have these to help me”, Wendy tilted her head down to the left towards a pair of crutches which were leaning against the wall next to her bed, Dean grabbed them and helped her prop herself up onto them. She slowly hobbled her way out of the room, and Dean followed alongside her. “Has the feeling come back in your legs?” he asked. Wendy struggled to answer as she put all her effort into supporting her weight with the crutches, but after a few gasps, managed to strain out an answer: “Yeah, I can feel pain again... lucky me!” Her hospital gown fluttered with every step, between the clinks of the crutch hitting the hard, hospital hallway floor. They had barely

made it half way down the first corridor, of which there was another three and Wendy struggled to catch her breath. “Maybe we should turn back!” Dean suggested, but Wendy kept on struggling, shuffling her pain filled legs as much as she could. They continued like this until they reached the end of the corridor. “We’re not even half way yet, are you sure you’re okay?” he asked. “There’s some chairs a little way ahead. I can take a rest half way!” Wendy said as she gasped and strained forward another few inches. Sweat was now appearing on her face which looked flushed and tired. Her gasps of breath now contained quiet moans of pain, and she looked as if she was struggling the keep her balance. Dean could start to see the chairs, which were still between 20 and 30 metres away. Her legs were starting to shake and wobble as she shifted her weight over to the other foot. One of the crutches fell from under her arm and came crashing to the ground. Dean leapt forward and reached to pick it up, but at the same time Wendy fell down on the ground in the same direction. Dean tried to change his momentum and managed to give her a soft landing as she collapsed onto his legs, but failed to catch her. He gently slid his body away from under her, took the other crutch and sat her upright whilst straightening out her legs. Right at the far end of the corridor was a young boy running with a wheelchair and jumping onto it as he rolled down the hall, crashing into the walls. “Wait right here...!” he said, and ran to the boy in haste. He grabbed the handles of the wheelchair and tried to pull it from the boy, but the boy tried to wrestle it back as he pulled on its arms. “Let go, I need this!” he shouted, but the boy was reluctant. Dean gave a sharp tug and sent the boy falling onto the floor as he yanked the wheelchair away. A woman came out of one of the wards and shouted at Dean, “What’s going on??” she cried, as the little boy started to turn on the waterworks. “Waaaahh, waaaah, he took my chair!” the boy cried. Dean ran back down the corridor with the wheelchair, the speed of its rubber grip wheels buzzing against the floor echoed down the hall, sounding like a quiet toy motor bike. “Hey, give that back!” the woman cried.

He approached Wendy who looked like she’d fell over, worried she was hurt he ran faster still. His shoes skidding and slipping with each push against the floor, and the wheelchair sounding more like a motorbike than ever. As he pulled up alongside Wendy, he could hear her crying in a fit. These were not cries of pain, but laughter. She was rolling from side to side in a fit of hysterics, laughing so hard she began to cough and struggled to catch her breath back. “What’s so funny?” he asked. “That boy’s face!” she cried amidst a fit of laughing. “You just stole his Grannie’s wheelchair!” she shrieked, unable to stop the chorus of laughs. Dean turned around and saw an old lady looking for the chair and talking to the boy. It was then he realised the boy had been playing with it outside the ladies toilets. The boy, still crying pointed at Dean in which the woman looked up in both surprise and disgust. “I can’t believe you just did that!” Wendy cried, still amused and howling with laughter. “Oh, shit!” Dean said under his breath, and off he went to return the wheelchair to the old lady who looked like she was struggling to stay upright herself. “I’m so sorry..” he said as he handed back the wheelchair. The elderly lady snatched it from him and looked at him with contempt. Dean turned around and started walking back towards Wendy, a smile appeared on his face as he shook his dead to himself in disbelief. He thought to himself: Why do I care about her so much? She’s a pain in the arse! His smile grew slightly larger. Who knows how love really works? “If I knew you were gonna cause so much trouble, I’d have stayed in bed!” Wendy laughed as Dean returned. “Shut up...” Dean said embarrassed, shaking his head again. Wendy’s nurse appeared with a new wheelchair, and both her and Dean helped Wendy up into it. “You’re not supposed to be walking around yet!” the nurse said, scolding them for their adventures.

“Hey, I was doing okay until Dean decided to commit grand theft auto!” Wendy said, grinning in amusement. “Use the chair until the end of the week, then you can use the crutches!” said the nurse. The nurse picked up the crutches and walked away letting out a sigh, as Wendy and Dean continued on their journey. As they passed the old lady and the boy, Wendy covered her mouth with her hand to hide another laugh. Dean was smiling, he was glad to make her laugh, even if it was at his expense. They rolled into the paper shop and went up to the newspapers. Wendy grabbed one of the tabloids and placed it in her lap. “Shall we get some snacks too?” Dean asked, bending down to Wendy over the chair. Wendy gave a nod, “This hospital food is killing me.” Dean rolled Wendy up to the crisps. She pointed at the original flavour Pringles and turned her head to Dean, her facial expression asking for approval. Dean nodded and she placed them on top of the newspaper. Then he parked her at the sweets and chocolate, Wendy grabbed some peanut M&Ms and a bag of Maltesers. “You want a serial killers monthly magazine to read or something?” Dean asked. “Hmmm... Maybe.” He rolled her over to the magazines, but they were placed too high for her to see. “Do you know what you want?” he asked. “Do they have any crossword puzzles?” Dean searched through the publications, and pulled out three crossword puzzle books and presented them to her. Wendy tapped the one in the middle twice with her finger. Dean added it to her pile and put the others back. “Thank you!” she said, sounding sincere. “What for?” Dean asked.

