I have been taken. I am lost. Everybody else thinks that I’m dead, but they are wrong. I am not dead; I’m still alive, just trapped in this dank, dark cell. It’s dark, it’s scary, and I’m alone. Please, somebody find me and save me! There’s no way I can save myself. For me, there is no hope, unless a hero arrives and liberates me…unless…unless…
Evaira found the diary entry she just read really weird for three main reasons: first, Liza was talking in an unusual way, highly atypical of her other diary entries. Second, it seemed to be referring directly to whatever caused Liza’s disappearance. This would make it a valuable clue, but also fishy, as the diary was recovered before Liza’s disappearance. However, of much greater concern is the fact that Evaira had not noticed this entry in the diary before. She’s had previously read the diary cover to cover, and this entry was not there before. She decided to question Alpha.
“Alpha,” she cried to Alpha, “do you have the log of this diary entry?”
Alpha did not respond.
“Um, Alpha,” Evaira said.
She walked up to the front of the RV, but noticed that Alpha was gone. “What’s going on?” Evaira asked, “Bill, Chira?”
Bill was nowhere to be seen, and clearly wasn’t disguising himself as any décor. Chira’s pot was sitting on the counter where it always rests, but was strangely empty.
“Where is everybody?” Evaira asked in a panic.
“They’re unharmed,” a familiar voice said, “but they cannot access our shared unconscious.”
Evaira turned towards the sound and saw the one person she couldn’t be happier to see.
“Liza!” she said, “you’re okay!”
“I’m not okay,” Liza said, “but I am really here, sister, and we have much to talk about.”
At that moment, Evaira woke up. She was in the bedroom of the RV. She looked at the clock, it was 7 AM in the morning.
“What happened?” Evaira asked confused.
Evaira changed out of her nightgown and into one of her favorite outfits before walking out of the bedroom. Alpha was sitting at the driver’s seat of the RV, continuing to drive. Chira was still sleeping in her pot, and though Bill was nowhere to be found, he had clearly shapeshifted himself so he would be out of the way while he was sleeping.
Evaira sat down and picked up her sister’s diary. She paged through it until she got to the place where the diary entry she read in the dream was. The page was completely different. Normally, Evaira would have dismissed it as being a weird dream and move on. This was not the first time Evaira dreamed of her sister. However, something was very different this time. This time she felt her sister was actually present.
She then remembered one thing Liza mentioned: “shared unconscious.”
“Alpha,” Evaira looked towards the driver’s seat, “do you know anything about a shared unconscious.”
“The fringe science of creating a telepathic link between two human brains that can be accessed when unconscious,” Alpha explained as he drove down the road. “When the two brains are both alive, but unconscious, this link enables them to communicate telepathically through a shared dream environment. Though previously believed to be a fantasy, recent research by Professor Gerald Fox indicates that creating a shared unconscious is actually a possibility. However, there have been no recorded instances of a shared unconscious actually being created.”
“Actually,” Evaira said, “I think there might have just been one. Last night, I dreamed about Liza…but it’s not like I was just imagining her presence, I felt she was actually there. Is there a way you can test this?”
“I should be able to produce a fairly reliable test based on the research from Professor Fox I had downloaded,” Alpha replied.
“Then do so,” Evaira said.
“As you request,” Alpha said.
The possibility of this shared unconscious excited Evaira. If it would work as a means of communicating with her sister, she could figure out exactly where Liza was, and what happened to her. This would make the rescue process so much easier.
“I have devised a test,” Alpha said, “but we will need to pull over for me to perform it. Shall I park us at the next rest area?”
“Yes,” Evaira said.
“As you request,” Alpha added.
They continued to drive down the road for about fifteen minutes before Alpha pulled them over at a parking lot on the side of the road. During this time, Chira and Bill woke up, and Evaira had explained the situation to both of them.
“So,” Bill said, “You think Liza’s somehow communicating with you through dreams?”
“Yes,” Evaira said, “I don’t know the details, but I should be able to find out where she is the easy way: just ask her!”
“Are you sure about this?” Chira asked, “Connecting your mind with somebody else’s seems a bit dangerous to me. Besides, Alpha hasn’t even confirmed that it is indeed a link, and not just some bizarre dream.”
“But to think,” Evaira said, getting excited, “If this is true, we’ll finally rescue Liza!”
“We lost Evaira again,” Chira sighed.
“Well,” Bill said, “we shouldn’t get our hopes up too much, but if this is an opportunity to find your sister, go ahead and take it.”
“But be careful,” Chira said.
Once the RV was pulled over, Evaira sat down on a chair, and Alpha inspected her carefully.
“What’s he doing?” Bill asked.
