The Ghost Profiler
by George S. Karagiannis
The Oracles were very precise and proficient in their actions. One of them sat next to us. The Oracle slowly opened the toolkit, whose signs of oxidation were already evident and I could see myself hoping for a white rabbit to pop out of it, while my brother was running out of sweat.
Odd devices with sharp edges, technologically sophisticated needles and medical syringes equipped with vacuum pumps and attached to spiky plastic spines in the periphery of the cylindrical core, and other miniature smart-gadget gear looking like biometrical apparatuses, along with tiny boxes and ampoules of drug paraphernalia were all taken from the toolkit and carefully placed on the table in front of our seats by a second Oracle.
I witnessed all these pieces being assembled together in a unique pattern I could hardly have reproduced. Despite the fact I could observe the stepwise process at so close a distance, I lacked the appropriate technical background to understand it. I literally had no hint what they were doing to us.
The Oracles acted very promptly. First, they took blood samples from my brother and me. I can still feel that awful needle pinch in my flesh. Then they initiated an unbiased series of biochemical analyses to our samples. However, I again felt like a cripple, totally unable to keep up with them. I found myself in the middle of a moist jungle.
I could not retrieve any information judging from their attitude, expressions or movements whether the results were good, bad or neutral. Never had I been in such a ruthless situation before. I started toying with the idea I might have been poisoned and began questioning father’s promise that this was normally supposed to happen.
My mouth was so dehydrated that I could feel pieces of my tongue and palate ripped apart as if I were a leper. Even worse, my eyelids were so heavy that I could no longer keep them in place. When I felt the weakness on my eyelids, I dropped my last effort to provide them contact with light and allowed myself to get entrapped within a lethargic illusion.
I felt I had lived in a void for centuries, maybe thousands of years. The clock had stopped in those planes.
After recovering from this abrupt dizziness, I found myself sprawled on the couch, plagued by the leftovers of a persistent vertigo. I noticed my brother was not nearby anymore and the Oracles were all gone.
I gasped to understand what had just happened. Father was sitting on his beloved couch across from me, motionless, evidently contemplating, sparking me at the same time with an impetus for chatting about “urgent matters.” Of my own volition, I nodded positively to provide a hint he could start talking to me, reassuring him that I would be prepared to ingest any “venomous truth” coming out of his lips.
Father briefly explained that the Oracles decided that Manny was passably compatible with one of the registered bio-enhanced mothers, housed in the Mother Institutes. My brother was blessed to be adopted by one of them, so they had to take him with them.
When I heard this, I reflexively burst into prolonged weeping, because I didn’t want to lose my brother. Father got irritated, showed his teeth, and told me I was supposed to be happy because this was indeed a bright and optimistic outcome. Manny could have a better life, at last, with a genuine Mother, a female individual that would naturally have or be trained to have maternal instincts.
Father kept screaming that I should stop acting like a child. But I could feel that deep inside him he could no longer house the confidence of his past self. This unexpected taking of Manny had also been devastating for father’s soul, though he made crude attempts to hide his emotions. And once again, father chose to pretend to be the cold-blooded member of our butchered family.
Feeling like a diminutive skeleton figure, I kept crying as much as I could; my eyes were dry of tears and my weeping hiccupped like an unfinished piece of music from a digital music box. Totally unaided there at the couch, I experienced father tormenting and slicing up my ego into pieces with sodomite perfection, taking his private satisfaction from my harsh moaning.
* * *
After Manny was taken to the Mother Institute, I began experiencing crude signs of isolation every night during sleep. I found myself locked in my humid little room, whispering in foolish denial the same old ghost stories to the empty side of the bed. Haunting memories molested me, like ants falling on carrion. I captured myself persistently and vividly repeating these ghost stories, almost using the same vocabulary each time, as if it was my precious oxygen canister for staying alive at the bottom of a dark ocean.
I kept pretending that Manny was listening to my ghost stories with zeal, as he always had. I even kept pretending Manny was asking me his naïve questions after I finished with them. But no broken glass ever goes back to being the same, even with the most expensive and high-quality glue.
All these schizophrenic conversations with my invisible brother ultimately led me to portray what I described as a first-perspective reality. My room had a different visitor coming from my own narrations every night. Sometimes the ghosts were hideous and daunting, but most of the times they had a funny-looking and amusing aura around them.
Almost in any case the ghosts had something to confess and they needed an active partner like me to do so. And that’s exactly when I started suspecting I was either losing my mind or paradoxically gifted with a sixth sense.
At some point, I realized these ghosts were not at all beyond the capacity of my imagination, since I had absolute control over their appearance and personality. On top of that, I could backtrack an entire history of their eerie pasts. I designed portraits of enslaved and plagued souls from start to finish, putting them either into happy, lollipop, rainbow worlds or in sinister, gothic, vampiric, deadly ones.
By the age of twelve I had already generated an enormous panel of ghost characters. Almost every day and night, I stacked any significant or even pointless detail of my “perception globe” to their personae.
After a while, I shared my personal opinions with them and, in exchange, they described unnatural settings of a shifted cosmos they had experienced in some life. Surrounded by all these gracious apparitions, I somehow managed to retain a façade of companionship, which helped me withstand Manny’s absence for a long time thereafter.
* * *
Copyright © 2013 by George S. Karagiannis