Scientists invent a tool that can read people’s thoughts. They will use it to help people such as those with “locked-in syndrome” and ALS communicate with their loved ones and caregivers.
Powerful people learn of the invention and will stop at nothing to get it. They will combine its power with Artificial Intelligence to control people.
The ensuing battle may spell the end of humanity.
Targeted Age Group:: 18-65
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I read about a person who suffered from "locked-in syndrome" resulting from a traumatic brain injury that left him fully aware of what was going on around him. He learned to communicate by blinking his eyes, and eventually could communicate using a computer by typing out words one letter at a time. This time consuming, exhausting process caused me to think of other ways he might communicate, albeit in a fictional way.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I came up with the scientists by imagining how they might conceive of such an invention. I created them as people with feelings. The powerful people characters were harder to create because they were evil. I didn't intend them to be caricatures, but some may consider them to be.
An unsavory, ruggedly handsome guy has worked at Mickey’s
Auto Body Shop in Bedrock, Massachusetts for the past twenty years. A lifelong resident of Bedrock, he got the job full-time after his fifth year of high school, graduating because the school administrators wanted him gone. Growing up, he was a rough and tumble kid who settled disagreements with his fists. Expelled several times for fighting, everyone in town knew him or of him. His name is Willie Davids.
Davids has always been able to fix almost anything he got his
hands on. Doing the kid a favor by trying to keep him busy and out of trouble, Mickey let him use some tools to build racing carts and fix his bikes. Seeing his potential, he hired him to work in his shop part-time when Davids turned sixteen. He learned how to repair anything on any car, but rebuilding engines and painting cars with a paint job as good as from the factory gave him the most satisfaction.
Mickey knew that half of his business was generated from Davids’ reputation. It made good business sense that after Davids spent six months in jail for assault, he allowed him to return. After hours, Mickey also allowed him to buy, fix, and sell cars on his own.
A year ago, Davids found a faded yellow 1997 Ford Mustang for sale in Michigan. The car had been in an accident and needed front end work, a new hood, front lights, a grille, radiator, wiring harness, and engine repairs. The seller was asking $2,500 but reluctantly accepted $1,000; he had too many other cars he was restoring to hold on to it. Davids had it shipped.
Once it reached Bedrock, Davids immersed himself in getting it fixed. It took time to find some of the parts he needed; it also took
time to earn enough money to pay for them. During the lulls
between getting parts he worked on straightening a small bend in the frame and fixing the engine. When all the parts finally came in, he reassembled the car and painted it the factory canary yellow color.
When the project was finished, he had no doubt that he would be able to sell it for more than twenty times the price he paid. But it wasn’t complete, and he wasn’t ready to sell. Being proud of his work, he wanted to show the car off and began looking for dates of classic car shows.
The eighth annual Lee Massachusetts Antique Auto Show, the
largest of its kind in the Berkshire Mountains, was being held that day. Cars in less than perfect condition were eligible for trophies; with imperfections of the one-coat paint job and some unfinished upholstery work, he “borrowed” a pair of license plates from a 1965 Mercury Comet that had been sitting in the repair shop yard for four years, and headed to Lee in his unregistered car.
Proudly registering the Mustang in the muscle car category
upon arrival, he drove slowly to the designated area for his class, found a spot and parked it next to a black 1995 Chevy Camaro Z28 with previous first, second, and third place trophies and ribbons ostentatiously on display on the dashboard and in the open trunk.
The owner had cordoned the car off to keep people at a distance, driving home the message that they should do what a sign on the hood said-“look but don’t touch”. The message pissed Davids off. I’m gonna let people get a good look at my car.
It was Davids’ first show. Maybe he’d change his mind after this one.
Pulling out a cleaning cloth from the Mustang’s glove box,
Davids wiped off the dashboard, opened a can of beer, and walked over to the Camaro to get a closer look. The owner was busy prepping his car for judging, keeping an eye on anyone near his car and ready to chase away anyone who got too close.
Provocatively disregarding the sign and ropes, Davids leaned
into the Camaro through the rolled down driver’s window to get a closer look at the inside and intentionally spilled a few drops of beer on the seat. Reaching for the cleaning cloth in his back pocket, he heard the angry owner’s voice.
“Watch it, for chrissakes, you’re spilling beer on my car. Get
away from the car. Can’t you read?”
“Sorry, pal, I didn’t mean to do that. I’m cleaning up my spill.”
“Back away. I’ll clean it. I don’t want you near my car.”
The guy was reacting like Davids thought he would.
“Relax. I will clean it up. There’s no damage.”
By this time the owner was standing behind Davids, and in no
mood to relax. He punched Davids in the kidney and tried to pull him away from the car. As he did, Davids swung his right hand, the one holding the can of beer, smashing his knuckles and the can into his face. Blood poured out of the guy’s nose and screams out of his mouth.
