This Is Not Me





Scene Title This Is Not Me
Synopsis Kaylee is desperate for answers and turns to an unusual method to try and find some.
Date March 05, 2019

Raytech Industies

In the dead of the night, the office building was rather still and very silent. All work outside of her door was at a stand still; everyone had long since gone home. Only the occasional echoing step of the night guards and the environmental controls kicking on breaks up the stillness.

In the office of the COO, Kaylee Sumter sits at her old antique desk, with a single light illuminating her desktop and the stacks of files and papers. Even now nearly two months after the events in New Mexico, there was so much paperwork left to do. Paperwork that needed to be filed on behalf of the families so that they could get something. That was on top of the mounting paperwork from her regular duties, things she simply could not pawn off on others.

Hours ago, Kaylee called Joseph and let him know it would be a late night. She’d stay on campus and maybe see him the next night. In truth, she was needing some time to herself. Alone in her thoughts and away from the chaos of a family. A moment when the mindless void surrounded her, leaving her with a tinnitus like sensation; especially now that the voice in her head had slithered away to become the part of something rather terrifying.

That was a day that changed her whole world. Something in her had changed. Everything she knew about her life was turned on its head and she was left with so many questions.

Pushing aside the form she was filling out for the umpteenth time for yet another of the Raytech employees , the telepath sighs out heavily and rubs at her eyes. Exhaustion was weighing on her ability to concentrate on the numbers in front of her. Not to mention, she was getting to an age where she might need to consider glasses.

Kaylee turned her mind to other things… mysteries that needed answers.

The Entity. The Snake. Adam. Her Father.

It was all connected. Wasn’t it? Her nightmare made it feel that way. It was overwhelming to think about any of it and it left her not even knowing where to start.

Maybe I needed to leave things like this to Richard.

Since that day the snake left, she’s had a constant feeling of unease in her stomach. Like being on the edge of nausea everyday, all day. It was because her mind couldn't let go of it and the thoughts of Adam lingered as a result. However, the idea of letting others deal with this, while she stayed away… it felt like a cop out.

In truth, a part of herself needed to prove something and she wouldn’t feel satisfied without looking for the answers herself.

In light of everything she had learned, Kayee felt like she had been held back from who she truly was. Now that she seemed to be free of everything… she didn’t know how to deal with that.

Leaning back, Kaylee opened the top drawer of the desk, and plucked a folded picture from within. It had been the only picture she had of her dad, Edward Ray, for the longest time. How often had she looked at it? Had carried it tucked in the inner pocket of the worn leather jacket, that had once been her mother’s?

For as much as Kaylee had hated him for leaving her mother and her… he was still her father and a part of her would always wish they had been able to have more time.

“I don't know what to think about everything that’s happened, dad.” Kaylee murmured softly to the picture. Reaching across the desk, she pulled the tape dispenser close, the picture gently propped against it, so she can carry on the conversation. “And I don’t know where to go from here. I know what you want for me: Safe and out of harm’s way. I've done that.” until recently, at least. Another sigh escapes her as she leans back in the chair, it creaks loud in the semi dark room. “But I am starting to realize that all of this,” she motions around the room. “This isn't me. Pretty sure you knew that and why you pushed me this way.” Or did he push her that way?

Even her home life was leaving her feeling out of place. “I love Joseph,” Kaylee stated firmly, just as much to herself, as to the photo. “But… it feels different now. Everything in my life feels different. I feel different.

“Whatever that thing was in my head, when it became a part of that entity. It felt like a part of me was stripped away. I lost a part of me.” Kaylee shook her head, trying to rid herself of the memories. Her mind didn’t want to wrap around it all; like the events in New Mexico or that thing she had carried in her mind for so many years.

Kaylee studied the photograph for a long moment, as if it would suddenly start talking to her. That Edward would start giving her his thoughts and advice, like a father would. Often times, the thing in her head would start talking to her, whispering things. Distracting her. Not anymore. Now she had to face it all alone.

There were so many unanswered questions to face alone.

“What kind of deal did you make with the devil, dad? I mean, you must have… “ Uncertainty grips her again, making her doubt her thoughts. “Did you make one?” The picture is picked up and studied, as she’s done a million times before. Searching for a connection that never really reveals itself.

Her thoughts are interrupted by the sudden sensation of someone slipping into her mental field, moving with purpose towards her door. Even though she was safe, echos of the past have her tensing up and feeling a fluttering of nerves. It took a moment to orient herself and realized who it was.

Kaylee had been waiting for this person in particular.

In fact, Kaylee was already heading to the door when there was a soft, almost reluctant knock. The man on the other side wouldn’t be waiting long, as the door swung open. “Bob,” she greeted him in a tired voice. It had been a long day and wasn’t going to end anytime soon.

“Its ready,” her bodyguard says brusquely, cutting straight to the chase, though he looks a touch conflicted about whatever it was. Never one to keep thoughts to himself, Bob asks, “You sure about this, Boss?”

