Slight of Mind: A Psychological Thriller (Part Three) - Lore Publication

Written by M. Sigurd Hall

Part Three

How do I say this to someone? Will it even matter? She won’t believe me. 
“I’m having a lot of trouble right now,” I say.
“What kind of trouble?” Reiko says.
“It feels like reality, that it’s changing or something. Things. Time. I don’t know.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, you said I was going to see you in a week, but to me, it was just yesterday.”
“Was it?”
“And that’s why you were late.”
“And you didn’t write it in your calendar?”
“It wouldn’t have mattered. Yesterday, I was a different age, so even if I tried I would have had to keep it for years. I would need to keep it every single day of my life, and even then, do you think I would have known what day it was when things changed?”
“When things changed?”
“Yes. I went from being one age to another in an instant.”
“Can you explain that?”
“I think I was ten for a while, how old am I now?”
“You don’t know how old you are?”
“Please humour me.” She shakes her head before I see she realises I’m serious.
“You’re twenty.”
“I jumped a gap of ten years in an instant. But it was such a gradual change that I didn’t even know it happened.”
“Has this happened before?”
“During our last session.”
“It did?”
“Yes.” I stare into her eyes. She looks back at me. she’s familiar like I knew her once, but I don’t know from where. “Why do you think I got your name wrong? I get paid to know people’s names.”
“You do?”
“Yes. Well, I might in a few months. I don’t even know what month it is right now.”
“It’s March.”
“Then it’ll be later this year. My memory is good. I don’t forget people. I was sitting here with another therapist, and then, you were here.”
“And you believe that?”
“Yes, I do.” 

She stares at me. I get the feeling that there’s nothing in her that would make her believe me at all. 
“How old were you when that change happened?”
“I was the age I was supposed to be.”
“And that is?”
“Twenty-eight.” She nods. 
“Interesting. But you think that you changed age?”
“Yes. Because of mystiker.”
“Mystiker again.”
“You don’t believe me, so I’m happy not to talk about them.”
“No, that won’t help you get past this idea. Tell me about the mystiker.”
“They know how to bend reality. I guess it’s sort of science. I don’t really understand it and don’t think anyone but them will ever understand it. Right now, I think one of them has altered my life. Every instance I know about, they have to be close, like within a hundred feet. But if they don’t have to be, then, well, that explains what’s going on with me.”
“Do you have any proof of this?”
“I saw my friend Danny today.”
“Daniel Hicks.”
“Who is that?”
“My best friend until I was in junior high. Then he was killed in an accident.”
“And you saw him today?”
“Did you interact with him?”
“Of course I did. I didn’t want to, but he kept pushing me
until I told him that he was going to die.”
“Do you think that was actually him?” 
“I don’t know. I don’t know how this stuff works. They are illusions. But I don’t know if that means mystiker bring me to the past and mess with my head or if they just make me feel like
I’m there, or here, or-”
“But you don’t think that you could just be going through stress or something that could be causing you to feel this way?”
“So, you don’t think that there’s the possibility you could be
delusional in any way?”
“Of course not. Well, I mean, sometimes, I wonder, but because
I wonder, that makes me sure that I’m not. Everything that happens feels authentic, but I have no memory of it happening.”
“Are you sure they aren’t memories you’ve repressed?”
“Yes. Because then the conversation you and I are having now
would be one of those.”
“You cannot entertain the idea that maybe you’re upset with your life now, and this fantasy of being almost a decade older comes from your frustration with yourself? Maybe you created that world as an escape from one where you aren’t happy.”
“But what if this is the created world? The one made by mystiker.”
“And this conversation is in your head?”
“Then end it. Because if that’s true, you’re the one who is truly in control.”
“But what if I’m not?”
“You have to be.”
“Drug addicts are not in control of their brains. Their state is altered by whatever they are taking.”
“And you are on something then?”
“Maybe it is like that. I might not have taken anything, but
my perception is just as altered.” She throws up her hands while shrugging her shoulders. “Anyone can claim what you’re saying. If you do, then no one can control anything in their lives. Would I be responsible for anything that happens to me then?”
“Maybe not.”
“Do you think that magic is real?” she says to me. I stare
into the old woman’s eyes. She looks genuine.