A crowd gathered, including some of the guy’s friends who also had cars entered in the show. Seeing blood all over their buddy’s face, they began shouting at Davids and closing in on him; someone hit him from behind. Davids fell forward into a punch to his face, and then fell sideways to the ground. The guy’s friends began taunting him, telling him to get into his car and leave.
Davids wasn’t in an obliging mood. He sat on the grass for a
moment catching his breath, rubbing his back, and figuring out
whom he was going to go after first. There were five guys against him, but he’d had tougher odds.
“What happened was a mistake,” he said as he slowly got up.
“We saw what happened, asshole, now get out of here before
you get us really pissed,” answered one of the five.
The guy with the Camaro started to speak, but stopped when
Davids made a move to the guy closest to him, an overweight, older guy with an eye patch covering his left eye. Davids decided not to punch him; instead he used his experience and momentum to charge into him and knock him on his ass.
The guy’s friends were caught off guard; by the time they
realized that Davids had struck back, he had moved on to his next target, the guy who hit him in the face. This time Davids returned the favor, several times, sending the coward down to the ground.
Two were down, but the Camaro driver had cleared his head and was ready to join in on the fun, meaning Davids had to battle four guys again. He didn’t mind. The coward’s sucker punch to his face gave him more incentive to beat the crap out of these guys.
Davids saw that the other three guys didn’t seem as ballsy once he punched the second one to the ground, and reasoned that if he took down the Camaro driver again that they would back off. He feigned surrender by holding up his hands while at the same time edging towards the driver.
The Camaro owner was no fool, though, and took a step towards Davids, telling his friends not to fall for his tricks.
“We told you to get out of here, but you didn’t listen, so now you can leave in an ambulance.”
Telling his friends to be wary was a prescient move; moving a
step closer to Davids was not. Davids came at the driver and threw a
right hook and hit him on the same spot on his face as the first punch. The driver crumpled to the ground, knocked out.
Once he fell, Davids turned his attention to the nearest guy, who promptly threw up his hands and stepped back. The other guy did the same. Davids watched them both continue to back away, then turned to go back to his car, when he heard a voice say,
“Take down his license plate number before he leaves so we
can give it to the police.”
“Yeah, like they’ll have trouble spotting a yellow Mustang,” said another.
Three miles down the road, Davids heard the sounds of sirens
approaching and opted to take an alternate route home. He wasn’t concerned with the plates on his car; the farmer who sold the Comet to the repair shop moved to somewhere down south and he would be hard to locate. His problem was that the Camaro owner had too many people on his side to support his version of what happened. Davids had promised himself no more jail time and this incident guaranteed incarceration.
Avoiding Route 20 in Lee because it normally had a lot of traffic, Davids took a right onto Graylock Street before picking up the Massachusetts Turnpike heading east. The sounds of the sirens were gone. He intended on making a loop, first east, then north, then west back to Bedrock. He knew that the police typically don’t use a lot of personnel tracking down some guy involved in a fight; getting home unnoticed was all he had to do.
Davids took the first exit off the turnpike and headed north.
While driving, he decided that when he got back, he’d paint the car black to match the mood he had put himself in.
Twenty minutes later he turned left and saw a police cruiser
sitting at the drive-in of a pharmacy, thirty feet from him. His heart began to beat faster. There was no way for him to turn around without drawing attention to himself, as if riding in the Mustang didn’t automatically draw attention. He looked again at the cruiser. The cop was talking to the pharmacy worker and taking a package from her. He’d be back on the road in seconds.
Spotting a couple of panel trucks in the lot, Davids moved into the lane that turned into the strip mall the cruiser was pulling out of; the cop was still at the drive-up. If he could hide between the trucks until the cop moved on…
Officer Pat Jamieson was a seven-year veteran of the police
force. He was picking up a prescription for his wife when he noticed a yellow Mustang drive by. He had gotten the call to be on the lookout for a car that fit that description, and was on the radio announcing he had a visual on it. He requested back up. Not wanting to get into a high-speed chase with the Mustang, and with the only way in and out of the strip mall in front of it, he decided to pull out into the street and park at the curb with his police lights flashing.
Davids turned off his headlights, got out of his car, and looked
through the windows of the van parked next to him. He saw that he was screwed, and knew his only chance to get out of the parking lot was to do so before another cruiser came and blocked him in. He also knew that getting out of the lot was only the beginning of a dangerous journey, for by now his location had been broadcast to
every police force within a hundred-mile radius. He cursed at
himself for painting his car to match the original eye-catching color.
He buckled himself in and inched forward, eyes on the cruiser.
