The Sequels to Syrrah's Game SGSequels

chapter 55

Wednesday, September 27th, 2:31 PM

Grand Marais, MN


Time passed by. Evan decreased the amount of his prayers and focused more on playing a few games on his phone, with all mobile connections disabled, though he kept a close eye on Syrrah. She merely slept, peacefully, no movements, no snoring, with the IV bag slowly dripping the fluids into her body.

Belinda or Dr. K would periodically enter the room and check on Syrrah and the IV bag, sometimes adjusting the IV fluid or the fluid flow.

After about an hour, Dr. K and Belinda noticed the bag was nearly empty. Belinda began quietly removing the IV bag. While she did so, Dr. K motioned for Evan to come near him, where he now stood by the door.

Evan took one last eyeful at Syrrah. She was yet soundly sleeping, seemed okay. He stood up and walked over to Dr. K. “What’s up?”

“I would like to discuss the test results,” Dr. K said quietly. “I need you to step outside with me.”

“Uh, no. I’m not leaving her. Can’t we just discuss it here?”

“Well, all right. Let’s go in the bathroom.” Dr. K headed in that direction.

Evan followed him but glanced back at Syrrah. Belinda had finished the IV bag removal. Yet Syrrah was still not moving.

When in the bathroom with Dr. K, Evan made sure to keep the door ajar a few inches to give a clear view of Syrrah. “So, what did you find out?”

Dr. K swiped the screen on the iPad he was holding. He glanced at a table of test results on the screen. “First off, the vomiting.” He spoke quietly, obviously not wanting Syrrah to hear. “I did a pregnancy test, and no, she is not pregnant.”

A rush of adrenaline shot through Evan’s muscles. “Excuse me? What?” He made sure to keep his voice lower too, though it was hard, after hearing these words.

“I am assuming, as I’m sure you might have too, that we have been given Syrrah as she was right before she died. So, yes, pregnancy is a possibility. And I’m sorry. From your reaction, I know this is a sensitive issue for you. But from what Freddy told me, Neraeh suspects Syrrah and her boyfriend, Tate, might have been intimate.”

“Yeah, yeah, fine. I get it.”

“And we will be running STD tests too, just to rule those out. I’ll get results in a day or two.”

“Wow. That too, huh? But back to the possible pregnancy. What about her period? There was blood on her underwear. Then why would you still suspect she was pregnant?”

“Yes, I see. Which leads me to the other test results. She has blood in her urine, hematuria. I have so far only a urine dipstick test, but my lab is running further tests, which take time, about a day, using both her blood sample and urine sample.” He paused, shook his head slightly. “But I just have a feeling, due to the color, foamy consistency of her urine, that she may have signs of lupus nephritis. And this can explain the nausea and vomiting.”

“So, wait. You’re saying the blood we saw was from her urine?”

“Yes, Evan.”

“Carter, Dana’s security manager, said Dana might have lupus, they weren’t sure. This doesn’t make any sense. I mean, she’s Syrrah now.”

“I don’t think she could harbor Dana’s illness, but we can’t say for sure. Besides, Carter probably meant regular lupus, systemic lupus erythematosus. However, usually, lupus nephritis causes higher blood pressure, but Syrrah’s blood pressure is quite low. Like I said, we’re running further testing, but so far she has low levels of hemoglobin and hematocrit, both indicators that she is anemic, but also corresponds to lower red blood cell counts, something seen with lupus nephritis.”

“What exactly is lupus nephritis?”

“This is when lupus, an autoimmune disorder, produces autoantibodies that attack the structures in the kidneys that filter waste. This causes kidney inflammation, leading to blood and protein in the urine, and high blood pressure, poor kidney function, and eventually even kidney failure.”

“Oh my God, what? Are you serious?”

“But, Evan, stay calm. There is a silver lining. Because Lyme disease is so prevalent in Minnesota, I am having my lab conduct a polymerase chain reaction test, with RNA extraction procedures, a more enhanced one that I have devised, and this can give Lyme disease results in just hours. If she has Lyme disease, which is causing the kidney conditions, simple antibiotics should treat this.”

“I thought kidney problems from Lyme are rare. My little brother has Lyme, so I’m schooled on this, the Western blot test, ELISA, and yeah, like you just mentioned, the PCR test. But Lyme usually attacks the joints, nerves, and heart, as you know.”

“Yes, I understand. But I could show you many case studies of kidney disease, specifically glomerulonephritis, inflammation of the glomeruli filters in the kidneys, brought on by Lyme and cured with antibiotics. But I’m also running an antinuclear antibody test, an ANA, for lupus, should be done by tomorrow, so we have all our bases covered.” Dr. K placed his hand on Evan’s shoulder. “Either way, we are going to treat her, we are going to fix her, Evan. She’s going to be all right.”

