Transference – Chapter 8 – The Revelation – by lostandwhatever
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Continued from Chapter 7.
The first thing Melissa Smith noticed when she regained consciousness was the sound of a piano playing. Her mind felt a bit slow and foggy, yet the music seemed to drift through the fog gently towards her, drawing her attention. She tried to remember the name of the song, but it escaped her for the moment. Whatever it was, it sounded beautiful and sad. Her eyes peeked open but shut again in the bright light of the morning. Where am I? she wondered. How did I get here? She tried to get up, but her arms and legs seemed to be stuck somehow.
She listened to the piano again. Her mouth felt dry but she managed to mutter, “‘Moonlight Sonata?’”
“Well done,” a woman’s voice said. “You got it in one.”
“What’s going on?” Melissa said, she blinked her eyes open again and tried to figure out where she was. She seemed to be lying on her side on the floor of a small, geometric glass cage. Her arms were bound at the wrist behind her back, and her ankles were bound together as well.
“I adore Beethoven,” the woman’s voice said. “Don’t you? He can be so… deep… and yet so simple. I think that’s how I feel a lot of the time now. I have this deep well of knowledge and yet such a simple past to go with it. There’s so little of me, but I feel enormous.”
Melissa’s eyes finally focused on the woman outside of her glass cage. “Julie?” she asked when she recognized the babysitter.
The babysitter was playing a piano keyboard she had set on a work table. Her eyes were shut, as she enjoyed the music she made. “Can you believe that I’ve never even heard this song before? I just knew how to play it, and I knew how it would feel. It’s so strange. Feels like I’m creating something out of nothing. It’s… magical.”
Melissa struggled to get free, but she could not get loose of the tape holding her limbs together. She tried to remember how she had ended up here. “You…” she said as the memories returned. “You shot me with something… a stun gun.”
“Why?” she asked. “Why are you doing this? Why am I tied up? What do you want?” Then, she thought of the baby. “Where’s my daughter?”
The babysitter did not answer at first. Instead, she focused on finishing the first movement of the sonata. When she had played the last note, she sat a moment and let the music fade into the silence of the basement. Then, she shut off the keyboard and turned her full attention to Melissa. “The basic answer to most of you questions is that I want to live. I don’t want to disappear,” the babysitter said. “The final question is a bit harder to answer. I guess you could say she’s safe, but she’s not the same.”
“What? What did you do? Where is she?”
The babysitter stood up and said, “You know what? I’ll go get the baby. I want her to witness this. After all, it wouldn’t have been possible without her.” She walked up to a control console and pressed a few buttons. “But, before I go…” A final button press, and the machine hummed to life. Melissa felt her body tingle as some kind of energy penetrated her skin. “I’m going to let the machine warm up. Then, we’ll have some fun.” She smiled and then headed up the stairs out of the basement.
When Melissa thought she was alone again, she struggled in vain against the tape once more. “Come on!” she cried in frustration.
“Melissa?” a groggy man’s voice said. “What happened?
“Mark?” she replied. “Where are you? Can you get me out of here?”
He grunted. “I think I’m tied up. Looks like I’m inside of…” He paused. “Oh no!” he said with noticeable worry in his voice now. “Are you in a glass chamber, too?”
“Yes!” she said. “What is this place? Is this our basement? This is your machine in our basement. Isn’t it?”
“Where is she?”
“She just went upstairs to get Katie.”
“Damn it,” he said. “She already turned it on. Didn’t she?”
“She turned something on. Yeah.”
“Damn it,” he said. “Listen, you need to let me do the talking. Don’t listen to anything she says. She’s gone crazy or something. I just need to convince her to let us out.”
“What is going on, Mark?”
“I’ll explain later. I promise. Just don’t listen to a word she says!”
The door to the basement opened, and they heard footsteps on the stairs.
The babysitter walked into their view, holding the baby in her arms and a bag of berries in her hand.
“Julie,” Mark said. “Shut down the machine and let us out of here.”
She finished walking down the stairs without responding.
“Julie?” he said.
She set the baby down on a chair and positioned the chair in front of the machine, giving the little girl a good view of them. The baby regarded them both with an emotionless eyes.
“Julie!” he yelled. “What are you doing? Answer me!”
She replied, “I’ll answer you if you call me by my actual name.” She set the berries down between the baby’s legs and took a strawberry from the bag. “It’s a bit late for secrets… Dad,” she said and took a bite from the strawberry. Her eyes shut as she savored the flavor of the fruit.
Melissa asked, “What is she talking about, Mark?”
