(AIASP) The Index to Her Soul

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posted on Feb, 16 2008 @ 06:19 PM
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Part One.

People considered Janice lucky. She was a girl of striking beauty. With such sublime looks, strangers easily forgave her autistic manner, and lack of intelligence.

Especially, her doctors considered Janice lucky. It seemed impossible that anyone could receive such a traumatic head wound, and actually live! Her case was an object of intense fascination to them, worthy of research. She was a living testimonial to how little medical science actually knew about the nervous system.

On her third tour of duty in Iraq, shrapnel from an IED had completely cleaved Janice’s brain. She had been more than just lobotomized. Major portions of her brain had been destroyed. She should have died on that fateful day, or at least been reduced to permanent vegetative state.

According to her doctors, the accident had lowered her IQ by about 70 points. She had previously been near genius level before the war. Now she was what they called “educable mentally retarded”. Her personality, once effervescent and witty, was now dull. She had once planned to be a professional, perhaps a doctor or a lawyer, after her military service. That was gone. But, she could still talk intelligibly, even if she spoke only rarely. She was still –- alive.

Janice appeared to be a living miracle. Her case became well documented in neuroscience journals. Many people would have called her fortunate.

But they were wrong. Janice was not lucky. In fact, unknown to anyone, she was one of the most tragic and unlucky people ever to live. She suffered an incredible and unique pain, which many millennia of humanity had never topped, and seldom matched. And nobody would ever know this.

The horrible hidden truth was this: the roadside bomb, which had driven a sliver of shrapnel through the side of her head, severing billions of neurons, had split her consciousness into two pieces. The real part of Janice: the important part; the intelligent part; the caring part; the part that was uniquely her and nobody else; the Janice that the universe had created and delivered –- now was forever separated and alone.

For the rest of her life, Janice was doomed would live in total isolation, at the total control and complete mercy of the “Other”.

#

She endured a forced silence. Janice was paralyzed. The “Other” controlled her body, and made all the decisions. It did what it wanted to do, and Janice had to follow. Although Janice could watch and feel, she could not command. She could not communicate. Like everyone else, the “Other” appeared to be oblivious to Janice’s existence.

Janice was relegated to a permanent state of watching, along just for the ride. The loneliness and isolation were so terrible that occasionally Janice would go insane. She would return to lucidity for periods of time, to lapse again in devastating depression. She contemplated God quite often. She feared she was in hell. She faced eternity in despair.

There was only one small and insignificant part of her body that Janice could control, and that was her left index finger. Although her left hand belonged to the “Other”, she was still permitted trivial control of this finger, because of some strange neurological artifact of her accident.

She could control this finger. She could move it, apply enough force to pull the trigger of a gun (if only the “Other” would permit her that way out!) This fact taunted her with its useless implications.

Many times, Janice had desperately tried to signal her other self, establish some form of communication using that finger. But the “Other” was so stupid! To her other self, the movement of her left index finger was just an annoying involuntary twitch.

(Continued...)

[edit on 16-2-2008 by Buck Division]




posted on Feb, 16 2008 @ 06:22 PM
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Part Two.

Janice found suitable work, with the help of the Department of Veteran Affairs. Time passed. Her life idled. She had a string of boyfriends. Her docile nature and stunning beauty made her an easy target for a variety of unsympathetic and brutal lovers.

To Janice, it was type of rape. She would be passed from guy to guy, unable to refuse any invitation made to her. It was a peculiar agony. She was forced into a slavish degradation by the uncontrollable actions of the “Other”.

A particular guy finally came into her life. His name was Cory. He was an Iraqi veteran, like Janice. They had met at the VA. He seemed particularly scary. He brooded and seethed. He was filled with hate. He was constantly fighting with people. He always seemed to have a new cut on his face, or a fresh bruise. He was covered with gruesome tattoos of ugly and violent imagery.