Evan closed his eyes a moment, thinking. “I don’t know.” He looked at Dr. K. “I’ve seen how hard it is to treat my little brother, with post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome. It never seems to go away completely. And what about Art, and Kamal?” He made sure to keep his voice low and drew closer to Dr. K. “Aren’t they helping to protect her from this? You’re assuming her symptoms are from Lyme, but what if they are from the forces trying to destroy her?”

Dr. K nodded. “I totally understand. Art, Kamal and I discussed this already. They both feel, well mostly Kamal feels, these conditions are some type of necessary costs or requirements for her return to earth, in her own body. Art felt adamant that he is successfully blocking most negative forces. Kamal also explained it is the price to pay, something like that. But, again, either way, I know we can treat this, Evan.”

He sighed. “Yeah. All right. This is all so crazy. I don’t know what to think, exactly.”

“I know. Same here. One moment at a time.”

Evan heard Syrrah’s voice. He looked out into the room.

She was sitting up on the side of the bed, talking to Belinda.

“All right,” Dr. K said, yet keeping his voice low. “You know the details. I wouldn’t discuss much of this with her yet, unless she asks. Then, be honest, but keep it more on the positive side of things. And yes, I can help treat PTLDS, I have a good treatment protocol.”

“That’s good. Matti, my little brother, could sure use the help.” He stared Dr. K directly in the eyes. “She said she felt no pain, once being in her own body again. But will she, soon? Lord, I hope not.”

“No, not if we begin treatment right away, once we have the correct diagnosis.”

“I understand. I’m going to see her now.”

Evan left the bathroom and walked toward her.

But Dr. K soon rushed ahead, until meeting up with Syrrah before Evan.

“How do you feel, Syrrah?” Dr. K asked, while Belinda was putting the white socks on Syrrah’s feet. “Would you like to sit in my entertainment room?”

“Entertainment room?” Evan said. “More like a deluxe mancave room, if you ask me.”

Dr. K laughed. “Well, you got me there. I have to admit. It is quite the deluxe mancave room.”

She smiled. “Oh, a mancave huh? But yeah, I feel better. My stomach is better. I would like to go out there, as long as Evan is with me.”

“Oh, he will be,” Dr. K said. “I want him to be with you.”

Evan gazed deeply into her beautiful green eyes. “Of course, hon. I’ll be right there with you.” He presented both his hands to her. “Simply take my hands and I’ll help you get there.”

She did as he requested, his hand grasps helping her off the bed with Dr. K and Belinda watching closely.

Belinda presented Syrrah with a pair of light blue slippers. Evan yet held one of her hands, and she carefully put them on.

“You ready to walk?” he asked her.

“I think so.”

He began leading her, and she took a few steps, though her walking was a little unsteady. Dr. K was watching her closely too. She tried to continue stepping, though her balance was off, a gait with a slight limp.

“Does it hurt for you to walk?” Dr. K asked. 

“No, not really. Just…just doesn’t feel right.”

“Do you want me to carry you?” Evan asked. “Because believe me, I would love to again.”

She looked up at him. “Oh, you’re so nice to me. But no, let me try walking some more.”

“Yes, I need to observe her again,” Dr. K said. “Go ahead, Syrrah.”

Evan yet held her hand, and she walked a few more wobbly steps toward the door. But then she stopped. “What’s wrong, hon?”

Her face held confusion, worry. “I…I can’t.”

“Does it feel like you’re telling your legs to move,” Dr. K said, “but not getting a response?”

“Yes. It does. I’m telling myself to walk, but it’s not really happening, like my legs aren’t mine. How did you know?”

“Not all the test results are back, but we suspect you might have Lyme disease. It can cause nervous system problems similar to multiple sclerosis.”

“How can I have Lyme disease?” she asked. “You mean, maybe when Dana was in my body, she somehow caught it? And whoever did this to me, gave me my body back as it was before…before she died.”

“Yes, precisely. That is what I suspect.” Dr. K looked at Evan. “Did Neraeh mention anything about Syrrah having Lyme?”

He thought a moment. “No. I don’t recall anything, but you need to ask Freddy, to find out for sure, since maybe Neraeh mentioned this to him.”

“Will do,” Dr. K said. “I’ll ask Neraeh myself once she arrives here. But now, Evan, if you don’t mind, I would like you to carry Syrrah, as you suggested.” 

“Of course.” He searched for confirmation in her eyes. “Is that okay with you?”

“Yeah, sure, I guess.”

“It will be all right, Syrrah.” He positioned himself near her, wrapping one arm around her back and the other under her knees, a repeat of the two earlier times, those disturbing earlier times, when he had to lift her as Dana. Gently he lifted her up, again sensing how much lighter she was than Dana. He gazed into her stunning eyes, so close now with her in his arms. “Damn, baby. You weigh like a feather compared to my four-hundred-pound bench press, four-sixty squat, and five zero-zero deadlift.”

