They had died when helping thwart a plan to undermine the government of the United States. Now Ben and Susan have returned from the dead and they must bring that government down. Standing in their way are Michael Black and Michelle Gray, the bodies of whom they now occupy.
-(The Story begins HERE)-
Perhaps to avoid both eye contact and idle chatter, Susan busied herself with a magazine lying on the coffee table. As she flipped through the pages it was obvious to me that she was troubled by what had, or had not, occurred between us.
I wondered what thoughts might be running through her mind. Then, of course, there was the question of just whose mind might be generating those thoughts. Was she even capable of independent thought? I shook my head to dispel that crazy notion. It was appalling to think that she might be a mindless automaton under their control.
Determined to get some answers I sat down in the chair opposite her. "Susan, can we talk? I need to ask you something."
She looked up from the magazine and nodded. Lowering her eyes again she replied, "Of course. I'll try to answer as best I can."
"Good. That's all I expect. But," I paused to clear my throat, "I need you to look me in the eyes."
It was with noticeable effort that she complied. "I'm sorry, but it's so hard for me to look at you. I don't know what came over me in that room. I'm so ashamed ..."
"Susan, you weren't yourself. I wasn't myself. Someone was in our heads," I said trying to allay her shame. "Nothing happened. Let's put it behind us."
She let the magazine fall onto the table and forced a smile, "Alright. If you can, I'll try to let it go too." She sat back in the sofa and said, "You said you wanted to ask me a question...?"
"Ah, yes," I said stunned by the sudden change in her demeanor. "On the ride here, you claimed you didn't know who you are. Why then are you answering to the name of Susan Parsons?"
"That's who they said I was. They showed me a driver's license with that name on it. It had my picture on it." She put her hands together and rested her chin on her thumbs, "But I have no memory of being her."
I leaned forward with peaked interest. "You said they. Who are they?"
She shook her head in obvious frustration, "I ... I don't know. Doctors, maybe? They were wearing white coats. They said I was suffering from trauma induced amnesia."
Induced indeed, I thought to myself. "Do you remember anything prior to that, before you were with these ... doctors?"
She lowered her eyes and stared at her hands resting palms-up in her lap. "No. Nothing."
I frowned, disappointed, but it was the answer I was expecting. I don't know how I would have reacted had she said her previous memory was of her waking up in a box! I decided to press on with the questions, but to avoid the delicate issues of death and resurrection.
"Was Ben there with you and the ... doctors?" I asked realizing that he had not been mentioned since our trip from New Hampshire.
"Yes, but we were in separate rooms. They said he was also suffering from amnesia," she responded. "They said we were in the same terrible accident."
"I see," I noted, "but they didn't reveal the nature of the accident or when it occurred, did they?" I didn't give her a chance to reply but answered it myself with a logical guess, "I can only assume they feared that the details of the event might have set back your recovery."
"I suppose so," she uttered. "They said it was more important that they restore our memories before the accident and only then would we be able to handle what caused us to lose our memories."
"Restore your memories?" I queried with raised eyebrows.
She smiled and nodded, "Yes. They put these strange looking headphones on our heads when we were resting. It was a strange feeling, but Ben and I could talk to each without moving our lips. It was while we were wearing them that we remembered we were lovers."
The neuro-headpieces, I thought. They weren't restoring memories, they were planting memories into their minds. I struggled to maintain a straight face while also patronizing her. "Interesting. These headphones ... they actually worked? What other memories did the devices awaken within you?"
She appeared to be reflecting as she spoke, "We remembered a quaint bar that we used to frequent. It was called The New Place. They even took us there. They said that anything or any place familiar to us would help our memories to return."
"That was two days ago, wasn't it?" Her head moved in assent even as I launched into another question. "Why did you and Ben go to the Sunny Dale Nursing Home this morning?"
Her smile broadened and a warm glow came to her face. "It was so wonderful to see my mother and to take her out of that awful place! She was sitting up in the bed waiting for us."
I strained to swallow the lump forming in my throat. In my mind I rehearsed my next question before uttering it aloud. "I'm so glad your mother is okay. Where is she now?"
"Someplace where she'll get the best of care. I'm going to visit her tomorrow." She tilted her head and asked, "Would you like to come along?"
I ran my fingers under the neck of my shirt. The proverbial leash was being tightened. I wasn't obtaining the answers to my questions, they were being spoon-fed to me.
Michelle and I had already come to the conclusion that we would ultimately have to go out west somewhere in the vicinity of Las Vegas. What we'd failed to realize was that all along we were being drawn there.
It appeared that Michelle's recurring dream had been a harbinger of our fate. Was my ruse of booking a flight to Las Vegas my own conscious idea? In any event, we had played into their hands.