Alias Adam (Chapter 21-22)

Chapter 21 – Recovery

It was later in the week, and Adam was listed as being in stable condition. They were together again, all of them in one room, for the first time in days.

“How are you feeling?” Janice asked the unusual patient.

“Like I’m not myself – like I’m watching some weird, sick movie. I don’t get it.”

“Don’t be too hard on yourself, Adam. You’ve been shot. There’s a certain sense of violation in that.”

He grimaced and turned his head to the wall.

“That’s not the worst part, Janice.”

The gentle woman placed her hand on his.

“Tell me.”

“It’s knowing that I crushed a man’s head like an eggshell.”

He closed his eyes and shuddered.

“Emergency surgery, a stay in the hospital – this had to be expensive.”

“Your coverage through Medicaid should at least take care of the bulk of it,” Jonathan commented. “I’m glad you took my advice and registered.”

“Eve told me that you found my wallet while she was cleaning off after…”

“It was in your room,” Jonathan verified quickly. “On the night you were shot, I came here to inquire about your condition. The person behind the counter told me you were covered. If there are any expenses, Janice and I are prepared to help with the payments.”

Eve was mortified.

“Oh, no, Jonathan. You’re on a fixed income.”

“We’re doing better than you think. We were both professional people, and we have some pretty good retirement investments – that and a fair chunk of change I inherited from my parents.”

“But still…”

“I can’t let you help me,” Tommy insisted.

“They said they’ll work out some type of payment plan, if necessary. I anticipated the answer you just gave me.”

Over the next days, weeks, and months, the facts would be pieced together. The articles of clothing from the van, mostly undergarments, belonged to victims from three different states. All the bodies were of females in their teens and twenties. All of the young women had disappeared at night, many from mall parking lots where they worked evenings. Each of the latter had last been seen by coworkers at the end of a shift. Some of the victims simply had shared in the misfortune of walking alone in a small town on the wrong night. A few had worked in convenience stores. All were from communities near I-70.

DNA samples from hair and dried blood on the head of the sledgehammer matched that of some of the victims. Due to the number of the dead, twenty-three in all, the hammer and the back of the van were a forensics nightmare. Assistance from the state police and the FBI would be required to sort it out. Eve’s name was on the statement she gave the police, but it was kept from the press at her insistence. Due to the shooting incident and his subsequent hospitalization, it was impossible for Adam to remain anonymous. His name made brief appearances in the Nevada Daily Mail, the Kansas City Star, and various forms of national coverage, but it was mentioned more in passing and was soon overshadowed by the perpetual cycle of news. Attention was focused instead on the activities of the serial killers as more details came to light.

The events in question also led investigators and the district attorney to regard Adam’s actions as justifiable self-defense. He was regarded more as a victim than a hero, and Evelyn’s statement to the police was never publicized. With the perpetrators dead, there was no need for a trial or for testimony. The city of Nevada was like a pond into which a big rock had been thrown. After the initial splash, subsequent ripples smoothed over, and the surface showed no signs of disturbance.

To this day, few urban dwellers understand the power of a small town’s equilibrium. People may talk about each other’s business, often behind each other’s backs, but they also stay out of it. When someone wants to be left alone, that desire is at least grudgingly honored. Local conversation once again lapsed back into the mundane, and Adam and Eve resumed their jobs at Walmart. They kept to themselves as much as they could, which discouraged fellow employees from asking them questions about what had happened. The irresistible force of national attention had been brought to bear on rural culture, and that immovable object had held firm.

On the day that Adam came home from the hospital, Eve gave him a “get well” present. He suspiciously removed the wrapping paper and stared dumbly, first at the smart phone in his hand and then at his friend.

“It’s a phone,” she giggled. “You use it to talk.”

“Does it do things on the internet?”