“Wow, Evan,” Dr. K said, “you certainly have me beat on all corners with those numbers.”

Syrrah smiled, though it turned crooked on one side. “Trying to be a show-off, huh?”

Dr. K laughed, as did Belinda. “She has you there,” Dr. K said.

“Well, when you’re a ninety-five-pound weakling,” Evan said, staring deeply into her eyes, “I know it’s hard to understand.”

“Oh, really,” she said softly. “So that’s how it is now.”

“Only kidding. I apologize.”

“I know, Evan. It’s okay.”  

“Okay you two, come on,” Dr. K said, heading toward the door. “Let’s head out.”

Evan made sure to keep her snuggled safely in his arms as he followed Belinda and Dr. K out of the examining room.

Dr. K headed away, down that hallway with the bathrooms. Belinda, meanwhile, told Evan to bring Syrrah to the sofa in the gaming area, and that Art, Kamal, Dr. K, and Freddy would gather there soon. Belinda then walked out in the same direction Dr. K had headed but she didn’t explain why.

“Maybe they’re getting us food.” Evan paused in carrying Syrrah near the three older-style arcade games, in pristine shape. “Wow. Mario Bros, Donkey Kong Junior and Mortal Kombat. Oldies but goodies there.”

But she didn’t say anything, only melding herself closer into his arms, her head nuzzled near his neck. 

He continued walking until he was in front of a large sofa that faced a huge TV screen on the wall. The TV was positioned within the wall but had a cabinet and shelf the length of the screen, probably six feet in width, right below. Speakers of varying sizes and game consoles were tucked into the cabinet’s cubicles. To the right and left sides were tall, massive speakers. “Damn,” he said quietly, “this guy must have bank, huge bank.” He stopped walking and gently placed Syrrah upon the sofa. He sat next to her, on her left side. “Is that comfortable for you?”

“Yes, Evan. Thank you.”

“I need to take this off, even though had it open anyway. Been on most of the day.” He stood up and slipped the jacket off, at the same time hearing a soft clang hit upon the carpeted floor. He leaned over, and found it was a set of keys. “Oh no, Syrrah. Those keys. To Nate’s Blazer. We never did anything about that hunk of junk.”

She giggled softly. “Oh, you’re right. And I made you wear that jacket, as Dana. So weird, now, though, to think about it.”

He sat down near her. “Yes, I know. It certainly is. And I don’t think there’s anything we can do about the Blazer now, since you obviously don’t have Dana’s money and connections anymore.”

She inhaled deeply and let out a satisfying sigh. “And thank God for that.” She looked around the large room. “And I would say you’re correct on your assumption, as you say, huge bank, given all the celebrity homes I’ve been to over the years.” She was quiet a moment and only stared into his eyes. “Evan. Can I…can I just hold on to you?”

“Well, of course, baby,” and he wrapped his arm around her and drew her close.

She encircled her arms around his body and nuzzled closely against him, so much closer now without that stupid confining jacket. “I’m scared, Evan. I have no idea why this happened to me, as messed up a person I was as Dana, so undeserving of this. And now, hopefully, I’m not disabled or something. But then again, maybe that’s my punishment, for all that I did.”

“Now don’t you dare think such a thing, you hear me? You were forced to behave that way, and you know it. I don’t want to hear you say that again.” He wrapped her more securely in his arms, gently gliding his hand up and down her back, along the soft, warming material of the jogging fabric. “You, Syrrah, my dear, absolutely deserve to be back in your former body.”

“Oh, Evan, you’re so kind to me, even though I was so mean to you at times. Cutting your neck, even.  I… I can’t believe I did that. I’m so very sorry.”

“It’s all right, baby. Us guys are used to the abuse, playing football, getting kicked around in sparring workouts, gym workouts. And I don’t think you’re disabled, Syrrah. Dr. K promised me he will get you better, no matter what, and I believe him.” 

“But…but what if I really am disabled?”

“Well, if you are,” he said softly, “in that case, I’ll just keep you in bed with me all day long…make love to you all day, every day.”

“Oh, Evan, that is so sweet of you.” She held on to him closer.

“Syrrah, baby. I meant every word I said. You would never get away. I would keep you next to me all day long…all night long.”

She giggled a little, and then sighed peacefully, nuzzling even closer against him, and began sliding her fingertips up and down along his chest, the thin T-shirt allowing her touch to be felt more than he wanted at this moment.

His body was getting uncontrollable urges, and he could barely stop it. Syrrah was everything in his mind and heart now. But her appearance, indeed her resurrection was like an angelic, spiritual inception, and how can I dare react like this?

Footsteps suddenly vibrated up through the floor and into his body, and he saw motion from his eye’s corner. He looked to his right. Art was walking towards them. 

