The Operant Unconscious Project

Chapter 03 - Questions

Dr. Taylor took the time, personally, to take Jacob back to the other children.

"Dr. Taylor, what did Dr. Guise mean when he said you were right about me?" asked Jacob.

"Ask Jesse what I told him about you and then you'll know," replied Dr. Taylor.

"Why won't you tell me?" said Jacob.

"Because I don't want to. Why do I have to have a reason for everything I say about you, Jake? I'm allowed to have my own opinion about you, am I not?"

They walked on in silence for a while until Jacob asked another question.

"What happened to the other two boys, Julian and Kevin?"

Dr. Taylor sighed. “Julian seems on edge and a bit jumpy but he's doing okay. But we can't get Kevin to wake up, he's either brain dead or in a coma but I haven't had the time to look him over."

They arrived at the door and Dr. Taylor unlocked it.

"I'll be back to get you in two hours to take you to your new room," said Dr. Taylor.

Jacob went inside and heard the door close behind him. Jacob looked around the room and saw that the other boys had split up into two teams and were playing what they liked to call “Arithmefind ," where you see who can answer the most amounts of algebraic equations correctly. An adult named Domach was supervising. Jacob, however, was not interested in that. He was looking for Julian. Jacob found Julian sitting on top of his box rocking back and forth, biting his nails.

Jacob went over and got up on top of his box. He looked over at Julian and sighed. Suddenly Julian grabbed Jacob and hugged him tightly. Jacob put his arm around his friend to comfort him.

"I'm so glad you're all right," whispered Julian, “I was afraid you would end up like Kevin."

"I'm all right, Julian. But I have to tell you something," said Jacob.

Jacob proceeded to tell Julian what happened and what Jesse and Jesse's mind was like.

"Julian, in less than two hours they are moving me to another section of the building," said Jacob.

Julian gripped Jacob tighter and whispered, “I don't want you to go. Who will smile at me? Who will comfort me?"

"I'm sorry Julian but I don't have a say in the matter," said Jacob softly.

"Jacob, I think my cheese is slipping off my cracker," whispered Julian as he began to cry, “I think I'm losing my mind."

"Why do you say that?" asked Jacob.

"I'm hearing voices and I'm seeing things I know aren't there. I feel like I'm being pounded in the head. I can hardly tell what is real and what isn't. I feel like he's still in my mind, seeing what I'm seeing, knowing what I know."

"Jesse says he's sorry for whatever pain that he's caused you," said Jacob. “Remember, he did express that he didn't want to do it."

"I know," whispered Julian.

Within a few minutes, Julian's grip relaxed and he lay sleeping in Jacob's arms. Jacob held his sleeping friend for the remainder of his two hours, even falling asleep himself.

Jacob soon found himself being shaken awake by Domach.

"Jacob, they have come to get you," he said.

"Thank you Domach. Can I have a few minutes?" said Jacob.

Domach nodded his head yes and then walked over to Dr. Taylor and his escort who were waiting by the door.

Jacob woke Julian and said, “I have to go now, Julian."

Julian hugged Jacob tightly again. “I love you, Jacob. You're like a brother to me. Please don't forget me."

"I love you too Julian and I could never forget you," replied Jacob as he hugged back.

Jacob kissed Julian's forehead and then released him. Jacob smiled at Julian one last time and then went over to one of the other boys.

"Kollin, could I talk to you for a moment?" asked Jacob.

The boy nodded and then separated himself from his group to join Jacob.

"What's up Jake?" said Kollin.

"They are moving me to another area of the building and I don't think I'll be back," said Jacob.

"What? Why?" asked Kollin.

" A kid named Jesse asked the scientists if I could stay with him and they said yes. But never mind that, I don't have time to explain. More importantly, Julian can't take my place. He's too messed up and can't think straight. I want you to take his place. Don't worry, he won't object. Just promise me you'll take care of him for me."

"You have my word Ari, I'll make sure he's looked after," said Kollin.

"Good, I have to go now. Take care," said Jacob as he turned to head for Dr. Taylor and his escort.

They went out the door and started down a corridor Jacob had never been down before. After a minute or so Jacob decided to find out more about Jesse.

"Dr. Taylor," said Jacob, “why does Jesse look so tired?"

"That's a good question to start with," said Dr. Taylor. “At least it's a question I can answer. Jesse doesn't sleep well when he is left by himself. He likes falling asleep concentrating on someone else's thoughts rather than his own. I think he's afraid of his own mind."

"So why not have someone in the room with him?" asked Jacob.

"Because no one likes him enough to be comfortable sharing thoughts with him," replied Dr. Taylor.

"You should find someone who doesn't mind that sharing of thoughts then," said Jacob.

"I was hoping that ‘someone' would be you," said Dr. Taylor.

