Eleanor Phleer huffed in exasperation as the last of Norton Bellmore’s subordinates left her office. She had six identical stacks of pictures and each man had been able to describe each picture in a manner consistent with every other man. Still incredulous, she’d handed them a marker and asked them to trace the general outline of the subjects in the photos.

Some men placed greater emphasis on different pieces of each picture, but the general picture was the same in each picture. The traced images in the photos were exactly what Mr. Bellmore had said was present in each photograph. Something was wrong with these men.

She was still waiting on the physical and mental evaluation of Mr. Bellmore, but Phleer doubted it’d show anything of interest, aside from this peculiar shared psychosis.

Eleanor looked, in vain, for the solution to her problem on the gray walls of her office. Standard government issue. Uncomfortable chair, unwieldy desk, too old computer, metal filing cabinet. And no answers. If it was in their brains, it had to be the girl. She might not have done it, but she had something to do with it, Eleanor was sure of that.

A few floors below, Travis Stein sat on the couch in Eluria’s dormitory, oblivious to the black haired girl standing across from him and smiling ear to ear.

Datura was about to have her fun.

Eluria stepped out of her bedroom and flopped down dramatically on the opposite side of the couch as Travis, throwing her feet over his lap.

“You got any ideas, kid?”

“There’s something else going on. Mr. Bellmore is seeing things everyone else isn’t, but nothing about him is coming across as crazy.”

“So what’s doing it, and why isn’t it bothering anyone else?”

Datura had set her hooks into Eluria and was slowly sending out little burst of mental energy, so inconsequential hopefully Eluria wouldn’t even notice what had happened until it was too late.

“We need a way to test who all is and isn’t effected by whatever this is. I don’t know. It’s all a mess. Enough of about that, for now at least. I wanted to apologize for the bowling alley  – I feel like I deceived you, and everyone really.”

“What do you mean?” Travis was confused, Eluria wasn’t making any sense – she hadn’t deceived anyone about anything as far as he knew.

“Everyone thinks I’m so strong, but I couldn’t even lift those bowling balls. I’ve just been letting everyone think I was so much more powerful than I was this whole time. So I wanted to do something for you, as an apology. Hold on, I’ll be right back.” Eluria dashed off, back into her bedroom, leaving Travis to his own confusion.

Eluria had barely cleared her bedroom door before Travis had thrown himself off the couch and nearly crashed through the airlocks in his haste to get away from her. Naked fifteen year old science experiments was not what he signed up for. No fuckin’ way.

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Author’s Note: Very short. I’ve had this in the back of my head for a while now and I’ve attempted to foreshadow it a little bit, but I’m not super sure how to proceed with it. Today is my only day off this week, so I wanted to get something out.


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