Hey, it’s Mischa. This week I have a book about aliens and an interplanetary war. It’s Mind over Mind by Karina Fabian. It’s the first book in the Mind Over Series. check it out.
Deryl Stephen’s uncontrollable telepathic abilitieshave landed him in a mental health institution, where no one believes in his powers.
But when Joshua Lawson, a student of neuro linguistic programming, takes part in a summer internship, he takes the unique step of accepting Deryl’s reality and teaches him to work with it. As Deryl learns control, he finds his next challenge is to face the aliens who have been contacting him psychically for years—aliens who would use him to further their cause in an interplanetary war.
“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.”
Have you read this book already? Tell us what you thought of it.