“I am,” Kaylee affirmed in a quiet voice, stepping past him out of the office. The door closed with a soft click before she addressed his concerns further. “I need answers and I don’t have a lot of options. I can’t just go to another telepath and I’m not sure that anyone has any answers for me.” There is a small smile for the man walking quietly next to her. “So I’m on my own for now.”

Bob didn’t seem completely convinced, but doesn’t say anything more on the subject. For the moment, at least. This means they travel the rest of the way in silence. Well at least for him it was quiet. The pair take the elevator into the bowels of Raytech and down a harshly lit hallway. At the end is a room that had yet to be repurposed, so she had taken it over for her own project. A new code lock was on the door, installed by a member of Luther’s team.

Kaylee paused after opening the door. “Go home. Bob.” She orders, turning to look back at him, where he hovers behind her. Her smile was affectionate for the man charged with protecting her. “I’m staying on campus tonight. I’ll be fine. Not to mention, I want complete silence for this. Just let the night security know I’m here.”

There was reluctance boiling under the surface, beneath a mask of disapproval that had settled over Bob’s features. Even if he was charged with Kaylee’s safety, he loved his family and savored every moment with them. She was giving him an option to go do that, so he gave a firm nod. “Okay. I’m trusting you to call for someone if you need it.”

“Yes, dad,” Kaylee mocked him with an edge of humor, getting a flat look in return for her efforts.

“Don’t sass me, young lady, I know how to use a taser,” Bob groused in good natured humor, motioning at her to get inside with the jerk of his chin in that direction.

Leaving him standing there, Kaylee slipped into the mostly vacant room, shutting the door behind her. Leaning against the cool door, a hand still rested lightly on the handle, she surveyed the changes in the room. Equipment circled the center of the room, some of it whirred softly and lights blinked. Most of it was repurposed from other dead projects from there and Detroit. What really stood out was the large kiddie pool in the center of the room. A collection of sea animals swim around the outside happily. It looked ridiculously out of place encircled by equipment.

Unfortunately, in this day and age, a sensory deprivation tank is not a common item. Even before the war, no one was climbing over themselves to own one, which means now that the world had gone to shit… they were about impossible to get. Had Warren not decided to take a leave of absence from the business, Kaylee might have turned to him for help.

So cheerfully colorful sea life and hand me down equipment, it was.

Of course, Kaylee had told her siblings she wanted it so that she could work on her ability, which wasn’t a total lie. Training with no distractions had its benefits; but, there was more to it. Kaylee couldn’t do what she did for others. She hadn’t found a way into her own mind and couldn’t search for doors or retrieve repressed memories. Going to another telepath would just be painful for the both of them…

So she had to try other methods.

This was the best one she had at the moment. While the research had mostly been in the 60’s and involved serious drugs, there was some potential there. Removing the overabundance of information from all her senses could free her mind enough to allow her to try and draw out memories tucked away and hidden. It was a chance she was willing to take. What would it kill to try?

With one more long look at the pool, Kaylee moved towards a door on the other side of the room; disappearing into a small room set aside for clothing changes. It would be almost fifteen minutes, according to the security cameras, before she exited the room in a red one piece swimsuit, with a pair of blacked out goggles looped around her neck.

Stepping silently up to the pool, Kaylee crouched and dipped fingers into the salt infused solution to ensure it was at the proper temperature. It would be the first time she really used it, with only a single training session on how to use it.

Satisfied with the temperature, noise cancelling headphones are plucked from a nearby hook and slid into place. The telepath has only thought the room had been quiet, the headphones proved how wrong she was as the soft humming noise of electronics are suddenly muffled. Like that, the woman was left with only a soft ringing in her ears.

Stepping into the colorful pool, Kaylee was again fascinated by the way the salty water felt on her skin. In fact, it itched a little as it slid over her skin when she sunk down into it. Slowly laying back into the solution, she took only a moment to shift the goggles over her eyes, blocking out all residual light.

If she wasn’t desperate for answers, Kaylee would have thrown it all off and walked away from the idea. Because floating there, it sharply reminded her of when she had been in a coma after being stabbed repeatedly. Just like at that moment, there had been no light as she drifted in her mind. At least until that little light joined her and heralded in the biggest change in her life. Her son, Carl. So few knew or even understood the connection she felt to her son. How hearing his little undeveloped mind for the first time had kept her fighting to live. Of course, this time she would be alone in the darkness. No spark and nothing lingering just outside of her perception, like a wolf waiting for the fire to die.

Who knows if the pool will for her, but as she floated there, she felt the tension bleed out of her. Felt that slow sharpening of thought as her mind looks for something real to grasp onto, instead, turning inward to memories.

Kaylee could only hope this would work.

At the same time, as she sinks into the darkness, the telepath wonders at potential Pandora’s box she could open for herself if it does.

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