Open Your Eyes

“Five…4…3…2…1,” counted Anna, and then she fell silent.

“Open your eyes, Anna,” Mindy said. 

Anna’s head lifted from her breast and her eyes blinked open. She looked groggy. Anna didn’t even realize she had closed her eyelids sometime during the séance; in Juan Carlos’ vision, her eyes were always open. But when she looked around she saw that she was back in Mindy Obermeyer’s dimly lit office, sitting at a table, holding hands with Juan Carlos Daimler to her left and her newest therapist to her right. Anna let go of their hands and slowly put her own in her lap. The candle on the circular table burned low.

Mindy said, “How do you feel?”

Anna bent her arm, balling her fist over her mouth, and yawned. “Actually, I feel good; rested,” she said, smiling slightly. Then becoming more aware, she asked, “Did the séance work? Did we finish?” 

“Yes, we’re done,” Mindy said kindly. “Do you remember anything?”

Anna puzzled over Prof. Obermeyer’s question for a moment, scouring her brain for answers. “Well…I remember counting backwards…then suddenly we were standing on…” Anna paused, trying to find the memory. “Savannah! I remember now,” Anna exclaimed. “Suddenly we were on the exomoon, Savannah. We trudged through high grass up a hill, and then I looked down and saw…Harbard’s Ferry! I saw our family’s starship! How could I ever have forgotten that?” Anna fell back in her chair, exhausted over her mental labors, but pleased.

“And do you remember anything else?” Mindy asked innocently, while her fingers casually hovered over her digital pad so she could administer another dose of memory erasing drugs at a moment’s notice.

Anna concentrated on Mindy’s question, then answered unsurely, “I vaguely remember Papa lifting me up in his arms and placing me in my hibernation pod, but the circumstances aren’t clear. I think I was sedated for some reason. I do remember we were going home, though. Yes, that’s for certain. We were all going home.” Anna let out a low, inarticulate grunt. “That’s all I can remember,” she said, disappointedly.

“You remembered a lot, Anna! You did just fine,” Mindy said in praise. The therapist was quite pleased with Anna’s answer, but not for the reasons her young client might think. “This was just our first session,” Mindy said, “but it convinces me that given time, I can help you recover most, if not all, of your memories. When I do, I’ll help you put them in context. And best of all, that kind of therapeutic service is free to any student in good standing, enrolled in the Academy. Would you like that?”

Anna was no fool. I was clear that she was being offered access to memories of her family that she coveted dearly, in return for being a—at least a reasonably—good student. But Anna didn’t scoff. Instead, she nodded her head. This was a deal she could live with.

“Mr. Daimler, are you all right as well?” Mindy said. Mindy knew how much an experience like the one they had just shared could affect a medium adversely, and she wanted to be sure that her friend and colleague was well. 

“I will be. I just need some time,” Juan Carlos replied, rubbing his eyes and then his temples. “The memories haunting the necklace were so faint, so hard to read,” he said, as he rocked his head from side to side like a teeter-totter. “I had to use an inadvisedly large dose of pro-psilene to find anything useful⎯I’ll pay for that later when the drug wears off⎯but it was worth it. I wouldn’t have succeeded if I didn’t recognize Anna’s persona amongst the memories.” 

Juan Carlos stiffly unfurled his hand. “This is yours,” he said, then handed Anna her gold necklace. Anna softly said thank you, and then draped the chain loosely over her fingers. The necklace felt warm to the touch from where Juan Carlos had clutched it during the séance. Anna contemplated the jewelry for a long while without speaking, leaving Juan Carlos to wonder what was going through her mind. Suddenly, Anna reached out for Juan Carlos’ right hand with both of her hands, held his fingers so tightly it hurt, and then said from somewhere in her heart deeper than oceans, “Thank⎯You.”

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