The Syndi-Jean Journal – an excerpt

book 1The following is an excerpt from The Syndi-Jean Journal beyond the 50 pages available elsewhere.

Apr 7

I have that thing that’s crossed between a fruit and a dog. According to Ms. Phillips, I had a touch of melancholy and it was affecting my sleeping. That’s what she said, so I got her to contact Charlie for a second opinion. It’s not that I didn’t trust her; it’s just that I wanted the comfort of having a second opinion from Charlie on something I’ve never had before.

So let me backtrack a bit here to where I left off. My head was still not right; I was feeling the same as the last couple of days. I barely slept that night when I wrote the last entry. I was tossing and turning trying to fall asleep. By 4 a.m., I was in such a funk I ended up going back to the pool. I didn’t even bother turning on the lights. I just floated there trying to relax but mostly looking up through the domed skylight at the stars. Not a lot of them but I could see a few.

I just floated, trying to relax. I closed my eyes but I don’t think I actually slept. Maybe I did, but I’m not really aware if I did. It was basically like being in an isolation tank since my ears were just below water level, so the most I could hear was just my breathing. I kept my eyes closed and just focused on my breathing, listening to every breath I took, making them as deep as possible. Every time I opened my eyes, there were the stars floating above. Then I’d repeat it – eyes closed, focus on breathing, try to sleep.

Walker came in around 5:30 and he jumped into the pool the moment he saw me. He might have thought I was reenacting the last meltdown. He didn’t notice that I was in my swimsuit instead of regular clothes, so I had to apologise for making him jump to that conclusion – and into the pool with his clothes on, again. I tried to explain why I was in the pool and all. I don’t think I was successful at that and he helped me out of the pool. He then got me over to see Ms. Phillips who, surprisingly, was already working in her lab.

She did a few tests and aside from proclaiming that my energy level appeared low (duh), I had what would seem to be melancholia. I said I didn’t think so, but if I didn’t want to take her word for it, she agreed I could consult Charlie as well. She would give him a call and send a car over for him. In the meantime, she would inform Remington to get me time off from classes for me to get some sleep.

Walker got me back to my suite. Becca took over custody of me. She helped me out of my swimsuit, got me changed and then rolled me into bed. I don’t know how long she stayed with me but I may have fallen asleep. It was almost eight when I looked at the bedside clock. The next time I looked at the clock, it was almost nine, and Becca was gone, off to class. I tried to close my eyes again but I was still restless. The way I felt hadn’t changed.

Charlie came in just after ten in the morning with Ms. Phillips, accompanied by Becca. He did a full work-up on me right there in my room. Ms. Phillips stayed by the door, not really in my room. Becca was just outside after checking with me that it was okay to let Charlie in. It took an hour or so but he came to the same conclusion – lower than usual energy level; higher than normal pressure – “It’s almost as if you have the flu.” he said “but that’s just with the basic symptoms which can be anything and everything. The only thing I can recommend for your physical condition is rest.”

“And if that is not happening?” I asked.

“I can help induce sleep or we have to tackle the psychological issue that’s keeping you awake,” he said.

“I have a psychological issue?”

“Well, something is on your mind, keeping you awake,” he said. “Ms. Phillips wasn’t far off when she said you were having melancholia.”

“Is there anything you’ve been thinking about lately? Something you’ve been missing?” Ms. Phillips asked.

Okay – so I have been missing Mikey something fierce but I wasn’t going to bring it up to Ms. Phillips. I asked her if I could just talk to Charlie about it. She obliged and stepped out, closing the door but not completely.

“It’s Mike, isn’t it?” he asked and I nodded. “How long?”

“I think it’s been over a week when word got out and people started asking me about Mikey,” I said.

He suggested I ask Remington to arrange a visit, the sooner the better. He said he could talk to Remington if I didn’t want to do it. Maybe advice from a medical professional might expedite things. I said I would do it because I wouldn’t want him to do too many things for me. He asked me a few more questions about fitting in and if things were okay beyond the current problem I was having. I filled him in on my recent sleep issues, which led to the lack thereof. I wasn’t even sure if I had been sleeping before he came in, but if I did, it might have been for minutes only.

After Charlie left, I decided to try something else instead. I wasn’t going to run to Remington on this yet. I know I had to deal with this because if I didn’t, it was going to keep coming back. So, I went back to the garden and tried something I hadn’t done in a long time. I tried a ‘dream-walk’. I don’t have an actual name for it but that’s as close a description. It’s something I used to actively do until about a year back. It’s kind of like a forced dreaming… I closed my eyes and imagined myself in a medieval-looking fantasy land. I had friends there too who would come and go. It was very much later I found out that some of them were quite real people who claimed they thought they were actually dreaming because it only happened when they were asleep. I kinda wrote about this briefly some time back, a basis for the network.

I sat under the tree leaning against it, closed my eyes and I got back to that dream-world I created so long ago. It has changed quite a bit but I could still find my way around it. I had brought Mikey there before, so just maybe there would be some kind of psychic residue of him around. I figured maybe if I could just get a sense of him, it would ease my mind, but no.