“Being so sweet!” Dean paid for the items and started heading back to Wendy’s room. Wendy opened up the Maltesers, placed one in Dean’s mouth and got one for herself whilst opening up the newspaper. A few page flicks and several Maltesers later, she let out a horrified gasp at one of the articles. “What’s wrong?” Dean asked. “Lewis’s dad... Michael Anderson. He killed himself last night! The police found him hanging by his trousers.” Dean remained silent. As they returned to her room, Wendy asked, “Are you going to your classes today?” “Nah, wouldn’t be able to concentrate anyway.” Wendy smiled, “Cool, you can help me do some crosswords then, sometimes I get confused with British spelling.” “O, K,” responded Dean.


By the time the Christmas holidays came around, Wendy was fully mobile again. She even managed to complete her essay on Dean’s old laptop without getting an extension. Dean was starting to fall behind due to his daily hospital visits with Wendy and his restless nights (despite lying to her about it), but he wasn’t overly concerned. They now planned to stay three nights with Dean’s grandmother at her home over in Colchester where Dean had spent most of his childhood. The train journey was long enough for them to complete the rest of the crossword book from the hospital, which was riddled with mistakes and even the odd made up word. Every time a few blank boxes remained, with the letters around them clearly wrong, Wendy would throw a few random letters in them and invent a definition for the newly added word. One of Dean’s favourites of these was her word “slirpstik” which Wendy claimed was an accessory found in American fast food restaurants shaped like a straw that could also be used to stir drinks with. Another one of his favourites was “gloobot”, a robot which broke into offices at night and added the glue to the flaps of envelopes. As they came close to finishing the last page of the crossword book, once again a few empty boxes remained. “16 down, last one. To offer food, goods or kill in the name of religion.” Wendy read.

S_CRIFUC_ Once again, the answer was obvious, but one of the letters from the previous answer was wrong. The answer was obviously SACRIFICE, meaning that ‘8 across’ was wrong. Before Dean could read its clue and attempt to make a correction, Wendy completed the puzzle in her whimsical way.


“Sacrifuck: An unnecessary sacrifice, which is fucked up!” Wendy claimed. “I like that one... sacrifuck” Dean repeated. “So, if you’re going to make me sleep on the sofa, then by definition, I’m sacrifucking my bed... because that’s an unnecessary sacrifice.. right?” Dean asked, edging his bets. Wendy smiled, “We’ll see... it’s just I’d feel weird sharing your bed whilst your grandmother’s in the house!” “I promise I won’t rape you or anything...” Dean joked. “Well I can’t make any similar promises I might not be able to keep,” said Wendy. “Ooooohhhh!” sang Dean, “...Somebody’s definitely feeling better!” As the train pulled into the station, passengers bumped into each other, as they frantically hurried to get off the train. Dean and Wendy hung back and waited for the crowd to disperse before gathering their bags and walking out onto the platform. They headed over to the taxi rank and got into one of the cars. “Where to?” asked the driver. “15 Magnolia Crescent!” said Dean, and the cab rolled into motion. Dean then used his telephone and called his grandmother. “Hey Gran! It’s Dean... we just got off the train and we’re in a taxi. Okay, we’ll see you soon... bye!” Then he firmly tapped Wendy’s arm with the back of his hand, “Oh... we’d better stop off and get some drinks. My Nan probably won’t have any in the house,” he explained, “Actually, just drop us at the Off License, and we’ll walk from there!” he said to the driver, who nodded to show he understood. “Okay, but let me buy them...” said Wendy. Once inside, they grabbed 2 bottles of vodka, some cans of Kronenbourg and 4 bottles of coke. “What does grandma drink?” Wendy asked.

“Oh, she likes her whisky!” said Dean. “Which one does she like?” “I’ll get her a Glenfiddich!”, Dean grabbed a bottle and added it to the cluster. Automatically, Dean pulled out his wallet as the lady rang the items through the till, but Wendy pushed it away and paid for them on her card. They left the shop and began walking down the snow filled street, their drinks clinking in their bags along the way. “I nearly forgot to pack your present” said Wendy. “Oooh, is it a slirpstick?” joked Dean. “No, I already told you they only have them in American fast food restaurants!” “You do realise you can stir a drink with a normal straw too?” “I never realised that!”, Wendy smiled. “I only bought your present yesterday,” admitted Dean. “I’ve had yours for weeks!” Wendy sang, and sent Dean a disapproving look. “Well I didn’t know what to get. You’re not like a normal girl.” “I’ll ignore that!” Wendy responded, “It’s something really stupid isn’t it?” “You’ll have to wait and see...” Dean smirked. “Yes, it’s stupid and insulting... I know you!” Wendy replied. “We’re here!” said Dean. They walked up some steps, and Dean took out a key and unlocked the door. He opened it and sang, “Grammaaahh, it’s only me...”, as they entered the front porch. A voice rang from the top of the stairs, “I’ll be down in a second!” Dean took Wendy’s coat and hung it on one of the hooks, followed by his own. There was a faint smell of cooked chicken emanating

