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Mind Games or Scobie In WonderMirrorOzland : a Psi-Kicks story by: GF Willmetts

December 1, 2019 | By | Reply More

A road of gold. A city of verdigris. A nearby forest. Flanolla Scobie thought she was in Wonderland and looked around for the white rabbit. At least she thought it was that rabbit. It could even be a talking lion who could turn biped. Why did he never trip up on his tail? So much for the time machine getting her into the future.

She had pocketed the errant solid-state card from the time machine before leaving it behind as a flood of memories flooded her consciousness. Auto-suggestion they called it. Quite why they though she was a car confused her. She had been picked because of her unpredictability. They could bank on her not to think straight. Even if the time machine hadn’t worked, the order was plain. If Max was watching her and decided to make it work, then confuse him enough that he would want to reject her from this reality and back to the way it was.

Scobie, if you get pushed back into normal reality, find Sara Seeker. Yeah, yeah. As if this Max couldn’t do a number on her again. She wasn’t keen on mysteries but found they tended to come together when she wandered across them. No traffic here…yet. She looked down the road and then back to the verdigris city. All things lead to Oz. Australia. Looking for clues. Scobie studied the air. Were there flying monkeys? Was there a tornado here or in Kansas? What should she do if she met a scarecrow, robot or lion or even Toto? Would she have a long walk to the Emerald City? She slumped down by a tree by the road. She needed to think. She needed to sleep. Was she being manipulated? That would never do.

The other message reared up in her head. If you are inside Max’s head you need to take control. Assert your control. If you can. Different voices adding inflection. Multi-talk spaking. Try not to do your favourite film. You might be able to manipulate Max’s reality instead. Cause him to flip back to our reality. Our true reality. Create confusion so he needs to recreate his own base. Chaos Practice in action. You’re good at this, Flanolla. They never call her Flanolla. It’s always Scobie. Sometimes even Flamin’ Scobie cos they saw her as a nuisance causing trouble wherever she walked. Was it her problem cars rear-ended everytime she walked across the road? Someone who couldn’t control her power. Like…like Sheena Ramone. She can’t control who she boosts but they don’t even shake their heads. More afraid of scaring her. A little boost before you go from the booster rooster, they said, breaking their own rule with her. Sheena’s hand tingled. Had they shared abilities? Sheena could scoop and manipulate with her mind. We have no idea what it will do to your psionics but you need as much power as you can imagine. You can imagine a lot, Flanolla, just don’t leave too many crashed cars in your wake.

Scobie opened her eyes. No cars on this road. Not even a cart. Would a cart crash if she walked in front of it? She remembered where she was as Oz now but it had changed. Had she done that? Was a dream all it took? The yellow brick road was gone. Not even a city in the distance. Paths, bushes and gardens. Could she have imagined Beatrix Potter country or…Wonderland. She had been thinking of the white rabbit. A guide to this reality but would he find Max? Well, whoever she’s turned Max into if he’s entered this reality or was it his reality and she had entered it. Wasn’t that supposed to be steampunk or was that outside his head. Inside. Outside. Would it make much difference. She could have gone into Bertie Wells’ reality and be talking to morlocks or the eloi. Did they talk? It was getting hard to concentrate.

Stay concentrated. Don’t distract. The only time she stayed that way was when she was in a screwball comedy. Maybe she should play this for laughs? Not take it seriously. Why couldn’t she be like Mary Travers? At least she had a different personality from time to time. Maybe she was thinking too much. She wasn’t even sure if she could remember much about Lewis Carroll or his books. She remembered the Disney cartoon but this looked nothing like that. Too real. Every time she tried to imagine a Bugs Bunny cartoon, she always came back to the Streisand film. She liked the film but even trying to imagine Ryan O’Neal in ‘Driver’, never altered reality that that. She couldn’t drive a car for toffee or anything else come to that.

Keep focused was the voice in her head.

Were they in contact or them anticipating her lack of focus? Were they aware that she struggled to keep any control of her reality shift. Mary Travers always had it easy. She was just a nanny, perfect in every way. Not a dizzy ditz like herself. The Stable called her a Screwball but never told her why.

You’re smarter than you think entered her head. Be strong.

I don’t need smart to do this. I need to be myself, she thought back. No sense trying to spake back. They couldn’t hear her or however spaking worked. Coherent thought wasn’t like her. Maybe she was in a fantasy world? Was she thinking or sharing off Max when she should be getting him to think like her? That would be real chaos. In many respects, the steampunk reality obeyed his rule structure except when they played with it. Did they want her to think ‘When Sally Met…whoever it way’? I’m not even really sure I want what she had even with Max. Why couldn’t he imagine ‘The Stepford Wives’ or even ‘His Girl Friday’ or…

The girls had primed her with so many thoughts. They even thought of some Disney films with cute animals, forgetting she adored Bugs Bunny. Who couldn’t respect the rabbit? Well, maybe Harvey but he came first and didn’t say anything loud or even see him move of the down. God bless you, Mary Chase and Elwood P. Dowd. I’d love your card even an invitation to dinner with some of your friends. Those who came back for a meal anyway.