“Yes, silly, but don’t worry. Neither one of us has a data plan. That would have been too expensive, so we can only use the internet when we’re somewhere with Wi-Fi, like here with Janice and Jonathan. Don’t be concerned about the price, either. I got us a cheap carrier. We have different numbers, but we’ll be on the same bill. It’s less than I was paying, and I needed a new phone since I burned my old one.”

“I’ll try to…”

“Help out? Absolutely not. You concentrate on paying your medical bills. It’s worth it to me. I want to be able to talk to you when we’re not together.”

Adam shrugged. Normally, they were almost always together, at home and at work or just walking around. Eve continued her pitch.

And it has some nice features. You can take pictures, make short videos, record conversations – lots of neat stuff. I’ll show you how. Here’s your charger. It fits into your phone like this. See? Now go plug it in. There’s a socket behind the end table next to your bed.”

“Janice actually let you go in there?”

“Under no circumstances, but she told me where it is when I explained what I wanted to do.”

“Okay. I just had to make sure I hadn’t fallen into an alternate dimension.”

As time passed, Adam healed. The stitches from his surgery were removed, leaving yet another scar, this one bigger than all the others. His appetite came back, and he regained the weight he had lost. He also began to exercise and recover his full strength. In his walks with Evelyn, he discovered an old military tank on the corner of Prewitt and Cherry in front of the National Guard Armory. Knowing that he was strong, but not knowing how strong, he was stimulated by the sight of this armored weapon to engage in a bit of speculation which nobody else would have considered. He decided one night to find out and left the sidewalk to approach the tank.

“What are you doing?” his friend demanded. “You’re not going to lift that …”

Her mouth remained open as the realization hit her.

“You’re going to lift that tank.”

“Not the whole thing,” he assured her. “I doubt I could do that. I just want to see if I can lift the front.”

It was far from easy. He could not recall ever having to strain his muscles that much. His arms bulged with the effort, and his body shook. His face tightened into a grimace. He flexed his knees and bent into his task.

“Keep your back flat.”

Slowly, inexorably, the front end of the armored vehicle was raised from the ground. One foot… two feet… three. Slowly and carefully he lowered it back to its original resting place. Despite the effort, he had been able to control the tonnage. Awed by what he had done, he turned to her, and she could see the look of confident astonishment on his face.

“If I can do that,” he reasoned, “I really have to be careful when I’m around people.”

“We both do,” she murmured.

At Janice’s urging, Adam and Eve agreed to seek counseling. After what they had been through, they were finally receptive to receiving more formal help. There was enough money in their savings accounts for what insurance failed to cover. While submitting to this process was beneficial, however, it could not solve the entire problem.

In their respective sessions, there were things they couldn’t tell their counselors. Had they made the attempt, they would have appeared delusional. It was best to omit their unusual abilities, Jonathan’s dreams, and the metaphysical connection between them. Eve could not expect a professional therapist to believe the sheer number of rapes she had endured, let alone their final outcomes. She limited her conversations to the first five during her appointments. When asked if she knew who her attackers were or where they were now, she truthfully answered yes and that she did not know. Dead did not necessarily mean they were not somewhere else. Beyond that, she mentioned the general circumstances of her upbringing: the unknown identity of her biological father, her mother’s substance abuse, and the danger of life in the projects. Similarly, Adam confined his comments to his unusual conception, the abuse he suffered while in foster care, his history of fighting in school, his former profession as a bouncer, and getting shot in the Walmart parking lot.

Due to her prior work with Janice, Eve progressed more rapidly than did Adam. Much of what she did was review in a less informal setting, which actually helped. The additional structure required more of her. Janice had avoided using technical terminology with her in an effort to keep her more relaxed, but now she was ready for the full approach. Evelyn refrained from revealing anything about her somewhat unorthodox therapy at the Andrews house. Rules had been broken, and she did not want to jeopardize the reputation of her retired friend. Through the instruction she received, she was able to figure out that most of what they had done together initially had been a combination of two out of the three most successful methods of treating PTSD: cognitive processing and prolonged exposure. The cognitive processing had helped her understand her feelings and how to restructure them in more positive ways. It had also made her aware that trauma had resulted in the erroneous change in her beliefs: her deduction that she had been designed to suffer repeated abuse on behalf of other women.

