Deus Ex Animo

“I. Am not. Crazy.” I announced to myself.

"You keep telling yourself that."

Deus’s idle, silvery voice sounded in my head. It was not an unpleasant voice, rather soft in fact, yet it accompanied me with every step and every waking breath.

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2. Sleepwalking

Deus.

 

I lasted a few minutes after Aaron slipped into catatonic before I got bored. I could see nothing; Aaron’s eyes were jammed shut. After making sure the boy was well and truly asleep, I assumed control.

 

My eyes opened, and I found myself trapped in as much darkness as I’d been in moments before. I could’ve waited for my eyesight to adjust but I did it manually, adjusting the width of my pupils until the room was brought into view. Holding my hands in front of my face, I clenched them a few times to make sure I was well and truly in control. I was. I tentatively opened my mouth.

 

“Testing, testing, one two three,” I said. My own, beautiful voice, not Aaron’s, broke the silence that shrouded me. In this state, I felt overwhelmed by human urges, even things so trivial as blinking.

 

Ridiculous.

 

I quickly scanned Aaron’s brain activity to discover I had around two hours in the pilot seat. Of all of the people on planet Earth, I had to be stuck with the insomniac. Another human urge took hold oh me: a yawn, and I let it pass, feeling incredibly foolish in the process. Letting the covers fall off of my body, I stood up. What to do, what to do… I padded over to the living room and slumped down in front of the television. Humans have invented millions of pointless devices, but the television is amongst the good ones. I prodded the ‘on’ button and settled down with the remote in hand. The television had access to a few channels, all of them English in origin. I switched from British Broadcasting Corporation (dubbed BBC) and over to ‘Independent Television’. The program that was playing was called ‘Emmerdale’. I am not sure why I enjoy watching it, however it gives me a sensation similar to euphoria so I humour myself with it.

 

I sat watching for half an hour before the picture cut out. I sighed audibly and stood, stepping towards the television. It took me a matter of minutes to disassemble the device, but I could see no problems with it. It took me equal time to reassemble the machine, and by that time I had deduced that it was a network problem.

 

I strode to the nearest camera and rapped on the lens, like Aaron had done earlier.

 

“Hey fleshie! Bring back Emmerdale!” I demanded. In my forty-odd years of existence, I had accumulated a wide array of ways to refer to the humans, and that last was my favourite. “You know, I was once held prisoner in a P.O.W. camp, and their service was better than this.” Despite my outburst, I kept my voice calm. That’s the thing about humans: You can shout all you want, but in the end, being calm is always more terrifying. I quickly gave up and walked to our shabby bureau.

 

The desk was placed against the furthest, distastefully painted wall. Beneath it, a small ottoman within which I kept stacks of paper and a surplus of pencils. I stopped myself mid track, and went to the fridge for some sustenance. Another human invention I had come to see the use of was ‘Nutella’. A hazelnut paste that gave me similar feelings to watching Emmerdale. I grabbed a spoon from our cutlery drawer and a full jar of the stuff. Walking to the desk, I twisted the white plastic lid off and peeled back the silver foil that barricaded my from my prize. When the foil came away I breathed in the rich, nutty scent of it. Smiling contentedly, I buried my spoon in and brought out a hefty amount, and promptly ingested it. Lifting the lid of the ottoman, I brought out a stack of paper and a pencil. I set the jar of Nutella down along with the paper and settled down.

 

Writing sheet music has been a hobby of mine since I saw Mozart play back in seventeen eighty-two. Since then, I have been composing my own music, and I daresay I have become quite competent.

 

In ten minutes I had three page’s worth. In twenty I was up another three, and down a jar of Nutella, and by the end of the hour I had enough to satisfy an entire public concert. I conducted myself idly with a finger and hummed the tune to myself. Simply wonderful. I turned to face the clock, straightening out my back in the process. I had been hunched over for so long that I creaked a little and a stab of pain shot through my neck. I had ten minutes. I gathered up the work I had done and tidied it away into the ottoman. I hefted the jar of Nutella in my hand and turned to look at the kitchen. The bin on the other end was open-topped, so I briefly (nine milliseconds, to be precise) did the calculation in my head and over-arm threw it. The jar hit the wall and instantly shattered, and the pieces fell like glittering diamonds into the can, without so much as a shard missing my target. I allowed myself a brief celebratory arm-pump and plodded back into bed.

 

Reaching over to our bedside table, I plucked off a post-it note and scrawled a quick message to Aaron on the front. I then proceeded to paste the sticky note onto my forehead, and allowed myself to slip from the pilot’s seat and back into my cozy corner of Aaron’s mind.

 

#

 

Aaron.

 

“Dear A., how much does a fully-functional orchestra cost? -D.” I read aloud, after plucking a post-it note from my forehead.

 

Just Curious.

 

Three days had passed since Lucien ‘Creepydeadguy’ Wells had paid me a visit. Apart from that, my usual routine had stayed uninterrupted.

 

“Anything interesting happen while I was asleep?”

 

The television stopped working.

 

“And you couldn’t fix it?”

 

The fault lies with the network. Not me. I groaned and began my usual morning schedule: Shower, dress, argue with Deus, eat breakfast (Although I was suspiciously full, for some reason.)

 

“Interesting.”

 

I suppose it could be seen as such.

 

I wandered over to the tv and prodded the on and off button.

 

I have a PHD in computing, and doing that never occurred to me. Congratulations.

 

I kicked the stand, irritated, and went to sit down, but before I could the screech of the mic cut through the silence.

 

“Good morning, mister Conoway.” Lucien sounded amiable this morning.

 

“Good morning,” I said uncertainly, standing up to await him. Sure enough, there was a heavy, metallic clunk as the door was unbolted, and Lucien and his guards entered the room. Today he wore a navy blue pinstriped suit and a cherry red tie. His dead eyes scanned the room briefly and he gave me a curt nod.

 

“It is time for work, mister Conoway.” He told me, gesturing to one of the guards, who procured a set of handcuffs.

 

If I have to, I could help you remove them. I shrugged and held out my wrists, and the guard slapped the cuffs onto them with a click. The gleaming metal chilled a little and chafed the skin on my wrists, but I kept with it. Lucien smiled his cold, terrifying smile and gestured towards the door. It occurred to me that this would be the first time that I had been outside my room in three months.

 

Going under the assumption that you mistrust Mister Wells, throughout this... fiasco, I will be looking for escape routes.

 

Tentatively, I took a step forward, and in response, two of the guards seized my arms. My first step was followed by a second.

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