For a long time I had been feeling someone trying to break into my mind until finally I felt that person inside the top part of my mind, the place where Sklave lived, where her memories were stored, while I was in the deep part of my mind. After a while I got too curious and decided to go see who that person was.
Something was going on outside my body, as soon as I got to Sklave’s part of my mind, I saw the memories stirring, I saw the mental representation of the invader, walking through the dark and gloomy hallways of the labyrinth that was Sklave’s mental landscape. The man stopped outside a door, it was open and he was watching the images inside. As it was my mind, I had complete control, so I used that control to push the man inside of the memory, where he wouldn’t just watch it, he would live it.
The mental image disappeared, writhing in pain. I walked to see the memory he had experienced, it was a bad one, it was one of the many times I had ended up in the infirmary, one of the healers was taking his payment after helping mend my broken body, by abusing it again. I was too full of drugs to try and fight back, so I could do nothing while he used me as his plaything. Despite the horrible memory I couldn’t help but smile, the invader had been forced to feel my helplessness, despair and humiliation, and I was sure it would cause him many sleepless nights, unless he could isolate the memories that had been implanted in his mind.
I returned to my refuge, to the deep end of my mind. It was a labyrinth as well, but it was different, it was under an open sky, instead of underground, the walls were made with plants, not cold rock, instead of dark rooms with painful memories, I had gardens full of crystals. From my kingdom I had access to all of Sklave’s memories, the old ones that I rather not remember and the new ones, that made me curious and fearful in equal measure. I tried to look for memories where Sklave was alone with Ethan, but it was hard to find them, and that made those memories, my most precious ones, since those were the only connection I had with my son. There were more memories of him, but Kimball or other people were in them, and I didn’t want to mess with those, I didn’t want to know what they were doing with me.
While I revised my plans and strategies, planning for the day I got my life back, I felt the person return. It was hard to measure time inside my mind, so I wasn’t sure if he had come back right after getting out, or if it had been days since his visit. Either way I was surprised he had come back, and that made me curious. I went back to the other part of my mind and I saw his mental image walking down the halls, my mind was quiet and I realized that it most likely meant that Sklave was asleep. Maybe he thought that as long as she was sleeping, he was safe from the memories, but he was wrong, because while that part of my mind was sleep, I had total control.
With only a thought all the door in the hallway opened, each showing a different nightmare, a different memory of pain and suffering. The invader jumped, frightened by the doors, trying both to find out what was going on and to stay as far away as possible from the memories. He was afraid, he had learned his lesson and didn’t want to experience another memory.
“Which one do you want to experience?” I asked, walking out of the shadows so he could see me.
“Kaiserin? I’ve been looking for you. Kimball said that your assertive personality was hiding here somewhere.”
“So Kimball sent you, I don’t know why he sent you here, but whatever he wants, he won’t get it. I already gave him too much, he doesn’t deserve anything else.”
“My name is Edward, I’m a psychologist expert in dissociative identity disorders, and Kimball thinks that you, Kaiserin, are the main personality and that Skalve, the person in control of your body, is the secondary personality. In my experience is the other way around, normally the one with the most assertive personality is the secondary, is a personality created to protect the weaker main personality.”
“I have no idea what you are talking about Edward. I was Kaiserin for 17 years, until my father and brother decided to mess with my mind and hide all the memories of who I was, that created Sklave. She is the person I was forced to become, but when I recovered my memories we became one. I know which memories I created during that time, and I able to separate them and create her again. But make no mistake,” I said as all the doors closed and the floor under Edward’s mental representation opened and caught him, “I am the one in control, I can do whatever I want and take control the moment I want.”
“And why don’t you?”
“Because I made a promise. I promised that if my son lived, then I would obey Kimball, but I know myself, I know that I would go crazy if I had to obey him all the time.” I wasn’t sure why I was talking to him so freely about it, maybe after being alone inside my mind for so long I needed to share my thoughts. And after all, there was no danger in sharing a little, it wasn’t like he or Kimball could use that against me, Kimball had already won, that was the reason I was in that situation to start with. I decided I needed go get out of the darkest part of my mind, so I started my way back, dragging the invader with me. “I know how men like Kimball work. They need absolute control, they need to break and change people until they fit the molds they want.”
“I know Kimball, we’ve been friends for years, and he isn’t like that.”