Janice quickly deduced that Cory suffered from depression. He was an alcoholic -- quite pathetic. Janice was terrified of him. He wasn’t bad looking, but there was a cruel edge to his face. Cory seemed capable of -- anything! Janice could imagine the violence and pain that he could inflict upon someone placid and pliable, like the “Other”.

“Stay away from Cory!” she would anxiously whisper to her other self. “Please!” she would beg. But the “Other” would not listen. It never did.

Eventually, despite all of Janice’s trepidation, Cory asked her out. Ignoring the invisible and unenforceable will of Janice, the “Other” innocently accepted.

#

They had sex on the first date, as was the typical style of the “Other”. Yet, to Janice’s surprise, Cory was not brutal at all. He was gentle, and kind. Yes, he was filled with anger, but he treated her with great respect. Cory, although tormented by his bitterness, was actually quite intelligent and perceptive.

“I may be schizophrenic,” he told her. “I see things others don’t. I know there is a hidden side to the universe, and nobody sees it but me. We are being watched. There are entities we can’t observe, which view us. There is a layer above us.”

“Yes! I am here!” Janice screamed. “Save me!” But as usual, her shouts were unheard. The “Other” said nothing. It just nodded, dumbly.

After that first date, they began to see each other exclusively.

“I really like you,” Cory told her. “You are different. You are a really good listener. I can talk to you about things that I can’t discuss with others.” And Cory would speak at length, discussing the mysteries of life, the evil in the world, and the meaning of good. He was knowledgeable of great philosophers, would discuss Kant and Descartes. He would discuss the possibility of UFOs, and the reality of the paranormal. He constantly questioned things.

Often, even after the “Other” would fall asleep in boredom, Cory would continue to talk softly, and Janice would listen in total fascination. Her body would slumber, but her left index finger would twitch and tap.

He told her that he sensed something special in Janice. The “Other” shrugged at Cory’s comments, but on that day Janice silently cried in joy and frustration.

Within a few months, Janice began to fall in love, slowly at first, but soon she was plummeting. And this intense love, rather than making her life better, multiplied her agony in a new and unexpected way.

The emptiness of her life was filled with a new type of torture. She was saturated with impossible love for someone who didn’t even know she existed.

(Continued...)

[edit on 17-2-2008 by Buck Division]



posted on Feb, 16 2008 @ 06:24 PM
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Part 3.

One night, Cory came to her house. He was already drunk. He brought a full bottle of vodka. They sat at her kitchen table and he began pouring drinks. Janice watched herself mechanically throw down shot after shot, and watched her body slowly pass into unconsciousness at the kitchen table.

Cory continued talking to her unconscious body. Janice, still aware and completely infatuated, listened to his every word. He spoke poetically that night of his lost destiny. Of unrestrained depression. Of turning to, and then away, from religion. Of seeking answers in the occult. He spoke of his intense loneliness, and lack of purpose.

Cory began to openly discuss his suicide. He wanted to end his life. He needed a reason to live! Anything! He had come to love Janice because he had sensed something unique about her. Could she possibly help him? To live? Perhaps to die? He expected no answers. It was clear that Janice had passed out. Even if the "Other" had been conscious, it would never have been able to articulate a useful answer.

Eventually, Cory stopped talking. He sat across from her at the table. He was now completely intoxicated. “Look at me!” he muttered, in self disgust. “I talk to nobody. I’m truly insane. My life is over.” His last statement was followed by pronounced silence. Janice listened to his ragged breathing. She tapped her finger.

And a vague idea came to her. She felt a sensation she had not experienced since the roadside bomb had exploded, so many years before; that accident had completely paralyzed her in a flash of white light, severing her forever from the world. There was no way to prove she even existed, except for one small thing. There was one obscure path to reality.

A sensation began to take form, along with an idea.

For the first time in years, Janice experienced the unfamiliar sensation of hope. She prayed, as she often did, “Free my soul tonight! Let me make this work, this one time! Or just let me die!”

