As he'd thought, Brendan found Freya at her desk. The confession had obviously been easy enough to get from the convict. Before he reached her, he opened his mind, letting her know he was there.
"Brendan! You came back early," she smiled her warm, open smile at him as she turned to face him until she noticed his expression. "What is it?"
"I need to tell you something." :In private.:
She nodded and motioned to a chair, which he took nervously.
"You know I've got this memory. The really good memory."
"Well…" :It's more than you think.:
She frowned, opening her mouth to ask a question.
:I might be like you.:
He watched her stumble over her own thoughts, the conflicts in her mind clearly showing in her face. The joy of not being alone, the fear of how he'd react, confusion about why this was happening.
"The doc wants us to take a few days off with him. So I don't have to think so much," :He said he'd take me to his facility, do a few tests, make sure everything was okay. He wants you to come with us so you could help.:
She smiled again. "Sure. What for?"
"He said we've been working too hard, need to take a break or something." :I could be dangerous Freya. If I don't do this soon, and I really am like you, then I could hurt people.:
The observer's face paled, but she continued to wear the smile. "When do we leave?"
"I don't know yet, he's got to sort it out with Harper," :Tomorrow, don't know what time. Doc said it had to be soon, just in case.:
"Well, we'll find out later." She stood to indicate the conversation was over, though her eyes showed that she wished it wasn't.
:God I hope so.:
It was some time after lunch when they arrived at the strange farm. It seemed abandoned at first glance, but from the tyre tracks outside, the faint light coming from some of the windows and a slight whirring sound of a generator, Brendan could tell the place was being lived in.
"Nice place," he said, exiting the car. He watched Freya as she left her door open, moving slowly towards the building, a look of acceptance and calm in her eyes.
As the three went inside with their luggage, they were met by a team of men and women in white lab coats, all smiling and welcoming the doctor and Freya warmly, then turning their attention to him in an equally friendly manor. It made the agent feel uncomfortable, but he quickly followed the pair.
Eventually, they came to a small room with a single bed next to the window.
"This will be your room Brendan. I know it's small, but it's the best we could do on short notice." Michael explained letting the other man put his things inside. "We'll have to start those tests soon, but we'd better get some food first."
Brendan smiled wryly and continued to follow the doctor, realising that Freya was no longer with them.
"She's going to meet us in the mess, she just needed to put her things away."
(How does he do that?)
Just as Michael had said, Freya joined them at lunch, smiling at anyone who passed their table in between mouthfuls of her spicy chicken wrap and orange juice. It was nice to see her so at home in this strange environment, and it made Brendan relax a bit more.
Once they had finished their food, he was led to a large room that looked somewhat like a stable, though the stalls themselves had been dismantled and moved to the other end. At that moment, there was a set of chairs, a heart monitor, a machine that read brain waves and one of the female scientists waiting patiently reading a book. Chekhov.
He suddenly felt nervous and wasn't sure whether he wanted to do this.
"Brendan, you'll be fine," he felt Freya's hand on his arm, but was unable to turn away from the dreaded machines. "They know what they're doing, just relax."
He was led over to the nearest chair and told to remove his jacket and shirt. Doing as he was told, he shivered as several ice-cold pads were placed in various places over his chest and around his head. As the machines were turned on, he felt like he was some kind of light bulb, wired up to several batteries.
"Now, Mister Dean, I'd like you to remember the first time you used your memory," The female scientist instructed, putting her book under her chair.
Brendan closed his eyes. The paint was running through his fingers as he tried to put it back in its pot, covering them in its bright red colour. One of the helpers notice and pull him away, wiping his hands off with their apron and giving him a box of crayons instead.
"Brendan!" She said, "What am I going to do with you? Now you get on and draw your house like the others, okay?"
He nodded, looking at the box in his small hand. He lay down on his front on the carpeted floor, putting his paper on top of a colouring book so it wouldn't break.
He remembered the house. The windows, the porch, that tap on the wall. He remembered the picnic he had last week, playing fetch with Jake and he watched his hands as they drew what he saw. It was the best he could do with crayons, and he'd done it as quickly as possible so he could go back to the sand box, but something wasn't right.
As he stood up, he realised how complex his was compared to everyone else's.
"Miss Grace. Miss Grace!" He cried, trying to find the carer. She appeared quickly from around the corner, eyes full of concern.
"What is it Bren? Is that your drawing? May I see it?" she held out her hand as she knelt before the fretting boy.
"Am I a… A freak?" he asked as he handed it over, eyes filling with tears.
"What? Why would you say something like…" she looked at the picture, "Oh my."
Brendan burst into tears. "I am a freak! I'm so sorry Miss Grace! I didn't mean to…"
"Did you draw this?" she asked. He nodded. "You're not a freak. Come here." She held out her arms and her strong, soft arms surrounded Brendan as he cried deeply into her apron.
As he opened his eyes, Brendan realised they were beginning to fill, rubbing them quickly to stop them from overflowing. He noticed Freya was holding his hand, and he squeezed it, showing her he was all right. She smiled at him, but didn't let go.
:Did you tell them?:
"Interesting," the scientist wrote something on the pad she was now holding.
Michael leaned forwards in his chair. "What did you do with your memory after this?"
"I um…" Brendan blinked away the remaining tears and looked at the doctor, "I didn't use it in things like that. I stopped drawing from memory, but my imagination was good too, so I just drew box house and stickmen, like everyone else. When I got to school, I only used it for schoolwork, like tests, the rest of the time I pretended I was average kid, playing soccer and football with the other boys."
"So you suppressed it."
"I suppose you could say that."
More scribbling. The woman looked up from her pad. "Do you get headaches frequently, migraines, a sleeping disorder?"
"All of the above." He grumbled. "But I think that's work related." :Most of the time.: "Most of the time anyway."
Doctor Wells looked at him sharply. "When? How frequently?"
"It started after I got into the NSA. At first I thought it was because of the stress, but it wasn't often enough to be of much concern. They became more and more frequent over the years. It's gotten worse since I stared working with Freya." :Sorry I didn't tell you sooner.:
No one spoke for a few moments, the three of them staring at Brendan, making him shift uncomfortably in his chair.
"Sir, he's exactly the same as…"
"I know Jane."
"Exactly the same as who doc?" Brendan asked, afraid to know the answer, but also knowing he had to.
Michael leaned back, breathing out slowly. "Two years ago, we met someone like you. His name was George White. He was a market salesman. Like you, he had eidetic memory, but he'd suppressed it as a child. When we found him, he was a wreck, always covering his ears, sending out images of his family and work, unable to sleep at night and taking far too many paracetamol for his own health because of the constant migraines. He spent as much time away from home as possible, saying his daughter made him sick. Turns out she was a telepath, though be it a very weak one. He'd managed to break his leg while carrying wooden crates from a truck, so we had to take him to a hospital before bringing him here. They had to keep him overnight because of how bad a state he was in." He rubbed his face. "By morning, he had reached a catatonic state, and everyone in the surrounding area began to be affected by his mind games. That night, he was dead, and those that had surrounded him in his final hours were either in comas or mentally damaged in some way."
Brendan physically paled. :I would have become that?:
"As I said before, we were lucky we got to you so soon, and we can stop that from happening again, but you must co-operate. Do you understand?"
The man nodded, not trusting his voice to answer.
"Good. Well, now that we've got the initial tests our of the way, we'd better get on with this."