And The Rain Torrenches

Ep03 And The Rain TorrenchesContinuing the time-slip story, Can of Worms: a 16 year old girl’s rune-aided hunt for a serial-killer . . . Read on

The light flickered. Fluorescent tubes hidden behind a translucent false ceiling. Excellently timed: Madeleine, the friendly psychiatrist, had just said of me hearing voices. Then, before I’d yet said a word, there came the reverberating crack of thunder. And now the heavens would open and down come the rain, probably in torrents. I didn’t want to talk; I wanted to watch out the window—not that I could see very much, the window screened by Venetian blinds. Meanwhile, Madeleine was waiting.

“Do you have problems with thunder? I know many people do,” she said.

I shook my head. “It’s the rain. Dad has three fields of standing grain. If the wind gets up too, it all could be ruined.” I flicked another look at the window.

“Ah,” she said. “Failans Farm, of course. And I ought to have asked: Is it arable, fruit, dairy . . .?”

“Organic,” I said. “Free-range stock, mostly. We do some veg—for the local market—but it’s mostly pigs, hens and eggs. The grain’s part of the winter fodder.”

She nodded as if she understood but which I knew she did not. “So, these voices. You want to tell me about them?”

“They’re not voices,” I said. “Not like Joan of Arc or . . . I hear people’s thoughts.”

The first drops were falling. Great fat beasties that splattered the window. I prayed the wind wouldn’t come. I guessed Dad would be praying, too, to whatever the warlocks’ god.

“All right,” she said. “So these thoughts that you hear, how do you know they belong to others; that they’re not your own thoughts?”

“Content,” I said, half my attention still on the window.

Those fat drops were slithering down the window like slugs on speed. But that didn’t stop me catching her thoughts.

“I’m not delusional,” I said.

I’d already noticed, she had a thing, while listening, of holding her hand—the left—loosely to her chin. With that same hand she signed me to chill.

I ignored it. “I am not!” I said, pouring concrete into the delivery.

She nodded, and smiled. “So tell me, what is it of the content that cannot be yours?”

I started to say, several times, but couldn’t find the words, couldn’t order my thoughts. In the end I said, somewhat weakly, “They’re inappropriate.”

And, yea, I knew what she’d make of that: Inappropriate thoughts, must be denied so blame them on others. Like I wouldn’t know about that. Like I don’t read book and don’t watch TV.

“Please, I’ll explain,” I said. “Like, we’ve this teacher at school, yea, who takes us for Geography. He’s getting on a bit but . . . well anyway, he has the hots for our English Lit teacher. And it’s not just me who knows it; it’s common knowledge. But I hear his thoughts. And feel his feelings. I’m a girl of sixteen who’s never been kissed yet alone had that. You think I’d be thinking those kind of thoughts? Man-thoughts? Intimate thoughts? Detailed? Like a porn movie going off in his head? And before you ask, no, it doesn’t excite me.”

I spared a glance at the window. The rain was coming down properly now, but it was coming down almost straight. As long as the wind didn’t change . . . it was the wind did the damage, laying flat the rain-sodden crops.

Meanwhile Madeleine, hand still loosely to chin, was softly nodding.

“Go on,” she prompted.

“It’s the same with my father. I couldn’t think the thoughts that he thinks every time he watches those gyrating dancers on some of those music videos. And he does that with Mum in the room.”

“Is it only men’s thoughts you hear?”

“I know what you’re thinking,” I said. Hadn’t I just told her that? “These are not my thoughts projected on others.”

“What other thoughts do you hear?”

I took a mighty inhale. I wanted to tap on her head and say, Hello, are you listening in there? Or are you too busy finding a label for me?

“I hear my mother’s thoughts all the time. Not that they’re interesting. Wondering what to feed us, what to buy, and can we afford a new washing machine. Mundane drivel. She complains about Dad, that he doesn’t wash-up outside, though we’ve got the facilities. But, no, he comes and splatters muck all over her kitchen. She once had the hots for one of their coven. She used to be always daydreaming of them kissing. Unlike Dad’s thoughts, it never went further. And even then she’d justify it. ‘But, Lady, don’t you bid us to love all Creation?’ You think I’d think those things? And even if I did, why would I deny it and project onto her. I am not psychotic,” I said. “I’m telepathic, is all.”

