Her id burst forth with the strength of a river bursting from a newly breached dam. The purple swarmed and flooded the room with a force to leave rivulets of violet still rippling as she stood. But she did not just stand, she pulled her body up with her as the weight of flesh threatened to overcome her efforts.
She ignored its protest. No obstacle could stand between her. There wasn’t much time. She must do this, so she pressed the ungainly body forward as it tripped across the room to the desk. She forced it to sit with a considerable push.
Her hand was just as wont to fumble as her body. It grasped oddly at pens and at paper as if not quite understanding the motions of grasping. It almost tore the paper as she set it in front of her.
Now, she could not allow for false movements. She must be exact.
Carefully, she summons the memory from within, the stolen memory of Abdul’s. She looked deep within the plum layers of consciousness and whispered a greeting. A little girl, no more than eight, answered. She waltzed from the amaranthine folds with a grin and a twirl.
She looked at her carefully, and saw the lavendar girl through Abdul’s eyes. His artistry broke her face into planes and shapes. Shading and highlights flowed as easily from her pen as ink, as an artist far from herself took over.
Slowly, Asma emerged from the paper.
“Miss Evans?” came a voice at the door. It seemed vaguely familiar, perhaps one of the white-coats. However, she could not even ascertain its gender by the strangely androgynous tone.
Therese was shaken awake. She was at her desk and beneath her pen, caught mid-stroke, was a portrait of Asma. It was accurate down to the dimples. Therese could almost hear the girl giggle.
“What?” she asked, blinking her eyes incredulously at what had been summoned by her pen.
There was a pause.“Are you finished with your report?” the voice asked.
Therese looked down at her desk. The portrait of Asma was carefully placed above half of the report with the first half’s edge resting on the edge of the portrait. Her id wanted her to include the portrait. It wanted them to see the girl they must protect. It didn’t trust them to make the right decision on her own.
Therese closed her eyes, thinking, but another pair of eyes met hers. A deep, purple set of eyes betraying nothing but the most profound innocence met hers unwaveringly. She had to protect Asma.
“Yes,” Therese said. “I am.”
“I would appreciate if you would slide it through the drawer then please, Miss Evans,” the voice continued.
“Did they agree to protect Asma then?” Therese asked. Another pause.
“They agree to investigate the possibility,” the voice answered.
“That’s not a yes,” Therese said.
Again, the voice said nothing for a long moment.
“They agree to try to protect Asma,” the voice said as Therese’s id sent a spasm of pain and unease through her brain. The voice was lying, wasn’t it? Her id didn’t trust it. Despite the portrait, she still didn’t want to hand over the report. A hole in the depths of her chest was growing larger with each passing moment.
“Miss Evans?” the voice asked, sounding slightly relieved.
“I’m here,” Therese said quickly, massaging her temples, pondering the tone of the voice. “Hey, how come you tried to anesthetize me?”
“I am going to get Dr. Ott,” the voice said.
Therese was left by herself, her thoughts, and an id who did not seem surprise at the voice’s retreat. It meant that the reason they wanted to anesthetize her was not a reason they wanted her to know about. It meant they were keeping things from her.
Why was the voice getting Dr. Ott? Was he the chief fabricator or did they just think Dr. Ott knew her best?
She shouldn’t be so quick to assume. They had assumed she did not have good intentions, and she did not appreciate the resulting treatment of her. She knew she should not label them with such negative characteristics so quickly, but it was the only thing that somewhat stymied the enormous pressure in her skull and heaviness in her chest. Her id was making it difficult to be a good person and assume innocence until proven guilty.
“Miss Evans?” Dr. Ott said from behind the door.
“Yes? Why were they trying to anesthetize me? I look the device-thing off, but it started spewing liquid on my bed. Why would they- Why do- Just why?” Therese asked. She pulled her knees up to her chin and hugged her legs.
“You seemed to be stressed,” Dr. Ott said simply.
