After Mind

After Mind by Spencer Wolf Read Free Book Online

Book: After Mind by Spencer Wolf Read Free Book Online
Authors: Spencer Wolf
Tags: After, Mind
blue, rectangular plastic basket. He handed it to Packet and nodded. Packet accepted it and collected the scattered pieces of what now looked like an old broken toy.
    “I’m sorry,” Daniel said as he rested his head on Meg’s closed door. Then he turned and faced Dr. Luegner.
    “You’ve done a wonderful job here,” Luegner said. “You’ve earned yourself, and him, a short while to prove it. And if I know Meg, as you know that I do, then I know she’ll be perfectly fine, too.”
    Packet dropped the last section of his toy back into the basket.
    “We’ll make peace with her, and your boy,” Luegner said as he tugged on the cuffs of his sleeves. He showed Packet nothing was in them. “You ready?” he asked as he set the basket on the nightstand, and then he sifted through the pieces of the sphere. “We’ll make peace with control.” He reassembled two pieces, then found a third. “We’ll make peace with freedom.” The third piece snapped in and with each successive find and fit, he spoke again, “Hope. Sacrifice. No regrets.” He gave the sphere a twist and its core lit up with a bright blue radiance that rose through its pulp-green cones to its white textured skin and emerged as a beautiful aqua. “Control your world and be free in your mind to own it. That’s peace.”
    The sphere had become a gentle nightlight in its basket. The absence of light through the burr holes speckled the soft blue tint that shone on the wall of the room. Luegner slid the basket to the back of the nightstand. He rubbed his hands together and grinned over his shoulder. He was done with his trick, pointed at the overhead light, and snapped his fingers at Daniel. Daniel relented and dimmed the room lights from a dial by the door.
    The wall of the headboard was bathed in a luminous blue. “Are you a magician?” Packet asked.
    Luegner settled his gaze on Daniel. “If he passes your Blackwell Inversion Test, I’ll see what I can do to keep him funded and turned on. Fair enough?”
    Daniel looked sickened in the path of the sphere’s blue light. “He’ll pass. I know he will.” He approached the bed and pulled up the doctor’s revolving stool from between the curtain and the bed frame. He straightened up the blanket so it would be ready and warm for the night.
    “You won’t leave me?” Packet asked to the strength and closeness of his dad’s face and tucking hands.
    “No, I won’t ever leave you. I’ll always be sitting right here at your side. Here in the very next room.” He patted the blanket up around Packet’s shoulders and looked at Luegner. “He’ll pass. Because I’ll teach him everything I know. Everything.”
    “Will I die when I go to sleep?” Packet asked as his head sank to his pillow and Luegner looked over.
    “What? No,” Daniel said. “Whatever gave you that idea?”
    “Mommy did.”
    “You’re not going to die.” Daniel kissed Packet a long goodnight on the forehead. “Go to sleep now. Only for the night. Dream about when you were you. You’ll wake up in the morning and I’ll be right here when you do.”
    “You know, Daniel, sometimes I wish I had your style,” Luegner said.
    Daniel heard, but didn’t turn. Instead, he snapped upright and hurried across the room to the supply cart. He knelt down and opened its lower drawer. He rummaged through, filling the room with loud bangs and clattering sounds.
    “Do you want to play computer?” Packet asked. He lifted up on his elbows to see.
    “Not tonight. It’s late,” Daniel said. “Here. Take this.” He sprang up and returned to the bed with a simple old polished bronze cowbell. It had a loud, jarring clank. “Ring this bell if you need me.”
    “Will you have your cochlear implant in, too?”
    “To you it’s a cowbell. To me, it’s the 1s and 0s of an instant message.”
    Luegner leaned in to watch again.
    “Will you go find Meg?” Packet asked. “She looked really upset.”
    “I will. Don’t worry.”

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