The Sequels to Syrrah's Game SGSequels

chapter 53

Wednesday, September 27th, 1:41 PM

Somewhere in Minnesota


Evan held Syrrah securely in his arms and watched the new scene appear before his eyes. He now understood Art’s explanation of landing on a second floor; they were standing upon a second-floor gym track, one of those oval perimeter jogging tracks with guard rails, giving a view to the floor below. The gym looked about the size of a typical elementary school gym. A man, most likely Dr. K, was shooting hoops upon the lower gym floor. On the wall above the basketball hoop was a huge TV screen, protected by a large, clear protective shield. And on the screen was some cable news station covering the unbelievable insanity and phenomenon that had just happened on South 5th Street.

“Oh my God, Evan,” Syrrah said, snuggling against his chest. “This is getting too much. I can’t believe all that’s happening to me and all I’m seeing.”

He gently stroked her back with one hand, his other arm keeping her close. “It’s okay, baby.” She was still trembling, but less than earlier. “We’re going to figure this out, don’t you worry.”

Art turned to her. “Hey, Syrrah. I am sorry so much is happening to you at once. But things will get better.” 

“You really think so?” she asked him.

“Yes, dear, I do, in time.”

“Art! You’re here!”

Art walked over to the metal rail, about a car’s length away. “Hey, Doctor K! Yup. We are here.”

Evan quickly determined Dr. K had to know about Art’s abilities, never mind the alien AKTS system.

Kamal walked over near Art.

“Come on, dude,” Freddy said, stepping closer. “Let’s check this out.”

“Okay, Fred.” He kept one arm wrapped around Syrrah’s back, and with his other hand he grasped her right hand. “You okay to walk over there?”

“Yes, I can. But I don’t get this, I don’t get this,” she mumbled, stepping with him. “How could we, how could we…just…just suddenly be here now?”

“It’s complicated, hon, but the simplest explanation, is we, and everything else, are code in a virtual reality universe. And it’s just a matter of changing coordinates.”

She drew in a deep breath and exhaled. “Well, I guess that surely explains how I was transferred into Dana. And now, here, back in myself. Where did they get my body, though, if my real self is dead?”

“That I’m not really sure about. Except, God. And miracles.”

“Yes. I suppose so, though I don’t know why.”

They arrived by the rail, with Freddy standing to Evan’s right. Evan made sure to hold on to Syrrah firmly; the mere fact they were near an edge, guard rail or not, recalled her earlier, terrifying suicide stunt on the roof. He tried not to think about it, however, only to relax and glance around. To the right, near the wall was a spiral staircase, leading down to the gym floor below. Along the length of the track, he spotted a squat rack, several bench presses, a stationary bike, dumbbells, and other exercise equipment.

Dr. K, dressed in a grey T-shirt and dark blue jogging pants, looked up, while holding the basketball. “My God, Art. It’s all over the news and social media! Syrrah. I’ll be right up to meet you.”

“Yes, hurry, Kwan,” Art said, standing near the top of the stairs, about ten yards away. “We need to get the ball rolling here, no pun intended.”

Dr. K laughed. He seemed like a nice, down-to-earth guy.

“This can’t be good,” Syrrah said quietly, Dr. K heading up the spiral stairs, yet laughing, conversing with Art. “Those who didn’t want this to happen, obviously some nasty aliens or other bad entities, are not going to be happy it’s all over the news.”

“I know, hon. But you have to figure it this way. The good ones, who actually produced your body again, are obviously far more powerful than those who only switched your personalities and memories. And I’m sure they’re helping now to look after you.”

“I hope so, Evan. Or maybe there’s gonna be a war. And how can Art protect me, when he’s doing all these other things, like talking to his friend there?”

“Syrrah, I can explain,” Art said, before Evan could even answer. Art was now looking at her, as was Dr. K, his conversation with Art halted. “I have learned to compartmentalize my abilities.”

Evan observed her face. Her eyes were wide, noticeably startled. Well, who wouldn’t be? Art couldn’t have heard her speak from that distance and plus he was already in a conversation with Dr. K.

“Sort of like a multi-core processor can run four or more processes at one time.” Art was walking toward her, Dr. K following. “No need to worry. I am very good at what I can do.”

“Oh, yeah,” Evan said. “I recall you said that. Multiples of things at the same time.”

Freddy nodded. “I remember too.” 

“Yes,” Art said. “Exactly.”

Evan wanted to reassure Syrrah with some other positive reasoning, but Dr. K arrived near them.