#

Janice’s left hand rested on the kitchen table. Slowly, using only her index finger, she dug into the table top. After several minutes, she managed to inflict a deep cut in the tip of her finger, pulling off her fingernail. The pain was excruciating, but she continued.

Then, over the course of many minutes, Janice was able to drag her hand, flexing her finger. She made careful deliberate motions. It was a slow process. Cory, at the edge of an alcoholic stupor, watched her meticulous and small movements without commenting.

Eventually she finished. On the table, scrawled in her blood, was the message she had written: “TRAPPED. HELP. AM HERE.” Her painfully crafted message was almost unreadable. Cory stared at it for a long time, silent and perplexed. He began to sober.

He looked at the bloody tip of her finger. “Did you write this?” he asked. He got up from his chair, shook her violently. Her body was still unconscious from all the vodka. Janice wiggled her left index finger desperately.

“What does this mean?” his voice cracked. “Is this a sign?”

Many more minutes passed. He looked down at the words on the table, and then wiped them off with a vodka soaked napkin. He carefully cleaned her bloody fingertip. After that, he sat silently, across from her, baffled and thinking.

At length, Corey took Janice’s left hand, gently cupping it. “Who are you?” he asked. He seemed to speak directly to Janice. To her soul. His voice quavered, thick with emotion. She sobbed in silence, imprisoned in her drunk and unconscious body.

#

The human mind craves the touch of another mind. We are instinctively drawn to communicate; to share our thoughts; to reassure ourselves that we are not alone. Existence, in the perpetual isolation of our own thoughts is terrifying, because we are prevented from accomplishing our intrinsic and uniquely human mission.

The tragedy of this story: Janice’s destiny was to live in eternal loneliness. It is truly the worst punishment that nature can inflict upon someone. It is a type of living and sustained death. Because the purpose of our existence is not just to experience, but also to share.

#

Cory asked, “Are you really in there? Tap twice, for yes.” And Janice tapped her index finger twice.

An eternity of silence ended. Contact had occurred. It was their first conversation.

Many more conversations, of ever increasing sophistication, would follow.

(Continued...)

[edit on 17-2-2008 by Buck Division]



posted on Feb, 16 2008 @ 06:26 PM
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The Epilogue.

Many years later, people would often comment on the extraordinary love and care with which Cory treated his wife. At business engagements and parties, Cory would never drink. He would often sit on a couch, cupping Janice’s hand. They always seemed to hold hands! Always her left hand in his right!

People couldn’t help but wonder -– what did Cory see in Janice? Certainly, she was very beautiful. But so dull! So quiet! So stupid! She must be lucky! Cory was a brilliant and successful businessman. He was quite wealthy now. He could have chosen any woman. Why had he selected such a dull-witted, near autistic mate?

One thing was not questionable. Cory and Janice shared an exceptional relationship. Strangely different from the normal. Bizarre in many ways! He would direct her conversation. Discuss things on her behalf. Sometimes Cory would make strange attributions to her that seemed unlikely or even impossible.

If you had watched them together, as she fondled his hand, you might occasionally see some secret signal, transmitted from her to him. This signal might provoke Cory to smile or even laugh, although there was no obvious reason. They communicated in a subtle way that nobody could identify.

If you were very observant, even the way she wore her wedding band attested to the oddities of their relationship, and in strange contradiction to the dictates of tradition.

Oddly, Janice wore her wedding ring on her left index finger.

The End.


[edit on 16-2-2008 by Buck Division]



posted on Feb, 16 2008 @ 06:29 PM
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Author's Notes.

I hope you enjoy this story half as much as I enjoyed writing it. I spend at least six hours on it, and it was surprisingly difficult to work it to my satisfaction. But, it was a great pleasure for me.

The story is loosely based upon two real facts: the strange case of Phineas Gauge and the bizarre phenomenon of Split Brain condition.