through the house, and a smell of old pot pourri. The house was very warm, perhaps a little too warm after coming in from outside, which took away Wendy’s breath a little. “Come on in and sit down”, Dean said as he led Wendy into the living room. A real coal fire sat in the centre of a chimney breast, flickering away. Above it was a large oil painting of an old English countryside. Wendy walked over to the sofa and sat down. “I’ll go and put the drinks away...” Dean said, and rushed off into the kitchen, leaving Wendy to explore. A tall grandfather clock sat proudly in one of the alcoves, ticking a deep, hypnotic noise as its pendulum swung gently. A sheepskin rug, which looked real lay on the maroon floral carpet in front of the fire. In the other alcove was a collection of family photographs, most of them were Dean as a child. Wendy stood up and walked over to them to take a closer look. The first one was of Dean in his school uniform, he was perhaps 7 or 8 and his intense grin revealed several missing teeth. Below that was another of Dean holding a toy gun, stood next to his father in his wheelchair, as he held a real shotgun. Below that was another one of Dean, much older and in a different school uniform. He looked serious in this photograph. The last picture featured Dean with an old lady, she had piercing light blue eyes and flowing white hair. She was smiling proudly, which revealed yellow stained teeth. Wendy’s heart stopped for a moment. She’d seen her before, in the American style diner. It was Norma, the old lady who had taken Dean’s laptop from her. This was Dean’s grandma? All along, it had been Dean’s grandmother?? - Or did she just look like her? Wendy moved in closer, rubbing her eyes. It was Norma, it was definitely her. How could this be? What was going on here? Was this a dream, a coincidence or some kind of sick twisted fate?? “Hello Wendy,” a whispering voice pierced through Wendy’s ears, sending chills down her neck and across her face. Wendy jumped, knocking a vase off a table, and as she turned... Norma, Dean’s grandmother was stood right in front of her face, grinning a slightly sinister expression, and those yellow stained teeth flashing before her eyes. “Norma??” Wendy cried.

“I bet you weren’t expecting to see me again were you dear?” Norma said, widening that slightly sinister smile, deeper across her leathery face. The vase hit the carpet and bounced, spilling water and flower petals everywhere. Wendy bent down and picked it up, placed it back on the table but never looking away from the old woman’s piercing blue eyes. The blue in those eyes had swirls of milky white, and the white’s of her eyes had a yellow tint to them. “What’s going on?” Dean asked, his voice showed both concern and confusion in it’s tone. “Your.. your, your grandma!...” Wendy stuttered in shock, her face now pale. Dean turned to his grandmother, looking more confused than ever and then turned back to Wendy who was frozen, her gaze locked on Norma. “Will somebody answer me?” Dean cried. “The laptop! The laptop...” Wendy stuttered, “The old woman who took your laptop, it’s.. it’s, - it’s her!” Dean took a step forward, and then turned to his grandmother once more. “Gran, what’s she talking about?” Dean asked. “It’s true Dean... I did borrow that laptop... but she had to know the truth!” Norma stated. Norma reached her hand out to Wendy, attempting to grab her arm but Wendy flinched away knocking the vase off the table again. This time, the vase hit the wall directly behind it and smashed, causing Wendy to jump and almost fall onto the table the vase had been sat upon. “It’s okay dear, why don’t you sit down...” Norma instructed, placing her cold leathery hand on Wendy’s arm. Wendy sat down and Dean joined her. He put his hand on her leg and rubbed it, “Are you all right?” he asked. “I,.. I.. I don’t understand” Wendy stuttered.

“Neither do I...” Dean said disapprovingly, as he turned towards his grandmother, looking for a response. “I tried to protect you from all of this Dean, that’s why I never told you!” she said. “Told me what?...” he asked, sounding both confused and anxious. “Wendy’s gift! It runs in our family too... you do know about Wendy’s gift don’t you?” Norma asked. Dean nodded, although he still wasn’t sure how much of this gift he believed. “I have it, and your mother had it -God rest her soul!” The grandfather clock’s ticking seemed to cut through the air like a knife, the spilled water from the vase soaked into the maroon carpet, the discolouration in the carpet now looked like a pool of blood, with a few white petals laying on the top. “Wait a minute... are you telling me that you put those sick files on my laptop?” Dean asked. “I had to!” Norma shouted in defence, “I’m too old to stop Selby, your mother’s dead, but Wendy... Wendy still has hope!” “But how?? How can I stop him?” Wendy asked, as Dean sat frozen in disbelief. “Only you can know the answer to that!”, Norma explained, “Search deep inside yourself, the answer is within you child!” “Wait a minute, why does anybody have to stop Selby... he’s in Jail!” said Dean. His eyes were starting to show anger bubbling up inside him. “Wake up Dean! You’ve seen the murders, you’ve seen what he’s still capable of. He is using this power for evil, and this power is strong. He will come after everybody Wendy gets close to, because he is afraid of her. He knows she has the power to stop him, so he’s trying to break her down! The only reason you’re still alive is because the accident damaged your brain, he can no longer get to you. He can’t even see you, he doesn’t even know you exist!” The

room stayed silent for a while, even the grandfather clock’s hypnotic ticks seemed to fade into a hazy background. “Wait, you said he’ll come after everyone I’m close to. parent’s in danger?” Wendy asked.