Mark ignored his wife and said, “What do you think this is going to accomplish? Huh? Nothing good can come of any of this.”
The babysitter sat on a chair, crossed her arms, and said, “I checked the automatic transference program you created for the two of us. I read its code. I saw what it would have done to me.”
“You… What are you…?” Mark said. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Even Melissa could tell he was hiding something. He said, “I don’t know what you thought you saw, Julie, but I didn’t-”
The babysitter sighed and said, “Call me by my name.”
“Julie,” he said.
“No,” she said.
“That’s your name,” he said.
She groaned and stood up. “Fine,” she said. “I suppose I should start with the first transference.” She walked over to the control console. “What would you prefer losing first: your bladder control or your bowel control?”
“Stop!” he said as her hands reached for the controls.
She paused. “Say my name.”
He grunted and grumbled and finally gave in. “Katie,” he said.
Katie smiled. “Very good.” She looked over at Melissa. “Hi, Mom,” she said with a little wave.
Melissa said, “Is this some kind of joke? What are you two talking about?”
“I am your daughter,” Katie said. “Please don’t ground me for knocking you out and tying you up,” she added with a smirk.
“No,” Melissa said, shaking her head. “That’s impossible. It’s crazy. You’ve lost your mind.”
“Quite the opposite,” Katie said. “In fact, I’m trying to avoid losing my mind. That’s the reason why I’ve got the two of you tied up in there.”
“What?” Melissa asked. The woman was making no sense.
Katie walked up to Melissa’s chamber and crouched in front of it. “Do you know what this machine does?” she asked, patting it affectionately.
“It’s part of Mark’s memory research,” Melissa said. “I don’t know what it does exactly.”
“This machine can transfer memories and knowledge from one person to another,” Katie explained. “Amazing, right? Your husband decided to test it with his assistant a few days ago before you returned from your trip.”
“You were here with him and my daughter?”
Katie looked over at the baby on the chair and then back at Melissa. “Your daughter was part of the test. She was in your chamber, and the assistant was in the other, where your husband is now.”
Melissa considered what that meant. “So, Mark was transferring memories between you and my daughter. Is that what you mean?”
“Basically, yes,” Katie said. “But…”
“…Something went wrong,” Melissa guessed.
“Something spectacular and unexpected. I’ve got the recordings if you ever feel like watching it. Make some popcorn. It’s gripping drama.”
“Tell me what happened.”
“What do you think would be the result if you completely exchanged memories between two people?”
“You…” Melissa thought about it. “You would have swapped their minds into new bodies, I guess.”
“You’re…” Melissa said and swallowed as she feared to finish her sentence. “…My daughter?” she said at last.
Katie nodded again.
“And the baby…?”
“…Is your husband’s lab assistant, Julie.”
Melissa looked at the baby on the chair. The baby certainly appeared to be her daughter, but there was a look on the baby’s face that Melissa recognized as contempt in all of its adult complexities. That was not her daughter, she realized, and a shiver ran up her spine. “You mean for the past couple of days…?”
Katie nodded, once more with a faint smile on her lips.
“And, I’ve been…” She felt sick. “…Feeding her?”
“I doubt that Julie enjoyed it, if that’s any consolation.”
“Oh my God!” Melissa said. “Mark? Why would you keep this a secret? How could you hide this from me?”
Mark remained silent.
Katie said, “Were you aware that your husband was having an affair with his assistant?”
“Katie…” Mark pleaded weakly. “No.”
“He was sleeping with this body…” Katie said, putting a hand on her chest. “…In your own bed while you were away. Did you have any idea that this was happening?”
“I had no…” Melissa started to say but finished by admitting, “I didn’t want to believe it. I suspected… I don’t know. I thought something might be going on. I didn’t want to believe it, though.”
“I have some proof,” Katie said, holding up a cell phone. “Old text messages. A questionable photo or two. I know that’s hardly indisputable evidence, but I can do better than that. If you want, I can let you peek at his memories.”
“Don’t,” Mark said. “Katie, please don’t.”
The idea of someone messing with her memories terrified Melissa. “I believe you,” she said. “You don’t have to-”
“I don’t,” Katie said as she walked back to the control console. “But, I think I will anyway. I have some ideas for some fun experiments that I want to try with the two of you.”
“Please, don’t do this,” Melissa said.
“Don’t worry,” Katie said and smiled reassuringly. “By the time I’m done, you’ll be thanking me for what I’ve given you.”
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By the way, TGTrinity stopped updating his second account, TGTrinity-AP. Fortunately, he has decided to continue his age change comic on his main account.