"I don't even know him," protested Jacob.

" That doesn't matter, you're the only person he has ever expressed a liking for," said Dr. Taylor. “And you're the only person who has ever been in his mind as well."

"What is he?" asked Jacob.

"Now that's not a fair question. He's just like you," said Dr. Taylor.

"Okay, then what am I? I know I'm not normal, Dr. Taylor. And I know you know I can look into other people's minds," said Jacob.

Dr. Taylor chuckled. “Well, you are human. But you're telepathic and in Jesse's case also telekinetic."

"If I'm like him does that mean I'm telekinetic?" asked Jacob.

"I don't know, Jesse can tell you if you open up to him," replied Dr. Taylor.

"Then tell me about him, what is he like?" said Jacob.

" Well, he's as energetic as any other eight-year-old when he's gotten some sleep. He doesn't care much for adults, especially Dr. Guise, and today was the first time he has ever met other children. He made me tell him about all fifteen of you, but he was especially curious about you."

"Why?" asked Jacob.

"Because you're most like him in abilities. I must warn you though; the one thing that really makes him different from you is his senses. He can sense certain things about people just from their presence. He also feels the pain of others around him. I think his mind then stores that pain somewhere. He goes into convulsions when our mind invasion experiments kill someone whose mind he is inside. This morning Dr. Guise was afraid that because you were in Jesse's mind if you died then he might try to die with you."

"Is he that unhappy?" asked Jacob.

"He has no friends, Jacob. We do give him whatever he asks for and he never asks for much, but we have given him no one to talk to. No one to relate to and everyone around him is afraid of him," said Dr. Taylor.

"Can he feel fear?" said Jacob.

"As if it were pain," replied Dr. Taylor.

Just then they arrived at a door labeled “Jesse." Dr. Taylor punched in a number on the door's keypad and the door popped open. Jacob and Dr. Taylor went through the door and into a large room. But Jacob didn't take time to look around, he felt as he entered that something was wrong. He quickly looked around for Jesse. Jesse was lying on his bed thrashing about.

"What's wrong with him?" asked Jacob as he ran over to Jesse's bed.

Dr. Taylor followed behind Jacob and then pulled a medical kit out from under the bed.

"He's having a seizure, something must have happened to Kevin," said Dr. Taylor as he filled a needle with some pink liquid.

"What do you mean?"

"He is connected, in some way to every person whose mind he enters. If they die later then he feels it," said Dr. Taylor as he injected the stuff into Jesse's arm. “At least that's my theory."

After a few minutes, Jesse began to calm down until he lay motionless, breathing softly.

"I'm going to go find out what happened to Kevin, you stay here," said Dr. Taylor. “If he goes into convulsions again then try anything you can think of to stop them, you're a resourceful little telepath. I can't give him any more of this medication, it could stop his heart."

Dr. Taylor got up off the floor and left the room. As soon as the door clicked shut Jacob turned back to Jesse and watched him. He looked so peaceful resting there but Jacob knew Jesse wasn't asleep.

"Jesse, are you okay?" asked Jacob softly.

Suddenly Jesse reached out and grabbed Jacob's arm. “It hurts," said a voice in Jacob's head, “Please make it go away…"

"I don't know how," whispered Jacob.

Tears started to roll down Jesse's face and onto his pillow. “Just stay here…" said the voice.

Then Jesse let go of Jacob's arm and completely relaxed, as if what he was feeling passed. He opened his eyes and looked up at Jacob. His eyes gave Jacob a cold feeling, making Jacob feel that Jesse was somehow detached from the world and didn't care. Jacob shuddered.

"You don't like me," said Jesse rather hoarsely. “You're just like all the others."

Jesse pulled away a little as if afraid. Jacob, however, was not going to play this “you don't like me" game. So he stood up and headed for the door.

"Where are you going?" said Jesse.

" You've took me away from my friends, had me dragged all over creation, I'm tired and now you think I'm just as bad as the adults. Don't waste my time, I'd much rather be helping Julian recover than to hear you insult me," replied Jacob coldly.

"I didn't mean what I actually said. I…I have trouble saying what I actually mean sometime…" started Jesse.

"Don't try to make up an excuse," interjected Jacob as he turned back around. “The truth is you scare me and I can't help it if you scare me. I look into your eyes and I see nothing and it makes me feel cold. I didn't mean to show it, but you can't stop me from thinking it."

"I'm sorry, please don't leave me. I need someone, I need you," said Jesse as he tried to get up.

Jesse collapsed back on his bed and then tried again. Jacob watched him as he tried to sit up and failed.

"Damn it!" said Jacob as he went to help Jesse. “I guess that's why people like me, I'm a sucker."

Jesse frowned as Jacob helped him sit against that wall. “No, you're not. You're just compassionate and forgiving."

