Mom went and dropped the bomb on Mo and I in regards to taking down our school. Now, I was curious about the last part in why we needed to. I was all for not going back to school, but I had a feeling that another would simply spring up in its place.
“Why are we destroying Pemberton?”
“We are trying to understand more, but I think that they are genetically testing the kids at school. They’re offering counseling services and medications, but they’re actually harnessing different genomes and seeing how to replicate them in others.”
“So, they want to know what makes us tick so other people can do it too?”
“That’s what we’re thinking. And if they are doing that, imagine what they would do to you if they realized your family has learned to teleport or that Mo is able to read people along with using her telekinesis? Lab rats comes to mind.”
I feel like questions were the only form of communication I’ve had with my mother this past week. I should just list them out like a pop quiz and have her submit the answers to me later.
“How do you know that’s happening at my school, mom?”
“I don’t. Not concretely yet. But I think that we have a good idea where to start and how to find out more.” She redirects her motherly intensity to Mo.
“Me?!” Mo looks a few degrees hotter when she gets frazzled. And thankfully, with my mother around, I doubt she knew I was thinking that.
“You can read people, hon. You’re far more active than many others I’ve known like you and you’re still young. For whatever reason, you work better with Carter around, so with both of you helping we can know for certain.”
“Spy work?” I ask with too much enthusiasm.
“We’ll need you to get close enough to the principal to read him and dig for any clues as to what might be going on under the scenes there.”
“Does this have anything to do with my car blowing up?” Mo was not feeling the Spy Kids vibe that I was. In fact, she looked borderline to passing out.
“I think so. I can’t be sure what they pulled out of you while you were at school.” My mom had a way of ending each sentence and populating a few more questions in my collective.
“Mom, what happened to Mo in the principal’s office?” That’s a good appetizer.
“If the Deslin twins you were talking about are at all like you, they must have been probing your mind while you were there, trying to find out clues. I’m guessing that someone keeps tabs on Carter and when they saw you two together, they were curious about you finding out anything that they haven’t already. They must know your ability and tested out their theory.”
“Not to challenge you, but I don’t think that anyone like Carter or I can use our ability in the office. At least, that’s our theory.”
“Maybe it’s made from whatever Ray’s room was made from that kept me from leaping?” Brilliant connection, Carter, you are Batman, master detective.
“There’s not a material that prevents anyone from using their power, Carter James. We don’t have a Kryptonite.”
Well, boo to you too, mother. I hope my confused-brooding face asks the question so I don’t have to.
“People like us are what blocks powers from being used.”
I need to start taking notes pretty soon. “Huh?”
“There are different levels of people with abilities. We’re like athletes, there are some that prosper through lots of training and conditioning and some that have natural gifts. Everybody has a different combination. For some, they can flash better than they can leap. For Mo’s kind, some push better than they read.”
“Sly.” Mo corrects. I chuckle to myself without letting anything escape.
“We call it sly instead of read. Just thought I would … well, let you know. Okay, I’ll be quiet now.” She makes her lips disappear inwardly in an attempt to apologize.
“Well, thank you. As I was saying, some have different combinations and can use more than one ability with practice. One of the abilities that you will need to learn soon, both of you, is buffering. It’s where you can block out another person’s ability that is close to you. For unsuspecting people, like you two, it just feels like nothing is happening.”
“So, Ray buffered me from leaping when he was holding me captive the other day?”
“He did. Also said it was hard to stop you initially. Not an easy feat.”
“Ray? Like Lord Ray?!” Mo’s panic level is rising again.
“Yes, hon. Raymond Lord is helping us.”
The nagging thought of something started to reoccur to me. My initial introductions were through notes stating a countdown that was taking place. Crap, now I had to do math. Accounting for the days I was out, assuming that my note was working off the main timeline and not my own, I had until Thursday morning before my time was up.
“Mom, quick sidebar, what was Lord Ray’s countdown referring to?”
Her face seemed to pinch in despair. “Ray had a cousin that was a few years younger than you. He trained him constantly and diligently since he was just a boy. He was very powerful and one day he leapt. The only thing is that he leapt into the near future, not the past.”
“Bullshit,” I scoff before realizing that I swore in front of my mother. She gives me a laser-beam stare of disapproval then retorts.
“He did apparently. And he landed in the midst of a detainment, your detainment. He didn’t get much from it the first time he went, only who you were and why you were picked up. He went back a second time on purpose to the date that you leapt from, which is this week apparently. Whatever the case is, he saw it happen and ever since, Ray has been trying to leave you clues.”
“Mom, people can’t leap forward except when they go back first. They can’t leap forward then back…can they?” I wasn’t sure of much any longer.
“People can’t leap past their own timeline either, but you do. Constantly.”
Why didn’t I get the handbook for this disease of mine. Wait… “Dr. Phillips knows that I go back further than my timeline. Why hasn’t he said or done anything?”
“He has. He monitors you. He wants to know how far you can go and I’m willing to bet the moment you pose a threat, we’ll all know about it.”
“What is Ray getting out of this?”