“I am inspecting Miss Evaira for latent telepathic energy,” Alpha explained, “As I can see beyond your range of vision, I can detect this energy with no special equipment.”
“So you’re saying that if there was a connection,” Chira asked, “you’d see this energy?”
“Yes,” Alpha replied, “and I do see some energy. The dream appears to be a genuine shared unconscious.”
“Meaning I can communicate with Liza through dreams?” Evaira asked.
“Yes,” Alpha said, “though more accurately, every time you and Liza dream, you will share the same dream.”
“But then why would something like this not occur until now,” Chira asked.
“A shared unconscious cannot exist naturally,” Alpha explained, “it must be created through a very specific procedure that somebody must perform.”
“Who could have created this?” Bill asked.
“The research theorizes that the procedure works best if the creator is one of the people involved,” Alpha answered, “When you add Liza’s apparent desire to contact her sister, Liza is the most likely candidate. However, Liza is not an expert in this science, thus the probability that she would be able to successfully create something like this is slim.”
“Then I’m going right to bed,” Evaira said eagerly, “to speak with Liza!”
“That would not be accurate,” Alpha replied, “in order for a shared unconscious to work, both parties must be asleep at the same time. It would be prudent to wait until nightfall.”
“Good point,” Evaira said, “but I can hardly wait for tonight!”
“I know sleeping is relaxing and all,” Bill said, “but what normal person is eager for nightfall at nine in the morning?”
“When Liza is involved,” Chira explained, “we just lose Evaira.”
The rest of the day was uneventful. Evaira mostly stood around, eager for nightfall. Bill and Chira sat around, trying to get her to calm down, but they weren’t terribly successful.
That night, when it was time for Evaira to go to bed, she and Alpha walked into the bedroom.
“Alpha,” Evaira said, “how can I make the connection as strong as possible? I don’t want to lose Liza.”
“Just remain asleep,” Alpha said, “as long as both you and Liza sleep and dream of each other, the connection will be present until one of you awakens.”
“So I should put on my most comfortable pajamas,” Evaira said, “and use some sleeping pills.”
“That should help,” Alpha replied.
“Then get me some sleeping pills,” Evaira said.
“As you request,” Alpha replied.
Alpha stepped into the bathroom to get some sleeping pills for Evaira, while Evaira proceeded to change into her pajamas. Once she had changed, she got into bed, and Alpha returned with the sleeping pills. Bill walked in behind him, carrying Chira.
“Well, this is it,” Bill said, “so Liza could tell you where she is?”
“Right,” Evaira said.
“Be careful,” Chira said, “something about this doesn’t sit right with me.”
“Don’t worry,” Evaira said, “I’ll be fine.”
“In the event that you are not,” Alpha said, “there is a special method that I can use to sever the connection.”*
“Well, don’t,” Evaira said, “Alpha, whatever you do, whatever happens, don’t wake me up, or break the connection.”
“As you request,” Alpha replied.
“Well,” Evaira said, “good night.”
She took the sleeping pills, and put her head down to try to go to sleep. She went to sleep surprisingly quickly and easily.
“So,” Bill whispered to Alpha, careful not to wake Evaira, “did the connection form?”
“The connection is being formed right now,” Alpha answered, as he observed the telepathic energy building up around Evaira.
Evaira was standing in the middle of a small town. Houses and buildings were all around, but there was neither a person nor a car in sight. Then, she looked up in the sky, and saw that it was filled with beautiful multicolored lights.
“The Aurora Borealis,” a voice said, “more commonly known as the Northern Lights. By far the most beautiful phenomenon I encountered.”
Evaira looked back, and saw Liza standing right behind her.
“Liza,” Evaira said, “I thought you were more interested in unusual phenomenon, not the kind everybody knows about.”
“This town is called Lake Bronson,” Liza explained, “it was a place I visited on my journey. Supposedly, you can see the Northern Lights here, despite it being too far south for it to be possible. I naturally came to investigate.”
“And what did you find?” Evaira asked.
“Smoke and mirrors,” Liza said, “just an illusion created by some local tourism company to attract tourists to the town. Sadly, I had to expose them, but part of me regretted doing so. Their fake Northern Lights were every bit as beautiful as the real ones. I just had to show you.”
“So what happened to you, Liza?” Evaira asked.
“I got in too deep,” Liza said.
“What do you mean?” Evaira asked.
“Come,” Liza said, “I’ll tell you everything.”
Liza walked into a nearby house, 196 Second Street, and her sister followed. However, inside the room wasn’t the inside of a house, but rather, the inside of a van, the van that Liza used as her home when she went on her travels. Being a van, it was noticeably smaller, and lacked many of the luxuries Evaira’s RV had; Liza always was the most rugged of their family. It did, however, have shelves with lots of books, many of which were Liza’s own published books, others were books from experts about fringe sciences and supernatural phenomenon.