Through skillful questioning, her counselor rather quickly identified that she had already processed her feelings to the extent that she was no longer interpreting her experiences inaccurately. Prolonged exposure therapy was also shown to be of little additional benefit, but not until another wrinkle had been added. Evelyn was required to record the details of her first five assaults on her smart phone, and she was given the homework assignment of playing them back regularly. As part of this therapeutic approach, in vivo exposure was suggested and tried, but it was soon established that this was ineffective since Eve was not afraid to go into real world situations that were deemed safe. She had certainly not practiced avoidance, and she only allowed her therapist to see the tip of the iceberg.

The treatment that ended up being of the most use to her was eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. During these EMDR sessions, Eve would visually follow her counselor’s hand back and forth through a brief series of movements while being asked to explain her feelings, especially those of anger, which she had been forthright in identifying as her major concern. She also learned to recognize other bodily sensations associated with difficult memories. This EMDR therapy, the third method effective in the treatment of PTSD, helped her to consider her former trauma more calmly and to quiet her emotional reflexes.

The hardest memories for her to deal with were the faces. She remembered them all, but she could mention only five. They were still there, hovering in the periphery of her attention. Some were cruel and leering. Some mocked. Others looked dull and subhuman, as if they and their urges were being controlled by something else. Ultimately, every face was lifeless and staring, open-mouthed and wide-eyed with the same empty expression of fear. She had never known how to articulate this to Janice. She told her therapist about the images of the living, and the techniques she had learned were applied with some success. She could not mention the images of the dead.

Adam responded with considerably more difficulty, and the duration of his treatments was correspondingly longer. His condition required weekly appointments for four months. His main symptom was hyperarousal, but it was expressed in a different way that took his therapist a while to recognize. He had become more aware of his surroundings, which was typical, but this was not the main manifestation. He freely confessed that he was worried most about the lack of control that could be triggered within him as a response to witnessing the mistreatment of others. He regarded his inability to identify this when it was happening as particularly dangerous. Prolonged exposure therapy was prescribed. The breath retraining aspect of this approach helped him manage his emotions as he recounted various incidents, especially the ones which got him expelled from high school and which resulted in him being shot. His cognitive re-enactments were executed repetitiously and in detail, and he was also required to use his phone to record his accounts during these sessions. Like Evelyn, he was given the homework of listening to them repeatedly.

It was late August, and he was leaving one of his weekly appointments when he found Evelyn waiting for him. She was leaning with her back and the sole of one foot propped against the brick wall outside the door. Standing on one leg with the other bent at the knee, she had her hands in her pockets. This was a pleasant surprise, and Adam looked forward to their conversation. She gave him a slight toss of her head.

“How’s it going?”

“Pretty well, I think.”

“So you think it’s working?”

“Sure – for some things.”

“Like what?”

A teenage boy leaned out of the window of a passing car and yelled out.

“Hey, baby! What’re you doing there with Speckles?”

The car raced off, and Eve could hear Adam change his breathing pattern.

“Don’t pay attention to them.”

“It had to happen some time,” he reflected. “I’ve been on a pretty long roll when you think about it, but I’m glad he did that. It gave me a chance to practice that breath retraining technique in a real setting. The method works.”

“I guess that answers my question.”

“Well, kind of, but not entirely. The methods I’m learning help me tamp down the intensity of my emotional responses, but…”

“It’s still there,” she finished.

“Right. I don’t want to manage the rage. I want it gone.”

She slipped her hand through his arm, and they started walking.

“You’re not the only one. Can I give you a ride?”

“You bet.”

“Where to?” she asked playfully.

“With you, anywhere.”

“I was thinking about something,” she began.

“What’s that?”