“But he is, he is the worst of them all. I knew a man that used fear to control me, he punished me and abused me until he broke me and made me into the person he wanted me to be; Sklave. After him I found myself in the hands of a man that used his position and power to control me, but he used punishments and rewards to mold me, I ended up loving and hating him in equal measure. Kimball is even worse, he won my heart with love and kindness and I didn’t even see he was changing me, I really thought he liked me just as I was, but he was already changing me without noticing, if he hadn’t shown me his real face, I wouldn’t have noticed how much I was under his control.”
“I’m sure that a misunderstanding, I think your past experiences are affecting the way you see your relationship with him. Kimball is worried about you, he wants you back, the real you. He doesn’t want the person you are on the outside, he wants the real you.”
“It’s not that, it’s just that I took all the fun out by giving him a broken person, instead of letting him do the breaking. The thing is, I was stupid enough to give him the weapons he needed to defeat me. Kimball knows my fears, my traumas, my weaknesses, and he has proven that he will use them against me if he wants to. If I stay with him, I will lose myself, I will be destroyed again. This way he can’t touch the real me. He can only break what’s already broken.”
“That’s not what Kimball said, he said that he made a mistake with you and that he wanted to fix it.”
“He told you what he thought you needed to hear.” We arrived at my part of my mind and I went to sit on a bench in one of the gardens, I moved my guest until he was standing in front of me. “He told you enough to get you to do his dirty work. I don’t blame you for falling for it, I fell too, he can be really convincing, but that doesn’t change things, I will remain here for the rest of my sentence.”
“You talk like this is a prison. What crime are you paying for?”
“The crime of forgetting hard earned lessons, the crime of trusting the wrong person and giving myself to someone who didn’t deserve me.”
“If you really think that Kimball is guilty of taking advantage of you, shouldn’t be him paying for the crime? Why are you the one refusing to live? You are only hurting yourself, you are most affected by this. Free your mind, go back to be yourself, and make those who you think have wronged you pay.”
“It’s not that I think they have wronged me, they did.” I didn’t know what lies Kimball had told him, but he thought I was overreacting, that my attitude and my plans were foolish, but he didn’t know how I felt. I already knew what it felt to bend your will under someone else’s, to lose yourself, in order to satisfy someone else, and not being able to do anything about it.
But I had to accept that the invader had a point, I was a coward, I was hiding from Kimball in the only place I could think of that he wouldn’t be able to hurt me, but I had promised to my myself that I wouldn’t be anyone’s toy again, and I had to find a way to keep that promise. I didn’t care what Kimball was doing with my body, it was just flesh and bones, the important part was inside of me, in my mind, and as long as that part was untouched, I would be fine. And that’s why I couldn’t let anyone invade my mind again, I needed to keep my peace.
“What do you expect to accomplish by staying here?”
“All I want is a little bit of peace and quiet, some time to myself so I can think and reflect. I hope you tell Kimball not to try something like this again, I won’t be as understanding to the next person who tries to invade my mind.”
“Kimball only wants you to know that is safe to go outside, to be the person you used to be, he is waiting for you. I don’t know why you choose to hide here, I know why people usually hide inside their brains, but I don’t know your particular reasons. I usually get people out by using drugs and therapy, but Kimball said you don’t like taking drugs that could affect your brain. I understand that, as a telepath I know that it’s best to keep a clear mind, so it would be better to work together. Once we can solve your problems we can take you back outside.”
“For a doctor you are not very good at listening, are you? You have to understand that I am staying here, you should be looking for what’s best for your patient, not what’s best for Kimball. What he needs or what he wants it’s not relevant, What I need it’s what’s important. I don’t want anyone else trying to get into my mind, if someone else tries to break in, they will regret it, I won’t hold back.”
“I don’t think we are going anywhere. Why don’t we start again?” His smile was meant to be reassuring, but it only made me mad.
I created a cage around him, using memory crystals, like I had done with my father years before. He had no way out, it was unbreakable, he would have to get completely out of my mind to get out. As long as he stayed he would be attacked by the memories around him, all memories related to Kimball and his betrayal. As I got back to my own thoughts, Edward was experiencing the same emotions I experienced during my last weeks before escaping Kimball. He stayed longer that I thought he would, but eventually he left my mind.
I hoped he wouldn’t visit again, I hoped no one would try to visit again. It was my time, I needed to reflect and didn’t want anyone cutting into my time. I turned my attention to Sklave’s memories of Ethan, letting the memories of my son keep me company and fill me with peace and love. My little baby is all I needed.