Episode 7 Transcript

07 - Patient #12-D-10 (Sam)
By Lauren Shippen

[sfx: click of recorder]

Dr. Bright: Patient #12-D-10. Session 4. Both the patient and I have been learning more about her ability. She has not had any trips since the day I met her, but I’m hoping to induce another one during a session so that I may observe again. The more I learn about how the trips work, the better I will be able to instruct the patient on how to control them. So far, we’ve discussed her earlier, more pleasant travels. Today, I plan to ask about the less enjoyable trips. 

[sfx: opening door]

Dr. Bright: Hello, Sam. It’s good to see you. How are you feeling today?

[sfx: closing door]

Sam: Hi, Dr. Bright. Um, I’m doing well. Another trip free week! 

Dr. Bright: I’m glad to hear it. But remember Sam, that doesn’t mean they’re gone forever. While I’m pleased with your progress, this isn’t something you can get over in just a few weeks. 

Sam: I know. But I’m enjoying the break while it lasts. 

Dr. Bright: Of course. I know that many of your trips have been challenging - much of history is very unpleasant. Do you think you could tell me about them?

Sam: I mean, it’s really the amount of time spent away that’s difficult.

Dr. Bright: How do you mean? Most of the trips you’ve told me about so far have been a day at the most. 

Sam: Right, yeah, I mean, that’s how they started out. But after- well, when I was sixteen, they, um, they started getting longer. 

Dr. Bright: And less pleasant?

Sam: Ha, yeah, I guess- I guess you could say that. 

Dr. Bright: Could you tell me about it? What was the first long trip that you took?

Sam: Um, it was, well, it was a few months after that trip to the French court that I told you about? And that one was just half a day, like so many others, but this- uh, this was the first trip that was longer than a day. 

Dr. Bright: How long was it?

Sam: Um, I’m not exactly sure? Three weeks? Maybe a month, I don’t know.

Dr. Bright: A month? That’s quite a dramatic shift - one day to one month. 

Sam: I know, trust me. 

Dr. Bright: And the amount of time that passed in your own life? Were you still gone for only a few minutes?

Sam: Um, yeah, I think so. It’s a little different every time, but I don’t think it was longer than 30 minutes. 

Dr. Bright: So, one month. Where did you go?

Sam: I’m- I’m not sure exactly. Somewhere in Europe, it was hard to tell. 

Dr. Bright: Were you in the countryside? No people, no landmarks?

Sam: Uh, no, no there were people around. It was- I think it was World War I? I mean, the uniforms looked like it was maybe World War I, and then there was the whole trench thing, so yeah, I think that’s where I was. I mean, I never got any confirmation, but it’s not like they exactly called it World War I at the time. I mean, particularly, when, you know, fighting it. Not that that would have helped if they did. Because, um, well, I don’t speak any German so, I didn’t really know what any of them were talking about. 

Dr. Bright: You were in the trenches of World War I for four weeks?

Sam: Um, yeah, yeah I guess so. 

Dr. Bright: And you were how old? Sixteen?

Sam: Yeah, somewhere around there. 

Dr. Bright: Sam, I’m - I’m so sorry. I can’t even imagine what that must have been like. To be so young and see what you must have seen. 

Sam: Yeah, yeah, it’s, um, something I’ve tried to not think too much about since it happened. 

Dr. Bright: I understand. But I think it would be good for you to tell me about it.

Sam: Why? I mean, what can we possibly learn from it? I don’t understand why I need to talk about every single trip I ever took! I mean, it’s always the same - I’m just stuck there, not able to talk to anyone, not able to really change anything. It doesn’t matter where I am. None of it’s real - it’s like, just, dreaming or something. 

Dr. Bright: But it’s not a dream. And even though a month didn’t pass in your real life, you still spent that amount of time in what I imagine was a horrific war zone. That matters quite a lot. It must have been very traumatizing. 

Sam: Of course it was traumatizing! But a lot of the trips have been traumatizing. At least I know I can’t get hurt. 