“Resolve. His cousin died on his return trip. Apparently going forward is more taxing than staying behind for months at a time. He went into cardiac arrest and since they can’t be seen or caught in public, he watched him die. He wants atonement for that.”
Mo has been speechless for some time now. As I look over, the stun on her face depicts pretty much everything I would imagine on my own. A level of confusion twisted into a need to slow down was splattered across her features.
I reached for her hand to comfort her and let her know that she wasn’t alone. With great minds thinking alike, my mom reached in the same gesture. As we connected the three of us together, all of our thoughts were thrown into the same stew pot. Suddenly, I was seeing my mother’s memories and thoughts as if they were my own. Along with it, Mo had no need to speak inside of my mind as we were sharing the same thoughts. If there was an outline of Mo, my mother and me, it was like the silhouettes were all placed on top of each other for a span of time. It was unclear how long until we finally separated again.
“Rubber-chicken-Christ… whaaheaaa?” My last word was supposed to be “what,” but it trailed off in a manner of how air escapes a flattening tire. It was like,.
My mother even looked as though she had just gotten goosed by a cattle prod. As I looked at the clock, I realized I hadn’t really paid attention to the time beforehand. Although, I was certain that it was not as close to 8:00 as it was. By the look of it, we had been holding hands around the table for a couple of hours, which would explain the shelf I had for a set of butt cheeks at the moment.
“Mo, how did you do that?” My mom beat me to it this time.
She shook her head and continued to look blankly at nothing ahead of her. After our experience, we all shared a little something with each other. It was like we compressed our experiences and our knowledge down into little pills that we each ingested in order to expand in our own selves again.
Deeply, Mo already knew I was having feelings for her. And likewise, I now knew that she was holding on to some of the very same. An additional fun fact, she had a dirtier mind then I did. A not so fun fact, now my mother knew that too. Ick.
“Well,” I start off again, “that was a little more than oversharing in my book.”
“I think I know why people might have wanted to silence you in a car explosion, Mo.” Well, mother, we are definitely all ears now. “You’re a conduit.”
That sounds terrifyingly wonderful, like you are the chosen one. Not scary to a teenage girl at all.
“What’s that?” Mo asks.
“It’s another level of your ability. You can channel two people’s thoughts, knowledge, power or whatever between them. You act as the go-between for regulating what gets transferred.”
“Bang up job there,” I jest. The backhanded slap to my arm tells me that despite the post-traumatic event, she was in good spirits too.
“She shouldn’t have that ability yet. Not without a lot of training and at least knowing how to buffer first.” The silence followed by my mother’s passionate stare into what could only be my nougat-filled center has me wondering what she’s thinking.
“It’s you, Carter. You amplify her and vice versa. You’re what our circle calls Gemini. It’s like those Deslin twins, apart they don’t exhibit much, but together they are very strong. The same is with you two.”
Somehow, this makes sense to me and as I look at Mo, she seems to feel it too. We both look down at our hands as if something is written on them saying UPGRADE in big letters. Nothing is there, obviously.
“If you two are Gemini, we need to get you into training tomorrow. I can call into school for you and well, Mo, … play dead a little while longer.”
“I thought you were going to train me?” I hope that didn’t spill out as whinny as I think it did.
“I have to keep up the appearance at work. For you, I can have a viable excuse; for me, saying my kiddo is tired and I have to watch over him is not going to fly. Plus, I have the best person to help you both.”
“Ray?” I say with a little condescension.
“No, Ray is not a trainer. Ray is like the top-ranking soldier in the field. You’ll be training with David.”
I wonder how many underground people there were out there. Also, if this guy trained leapers, how would he help Mo? “What about Mo?”
“He can train her too.”
Her smile was followed by, “I’ll let him explain all of that to you tomorrow.”
Super, I love cliffhangers. But before she cuts off this part of the story, I am struck with the nagging wonder how much my mom remembered from our conduit time. “Mom, when we were all mind-melding or whatever you want to call it, what could you pick up on?”
Her cat-like smile said something already. “All I know is that you both better keep to your rooms tonight.” As she pushes away from the table to look for dinner to cook, I am left with the next biggest problem: looking at Mo to see if she knew that I knew.
“Carter, listen…whatever you saw in there – ”
I knew it! “Oh, you did think that didn’t you?” I coyly poke at her. “Doesn’t feel too good when someone is able to romper-stomp around in your private thoughts, huh?”
Her cheeks turn a few shades of pink along with her ears. I decide to poke the bear while it’s behind a cage a little more.
“Maybe you’d like to explain to me a little more about your thoughts from the backyard and something about rinsing off with the garden hose.” I say in a not-so-silent whisper.
As Mo looks to see if my mother heard her, when she gazed back that was the last thoughts I had about teasing her. I remember her loudly shushing me and then my chair elevating a few feet off the ground with me still in it.
Her raised eyebrows daring me to mess with her again were the last things I caught before my mother turned and once again buffered Mo. My chair landed with a hard, flat smack to the floor. Likewise, I think my spinal column went into my brain making me a good inch shorter.
“Not at the table, you two.” Like a true parent, judge and jury in one.