All in the Mind


“211, may I get your name and location please?” Darcy asked, fingers poised over her keyboard.

“Please…” the voice on the other end of the line was a strained whisper, too low for Darcy to tell male or female. “Please, I can't fight it off much longer.”

“What are you fighting love?” Darcy put as much calm and ‘grandmother’ as she could in her voice. A flicker out of the corner of her eye drew her attention for a second. That was weird, she thought she'd seen Jane’s phone drain of color.

“It's in my head…”

“Where are you?” Darcy's throat was suddenly very dry and she felt clammy. “We can send help…”

The clammy feeling turned to chills and it was suddenly hard to focus beyond the screen in front of her. Anything to the sides fell away and the back of her head began to tingle. The cold went up her spine and everything looked gray. Like a fog between her and the computer. She was going to lose this one, she should move on to the next one, one she could save…

“John!” The scream ripped its way up her throat, pulling everyone's attention to her. The moment of stillness was broken by John careening over and laying both hands on her shoulders. His weight dropped into her mind, the cold slammed together into a ball in the middle of her mind, and then John was bouncing down the line to their caller.

Darcy threw up elastic walls around the cold-ball warping everything in her around it like a black hole. Two ‘layers’ of netting over the top and bottom clamped onto the wall edges just in time for the ball to get caught and tossed back to the other side. Darcy put some oomph in the nets so the ball kept careening between them. She considered a moment, then added some spin to slam it against the walls in between bounces. That should keep the bastard distracted and off kilter.

Darcy turned her attention to the connections outside herself. The one John had followed down the line was a wispy black smoke compared to the stuttering ribbon of blue it was strangling. Darcy grabbed John’s line (braided hemp core rope, soft from seamlessly working together so long) and added an anchor back to herself while throwing up a line between herself and John’s body. The smoke was grabbed next, lifted up and away from the ribbon, and, with the empty handed gestures of a practitioner no longer in need of a focus image, sliced apart the smoke. It curled back and away from the ribbon with a keening wail as Darcy turned back to the ball still being thrown about her elastic prison.

Invade her mind would they? Darcy mentally cracked her knuckles and stalked over. This part of them was about to be shown why that was a bad idea very thoroughly.

The walls she constructed around the ball started replaying the worst call she'd ever worked through, in full sensory playback.