After what I’ve been through how could I not believe in it? Someone jumped through a wall. 
“Of course, I do,” I say. “You know what I’ve told you.”
“I’m willing to teach you everything I know. Will you listen?”
“Of course.”
“Then I’m willing to work with you.”
“What happens first?”
“Are you ready to renounce your old life?”
“Why would I have to do that?”
“Because everything you know is not quite what you see.”
“You don’t need to be so cryptic this time around.”
“This time around?”
“We’ve had this conversation before. Well, not this conversation, but you have offered to train me before.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I think I’m in an illusion right now, one I cannot get out of.”
“That can’t be. I’ve never seen you before today. You’re saying you know about illusions and mystiker?”
“Yes.” She looks confused. 
“Do you know who I am?”
“Emma Hill. Well, that’s what you like being called because
you hate your real first name, which was your grandmother’s.” She nods, looking at me. 
“You’re exhausted. Maybe what you’re saying is true, but today is almost over. If it was up to me, I’d tell you to get some sleep. Are you okay with that?” I stare at her. 
“Yeah. I think so.”
“Good. I don’t have a second bedroom, but my recliner is comfortable. You okay with sleeping there?” I nod. 
“Yeah. That will be fine.”
“I’d tell you to go home, but if mystiker is after you, then they probably know where you live. This may be the safest place for you right now.”
“You’re probably right.”
“Follow me.” Emma leads me to the living room. The chair I’m
sure I’ll sleep in looks old and broken in. “Will this be okay?”
“Yeah.” I look at her and then the chair.
“Go ahead.” She gestures to the chair. “You look ready to
“Thanks.” I sit down.
“That would be great.” She comes back with the blanket and leaves me after a couple minutes, turning out the lights. It doesn’t take long for me to shut my eyes and let my mind go.

Before I open my eyes, I know things have changed. My feet are up, sure, and I have a blanket on me, but my feet rest on a chair, and the weight of the blanket is different, its fibres courser. The air is cool and smells antiseptic in its cleanliness.

My eyes are heavy, and it’s hard to open them. They stick together as I peek through my eyelids. Paige lies so close that I can almost reach out and touch her. She looks over at me. 
“I was wondering how long it was going to be before you woke up,” she says.
“I, uh, how long have you been up?” I say.
“Not too long. You were so tired when you got here. I just wanted to give you every second to sleep I could.”
“Thanks, but you didn’t have to do that. How are you feeling?”
“I’m okay. Doctors say that the last surgery went well. Insurance is going to pay for most of it, so the bill won’t be that crazy.” The word bites at me.
“I’ll get the rest of it. It was my fault.”
“You don’t have to do that.”
“I want to.”
“We aren’t arguing about this here.”
“No, we aren’t.”
“How are things going on with that thing you were investigating during the accident?”
“You mean Dexter Hawkins?”
“It isn’t.”
“Why not?”
“I might be a threat to him and the people around both of us, or, something like that.”
“You weren’t paying attention to what you were being told?”
“I mean, enough? I was told to stay away from him until the trial is over.”
“Have you talked to your lawyer about it at all?”
“No, I haven’t.”
“Does that seem smart?”
“Probably not.”
“Well, when I get out of here, think you’d be willing to go with me and see what he has to say?”
“Sure.” Looking at her, I have no idea how long that will be. She looks terrible. Mom is still in a coma, if I’m back where I’m supposed to be. So, could that be days, weeks, or maybe even months before she’s ready to leave this place? “Should I go?”
“You look tired.”
“I just woke up.”
“I know. But maybe it’s the drugs they have you on for the pain or whatever.”
“Maybe.” Her eyes do look heavy, sedate. “You’re going to try to find him, aren’t you?”
“Why would I do that?”
“Because that’s who you are.”
“But that would be breaking the law.”
“Has that stopped you before?” She knows me too well. 
“I guess not.”
“Then go and do whatever you feel like you need to.”
“You going to tell on me?” She shakes her head. 
“No. Never did before. Not like you’re a vigilante. You’re just trying to make sure bad people are caught in the act, right?”
“Right.” She doesn’t know about mystiker. It’s probably better I don’t tell her either. I get up and leave her where she is, hoping I will see her soon. But with how things have gone, I’m not so sure I will.

Hello and welcome to Lore Publication; thank you for reading! We want to take a moment to appreciate you for supporting Lore and the writers on our site. Without you at home reading, Lore wouldn't be possible. 

This story was Part Three of the Lore Original Series 'Slight of Mind' penned by the wonderful American writer M. Sigurd Hall, check out his socials!

LinkedIn: /msigurdhall
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Author Biography: M. Sigurd Hall

M Sigurd Hall was born on July 27th, 1983 to Alan, a first generation Norwegian, and Connie, a Tar Heel reading teacher and grew up on his great grandfather's farm. Sig's first memory is reading the Wizard of Oz before he understood the similarities between writing and Oz, the great and powerful, a person behind the words.

He starting writing as soon as he could spell. Sig drew editorial cartoons at his university's newspaper until he wrote a scathing review for X-Men: the Last Stand and added editorials to his resume. His first two screenplays were optioned but not produced by independent producers, and Sig started his own New York based production company in 2010.

Multiple hospital stays brought Sig back to Seattle in 2015. He won an award for his short story, Faceless, in 2016 and it was published in an anthology in February 2017.

Sig focuses on character driven stories in the thriller/crime and science fiction/fantasy genres. His favourite authors include Elmore Leonard, James Sallis, Sergei Lukyanenko, Dasheill Hammett, Ian Fleming, Mario Puzo, Michael Crichton, and Alexandre Dumas.

He currently lives in Seattle with his wife Kristine.