As she stormed out of the bathroom, Nancy collided with the restaurant owner.
"Hey, goddamn it. Restrooms are for customers only!" he yelled from the floor.
Nancy didn't hear him. She rushed passed the people on Durant Avenue. Some angrily turned their heads back in her direction.
As Nancy headed back to the Tang Center, she could hear muffled voices in her head. Nancy entered the Tang Center, and tried the doorknob to Dr. Forrest's office. It was locked. When she looked down at her watch, it suddenly dawned on Nancy that she was Dr. Forrest's last patient for the day.
"Dr. Forrest…Neil…are you there? Please, I need your help," pleaded Nancy.
"What I did on the balance beam today was nothing. That was a warm up. You should've seen me at the state championships. All the girls from St. Mary's didn't know what to say."
Nancy turned her attention to the hallway and saw Becca, the strawberry blonde girl from the mirror.
"I might've made it to the Olympics, but Freddy did this to me."
Suddenly, Becca was nude and floating in water. Nancy could see slash marks appear on Becca's wrists and ankles. The blood turned the water crimson as Becca's eyes became glassy.
"He attacked me when I feel asleep in the tub. When my mother found me, it looked like a suicide. Everyone was devastated—thinking that I killed myself."
Nancy jumped when Neil put his hand on her shoulder.
"Nancy, what are you doing here?" asked Neil.
Nancy turned back to look for Becca, but she was gone.
"I need your help, Neil."
Nancy was once again in Neil's office. But the places were switched now. Nancy was in a chair, and Neil was sitting on the edge of the sofa.
"I don't normally do this for my patients. But I'm making the exception for you, given your circumstances. Before we can proceed, I need to know that you've calmed down from your experience."
Nancy didn't answer him. She was completely discombobulated.
"Nancy, you told me you were sexually abused. It's not abnormal for somebody to develop a split personality. Granted, it usually shows up earlier in a person's life. But a coping mechanism doesn't necessarily have a timeline."
"Really, so have you ever heard of a split personality doing gymnastics?" Her eyes looked wild, as she leaned in towards Neil.
"People with split personalities have done extreme things. Some turn to promiscuity. Others do dangerous feats that are life-threatening. As I said, the personality is a coping mechanism. Your mind is distancing itself from what it considers weak."
Nancy looked at Neil inquisitively. He still didn't answer her question. Neil could sense it.
"All right…I would think that a split personality would still know its physical limitations. I can only go by what you're telling me. If you're telling me the truth, and you've never done gymnastics before, then how exactly did you learn it?"
"Exactly! Then, tell me what's going on with me?" asked Nancy desperately. "First you said I have PTSD. Then, because of what I saw, I might have a split personality. Which is it…why am I losing time and doing things that I've never done before!"
"Nancy, please, I need you to control yourself. In order to answer your questions, we need to know what's happening in your head. Perhaps we can try hypnosis, and see if you can connect with…'Becca' did you say?"
"Yes, Becca," said Nancy. Saying the name only made her feel panicky.
"To get into your mind, we're going to try hypnosis." Neil opened a cabinet. He took out a Newton's cradle, and placed it on his desk. Nancy was confused as to why Neil would bring that out. It was a pendulum comprised of several metal spheres.
Then, Neil brought out a Chevreul's pendulum.
"Okay, Nancy, I want you to hold this pendulum in your right hand. Now, hold it up to here so that your eyes can focus on it." Neil moved Nancy's hand above her head so that the pendulum was at eye level.
"I want you to swing the pendulum around. As it moves, focus on a spot within the pendulum, and keep your eyes on that spot."
Nancy could see the pendulum drifting within her eyesight and towards her peripheral vision. She focused on the flattest surface she could see on the pendulum.
"Now, notice how your eyes keep getting heavier…heavier…keep focusing on that spot…feel your eyes get heavier as you feel more drawn to that spot."
Nancy's eyelids felt like sandbags, as she struggled to keep her vision clear. Had it not been for the Hypnocil, Nancy would've dreaded the idea of closing her eyes.
"You're feeling the incredible need to close your eyes as you continue focusing on that spot…as the pendulum continues to move more and more. And as your arm becomes heavy, your eyes become heavy too. The pendulum becomes heavy as you relax more and more."
"As the pendulum lowers, your eyes become lower too. Let your arm, your eyes, and your head lower with the pendulum. And the more it lowers, the more relaxed you're getting."
Nancy could feel her entire body relaxing. The pendulum was lowering into Neil's waiting hand, as Nancy gave way to her subconscious.
Nancy could feel herself floating in darkness. There was a chill that came over her.
"Nancy, I want you to visualize a vanity in front of you."
The darkness gave way to light as a vanity materialized in Nancy's mind.
"The vanity has a beautiful oval mirror. I want you to look at your reflection in the mirror."
Nancy could see her reflection.
"You should see yourself in the mirror first. Now, I want you to call out Becca."
"Becca," said Nancy to the mirror. Her words fell like cotton out of her mouth.
Nancy still could only see her reflection. "Becca didn't appear."
"Ask for Becca again, Nancy. Only lean closer to the mirror," said Neil. His voice sounded like the voice of God echoing from the sky.
"Becca," said Nancy. "I need to talk to you."
Becca still didn't materialize.
"Nancy, you're not saying anything. So, I assume that Becca didn't appear. I'm going to count backwards from ten. Ten…nine…"
As Nancy readied herself for consciousness, she didn't notice the armchairs snaking around her wrists. The wood tightened, and as Nancy opened her mouth to scream, only dust came out.
The vanity mirror spun around faster than a hummingbird's wings. It was only millimeters from striking Nancy in the face. She tried to will herself back to Dr. Forrest. But the more she squirmed, the farther that the wooden vines climbed upward—now reaching her neck. Nancy could've sworn that she saw fleeting images of Kris, Dean, and Jesse. And then, the mirror came to a sudden stop.