Are my

“We are all in danger child!” Norma proclaimed, “Until he is stopped!” Dean leapt up from the sofa, grabbed a magazine from the coffee table and threw it across the room at full force. It hit the large oil painting above the fire, causing the painting to rock back and forth and came crashing back down to the ground just in front of the fire. “Why are you filling my girlfriend’s head full of this shit?? She almost died because of this pointless obsession! This has to STOP RIGHT NOW!” he screamed. Neither Wendy or his grandmother had ever seen such raw anger from Dean. He grabbed Wendy’s hand firmly and yanked her up off the sofa by her arm, causing her to almost lose her balance and topple over. “Come on, let’s get out of here!” he cried, dragging Wendy out of the living room and into the hall. “Wait, Dean wait!” Wendy cried. Dean took no notice, handed her coat to her and started putting on his own. “Dean!” she screamed, “Just wait a minute...” Dean stormed off up the stairs still wearing his coat, he disappeared into his bedroom and slammed the door. Wendy stood there for a moment, and tried to gather her thoughts together, before returning to the living room. Norma had picked up the broken vase and was now picking up the magazine from off the floor. Wendy went over to her. “I think Selby’s using astral projection to carry on killing people, but you already knew that didn’t you?” she said. Norma nodded, she had a slight look of guilt on her face. “I did it once too, when my heart stopped in the ambulance. I was able to float around outside of my body, so I paid Selby a visit.” she explained. “That’s probably the only way you’re going to be able to get to him!” said Norma.

“I think I can stop him, but I need to know how he does it. I ran out of time the last time, but it nearly killed me! Can you help me?” she asked. “I wish I could child, but I’ve helped you as much as I possibly can,” Norma held Wendy’s face with her hands, “Nobody should have to suffer this kind of burden. Nobody! Especially a dear young girl like yourself, but there’s nobody else who can do it!” Wendy sighed and nodded gently as if convincing this to herself, Norma removed her hands from her face. “Now go and see to that foolish young boy, he’s a lot more sensitive than he’d care to admit!”, Norma tilted her head to the direction of upstairs, pointing with her piercing blue eyes. Wendy walked upstairs calling Dean’s name, but there was no answer. As she reached the top of the stairs, she could hear him sobbing from behind the closed door furthest from the landing. She knocked on it gently, and then entered the room. Dean was laying face down on his bed, sobbing uncontrollably. His coat now flung across the bedroom floor. She remembered the time Dean had held her during her most vulnerable moments, and walked over to the bed, sat down and put her arms around him, laying her chest across his back. “I’m really sorry about all this...” she whispered, as Dean lay there gasping between sobs. “Why is this happening to us?” he cried. “I told you I was a freak!” Dean sat up, wiping tears from his face and looked into Wendy’s eyes, “You’re not a freak! You’re amazing... I just wish we could share our time together, without all this... all this, all this shit!” “I know, I know...” Wendy responded, and then leaned forward and kissed Dean on the lips. Dean paused for a moment and then kissed Wendy on the lips, cupping his hands around her face and across her warm ears. They continued kissing, which became more passionate, tasting each other and pressing firmly with their lips. Dean pulled Wendy’s top off over her head and continued kissing, pressing her breasts into his chest.

They made love so passionately that time itself seemed to temporarily cease from existence. It was perfect, and intimate but completely spontaneous. Of all the ways their first time could have happened, this was not how either had previously fantasised, and yet it was more beautiful and romantic than anything they could have begun to imagine. As they both lay there in the afterglow of their passion, Dean whispered, “I love you!” Wendy smiled, she’d never heard those words before, except from her parents, but she’d felt this love and knew it was the truth. “I love you too!” she whispered softly.


There would be no more mention of Selby or Wendy’s gift during their stay with Norma. What needed to be said had been said, and everyone’s emotions were too raw and deep to reopen that particular can of worms. It was now Christmas Day morning, and joyous celebration was in much need. Dean woke up first, slightly hung over from last night’s heavy drinking session. Wendy lay next to him fast asleep, the Star Wars clock on his bedroom wall read 8:42. He climbed over her and reached into his rucksack, pulling out a carefully wrapped present with a big bow on it. He put his hand on Wendy’s shoulder and rocked her gently. “Wakey wakey” he said softly, Wendy opened her eyes and shuffled upright, “Merry Christmas honey” he said, kissing her. She saw the gift Dean was holding and smiled, “Merry Christmas!” Dean handed her the gift, “Thank you!”, she sang taking it from him. “Did you wrap this yourself?” she asked, sounding a little like she was speaking to a 3 year old. “Yeah, I didn’t cut my finger or anything,” said Dean in his best impression of a small child’s voice. She started unwrapping it, revealing a bottle of perfume. “Do you like it?” he asked. She took the bottle out of its box and took the lid off, leaning in and taking a sniff. “It’s lovely!” she said kissing him. “That’s not all!...” “There’s more?”

Dean reached into his bag and pulled out a second, smaller gift wrapped box and handed it to her. She unwrapped it to reveal a plain white long cardboard sleeve which she removed from a dark plastic case. She opened it and saw a small silver rabbit shaped pendant on a silver chain. “It’s a bunny!” Dean boasted, “You know, cause of your nickname!” “Oh wow, it’s fantastic. I love it!” Wendy took it and put it around her neck, kissing Dean once more. “My turn!” she stated in excitement, shuffled out of bed and reached into her own backpack. She pulled out a small gift wrapped box and handed it to Dean. Dean opened it to reveal an eBook reader. “I know you wanted one of these!” she said. “I can’t believe it, awesome!” he cried, hugging Wendy approvingly. When Christmas dinner came around, everybody was feeling rather tipsy. Grandma Norma told delightful tales of Dean’s childhood as they sat in the dining room, having something to eat and endeavoured to get to know Wendy a little better. “Do you remember the Christmas I got you that stuffed badger?” Norma asked Dean, “What was his name again..?” “Bumper!” Dean replied. “Good Lord, he wouldn’t go anywhere without it” Norma said as she looked to Wendy. “It was nearly as big as he was and before he’d had it 2 months, it was caked in mud, chocolate, coke... everything. But he wouldn’t let me wash him!” she continued. “I remember!” said Dean. “Anyway, so one night, I snook into his room when he was asleep, and he was laying on it like a pillow, so I had to ever so gently take it from under his head without waking him up. I was determined to