And there came the word delusional again. Followed by attention seeking, and distortion of self-experience. And there was me, thinking she was different.

I said, “I don’t want to be known for this-this trait. I don’t want to go help researchers prove once and for all that telepathy is possible and that it exists. I certainly don’t want to make a career out of it.” So let her stuff that up her conventional theories. It was her in denial, not me. Just like Dr Snide, the GP.

“When did you first hear these thoughts?” she asked. “How long ago? Or how old were you?”

I shrugged. I didn’t know. They seemed always to be there. “But I can tell you, I was about seven when I realised others didn’t hear the thoughts too.”

She nodded—and leaked puzzlement. She was also concerned at my exhibited anger. But it wasn’t anger, it was fucking frustration.

“And how does this of hearing thoughts impinge on your life—your social life, your school-work . . .?”

“It’s bloody distracting is how. How can you concentrate on, say, trigonometry, when you’re hearing thoughts from all around you? And no, I don’t use them to cheat in exams. That would be silly cos how would I know if they were right. And that’s why Dad wants this sorted. Before I go to college.”

Again she nodded, now leaking understanding—though I wasn’t sure if that was understanding of my problem, or my father’s motivation.

“And socially?” she asked. “How does it affect you socially.”

I pulled a face. “You get to know who you friends are. But at home, at least of late, I’ve learned to block it.”

“And how’d you do that?”

“I sing.”

A single eyebrow rose in query.

“Mostly bits from my mother’s music,” I said.

“Not your own?”

“Mostly the music I’m into don’t have words.”

Again the raised brow.

“Techno,” I said. “Drum-an-Bass. Instrumental. And before you ask, I like the beat—boom- boom- boom- boom.”

“Are your friends into ‘Drum and Bass’ too?”

She didn’t fool me with her roundabout questions. There was that bit on the GP’s report of me being socially isolated.

“My parents are witches,” I said. “A multicultural society, but there’s still stigma on that. Witches are still misunderstood. So there’s not many parents will encourage a friendship with me. Add to that our pigs out in the fields, stinking to high-heaven, and I’m not the most welcome of persons.”

“You don’t have friends,” she said. Statement.

“Nah, I have some. I have one at school and two over at Aunt Maggie’s.”

“Aunt Maggie?” she asked.

“My father’s sister. Lives up by the Agricultural College. I’ll be staying with her come September. Mum takes me there every full moon, and Aunt Maggie brings me back the next day.”

I could hear the unvoiced why loud in my head.

“Full moon,” I explained. “The coven meets. My father won’t have me there. Says we should all come to our own beliefs in our own time. He doesn’t want to influence me. Well, that’s what he says, but it’s not what he thinks. He’s dead scared he’ll be accused of child abuse.”

“Ah, the mass panic in the 80’s: Satanic Ritual Abuse. Of course,” she said. “Wise man. So you do have friends. What are their names?”

“At school. Hermione Potter. Yea, don’t laugh. Guess it’s because of our names we gravitated. And Rachel and Donovan, Aunt Maggie’s neighbours.”

She nodded again. “And what about Gillan?”

“Gill—?”

“Your mother reported several angry one-sided exchanges with this person called Gillan.”

“But I don’t know no Gillan.”

Chuffing ‘ell! Where in her glorified world did my mother find that name? I could feel my eyes literally popping out of my head! My mother really was trying to stitch me. But why?

“No, not even someone at school in another year that I don’t even speak to. Not any of the teachers. Nobody in the village. Not even the guy at the Coop checkout who’s kinda cute—though if I’m having angry words with him I suppose he’d more likely be a nasty bully.”

And to cap it, outside the rain now was torrenching.

LINE

Next episode, Lord of the Dance

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About crimsonprose

After years as a multi-colour octopus in entertainment, now chilling and writing
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10 Responses to And The Rain Torrenches

  1. Brian Bixby says:

    This is confusing, which I suppose is to be expected of COW, not to mention telepathy in real life, and having a warlock for a father.