“Hey you two lovebirds. We’re going to grab some seats, have a pow wow.”

Great. The worst time he could show up. “What needs to be discussed?” Evan shifted his position slightly, to get more comfortable.

Syrrah released her warm, close hug and turned to face Art, though she kept her body nearly glued to Evan’s side. Her closeness felt so soothing, so comforting, and so wanted. He made sure to keep his arm wrapped around her.

Art sat down on the ottoman several feet distance in front of the sofa. “Everything, young man.”

Dr. K, Kamal, Freddy, and Belinda entered the area, and each searched for a nearby seat.

Freddy sat down to Evan’s left.

“Fred, man.” Evan held out his fist, and Freddy promptly struck it back. “How’s it going?”

“Good, dude. Have you checked the news lately?”

“No, was only playing games on my phone while Syrrah slept. Things got more crazy?”

“Oh yeah, you could say that.”

Syrrah looked at Freddy. “Why, what’s the latest?”

“Let me show you,” Art said, before Freddy could answer. Art used a remote to turn on the large TV screen and flip through a few channels until stopping on one with the news about Dana’s accident and death. He adjusted the volume so they could all hear loud enough.

Quickly Evan ascertained the news channel was showing varying views from many angles and distances, some hundreds of miles away, of that ginormous droplet that plunged down from above. It almost looked like a vortex, a tornado, yet was not spinning, with a wide upper base in the clouds and sky and a gradual thinning part that displaced that South 5th Street building location. Other cell phone views showed Evan himself kneeling by Dana, though her deceased, mangled body was mercifully blocked from view by software blurs. He watched himself get startled, and his reaction afterwards. “Damn. So weird seeing myself like this. Wow.”

“Was that…” Syrrah said softly. “Was that Dana lying on the ground by the truck?”

“Yeah, hon. Glad they blocked it so you couldn’t see.”

“You looked absolutely crushed, devastated,” she said.

“Oh, you have no idea. Don’t want to think about that.” He tightened his arm around her, and she nuzzled against him more, wrapping him up like earlier.

Dr. K pulled up a smaller ottoman and sat upon it, across from Freddy. “Though this news channel is showing these videos, more and more we are seeing other news media disregard the entire event, completely ignore. So, we’re capturing the videos while we can. They don’t want this known, yet can give no adequate explanation for what occurred.”

“But it is too late,” Kamal said, sitting himself down to Art’s side. Belinda had already sat on a sofa on the right side of the room but had her attention targeted on their conversation. “They cannot hide this. It will continue to spread, and continue to be exposed, mainly since it involves Dana Zypher, a very well-known celebrity. Far too many people took far too many videos from many different angles. It will be impossible to claim this is a hoax.”

Syrrah released her hold on Evan and sat forward. On the TV screen, the view fortunately not blocked by Art or Kamal since the screen was so large and placed quite high on the wall, a video showed when Limati, as Syrrah, within the transparent droplet realm, manifested a likeness of Dana to appear. “It’s like some sort of CGI, or magic trick, something so unreal, yet real. I can’t believe that happened to me.”

“I know, same here,” Evan said. “It was very real, but so impossible. When it first arrived, like you heard in that video, people were yelling at me to move, but it was so distant from my mind. Got seriously shocked when I finally looked up.” 

Everyone watched the TV screen and became quiet; the scene was showing when Dana flicked her hands toward Syrrah, and Syrrah suddenly became alive and animated. And then she said ‘Evan! You’re okay!’

“See. Like I told you. I thought you had died.”

“But I’m here.” He tightened his arm around her, drawing her closer again.

“I know,” she said, hugging him in turn. “Thank God.”

All eyes watched the TV screen again. The audio of the next words between Limati, now as Dana, and Evan, and then Evan and Syrrah, was not very distinct, though the video showed Syrrah embracing Evan and Evan soon heading with her toward the Trailhawk. The police, the way Limati protected them, and then the reversing motion of the transparent realm back up into the sky could all be seen too.

But far more interesting were the next reports, like Freddy had mentioned earlier. Videos were shown of the strange material displacing local structures and displacing or stretching people. In interviews, the people who had been stretched explained that yes, they were terrified, thought they were dying, yet they felt no pain, and miraculously were not hurt at all, revealed with certainty once the material lifted back up to the sky. Slowly, or quickly, depending on their location near the material, they shrunk back to normal size and were able to move, talk, and behave as though nothing had happened. The only people harmed were those running in fear and falling, but no one was killed. All buildings, other structures and vehicles returned to normal too.

Mention was made that police and other authorities were requesting help in locating Evan and Syrrah, along with the people in the Trailhawk, so a thorough investigation could be made about this incident. Incident? Evan chuckled quietly to himself. This was far more than just a mere incident.