wash it, but I had to be sneaky about it!” Norma said. “So, I take it downstairs and put it in the washing machine, thinking I would spin dry it and put it back before he noticed.” Wendy turned to look at Dean who was now shaking his head between mouthfuls of Grandma’s Christmas turkey dinner. “I must have fallen asleep in my chair, reading my book... and I was awoken by a loud scream coming from the kitchen. I went in to find Dean there, sobbing his eyes out watching Bumpy go round in the washing machine” she added. “Bumper!” Dean said passionately, correcting Norma. “I said, what’s wrong child? What in heaven’s the matter? And he cries ‘you’re drowning him, he’s drowning!!’” she laughed, “He didn’t talk to me for weeks after that!” Everyone laughed. As dusk set in, Wendy phoned her parents to wish them a happy Christmas. Eight hours behind England, it was early morning in sunny California. “Mam? It’s Wendy. Merry Christmas!” “Hi baby, Merry Christmas, are you having fun over there in England?” her Mam asked. “Yeah, I’m having a great day, how about you?”, asked Wendy. “I’ve not been up long, but your Dad’s making a big fuss as usual. How’s college going?” asked Wendy’s Mam. “Yeah, college is great... hard but great!” “I’ll put your Dad on. George!! - Wendy’s on the phone, hang on he’s coming... Hurry up, it’ll be costing her a fortune!” her Mum screamed. “Hey Bunny... Merry Christmas!” “Merry Christmas pop. You looking forward to a big dinner?” “Oh don’t you know it, your Mum’s outdone herself this year, we’ll be eating goose for the next 3 weeks!” he joked.

Wendy laughed. “Hey, what’s all this I hear about you having a boyfriend? Your Mum told me!” “Oh she told you did she?” “Yeah, he’d better be looking after you, or I’ll jump on the next plane and kick his no good British keester!” “No he is, he’s terrific.” “So long as you’re happy Bunny!” “I am, Miss you Daddy!” “Miss you too Bunny!” “Bye!”


On the day of their return journey, the weather had become fierce. Snow fell thick and heavy from the sky, and blistering cold winds roared through the trees, scattering flakes of snow like that of a snow globe in full chaotic motion. Dean kissed his grandma goodbye, and Wendy gave her a long hard hug. As they got into the taxi, they waved her goodbye as the taxi drove slowly and carefully, battling against the weather as it went. “God it’s cold!” Dean stated. “The weather reports say it’s only gonna get worse!”, the taxi driver responded, “It’s minus seven out there, coldest winter in 14 years!” The weather was so bad, there was hardly any traffic on any of the roads. “Are the trains still running?” Wendy asked. “I think so, but you can probably expect delays” the taxi driver said. As they pulled into the station, the car skidded to a halt unable to get a firm grip on the road. Dean paid the driver, giving him a large tip and got out of the vehicle. The station was desolate and almost looked abandoned, apart from the odd commuter huddled inside the ticket office area trying to stay warm. Dean checked the timetable screens, and saw that there was a 12 minute delay on their train back to Oxford. Wendy and Dean huddled together, shivering as the wind howled through the doorway of the ticket office, bringing in large flakes of snow along with it. “Good old England!” Dean whispered to Wendy, “I bet it’s not like this in California!” After almost half an hour of waiting, battling the cold, the train pulled onto the platform. A blast of hot air engulfed them as they

boarded, the train was well heated, but the journey would be a long one since the trains were running slower than usual due to the severe weather conditions. The cold had taken its toll on Wendy, who now felt exhausted. The combination of waiting and the intense fake heat on the train made her feel fatigued as they say down in one of the seats. “You look tired, wanna take a nap?” Dean asked. Wendy nodded her head as if that gesture alone was stealing her last calories of energy. Dean sat in the seat against the window, and tapped his hand on his lap, as if indicating it could be used as a makeshift pillow. Wendy complied and laid her head on his lap, and within minutes of laying down, found herself drifting off to sleep. As the motion of the train rocked her like a baby in its mother’s arms, Wendy fell into a deep state of dream. She wandered through the streets of Oxford in a blistering snow storm, screaming out for Dean who was nowhere to be seen. The snow was already thick on the ground, coming up to her knees, but in this dream it seemed to be building up quickly and became like an icy desert of quicksand. With each footstep, the snow buried higher and higher up her legs, until she was battling to get out of it and unable to move forward. “Dean, Dean!”, she cried, and as she looked up, Dean’s hand reached out to her and pulled her sunken legs from out of the snow. As if reacting to this, the sky became brighter and the snow became lighter and less intense. The wind now calm and the snow supporting their footsteps, they found themselves dancing to the sound of classical music on the crisp sheets of snow which crackled with every step. Spinning around, and embracing each other in their arms, they danced to the sound of the music, laughing and smiling. She felt warm and happy and as if in a musical, a couple of swans waddled their way across a frozen lake, as Wendy and Dean now skated past them, hand in hand. Then she fell. Her knees came crashing down onto the frozen lake and smashed a large whole in it, letting large amounts of dark cold water which first seeped up in a little puddle, like a small pool of blood. After looking down, it then came gushing up like a geyser, drowning her feet, soaking her socks and shoes. Dark clouds came rolling over the sky, blocking out the daylight and the icy cold water around her feet froze solid, pinning her to the lake. Unable to move, she panicked and shouted for Dean to help pull her out again. But

