"Well, Talia, let me start with what you've been worrying about the most. You're not insane."
Talia Wiley released the breath she had been holding. She smiled for the first time in days and tears fell down her cheeks as her mother put her arm around her from the chair beside her. Her father, Jarrett, squeezed her arm on the other side. The three of them sat in identical padded chairs in front of the doctor's oak desk. Talia's little sister, Sara, was being watched by a neighbor. They had decided to leave her at home in case the news was bad. The office was warm with wood trim and stacked bookcases. It was a far cry from the labs Talia had been in for the past two days.
"That's great news, Dr. Van Hoag," Jarrett said, still looking concerned, "It only confirms what we've been saying. I mean if something was wrong with Talia, then there was something wrong with everyone that was with her that day, including me. But it doesn't tell us what happened. Hallucinations don't cause that kind of damage."
Talia left her mother's embrace and rubbed the wetness from her dark brown eyes. Her mother, Aniya did the same. People always remarked how much they looked alike, same dark eyes, same smooth skin and high cheekbones. The only difference was their hair. Talia's was straight and black like her father's while her mother's was brown. Sometimes Talia wished her hair was brown just so she would not have such a Goth look in the morning. It did not help that her mood tended towards dark and sarcastic. No one considered her behavior abnormal, however, just the usual teenage angst. That was until two days ago at the jewelry store. Talia still had dreams of the chaos she had created. Objects flying around the store, pockets of darkness, visions of ghosts and demons. She jumped at the sound of the doctor's voice.
"I can shed some light on Talia's incident but to be honest, she's given us more questions than answers. You were referred to me because I am a neurologist who specializes in Talia's suspected condition."
"Condition?" Talia said. "It's a tumor, isn't it?"
"No, dear, it's not a tumor."
Talia continued, "So some hormonal or electro-chemical imbalance affecting my perception of reality?"
Devlin VanHoag sighed from behind his desk, "Let me guess. WebMD?"
"Ah, the Borg brain of the twenty-first century. Did it happen to say how your hormones knocked over display cases from across the showroom or allowed you to hear the other customers' thoughts as they ran out? No? I'm actually surprised but at least we can rule that out, right?"
Aniya leaned forward, "So then what caused those things to happen, doctor? The security cameras prove she didn't make it up."
Jarrett scoffed, "Security cameras? Hell, I was there, remember?"
Talia remembered hearing the voices. The few other customers ran out thinking it was an earthquake. But she had heard other voices, too, not from the room. She clenched her fists tight until those chilling memories went away.
Devlin left his leather chair and came around to sit on the front of his desk, legs stretched to the floor. He was mature with thinning grey hair, hazel eyes surrounded by lines, and a slight stoop to his walk. He was thin and his pristine lab coat draped on him like a robe.
"Talia definitely does not have a tumor," he said, "and she does not have any problem with her brain at all. In fact, her brain works better than yours or mine at a certain level that we are only now beginning to understand."
"This isn't going to get too technical, is it doctor?" Jarrett asked. "I mean I'm no slouch but my knowledge is in business and running a restaurant. I'm going to need layman terms to understand this."
"Speak for yourself, Dad," Talia said, "I want to know everything."
Devlin chuckled, "Trust me, I prefer simple. Life's complicated enough without pointless jargon. Now, a lot of people don't know that the brain gives off different electrical waves from its own activity. There are several different ranges of these waves from Alpha to Gamma. Normally these waves are so weak they have no affect on their surroundings. Talia is part of a new emerging group of people who can produce a brainwave known as Gamma-3."
"So my brain's radioactive?" Talia said.
"No, there's no radioactivity. The name is based on the length of the wave."
"And these Gamma-3 waves can affect things like in the store?"
"Not things in general. In fact, the only things they interact with are microscopic crystals in the brain. When they are then in the presence of similar crystals outside of the body, such as in a ring, depending on the crystal, different things will happen."
"That's why so many things happened at once," Jarrett said, nodding. "We were in a jewelry store. We were surrounded by crystals."
"But why then?" Aniya asked. "Talia's been around crystals before. I know for a fact she has a few necklaces that I bought her that have crystals. Oh, my. Could that have done it?"
"No, no," Devlin said, "The brain is always developing and growing. Different chemical changes are also going on in teen brains such as Talia. It probably started producing the correct waves that day and she just happened to go into the store. A perfect storm, if you will."
"Wait," Talia said, "You said I'm part of an emerging group. So there are others like me?"
Devlin Van Hoag leaned forward so his hands were above his kneess and looked Talia in the eyes. He smiled. "Oh, no, dear. There are no others like you."