“It’s so smoky in here; it’s like someone set off a bomb.”
As soon as I say the stupid line, I Split into the Mind Dimension, and time seems to stop.
Victor is squatting over his chair, about to sit down. If this was still the real world, his legs would hurt in a minute or so. As it is, he’s as aware of his muscles as a wax statue would be. Shkillet, a guy at the poker table, is frozen in mid-stare at my body—a position I often find men in. The other players are similarly stuck at what they were doing when I Split. The strangest thing in the room is probably the thick cigar smoke that’s no longer moving. It looks eerie, like frozen clouds on an alien world. I don’t smell the smoke now, which is a relief. I also don’t hear anything other than the sound of my high heels clicking on the floor as I walk around the room.
I look at these men, these dangerous men, and an inner voice tells me, “Mira, no sane woman would voluntarily be here. Not even to merely observe this poker game, let alone play with these savages.” It’s funny how this inner voice usually sounds like my mom.
“You’re dead, Mom,” I mentally reply to the inner voice. “And I’m here to find the fucker who killed you. Can’t we have an imaginary conversation without all this nagging?”
The inner voice sneers—but that’s me. Mom was too nice to sneer.
The Mind Dimension makes it safe for me to walk around the room and peek at my opponents’ cards without them being the wiser. When I’m in the Mind Dimension, everything stops in a single moment. No matter what I do here in this alternate world, when I get back to my real body—the body that’s still sitting at the table—I’ll still be in the same situation as I was before I Split: still being stared at by Shkillet, and still having just said that line about the bomb.
When I first learned I could Split, I was a little girl, and I thought my soul was leaving my body. But that was back when I believed in such things as souls, and God, and goodness—words that are meaningless to me now. Back in those days, I also believed in silly things, like the fact that there is a purpose to life.
I don’t any longer. Not since that day.
Since that day, I haven’t believed in anything but myself. And sometimes—a lot of times—not even that. That little girl who believed in souls would certainly think I’m a stranger if she met me today.
And maybe, she would think I’m a monster.