(Even more psychic horror)
I wandered through the scene, following whatever paths the forensics unit approved. It was gruesome and disturbing. The urge to back out and run was strong; I needed several breaks to regroup and try again. It was like a nightmare that would not end; sensory overload.
When I sense things, which is almost a constant state, they come through as tiny fragments or splinters. If I focus, I can usually expand the fragment enough to get a bigger picture. Results are never consistent and often get into loops, where I sense the same thing again and again. The main thing is to stay focused so every bit I sense can be expanded as much as possible, hopefully enough to piece together into something coherent and useful. It was all about focus; otherwise, it was like going from a view through a pin hole to a view through a key hole.
And yet, as I wandered through a scene of carnage, the fragments I sensed came through in a torrent. No matter how hard I tried to focus the bits flew through me before I could sense them. It was like being in a speeding car and looking straight down from the side window; you see the ground as a blur, with details being impossible to identify. It was all evil, hostile, aggressive and negative stuff, but nothing concrete. I kept jotting the big picture senses into my pad until I grew frustrated at the lack of detail. Every ounce of effort I had was put to making out something. This was an all new experience with no familiar landmarks to guide me. I was lost and did not know where I was or where I wanted to go.
It was tough to say how much time passed, but I finally took a longer break. Someone had brought me a coffee, which was nearly cold. I had a headache and nearly overwhelming nausea. My pad was open but I could not remember what I planned to write, or if I had planned to write. Everything was a blank.
“Norman,” I heard Adam call from a short distance, “you all right?”
“Been better,” I said after a delay, shaking the haze in my head for a moment.
Adam approached down the trail, looking tired, possibly discouraged. “Some of the guys are worried about you, they are…you know your nose is bleeding, right?”
I had no idea, touching my hand to my face. I was bleeding. Another first. “So I am,” was all I could say, instinctively searching for a tissue, finding it, and wiping. No gusher, but more than a spot.
Adam stopped in front of me, looking at me more carefully than before. “You need some time away from this,” he said. “Grab a meal and some proper coffee, you know.”
“I suppose,” I agreed without much thought. “I will need to come back. There’s something here, something really…different. It’s hard to explain.”
“The stuff you do is always hard to explain, Norman. I would be worried if you told me different. It is past supper time and I need a break and a meal, too. How about we grab some food and talk though it, unless you just need to decompress? I know a great take out place.”
Stubborn instinct wanted to refuse until I realised I had been at it for several hours. It had felt like twenty minutes.
It was an hour before we reached Betty’s Diner, an easy to miss spot attached to a farm supply store. Adam ran in and brought back drinks and food, remembering my aversion to public or crowded places. He didn’t ask what I wanted, bringing back a ginger ale with burger and fries; offering to swap it for his chicken burger if I disapproved.
My nausea had largely passed and my empty stomach agreed with the food, out of necessity rather than quality. We were half way through before he started talking.
“You up to talking about this yet?” he asked.
“I suppose,” I said, “but I think you will be disappointed.”
“I’ll take what I can get,” he said. “Besides, I think you are going back with me, anyway, right?”
I nodded agreement. It had not taken long after we left the site for my mind to clear, letting me make an appraisal what had hit me. I was not sure what I could do differently but knew what I was getting into. I briefly explained what had happened and how bad it felt.
“You think it might settle down, lose enough intensity for you to sift through it?” he asked.
“Can’t say. I’ve never experienced anything like this before.”
“Overwhelming negative evil crap, eh?” he wondered aloud. “Are you talking freaky sociopath evil or maybe organized crime evil? Anything?”
I shook my head. “It’s not like that, as best I can tell. This is something deep and spiritual. It’s scary.”
“Like a cult thing?” he asked, reaching for answers now.
“I don’t know, I really don’t,” I said, a little angry at myself for having nothing at all. “I need to go back, maybe take a different approach. I am flying blind, Adam. Sorry.”
“Don’t be sorry,” he said. “The whole thing is a mess. The forensics guys aren’t doing much better, either. Just let me know when you are ready for details from my side.”
“Just let me have one more look,” I said, feeling queasy at the though. “Then we’ll see.”