By Chris Miskiewicz

“I’m very old fashioned for a bisexual polyamorous girl,” she said as I lit a cigarette, which was an odd thing to do since I don’t smoke.

“Well that’s very interesting, but I’m afraid that we’re out of time. I have another appointment down the block at three.”

Her smile dropped some of its intensity, which tends to happen with forty percent of the women that I interviewed. It’s something about having an unbiased person listening to them for a bit who then has to go. But, I feel that no one really listens to anyone. Only to parts, pauses, and breaks in another’s lines while waiting for their turn to speak. Sometimes listening is the best gift you can give in such a lonely world.

“Oh! It was nice meeting with you.”

“It was,” I said, turning off my recorder and immediately standing. I put on my coat watching her eyes shift.

“If you’d ever like to…”

I raised my hand, palm open.

“Thank you, but I’m only here to record your story. Have a good day.”

I turned and left.

 

I met my three o’clock in a café in the East Village. I always prefer to conduct my interviews in public and absolutely never at my subject’s home. He arrived a few minutes late, which was fine because it gave me a moment to check my equipment.

“Sorry I’m late,” he said as he entered, automatically taking off his coat and beginning to go into his excuse.

“It’s fine. I don’t need to know,” I replied, never looking up from the sugar I was spooning into my coffee, which was strange because I don’t like sugar.

“I’ll restate the rules. I don’t need to know your name and you don’t need to know mine. The Service sent me to collect your story. That’s all this is. I’m only concerned with the quality of story that you have to tell, and getting as many facts from you as you’re willing to give. They’ll determine the rest.”

“I understand,” he said.

“Good.” I pressed record and took a sip of coffee. It was far too sweet. “Go ahead.”

He sat up straight and inhaled.

“I’ve worked for a secret science division inside of the United States Government for the last ten years…”

He paused while nervously looking over his shoulders. Only the barista and a sensitive unemployable writer were in the café with us. He turned back and began again with a lower voice.

“We were charged with conducting studies into the human soul. We were looking into weight, density, and electrical changes inside of a persons brain to find the soul,”

He nodded staring at his open palms. Then he looked at me with a slight smile.

“We found it.”

“You found the soul?”

“We isolated where it is and how it works within the energy spectrum it resides in. It’s crazy science, but it holds up. However, we also found anomalies.”

“Anomalies?”

“Yes. Things like…Splitting,” he let out a nervous laugh while looking around the room again. “See, half of the population has more than one soul within them…while the other half is suffering from only having half of their soul, or a quarter, and some people have even less. We call that Splitting. It’s when a person only has a fragment of the size of what their soul should be.”

I nodded, mostly to egg him on.

“Go on. We have plenty of time.”

“I came up with the theory when I was younger after a one night stand I had in college with a fortune-teller. We were in the middle of it when suddenly she grabbed the sides of my head and said, “How many of you are in there?”

“Her words haunted me and I got to thinking. Could a person have multiple souls? Not personalities, because that’s been proven. But, what if those personalities were actually conflicting souls? A lighter and a darker soul with one suppressed.

He took a sip of water and eyed me suspiciously.

“You don’t believe me.”

“It’s inconsequential whether I do or don’t believe you. I’m only here as a middleman between you and the Service,” I said.

He reached into his jacket and pulled out a thick folder that read; Studies Into Multiple Souls – The United States Government.

“Here, take a look. It’s all there. Read along as I speak,” he said.

I began to flip through dozens of pages, each one brimming with infrared photographs on multiple subjects showing different colors around their brains.

“As you can see by the different color spectrums, there are different energy patterns of souls inside of certain people. Flip to page thirty to see examples of Splitting.”

I did, and came to a series of pages of people who barely had any infrared coloring at all.

“Why do these people have barely a spark while the others look like a lightning storm?” I asked the subject.

He took in a long sigh.

“We don’t know why, but for some reason a good amount of people have experienced a splitting of their soul. They are intelligent functional people with no physical differences than the rest, except that they’re not whole. I think that it has to do with reincarnation. Somehow the energy splits and moves into different children at conception. We don’t know why. I’ve taken some solace in the idea that these people are searching for each other…trying to become whole again. Looking for their matches.”

I grinned.

“Soul mates?”

He gave an honest smile.

“Yes. Something just like that.”

I flipped back to brighter pictures.

“And these?”

“We’re not sure why some people have multiple souls, but it’s confirmed that they do. The government then wanted my division to come up with a way to access these second souls. It took four years of further testing, but in the end we came up with a drug called THX that could suppress the primary soul to allow the secondary one to come forward. This is the main reason I’m breaking my silence and coming to you today. I need to get in touch with the higher news services and let the population know what’s happening to them.”

He pulled himself forward.

“I have proof that the government has been putting THX into food, water systems, and pharmaceutical drugs for the last few years. It was a program that started during the Bush Administration in places like Florida and other states where they wanted to swing the vote.”

I sat back and chuckled.

“I’m sorry, but this is conspiracy theorist nonsense.”

“Absolutely, but it’s not nonsense. Haven’t you felt it yourself? The way the country has changed in the last decade? The way sensible decisions don’t seem to ever be made any longer? The way that old friends act like strangers while knowing all they’ve ever known about you, yet they’re different. They experience huge mood swings, while others are using different patterns than they normally would. These things are all the effect of THX in their systems.”

“I’ve been running studies on my own where I’ve found THX in condiments, water bottles, ADHD drugs. By this point it’s almost impossible that you haven’t ingested THX in some form.”

“And why would anyone want to do this?” I asked him.

His eyes went hollow.

“I believe that high ranking government officials have been infected with THX leaving their other souls in control. I believe that these souls are trying to stay here while bringing others into their cause.”

We sat in silence for a moment while I absently flipped through the folder.

“Which you am I speaking with here?” I asked. “How do you know you’re you and not your shadow?”

“I could ask you the same thing,” he replied. “Excuse me for a moment. I need to use the rest room.”

He stood up and walked to the back of the café while I pressed pause on the recorder. I went into my pocket and fished for my cell speed dialing the first number on my list.

“Go,” the voice on the other end went.

“I’ve found him. Send an extraction team to my current location. I’ll keep him here a bit longer.”

“Team-7 will be there in five minutes,” the voice replied.

“Understood.”

I hung up and fished in my pocket again pulling out a pill bottle. I traced my thumb over the three printed letters on the label, popped it open and took one of the bright red pills. Then I washed it down with the end of my sugared down coffee. Like I said, I hate sugar, but that’s the way he likes it.

I looked up. The barista and the unemployed writer were both staring at me with that familiar look. They both nodded with knowing grins.

A moment later my subject came out of the rest room still drying his hands. I glanced at my watch. Four minutes to go.

–Chris Miskiewicz

–Photo by Seth Kushner