Dean had gone, he was nowhere to be seen. Instead, she heard a faint male voice crying out to her. “Bunny! Bunny!” the voice cried. Dad? Just then, the ice broke and shattered like a sheet of glass dropped from a great height, but instead of water coming up from beneath, it fell down into a dark spinning vortex, she fell with it as shards of ice travelled alongside her shimmering like small jagged knives. She was falling now, fast and furious -heading straight for the spinning vortex. As she neared the centre of the vortex, which was spinning faster than its edges she screamed. Now inside the rapidly furious spinning vortex, she was being thrown from side to side, wall to wall and felt like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. Then there was a flash of light, and she fell down onto the corn. Again she was in the corn field back at home in California. “Bunny! Bunny, help me!” her father’s voice cried. Wendy felt herself overwhelmed with fear as it washed over her like the tides of an ocean wearing down its shore. She’d had this dream before, when Lewis was killed, but now it was her dear father’s voice crying out for help. “No, no, no... wake up... wake up!! Please wake up!!” she cried to herself. She tried pinching the back of her hand as hard as she could, but she didn’t feel anything and certainly didn’t wake up. She slapped her face as hard as she could, five or six times. Again she felt nothing and didn’t wake up. Although this dream was lucid, she was unable to escape it’s grip. “Wendy! Bunny, please help me!” the voice cried once again, it came from directly in front of her, but she was surrounded by walls of corn and couldn’t see anything. She walked forward, slowly, the corn brushing past her face and hair until she came to an opening. There in the middle of the opening was a man tied to a chair, but he was facing away from her. She could only see the back of his head and clothes. “Dad? Is that you??” she cried.

“Wendy! Hurry, he’s coming!” the man cried. Wendy ran over to the man, it was her father tied to the chair with thick dirty rope. A clap of thunder boomed in the sky causing her to jump as she struggled to untie the rope. “Hold on daddy, just hold on...” Wendy cried. She got one of the knots untied and freed his left hand and arm from the chair. She moved around to the other arm and began trying to untie the knot. An intense scream, came running out of the corn from in front of them. She looked up and saw Selby running at them wielding a large kitchen knife. His eyes flickering red as he quickly approached them. “NO!!! DADDY!!!” Wendy screamed, but it was too late, the knife was already deep in her father’s throat. He sat there making a gurgling sound and blood bubbled down into his throat and out from his neck. “NO! NOOOOO!” Wendy screamed. Everyone on the train looked at her in shock. She was awake now and on the train, Dean looking down in confusion and shock. Wendy jumped up out of her seat and pulled an emergency stop leaver situated high up near the luggage holder compartments. The train came screeching to a halt, skidding along the frosty ice covered tracks. “Wendy, what is it??”, asked Dean, “What’s wrong?” Wendy’s face streamed with tears as she ran towards one of the doors and hit the emergency release button. The doors hissed open and Wendy jumped out into the freezing cold snow storm. Deaned leaped out after her, the passengers on the train watching in amazement. “Wendy, talk to me! What’s going on?” Dean screamed. Wendy took her phone out of her pocket and tried calling her parents. Ring ring. Ring ring. Ring ring. “Get back on the train Wendy, let’s talk about this!” Dean cried.

Ring ring. Ring ring. Ring ring. “Please answer the phone, please!!” Wendy sobbed. Ring ring. Ring ring. Ring ring. Why won’t they answer? Wendy thought, but she already had a good idea why. Why had she come to England to study, so far away from home? Even if she booked a flight, got on the next plane, then a train and finally a taxi it would take more than a day to get there. She wanted to teleport herself there right now to see if they were all right. “Get back on the train or we’ll freeze to death!” Dean cried. That gave her an idea. “Okay, all right!” she said, hanging up the phone call on her mobile. She took Dean’s hand and got back onto the train. After dealing with a lot of commotion from the railway staff, they sat back down and the train fired back into motion. “What’s going on Wendy? please talk to me!” Dean begged, but Wendy said nothing. She knew what she had to do, but she couldn’t drag Dean into this any more. If she told him her plans, he’d definitely try to stop her. But she couldn’t carry on like this. She knew this had to be done, once and for all. “I, I’m sorry. I just had another bad dream” she said, rubbing Dean’s hand. She felt like she was deceiving him once again, the one guy who had stood by her all this time and risked his own neck to protect her, but that only made her more certain that she had to do this alone. It was her turn to protect him, and if pretending everything was all right was what it would take, then so be it. Dean could sense that something was wrong, but Wendy remained quiet for most of the journey back to Oxford. As they left the train in Oxford, Dean tried again to get through to Wendy as they walked back to the campus. “You’re sleeping in my room with me tonight!” Dean stated.