Once he got past the parking spaces, he hit the gas and flew out of the lot, turning right to avoid another car, then left, and headed back to the Massachusetts Turnpike before Officer Jamieson was able to put his car in reverse and cut him off. Jamieson hit his lights and siren, turned around in the street to the sounds of horns and shouts, and let dispatch know he was in pursuit.
Davids badly needed to ditch his car. He was confident that it
would outperform the cruiser, but there were going to be many more cops looking for him before he got home, and he couldn’t outrun them all. He had a ten second lead on the cruiser, and was readily widening the gap. Grabbing his cell phone, he called his friend and next-door neighbor, Russ Kirvin, who owned a hauling business. Kirvin answered on the fourth ring.
“Hey, you working?” Davids asked.
“Of course I’m working. I’m busy. Call me back.”
“I need your help right now.”
“You know the gas station on Wilkes that’s closed?”
“You gonna buy it?”
“Shut up and listen. Bring your largest hauler and meet me
there. Right away. Hang up, get in the truck, and meet me there,”
Davids said as he hung up.
He was doing ninety-four as he headed into the turn leading to the next exit. The cruiser was coming into sight as Davids went into the turn. Five seconds later he was out of sight again. The exit was approaching on the right; the bend in the road took the highway to the left. If no one was in his way, and he could keep his car under
control, he might get off the highway without the cop noticing, while the cop continued on.
Davids was hardly feeling lucky, but good luck was with him as no cars were exiting; he took the exit at eighty miles an hour, and in spite of him going up on two wheels, kept the car on the pavement, arriving safely at the stop sign at the exit’s end.
Officer Jamieson knew this section of the highway well. He had no idea if the guy he was chasing did or not, but he decided not to get off at that exit because he knew that nobody was capable of negotiating the bend at a high speed. Even if the Mustang driver tried to, he would crash and some other officer would capture him. That is, if the driver survived.
Nonetheless, he checked the exit for any sign of the Mustang as he passed and saw none. He advised dispatch that he was
continuing pursuit on the highway; dispatch relayed an update telling no one had spotted the Mustang and that other officers were joining the chase.
Jamieson dropped his speed a little, feeling confident that the
driver of the Mustang would soon be caught.
Davids was able to control the Mustang while it was moving on only two wheels, even though the ten seconds it lasted seemed much longer. By the time the car righted itself, two drivers passing the intersection saw what had happened and were slowing down and turning around to check on his condition. Noticing that, Davids turned onto the street they were on, flew past them, and gave them a wave while checking his rear-view mirror for the cruiser. Wilkes
Road was two miles ahead.
Kirvin was waiting for him at the closed Mobil station on
Wilkes, hidden on the side of the building, wondering what Davids
had gotten involved in this time. The last escapade of Davids’ that Kirvin heard about was at a poker game where Davids was the big winner and was accused of cheating by the biggest loser. He didn’t, but had to scramble to get to his car and make a hasty exit.
The roar of the Mustang’s engine let him know to get out of the truck and find out what was going on. Davids flew past him, did a one eighty, and stopped beside his buddy.
“Open the back doors, quick. I need you to hide my car inside
your truck and drive me back to Mickey’s. Don’t ask me anything, just do this.”
Kirvin knew what was going on, what with all the reports on the radio and TV about the cops chasing someone in a Mustang. He didn’t want to be arrested for being an accessory after the fact, or whatever he’d be charged with, and he needed to hear Davids’ side of the story before he did anything.
“Are you guilty of what the news reports are saying?”
“No. Open these back doors before the cops find me,” Davids
“I’ll get you to the shop. After that you are on your own. I’m
doing this because we are friends. If the cops come for me, you will regret it.”
“Don’t worry. I have a foolproof plan that will take the heat off me. The cops will never see this car and you will never be in trouble.”
Kirvin opened the back doors to the truck, set up the ramps,
and motioned for Davids to drive the Mustang into the truck.
“Like I said, once I drop you off, you are on your own. I always get nervous when I hear the word ‘foolproof’.”
“Yeah, yeah, just get me back without anybody seeing me.”
With the car safely loaded into the truck, Kirvin eased his way
past the non-functioning gas pumps and onto the street. As he neared the stop sign, Davids saw a police cruiser sitting in a parking lot on the cross street, lights flashing, the cop talking on her phone.
“Nice and easy. Don’t want to arouse suspicion,” Davids said.
“No shit. Accessory after the fact, remember?”
The cop watched the truck turn onto the street she was on.
Two guys in a hauling truck, big enough to fit a car in. She laughed to herself. Been watching too many movies. She didn’t go after them.
They passed two more cruisers before arriving at Mickey’s.
Davids told Kirvin to drive to the back of the lot where he jumped out of the truck and went into the shop to see who was around. The place was empty. He opened the rear garage door and motioned for the truck to be backed up.
After the Mustang was unloaded, the two parted company with an, “I owe you,” from Davids and a nod from Kirvin.