He was always interested when she said something like this. When Eve had been thinking about something to the point of wanting to discuss it, whatever she had in mind was substantial.

“Well, we’re training our minds, but what about our bodies?”

“So you think we should exercise, lift weights…”

“Maybe, but I was thinking more about learning how to use our bodies more effectively.”

“You mean martial arts, self defense training.”

“That’s it exactly. I could learn how to defend myself better, and you could learn how to control that awful strength. That way, you could be less apprehensive about hurting somebody, and we could both benefit from knowing how to disarm an attacker.”

“Knowing how you plan ahead, you’ve already looked into this. Am I right?”

She patted him on the arm with her free hand.

“Very good. I’ll have to buy you an ice cream cone – that is, if you say yes.”

“With sprinkles?”

She giggled. How he loved that sound.

“What’s your answer?”

“I’ll do anything for sprinkles,” he deadpanned.

“Excellent. There’s a Tae Kwan Do place over on Walnut. Our first lesson starts in less than an hour. We’ll have just enough time to change.”

“Do I have to wear some funny, white outfit?”

“Yes, and it’s called a dobok. I ordered one for each of us on-line. Your size wasn’t easy to find.”

“Eve, you shouldn’t…”

“I already did, so you’re wearing it. Don’t worry. You’ll look cute.”

“At least let me pay you back.”

“No. The dobok and the ice cream cone are on me.”

They had reached the car, and she held the door open for him. Playing along, he bowed and climbed in. She patted him on the head.

“Now fasten your seat belt. If you’re a good boy, I’ll take you to Dairy Queen when this is over.”

Chapter 22 – A Better Explanation

It was early September, and the temperatures at night had become tolerable. Dr. and Mrs. Andrews were preparing to have tea on their back porch while Adam and Eve were at work. Janice lit the citronella candles to keep the mosquitoes at bay as the sun moved out of sight behind the houses of their neighbors. The clouds were turning crimson, and the sky was preparing to make its transition to gray and then black. They sat down and poured their tea.

“The kids seem to be doing well,” Jonathan commented.

“Not well enough, dear. They’re better, but I’m still concerned.”

“You’ve noticed something?”

“Nothing I can specifically identify. I just have this strong impression of something beneath the surface. They still seem troubled.”

“Do you think they’re hiding anything?”

“No. We agreed that they shouldn’t talk to me about their counseling. I don’t want to undercut their therapists.”

“Well, they look fine to me. Are you sure you’re not imagining this?”

The look she gave him made him instantly regret what he had said.

“They share an extraordinary nature, Dr. Andrews, and that magnifies their problems.”

“Plato’s Republic,” he stated with authority.

“Yes, Professor. It’s written there and I don’t care where else. That doesn’t change the fact that either one of them is too much for the best of counselors. Therapy can only get them part of the way. After what you’ve told me all these years, you surely know there are greater forces at play.”

He blew on his tea.

“I can’t deny that.”

“Jonathan, they need to know what you know.”

“But I don’t know all of it, yet.”

“And you never will. Maybe the rest is for them to find out. This isn’t about either of us.”

Suddenly, he saw the obvious.

“I’ve been a fool,” he confessed, “an over-calculating fool too clever for his own good or the good of others. I got those kids hurt.”

“Don’t say that. You couldn’t have known what was going to happen.”

“But I could have known this.”


“What I just realized. It seems so simple, now.”

“You’re not going to tell me, are you?”

“I will. I promise, but I need to clear my head and cement this down. I’m going out to the sanctuary. Please send them out when they get home.”

“You haven’t had a sip of your tea. Can’t this wait until morning?”

“Not for me. I want to be able to sleep tonight.”

“What about them?”

“They always stay up when they get off work. You can ask them if they’d rather wait, but you know what they’ll say.”

