Kincaid emailed Victor scanned copies of their patient charts, and he
scanned the male patient’s record while driving to Walter Reed
Age—approximately 35-45 years old.
Height—five feet, three inches;
Multiple scratches across face and neck; Exhibits waxy flexibility of
all limbs and rigid body posture; does not recognize or maintain eye
contact with others; does not respond to oral address; minimal or
non-existent response to physical stimuli.
Kincaid and his charge nurse, Julia, greeted Victor at the security
station located at the head of the corridor leading to the Psychiatric
Unit. The blond security guard studied the photo on Victor’s
driver’s license and passed them through. Kincaid swept his hospital
card through the lock of the metal door in the hallway’s opposite end
which opened onto the unit’s common area. Kincaid’s John-Doe patient
sat upright on an examining table in an anteroom behind the nurses’
station. He stared straight ahead while three medical professionals
gathered around him.
“Nothing in or on his clothes helped identify him?” Victor asked.
“Just work-shirt and jeans with no identifying labels,” Kincaid
replied. “He might be an immigrant, but his hands don’t look like
those of a laborer.”
Victor’s muscles tensed with anticipation under his business-casual
attire. Uncovering the demons behind an individual’s unusual behavior
was more than a euphemism in many cases. Whatever controlled this
man’s behavior had a death-grip on his actions. Victor raised the
man’s left, then his right arm, and studied the wrists and armpits.
“His arms show waxy flexibility, but no sign of drug use or
He lowered the man’s arms and placed his ear against the patient’s
mouth. His rapid breathing was audible. The patient seemed to be
repressing something, but what? “Lay him out on the table.”
Kincaid pushed on the man’s chest until his back met the table, but
his legs remained cocked at a ninety-degree angle against his chest.
Kincaid and the charge nurse straightened his legs and extended them
onto the table.
Victor wheeled the desk chair beside the man’s head, set his barrel
top drum upon the floor, and directed Kincaid to lower the lights. Once
his eyes adjusted to the twilight, Victor tapped the drum in a slow,
steady rhythm with his fingertips. After a minute, he extended the drum
toward Kincaid’s nurse. “Think you can maintain that beat?”
The head nurse rolled her eyes at Kincaid. “Is he serious?”
“Please do as he asks, Ms. Fairchild.” Kincaid glared at Victor.
Victor closed his eyes, grasped the man’s shoulders, and began to sway
with the drum-beat. The edges of his consciousness bubbled like an egg
on a hotplate and his breathing slowed in time to the cadence of wood
striking taut skin. The words of his favorite shamanic tune passed
across his dry lips like soothing puffs of wind from a hidden sea,
“Este la cancion para todo de mundo . . . ”
His croon dwindled to a drone and disappeared. As if riding on a
cascading waterslide, his consciousness coursed down his arteries,
tumbled out the pores of his fingertips, and splashed against the
stricken man’s skin. Draining through the patient’s pores, it
coalesced under the skin at the base of the man’s throat where the
radiance inside his psychic-thyroid gland glimmered milky blue. Victor
felt like a surfer cresting a wave as he sluiced through the man’s
heart and down his aorta to the psychic furnace lying under the man’s
Akin to the manipura chakra of Buddhist-belief that New Age mystics
affiliate with the body’s endocrine system, the stricken man’s solar
plexus constituted the energy node and gateway to his unconscious
emotions. As Victor suspected, the sun-colored energy that impels
people’s psyches flickered lemon-green inside the man’s shriveled
He plunged into the tepid fire and floated among a kaleidoscope of
smells, flavors, fears and anxieties that spun and eddied in all
directions like a rotating Rubik’s cube. Then the vast terrain of
images and sensations steadied, darkened, and disappeared, as he plunged
toward a blinding patch of light. Bursting through the membrane like a
movie star taking the stage, he tumbled onto the deck of a cargo ship
bathed in a green, phosphorescent glow.
The deck of the Angela Negra pitched and tossed. Bounced off his feet,
Victor skidded toward the stern, clutched the handrail, and rubbed the
spume from his eyes. Frantic deckhands rolled a giant glass aquarium
toward the bow of the ship. Inside the tank, black eels darted and
bumped their heads against the glass, the tendrils of their sucker
mouths lashing at the face of Kincaid’s patient. He struggled to
secure the tank’s steel doors, jammed the bolt into the padlock, and
pushed the sealed tank into the roiling sea.
Another tank materialized on the deck. Kincaid’s patient repeated his
gruesome task. Again, the trapped fish lunged and snapped against the
glass. After he tossed the tank overboard, the patient’s facial
scratches deepened. He sealed the door a third time—“Ayee!” Victor
Kincaid jostled Victor’s shoulder. “Are you all right?”
Victor blinked. His body prickled all over as it always did when roused
to sudden consciousness as if a thousand needles had entered his body.
Similar to a deep-sea diver surfacing too quickly, the sensation was as
painful as the bends…and as dangerous. “What happened?”
Victor patted his face, arms and torso. Everything seemed OK, nothing
broken or bleeding. Kincaid’s patient remained rigid on the table.
“What happened to him?”
“He convulsed—once—the same time you screamed. No other
A gargle rippled from the patient’s throat. His chest heaved and fell
as though he were trying to speak.
Victor placed his ear against the man’s chest. His rapid breathing had
become slow and shallow. He pointed at the nurse. “Resume, please.”
The nurse began drumming again. The man’s chest rose and fell in
rhythm with her drum-beats.
“Stop!” Victor commanded the nurse.
The patient’s chest maintained its regular fall and rise.
“What’s that?” Kincaid asked. “A name? Where he’s from?”
Victor hesitated. How much of his spirit-journey would Kincaid believe?
The eels were the disturbing part. Did they signify the missing
passengers? Or the destructive forces inside the man’s unconscious?
“Check whether a ship named the Angela Negra has docked in any of the
nearby ports over the last few days. He may have been a crew member.”
Kincaid phoned the Coast Guard’s port security. Victor and Nurse
Fairchild raised the patient to a seated position on the examination
table. His arms dropped to his sides, but he did not maintain eye
contact. Victor and Fairchild guided him out of the examination room
toward the other side of the Psych Unit.
“Congratulations,” Kincaid said upon Victor’s return. “The
Baltimore harbormaster reported a Mexican navy frigate with the name
Angela Negra has been quarantined as a health hazard. They found traces
of blood on the deck along with a ship manifest of thirty
passengers—all missing. The ship’s purser, Juan Gomez, matches the
description of our John Doe.”
Victor grimaced. “The evidence suggests a smuggling scheme, but your
patient’s primary emotions seem to be remorse and fear. I’m not sure
Gomez, if that’s his name, is responsible for their disappearance.”
“It’s all speculation at this point,” Kincaid said. “The Navy
has something for its investigation, and we have a direction for
diagnosis and treatment.” He grinned and handed Victor another patient
chart. “Your next patient may not be so easy.”
Excerpted from "Mission: Soul Rescue: Escape from the Immortals (Volume 1)" by William Fietzer. Copyright © 2017 by William Fietzer. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.