“Hello. I’m Kwan Halprin, but everyone calls me Doctor K.” He first shook Freddy and Evan’s hands, along with sharing some small-talk greetings, and showing concern about Evan’s injured knuckles. Getting them from a nearby first-aid kit by the track, Dr. K handed Evan a few wrapped, sterile cleansing pads and some bandages to clean up the blood, keep the wounds covered, though Evan said the wounds felt barely noticeable now. And then Dr. K approached Syrrah. He held out his hand to her. “And hello, Syrrah.”

Still holding on closely to Evan, she reached out to Dr. K with her yet trembling hand. “Nice to mee you, Doctor K. And yes, I am…I am Syrrah, but I don’t know how…or why.”

“Of course, of course.” Dr. K gently shook and released her hand. He stood about six feet tall, had Asian features, yet had curly black hair and whitish, pale skin. “Come, over here, to what I call my relaxation room.”

Dr. K led the way across the jogging track to a darkened room behind them, opposite from where they stood by the rail. Evan helped Syrrah along, noticing she was a bit wobbly with her walking, though he didn’t question her about this. Dr. K clicked on a light switch once in the room. The room didn’t brighten much, however, only a few of those small, recessed ceiling lights brightening the area. But it was a nice room. Across to the other side of the room was a big TV screen on the wall. This guy sure did love his big screens. In the room’s middle area was brown leather sections seats, with purple, tan and greenish-pink throw pillows scattered throughout. A plush, purple-brown rug was on the floor, with plenty of brown leather ottomans on top, laid out nearby as footrests.

“Go ahead,” Dr. K said, “sit wherever you would like.”

Evan guided Syrrah to the nearest seat from the door, the longer part of an L-shaped sofa and helped her sit down. He sat to her right, and Freddy sat to Evan’s right. Art and Kamal sat close by, each on one of those ottomans.

While Dr. K moved another ottoman from the far side of the room, Evan unwrapped the cleansing wipes and cleaned the blood off his knuckles and hand. It was only the proper thing to do, what with him helping Syrrah so much, though she said it was fine, she hadn’t found any blood on her yet.

Dr. K positioned the ottoman in front of Syrrah. He sat down upon it. “Syrrah. Not sure if Art informed you, but I am a medical doctor.”

“Yes,” she said, “he did mention it.”

Dr. K smiled briefly. “Well, okay. Nice, Art.”

“Sure thing,” Art said, laughing a moment.

“Do you also have psychic abilities, like Art does?” she asked.

“Well, no, unfortunately, I do not,” Dr. K said, with a smile. “But I am CEO and co-owner of Halprin-Velasquez Technologies. You may have heard of us, or not, but at my company we do medical technologies, such as bioinformatics, drug experimentation on simulation models, the utilization of supercomputers to analyze data, DNA analysis and testing, and other helpful medical technologies, such as advanced blood tests for pregnant women to detect chromosomal defects and also wireless brain sensors with bioresorbable electronics, so as to prevent additional brain surgery, which always runs some risks. But…” He clasped his hands together over his bent legs. “Enough of this. I only wanted to reassure you of my knowledge, and what I know. I want to examine you, to make certain you’re doing okay. Would that be all right with you?”

She shrugged, in a slow, weak manner. “Sure, I guess. Where are we, anyway? I know we went through some type of portal travel…but…I…”

“Of course. This room, and the gym, is underground. In fact, most of my home is underground. But, the location is near Grand Marais, Minnesota.”

“Oh yeah? I’ve been to Grand Marais before, before I became Dana.” She smiled at Evan. “It is such a nice, quaint town, right on Lake Superior.”

“Cool,” Evan said. “I’ve never been to Grand Marais, but I’ve heard it’s nice.” 

“Yes, I love Grand Marais,” Dr. K said. “I’m part of the town council, and we always aim to improve the town, for tourist activities and in general.”

“Nice,” Evan said. “Good on you.”

“Doctor K, I have to ask you. How is it even possible for me to be in my former body?” Syrrah gazed down at her bare knees and felt them. She touched and smoothed her fingertips over her hands, her arms, her face. “Evan told me, that the person, well, I mean Dana Zypher, who took over my old body…she committed suicide.” 

“Yes, Syrrah,” Art said, “that is true. It is confirmed, by news accounts and by your real family.”

She looked at Art. “My real family?”

The tone of her voice, and her body language, were off somewhat, out of place. Maybe it was simply because she was still recovering from the shock of all of this. Either way, Evan made a mental note to be on watch of Syrrah’s usual behavior traits, like from those videos.

