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   your friends' houses than hacking in your own. The habit grew

   gradually. Soon, he was smoking dope at home. New friends began coming

   around, and they seemed to have drugs with them all the time--not just

   occasionally, and not just for fun.

  

   Electron and his sister had been left the family home and enough money

   to give them a modest income. Electron began spending this money on

   his new-found hobby. A couple of Electron's new friends moved into the

   house for a few months. His sister didn't like them dealing drugs out

   of the place, but Electron didn't care what was happening around him.

   He just sat in his room, listening to his stereo, smoking dope,

   dropping acid and watching the walls.

  

   The headphones blocked out everyone in the house, and, more

   importantly, what was going on inside Electron's own head. Billy

   Bragg. Faith No More. Cosmic Psychos. Celibate Rifles. Jane's

   Addiction. The Sex Pistols. The Ramones. Music gave Electron a

   pinpoint, a figurative dot of light on his forehead where he could

   focus his mind. Blot out the increasingly strange thoughts creeping

   through his consciousness.

  

   His father was alive. He was sure of it. He knew it, like he knew the

   sun would rise tomorrow. Yet he had seen his father lying, dead, in

   the hospital bed. It didn't make sense.

  

   So he took another hit from the bong, floated in slow motion to his

   bed, lay down, carefully slid the earphones over his head, closed his

   eyes and tried to concentrate on what the Red Hot Chilli Peppers were

   saying instead. When that wasn't enough, he ventured down the hallway,

   down to his new friends--the friends with the acid tabs. Then, eight

   more hours without having to worry about the strange thoughts.

  

   Soon people began acting strangely too. They would tell Electron

   things, but he had trouble understanding them. Pulling a milk carton

   from the fridge and sniffing it, Electron's sister might say, `Milk's

   gone off'. But Electron wasn't sure what she meant. He would look at

   her warily. Maybe she was trying to tell him something else, about

   spiders. Milking spiders for venom.

  

   When thoughts like these wafted through Electron's mind, they

   disturbed him, lingering like a sour smell. So he floated back to the

   safety of his room and listened to songs by Henry Rollins.

  

   After several months in this cloudy state of limbo, Electron awoke one

   day to find the Crisis Assessment Team--a mobile psychiatric team--in

   his bedroom. They asked him questions, then they tried to feed him

   little blue tablets. Electron didn't want to take the tablets. Were

   little blue pills placebos? He was sure they were. Or maybe they were

   something more sinister.

  

   Finally, the CAT workers convinced Electron to take the Stelazine

   tablet. But when they left, terrifying things began to happen.

   Electron's eyes rolled uncontrollably to the back of his head. His

   head twisted to the left. His mouth dropped open, very wide. Try as he

   might, he couldn't shut it, any more than he could turn his head

   straight. Electron saw himself in the mirror and he panicked. He

   looked like a character out of a horror

   picture.

  

   His new house-mates reacted to this strange new behaviour by trying to