Yeah, so, the can came apart. The plasma converter on the SBS developed a leak that compromised the integrity of the shield that protected the engines that kept the satellite in orbit, the orbit began to decay, the Captain ordered the crew to dismantle what could be salvaged and moved to the planet below. That is where we are now, camping out around what is left of the Space Station Betasat. We set up camp where what was left of the massive satellite crashed. They call this Outerverse Island.
I cannot bring myself to embrace this time. I am continuously staring off into nothingness dreaming about the past. I feel isolated and alone, without friendship or a companion. There is no one I can talk to. I think I need a shrink.
I remember the first time I saw a psychiatrist. I lived in California, Severa Beach. I was living in modern times for the first time after many years of living Victoriously on the shores of the Black Sea in Crossroads, Romania. But, things had changed in the old town since I had arrived there a bit over a hundred years before and I was not filled with hope for a promising future. So I left.
In Severa Beach, I remember, I was standing in the doctor’s office waiting for my appointment to begin thinking about Crossroads, the fact that my time there had not prepared me well for this time. I looked at my clothes, touched my hair, shook my head, checked the time on my pocket watch. Why had it not occurred to me to acquire new clothes? Because I was trapped in the 19th Century. All I had thought to do for this meeting was remove my eye prosthesis, so now I was blind in one eye. Vanity.
While still living in Crossroads I had been writing about the US fall in my newspaper, The Crossroads Chronicle. About the riots in Washington DC and all the upheaval in almost every major city in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Things were much worse in Romania, in fact they were so bad I was planning a move and the reports about Severa Beach made it seem like the place to be. So I went.
The U.S. economy came to crisis in 2017, and what had always been the unthinkable happened: the United States fell apart. Now everybody was on their own. I was lucky, I came to Severa Beach just after it happened. There are people in many states having a really tough time of it. There are gangs, drugs, sex, slavery, no central rule, no food, bad water, the good old days. There are places in California where the lawlessness is rampant as well. But here in Southern Californa, in Severa Beach, it is pretty peaceful. Many, many police.
In spite of the good life in So Cal, I found myself battling bouts of emotional despair. I think I have a severe blood virus but there is no way to be sure. By the time I moved to Severa Beach I had suffered with it for a little over a hundred years and it was starting to wear me down, but I couldn’t just go to a clinic and get a blood test. I am a Vampire, actually this should not be a condition I have to live with anyway, my Kindredness should cure anything humans suffer from. But, I think I got this from a Sabbat woman at a vinculium ceremony I engaged in at the Vatican in 1896. Long story that, so I’ll just say, from time to time I experience a change that eventually leads to a physical transformation; I grow hooves and horns, my hair turns black and I become the meanest Vampire you ever met. Not mean in the savage sense, as tearing people apart, although I want to, it is not my nature, I don’t lose my mind, I’m just not in a good mood, I despair, I hate, I snarl, and that is unusual for me. Because most of the time I am the Happy Vampire.
So I went to see a psychiatrist at Severa General Hospital. Despite the decay of most state institutions, SGH is the best hospital in the six state region which encompasses all of the west from Arizona, Utah and Idaho to the Pacific Ocean. SGH provides in addition to the standard ICU, emergency, and operating rooms, a neonatal, maternity, and on the basement level, psychiatric services. That’s where I went, the dark corridors of the basement at SGH. I had read about their evening sessions.
I was scheduled to have an initial interview with a new doctor. It did not work out the way I thought it would. Even though I used some Presence, put a little Awe on her, for some reason I felt compelled to inform her, before any session even began, what I am. She smiled and crinkled her eyes at me. “Prove it.” She said. I did.
She didn’t run out the door screaming for an orderly as I’d expected. No, she put a hand to her neck, looked at the clock, licked her lips in the most delicious manner and said, “I am going to have to do some shuffling, I want more time than these evening sessions usually allow.” She removed her date book from her desk, thumbed through some pages, ran a finger up and down the columns, very lovely hands. Long fingers, she did not bite her nails, nor did she spend an inordinate amount of time tending them. “I can see you on Fridays at 9.” Locking me with deadly blue eyes she said, “You’ll be my last patient of the day and the week. We can take as much time as you need. How will that be?”
“Fine.” I said. Then she closed her book, tucked it in her desk drawer and tilting her head so I could see the artery on her neck, see her pulse, the curve of her wrist, she said, “Till then, Mr. Wuyts. I am sorry to have to leave you so soon, but there is a patient having some difficulty orienting to reality. And I need to take care of that.” And she calmly left the room.
Maybe the Presence worked better than I thought. I stood there after she left a little Awed myself. A big smile grew on my face.
And that is how I met, Doctor Nanci George.
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