Thanks, Rosanne, for hosting me today on your blog.
Journal of Joshua Lawson
I'm writing this journal in the hopes that it will help me keep my mouth shut while I'm at work. I have the feeling I'll be needing all the help I can get.
I knew when I took this internship, that I'd be facing an uphill battle. It doesn't matter how many years you've been working in the psychiatric field--when you're only 19 and all that work has been done alongside your psychiatrist father, people tend to dismiss it. Well, most, anyway. I think I have a couple of the staff convinced that I know my stuff--or at least enough that they can trust me with something more than bedpans and playing catch with the only teenage client, Ydrel.
Ydrel. What a piece of work he's going to be. He's got this idea that he's psychic--and he's real good at living it. Maybe too good. How the heck did he know about Mass in Pueblo? Maybe he'd keyed in that I was Catholic--but he described Mrs. Montoya pretty well. Spooky well. Anyway, it doesn't matter, right? No one is helping him here, and if I can, I will, even if it means trying to teach him control of "psychic powers." Guess I'll be browsing the paranormal section, though I might start with Myth, Inc. It's got ley lines and stuff, and anyhow, Ydrel needs to develop a sense of humor in a bad way.
Then there's Sachiko. Oh, man! She's beautiful and funny and she drives a Harley and I thought I was going to melt through the blacktop when she smiled at me in the parking lot and offered me a ride. Do I want to ride with her! And I can not, NOT, think that way this summer. She's staff--a swing shift nurse, like five or ten years older than me, and Ydrel's pretty protective of her, too. Apparently, she's taken care of him a long time. Just the way to wreck any trust I build with him, not to mention professional image. Besides, after Lattie, I promised to swear off women for the summer. So why can't I stop hearing her beautiful voice?
Okay. Enough for tonight. Work in the morning--and I don’t know what traffic is like that early. Rhode Island traffic is a far cry from Pueblo's. Bless me Lord, and help me keep my mouth shut and my feelings to myself--especially around Sachiko.
Unlike her characters, Karina Fabian lives a comfortably ordinary life. Wife to Air Force Colonel Robert Fabian and mother of four, her adventures usually involve packing and moving, attending conventions, or giving writing and marketing advice in one of her many workshops. She's always had an overactive imagination, however, and started writing in order to quell the voices in her head--characters who insisted on living lives in her mind and telling her their stories. Winner of the 2010 INDIE award, winner and finalist for the EPPIE and finalist for the Global e-book awards, she's glad people enjoy reading the tales her characters tell.
“Obviously. Did Edith tell you about the one time they did release me? The first thing I did was smash all the bottles in my uncle’s liquor cabinet because the butler—yes, Joshua, they have a butler—is an alcoholic and was obsessing on it, had been obsessing on it for years. It was that or drink myself stupid, just because he wanted to. That was nothing. My aunt took me
shopping. All those people, all those thoughts…It was like ants crawling in my skull. I was just managing to ignore them, and I felt this woman screaming—”
“Yeah, felt. Inside my head. I couldn’t help it. I snuck away from my aunt, followed the thoughts—she was so scared!—I found her in a part of the mall that was being renovated. This guy had her pinned. He was going to—” Ydrel broke off.
“What did you do?” Joshua asked.
Ydrel shivered. “Beat him unconscious. Then I tried to knock myself out, too. See, he was so full of hate, and he wanted to— So I did, too. And the girl tried to stop me and I yelled at her and scared her all over again and I tried to run but the police showed up. So I ended up back here, where the environment, at least, is controlled, even if it isn’t exactly normal. Even then, it’s not always safe for me. Sometimes, Malachai puts someone in the room next to me…to study my reaction, sometimes to punish me.” He looked up and his eyes were wide with fear. “I’ve got to get out of here, Joshua. It’s not safe for me anymore.”
Joshua was beginning to think it wasn’t safe for him either. The last thing he needed on his internship was to get caught up in some problem between a patient he wasn’t supposed to be taking on, and the head of the institution—a friend of his father. Still…
Earlier, when Ydrel had laughed at the idea of Joshua helping him, Joshua had moved his arm in a very deliberate way. Now he used that same motion to recall those feelings of hope and interest Ydrel had expressed. He waited as Ydrel calmed, watching him take a shaky breath and release his hold on his hair, his fingers running through the length, before he spoke again.
“We’ll work on it, Ydrel.”
The younger man nodded.
“OK. You have some barriers. You’ve said that they work sometimes. I want you to think about one thing that keeps you here that your current barriers don’t protect you from.” He couldn’t see Ydrel’s eyes, for the patient had shut them, but waited for other cues.
“When my barriers work sometimes, or not at all?”
“You don’t have to tell—the what?” Curiosity got the better of him.
“The Miscria. It calls me, and when it does, I can’t help it—I fall into this trance. I can be doing anything, even walking, and just—boom. Then I have to tell it everything it wants to know before it lets me go with some new assignment, and for weeks I’m studying God-knows-what until it calls me again.”
“You’ve lost me.”
“Information, Joshua.” Ydrel opened his eyes and waved impatiently to the pile of books on his desk.
Joshua walked over and examined the covers. “The Miscria wants to know military history?”
“Tactics. Swordsmithing. Triage. Medieval fortress architecture. So I go cra—I have to learn everything I can about the subject, and it just wants more. At least we have a good librarian. He humors me, you know.”
Joshua set down the book he was leafing through: Eye in the Sky, A Warfighter’s Guide to Space Reconnaissance, by Felix Monroe.
“So this ‘Miscria’ calls you, you pass out in your oatmeal, and you tell it everything you know about whatever subject it’s told you to study? So...ever refuse?”
Ydrel blinked. “I— But it needs to know.”
“Why? Ever ask it?”
Now Ydrel sat forward, dumbfounded. “I… It never occurred to me to ask.”
“How about going inside yourself and asking it now?”
Ydrel shut his eyes, furrowed his brow. Joshua stayed standing by the desk, watching the young man first tense completely, then seem to relax every muscle, much the way someone under hypnosis would relax while remaining straight in their seat.
Several minutes passed in silence before Ydrel shook his head. “I can’t. It has to call me.”
“Then that’s your first assignment. When it calls you, try this: First, see if you can establish some kind of arrangement so that it doesn’t call you at inconvenient times—you decide together what that means. Second, find out more about it, like why it needs this information so badly.”
“What if it refuses?”
“That’s really up to you. Myself, I’d hold out. Blackmail can work wonders.”
Ydrel met his eyes in a steady gaze, not challenging and not trying to see into him, yet searching. “You don’t believe me about the Miscria, do you? You think it’s some weird part of my unconscious. You don’t believe it’s an outside entity.”
Joshua moved his hand as part of a shrug. It was a visual anchor he’d used many times and it was a natural movement for him. “It doesn’t matter either way. The process works the same. Just give it a try. You don’t have anything to lose.” A yawn escaped his mouth, surprising him. He hadn’t realized he was so tired. “I’m sorry, but I’m beat. Finish that drink off, if you want it, and go to bed. I’ll see ya in the morning.”
He started for the door when Ydrel called him back. “Are we going to be friends? I mean, regardless of what Edith asked you to do?” he asked.
He regarded him for a moment, a spoiled and snarky kid dealing with something he didn’t think he could control. Josh could help him; he knew that. But be friends?
Then he thought about how this spoiled kid had jumped up to protect the nurse he considered the one good person in his life. There was definitely more to him than met the eye.
Joshua smiled. “Yeah, Ydrel. I think we are.”