“Reach the lever, Miss Noetis,” that same damned cyfur instructed.
“Yeah, what do you think I’m trying to do?” I jumped again, and didn’t reach it. It was about three feet above me, and I was tall for my age. “Why can’t I just fly up there to get it?”
“You’ve come to depend on your wings, Miss Noetis. They might not work so great one day, or you might realize you don’t have them at all; accidents happen. You need to learn to rely on your inner talents. Be resourceful; if The Powers That Be weren’t sure you could do this, the simplest of the tests, they wouldn’t have allowed you to come,”
“Allowed me! More like kidnapped me!” Jump, miss.
“Each subject is here according to their own free will.” Jump, miss. “I’ve told you before, your physical body is not here—why do you think physical things will work? You know you’ve got the ability; you discovered that ten minutes ago.”
Jump, miss, think. Okay, she was right—something weird had happened ten minutes ago. Still lamenting my lack of clothing, the voice had suggested I bring myself a pair, if it bothered me so. After a few moments, my favorite T-shirt and jeans were on my “body”. What does she mean, ‘my physical body is not here’? Jump, miss.
“I can see we are going to be here awhile,” the voice noted. “You refuse to listen. Stop jumping. It’s obviously doing no good.”
“Well, what else am I supposed to do, climb?”
“Use your ability.”
“What does that even mean!” I sighed, and tried to do the same thing I’d done with the clothes.
“That’s right, Miss Noetis. With the Power of Self, you can attain anything you desire with great ease.”
“I don’t desire the lever!”
“You desire to leave.”
Grumbling, I shut up, and tried to focus on the red, plastic ball that was the handle of the lever.
“Would you like help?”
“I’d like you to shut up!” I focused more. Nothing. “…On second thought, it never hurts to have help, right?”
“Have you ever been to a rodeo, Miss Noetis?”
“A rodeo? What does that have to do with—“
“It’s a simple question.”
“…Once, when I was a foal…”
“How did they catch the calves to tie them up?”
“They lassoed them, and pulled them do—Oh! I get it now!” I fell silent, focusing again. I tried to focus on conjuring up a rope.
Rope. Rope. For once, the cyfur was being silent for once, which was helpful. Rope. Rope. Yes! The lever pulled down towards me, opening the door. It had been pulled down by a very material rope stung over it. The rope was taut, but I hadn’t pulled on it. Curious, I followed the trail downwards, to where it ended—
--jutting out of my chest.
With a shriek of alarm, I pulled back. “Nya! What’s this?”
“Calm down,” the automated voice commanded. “That rope is no more real than you are.”
“Well, it feels pretty dang real!” And it did. It was almost as if there were nerve endings in it, and it was just an extension—an arm really—sticking out of my front. I bet I could control it if I wanted to, I thought, though I was repulsed by such a thought.
“Yes, you can control it, and no, it doesn’t have nerve endings; nerve endings have only been imagined by your mind in order to cope.”
“How did you—“
“All your thoughts can be heard here, they are the same as when you think you are speaking aloud. Speaking is only your brain’s imagination, trying to cope.”