Dr. Bright: But you saw other people get hurt, didn’t you?

Sam: Yeah, I did. I mean, of course I did. It was a war. One of the worst wars in history. And it’s just like history class teaches you - absolutely brutal. The smell of the trenches, the mustard gas, all those bodies. Some of the men in the trenches were even my age! Boys, I guess, not men. And they all died. Every single one. 

Dr. Bright: I’m so sorry, Sam. I can only guess at the lasting effects something like that has had on you. The horrors that you witnessed, the carnage - you must have been completely terrified. 

Sam: Yeah, yeah I was. 

Dr. Bright: Talk to me about it. Tell me about what you saw. 

Sam: Why? I don’t exactly want to relive the whole thing right now, do I? Out of all the trips, it was one of the worst, especially since it was after- it was just really, really bad. 

Dr. Bright: Especially since it was after what?

Sam: After- after such a nice trip. The one before it I mean - it was just a big shock, that’s all. 

Dr. Bright: I should think so. That is a very big shift for your trips to take - do you think there was a reason for the change?

Sam: I don’t know. I can’t control anything about them, you know that. 

Dr. Bright: Of course. But it seems as if your earlier trips were mostly harmless - sometimes downright enjoyable - and as you grew older, you started to travel to more upsetting places. Is that an accurate summation?

Sam: I suppose so. 

Dr. Bright: So what caused it? I don’t think it was simple puberty and hormones that did it. 

Sam: Why not?

Dr. Bright: Growing up is a part of human life in the same way that your condition is a part of you. They should have worked in harmony. It seems more likely to me that the shift would have been caused by a shock to your system. Was there anything out of the ordinary that happened in that time? A big injury? A major life change?

Sam: I don’t know - I mean, when you’re sixteen, everything seems pretty major, right?

Dr. Bright: Sam. You know the difference. Did anything traumatic happen to you during that time? First broken heart, perhaps?

Sam: Ha, if only.

Dr. Bright: Sam, it’s alright. You can tell me. 

Sam: But, I’ve never- I’ve never told anyone. I- I can’t. It’s too…

Dr. Bright: Too much?

Sam: Yes, yeah, it’s too much. I don’t want to leave again. It’s been so good these past few weeks. Don’t make me leave again. 

Dr. Bright: I can’t help you if you don’t tell me, Sam. Remember, even if you start to panic and you leave, you will come back. And I will be right here for you.  

Sam: You can’t tell anyone. Please. I’m- it was all my fault and I’ve never told anyone. 

Dr. Bright: What was your fault, Sam? What happened when you were sixteen?

Sam: I was in the car with my parents. They were teaching me how to drive. I’d been so reluctant to drive the car anywhere but the parking lot where my dad had been teaching me - the road made me so nervous, driving is so dangerous - and they thought if they both came along, I’d be calmer about it. But I wasn’t. I was driving along the main road, my dad in the back, my mom in the passenger seat, and there were so many cars around, and we were approaching a big intersection and I started to panic, and I think I was yelling to my parents to stop the car because I- I couldn’t, I didn’t know what to do, and they were trying to calm me down because they didn’t understand. They didn’t understand I couldn’t calm down, that I couldn’t control what was about to happen and then- then I went away. I don’t even remember where I went or how long I was gone. But when I came back- when I came back I was in the middle of the road and in front of me in front of me was a huge truck. And it- it had slammed into the car. And my parents - they were dead. My mom had climbed into the driver’s seat to try and drive and if she hadn’t- they were both dead. I killed them.

Dr. Bright: Sam. What happened was an accident. A horrible accident, but an accident nonetheless. You didn’t kill your parents. 

Sam: Of course I did! I knew what might happen to me - I knew that driving made me nervous, and I got into the car anyway. I was driving the car, with my parents in it, knowing that I might disappear at any moment. I did that - I killed them. I yelled at them and then I went away and when I came back, they were dead.  