There were arguments as to what she could or should do. It was like the early days of the Stable. How could the norms order Psionics who were more than capable of making the right decisions?

Focus, another memory flicked in her head. Wade through your memories. He’ll probably want to distract you. Twist reality. Grab him by the balls.

Scobie opened her eyes again, not realising she had closed them again. Sitting on a giant mushroom opposite her was a large pointed-eared caterpillar with a big grin on its face. Did Lewis Carroll mix his characters up?

‘You don’t appear to be Absolem the caterpillar or the Cheshire Cat…can I call you Steve and ask where did you put your hookah?’

‘My what?’

‘Get with it, Steve. You’re supposed to be smoking from a hookah. You’re half-caterpillar. Everyone knows Cheshire Cats don’t smoke.’

‘What’s a hookah?’

‘It’s an old-fashioned Persian vaporiser. Very popular for replacing cigarettes and pipes. Still not much good for the lungs but it depends on what you put in the bottle.’

‘But I don’t smoke.’

‘Are you sure we’re both where we’re supposed to be? I came here and it looked like Oz…isn’t that in Australia? The next I’m in Wonderland or the Looking Glass and you aren’t the rabbit with a time problem.’

The Cheshire Caterpillar looked intently at the Psionic.

‘Just who are you again?’

‘Sara hasn’t talked to you about me?’

‘Should she have?’

‘She has various names for me. She thinks I’m a bit of a nuisance but I don’t tell her I knew what she was thinking.’

‘You’re Scobie. Flamin’ Scobie.’

The Psionic held out her hand but it was too large for the caterpillar but handed it a carrot and took a bite out of a second one herself.

‘And you’re Max. What’s up, doc?’

‘That’s better than calling me Steve.’

‘What’s wrong with Steve?’

‘It’s not my name.’

‘I could call you Howard.’

‘Who’s Howard?’

‘Sheesh, doc, you have as much trouble with names as you do with places?’

‘I do?’

‘Yeah, doc. I mean, if we’re not here right now where are you right now? Come to that, am I really here?’

‘Why?’

‘Y’know, we can’t hold a surprise party unless we come to surprise you. But we don’t know where to find you.’

In her head, Scobie heard a voice reminding her to keep things matter-of-fact. Don’t rush him.

‘Sara told me she never wanted me to be part of the Stable and never introduced me to any of you. She told me stories of your adventures. Don’t you cause traffic jam?’

‘Could be marmalade. That changed, doc. You changed reality and we lost Sara.’

The caterpillar’s face dropped. ‘What happened? Where’s Sara?’

‘You don’t know? That’s why we’ve been looking for you, doc. Sara and the voodoo woman were trying to rescue you from the Pattern and things changed. Voodoo woman had no memory of what happened. Sara is missing. The world lost a couple centuries and we’re now trapped in a Victorian steampunk world and we need you to put things back together. We thought it had to be you but y’know, doc, Sara never thought you would hurt anyone unless you were got at. Did Sara ever tell you about the Pattern?’

‘Pattern?’

‘You got it bad, doc. They’re shape-shifters. They pose as other people. They’ve been trying to masquerade as us in the confusion even where we are now. Who did you think they were?’

‘I wish I had that hookah you were telling me about. I swear you’re turning into a rabbit.’

Scobie looked down at two large rabbit feet before admiring two hands, counting her digits and finding she was down to three fingers and a thumb and feeling her head for two long ears.

‘Babs Bunny. Must be the carrots. You’re not imaging things, doc. Well, I might be in your head or you in mine. Y’know, doc, I thought this was a physical reality until now. You weren’t into classic Doctor Who, were you?’

The caterpillar nodded.

‘Not tri-logic games?’

‘I didn’t realise you were a fan?’

‘I thought this didn’t look like Albuquerque. Listen, doc. I’m just a delivery rabbit. Here to pass the message. My Stable-mates will rescue you but need to know where you are. Signal or something. Without Sara, it’s harder to find you. Gotta scram, doc, or I’ll never need shoes again.’

Scobie turned and ran for the time machine and found herself running in slow motion, looking around for any mountains falling from the sky. The world was following apart or changing too rapidly. All it needed now was her to be transferred to Gallifrey and be on trial. Being a biped rabbit would not help. As she approached the Victorian time machine it transformed into a TARDIS. Nearly too late.

What she didn’t see behind her was the Cheshire Caterpillar turning into Pinocchio with a long nose.

As the door slammed behind her, the familiar noises of it told her the TARDIS was dematerialising automatically. She always wondered how the Doctor could do it so quickly once he got inside. In some ways, Scobie was grateful it wasn’t a Delorean. She’d never get her feet on the pedals.

dne

 

© GF Willmetts 2019

© Psi-Kicks, Flanolla Flamin’ Scobie

All rights reserved

As before borrowing

Category: Scifi, Short fiction

About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 15 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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