Nancy kept hoping to hear Dr. Forrest's voice again. But there was complete silence.
Then, Nancy was hearing a male voice but it wasn't Dr. Forrest's. At first, it was muffled until suddenly the wooden vines on her neck began to creep upward. Only this time, it was peeling the skin off of her face. She looked in the mirror helplessly. Her face was a bloody pulp, but it was morphing into a boy's face. She looked like a boy with a pockmarked face. His green eyes were piercing, and showed even through his light brown bangs. He spoke:
"I'm Aiden. After that preschool shit, my father got full custody of me. He didn't want me to grow up to be no faggot, so he taught me how to fuck people up—knife fighting, rifles, mixed martial arts. We lived up in Montana, so there were woods all around us. I really thought I was a 'bad ass.' I didn't know shit because he still got me."
Nancy could see Aiden sleeping. Then, she could see saw him rise up from his bed. It was not until he reached the kitchens backdoor that Nancy noticed Aiden was being dragged. Aiden disappeared into the thick woods.
"He bashed my head against a tree. The damage was so bad that they didn't recognize me at first. Coroner said it was a freak sleepwalking accident. Bullshit!"
Nancy's face began to peel off again. Another male face was appearing in the reflection. It was…Marcus Yeon.
"I never thought I'd love film. When I was turned onto Errol Morris's documentaries, I knew I found my calling. I started the webcam, hoping to escape the boredom of my small town. I wanted to create something, not follow what everybody else was doing. I'll never have that chance."
Nancy could see the coroner picking glass shards out of Marcus's eyes. His eyeball collapsed as the fluid seeped out.
The mirror kept spinning.
A heavyset girl with long brown hair appeared. She was layered in clothing. A gray dress covered by an even darker shawl. "I'm Calliope. I translated for people my whole life. So, when they were looking for an interpreter at the legal clinic, I thought why not? I was getting school credit for it too. I might've gone to college if he didn't come back for me." Nancy could see Calliope lying dead. Her tongue was draped over a light bulb, simmering in the heat."
The mirror spun again.
A buxom girl with moussed blonde hair appeared. Her eyes and lips were framed by neon eye shadow and red lip liner. "I'm Chantelle, but my friends called me Telly. Even though we moved, my parents knew that I was a lost cause. No amount of therapy was going to fix me. I was a bad student from elementary all the way through high school. I spent more time in detention than class. I didn't do much but party and sleep around. At one of the parties, I got raped by a guy I said no to. By then, I just felt empty. But Freddy came back…he took me in his arms." Nancy could see Telly writhing in her bed, as her body was crushed by invisible arms.
The mirror spun again.
"I'm Rhonda. I never forgot what happened. So, I used dancing as an escape." Rhonda still looked as she did in the preschool picture. She had a clear chocolate-brown complexion with her hair in two ponytails. When I turned eighteen, I was going to move to New York and attend Julliard. I wanted to be an inspiration to kids everywhere…that you can be strong no matter what." Nancy could Nia's body being discovered. You would've thought she was asleep until you removed the blanket. Her feet and legs were covered in third-degree burns.
The mirror spun again.
A girl with a freckled complexion appeared. Her light-brown hair was pulled back by a head band. She wore a navy blue cardigan with a white buttoned shirt underneath. She never once made eye contact with Nancy. "I'm Pauline. I never fit in with the other kids, so I spent a lot of time alone. I wasn't that great at school, even though I looked the part. The only thing that I had was church. I'd sit in the chapel for hours and daydream about different things. Dandelion fields…quiet places for me to go." Nancy could see Pauline's twisted body illuminated by candles. Her head had been squeezed through one of the pews.
The mirror spun again.
Nancy could see another girl with a perpetual sour expression. She looked severely underweight with dark bags under her eyes. "I'm Kaitlyn. I'm not going to give you a sob story like those other stupid fucks. I fell asleep and the bastard cut me up. The end."
The mirror spun again.
This time, Nancy's face wasn't eviscerated. The armchair vines vanished, and Nancy was able to move again. She was faced with a statuesque girl with a prideful look in her eyes. Her vermillion hair was pulled back in a ponytail. "I'm Allison. I'm not going to bore you with the details of my death. The fact is that we all couldn't move on because Freddy Krueger still exists. We have to stop him, and only you can help us."
Before Allison could continue, Nancy's eyes shot open. Her vision focused until she could see her mother and Neil Forrest in the hallway. A nurse was in between them.
"Ma'am, please, I need you to calm down," said the nurse.
"Don't tell me to calm down. I don't give a damn about your excuses!" yelled Gwen Holbrook. "My daughter had her cell phone on her. You would've found me…I'm listed as 'Mom' for Christ sakes! I went so far as contacting her boyfriend. And he's in Ohio."
"I would've made a better effort to contact you. But Nancy wasn't coming out of her trance. She showed signs of doing harm to herself, so I took precautions."
"My daughter is not a danger to herself. She has friends, she's doing well academically, and she even has a long-distance relationship. She's a normal girl."
"Then, she hasn't told you about her current condition?" inquired Dr. Forrest in a sarcastic tone.
"What current condition?" asked Gwen.
"I'll leave her to tell you that," said Dr. Forrest. "I have to go, as I'm already late for another engagement."
Dr. Forrest left in the opposite direction. The nurse turned in Nancy's direction.
"She's awake again," said the nurse, as she gave a quick visual evaluation of Nancy's condition. "I'll call the doctor. I'll be right back Ms. Holbrook."
Nancy could see her mother head-on. But instead of looking concerned, Nancy noticed a mixture of disappointment and anger in Gwen's face. What do I do now? thought Nancy.