Books written by Ray Sullivan

Monday, 14 January 2013

Parallel Lives chapter 45

The car journey was unending, thought John Staples, wedged as he was between the ginger haired man who hadn’t spoken since he had come to and the quiet, small man called Martin. In the front, on his own, was the Doctor, Jackson, who had been treating him for, well, quite some time. The drugs had started to wear off some hours earlier but out of the fog they had created came little clarity. The doctor had been unforthcoming in explanations on how the treatment had gone, answering questions in an off-hand, curt manner and John’s memories were more confused now than ever before.
Unlike the memories John had recalled prior to the treatment, many of these new ones were unlinked to himself directly, were about world affairs and news items. He had always been able to recall such details about his other existences, if that was what they were, but the over-riding memories were always of a dramatic ending to his life. He knew he had acquired a number, a substantial number indeed, of such external events but had no new memories related to himself that were as striking and unsettling as the previous memories had been. The whole experience felt odd and wrong, certainly very different to how the memories had manifested themselves in the past. John knew nothing of the drug regime he had been subjected to apart from the obvious continued application of tranquillisers he was now surfacing from. What John didn’t know, couldn’t know, was that the chemicals used to probe other existences had been stopped for some time and that most had left his body already. He was also unaware that he was occasionally slipping into other memories, new ones, without the aid of these drugs. As he sat in the back of the car, gazing absently at the Porsche that had led the way from the medical building he had been escorted from earlier, John’s mind slipped again.
‘He’s going,’ commented Martin. Jim Forsythe looked at the glazed eyes of the man he was being asked to provide close protection for. More than before, Jim felt great unease over this whole situation. Notwithstanding all the blarney over the need to assist in an activity concerning ‘national security’, Jim felt he was probably involved in something drugs related, perhaps a witness protection programme or some such. What he didn’t understand was why the military were involved instead of the police, and he was extremely concerned that he had been armed with a pistol, concealed in a shoulder holster under the suit jacket that was consequently far too tight for him. Even if this was a military problem, he rationalised, surely a formally trained member of the RAF Regiment or someone from the special forces would have been more appropriate. The briefing on the use of the firearm had been scant, the issuing officer from the station armoury clearly unhappy with the issue and the following briefing from the man answering to the name of Martin contradicting some of the terms of engagement. Jim had nodded and grunted in the correct places, but had decided that the pistol would be unholstered as a last resort in the case of personal self protection, and if anything went so badly wrong that looked like needing firearms he was going to try and back out without getting involved at all.
Sam looked in the rear view mirror, straining his neck to get a clearer view of John Staples’ eyes. Martin was correct, Staples had slipped into a trance-like state again, and although he hadn’t mentioned it to anyone, Sam was very concerned about this state of affairs. The previous slip into a trance had occurred while both Martin and the RAF man had left the car for a comfort break at the motorway service station. John had been muttering some words under his breath, a narrative almost, relating a similar journey to the one he was currently undertaking, but naming a person that Sam only knew from the probing sessions at Fylingdales. It was one of the ‘nightmare scenario’ sessions that had flagged up this name, probably forgotten by most of the team by now, but a detail Sam had chosen to remember as he wanted to try and track the situation as closely as possible. Sam had used the hypnotic suggestion that he had programmed into Staples’ subconscious at the first session in the hospital on that first meeting to query what Staples was ‘seeing’. The answer he got sent a chill right through him, because if he was right then Staples was accessing the other dimensions without the drugs, as if a direct line had been established. He had decided not to discuss this with Martin at this stage, but to raise it with Michael when they got to Salford.
In the Porsche, Michael was doing a lot of thinking while he tried to maintain a legal speed on the route to Manchester. Martin had always been a pain in the arse, as long as he had been attached to the DTRU, but now he was becoming intolerable. Co-opting the airforce guy was a big mistake, Michael was convinced. The trip to Manchester was surely avoidable, but at least it was an opportunity to let the patient come to. Deep down, his biggest misgiving was the way Staples was being manipulated. There was no way any of this treatment would alleviate his problems and probably would make them worse. He had tried to talk with him before they set off, but he was clearly still doped, his eyes glazed over and his speech remote. This surprised Michael as he had understood the drugs would have been virtually out of Staples’ system hours ago. As Michael checked his rear view mirror he determined to himself that he would try to talk to Staples again, once they had arrived.


Copyright Ray Sullivan 2011

The characters, places and events described in this novel are fictitious and any resemblance to persons, places or events, past or present, is coincidence.  All rights reserved

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