The gloves in her hands were wrung out like a wet rag to the point where the smooth leather had been stretched and torn leaving vein like striations in the calfskin. “He wasn’t always like this, Mom. One in a million or we have no documented case like his in the annals.” Mom was on the other end of the videophone watching her daughter wrestle with the awful truth about Sandy. There was nothing she could say to her daughter or to Sandy if he were in the room. It is what it is she heard coming from the ear piece. It was her mother’s voice but it sounded half a world away, which it was.

Sandy ran through the room, tense and agitated. His jaw locked and set as if he were angry with the world. He shouted in a snarl ‘Hi mom, what’s for dinner?’ punched a hole in the wall with his 7-year-old fist and shouted that he was going to watch cartoon vids in his room. ‘The doctors call it Specialization & Compartmentalization. Where the synapses fuse together based on an emotional state and isolate themselves from other states. They don’t know how, but the active state changes during REM sleep. Yesterday Sandy was sad, today it’s angry, who knows what tomorrow may bring. Maggie kept to herself what Sandy was like as an amorous 7-year-old, or that nightmarish time Sandy was suicidal. Thank god he didn’t have the means to act on those impulses. Anger and Rage she could handle. Pre-pubescent Lothario, not a chance.

“Maggie dear, her mother said. What can you do? What if instead of hitting the wall he went after you? You can’t handle him alone,’ She said from within her own fear. Maggie’s smile was just a flicker, but it was there. “I know it’s going to sound extreme Mom, but the docs gave me a vaccination gun and about a month’s supply of sedatives. If Sandy wakes up in a self-harming mood I’m authorized to zap him back to sleep and 20 minutes later he’ll wake up in another state. There were only 2 days I had to sedate more than twice.”

Maggie could see her mom sink into the chair from across the sea. To her this was all new information, she hadn’t had to live with this for the last 6 months. But Maggie had. Anger she could live with, but PSTD, Bi-Polar, Catatonia, Psychosis not so much. The others, like mania or serenity and contentment were like having her son back.

Maggie was unknowingly clicking the tumblers of her own brain and locking certain thoughts away so others could take supremacy of her mind. Her own wants and needs were firmly locked away with coping mechanisms rising like cream to overwhelm the enormity of her situation. A rogue thought formed and took over like the smile she flashed Mom. An angry scream arose from the other end of the house that confirmed what Maggie needed to do.

She twisted the barrel of the vaccination gun to the adult setting, held to her forearm and pressed the trigger.

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