    • crimsonprose says:

      Apart from the ‘Oops’ but I read this through how many times and didn’t spot that . . .What’s confusing? Apart from hearing people’s thoughts would be confusing. Is it that Arwen denies they are ‘voices’? Hearing voices, as a symptom of mental disturbances, usually is taken to mean hearing someone speak to you . . . address you personally. This isn’t how it is for Arwen. It’s more like she’s overhearing a conversation, except the conversation never leaves the head of the thinker. Again, this isn’t how it is with mental health problems.
      At the sane tine, Arwen is responding to the psychiatrist’s unspoken thoughts . . so I guess that might come across as confusing, cos we don’t ‘hear’ what Madeleine is thinking.
      Then again, I wanted it to come across as confusing. I wanted Madeleine confused by these symptoms that just don’t fall into the usual scheme.
      BTW, I did lots of research on this subject.

      • Brian Bixby says:

        No, no, no, I mean it’s SUPPOSED to be confusing, for us, the readers.
        I am not getting my point across, am I? Sort of like Arwen.
        Which is to the point: what I’m saying is that this chapter forces the conflict of three frames of reference: (1) Madeleine’s, who’s not coming to terms with Arwen’s ability to read her thoughts; (2) Arwen’s, who finds these thoughts confusing, but who, despite encountering other psychiatrists, doesn’t yet know either how to get across her actual experience or learn to shut up (“Oh, the voices? Oh, they’ve gone away. At least that’s what they tell me to say.”); (3) the reader, who by this point expects Arwen to be “different,” but doesn’t yet quite know the score.

        Now, having said all that, and actually meant it for a “done well,” while completely failing to get across my point, I have to admit I was not considering the finer points of how mentally disturbed people hear voices, and your explanation of same has been illuminating. Thanks you!

        (The voices told me to say that, btw.)

      • crimsonprose says:

        Double like, and my first good chuckle of the day. And once again I mistake what you’re saying. I apologise (at which you’ll say, no, I’ve nothing to apologise for etc etc). And we think Arwen has problems?
        Apart from more academic works on mental health problems, I also read the books by Christine Kosner Sizemore . . . you might know her better from the film The Three Faces of Eve. The book really takes the top of that film. It makes fascinating, and quite horrific, reading, whether for research or general interest, though it’s now far out of print.

  2. Judy says:

    I thought you conveyed the general confusion pretty well. I totally get the difference between voices talking to you and overhearing thoughts as a talent if you will. Even thought I suspect Madeleine may ‘understand’, I can’t entirely tell from the questioning so far. But, maybe that is part of the hearing/overhearing conundrum in the telling.

    • crimsonprose says:

      Yea. Brian did apologise and clarify by email. He was actually complimenting me. But that’s so unexpected; he usually questions my meanings etc . . . which is good, cos it makes me think, and next time I’ll avoid any confusion.

      • Judy says:

        Well as a reader reading comments before mine my first reaction was that the story was confusing, then quickly I could see he was identifying with how confusing it was for the character to hear voice and overhear internal thoughts of the other person at the same time as trying to respond. If it were me it would be so tempting to respond to the internal thoughts…as maybe being what the person really thinks and ignore what is said..and have the person going Whaaaaat??

        It is kind of like LeGuin’s Lathe of Heaven when the psychiatrist gives the patient a prompt of what to dream so he can see for himself the dream becomes a new reality….like changing the painting on this wall. So the psychiatrist here has only to have the patient say what she is thinking and not what she is saying to prove.

      • crimsonprose says:

        Wow! But yes, you’re right. It was a difficult scene to write because I needed to get over, not only as writer to the reader, but also Arwen to Madeleine, that she wasn’t hearing voices. That would have an entirely different outcome. For her it’s like eavesdropping on a person’s thoughts, except she has no choice in it. That is not only intrusive, but as both you and Brian have said, extremely confusing for her. Does it impinge on her school or social life. You bet it does!

      • Judy says:

        I sure am glad people can’t hear my thoughts!! I am not proud of all of them.

      • crimsonprose says:

        I was talking to my daughter of this ‘ability’, and she said mostly the same. And, yea, I do agree. Though there are times I behave as if people can hear them, and do my best to keep them acceptable. At least in public. 🙂

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