Adam and Eve took their customary walk home after the end of their shift. A cloud of sorts hung over their conversation as they unsuccessfully reasoned together and tried to find answers that no therapist could provide. They had been born into a zone that few, if any, lived in, and the most skilled counseling could only work the margins. Upon arriving home, they walked in the front door, received the message Janice relayed, and walked out the back. They had the pleasingly disoriented feeling of having stepped out of Nevada – off of the earth, actually – as they passed through the garage door. Jonathan was staring at the far wall, and Eve tapped him on the shoulder.

“How long have you been out here?”

“I don’t know. What time is it?”

They looked at their wristwatches, still their preferred method of timekeeping, and told him.

“Then it’s been quite a while.”

In the relativistic world of Jonathan’s sanctuary, that was as definite an answer as they were going to get. Rotating like some ponderous planet, he slowly faced them.

“Janice said you had something to tell us,” Adam prompted.

Eve took a couple of logical steps.

“And if you’ve been standing here for as long as you have, you were trying to find the best way to tell us. That means you don’t know how or where to start. Maybe this will help. I’ve been curious about something since you first said it.”

The physicist looked down and absent-mindedly kicked at his left front car tire.

“I think I can guess.”

“How were you able to see what happened to us, and why did your dreams stop?”
“Your second question is the easiest to answer. I think I was being spared. I needed some time to recover before I met you. Understand that I didn’t have the option of looking away. Those visions invaded my sleep, and I couldn’t stay awake indefinitely. If I had seen what happened during those three years of blankness, I don’t know if I could have handled it.”

She patted him affectionately on the shoulder.

“You’re such a sweet man. Don’t make me cry.”

“Don’t worry,” he joked back. “I wouldn’t think of it. Now about how I knew – I was being shown, and I didn’t know how or why. Keep in mind the social environment of my institution and my field. That’ll give you a sense of context for when all this started. I was an unquestioning reductionist, GUT and ToE all the way.”


“G-U-T means the Grand Unified Theory. It came about as a result of applying quantum field theory to unifying the weak, strong, and electromagnetic forces. The force of gravity as explained by general relativity didn’t fit the equations, though. T-o-E stands for the elusive Theory of Everything that would bring in that last force. There must be some kind of unifying factor, some constant we aren’t seeing. Solving this puzzle is an ongoing pursuit of physicists such as myself.”

Adam repeated some of the professor’s words.

“Theory of Everything… I saw something about it on television once or twice at the hotel where I used to live in Kansas City.”

He caught Jonathan’s inquisitive look.

“The place was a dump – right in my price range. The set was always on in the lobby, and I watched it sometimes when I ran out of things to read. The manager liked watching the nature and science shows, if you can believe that.”

Jonathan became more animated.

“Incongruity can pop up in the most unexpected places. Getting back to the subject at hand, what if there’s an option that isn’t really being considered? What if the unifying factor is nonphysical? It would underlie the four fundamental forces. Unlike them, it would be immeasurable, undetectable by instrumentation. In that case, physics would only be investigating reverberations – the physical aftershocks.”

This discussion was intriguing Adam.

“Aristotle’s source,” he muttered. “That could be your underlying factor?”

“I don’t know how he envisioned it – physical, nonphysical, whatever.”

“Jonathan,” Eve insisted, “tell him what you told me before he was shot. I’d like to hear it again, too. The way things turned out later, I obviously didn’t have enough of a grasp on it.”  “Neither did I,” the physicist said penitently. “I doubt I have a sufficient grasp now. I’m sorry. If I could have articulated it better, maybe you wouldn’t have had to go through what you did. My intellect gets in the way sometimes. I was thinking of these phenomena in terms of what I could discover. I had taken to calling that effort my project, but I was inept when it came to telling you what you really needed to know. I could have – should have – had the presence of mind to say more and to say it clearly.”

“Don’t be so sure we’d have understood,” said Adam. “I really think this was what it took to get me to listen. I saw myself as capable of handling anything…”

Jonathan sighed.

“Maybe it wasn’t time. Maybe our lack of readiness is what renders us ready.”