“But, after you try to anesthetize me, then you come asking for the report. Why? And even if you were just trying to make me less stressed, you don’t do that by doping up people without permission. It’s, well, it’s rude,” Therese said. She squeezed her eyes closed tightly against the pain in her head. Asma flitted across her vision from beneath her eyelids.
“Miss Evans, you are a unique case” Dr. Ott said slowly.
“Is that how you justify it?” Therese whispered flatly, “I’m not normal. Barely human. So, if my behavior isn’t what you want it to be, then you’ll just drug me instead of talking to me like a normal human being.” Her id thrummed at this sentence, alleviating the pain for a moment in recognition of this verbalization of truth it had tried to show Therese. Another moment, however, brought the crushing force back onto her skull.
“That isn’t-” Dr. Ott said.
“You just want this report, don’t you? You probably don’t have control over whether they try to save Asma or not. You may even be on my side about this, and think the girl should be protected as her father was so desperately trying to do until I showed up. However, you can’t make that choice as to her future. Someone else does. They just told you to get the information from me, and that’s why you anesthetized me. So someone could slip in and grab the report without my express permission,” Therese said quietly. Again, the pain retreated for a singular moment, before rushing back.
Silence met her.
“It’s okay, you know. I understand. You’re just trying to do your job. And, I’ll, I’ll help you do it. I’ll give you the report. However, if that girl dies, my hands won’t be the only bloody ones around here. Whenever you close your eyes, Dr. Ott, you’ll see her, and remember why she died.”
Therese stood up and grabbed the report off her desk. Her legs felt shaky, but they held. Her mind she wasn’t so sure of. She stumbled off to the drawer in the wall and place the report inside it.
“Miss Evans,” Dr. Ott said. “Do you need to talk about something.”
“I need to think about some things for awhile. I think its for me and my id to figure out now. But, please, if you have any influence over this decision whatsoever, try to protect Asma. She had a father willing to undergo any form of torture to protect her, but he had no defenses against me. It wasn’t fair,” Therese said.
“I will reiterate your concerns, Miss Evans,” Dr. Ott said.
“Thank you,” Therese said.
She laid down on her bed. How come her head hurt so bad? If it was just her id showing something was wrong, why did it keep on hurting? Was her brain growing again? If so, how much more could they expand her skull by? Would she eventually have an enormous head on a tiny little body? Should there be some limit to cranial capacity before weird things started happening? And if reading minds was normal for her, she could only imagine what weird would be.
She closed her eyes, and saw Asma. The little girl was of amethyst and liked to dance. She waved to Therese before she began to twirl and leap happily with a smile spun of good dreams and the paternal love bestowed upon her.
Therese really, really, really didn’t want Asma to die, but there was so little she could do about it. Maybe the information she received wouldn’t be enough. Maybe nothing would happen, and Asma would be safe until Abdul returned home. But, that chance was probably very slim.
Maybe she shouldn’t have written the report. It’s not as if they could have forced the information out of her. They could ask her for it, politely and insistently, but they could not take what was in her mind. Only Therese could do that.
But, what would they have done to her then, if she didn’t play by their games? Would they pick apart her brain because she wouldn’t it use it to help them? Would they just leave her in here for the rest of her life? Would they kill her?
She didn’t know. All she could do was hope that if they saw Asma, they would understand. Perhaps that portrait would be enough to convince them.
“Here is the report,” Dr. Ott said, placing the pieces of paper on the table. “but might I ask that I be informed of important decisions regarding the treatment of Miss Evans?”
“You opinion is generally sought after for decisions concerning Miss Evans. Which decision without your consent has been brought to your attention?” Director Schultz asked.
“The decision to attempt to anesthetize to retrieve the report,” Dr. Ott said. “As I have repeatedly stated, Miss Evans is deeply distrustful and disrespectful of authority. The only authority that exists in her mind is her mind, as is common with many teenagers. To make brash movements that will alienate her will give us a tool very unwilling to be used, if you excuse my terminology. I expect Miss Evans’s behavior will only become more and more belligerent if she thinks us counter to her ideals or herself. This may even proceed to the point when she either gives us false information or no information at all.”