And then the juicy stuff. Reporters went about questioning people as to what they concluded this mind-blowing event could have been. As figured, most people claimed it was aliens, with a few people believing Syrrah’s appearance was due to her being abducted long ago and she was now getting returned. No one claimed it was from angels, or the Savior, or God, but mainly some form of highly advanced extraterrestrial activity, although some Instagram and Twitter posts delved into wondering if this was some dark, secretive government operation.

Dr. K also suggested that maybe some of the interviewed people did believe this was from God, but the news reporters didn’t want those videos to be seen.

Interestingly, none of the reporters mentioned that Syrrah, the real body of Syrrah, had already died six years ago.

Yet more than anything else, many of the people interviewed wanted to know what happened to Dana Zypher. Fans were posting like crazy on all the social media sites. Had Dana truly died? And had she really been someone else, all along, especially with the words she yelled out when standing on the Embassy rooftop? Unfortunately, they interviewed Frank Ragno. And he came right to the point; Evan had called out her name in Casper. Why else did she pause? Syrrah didn’t respond, only holding on closely to Evan. Frank couldn’t verify it, and the news people were skeptical, but the theory was gathering steam, so it appeared, and more of the people they interviewed wondered the same.   

And people wondered why they saw Dana behind that wall of transparent material. What had really occurred? Again, extraterrestrial technology, or secretive government operations were tossed around. But, the bottom line was that Dana had been photographed and video recorded getting hit and killed by the Isuzu truck, by various local security cams or people’s phones, and she most certainly died. It couldn’t be refuted. So how could she be seen alive again? 

Art lowered the volume on the TV and faced Evan and Syrrah. “Okay. We need to talk.”

“Yeah, we do,” Evan said. “I have a question. Any news reports on whether Dana’s dad, Lloyd, or even Carter and Hal, came to see Dana’s body? I didn’t see any with what we just watched.”

“Good question,” Art answered. “And oh yeah, Lloyd and Carter were there. However, they declined numerous times to be interviewed.”

“The reporters explained the family requested to be left alone, part of the bereavement process,” Dr. K said. “And that is totally acceptable. But all of us here know the real explanation.”

Kamal nodded. “They’re hiding, but they’re regrouping too.” Kamal focused on Syrrah. “We need to protect you. They won’t rest until you have been silenced from revealing the truth. And they will do whatever it takes to prevent themselves from being prosecuted.”

“Yeah, good luck with that,” Evan said. “I’ll do whatever it takes to stop them, and I’m dead serious.” He took a good look at Kamal’s general demeanor. “And I take it you’re not channeling anymore.” 

“Yes, correct.”

“How could all of this happen?” Syrrah asked. “I mean, besides me being here. How did everything and everyone get stretched, and why?”

“Displacement, from one dimension in, or upon, another,” Dr. K said. “We discussed it earlier, and that is all we can really conclude.”

“Because it wasn’t supposed to be here,” Kamal said. “This was never supposed to have happened, as I know you heard me say earlier in the Trailhawk.”

“Yes,” she said. “I remember.”

“From what I can gather, about everything sent to me, free will was violated,” Kamal explained. “The balance of our universe was disrupted.”

“Wow. That doesn’t sound so good.” She looked at Art. “And why did you imply I came from heaven, since you said they don’t give out free cell phones there?”

“I cannot say for certain, but after what Evan told us, of his encounter with the beings running this massive program we live within, yes, you were brought back to your former self, while in a heaven realm, where Evan saw his deceased mother, alive.”

“Massive program?” she asked Evan. “And you saw your deceased mother, alive?”

Evan explained to her, in more details, their experience in the Heaven realm, by the universe engine, and their encounter with Limati, the other Causalitors, the Savior, and Evan’s interaction with his real mom. And how Limati needed to fix what happened to Syrrah.

Kamal said the Causalitors were angry, and that they don’t want Syrrah here, now. They will attempt to remove her, however they can, with whatever means they can acquire.

“But that makes no sense,” Evan said. “The Causalitors run this realm, with the universe engine. She wouldn’t even be here right now in the first place.”

“Yes, of course,” Kamal said. “But we believe it is your connection with Limati, that helps, to keep her safe. And of course, what all of us are doing here now. Rules were violated.”

“Rules?” Syrrah asked.

“Yes,” Kamal said. “There are many layers, or realms, within this universe. The Causalitors enabled this, mainly to have other beings within these layers do their bidding, and to give them better physical access. Though most of these beings work with the Causalitors, other beings within these layers do good, work with Heaven, for instance the many prophets and religious figures who perform good works. But we believe there is only one collector taking souls to heaven, and only one source of all, God. God exists everywhere but allows all created beings free will. Yet even with this free will, rules have been established. One main rule is intelligent beings in our realm, like humans, are not supposed to have interaction or connection with the Heaven realm directly, which is exactly what happened with you, and Evan. This violated some major regulations. But you see, Limati, and the Collector, are desperate.” Kamal looked at Evan. “You questioned the Collector, why couldn’t he just take back the universe engine, and end all suffering.”

