Chapter Seventeen – An Alien Revelation
I went upstairs to my old room and began a search for everything I could find on Brandon Research, experiments on alien DNA, Roswell, anything that I could find. I sat in my chair, searching every document online, even the family name, Everton.
An hour grew to six hours, until I began to fall asleep in my chair. I'd glance to my phone, see if old Professor Bushy Brows (I actually placed his name with that moniker on my phone) had called. He hadn't.
I decided to just lay on my covers, rest my eyes.
Slumber was heavy, when I suddenly jolted upward out of bed. I was positive I had been having a nightmare. And that's when I saw her standing at the end of my bed, her unkempt dark hair over her eyes, and the hospital smock hanging loosely over her shoulders, like some Japanese horror flick.
At first, I was frightened, but the look on her face eased my fear until I stared at her more quizzically, than anything.
"Tes?" I asked, sitting up. "What are you doing here?"
"Don't what… have a heart attack at you suddenly in my room?"
She smiled, almost despite how dire she was looking.
"I'm glad you came to see me," she said.
"I am too."
"Cams," she smiled again, "visiting me was enough. Don't keep going down the rabbit hole."
And then she disappeared.
I lifted up further on the bed, as if I could somehow see her vaporized self, more fully. She was gone.
"Wait." And then more loudly, "TES! Wait!"
What did she mean? Why was she saying visiting her was enough? Why was she using Alice Through the Looking Glass analogies? What did that mean? I had so many questions. Why'd she just appear? Was I dreaming that just happened? No, I was awake.
The phone rang and I jumped out of my skin momentarily.
"Shit," I muttered to myself, and then picked up my phone after it rang two more times.
"Ms. Longfellow, it's me, Gerry MacArthur."
"Yeah, I recognized your voice."
"You don't get many calls from older gentlemen?" he snickered.
"You're the only old Scotsman I know. What do you want?"
He laughed a bit more, "My, you're a bit snippy."
I waited, breathing and still catching my breath after having seen Tesday's apparition. I guess I shouldn't have been so snippy.
"Ms. Longfellow, my gorgeous nurse friend, Nancy, was over for a bit. We had a nice dinner and a few drinks. Overall a pleasant evening and wine and conversation. And at my age, one must…"
"Oh my goodness, please get on with it."
"Yes, well you're very snippy. So, my dear Ms. Longfellow, Nancy and I started chatting…"
"Wait, your nurse friend? She's with you right now? The one from the Denton place? Has she seen Tesday? What did she say?"
"Whoa, ho-ho, yes," he laughed, "You like to ask so many questions, Ms. Longfellow. As I was saying, we started chatting and she shared with me something quite interesting that I think you might like to hear. Can you come by my place?"
"Yes, that would be good. I'll be expecting you."
Before I could say anything else he hung up. I looked over at my clock. It was nearly 11 o'clock.
What the hell? I must have been very tired, I slept the whole day. And what was Bushy Brows doing awake at this time?
I fumbled out of my bed, ready to pull myself together and drive down to the professor's place.
Fortunately, this time there was no rain as I made my way south. The sky was inky black, little stars since the area was so built out, and it was always more difficult to see the stars outside the dense city lights.
I continued to see Tesday, standing there in my room and warning me to not go down the rabbit hole. I knew she meant to stop investigating and get on with my life. It's like she was letting me go, but I didn't want to just let her go. It didn't feel right to turn my back on her after finally finding my way back.
I turned on my radio, and it just happened, Let Her Go, by Passenger was playing. That was timely.
The roads were dead this time of night, and temperatures were cool. Weather could never make up its mind in this part of Texas.
That mellow song continued to play in the background, as I drove south.
There was a truck behind me with the high beams, as I made my way through the streets. I hated when these giant trucks drove with their high beams, just because it was dark out. I, the other driver, still needed to see the road.
I slowed, hoping he'd pass me on the left, but he just stayed behind, following much too close to my bumper.
Now, I began to grow worried.
I'd been investigating something that I'm sure the government was involved with, since it had to do with future weapons, Roswell and alien DNA. Was I getting paranoid?
I drove down another street, turned right, and then a quick left, but the high beamed vehicle was still behind.
"Oh shit," I muttered, and then dialed the professor's number.
"Hello, this is Dr. Gerry MacArthur, and I am sure you'd like to speak with me, but at the moment I am occupied with something other than answering my phone. Please, leave me a message and I will call you back when I am much more able."
