Brain Power by Rhys Clarke

Brain Power by Rhys Clarke

Chapter Seven: A Meeting at Midnight

Samantha’s eyes snapped open. She could no longer convince herself that the noise stemmed from a dream. For one thing, Samantha didn’t dream. Furthermore, she had never been an imaginative woman and didn’t believe for a moment that her mind could conjure up something as ominous as that particular sound.

It was a rustle that wasn’t a rustle. A murmur too warped and chaotic and organic to be dismissed merely as the wind. The rustle was broken, by several thuds, growing fainter and fainter. Footsteps.

Samantha’s mind instantly turned to Broderick. Byron’s giant, enigmatic benefactor had been running the staff ragged since his arrival. The smiling brute refused to eat less than six square meals a day and frequently demanded tours of Byron’s estate from various servants. The hulking ape made no attempts to be gracious in his demands either, and seemed reticent to address members of staff by name, preferring to identify them as: ‘You,’ or ‘woman,’ or sometimes simply, ‘here!’ Worse still, the giant had the strangest of sleeping habits. He rose absurdly early, napped several times a day and crawled off to bed only when the clock had long since rushed past midnight.

Well, enough was enough, thought Samantha, leaping out of bed. She had no intention of putting up with the giant’s behavior a moment longer-no matter how miraculous Slater, Roper and Byron found Brain X. Samantha slipped on her bathrobe and threw open her bedroom door. She opened her mouth, ready to give Broderick a piece of her mind…

And froze.

It wasn’t Broderick staggering about the hallway. It was Byron. Her employer- her love- Byron Whittaker. His head was tilted so far to the side that it was practically at a right angle. In his right hand Byron held the huge glass dome of Brain X aloft. The gelatinous blob inside was a dark shadow, an inkblot encased by an invisible cage. Byron’s lips were almost pressed right up against the glass and he was whispering to it, murmuring an endless, incoherent monologue to Brain X. What was strangest of all, however, was the fact that Byron Whittaker was still wearing one of his new suits, but backwards, so that his tie now dangled down the middle of his back, like a clumsily assorted noose.

Byron stumbled forward, still whispering to Brain X. The wire that bound the two of them together was coiled around his outstretched wrist, like a serpent. Samantha, on her tiptoes, followed her employer. Her heart was racing. Where was Byron going in the middle of the night? And why was he carrying Brain X?

Samantha followed Byron along the endless corridor. Dozens of faces, veiled in shadows, glowered down at her from the walls. The painted lips of Byron’s family seemed to have contorted into disapproving snarls. A solitary bead of sweat fled down Samantha’s neck. As she drew closer to Byron, she started to catch the occasional word, slung over his shoulder in a furious spew of a conversation.






These words drew more questions than answers. One thing was clear though, her employer-her love-was obviously in some distress and Alfred K. Broderick appeared to be at the centre of his unease.

After what felt like an eternity, Byron arrived at an enormous, oval window. The moon blazed through the panes of the window, making its glass shine like a sheen of silver. Byron hesitated before this window. Against the startling light of the moon, his body took on a warped, blackened shape-like a strip of charred wood. His arms, in that moment, appeared too long for his body, his legs grew twisted, his neck and head were a distorted smear. The only thing that seemed immune to the moon’s radiance was Brain X. It gleamed in Byron’s hand, its glass dome sparkling, as if it were made of diamonds.

Byron’s head twitched. He let out a long, agonized moan of despair. Still moaning, Byron reached out with his free hand and, with trembling, elongated fingers, he unlocked the window and threw it open.

Samantha shuddered as cold serpents of wind rushed into the hallway. Byron took several shaking steps forward until he was hovering just on the edge of the window, his bare toes curling over the ledge.

Samantha gasped as the sparkling mass of flesh that was Brain X suddenly contracted, recoiling in horror at the open window. Byron grabbed the side of his head and whimpered in pain. He took one step back, before snarling and launching himself even further forward until he was practically hanging out of the window.

Samantha leapt forward. Several things were racing through her mind. The first thought that struck her was that there was something horribly wrong with Brain X. It reeked of sentience-a sentience of the most malevolent, wicked kind. It was doing more than just talking to Byron. It was hurting him, clearly. The second thought was that, no matter what, she had to get Byron away from the window.

‘WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?’ yelled Samantha-mortified at her shrill she sounded. She seized Byron by the back (or the front?) of his shirt and dragged him back. Byron squawked in shock and fell onto his bottom, wincing. For a moment, Samantha thought that he might have dropped Brain X-but no. He was hugging it tight against his chest, as though his life depended on it.

And, thought Samantha, perhaps it did. She remembered the way that Brain X had recoiled from the window, how it had struck Byron with bouts of pain as he drew closer to it. For whatever reason, Byron had tried to throw himself from the window-or, at least, had seriously considered it and Brain X had tried to save him. Which, realised Samantha, meant that Brain X needed Byron, for whatever reason. Or at least, it needed him alive.

For now.

About The Author

Rhys Clark

I am an English and Theatre Studies student at the University of Warwick. I particularly enjoy dystopian literature and political satire. My influences as a writer are George Orwell, Christopher Hitchens, Kurt Vonnegut and Harold Pinter.

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