“And maybe your explanation…” Eve began.

“… had to be incomplete to be completed,” he finished.

“So what’s the complete explanation?”

“That’s where I was going. Please allow me to get there in my own way. I don’t want to leave anything out this time. As I’ve said, I began leaning toward the admission that nonmaterial reality underlies material reality. There’s a modern tendency to reject anything which cannot be quantified and put into an equation. This goes back at least to when the world was seen as operating by the principles of Newtonian physics. Even then, there was an inclination toward the appeal of simplicity, of mathematical elegance. Myths and superstitions were considered too messy, too unpredictable. Educated minds developed distaste for what could not be explained and controlled. Men began to believe they could explain, and therefore control, everything.”

He looked carefully at the faces of his young friends to make sure they were still following him. They seemed to be tracking with what he had said.

“Then Einstein and his theory of relativity happened, and the job of the reductionists got harder. His musings about the space-time continuum and the speed of light were counterintuitive. Beyond that, clinging to a strictly material universe is illusory when we don’t really understand the structure of matter, let alone the true nature of energy. We’ve discovered a bizarre zoo of subatomic particles, and they can behave in the strangest ways. Energy and matter can interconvert under extreme circumstances. Radiant energy exists as photons, wavelengths, or both at once. Our assumptions are a heavy pair of boots worn to protect us as we walk along a floor that’s about to collapse.”

Evelyn winced.

“Ouch, Jonathan – metaphor.”

“It was a little over the top,” he admitted sheepishly.

He had gotten so carried away that he was rambling, and he had stopped checking in with his audience. They were rather unsuccessfully trying to convince themselves that they were following the gist of his narrative. Receiving no further signals to wait, he plunged ahead.

“So any concept of reality had to fit the equations, but the equations didn’t fit reality, at least not as it was being defined. Simplicity collided with inexplicable complexity, and we ended up with the multiple dimensions of String Theory: a violation of Occam’s razor.”

“I’ve heard that term somewhere,” Eve stated, “but I don’t know what it means.”

“It means that when considering hypotheses,” Jonathan began, “one should pick the one that makes the fewest assumptions. In other words, the simplest, the most elegant explanation is usually best.”

“And what you’re saying,” Adam reasoned, “is that this isn’t what happened.”

“Essentially. The equations grew more complicated, the explanations more abstract. Mathematics is a system of symbolic logic, and the logic has become more convoluted – almost theological. Reality viewed from that perspective is an unsolvable equation in search of a missing constant. As I read the work of others and pursued a solution to this problem myself, I began to suspect the existence of a constant that we could never find, one that will remain intractable to scientific analysis for the simple reason that it is, in its very essence, something which lies outside the limitations of science. There are things that existed long before the development of scientific opinion, things that don’t bow to its dictates. Our technology and our methods of thinking have yet to catch up.

“I’m talking about a nonmaterial dimension in which we live simultaneously with this one. If it exists – and I think that it does – we’ve become deadened to it. Maybe the ancients could see into it. Maybe humanity lost this ability over generations of increasing distraction and unfamiliarity. Sometimes our available senses might indirectly make us aware of activity in this dimension, but our minds must be misinterpreting the information.”

This last bit resonated with his hearers on not only an intellectual but also an emotional level. Adam lightly placed a hand on Jonathan’s shoulder.

“Wait. You said activity. Of what?”

“Of who would be more appropriate. This invisible landscape is inhabited by entities, by personalities.”

This last statement distressed Eve. She was feeling something she could not yet understand, but its implications were alarming.

How do they act?”

“Much as we do,” Jonathan answered. “Whenever we pay undue attention to illicit things, whenever we speak them or act them out, these entities feed.”

“On us,” she shuddered.

“They feed on our minds and even on our bodies,” he continued. “Our brains are altered by what we do and by what happens to us, and our nervous systems influence every other organ system in our bodies. Think of all the places nerves lead.”

“And with my nervous system,” Eve muttered.

