The vision was a jumble, this time.
I saw blood, gushing. A stream of it, that seemed to be a major theme, as apparent rivers of it sloshed across my vision and impacted on a curled fist. The vision was focusing on the blood, and I kept on seeing the stream suspended in the air, a red waterfall frozen in time. The blood-drenched hand was just out of focus.
You can't exactly clear your throat or nudge the vision to hurry it up, it's got a schedule of its own. So I didn't bother pointing out that it was eight minutes til and just concentrated on being available.
Visions are like cats, you can't get it to do what you want, doubly so if you're actively trying to force it. You've just gotta act uninterested, almost, and have an open and warm mind that the vision can find appealing, but that's something one learns over time, at least that’s what they tell us. I was still in the learning phase, so most of this was theoretical.
So I waited somewhat-patiently, fiddled my thumbs, and tried desperately not to appear anxious.
At six minutes til I got up and got a cup of water, wandered around the small reception area and took some long, museum-pace looks at the art on the walls.
There was a picture of a blue butterfly right behind the receptionist, and something about it kicked the vision into gear once again.
I saw the usual latter-half material: the body drops, the receptionist on the phone with the cops is a blur as I run past her, the other patients cowering in the waiting room or rushing out of the office and into the street. The vision shifts farther into the future and becomes blurry, but I don’t see any sirens, so this is a slow-cop-response vision.
The frozen fountain of blood came back and I wondered what’s so important about this. As they told us in basic, the key is to let the vision come and not try to figure it out, it would all make sense eventually. I took a seat, let the vision continue its unusual narrative.
The fountain was frozen, and I took a moment to examine the scene. I could make out my hand, below the river of blood, of course. It was red, covered entirely in blood and holding… wasn’t even sure what the hell it was, maybe a pair of scissors?
The doctor came out and called my name, and I was still tripping balls. It can be a bit distracting to try and walk while the vision comes to you, so the doctor moved to steady me.
As I touched her hand, the vision kicked in, more powerful, and I saw a small girl in a black dress at a funeral.
The doctor lead me into her office, a friendly wood-covered affair, diplomas on the wall, a modest bookcase behind a dark wooden desk.
The vision kicked in again when I saw the desk, the frozen fountain of blood blotted out the real world for a moment. In the vision the desk oscillated between the barely-splattered affair and some future point when the blood had pooled on the surface and was slowly dripping onto the carpet as men in hazmat-looking suits collected evidence.
The doctor gave me an awkward look but went on with her introductory spiel, talked about the kind of counseling she provided, blah blah blah. I nodded along and focused on the office, looked for the murder weapon.
The vision seemed to sense my search and helpfully supplied a detail: the little girl, the one I saw earlier at the soon-to-be funeral, she was handing the doctor - her mother - something… It wasn’t clear, the kid had done a poor job of gift-wrapping the weapon, was holding it up with both hands extending an oddly-shaped gift it to her mother.
Shit. Perhaps the vision was under the impression that I could x-ray the damn thing.
I shook my head and the doctor assumed I was disagreeing with her. I played along, said something about seasonal allergies and hoped that it fit in with whatever she was talking about.
The vision came back when I stopped speaking.
I saw a woman in her thirties. She was behind the wheel of a vehicle. Her hands were unsteady on the driving wheel and kept slipping off. I thought I could smell the alcohol on her breath, in the car. She was muttering something, speaking unintelligibly to herself.
It was familiar, I could almost write the rest myself, but the vision wasn’t interested in me.
The young woman pulled on the wheel, pulled herself forward, closer to the dash, then the cab was filled with a blizzard of glass and gravity turned off. For countless moments the scene was peaceful, the driver suspended in time and space as the truck she was in continued to fall. The vision cut off there.
I remembered the crash from the briefing packet. It will make the news when it happens, the young DA with a promising career, a senseless accident, the far-reaching ripples that wouldn’t be apparent for decades.
I looked at the doctor’s desk and saw a picture of a young smiling girl inside a ceramic handmade pink and purple frame, flowers lining its perimeter. The doctor noticed my gaze, said “My daughter, she’s going to be ten next week.”
I nodded and didn’t say anything.
The vision came back and I saw the driver, but she looked to be in her late teens. This time she was in a police station, speaking to a plainclothes officer. She wore the more-flamboyant pinks and yellows, a throwback to the 80s that her generation had started to relive. It was such a contrast to the dark pants and turtleneck sweater I saw her wearing in her thirties.
In front of the officer was a folder with a familiar-looking black and white photograph. It was familiar because the picture was of the desk in front of me, though in the police folder the desk was covered in blood.
The officer took out an evidence bag. At first I thought that they had some sort of an organ in evidence, like they decided to keep the victim’s appendix around for shits and giggles, but quickly I realized that this was the murder weapon, and it was still covered in blood.
The young woman took the bag and a dam broke inside her, she leaned back in her chair and bawled. She cradled the bag. Whatever the weapon was, it was very important to her.
I looked at the surface of the desk and tried to find whatever it was that the vision had been trying to show me without much success.
The doctor noticed my gaze and asked if I was hearing voices even now.
“Voices, yes,” I finally remembered what the fake appointment was for. The briefing was slowly coming back to me, through the fog of the visions and the destabilizing leap into this time period.
“What are they saying?”
“They are chattering about the draft. Fantasy football.”
The doctor laughed at that. Still got it.
“Did your daughter make that?” I pointed at the pink and purple frame. “It’s very pretty.”
“Thanks, I’ll have to let her know,” the doctor beamed back, pride shining like a lighthouse. “She’s in a kids’ pottery class on weekends, learning how to glaze now.”
The doctor opened a cabinet on her side of the desk and pulled out a clay piece out of it. There was a large opening at the end closest to me and small holes lined the piece on top.
“She made this South American flute last month,” the doctor said and sealed her death sentence.
I looked on the small instrument, a glint of practiced awe spreading on my face. The doctor saw this and offered it me.
It was a glazed clay flute, shallow lines crossed its surface and made a butterfly pattern. The vision came then, the narrow end of the instrument plunging into the doctor and birthing that too-familiar fountain of blood.
In my mind I marked that spot on the doctor’s neck, held it for a moment with my eyes, then leaned forward to give back the flute.