I caught up with a few denizens of the land. Time passes differently, just like in a normal dream, but there’s too much stuff to write down here. Maybe some other time because this is getting long.

I was suddenly jolted out of the ‘dream’ by Remington. Becca and Jenny were also there hovering over me and I was in my bed. Don’t know how and I don’t know when it happened, but I was told that I had been out cold for over 20 hours; or at least 20 hours since I was noticed in the garden and carried back to my suite. Remington was concerned that I had been out for so long, especially since I wasn’t on any medication.

The most that followed was a check-up with Ms. Phillips, a phone call with Charlie (who confirmed telling Remington to wake me if I was not awake after a day) and a concerned yak-attack with Becca over a late lunch. Once all that was out of the way, I started writing trying to be as detailed as I can manage because Charlie said so.

To be continued…

Apr 8

After I left off yesterday, it was to the pool for a swim and a dip until dinner. After dinner, I caught up with Walker and caught him up with what’s been going on (or lack thereof ) and then I caught up with Keiko as well. I was feeling much better, but not by much. I didn’t even get any sleep last night and I spent the night catching up on all the stuff I missed during the day. Notes from my classes were downloaded to the computer console. Naturally, the things that happened over the last couple of days weren’t entirely good, particularly with Remington. I had a meeting with him today to go over the events (he wasn’t calling it an incident this time) specifically the more than 20 hour sleep-fest. I told him I didn’t think I was asleep.

“The first thing we did when you were found was to get you to medical. Ms. Phillips ran tests and said you were sleeping, which was why you ended up back at your suite,” he said. “Otherwise, you’d have been left in the infirmary. As far as we know, Becca said you only overslept once and you said that was for about 6 hours.”

“I was doing something else,” I said. “I know I wasn’t asleep because I was mentally awake. I was doing things, visiting friends.”

The moment I said this, I saw this weird look of realisation that went across his face. “You went back there,” he said. “That world you created, where you escaped to.” I was a little baffled by his remark, thinking if he had been there, if we were referring to the same thing. He just got more excited about it and said, “That’s your network. That’s the one I brought you here for.”

I suppose I had considered if this dream thing was the network he wanted before, but I dismissed it as unlikely. This was a kind of dream-land – a place I dreamt up; it wasn’t a network. You might enter it when you’re asleep, and you’d share experiences, not knowledge. Given the brief I got, it’s not the network Remington’s been trying to get me to create. I don’t really know how to be clear about this because I’m not even sure of how this place, which is supposed to exist in my mind, is really out there – if it even exists in the first place, the way he seems to think it does. (Just bear with me here, my head’s still a little wonky.)

He tried to explain to me that from his perspective, the ‘dream-land’ I had created wasn’t so much a dream but an enormous network on a psychic level. So big that it was self-sustaining by various people on an almost subconscious level and fewer still on a conscious level. He always thought I was the key, maintaining it consciously, but he suspects I’m doing it subconsciously because I think it’s a dream and not real.

So, I asked him when he had been in there and how.

“It was during your coma a couple of years back,” he said referring specifically to the second coma. “It was thought to be a coma because you were injured pretty badly but when your body healed, you didn’t wake up. It was never assumed you were sleeping. But like you said, your mind was active, like you were dreaming. We need to consult with Charlie on this, what your brain activity was like and why they thought you were in a coma.”

“Okay – that’s when,” I said, “but how?”

“You did that. I’m not quite sure what it was, I wasn’t there for the first part, but I was told you pulled someone in to get a message out. Your mother contacted me and then somehow, you pulled both of us and two others into that world of yours, all medieval looking.”

“Oh, that,” I said feeling a little embarrassed. It was not something I wanted to remember – like a quest adventure gone very, very bad.

We talked about that for a while and I asked why he thought it would be a conducive learning environment as opposed to the one I had done in the VR room. He went on about how this network of mine (the dream version) appeared to work on a subconscious and conscious level at the same time that learning stuff would be embedded almost directly into the subconscious. It would be something akin to those hypnosis tapes that people play as they sleep, or subliminal messages in songs. Something about how memory works and all that.

If my headache had cleared since I woke up, it was back by the time he finished his lecture on memory functions 101. When I asked him about it, he admitted that he didn’t really remember much or learnt anything from anybody when he was supposedly on that dream-network. It was enough to give him the germ of an idea for the network though.

So yeah, I was feeling much better than the last couple of days, and I can’t really account for that lost day. I had gone to class, I had that meeting with Remington, I went for a swim with Walker and I’m feeling as fine as can be. I still miss Mikey and he’s still on my mind but I’m going walkabout in my dream-world again after this. I had left a few things hanging when I was jolted out of it last time. I have already told Becca to wake me when she wakes up if I’m not out of it by then, but I expect to be.

Time for a mind-trip.


The Syndi-Jean Journal is published by Partridge Publishing, and is available from online retailers such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble,  and more listed here.