"That's what Zachary says about me," said Jacob as he sat himself down on the floor.

"Who is Zachary? I don't remember exactly who he is," said Jesse.

"He's the youngest of the fifteen of us, very quiet kid," answered Jacob.

"You can sit on my bed if you want," offered Jesse.

"I can't sit up there, it's too soft," said Jacob.

Jesse looked across the room at something behind Jacob. Jacob turned to see a metal box, like his own, resting in the corner.

"I don't understand why they make you sleep in those boxes," said Jesse.

" I don't know, I suppose they have their reasons. It's not like we have a say in where we sleep. Once they lock us in our boxes for the night we can't get out."

"You can share my bed if you want," said Jesse.

"That's what I'm trying to say, I don't think I would be comfortable," replied Jacob. “It's too soft. I've never slept on something that soft."

"Alright, then I'll come down there," said Jesse as he tried to pull himself off the bed. “My legs don't want to work. How much of that injection did he give me?"

"About half," said Jacob as he helped Jesse off the bed and onto the floor where Jacob was sitting.

"Jeez, no wonder my legs won't work," said Jesse as he got settled in front of his bed.

Jacob sat cross-legged opposite Jesse for a moment until Jesse motioned for Jacob to sit next to him. So Jacob slid over next to Jesse and got comfortable.

Just then Dr. Taylor came back into the room. He walked over to Jesse and Jacob and then joined them on the floor.

"They gave Kevin an injection that ultimately killed him," said Dr. Taylor as he got comfortable.

"Kevin's dead?" asked Jacob. Dr. Taylor nodded his head yes. “Will you tell the others?"

"The other children? No, they don't need to know," replied Dr. Taylor. “Besides, we don't want to frighten them. We need them for tomorrows experiment and if they are scared then…"

"I could end up killing them too," Jesse interjected.

"Is it important for them to be as relaxed as possible?" Jacob asked.

"Yeah, it makes it easier for me to get into their thoughts," said Jesse.

"What do you do once you've done that?" said Jacob.

"He's not allowed to talk about it Jacob, so don't ask him to explain it," said Dr. Taylor as he got back up and went to the door. “You'll be fine Jesse you should be able to walk again in about an hour. I have to get going. Take care of Jacob and try not to hurt him."

"Yes sir," said Jesse. “Has he eaten anything today?"

"No, but he needs to. Go ahead and get him something to eat," replied Dr. Taylor as he opened the door. “I will see you two in the morning." Then Dr. Taylor left.

Jesse turned to Jacob and asked, “So, what do you want to eat?"

"That's a silly question. What else is there to eat besides the paste that they feed us?" replied Jacob.

"A paste? What kind of paste? What's in it?" Jesse asked.

"I don't know what's in it, they don't tell us," said Jacob.

"Well all I have in here are fruits and vegetables, would you like to try them?" said Jesse.

"I don't even know what the heck those are but I guess I'll try them," replied Jacob.

Jesse directed Jacob to a cabinet on the other side of the room and told Jacob where he could find the foods he was talking about.

Over the next two hours, Jesse enjoyed watching Jacob's reaction to the different fruits he ate. After he had tried everything Jacob decided that he really liked the apple the best.

"Are these foods going to upset my stomach later?" asked Jacob as he sat down next to Jesse.

"I didn't really think about that," said Jesse, “I suppose we'll find out soon enough."

"Lovely. Ok, in that case, where is the toilet at so I know where to run to later," replied Jacob.

Giggling Jesse pointed to a door next to his nightstand, “It's right through there."

Just then the door opened and someone Jacob had never seen before entered the room. Jacob knew he wasn't a doctor due to his lack of a lab coat, but he wasn't dressed as a lab assistant or soldier either.

"Hello Gemini," Jesse said in a very monotone voice.

"Good evening Jesse," replied the man.

"Jacob this is Lt. Gemini, he is the beginning of my misery and the ending to every day."

"Why thank you, Jesse. Coming from you that's high praise! Oh, and it's a pleasure to meet you, Jacob. I am Jesse's caretaker," said Gemini.

"Hello sir," replied Jacob, “can we help you in some way?"

"I am here to take Jesse to his nightly training session," said Gemini.

"Am I coming too?" Jacob asked as he lifted Jesse to his feet.

"Yes, you are to come with him," answered Gemini.

"Great, you get to see my nightly torture session," said Jesse.

"Quit your bitching and come on," said Gemini as he ushered the boys out the door.

Jacob noticed that a party of ten, well-armed men stood waiting in the hall.

"I wonder what this is all about," thought Jacob as they started walking along the corridor. “Do we really need an escort?"

"Yes, we do," Jesse said, answering Jacob's unasked question. “I normally put up quite the fight, they just got lucky tonight."