It was a virus. She found hints of it in the fossil record during one of her stays in the psychiatric ward at Grady Memorial. That’s where I met her. She had been there a year with no sign of release. The cops brought me there on a 72 hour hold after I had unsuccessfully run my car off of spaghetti junction. Well, I successfully ran the car off. I just didn’t die. The car glided past the railing, rolled once and bounced on the driver’s side door, popping it open and throwing me out. I ended up rolling mostly gently down a cascade of mattresses from the 18 wheeler that was below me while my car bounced again and hurled itself into the woods a fiery mess. No one else hurt; not even the truck driver. I had chosen a relatively unbusy time in the middle of night on a tuesday. That the truck was there where it was when it was, was a sign of the kind of luck I was adamantly against.
Something about her energized me. Already at 17, I’d had my fill of other people’s energy laying on me, oozing across rooms to knock me low with the lie of it all. AT the same time I needed to understand it because it was honest and it was nothing like anyone else in that hospital. I could feel them all; energy vampires, and werewolves, unfeeling monsters and parasites, and no one felt like her. Within 72 hours I could tell if she was enraged from two floors away. And we would act it out together; though she never saw me I don’t think. For as long as she bounced herself around her room, screaming, throwing food and shit, ripping and tearing at her skin, her clothes, I would do the same around my ward (minus the shit throwing) until eventually, we wore ourselves out.
That got me my own extended stay and a private room of course.