It was also noticeably darker on the inside than Evaira’s RV, partially because of the thicker curtains on the windows. Evaira remembered Liza explained that this was so she could remain undisturbed while she was writing, and so nobody could peek in and see an unfinished manuscript, or worse, her diary, and learn something they shouldn’t.
“Been a while since I’ve been in here,” Evaira said.
“I know,” Liza said, “but now, you’ve got your own moving home.”
“Yes,” Evaira said, “though mine’s a bit different.”
“I saw it in last night’s dream,” Liza replied, “and it does suit you…all the comforts of home. Though I never thought you were the type to be constantly travelling, like I do. I always thought you were the type to be settled down at home most of the time.”
“These days,” Evaira said, “the RV is my home.”
“You have changed, sister,” Liza said.
“Indeed I have,” Evaira said, “and I really am glad to see you again.”
“You’ve been looking for me a while,” Liza said, “Haven’t you?”
“I certainly have,” Evaira replied, “and I’ve visited many of the places you went: Carlsburn, Shurr’s grounder colony, Jake’s house…”
“Then I assume you’ve noticed the connections?” Liza asked.
“You mean how some of the events we’ve visited seem to be connected to each other,” Evaira explained, “like with the Etherium?”
“Exactly,” Liza explained, “but the connection goes so much deeper than just the Etherium.”
Back in the bedroom, Bill and Chira were still watching Evaira.
“I know it’s a good idea to watch over Evaira,” Bill said, “but Alpha is already doing so. You think we could get some sleep?”
“Well Evaira did order Alpha not to interfere,” Chira replied, “but if something does go wrong, we have to be here. If you’d like, you could rest now and I will keep watch and later we can switch.”
At this point, they noticed Evaira was starting to twitch.
“Now, look,” Chira said, “you’re waking her up.”
Bill and Chira both stopped talking, but Evaira was still twitching, and the twitches were becoming increasingly stronger. At this point, they knew that she was not simply waking up.
“Alpha,” Bill said, “what’s happening?”
“It appears that the shared unconscious was not properly set up,” Alpha said, “possibly due to inadequate time or resources on Liza’s part. The link will damage their minds if it continues in this way.”
“How bad could it get?” Bill asked.
“Bad,” Alpha replied, “If the link persists, it could result in permanent brain damage, up to the point of possible brain death.”
“Can you fix it?” Chira asked.
“No,” Alpha said, “I do not have full knowledge of the procedure that created it, so I cannot fix it.”
“Then let’s wake her up!” Bill said, “we have to save her!”
“She’s in too deep a sleep to be easily awoken,” Alpha said, “there is only one way to save her, which would be to permanently break the link. This would stop any further damage, but once the connection with Liza is broken, we cannot recreate it.”
“Then we have to break the link,” Chira said, “wake up Evaira.”
“But Chira,” Bill said, “Evaira thinks this is her chance to finally find and save Liza. If we interfere like this, she might not like it.”
“I know,” Chira said, “but if we don’t act now, she could die, and Liza is probably affected by this as well! We could lose both of them.”
“You’re right,” Bill said.
“Alpha,” Chira said, “Break the link and wake up Evaira!”
“I cannot do that,” Alpha replied.
“What do you mean you can’t?” Bill asked, “She’s in danger!”
“Although Miss Evaira did rewrite my programming so I will take orders from you two,” Alpha explained, “I cannot follow any orders from you that contradict with hers.”
“Even though she is in danger?” Bill asked.
“Under no circumstances can I defy an order from Miss Evaira,” Alpha explained, “that is written in my programming. I cannot sever the link unless she orders me otherwise.”
“You can’t make an exception,” Bill pleaded, “for this one emergency?”
“No,” Alpha replied.
“Terrific,” Chira said.
“Hold on a minute,” Bill said, “I have an idea.”
Meanwhile, in their shared unconscious, the Evaira sisters continued to discuss the connections between the events.
“How deep does it go?” Evaira asked.
“You’d be surprised,” Liza said, “my problem was that I got in too deep.”
“Too deep?” Evaira asked.
“Yes,” Liza responded, “these people, they value their secrecy. I didn’t realize they were aware of my investigation, until it was too late. I never saw them coming.”
“Who are they,” Evaira asked, “what did they do?”
“They are called…” Liza began, but then, her voice started to fade.
“Who are they?” Evaira cried, “Liza, answer me! If you do, I can save you!”
But there was no reply, as the image of Liza’s van slowly began to fade. The next thing Evaira knew, she had woken up in her bed.
“What happened?” Evaira asked.
