Author : Michael Herbaugh a.k.a. “Freeman”

Ten years. That’s what the Fri-l’r sting had cost him. Craig had been on safari on Lankus XIII when the accident happened. His friends didn’t realize until a few days later that his personality had been completely superseded, but for Craig the transition was immediate. For Craig, it was like he’d been locked in a dark box with small lights racing all around him, locked in his own mind for ten years. Ten years of complete sensory deprivation while the Fri-l’r had control of his brain and by extension his body.

Ten years seemed both impossibly long and incredibly short while trapped in his own mind, learning the language of the neurons firing around him. Craig had been fighting intensely to regain control of the pieces of him that previously had taken little or no effort at all. Fortunately for Craig, he wasn’t the first case. While he spent ten years trying to fight his way out, there was a team of psychiatrists wrestling with the Fri-l’r personality, convincing it to let go of the body it had grabbed merely by instinct, fighting to allow Craig to regain control.

Craig finally emerged to the body of a thirty-nine year old having been locked inside since he was twenty-nine. While his body had aged and the Fri-l’r had kept it in good shape, Craig retained the maturity of man now ten years his junior. It wasn’t long until he began to feel disconnected from his old life. All his pre-Fri-l’r friends were living their lives, with the loves and families of middle age, while he retained the wild personality of their youth. He made new friends, sure, ones that felt more appropriate of age, but having the body of a forty year old, he was always an outsider amongst them as well. Dated. While he shared the same goals and interests as his new younger counterparts, he was more of a relic in his knowledge of this new time he had awoken in. Craig was more of a token in his new circle, an object of interest and entertainment.

A side effect of the accident and his rehabilitation was that he had a strikingly acute awareness of his own mind. When he closed his eyes he could see his own thoughts as they raced around his brain in the form of neural energy. Craig felt as though he had a more accurate sense of his emotions, however those around him felt that he had lost the emotional expression that they felt was ‘normal’. People found him to be insincere; he knew he had feelings, he just had lost the ability to express them to others.

After a few months of being back in society, Craig’s disconnect from those around him grew to be too much to handle. He could see only one solution. He would turn his body back over to the Fri-l’r personality which had been subjugated to the deepest parts of his sub-conscious, and return to the depths of his own mind.

On the night he sat down and decided with finality that he would relinquish himself back to his neural prison, he wrote a note to the world he would leave behind.

It read, “Don’t concern yourself with me, I died ten years ago. Help the man I leave behind.”

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