“Yes, I did.” Evan stared curiously at Kamal. “Wait a minute. Are you trying to suggest the Collector is doing this, because of what I said?”

“Not the only reason, but a main reason.”

Evan laughed. “That’s ridiculous. I’m just a mere, insignificant human. How could I have any influence?” 

“Hey, I’m only repeating what was delivered to me,” Kamal said. “Don’t blame the messenger.”

“I’m not, but that’s a real tall order to believe.”

“Yeah, I’m having trouble believing this too,” Syrrah said. “Especially since that Limati…thing, or being, whatever, was not so nice, not at all.”

Kamal nodded. “I understand. And Art and I have wondered this too, and have generally concluded that this whole setup, to get to this very point in time, with you, Syrrah, right now, might have been an elaborate plan in motion for a long time now, ages ago. What you thought was an evil being, might have been just some really good acting. But we are not sure.”

“God works in mysterious ways,” Evan said. “Something my dad told me. So, who knows?”

“Your deliverance into your former body is meant as a great symbolic event,” Kamal said, “to change the future, better the future. But, of course, unfortunately, you are in danger, because of the violations of these rules.”

“Wow, but I didn’t ask for any of this,” Syrrah said, her voice breaking a bit. “Heck, I never asked for any of this since the beginning, being forced into someone else’s body.” 

“Exactly,” Kamal said. “Which is part of the reason why it was reversed. And those humans involved, General Tauring, and Lloyd, Carter, and Hal, among others, will be getting their retribution, for what they did to you…eventually, not sure exactly how, and when. But before they do, be aware that they will absolutely work to take you down, Syrrah. I am sorry.”

“I know. I understand.”

Evan could feel her body lightly shuddering. “No one is taking her down. Quit talking like that in front of her.”

“Kamal,” Art said. “You need to apply that softer touch we discussed, especially now.” Art reached across and gently caressed Syrrah’s hand. “Dear. Don’t worry. We are here to help you and protect you. Kamal is simply emphasizing that you need to keep yourself out of harms way, by staying close to Evan, and to all of us.” He released her hand.

“Yes. Again, I am sorry,” Kamal spoke to Syrrah. “Besides, there is more. Not receiving all the details yet, but there will be another important event, which will help with the course of things.” He looked at Evan. “You and Syrrah. Both of you are the keys to our future, a future of peace and longevity.”

“Sounds like another tall order there, Kamal,” Evan said. “And as you two might already know, especially you Art, one of the guys with us, Robert Munz, believes all of this was done by extraterrestrials or interdimensional beings, that we really aren’t interacting with God’s associates at all. That this is all a show by advanced alien beings.”

“You can think of them in any terms you want,” Kamal said. “But their situations exist, their interactions exist, regardless.” He smiled at Syrrah. “Syrrah is here now, before us, and they brought her to us, in a miraculous event. She is on the side of good, and they are on the side of good. That’s really all we need to keep in mind.”

“And General Tauring and his vile, nasty scumbags,” Evan said, “are obviously on the side of bad.”

“Correct,” Art said with firmness.

Fortunately, Kamal’s kinder approach helped; Syrrah’s trembling had mostly disappeared.

“I have a question,” Freddy said. “You know, whatever contained Limati and the angels, that came out of the sky. Scenes of it were recorded hundreds of miles away, from what I saw on the news. How is that even possible, due to the earth’s curvature?”

“That is a good observation,” Dr. K said. “I’ll have to review some of those videos, see what I can determine. Maybe a bit of fakery going on with some of these videos.”

“Or how about this,” Art said. “Did the ISS pick it up, or any of the numerous satellites orbiting earth?”

Kamal shook his head. “Unfortunately, I didn’t receive any information about that. But, from what Art and I know, most likely NASA and other government or business entities will be working hard to cover this up.”

“Did it just come straight down from space?” Evan asked.

“I don’t know,” Kamal answered. “Time will tell on this, I suppose. I haven’t yet received any information for these details, but I’m sensing it is more of an interdimensional interaction but is being perceived by all of us as originating from space.”

“But for now,” Art said, “we need to discuss some things about Syrrah.” Art looked at Dr. K. “You had some questions?”

Dr. K leaned forward, resting his arms on his thighs, his gaze on Syrrah. “From what Freddy told me, you were tricked and soon detained by Tauring’s people on March twenty-fourth, six years ago. Is that true?”

She swallowed and leaned in closer to Evan. “Yes. I was eighteen.” 

“And by the way, Syrrah,” Dr. K said, “that is your age now.” He smiled at Evan. “Same age as that guy.”

“Hmm, interesting.” She leaned forward and looked at Evan. “But am I older, or are you? My birthday is September twenty-first.”

