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All In The Mind   By:

All In The Mind by Gene L. Henderson

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All in the Mind

By Gene L. Henderson

Illustrated by Paul Orban

[Transcriber Note: This etext was produced from If Worlds of Science Fiction April 1954. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.]

[Sidenote: When does life begin?... A well known book says "forty". A well known radio program says "eighty". Some folks say it's mental, others say it's physical. But take the strange case of Mel Carlson who gave a lot of thought to the matter .]

Mel felt as if he were floating on clouds in the deepest, most intense dark he had ever experienced. He tried opening his eyes but nothing happened, only a sharp pain. Little bits of memory flashed back and he tried to figure out what could have happened, where he was.

The last thing he could remember was the little lab hidden back in the mountains in an old mine tunnel. Remote, but only an hour's drive from the city. What had he been doing? Oh yes, arguing with Neil again. He even recalled the exact words.

"Damn it, Mel," his partner had said. "We've gone about as far as possible working with animal brains. We've got to get a human one."

"We can't," Mel had disagreed. "There'd be enough of an uproar if the papers got hold of what we've been doing with animals. If we did get someone in a hospital to agree to let us use his brain on death, they would close us up tighter than a drum."

"But our lab's too well hidden, they'd never know."

"It wouldn't work anyway. The brain might be damaged for lack of oxygen and all of our work would go for nothing. Worse, it might indicate failure where a fresh, healthy brain would mean success."

"We'll never know unless we try," said Neil almost violently, dark eyes glittering. "Our funds aren't going to last forever."

Mel had turned his back and was leaning over the tank where the latest brain that from a dog was lying immersed in the life giving liquid, a thin flickering line of light on the oscilloscope behind the tank the only indication that the brain was alive.

What had happened then? He thought hard, until a sharp pain and growing headache almost made him lose consciousness. Either he'd passed out or something had happened. Maybe the cave had collapsed the concrete walls of their lab, although he didn't see how that could have happened.

He became aware of voices, faint at first, then growing stronger. He strained to listen and just when it appeared that the words would become distinct enough to understand, they faded away. He waited hopefully until they came back. This time he could understand words and parts of sentences.

"... connect this first and...."

"No, be careful. Too much voltage would ruin everything and we'd have to...."

"Where does this connection go, here?"

The other voice boomed in then, deep vibrations feeling as if they would shatter his brain. There was a frantic quality in the words.

"No, no, you fool, don't...." A penetrating pain knifed through Mel's head and he tried to scream but heard nothing but a loud buzzing. He welcomed the loss of consciousness as it blanketed him.

He struggled back to consciousness once more, a voice calling over and over in a monotone. "Mel, Mel Carlson. Can you hear me, Mel? Mel, Mel Carlson. Can you hear me, Mel?" he listened intently, recognizing it as one of the first voices he had heard. He tried to move but could feel no response of legs or arms. It was like being buried alive and he tried to call out for help. He must have lost his voice because he could still hear the same call.

"Mel, Mel Carlson, can you...." It broke off abruptly, then came back triumphantly. "You do hear me, Mel, I can see."

Again Mel tried to call out, without success. The other warned quickly. "Don't become alarmed. We're still working on your voice. Just try to rest." Mel suddenly realized that he'd been listening to Neil and a wave of thankfulness swept over him... Continue reading book >>

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