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Wheels Within   By: (1911-1997)

Wheels Within by Charles V. De Vet

First Page:

Transcriber's Note:

This etext was produced from Galaxy Science Fiction May 1952. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.

Wheels Within

By CHARLES DE VET

Never ask "Who am I and where do I come from?" The answers may not be what you'd expect!

Illustrated by DON SIBLEY

"When did the headaches first start?" asked the neurologist, Dr. Hall.

"About six months ago," Bennett replied.

"What is your occupation, Mr. Bennett?"

"I am a contractor."

"Are you happy in your work?"

"Very. I prefer it to any other occupation I know of."

"When your headaches become sufficiently severe, you say that you have hallucinations," Hall said. "Can you describe what you see during those hallucinations?"

"At first I had only the impression that I was in a place completely unlike anything I had ever known," Bennett answered. "But each time my impressions became sharper, and I carried a fairly clear picture when my mind returned to normal the last time. I felt then that I had been in a room in a tall building that towered thousands of feet over a great city. I even remembered that the name of the city was Thone. There were other people in the room with me one person especially. I remembered her very clearly."

"Her?" Hall asked.

"Yes."

"Was there anything unusual about this woman?"

"Well, yes, there was," Bennett said, after a brief and almost embarrassed pause. "This will sound pretty adolescent, but "

Hall leaned forward attentively. "It may be relevant. You're not here to be judged, you know; I'm trying to help you."

Bennett nodded and spoke rapidly, as though trying to finish before he could stop himself. "She was a woman who exactly fitted an image I've had in mind for as long as I can remember. She was tall, fair though brunette very beautiful, very vivid, very well poised. I seem to have known her all my life, but only in my dreams, from my very earliest ones to the present. She's never changed in all that time."

He halted as suddenly as he had begun to talk, either having nothing more to say, or unwilling to say it.

"Have you ever married, Mr. Bennett?" Hall prodded gently.

"No, I never have." Again, Bennett stopped, adding nothing more to his blunt answer.

"May I ask why not?"

Bennett turned his face away. "I was hoping you wouldn't ask that. It makes me sound like a romantic kid." He looked at the doctor almost in defiance. "I've always felt that some day I would meet this girl, or at least someone very much like her. I know it's not a rational feeling maybe I've even used it as an excuse not to get married but it's like spilling salt and throwing a pinch over our shoulder; we aren't superstitious, yet we don't take any chances."

Dr. Hall didn't comment. He ended the questioning period and put Bennett through a series of tests. Then they sat down again and Hall offered his diagnosis.

"The neurological examination is essentially negative, Mr. Bennett. In other words, there is no organic reason that I can find for your headaches. That leaves only one other possibility an emotional disturbance. I'm a neurologist, remember, not a psychoanalyst. I can only give an opinion about the cause of your complaint."

Bennett waited expectantly.

"Headaches without organic causes are generally the result of repressed anger," Hall went on. "That anger can stem from any number of traumatic situations or attitudes, all deeply buried in the unconscious, of course, or they would not have the power to hurt us. From what we know of you, however, it seems to be the result of frustration. In other words, you have created a fantasy image of a completely unattainable woman, and therefore none of the women you meet can fulfill your expectations... Continue reading book >>




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