“Actually, I’ve thought about this a while already, since Neraeh told us your birthday.” Evan focused on Dr. K. “On March twenty-fourth, Syrrah was already six months into her eighteenth year, and then, when Dana as Syrrah crashed the Jeep, she was even older, since it was June twenty-ninth, so she was a total of about nine months into eighteen. But I just turned eighteen on August sixth. So, she is still older than me, correct?”

“Yes, good calculations there, Evan,” Dr. K said. “However, today is September twenty-seventh, six days past her birthday, yet she is still currently eighteen. How old will she be next year, on September twenty-first? By what you just calculated, approximately three months, July, August, and September, are unaccounted for. So, currently, she will not technically turn nineteen until approximately December twenty-seventh. But, Syrrah, I suppose, at this point, it is up to you, though according to local governing authorities, if they even recognize your original birth date, this could change.” Dr. K shook his head. “We are in unknown territory right now. It’s hard to say for sure.”

“Yeah, I guess. I really want to see my sister Neraeh. I need to talk to her.” 

“And you will,” Art said. “Very soon. And your parents too.”



Their conversation about Neraeh and her parents’ pending arrival made Evan remember. “Oh wow. I have to show you something.”

“What is it?” Syrrah asked.

He straightened out his left leg, careful not to shove into Freddy’s leg or kick Dr. K’s feet and slipped his fingers into his pants pocket. He took hold of the small bag and brought it out, holding it near Syrrah. “After I put on those jogging pants this morning, making sure to pocket my phones and wallet, I don’t know, I just had to bring this too.”

“Oh my gosh,” she said. “Is this…” She looked at Evan. “Did Neraeh give this to you?”

He placed the small bag with the hair lock near her own hair. “Yes, she did.” Both hair strands matched perfectly. “You had this so you could recall your original hair color, right?” He placed it in her open hand.

“Oh my gosh, yes.” She leaned forward, removed the hair from the bag and felt it. She was smiling, really smiling, and it felt so good to see her like this.

“Well, I’ll be,” Dr. K said. “Smart move to keep that on you.”

Evan eyed Dr. K. “Can you use it, to test her DNA, RNA?”

“Can I take a look at the hair?” Dr. K asked Syrrah.

“Oh, of course.” She handed the hair strands to him.

He held the hair strands near his face and carefully felt through each one, searching for something.

“What is it, Doctor K?” Evan asked. “What are you looking for?”

“I’m looking for possible hair follicles, that is, the root of the hair strand, on any of these. I think I see one, because it looks like an entire long hair strand was bunched up within these cut strands.”

“Yes, that’s possible. I remember cutting the hair rather quickly, a little rough. I was in a hurry that day. I might have pulled out one of my hairs in the process.”

“Sure. That can happen,” Dr. K told her. “But just so the two of you understand, I normally need to get seven to ten hair follicles to do a full DNA test. With only one, it will be difficult. And with the rest of the regular hair strands, we can only get mitochondrial DNA, that will only supply a maternal connection.”

“Maternal?” Evan asked.

“Normally done in ancestry or parent custody situations,” Dr. K said. “Maternal proof would only show, whether the test subject is male or female, the family lineage of mothers, only women, tracing back to Syrrah’s mom, her mother’s mom, and so on. But I can also get samples from Hanson and Beverly, to help with this, so no worries.” He handed the hair strand back to Syrrah. 

She felt the hair lock for a few moments more, but then put the hair back in the bag. She looked at Dr. K. “Can I ask you something?”

“Of course. Ask away.” 

“Why does my personality feel so different now?”

“I’ve noticed that too,” Evan said.

“I mean, I could access Dana’s memories, and so when they told me I had to be her, or risk my families’ lives, I knew I had to. But, it was rather effortless, something easy to do, though I did not like it. But now, even though I still have Dana’s personality memories, I can’t bring them out, somehow.”

“Well, I think you just answered your own question,” Dr. K said. “You did not like doing it, so now is your chance to rebel from it, be yourself.”

“But, something feels different, like I can’t even access the essence of her personality, even if I wanted to. Does that make any sense?”

“Hey, hon,” Evan said, before Dr. K answered. “Don’t worry about it. Just be who you are now.” He gently tightened his arm around her, drawing her closer.

“And thank you, Evan,” Dr. K said. “That’s exactly what she needs to hear. But Syrrah, our personalities are not just the product of our mind. They are the product of our heart, such as the heart rate variability, the variation in the heart’s beat-to-beat interval in our bodies. Or the product of how our stomach’s gastric activity corresponds to how we experience feelings, like happiness, disgust, humor. Our hands and how they manipulate objects in varying temperatures and coarseness can affect what we consider kind or harsh in other people. Even our glandular systems play a role, such as the production of progesterone in females, for instance, can affect certain female behaviors. We, in our personalities, are a complicated, physical-based system. Do you see?”

