Sunday, April 16, 2017

“Do you know why we’re talking today?” Dr. Clarke Sevier asked over round, rimmed glasses that frequently slid down her nose. A shrug. The criminal forensic psychiatrist folded her thin arms and nodded. Speaking with deliberate caution, she allowed herself a short time to settle in with a subject before attempting to access parts of the mind that could be volatile. The patient in the chair opposite sat calm and relaxed. But she knew appearances could be devastatingly deceptive. Sevier held the silence. She had not expected much out of this first meeting but an opening foray. A chance to assess the immediate behavior of the patient. She noted the way the patient stared at her face. Blinking her green eyes, she looked down at her notepad. The notepad served a few purposes. It provided a written record of impressions not picked up by the camera on the wall, it allowed for short pauses to better steer the conversation and it was a place she could turn to if the patient needed a break. “Why don’t you tell me why we’re here?” Sevier asked. The patient’s features conveyed a supple youthness in the smooth lineless face and quizzical eyes. A small fan hummed in the corner and she glanced at it. “Are you cold?” Without looking up, the patient shrugged again. “We’re here because of what happened. Do you remember what happened?” “I remember all of it.” The patient said while looking over Sevier’s head and outside at the city. “Good. We can start there.” There was something almost soothing in the patient’s casual tone and only a detailed record of the violence enacted put down Sevier’s immediate relaxation. It was partly due to the bloody photographs New Los Angeles police had sent as part of the case file. The crimes had been horrific. As if the very act of killing had been some holy hobby. She smiled and clasped her hands in front of her. When the patient did not respond, Sevier asked: “How were you feeling before all this happened?” Was there certain stresses as you acclimated here?” She had participated in many interviews with refugees and immigrants from other countries but this was something entirely different. The Descendents hadn’t fled some war torn country or come here to seek a better life. They had ‘woke up’ here. Gods without grace. Very little was known about exactly how many reside within the city limits or perhaps more importantly, why they vacated the Heavens. The trouble was they appear as human as anybody else. The only way to tell is by small residual miracles or moments of bewildered ecstasy when they’re around. For the most part they stayed in hiding. “I felt fine before it all happened. I felt fine as it was happening too.” Was this a testing moment?To see how she’d react. “So you’re current symptoms did not occur prior to the episode.” “No they did not.” “I was under the impression that you came from outside the city.” Sevier said. The patient scowled. “You mean originally? Yes, in that case I’m not originally from ‘here’.” “And the symptoms did not occur immediately but progressed after?” The patient reflected on Sevier’s query. “Yes, that’s right.” Looking at the deity in front of her, Sevier felt chills rise on her arms. She had established a line of communication. The Descendent would answer her questions. But there was something eerie indeed frightening about getting into the mind of one of these beings. What if she was given some prescient knowledge of her own death or that of mankind? As far as she knew, this was an unprecedented event. Neither of them spoke for a few minutes. The patient stared into ther eyes. “The symptoms began shortly after I arrived. There were periods where I would feel normal and there were moments when I didn’t. And that’s when I- when the events occurred.” Sevier hesitated. “Do you still experience the symptoms now? After the fact?” The patient shivered. “Yes, sometimes.” Sevier glanced down at her notebook. The light from outside her window making a streak across the paper. She could sense that the patient was watching her but felt at ease enough to pause throughout the session. This was all new information. Her initial reactions needed to be preserved. In the notebook, she wrote: Patient is lucid. Willing to talk. No sign of impairment. Remarkable. “So your illness came on shortly before the Basement attack?” The patient nodded. “About then, yes.” Sevier felt queasy. She had read the entire police report and knew the Basement murder had been the third homicide in a string of at least six. Why lie now? She put down the pen and smiled. “I think we can stop there today.”