And then the phone beeped.
The light turned yellow and I quickly hit my brakes. I should have been closer attention to the road, and less to my phone.
That's when the truck quickly spun its tires, I could hear the engine roar, and it zoomed past me on the left, honking.
It flew through the yellow light, just as it turned red.
My heart was racing, as I sat at the light.
I sat there, no other cars around, gripping my steering wheel, watching how the red light played off the darkness of the night. And the song ended, "only know you love her when you let her go… and you let her go."
What was I thinking? That the government was following me around? I'd become the crazy conspiracy person.
I finally pulled up to Bushy Brows place, and sat there wondering what I was doing. I was seeing apparitions in my room, spending hours on alien conspiracy web sites, and now driving near midnight to an old Scotsman's home.
These were all things I'd have never done over two years ago. I had a future. Tesday told me to just let it go, stay out of the rabbit hole, and get on with my life. I did my part. I visited my crazy friend at the hospital.
What was I saying?
No, that was just a horrible person speaking in my head just now. She wasn't just some crazy friend in a hospital. She was a person that had been born and raised as a lab rat. This was wrong on so many other levels.
I wanted to do this. I wanted to go down that rabbit hole, all the way to the crazy Queen of Hearts court, if I had to.
I opened my car door, and then walked up to the old professor's door. I knocked.
I rang the doorbell.
After a moment I knocked again, this time I pounded.
Great. What was he doing now? He was definitely the Mad Hatter. He'd been having tea with a very important guest named Nurse Nancy.
Just as I was about to leave, the door opened, and out popped the familiar red nosed face of Professor Bushy Brows.
"Oh my, I didn't hear the door."
"Seriously?" I was incredulous. "I was pounding on it."
"Hmm, you were?"
"Yes doctor, I was."
"Oh alright. I was occupied." His face seemed to turn a brighter red.
And then my eyes drifted to his bare feet and only being in a robe, his hairy legs showing. He wasn't wearing anything.
"It seemed Nancy came back. Would it be alright if…"
"Oh my god," I held my hand over my eyes for some reason, "Oh my god, really? I'll come back tomorrow."
"I'm sorry, but…"
"No, no, I'm sorry." Now my face was blushing. I turned, ready to head back to my car, muttering to myself, "what an old pervert."
I felt his hand grab my bicep. "Oh no, please wait. We're all done."
"Oh," I groaned, not wanting to picture anything in my head. "Oh, oh, gross." I pulled away. "Please, do not touch me with your hand."
"Why? Oh…." He pulled back, and then laughed, tightening his robe around his middle. "Ms. Longfellow, if you could just wait a minute. I'm going to leave the door unlocked. Help yourself in. I'll just be a moment. Nancy could share the information with you now that you're here."
I turned to face him. He was smiling, as if that could cover over what I knew he was doing.
"You know, I think I can just come back another time."
"No, please, Ms. Longfellow, you drove all the way down here. It would be so rude."
"Professor, there are so many other things on the rude level here, I'm not sure that would be one of them."
"Oh well yes." He laughed again. "I'm sorry you had to see this."
"Oh, not as sorry as I am. Believe me."
His large paw brushed across his thick gray head of hair, as he continued snickering low and under his breath. "Yes, well, please come in. I am so very sorry. I did ask you to come down here."
"Yes, you did."
He cleared his throat uncomfortably, as a woman appeared in the doorway. She looked to have quickly thrown something over herself, since she was in sweats and a large man's shirt. She was a good looking older woman in her 50s, or possibly 60s, with dyed red hair, cascading loosely around her shoulders, framing a lightly wrinkled face with green eyes.
"Hi, you must be Camille Longfellow."
"And you must be…" and her name escaped me suddenly.
"It's Nancy Abernathy." She smiled, looking kind and friendly, as she waved. "Please come in. I've known Gerry forever."
I'm sure she had.
I could feel the blood rushing into my head, as I became more and more embarrassed. I finally stepped forward, skirting past the nude professor, which made me feel uncomfortable in all sorts of ways, and followed the redheaded lady inside the home.
The professor entered behind me and then quickly said, "I'll just go throw something on Nance. Please make do without me for a moment."
"I will try," she said, coyly, and it only made me feel even more uncomfortable.
This was too weird.
"Well, would you like something to drink, Camille?"
"No thank you."
I followed her to the kitchen area and she placed a kettle on the stove. "I'm going to have some tea." She turned to me. "Are you sure you wouldn't like some?"