Also, the horrific abuse of Prefrontal Lobotomy surgery was a major influence to the story. More than 50,000 of these operations were performed worldwide, before it was discarded as a valid treatment, in the 1980s. It makes you wonder how close to truth this story might be. I hope it is complete fiction, but one can never know.

I wanted to convey the terror of isolation and loneliness, along with the beauty of ultimate redemption. I hope I achieved that.

Thanks for reading!

[edit on 16-2-2008 by Buck Division]



posted on Feb, 16 2008 @ 07:15 PM
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Originally posted by Buck Division

I hope I achieved that.

[edit on 16-2-2008 by Buck Division]


You did.

Flag and star from me.


I saw a documentary recently about the doctor that pioneered the frontal lobotomy. Can't remember his name right now. A truly brutal, vicious procedure. As it turned out, the doctor himself was quite insane.

Regards,

333



posted on Feb, 18 2008 @ 01:15 AM
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I too have a deep feeling for your unique and lonely tale. Well written.



posted on Feb, 19 2008 @ 12:39 PM
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Great concept and well executed.
Nice work, Buck Division.

Star and flag from me.



posted on Feb, 19 2008 @ 12:58 PM
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No offense to all the other great writers in this contest, but this would, imo, be the best story in the contest so far.



posted on Feb, 22 2008 @ 10:54 AM
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You have done an excellent job of weaving fact with fiction. I found
myself experiencing Janices' loneliness. Eerie.

You write like a professional. A star for you !



posted on Feb, 22 2008 @ 03:11 PM
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Great story! A trapped soul, bound by a life of loneliness, and not able to express herself. The part about the finger nail made me feel like, "Ouch". :-) And love conquers all!

"They communicated in a subtle way that nobody could identify."

I love the word subtle. Maybe it is because so few people notice those subtle beautiful things anymore.

Thanks for the nice story.



posted on Feb, 22 2008 @ 04:08 PM
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reply to post by Buck Division
 


Your story reminded me of a true story of a woman who had "internal decapitation", from an auto accident. It's truely amazing how the mind can repair itself, if it wants too.

www.dailymail.co.uk...

Although sad in the beginning... with the extraordinary love and care from Cory.
I choose to believe that Janice will rise above her entrapment, because of the love.

Well written Buck Division. The strong feelings and emotions are apparent.
You also showed clearly how scubags take avantage of the disabled.

Flagged & Stared



posted on Feb, 23 2008 @ 03:20 PM
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Brilliant work!

It is not the same story, but made me remember "Flowers for Algernon."

I would like to make a suggestion if you choose to do more with this piece. Morse code. Especially since the main characters were both military.



edit for spelling

[edit on 2/23/0808 by jackinthebox]



posted on Feb, 24 2008 @ 02:22 PM
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I read it a second time and its still my No.1 for this contest.

I think it could easily make mass-market Sci-Fi-Short-Story compilations if you ever think of submitting it.



posted on Mar, 14 2008 @ 02:45 AM
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That was a story that deserves two stars and flags from me but unfortunately my other will not permit me to do that. Very well written Buck.
I'm glad Janice found someone to spend her life with that loves her the way cory does. No one needs to be alone or die alone. Very, very good!



posted on Mar, 14 2008 @ 09:57 PM
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I enjoyed the story immensely. You obviosly put a lot of time, effort, and yourself into it. It's well put together. And I like the moral of the story, too. It doesn't matter what other's think of your significant other or how they wound up being the way they are. It's how much the two individuals love and feel or ech other that matters most. I am just curious about one thing, though. Don't go into the details if you have, but have you based this story on something that has really happened? And what motivated you to write such a beautiful story?



posted on Apr, 3 2008 @ 07:41 PM
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Great job, Buck - congrats on submitting a winning entry. Superb in all respects...

Until next time...



posted on Apr, 3 2008 @ 10:52 PM
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Congrats! Certainly a fantastic piece indeed. I keep thinking back to it ever since reading it. Thanks for sharing it with all of us.





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