Dr. Bright: Sam, breathe-

Sam: And everyone was saying to me how terrible it was, how tragic, but how lucky that I was thrown from the car, that I lived. How it’s what my parents would have wanted - for me to live. Everyone comforting me, pitying me, crying for me, and they didn’t know- they didn’t know that it was my fault. That my parents would still be alive if I wasn’t who I was, if they’d just had a daughter who was normal-

[sfx: time travel sound]

Dr. Bright: Patient has disappeared in the same manner as our first session. She grew pale and shaky - though this time she seemed oblivious to the symptoms, which is very atypical for her as I understand it - and then her body flickered for a moment, before she disappeared completely. I must admit, as much as I wanted to observe one of her trips, I wasn’t quite expecting all this. I’m surprised that talking about her visit to the trenches didn’t induce panic - possibly a positive sign about her progress. But this trauma with her parents will continue to hold her back if we don’t- this is interesting. The air around where Sam: was sitting is beginning to shimmer. I don’t think I noticed that last- 

[sfx: time travel sound]

Dr. Bright: Sam? Sam, are you alright? Where did you go this time?

Sam: It doesn’t matter. Why did you have to ask about that? I was doing well, you were helping me, why did you make me tell you that? I don’t want to do this anymore! I don’t want to keep going away. I don’t want to hurt anyone. I was feeling good today and you made me disappear. Why would you do that? Aren’t you supposed to make me feel better?

Dr. Bright: In order to get better, sometimes we need to feel worse first. 

Sam: Bullshit. You wanted me to go on “one of my trips”. 

Dr. Bright: What makes you say that?

Sam: I don’t know how much time just passed for you, but I was in the other place for a while. Just thinking about our conversation - you asking me about the bad stuff, the trenches, my teenage trauma. I get it, I do. You’ve seen a lot of strange things in your day, you’ve said, but never someone like me. Why not watch the freak do what she does best, right?

Dr. Bright: Sam, it’s important for me to observe your condition in order to understand it better. You can’t hide from it forever. 

Sam: Right. Of course. Because then I won’t be able to control it. But why would I want to control it? I want it to go away. I don’t care about traveling through time - I’ve done enough of that for 100 lifetimes. I just want to have a normal life. Why won’t you help me with that? Why do you insist that I learn to control it?

Dr. Bright: Because I think it’s important, Sam. This isn’t like you to be angry. You’ve just come back from a trip - you’re not in the proper mindset right now. 

Sam: My mindset is fine! There was no one around where I went. Just me and time to think. And if you won’t help me get rid of this, if you’ll just make me relive all the worst things that have ever happened to me, then, then I don’t want to do this anymore. 

[sfx: opening door]

Dr. Bright: Sam, wait, don’t leave. You still have over half your session left. 

Sam: No, no, I’ve had enough for today.

Dr. Bright: Fine. But I expect to see you back here next week. We can talk about this more then. I don’t want you to give up just yet - you were making such good progress. 

Sam: Just please - please don’t tell anyone about my parents. I know technically it’s a crime and you have to report those, but please. 

Dr. Bright: Don’t worry, Sam. All your secrets are safe with me. 

Sam: I want to believe you but- I just. I think I better just go. 

Dr. Bright: Sam, wait-

[sfx: closing door]

 Dr. Bright: End of session 4. I was very surprised by the subject’s demeanor after she returned. She was angry and confused, but also more confident than I’ve ever seen her before. It seems that some of her trust in me was shaken, but I don’t think it’s broken beyond repair. I just need to take things slower with her. If I rush her, I may lose her and that is not an option at this point. She’s too important.

[sfx: click of recorder]

[music & credits]

Lauren Shippen: The Bright Sessions is written and produced by Lauren Shippen. The voice of Dr. Bright is Julia Morizawa. The voice of Sam is Lauren Shippen. Special thanks to Elizabeth Laird for her advice as both a psychologist and fiction lover, to Elizabeth and Matthew Harrington for their enduring support, and to Anna Lore for our graphic design. For additional content to donate to our podcast, please visit thebrightsessions.com. For any questions or just to say hi, email us at thebrightsessions@gmail. Thanks for listening and stay strange.