Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2291689-Preparing-For-Comprehension
Rated: E · Fiction · Sci-fi · #2291689
A teacher is taking a gifted student to be elevated from human to the next level.
Karen looked over at her sullen biology student sitting in the passenger seat of Karen's Honda CRV. Jill was doing a great job of imitating a stranger on a long bus trip. She kept her head turned toward the side window as the forests and lakes of northern Minnesota whizzed past. Despite her current immature pouting, Jill was one of the brightest biology students Karen had taught in her 12 years of teaching. Sadly, she was also one of the angriest.

Departing that morning from Oak Creek, a private school which catered to troubled teens, they were finally approaching their destination near the Boundary Waters. Karen hoped tomorrow's testing of Jill would end in her elevation. It had to. She took a quick glance at the girl again. The teen thought tomorrow was about a science competition. It would come as a shock to her when Jill learned she was the only contestant.

"Jill, what do you think it means if I said to you, 'the eyes only see what the mind is prepared to comprehend.'"

Her response was quick. "People only believe what they want to believe."

"That's a good start, but what if the eyes belong to a dog?"

Jill finally turned her head and looked at Karen with disgust. "A dog? Are you serious?"

"Yes. A dog can see a traffic light, right?" Karen kept her eyes on the two-lane blacktop highway, but she saw Jill's brown, jaw-length hair swing forward with her nod. "So would the dog know the car it is riding in is stopping because the traffic light turned to red?"

"Dogs are color blind."

"Well, that makes my point, too. A dog's mind cannot comprehend color. But let's say it could see color. Could it connect its car stopping with the traffic pole on the corner?"

"Miss Collins, I have no idea what you are talking about."

"Let me try a different example. Pretend you are a fish in the ocean, and the rusty gray rock you are swimming beside is really a sunken battleship. As a fish, would you believe me if I told you what it really was?"

"Sure, you're my teacher."

"Please, I'm trying to explain what it means for a brain to be prepared to comprehend something."

Karen noticed Jill's amused expression and, despite being frustrated with her, she was also glad. The kid was being dense on purpose. Let her have her fun. She knew it was easier to get a concept across to a positive attitude.

"What else would the fish not be aware of?" Karen asked.

Jill thought for a few seconds. "Anything above the surface, like deserts, trains, the moon, and legs for walking."

"Very good." A highway sign declared her turn off was in ten miles. She needed to speed this discussion up. She didn't want Jill to be killed by the testing. "How would you prepare a dog's mind to comprehend something?"

"I duh know. Maybe teach the dog to stop a toy train by turning a light off and on with a bark."

"That's actually a pretty good idea. You've eliminated the color lights problem. Oh, and you've reduced the sizes so the dog can get the cause-and-effect concept." The teen's quick solutions again astounded Karen. "What about the fish?"

"Fish are too dumb."

"So you're saying we need the creature or person to have a certain level of intelligence?"


"Could you teach a dolphin about the world above the surface?" asked Karen. "They're smart."

"Maybe." Jill was quiet for a moment. "The surface world might be too different from any experience the dolphin has ever had." She looked out her side window for a while. Turning to Karen, she said, "I've changed my mind. The dolphin would not be capable of relating to the land."

"Perhaps the dolphin has a capability we don't know about. People didn't know they could read until after they developed a written language."

Karen turned her CRV onto the gravel driveway to the summer camp grounds. A half a mile from the highway, they pulled up to a large chain-link fence that always filled Karen with dread. It and the boundary fence resembled a concentration camp.

Jill looked at her in alarm. "This can't be the right place."

The gate swung open and Karen drove her car through. "It's okay. It just looks scary. The science camp has a lot of valuable equipment. We need to protect the stuff from thieves."

"We?" asked the girl.

Karen sighed. Testings students rarely remained accommodating. If the subject wasn't smart enough to comprehend threatening situations, then they were rejected before coming here. "Good. You caught my slip of the tongue. Yes, 'we'. I'm associated with the testing organization. Let me introduce you to the others."

Both of them got out of the car.

Groups of male and female teenagers from a variety of races emerged from a semi-circle of six brown sleeping cabins tucked among several species of spruce and pine trees. Across from the cabins, a building stretched for 50 feet. Between the cabins and building, a soccer field sized yard radiated heat from a dazzling patch of sunlit sky. A dozen adults of many ages exited the building from three doors.

