I stepped back as I watched my nervous husband take my place in therapy as Akil got up with a black bag and began to pour white sand around Percy’s feet. Just his feet. They made him take his shirt off and after arguing and debating the process, Percy proceeded to strip down to just his pants as Dr. Hampton placed a soaked sponge over his head. I could smell the oils and herbs from the bowl as they liquid dripped down from the center of his scalp to his shoulders and chest. Akil pulled my chair back and prompted me to sit in the corner to watch as they closed and locked the door. Nobody in, and nobody out. Percy looked back at me like he wanted to say something before Dr. Hampton made him face her.
“Everything I’m doing right now is to protect you. Since I plan on opening up the spiritual realm, I don’t want anything attached to you in your moment of weakness, do you understand?”
“You agree to let me perform this sleep study?” she asked as she squeezed the sponge over his head again and began washing his shoulders and chest.
“Shouldn’t we at least discuss---”
“No time. Do you want to do this or not?” she demanded. “I told you it will start right away. The sooner I know what I’m dealing with, the better I know how to treat it. This is your last chance,” she said as she grabbed his arms to wipe him down. Akil came walking up behind Percy with his eyes on his mother.
“I’m here aren’t I? I’m doing it,” he snapped. “I signed the contract and agreed to it.”
Akil grabbed Percy’s head with a hard jerk and snapped it back as I gasped, jumping out of my seat as his body went limp. He was out cold for a moment before his head slowly...pulled back up. Dr. Hampton motioned for me to remain silent.
“If he hears your voice, it may break him out of this. I’m going to ask him a few questions including his age. This is specifically to find out the last traumatic memory he has. I’m not sure how far back he’s willing to go but I won’t push it, do you understand?” she whispered. I nodded and watched with a nervous leg as Percy’s eyes remained closed as his fingers lightly tapped against his knees. Akil sat behind the desk and motioned for her to begin as Dr. Hampton sat down with her notebook.
“Who am I speaking with?”
“Percy,” his voice said in a low voice. There was almost a crack in his tone. He didn’t sound like his usual self. Voice was raspy yet youthful. Nothing like the mature tone I was used to.
“What do you prefer to be called?” she asked as she began taking notes. Percy’s head slowly leaned to the side for a moment as his chest rose and fell.
“May I ask, how old are you?”
My mouth dropped as Dr. Hampton held her hand up for me to keep quiet.
“Okay Hugo it is,” she began, crossing one leg over the other as she motioned at Akil to turn something up. “Do you remember being a kid?”
He smiled, eyes rapidly moving underneath his eyelids as he nodded.
“What was your favorite game?”
“It didn’t matter, I would beat anyone at any game,” he said as I smiled.
“Did you play games with your siblings?”
“Yeah,” he laughed. “My brother and I would attack our sister all the time. Double team her when she least suspected it.”
“What’s your sisters name?”
“Pia, but we called her Pee Pee…”
“Now why on earth would you attack your sister? She’s your big sister?” Dr. Hampton asked, playing along with the conversation as Percy’s head lowered.
“Mother says I like to inflict pain onto people.”
“And did you?”
“Where did you get that from? Why do you think you like inflicting pain onto others?”
He didn’t say anything, just continued to nod off like he was falling deeper into his sleep.
“May I ask who Jasmine is?”
“A girl I know,” he mumbled. “Her mother and my mother are best friends.”
“Did you stay over at her house sometimes when you were younger?”
“Do you remember what those days were like? Staying with Jasmine?”
“Weird,” he said, sounding nothing short of a young boy as he shook his head, “really weird.”
“Why do you say that?”
“I just remember her house being weird but her brother was the only normal one. I remember having these weird dreams every time I stayed over there...nightmares.”
“Yeah, I would hear her scream in the middle of the night. Her family would dance around in a circle and pray. I used to wake up like ahhh!” he screamed, chest heaving as he looked around with his eyes squeezed shut, “and the house was quiet. Nobody was screaming anymore and everyone was still asleep. We would wake up the next morning and they would take Nicolas and I to the toy store.”
“Off doing girly stuff I suppose, how should I know?” he asked.
I could tell Dr. Hampton was getting frustrated as she uncrossed and crossed her legs again.
“Hugo, can you dig a little deeper for me…” she said in a calm voice, “I need you to go as far back as you can go, beyond the dream and tell me exactly what you saw at Jasmine’s house…I want to know what happened to her, can you do that for me? She’s in danger and I need to know what happens so we can make her all better.”
Percy’s body began to waver a bit as Akil quietly stood up with his hand rubbing his fingers against his palm. The dry flesh noise grew louder until I saw something like black powder form between his finger tips. He was making something out of thin air when Dr. Hampton began to count down. She said she wasn’t going to push him any further but what the hell was this? I started to sit up, ready to interject when Akil blew the powder against his face as she gently whispered zero…
Everything became still. Percy’s wavering body froze for a moment, leaning to one side, almost falling off the chair but he remained rigid.