"No… um, thank you ma'am."
"Please, just call me Nancy."
"Sure." I glanced around the kitchen. It looked the same. He still had the cluttered home.
"So Camille, I heard you are a history major."
"Yes, I just finished my Masters."
"You must be very smart."
"I guess so."
She walked over and sat across me at the table. She didn't look as uncomfortable as I felt right now. We had that strange silence that falls between two people that had never met before.
The outside was dark, crickets chirped and cicadas sang their usual songs this time of the year. Despite the bugs, it still felt incredibly quiet with this stranger sitting across from me.
I could hear myself gulp and breathe uncomfortably, as I looked over the kitchen, and then tried not to look directly at the older woman across from me, whom I knew had just finished having sex with the old professor. I just felt really uncomfortable.
"Can I ask you something?" she finally posed to me, causing me to scoot upward, straightening my back a bit more.
"Sure." I coughed into my hand.
"How long have you known Tesday?"
That woke me up.
"I mean," she began, "you're the first person who's asked about her since she came to the facility."
I finally looked at her, as her eyes perused me, as if she could find the answer to the question in my expression.
"Not very long."
"Then why are you so interested in her?"
"I just… I'm her friend."
"I see. She's very different."
The kettle whistled and she lifted from the seat to take care of it. I sat there, realizing this probably seemed odd that I was so involved in a person I barely knew.
She came back to the table with her tea, placing it on the table.
"I work with the more extreme cases on the bottom level," she started, sipping her tea slowly in between her words. "The facility in Denton houses some of the most extreme and saddest cases in Texas. I won't tell you more than that, as it would give you nightmares. It makes employee turnover change about every three to six months, because it's like living in a real live nightmare. I don't plan on being there much longer. It's overall a very depressing place to work."
Her eyes lowered, and I realized she did care about the sadness of the patients. She held her thin hand toward me, placing it on the table, looking into my eyes. "I feel I have a calling to help the sick, and so I've worked there a few years now. I wanted to make it work because it's such a desperate place." She stared at me. "I can't say Tesday is like the other patients. She's very different."
"Why is she a patient?"
"What do you mean?"
"She isn't crazy. She doesn't have a mental illness, and so why is she there?"
She sipped her tea, considering my words.
"What do you mean?" she asked again.
"I mean, she is different, but that doesn't mean you're crazy. Being different doesn't mean insane or mentally unstable."
"I can't share information on the actual illnesses of our patients, but I can assure you she's one of our extremely dangerous cases."
"What does that mean?" Now I asked, almost too snippy.
"I mean." She pulled up her sleeve, to show me her arm. It was splotchy, a mix of deep red, and then nearly white. The skin was crumpled and discolored from having had a third degree burn. "This burn here, was given to me the first time they brought her to the facility."
I stared at her forearm.
"She merely did that to me when I was helping her bathe. She grabbed my forearm and wouldn't let go."
"That's not right." I sat forward. "She's not like that."
"She does things… with her mind."
"Were you hurting her?"
Instead of becoming upset, or defensive at what I implied, the nurse smiled sympathetically. "I would never hurt a young girl like her, or any patient. She was scared, and this was her reaction."
"She never hurt me," I stated.
"I'm glad. I'm sure you're someone she feels safe around. When she feels safe she is very normal."
"Does that mean she doesn't feel safe in your facility?" I placed my elbows on the table. "Does that mean she's not safe in your facility?"
"They take precautions now, because she hurt an orderly much worse than this when she touched him." She held around her cup. "I'm sure she doesn't mean to cause harm, but its reactionary, and so the hospital takes precautions to protect its staff."
I realized I really didn't know much about Tesday. I asked, "What did she do to him?"
"She seemed to be able to start him on fire, from the inside out. He was rushed to the hospital and nearly died. She is very dangerous. So let me ask, how well do you know her? Are you positive she would never hurt you?"
I didn't answer immediately, thinking over what Nancy just shared, and that's when the professor burst in, with his jovial greeting and loud voice.
"I'm glad you're making yourself at home ladies and lasses. I hopped in the shower – hope you both didn't mind getting acquainted in my absence. I feel much better." He grabbed a cup and poured some tea. "My, you both look rather dire."
"I was sharing some stories with your young friend that I don't think she expected."
"Ah, I see." The professor walked over, smiling down at me.
"Look, I should leave." I pushed back on the chair. "I think I've disrupted your night and I should go home and get some rest. I still have a job I need to get to in the morning."