Karen felt their usual cheerful demeanor, but apparently Jill found their calm, synchronized walk too unnerving. Karen looked over her shoulder. Jill was walking backwards toward the car.

"Everyone," commanded a tall black man, "say hello to Jill."

Jill grabbed her head with both hands and dropped to the gravel drive. Karen knew the greeting wasn't painful. But eighty people speaking directly into your mind could be overwhelming.

The leader of the welcome held out his hand to help Jill up. "My name is Alex. The students and faculty here let me pretend I'm their leader. We usually speak telepathically, but until you are elevated, we will verbalize our words to you."

Jill looked at Karen, and then bravely took Alex's hand.

Karen was so proud of her. She must have absorbed the preparation ideas discussed on the trip here. Jill was rolling with the strangeness.

"We have already eaten, but a supper is waiting for you both in the dining room."

Karen took a fork full of what Jill must have thought were a few colorless Jell-O cubes surrounding a small glop of mashed potatoes. Karen savored the complex flavors. Jill stabbed a Jell-O cube and stared at it.

"Try it," said Karen. "It's amazing. Really. See? What did I tell you?"

Jill ate her supper like a dog gobbling its kibble. "That was the best stuff I've ever eaten."

"And probably the healthiest, too." Savoring the last bite, she said, "We need to talk about your elevation procedure tomorrow."

"I thought this was a science competition."

"Well, that was sort of a lie to get you here. Now don't look so concerned. Your testing ... Actually, you're being elevated. Anyway, it will be a wonderful thing for you."

Karen prayed she was telling the truth. Each time she identified a new candidate, her nightmares reignited. She'd awaken with images of injecting her failures with peace as she endured their final insane screams. Having the prospect's advocate do the cleanup increased the amount of care each took in making their selection. There was no reversing the procedure. Jill would be elevated or Karen would kill her.

"Actually, the procedure started with this meal. You look concerned again. Don't." Karen moved her plate aside and rested her folded arms on the table. "Have you ever heard of the third eye?"

Jill gave a quick negative shake of her head.

"Okay, how about a chakra? No, again? Surely you have heard of Feng Shui and qi?"

"Well, duh!"

Karen smiled. "Great. All the terms I mentioned, including many I didn't, such as the epigenome, are like the human ability to read. Until a written language existed, the ability was invisible.

"Until a man invented a microscope, people thought sickness was karma or witchcraft. Until telescopes came along, Earth was flat and the center of the universe.

"Tomorrow, when you are elevated, your mind will be prepared to comprehend ..."

Jill interrupted with excitement. "... and my eyes will see, right?"

Karen laughed. "Yes, my little fish. You will see campfires, snow, and cable TV."

"Sorry, Miss Collins. You lost me with that analogy."

"I'm trying to get across the magnitude of my 'air' world versus your current 'ocean' world."

"I can see how wonderful you think being elevated is, but I'm not so sure. It sounds like I'd have to learn gobs of stuff."

Karen nodded. "Yes, but don't worry about that. That's what this science camp is for."

"I duh know. I'm ready to graduate from Oak Creek. It's been a dream of mine to just take off. Hitchhike around. Maybe wait tables in places all around the world. Don't look like that. I can come back later and I'm pretty sure I will. But for now, I'm done with school."

Karen was sorry to hear Jill say this. By coming here, she had taken that option off the table. This would not end well if Jill became resistant. "It's been a long day. We're both tired. Tomorrow, things may look different to you."

Jill shrugged.

Late that night, a four person elevation team dressed in scrubs came for Jill. Karen, standing next to Alex and three other facility members, watched the stretcher carry the unconscious teenager across the lawn to the operating room. It would be the first of seven surgeries. Karen felt some anger toward the kid. It would have been so much easier if she'd just gone along with it. Now they'd have to restrain and monitor her until the process was over.

Once a person could "see" with elevated eyes, their tantrum evaporated like a kid at Disneyland.

Alex spoke telepathically to her. "You're correct. Don't worry about this bump in the road. I can tell Jill is brilliant. You found us a winner and prepared her mind to comprehend. Her eyes will see with clear vision."

Word count: 1693

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