“Imagine the effect as a spiral leading up or down. In that sense, we’re always moving as our neurons form new synapses and lose old ones. The circuitry in a brain is one of dynamic plasticity, and that organ is continually modifying its microscopic structure. To resist ascending takes us down. When we become obsessed with the hideous, a bottomless pit opens beneath us.”

Evelyn dropped her shoulders and nodded slowly.

“Janice said pretty much the same thing in a different way. It helped convince me to go through counseling with her.”

Jonathan grinned.

“She’s good, isn’t she?”

“But what activities were you talking about?” Tommy inquired.

“By your own experience, you’re aware of how the words and behavior of other people can agitate us.”

“Sure. Until we landed here, it was the story of my life.”

“So it is with these activities. Thoughts can disturb us even though we may not understand their origins, and they can stir us to say and do bad things. Many times these expressions fall into the realm of what we consider normal human behavior because we’ve allowed ourselves to become desensitized. If enough people do something frequently enough for long enough, it has a way of becoming acceptable, and we surrender our reasoning to the inevitability of its occurrence. When these same motives and actions are amplified, this horrifies us. Mob behavior is a good example: riots, gang rapes, public executions…”

He caught himself.

“I’m sorry, Eve. Tact isn’t always one of my stronger qualities.”

He smiled weakly, and she smiled back at him.

“You don’t need to worry. I’m not that fragile. What you said is true, and it’s not just the physical violence. What bothered me most were the words and attitudes of the men who attacked me.”

Adam shook his head.

“This discussion doesn’t speak well for my history of fighting…”

He paused painfully.

“… or caving a man’s head in.”

“About what Eve just said, though,” Jonathan interjected. “She’s right. Physical injury is never good, but the extent of its psychic damage depends on context. If you break your arm, it hurts, but if someone were to break your arm deliberately and then laugh…”

She looked pensively into her secret space.


“I tried to shut bullies up with my fists,” Adam added, “but it’s not working. Their voices keep going off in my head, and now I’ve taken it to the worst extreme.”

“Not the worst,” his elder corrected. “You might have gone too far, but you were trying to protect someone you cared about.”

“I could have done that without killing him. I just want to use the remote and change channels. Where is it?”

The physicist looked curiously absent. He was staring through his own imaginary window.

“That’s the problem,” he almost whispered, “– finding the remote. Until then, flesh turns against flesh, and more bodies get poured into the cosmic meat grinder.”

He paused after saying this, head cocked slightly back and mouth slightly open as if he was about to continue speaking. His younger friends waited respectfully for him to go on.

“I’m sorry. I got sidetracked on the negative side of all this. It must be because of those awful dreams I kept having, but this dimension can be incredibly good, too. Even seeing the bad of it can be beneficial. It depends on your perspective. Did either of you ever have a hunch – a premonition?”

“I’m not sure,” Eve answered first. “Thinking back, I guess I sort of knew how things were going to work out. I could tell when I was going to be attacked, except for the first few times. From the beginning, though, I somehow knew that those men were going to die, that they weren’t going to get away with it.”

Her variegated friend wrestled with the memory of finding her unconscious in an alley, of feeling that sense of urgency and dread beforehand, of knowing where she would be.

“Hunches,” he muttered. “Sometimes they come true.”

“I can certainly attest to that. How do you account for that sense of recognition without prior information?”

They both looked at Jonathan and then at each other. He gave them a moment to process this.

“We’ve all heard or read about claims of clairvoyance and extrasensory perception. Some believe. Some scoff. Some scientists attribute it to ignorance of the collective properties of neurons. Well, they’ve all got it wrong – explanations after the fact. Now can you see what this adds up to?”

Adam and Eve looked at each other and then at their friend. Evidently satisfied that his informal students were sufficiently engaged, Jonathan Andrews, Professor Emeritus of Physics, concluded his lecture.

“Somebody’s talking. We’re just not very good at listening.”



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