Emptiness of… By D.I. Jolly (Part 2 of 3)

A sudden cold sweat started to dance over Dr Roberts body. The concept of being wrong hadn’t occurred to him. He had been so caught up in his idea, his new discovery, that he hadn’t contemplate the possibility that he even could be wrong. Instantly a second voice in his mind appeared to counter these thoughts.

‘Of course I’m not wrong, I’m human prime, I was a genius to start with and I’m smarter now, I cannot be wrong.’

But still a small voice in the darker part of his mind whisper.

‘But what if?’

And it cleared his mind of all thought, and a blankness came over him, a doubt the seeped into his every muscle and locked him in place. For a few moments, his conscious mind fought with the emptiness trying to reform thoughts and hold onto ideas but they were slipping away faster than he could form them and before he really knew what was happening he knew nothing. A shall of a man standing like a statue staring at a young woman who lay on the ground twitching and shaking with fear and the stress of the drugs he’d forced into her.

From Genevieve’s point of view, she watched as Dr Roberts eyes flickered from side to side for a moment, a thing she’d seen many time before when he was confronted by a new idea. Then his eyes stopped, and all colour seemed to drain from him, and he simply stood there.

Minutes passed when finally, like a spark in darkness, thought crept back into his mind. quietly at first, he very specifically and methodically ran over the formula he had created. Forcing himself not to skip a single step, ignoring the urge to presume, he mentally went one by one over everything he had done until he reached a mental question mark, a variable in his formula that he had simply assumed without testing and the blank dark emptiness of his mind exploded with arguments and counter-arguments.

‘Oh my God I’ve killed her, I’m a monster.’

‘No, I’m a genius, I’m right, this is unnecessary, I know what I’m doing!’

‘But what if I don’t, what if, what if I over measured, her liver might fail, her kidneys, hell increased brain activity what if she mentally burns out while I stand here, I’ve got do something.’

‘Do nothing! … If I start poking and probing her now I’ll stress her out and that will cause complications, and besides it worked on me it will work on her.’

In an instant, he created every possible outcome positive and negative and fought with himself over them until once again completely overwhelmed his mind went blank like a machine pushed to the point where a fuse bursts and the whole thing shuts down. Then slowly again the spark of thought appeared, but this time more personal.

‘If I don’t calm down, I’m going to burn out my own mind, and then, if I am wrong, there will be no one who can help her.’

This though sat alone for what seemed like a long time, occasionally repeating, but always being very careful to not begin another mental spiral. Carefully sitting in the emptiness, a single simple idea. After a while, that idea, unaffected by other thoughts managed to take root and he became aware of himself as a physical being, and he looked down at Genevieve and smiled.

“Do not worry, I have gone over the numbers, considered every variable from every angle, I am not wrong. Everything is going to be just fine, you’ll see, soon enough you’ll see. I promise.”

He knelt down to be on eye level with her and allowed his smile to linger, fully aware now that he might be lying, but also aware that it was the correct course of action from his part. He still had total faith in his actions. He once again knew that he had done the right thing, but now the voice in his head was saying that provided she survived she would understand, and that failure would be unfortunate but also for the greater good. To fail now would only result in one casualty, and give him the data he would need to make proper adjustments should he need to. In a way, he almost hoped he had gotten it wrong for the sake of science. But he continued to smile and speak soothingly anyway, in case he’d gotten it right, after all.

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