Dr. K took hold of Syrrah’s wrist. “I want to check your pulse. We’ll discuss more about your family soon. Just be still and quiet now, okay?”


Eyes on his wristwatch, Dr. K pressed his fingers on her wrist for some seconds. “Ninety beats per minute.” He released her wrist. “Within normal range, although a little on the high side, most likely due to so many unknowns happening. But what I would like to do, Syrrah, is bring us all downstairs to my examining room, where I have nurses and bio-techs to assist us.”

She suddenly rose to a standing position. “Umm, do you have a bathroom somewhere?” She placed her hand over her mouth.

Evan recognized that sign. Definitely like her as Dana. He stood up too. “What’s wrong?”

She uncovered her mouth. “I just…need…to use the bathroom.”

“I’ll show you the way,” Dr. K said, standing likewise. “We need to head downstairs anyway, so let’s do that now.”

Syrrah took hold of Evan’s hand and he made sure to grasp her small hand securely. Memory of when she slipped her hand away, on South 5th, disrupted his thoughts. He held on to her hand even more securely, though not enough to hurt her.

Dr. K led the way, and Art motioned for Freddy, Evan and Syrrah to walk before him and Kamal. Dr. K began leading them down the spiral staircase he had come up earlier. Freddy followed Dr. K, but he kept looking back, his expression concerned. Evan carefully guided Syrrah down the steps. She did so a bit hesitantly and placed her hand on her mouth again several times. He asked each time if she was all right, but she claimed she was okay. Probably nauseousness, though he didn’t want to ask and cause suggestive thinking. Art stayed close behind her too, his eyes locked on her behavior.

They soon arrived at the bottom of the stairs, on the gym floor. Dr. K led them down a nearby hallway.

“I see it,” she said, once in the hallway, at a doorway up ahead on the left.

Dr. K stopped by the bathroom’s entrance and placed his hand out near the door. “Yes, Syrrah. Please feel free.”

“Okay, thank you.”

Evan reluctantly released her hand. “I’ll wait for you here, Syrrah.”

She grabbed his hand back. “No, Evan. Please come with me.” 

Dr. K approached closer to the two of them. “He’ll be right here, Syrrah. You’ll be fine.”

She glanced at him, but then focused her stunning green eyes on Evan. “Evan, come with me.” She wouldn’t release his hand.

“Yes,” Art said, “go with her.”

“Of course I will,” Evan told her, ignoring Dr. K’s words. How dare he interfere anyway.

She opened the door and walked in, her hand yet sealed around his, tugging him with her. The door was slowly closing behind them.

He took a quick glance around. Okay. What a luxurious, expensive-looking bathroom, with vertical lights bordering tall mirrors, placed in front of sinks with gold faucets and white, cushiony vanity stools. And the room had several separate shower stalls with artful, opaque glass doors.

But once the bathroom door shut, Syrrah released his hand and rushed into one of the two large, handicapped-sized stalls on the left side of the bathroom. She let the door swing close on its own, yet she didn’t latch it shut. 

“Syrrah, what’s wrong? Are you okay?”

She didn’t respond.

He opened the stall door and walked in. His earlier suspicion proved true. She was leaning over the toilet, throwing up.


He dropped down and knelt near her. “What is it, baby? I’m right here.” He gently stroked her back.

“How…how can I be throwing anything up?” She was breathing more rapid and trembling still. “This body. I never ate anything.”

He stood up and positioned himself so he could see into the toilet, even with her beautiful, wavy blond hair blocking some of the view. On the inner slanted side of the bowl, he could see something whitish, lumpy. “Is that what you threw up?”

“Yes, it is. I feel so warm, too.”

She leaned closer into the bowl and began throwing up again. But she was coughing, and appeared struggling to bring anything up, even whimpers, cries mingling in her attempts. Evan dropped down to the floor and gently stroked her back again, speaking soothing words of comfort at the same time. Yet after a loud gagging, coughing attempt to vomit, her head suddenly sunk down gently to the toilet seat, the right side of her face resting upon it. Her arms slumped down, her body went limp, like she was asleep. “Syrrah.” He gently lifted her head, but she didn’t respond. Her eyes were closed. And she looked so pale. “Oh no, no, no!” He immediately placed his fingers near her nostrils. Air was barely flowing in and out. He placed his hands upon her ribs. They were moving, but not by much. Her shirt felt wet, like she had sweated excessively. “Doctor K! Doctor K!”