Davids got busy mixing paint. He was praying that no one from the shop came in on their day off, as they sometimes did. He researched the specifications for the black paint used on the 97’s and got to work mixing it per the manufacturer’s specs. Not that it mattered-any color other than yellow would have done. No one showed during the two hours it took to get a coat of the black paint on; additional coats of paint and the clear coat would have to wait.
Normally there were a couple of company trucks available for
use, but tonight was an exception. One was having an engine
rebuild being done, and Mickey had taken the other. Davids had no choice but to use the Mustang to get home, even though the paint hadn’t fully dried. Hoping that its dark color would be enough to
cause the police to ignore it, at dusk he eased the car out of the garage and onto the street, breathing a sigh of relief when he saw no police cars.
A minute later, Davids saw in a distance a flashing light in his
rear-view mirror. He panicked and punched the gas pedal to the floor. The 281 cubic inch V8 engine roared to life, the tires smoked, and Davids was pushed back into his seat as the Mustang bolted forward. He might as well have left the color of the car yellow and driven down the street honking the horn and shouting “Here I am!” because the attention he was drawing to himself now was having the same effect as if he did. Other drivers and pedestrians turned their heads to see what all the noise was about, as did the police officer waiting at the traffic light Davids was approaching. The officer switched on his blue flashing lights, different in color from
the orange lights of the tow truck Davids saw flashing in his rearview mirror, and began to pull around the car in front of his cruiser.
Davids cursed his stupidity and took an abrupt turn onto a side road, beginning a three-mile trip through Bedrock with the officer on his tail. It wasn’t until Davids hurtled through busy intersection, narrowly missing a pizza delivery truck, that he was able to lose the officer.
He was driving seventy-five miles per hour as he approached
Spring Garden Road. Ahead he saw a truck in the other lane, and a young couple walking hand-in-hand turning onto on the street in the same direction he was driving. A red ball bounced into the treet, ahead of the couple. Davids lightly lifted his foot off the gas; the truck was wandering into his lane. The couple turned to look in his direction. The Mustang’s engine was roaring; he saw a child run into the street after the ball. The couple stopped holding hands; the woman began running towards the girl. The truck driver was not
budging; he was nearly in Davids’ lane; the man was running after the woman and waving to Davids to stop. There was no place to go.
If Davids hit his brakes hard, he would skid into the man. He told himself that if he sped up, he had the best chance of missing the people and the truck. Davids hit the gas.
The Mustang barely moved when it hit the man; but the
woman had deliberately moved into his lane in an apparent attempt to get him to slow down and move over. The impact her body made when it hit the car crunched the right headlight and right panel and tossed her into the air. By now the Mustang was past the truck; Davids veered to the left, trying to avoid hitting the girl, but she was too close. The dull thud her body made when hit was barely noticeable by comparison to the woman’s. When he saw the body of the woman land on the street in the car’s right-side mirror, all he
felt was concern for getting caught.
In spite of the enormity of what he did, he kept driving. He was not going back to jail. Stopping and getting medical help might save a life didn’t matter. What mattered was how close were the police, and could he get home and out of sight before they caught him.
Officer Jamieson was perplexed. He had been looking for a
yellow Mustang for several hours when, waiting for a light to
change, he saw a dark colored Mustang fly by. A person could drive for years and not see a 1997 Mustang, and he had seen two within a few hours. Not a believer in coincidences, as well as because of the obvious driving infractions of the driver that just passed by, he began pursuit of the car.
He cursed when he lost sight of the distinctive taillights of the
Mustang, and momentarily slowed down while he thought about
the likely road the Mustang driver would choose to elude the police.
He turned right and headed towards Spring Garden Road.
Moments later he had to slam on his brakes as he neared the
site of bodies lying in the road and someone checking the pulse of one of the victims. He looked down the road and saw the same distinctive taillights of the Mustang as it disappeared around the corner.
Davids arrived at his home. Nobody was on his tail. Everything was quiet in the neighborhood. He pulled the Mustang into the left bay of his three-door garage and went inside. His hands were shaking; he took a drink of whiskey followed by a bottle of beer.
Everyone at Mickey’s was going to ask what happened to his
Mustang; he had to get rid of it. He would tell them he sold it to some guy from Massachusetts for fifteen grand. They’d believe him, too, because of all the work he’d put into it. He was certain that no one on his street saw him pull into his garage. All he had to do was to fix where the body had been damaged and keep the Mustang hidden until he really did sell it. Piece of cake. He took another drink, and then contacted the guy in Michigan who sold it to him.
Once he fixed the body damage and paint, Davids sent the guy pictures of the Mustang. The car looked mint. The guy decided to buy it back for $18,000. Davids arranged to have it towed back to Michigan. It was gone two days later.
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