“Do you think Miss Evans is at this point already? Is this information to be trusted?” Director Schultz asked.
“I believe that to be completely accurate to her own knowledge. She has a very firm moral code, something she has developed since childhood. I would like to remind you that Therese had friends few and far between with a father who was teaching her to emotionally distance herself from everyone she met. She must have a firm moral code as that is one of the few things humans are capable of holding onto in spite of any obstacle. It is from this that martyr are made. In Miss Evans’s mind, she is a martyr for all intents and purposes. We cannot give her fuel, or she’ll be more than willing to stand at the stake like Joan of Arc,” Dr. Ott said.
“I find your extended metaphor interesting, Dr. Ott. Is this to say that Miss Evans will not be very useful to us as her own emotional issues will keep her from working with us?” Director Schultz asked.
“No, not at all. As long as our aims align with her morals, she’ll be more than willing to give all her efforts to help us in our cause. If our aims do not agree with her morals, what we can get from her must be extracted bit by excrutiating bit. I-”
“Dr. Ott, what do you make of this?” Director Schultz asked.
“It’s a portrait of a young girl, it looks like,” Dr. Ott said.
“Yes, I could see as much myself. However, what is the importance of Miss Evans inserting it within her report?” Director Schultz asked.
“Oh, what, Dr. Ott?”
“It is a portrait of Asma, Mr. al-Fadl’s daughter, the one Miss Evans wishes us to protect,” Dr. Ott said.
“And what would it mean for Miss Evan’s to insert it in the report. It is quite well done. It must have taken her some time,” Director Schultz said.
“Helping Asma is very intensely in her moral code. It comes down to the sanctity of paternal love. Miss Evans connected with her father, and yes, loved him despite him not wanting her to, like no one else before. Her father was killed, and she felt she was abandoned. Bad things happened to her, because her father wasn’t there to protect her. She does not wish the same fate to happen to young Miss al-Fadl, to have her father be gone and bad things to happen to her,” Dr. Ott said.
“Yes, it’s been well-established that Miss Evans requests that we protect Mr. al-Fadl’s daughter without regard to cost, effort, or time. Why would she draw a portrait, Dr. Ott,” Director Schultz asked.
“She wants us to see what she sees. She said earlier today that if this girl dies, then Miss Evans’s hands would not be the only bloody ones, that I’ll see the child’s face every time I close my eyes. This picture of a little girl without her father has haunted Miss Evans. She wants it to haunt everyone who reads this report so that they must stare down the girl they condemn to die. It is a simple appeal to pathos,” Dr. Ott said.
“You sound as if you agree with her, Dr. Ott,” Director Schultz said.
“I am simply stating what Miss Evans is feeling. I would like to remind you that if this girl is not protected, Miss Evans will likely be more uncooperative than ever before. Of course, some budget effort could be made so that she might sit easier and be more willing to help us, but she’ll still hold it against everyone here and herself that the girl died,” Dr. Ott said.
“The other option would be to lie about the fate of the girl,” Director Schultz said simply.
“I don’t think that would work. I don’t know the mechanism behind it, but I feel, even through the protective barriers, Miss Evans can tell if someone is lying or not,” Dr. Ott said.
“That is ridiculous, Dr. Ott. There are sensors to see if any brainwaves have permeated the perimeter. She cannot sense anyone outside it,” Director Schultz said.
“Perhaps, however, she is more intuitive than we give her credit for,” Dr. Ott said.
“Or perhaps you are not capable of lying to her. You, like Agent Necker, has extensive experience with her before she was contained. She could have changed the way you think,” Director Schultz said.
“You may try using someone other than myself. I guarantee the question of the fate of Miss al-Fadl will be the first things on Miss Evans’s lips when given the opportunity to speak to anyone. However, I think you’ll find Miss Evans will be able to perceive anyone’s falsehood. And, again, I would like to re-emphasize we must proceed very carefully in trying to retain Miss Evans’s trust and convincing her that her morals and our aims are one in the same,” Dr. Ott said.
“Thank you for your analysis, Dr. Ott,” Director Schultz said.