“No, I really need a shower and I want to get some sleep!” Wendy responded. “No, you’re not. I’m not leaving you on your own tonight.” Dean responded. “I can’t shower in the boy’s dorm, and you don’t have one in your room. I’ll see you first thing tomorrow!” she argued. “Look, you’re freaking me out. You barely said a word since stopping that train, so I’m not letting you out of my sight!” demanded Dean. “Okay, okay...” Wendy said, he wasn’t going to take no for an answer here. Her plan would have to wait a little longer. Does he know what I’m thinking? she thought, You can’t stop me from doing this. It has to be done! She tried calling her parents again, but there was no answer. When they got into Dean’s room, they sat in bed, barely speaking a word to each other and watched movies on Dean’s television. Steve must have felt the awkwardness too as he kept trying to start off small talk conversations, to which neither Wendy or Dean joined in. Eventually, at 11:58pm, Dean fell asleep. Wendy got up from Dean’s bed quietly in order not to wake him. She slipped out from the covers and landed on the floor, waking Steve. Steve looked at her, and Wendy looked back, her faced etched with guilt. “Gonna take a shower!” she said, and Steve closed his eyes and tried to go back to sleep. When she left the boy’s dorm, she headed out onto the main high street. What she needed was a hotel. Originally she planned to do it in her own room, but not only would Debbie be there, but Dean would also know where to find her. In a hotel, she could do it without risk of being disturbed. She walked through the snow stormed streets until she came to the first hotel. She entered the foyer and walked up to the reception desk. “Excuse me, do you have an ice machine here?” she asked.

“Yes, there’s one on every floor!” the clerk said. “I’d like a single room then please!” “No problem, sign here.” Wendy signed the register and paid the clerk. “That’s room 313, on the third floor!” the clerk said as he handed her the key. Wendy pushed the elevator button, but decided not to wait. She ran up the stairs to the third floor and walked down the hall. Room 313 was to the left, she followed the sign and came to the door. Putting the key in the door she entered the room. She searched the room, checking for bins. There was one in the bedroom and one in the bathroom. She removed the plastic bags from them and went back out into the hall. At the far end of the hallway was an ice machine, giving out a low quiet buzz. She pressed the button and started filling the plastic bags with ice cubes until they were both full. She carried them back into her room and locked the door behind her. Entering the bathroom, she put the plug into the bath tub and emptied the ice cubes into the tub. She then turned the cold water tap fully on and started taking her clothes off. She watched the tub fill with icy cold water for a while, the ice cubes made cracking sounds under the gushing flow of the tap. She picked up her phone and dialled her parents one last time. Now would be the perfect time to answer, she thought, knowing it would be the only thing that could stop her. Once again, she let it ring twenty or so times, but there was no answer. She got up and opened the bathroom window as far as she could. Then closing and locking the bathroom door. As the cold air filled the bathroom, she began to shiver and huddled herself rubbing her arms with her hands as she watched the tub fill to the brim. She turned the tap off and thought about Dean. Sure, he’d be upset, but he’d get over it after a while, there was no other way... this torture had to end. Still holding her phone, she began typing a new text message: Dean, I’m sorry - I love you. xxx Wendy hit the send button and put her phone down on the bathroom counter.

She stepped into the bath, wearing only Dean’s bunny pendent and the freezing cold water stung her skin, like being burned, only it felt incredibly cold instead. She closed her eyes to try and shut off the pain, she’d expected it to hurt, but she’d have to do the next foot in a moment when she recovered from the initial shock. In went the other foot, and again the shock burned her flesh, stinging and crawling icy cold chills thundering up her legs. She thought of her last dream, the ice smashing into thousands of pieces as she’d fell into the vortex. Finally she lowered in the rest of her body. She screamed in pain, as billions of tiny needles seemed to stab every inch of her body in pure agonising pain. This was far worse than falling asleep in the cold outside the Anderson home, but all it would take was one passer by to phone an ambulance and her plan to stop Selby once and for all would be ruined. She closed her eyes as she lay there in the tub, and waited for either the pain to end or her body to simply shut down. Instead she seemed to daydream about Dean. Memories flashed through her mind, making love with Dean that one and only time, their time together on the train and in the hospital, filling in the crossword puzzles. Dean wrestling over the wheelchair with the young boy in the hospital. Their first official date in the Chinese restaurant, and spilling coke on his computer in the student bar. So many fond memories of their time together, in such a short space of time. As she reached the end of these memories, she began to see bright light fading into view. Floating up slowly towards the light, she realised she was looking up at the bathroom ceiling from outside of her body. Here we go, she thought, and began thinking of her parents. This time nothing happened, the last time she’d done this she was instantly within that area of conciousness, floating in her mother’s kitchen. She tried thinking of her home farm instead, and sure enough she was immediately floating up above it as the sun beat down on the cornfields, the barn and farmhouse. Wendy descended and slowly floated down. She would quickly check on her parents and then go after Selby. She had to get it right this time, as they’d probably be no going back. Wendy passed through the roof of the house and found herself in the kitchen once again. There were trails of blood all over the floor

and the work tops. She travelled through the house, following the main trail of blood. There in the living room, her father’s body lay still, surrounded by a thick pool of blood, with several large stab marks in his neck. Both of his eyes had been gouged out of their sockets, like most of Selby’s other victims. Wendy tried to visualise how it had happened, had her Mum been possessed with Selby? If so, where was she now? As if the universe had picked up on Wendy’s thought, time rolled backwards and Wendy now found herself floating in the kitchen in the past. She saw her mother stood at the kitchen sink washing the dishes. The blood stains were gone, and her father sat at the kitchen table rocking back and forth in one of the chairs. Then, a bright light appeared in the kitchen, directly in front of Wendy and then began to descend down towards her mother. Looking closer, she could see, it was the shape of a man. A ghost, and indeed, upon closer inspection she witnessed Selby floating down towards her mother. Selby carefully positioned himself behind Wendy’s mother and then floated into her through the back of her head. Her mother’s body jolted forward, as if suddenly pushed by an unexpected strong gale. Her arms jolted out to the sides reacting to the intense physical shock. Her mother then immediately walked up to the block of knives on the worktop and pulled one out of its slot. Screaming the whole time, “help, what’s happening.. something’s controlling me!” Her father stopped rocking his chair and sat it down on the floor, watching in shock and confusion as his wife approached him with the knife. “Run Dad, run!” Wendy tried to shout, but she had no physical body and no vocal chords. She could only think for him to run. Wendy also knew she was seeing events which had already taken place and could no longer influence them even if she knew how to do so in the present. During this out of body state, there was an eternal knowing of these kinds of things, as if the fabric of reality itself were pages of a book shared by the eternal stream of conciousness which she was now a part of. She could only watch as the first stab of the knife entered her father’s throat. He screamed, but the gushing of blood caused him to splutter and gurgle through the scream. Blood gushed out of the front of his neck and he hit the ground face first, creating the first stream of blood on the white tiled kitchen floor. Selby, now inside

