No Life But This

No Life But This by Anna Sheehan

Book: No Life But This by Anna Sheehan Read Free Book Online
Authors: Anna Sheehan
was alone and grieving. And somewhere out of my grief, 42’s voice had risen outof my mind. At the time I had told myself that I had taken her spirit as she died. Rather than letting her die, I had taken her mind print into me, and I had become two people. It had been comforting. She wasn’t really dead. In fact, I was never alone. She sat behind my eyes and watched everything that happened as if she were really there with me.
    But after I began talking to Dr Bija, and finallyadmitted the existence of this ‘other person’ inside me, she had forced me to question it. Rather than question the existential possibilities of life after death where my telepathic powers were concerned – that was not her role as a psychologist, she said, and was more the role of a priest or a philosopher – she only asked me to question whether or not 42’s presence in my mind was affecting mepositively or negatively.
    And I had been forced to admit that her presence had not been positive. The voice was angry and hopeless. It kept my grief fresh, and was making it difficult to form real friendships with my schoolmates – with Nabiki, for one.
    Once I had come to my own conclusions that she was not helpful, I began to question whether she was really 42. I wanted it to be 42. I didn’twant her to be dead. But finally, after a year of considering it, I realized that my own mind had formed through my entire childhood with the pattern of 42’s mind continually in contact. 42 was gone, but the pathways she had formed in my mind were still there – and it was more likely that my own mind supplied the voice for it.
    The day I realized this I’d cried in Dr Bija’s office for an hour.It was as if 42 had died again – almost as if I had killed her. But after that, I felt relieved. 42’s voice hadn’t gone away immediately after that, but I stopped focusing on it very much. I didn’t even notice when it finally faded altogether.
    ‘When did she return?’
    I swallowed.
‘I really heard her properly after Rose’s birthday.’
    ‘After your attack,’ Dr Bija said. ‘Why do you think this voicehas manifested itself again now?’
I don’t know,’
I signed again – gently, this time.
    ‘What kinds of things does she say?’
    I turned to my screen. Mostly she just laughs at me. Usually when I’m feeling sick, or someone is trying to be nice.
    ‘Ah,’ Dr Bija said.
    She doesn’t like Rose.
    ‘Anything else?’
    I could hear her right then, goading me. (
Go on. Tell her!)
    She says I’m going to die soon.
    ‘Do you think she’s right?’
    I could taste the tears in the back of my throat as I thought about this. I know she is.
    ‘Do you think it’s possible you think, somehow, that you need her to get through this troubling time?’
    I shrugged. She says it’s because I’m going to be like her soon, so I’m closer to her.
    ‘Is that thought comforting, or troubling?’
    I thought about this. Both
I admitted.
    ‘Do you want to die?’
    I don’t have any control over that at this point. Unless you’re advocating suicide.
    ‘Never that,’ Dr Bija said, only slightly humorously. ‘So you don’t want to die?’
    I thought about this. If I am dying, and if death really is just a crossing over to some other plane, then … I guess it’s nice to think I won’t be alone there.
    ‘Do you feel alone here?’
    ‘Even withRose and your sisters and your friends?’
    I looked down. I didn’t need to write, sign or say it. It was clear my answer was yes.
    ‘I wish I could help you, Otto,’ Mina said. She usually didn’t express her own feelings at all. I looked up at her, acknowledging her affection. ‘Is there anything else you’d like to say?’
    I took a deep breath and pulled up my screen. Finally, I wrote five simple wordson it, right in the centre of everything. Five tiny, impotent words, screaming out with the voice I didn’t have.
    I don’t want to die.
    Dr Bija gently placed her hand on my wrist.

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