The Christine Plague

Part VI

Mike was once again driving through the streets. He'd occasionally pass stores with TV sets in the front, all of which would be showing his face, and repeating his message: "Rebecca, please come to the hospital." They reminded him too much of the fact that his girlfriend was going to rip his throat out when he got home. He was trying to follow the trail of generalized weirdness, but it was hard to tell, with the cars and light bulbs roaming the city.

Snow Tiger had gotten tired of combatting cars. It didn't do any good to rip one apart, there were two others waiting. She went by the hospital and was told about the woman everyone was hunting. She took to the streets, and began following the TV sets. They couldn't move, so the dream elemental must have passed them at some point.

She moved fast, nearly as fast as a car... the trail seemed to be wandering back and forth through dwellings, usually with people left entrapped by their TV sets. She caught up to the dream elemental after a couple of miles of travel... how many other dark-haired attractive women wearing nothing but a hospital smock could there be breaking into houses?

Snow Tiger acted fast, leaping forward and grabbing the dream elemental Rebecca. Rebecca looked dazed, and struggled slightly, looking at Snow Tiger. Snow Tiger lifted her from the ground in an effort to get leverage, and started leaping back towards the hospital. She felt a sudden shock of pain, and decided that maybe it was a bad idea to panic this person. She dropped Rebecca, and took off to find someone and tell them to get Mike Shermerhorn here.

A few minutes later, Mike and his ambulance pulled up to Rebecca wandering in the street. "Rebecca, get in the back of the ambulance and don't change anything." She quietly complied, and Mike took off with sirens wailing to get her back to the hospital before something went wrong.

He pulled up to the hospital, and told her to follow him. She took up a position slightly behind him to the left, and smoothly followed him as he barged through the hospital to the room where Carl was waiting. "Right, I found her. Turn off the broadcasts before my girlfriend gets any angrier at me."

Rebecca said, "Okay."

Mike said, "No! Cancel that! Don't do anything except follow me around unless I snap my fingers before I talk to you."

Rebecca said, "Okay."

Mike said, "Now what? I've got her here."

Carl said, "Can she undo the animation of the objects she's changed?"

Mike turned to Rebecca. "Can you undo your changes?"

Rebecca said, "..."

Mike snapped his fingers. "Can you undo the changes you've made in objects?"

Rebecca said, "Yes."

Mike said, "Carl, what do you think?"

Carl said, "Very carefully, get her to undo it."

Mike said, "Rebecca, I want you to undo all the changes you've made to objects."

Rebecca said nothing.

Mike snapped his fingers. "Rebecca, I want you to undo all the changes you've made to objects."

Rebecca looked slightly more distant for a moment. "Okay."

Mike asked, "Carl? Is anything happening in the city?"

Carl said, "Hang on, let's radio out..." and busied himself with the radio.

"... okay, cars are dying all over the city, and light bulbs are falling from the sky. I think it's fixed."

Mike said, "Now what do we do with her? I can't just have her following me around doing whatever I say. I'm already in enough trouble with my girlfriend..."

Off to one side, Fay was cheerfully phoning details to Mike's Rebecca.

Carl proceeded to do a couple of magic tricks for showmanship, while he examined Rebecca's soul. There wasn't one, but she was definitely occupied by something filling that requirement. He didn't think he can transfer one in since she was, uh, occupied, and he didn't think he could transfer the dream force out. Some argument later about the practicality of begging, borrowing or stealing a soul for her, it came down to the simple practical issue of whether they can get someone who acts normal back.

Carl said, "What if we tell her to wake up?"

Mike said, "It can't hurt, right?"

Carl said, "Go ahead. The worst that can happen is that if her dream is our reality that we'll all vanish. Just joking."

Mike snapped his fingers. "Rebecca, wake up."

Rebecca seemed to alter physically, becoming less attractive and alive, but with eyes focused on the world and a sudden stagger.

"What? Where... hospital? Have I been in an accident? Who are you? What's happened?"

Carl said, "You're safe now. You've been ... involved in a paranormal accident. Do you remember anything of what happened?"

Rebecca said, "I... what do you mean?"

Carl asked, "What's the last thing you remember before awakening in the hospital?"

Rebecca said, "I was at a meeting of the Zodiac society... and then I guess I fell asleep or something... some dreams... something about candles and then cars... no, the last thing was at the Zodiac society talking to Alan."

Carefully, to avoid alarming her too much, they told her about what happened in general terms. Carl checked her again, and discovered she still "read" much the same... she's just being dreamt.

Rebecca said, "You're trying to tell me I'm just kind of hallucinating that I'm myself? But I'm right here!"

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Last modified: September 26, 1996

The Other Gretchen <gretchen@remarque.berkeley.edu>