her mother’s body grabbed her father’s feet and dragged him across the floor, creating a thick trail of blood as he dragged him into the living room. Her father was still alive, his legs kicking, and his throat still spluttering blood across the floor as Selby dragged him into the living room to finish the job. Selby reached down and flipped him over and then stabbed him a second time in the throat. Wendy saw her father die, not only did his body stop moving and his eyes turn dull, but she actually saw her father’s spirit float out of his body and up towards the ceiling. Selby reached down and scooped his eyes out of their sockets, still using her mother’s body which was screaming in sheer terror as she had to witness her self doing these things through her own tear filled eyes, but unable to stop or control any of it. Then, Selby flew out of her mother’s body which now collapsed in a fit of tears, sobbing uncontrollably into her murdered husband’s body. What happened to my mother after that? Wendy wondered, and once again the universe showed her that section of reality and time. She was now floating above her mother in the bath tub, and watched as she slit her wrists with the same kitchen knife Selby had made her use to butcher her own husband to death. Blood poured into the tub, making red swirling patterns in the water, and her mother’s spirit floated out from her body and up through the ceiling. Take me to Selby, Wendy thought. Now floating in his cell above his bed, Selby lay sleeping, lying on his stomach. She began to float down towards him. If Selby entered my Mother through the back of the head, I should aim for the same spot, thought Wendy. Floating down into his head, everything became dark and Wendy felt a huge gasp as she struggled to breathe. She was now inside Selby, and she could hear his thoughts. What the fuck’s going on, what is this? his voice echoed throughout Wendy’s conciousness. I don’t know if you can hear me, but you’re about to pay for your sins you sick fuck! Wendy thought.

Wendy leapt up out of Selby’s bed and ran over to the mirror on his cell wall. Wendy?? You finally found me you bitch! Selby’s voice thought in his head. Wendy took the mirror off the wall and ran over to the chair in his cell. HOW ARE YOU DOING THIS? thought Selby, but Wendy continued executing her plan. She smashed the mirror hard against the corner of the chair’s seat area. She suddenly felt herself floating out of Selby’s body as he tried to push her out. Fuck you Selby, you’re not pushing me out! she thought, and after a moment of intense concentration, she felt herself sink back down into Selby’s body, regaining control of his muscles. She picked up a large shard of broken mirror and stabbed it into the front of his neck. It hurt so badly, worse than the freezing cold bath. She was in his body and so she could feel his body’s pain. This pain however which Selby could also feel gave Wendy an intense satisfaction. You can feel this too can’t you? The taste of blood in the back of the throat, the open wound in his neck stinging and throbbing as blood spurt out all over his cell. She pulled the shard out of his throat and stabbed again. Despite being poetic and a great victory for karma, to stab Selby where he’d stabbed so many others, she wanted to finish the job and also end the intense pain. They almost certainly would bleed to death together in the same body, but she needed to be sure and wanted this to end. She yanked the shard of glass out of his neck for a second time, a huge spurt of blood came flying out as she did. She held the tip of the shard against Selby’s right temple, cupping her fist over the wider end. Then she slammed Selby’s fist and head into the wall, and the shard sliced straight through his head and into his brain. She began to float up out of Selby’s body as it hit the ground, leaking blood all over the floor. Wendy could see Selby’s spirit doing the same, she had succeeded. Selby was dead and could no longer hurt anyone. But then a dreadful thought occurred to her. Could his spirit form continue to possess people and carry out such deeds now his body was dead? After all, his recent crimes had

been committed from out of his body... had she truly stopped him or just destroyed his physical body? Then, as Wendy’s brain died in the hotel bathtub, four minutes and twenty six seconds without oxygen. Everything became clear. She now became pure energy and spirit form, and not just a visitor of the spiritual plane. Heavenly bright lights had now come for her and she would transcend beyond this physical world, but she delayed for a moment. She wanted to see what would happen to Selby before transcending to the higher spiritual conciousness. Sure enough, as Selby’s brain died in his body. The hellish darkness came to take his spirit. Much like the spinning vortex in Wendy’s dream, a dark hole tore up through space and time and swallowed Selby’s spirit, taking him with it down to the depths of pure dark oblivion. Wendy turned towards the light, brighter than anything else she’d ever seen but not painful to look at. She would transcend to a better, different place. This isn’t a sacrifuck, she thought -This had been a sacrifice worthwhile, and now she could enjoy her reward as she transcended into the light.


Wendy Peterson is a highschool girl from the small farming town of Crescent Mills, California with a special telepathic ability. She is able...

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