“I think. I didn’t realize all of that. But, I guess it makes sense, since I’m experiencing it now.”

So horrible, it was, what Syrrah must have experienced upon first being forced into Dana’s body. Evan held her closer, and she in turn wrapped her arms around him, the bag of her hair lock still in her hand. “It will be all right, Syrrah, you’ll see. You’re fine how you are.”

“Thank you, Evan,” she said softly. “Really.” 

“Of course, hon.”

She looked at Art. “What about seeing my parents, and Neraeh?”

Art winked at her. “Yes, of course.” He smiled at Evan, and then winked at Freddy.

“Uh oh.” Evan looked at Freddy. “What’s going on?”

Freddy elbowed him. “Dude. All that time while you were with Syrrah, in the examining room, Art, me, and Kamal went traveling.”

“You teleported?”

“We realized authorities would eventually connect the dots and make a visit to your parent’s home first,” Art said. “So, yes. We visited your dad and mom, Lang and Kyleigh, and your little brother Matti.  We fortunately arrived before authorities. It was not too difficult to convince them to comprehend and accept the AKTS system, after their experience in the hull. Yet moreover, they were extremely concerned about what happened to you. I explained your phone was turned off, for now.”

“And of course, they saw me there too,” Freddy said. “Pretty much erased any serious worry for them, about Art and Kamal.” 

“We next visited with Freddy’s mom, Rochelle,” Art said. “We brought all of them here first. Then, once accessing the coordinates with no issues, we arrived at your home, Syrrah. Your parents were already quite aware of what happened, in Minneapolis, and along with Neraeh’s continuing communication with them, it wasn’t too difficult to befriend them, convince them to come with us.”

“Our home, you visited,” Syrrah asked “out in the country?”

“No,” Evan said. “Your family moved into the town of Sauk Centre, near the lake, so they could be closer to your mom in the nursing home. Neraeh works there, and helps--”

“Wait a minute.” Syrrah placed her hand on Evan’s thigh. “Why is my mom in a nursing home? She wasn’t that old yet.”

“I can explain,” Freddy said.

With Syrrah listening, her eyes, face sullen, Freddy gave the details about the complicated grief, which led to catatonic depression, dissociation, and derealization. He explained that though her mom is on medication, she yet has continuous stupor, doesn’t respond to stimuli or wants to move, and has mutism, little to no verbal communication, except sometimes quietly repeating other people’s word. Syrrah asked if this was all due to the evil forces that switched her to Dana, but Art and Kamal joined in and said they were quite certain it was not, only something that occurred organically with her mom.

Freddy had tried to explain as gently as possible, but Syrrah was still visibly devastated. “I’m very, very sorry, Syrrah.”

She shook her head from side to side. “It’s all right, not your fault. So much damage was caused by what Tauring did. Sounds like to me, my mom is stuck in her own little world.”

“Yes, that’s a good summation,” Freddy said softly. “Again, I’m so sorry. Not the best news, I’m sure.”

She was blinking, like holding back tears. She looked at Dr. K. “Is this all true, what Freddy said?” She wiped her nose briefly.

Evan gently stroked her back, all of this just so hard to observe happening to the poor girl. 

“Yes, Freddy summarized it quite well,” Dr. K said. “I discussed this with your sister, Neraeh, who will be completing her nursing degree soon, and she understands and communicated all the medical terminology quite clearly. But Syrrah, there is actually really good news here. If your mom’s condition primarily came about because of your apparent death, then seeing you alive, could help her, maybe tremendously.”

She sat herself upright and wiped her eyes. She was quiet a moment, appearing in deep thought. “Well, my mom never had anything like this before. She always seemed pretty normal. She was a good mom, a loving mom.”

“Then that convinces me even more that seeing you will help her.”

“So, my family, and Evan’s family, they’re all here now, at your home?”

“Yes,” Dr. K answered. “They’re upstairs, visiting with my help. They were all rather hungry, so we got them some food, had a couple of good snacks.”

“Hey, like us here, too,” Evan said. “I’m starving.”

“I bet you are big guy,” Dr. K said.

Art and Kamal laughed, and Belinda did too.

“But don’t worry,” Dr. K said. “We’ll have some food prepared for you soon.”

“Can I see them now?” Syrrah asked.

“Yes. However, I only want you and Evan to visit with your mom and dad, at first, in the private room I have over here.” Dr. K pointed to a door to the left of Mortal Kombat. “I think it would be best, for your mom, if it were done in this way.”

“Sure, that sounds like a good idea,” she said. “Even after what Kamal said, I still don’t really understand why this was done to me, and why I’m here now, but knowing I could help my mom, by her seeing me again, makes this all worth it.”

“Yes,” Evan said. “So true.”