It had been three weeks since Cynthia had been to see Ben. She was hopping that he would eventually regain his memory; that the amnesia wouldn’t be permanent.  She sensed that something was wrong as soon as she got off of the elevator. There was a crowd of people standing in the hall outside Ben’s hospital room.  Their voices were hushed, and as Cynthia walked closer, she saw that two of the women had puffy red eyes.

“What is it? Is Ben alright? What’s happened?”

“I’m sorry, are you a family member?”

“Dr. Banks, it’s me, Cynthia. Ben and I are friends. I’ve been here a few times.”

It was one of the women who responded. “I’m sorry, who are you? How do you know Ben?”

“We are part of the same group – he helped me through a really difficult time, after I was struck by lightning. He helped all of us.”

“I’m Polly, Ben’s sister.” The woman reached out and took Cynthia’s hand.

“That group was very important to Ben.” She hesitated a moment, trying to hold back tears, then continued.

“It seems my brother had a stroke. They don’t know why. He’s been on a ventilator for two weeks, and they say it’s likely that he won’t wake up. I just don’t understand. They want us to make a decision about-”

“No! Not yet, it’s too soon! He might wake up! Hasn’t it happened before? People do wake up, right?”

“This is our mom, Cynthia. We’re all struggling with this.”

“I’m so sorry. If you need privacy, I can leave. But- may I please say goodbye?” Cynthia tried to control her quivering voice, but it gave her away.

“It’s alright. You should stay.” Polly assured her. “He needs his friends and family now.”

“Yes, please stay, Dear. Maybe you can help them all see that it’s too soon!”

Dr. Banks excused himself, and Cynthia went to sit beside Ben and Polly’s mom, who was sitting next to Ben’s bed.

“Go ahead and talk to him Dear. We believe he can hear us. The Doctor says they aren’t sure, because he doesn’t respond to stimuli; but Polly said she saw a tear roll down his cheek yesterday.”

“Mom, the doctor said that doesn’t mean anything.”

“It means everything, Polly.”

“Mom, the Doctor wouldn’t have asked if Ben was an organ donor if they thought he was coming back.”

Cynthia reached down and took Ben’s hand, suddenly unsure where to start. All she could think, as her head starting pounding, was that if Ben died, Jake would be charged with murder.

 

***

 

Jake had been laying low after he was released into the custody of Mr. Smith. Jake wasn’t sure he should trust him, but he didn’t want to be locked up.

He had stopped busking; Mr. Smith said it brought too much attention. They were staying in a sparsely furnished house, where Mr. Smith was training Jake to gain complete control of his abilities.

“You need to figure this out.  The place is surrounded by an electric razor wire fence.”

“What place?”

“Once you are through, everything around there is high-voltage. No one else could handle it. It’s all on you.”

“What’s on me? What exactly do you think I am going to do for you?”

“Something was taken from me.  I want it back. You are going to help me get it.”

“You are out of your mind! You are downright crazy! Bring me back to the police station. I’ll take my chances with Officer Todd. It was all just a misunderstanding. I can get them to believe that. You said you could read minds! Can you see what I am thinking now?”

“You are thinking that I will let you go. And I will, after you help me. The only way you are leaving now is in a body bag.”

“You’re insane! I didn’t agree to be your prisoner! I didn’t leave the police station just so you could hold me captive!”

Mr. Smith sat back in his chair, stretching he legs out and placing his feet on the desk.

“Get back to work, Jake. Your body can generate electric currents. If you ever want to see Cynthia again, you need to figure out how to control them.”