"I can get her out of the facility," he stated. "Didn't you want to hear my plan?"
I quickly shot a glance to the nurse.
"I know what I told you might have given you the wrong impression," Nancy told me. "I think she is only dangerous when she feels threatened. After that initial month, she never had another incident. In fact, the next time I saw her she apologized. I don't think she knows why she does what she does. It's as if she was afraid of hurting others, and realized she had that ability and stopped herself. But, they still keep her restrained – all the time. I have begun to think what they're doing to her, experimenting every day, keeping her immobile, is all very wrong."
"Yes, tell her my dear."
"Keeping her immobile?" I asked. "What do you mean?"
"Through the last year and a half, I've realized Tesday is only there to be experimented on, and she's kept in a room that I don't have access to, but I've heard stories."
"We think her blood is being used to develop a more streamlined type of alien breed human," the professor inserted. "But, from what Nancy's co-worker said – purely off the record – was that Tesday can't handle much more. Once they use her up, they'll have no need for her. That means they'll let her go."
That song suddenly played in my mind again, "…let her go." I felt I was drifting, until I asked, "You know about the alien stuff, Nancy?"
"Yes. In fact…"
"Whoa, ho-ho, let's not give too much away my dear." Gerry slapped lightly on the nurse's shoulders.
"Give what away?" I could see there was more. "Tell me professor."
"Tell you what?"
"You know what? I would think," I bit down on my words, trying very hard not to be snippy. He was just really trying my patience. "By now, professor, you would stop trying to keep things from me."
He brushed across his bushy gray hair, and then shrugged his shoulders. "I'm actually… an alien."
I was sure the air was sucked completely out of the room. There was like a vortex, swirling above, and just sucking all the air out. I sat there, waiting to just get sucked right down with the rest of the debris.
"What?" I asked simply.
He nodded, grinning, and then lifted his bushy brows, as Nancy smiled up at him. Why was she so nonplussed over him saying he was an "alien?" She slept with an alien?
Again I asked, more loudly, "WHAT?!"
They were both in on it. This was all one big joke. My mouth hung open, as the two just sat there, smiling as if the giant bomb didn't just explode in the middle of his kitchen floor.
The vortex was spinning out of control now. My mind was spinning, and I couldn't think a consistent thought, and then I just felt like a giant hole was punched in my brain.
"I'm out of here." I hit the table with my palms, stood, and just left, brushing past the professor.
I stomped to the front door, opened it, and walked out.
"Ms. Longfellow," the professor called to me.
"Just…" I turned to him in the doorway, held up my hand. "Just…. I'll maybe call you later. Right now I can't think straight."
I left for my car at the end of the drive.
Everything was swirling and drifting, like I was standing in the eye of the tornado, as everything else spun around me.
The whole maneuver of leaving his place, getting in my car, starting it, and driving away, was done like one fluid movement, and before I knew it I was on the road heading north.
"What the hell," I breathed to myself. "What the hell am I doing here? He just said that, didn't he? He said he was an alien." I laughed to myself, and then yelled so it echoed through my car, "He just said he's a fuckin alien!"
Every bit of my body and mind, and soul, was just crumpled into itself and then flattening out, back and forth. My body felt like a balloon being filled, and then the air releasing, back and forth, back and forth. I couldn't make sense of anything anymore. Everything I knew, just was gone. Everything – gone. I felt I'd been dropped in a strange scene, and needed to find my way out.
Yes, I had fallen in the rabbit hole and I was still stuck down here, having left the Mad Hatter's tea party, and now entering the hallucination inducing caterpillar's smoke rings.
My whole head was spinning. Was I having a panic attack? I felt like my neck was constricting, choking, and then my heart was being crushed by an invisible hand.
Oh my goodness, this was real. I was really having a full blown panic attack, and I couldn't breathe.
I began hyperventilating, as I drove, the outside world taking on spots and discoloration, as I began to pass out. Before I got in a crash, I was able to pull to the side of the road, park, and just sit there breathing much too rapidly.
My heart was pounding, and I sat in my car on the side of the road in the dark, having a panic attack. My body ran cold, as each appendage rushed with blood moving much too fast, since my heart was beating so quickly.
My eyes blurred, and I leaned back, holding to my chest, only the sound of loud breaths pummeling my buzzing ears.
I felt I was choking, and I couldn't take a deep enough breath, as I kept hyperventilating.
"Tes," I whispered.
I closed my eyes.