“The link was damaging your mind,” Bill explained, “we had to break your connection, or it could have killed you.”
“But Liza was just about to tell me where she is!” Evaira complained, “and I ordered Alpha not to wake me up, or break the connection, for anything!”
“He didn’t,” Chira said.
“We broke the connection,” Bill explained, “you never said that Alpha couldn’t tell us how to break the connection.”
“Then get me another of those sleeping pills,” Evaira demanded, “I need to see Liza again.”
“We can,” Chira said, “but it won’t do any good! The connection is permanently broken.”
“But Liza…” Evaira said.
“We’ll find her,” Bill said, “but if you’d stayed in there, we might have lost both of you.”
“But I lost a chance at Liza!” Evaira screamed, “She’s the entire reason I went on this journey, the entire reason I left my peaceful, safe life to go on this adventure! This was my chance, and you just took it away from me!”
“But Evaira,” Bill said, “we may have saved your life! We may have saved Liza’s!”
“Bill,” Chira said, “it’s clear that she’s still got a lot of emotions running inside her. We should probably get some sleep and leave her be.”
“You’re right,” Bill said.
“Don’t worry,” Chira said, “She’ll see reason eventually. We’ve lost her like this many times, and in the end, she always does.”
“Come along, Alpha,” Bill said.
Bill, Chira, and Alpha left the bedroom. Evaira remained in bed, still angry that she was so close to finding her sister, but lost the opportunity. Though she remained angry at Bill and Chira for breaking the connection, the more she thought about it, the more she began to realize the implications of what they were saying – the connection could have killed her, and when she realized she had gotten angry at her two closest friends for saving her life, she didn’t know what to feel. Though emotionally confused, she eventually went back to sleep, but had a rather unpleasant night.
Evaira got up late the next morning. By this time, Bill and Chira were already up, and Alpha had already started to drive.
“Bill, Chira,” Evaira said, “I’m sorry about yesterday. I guess I got a little carried away. I should have known this wouldn’t end up the way I wanted.”
“Don’t mention it,” Chira said, “I know how you can get sometimes.”
“Yeah,” Bill said, “I understand Liza’s your sister, and is very important to you.”
“Thanks,” Evaira said, “at least Liza did tell me a few things, though, before the connection was broken. For one thing, she confirmed that the events we’ve been investigating are connected, but it’s much more than the Etherium.”
“Did she say how deep it goes?” Bill asked.
“No,” Evaira replied, “but she said that what happened to her is that she went too deep. She mentioned some people were involved, who apparently liked to keep their secrecy, but the connection was broken before I could get anything more.”
“That doesn’t seem to be that much more than we had already,” Bill said, “most of the people we’ve met do try to remain secret.”
“Actually,” Chira said, “there is one big thing we know for certain now, that we didn’t know before.”
“What’s that?” Evaira asked.
“Liza is alive,” Chira said.
Evaira paused for a moment, thinking about what Chira said, then she smiled.
“You know,” Evaira said, “that’s a good point. With all my excitement over speaking with her, I guess I overlooked the obvious.”
Chira smiled as well. Evaira then walked up to the front of the RV and looked out the window.
“Liza,” Evaira said, “I know you’re out there somewhere, and I’m going to find you, and I’m going to save you.”
The RV continued to drive down the highway. As they drove, a red-haired man wearing a leather jacket, and riding a motorcycle came alongside them in a passing lane. He peered into the window of the RV, and looked at Evaira.
“There she is,” he uttered to himself, before speeding off.
Author’s Notes (may contain spoilers):
This is it: the last Evaira story for a while. In two weeks, I’ll be back to my regular story every two weeks schedule. But I feel I saved the best for last: of the first eight Evaira stories, “The Dream Phenomenon” is undoubtedly my favorite so far. I feel it has all the characters playing a major role, being themselves, and this one sets the stage for the events to come.
I wanted to introduce Liza’s character formally in this story. She’s been mentioned in all of the first seven stories, but this is her first actual appearance, so this is where we really start to get to know her personally. I came up with the dream-based communication as a way for the sisters to reunite, without physically meeting. Liza is close, yet so far away.
Now, I originally wanted Evaira to actually have some say as to whether she remained in the dream, or broke the link to save herself, but ultimately realized that wasn’t feasible. I had to interrupt the communication before Liza said too much, or I’d completely give everything away too soon, and there was no reason Liza would keep her mouth shut about everything. Though I did think that Evaira having some say in whether the dream is interrupted or not would have really added to the moral dilemma, it just wouldn’t work.
If you liked Evaira, I am working on Volume 2, and I fully intend to put Volume 2 stories up here when they’re ready…but I don’t expect that to happen until mid-late 2014. Until then, I hope you enjoyed Evaira Volume 1.