Well, spank me on the rear and call me a newborn. I had never met a Hunter before in my life and I guess a lot of my own internal questions were being answered while many more started sprouting up.
“How do you know he was a Hunter, Mo?”
“I could sense it in him. He’s not powerful like we are, even when we’re apart. But I think he could read your mom if he wanted to.”
Wow, that’s scary. A day ago, my mom was dazzling me with the things she could do. She was blocking Mo from me and flashing around the kitchen. Now, Mo was basically saying people below our abilities (aka, Mom) would be in danger around a Hunter.
“Did you get anything else from him?”
“He was easy to pick up on, but it was hard to understand all of him. He was blocking something out. And he kept trying to hide his face from my memories.”
“Is that what he was doing? I thought it was hard to look at him or something.”
“Another thing,” she says reluctantly, “they apparently have a hierarchy to Hunters.”
And something tells me my next question’s answer will not be favorable. “Like low level to high level?”
“Uh huh,” she states.
“And we’re on the …?” Please let me be wrong.
“Of course we are. I mean why wouldn’t we be?”
Her smile is not confidence inspiring by any means, but she’s at least acknowledging the dark humor in this situation of ours.
“Carter, there are 12 of them at our level. He wasn’t here for me, he was here for you. I think that’s the only way I got to read him, he wasn’t expecting me.”
I’m sure my smile has her wondering what the hell? But I think I know what we have to do today at school and it doesn’t involve my Lit paper or the Theorems from Geometry.
Mo and I got ready and rode the transit to school together. I kept stealing glances at her along the trip, throwing mental conversations at her along the way. It was a new way to communicate and the more we did it, the better we got. It wasn’t even necessary to say words at times. We could think of a picture or an emotion and when we pushed it over to each other, we immediately knew.
I didn’t necessarily ask her to be my girlfriend or anything as corny as that. But over the past few days, we have grown together like vines and were able to share things with one another in a way unlike anyone else could. We were further along in sharing ourselves then most people were in their first few years. Titles or gestures were no longer really needed. As she held my hand on the last part of the trip, it was evident to us both we were feeling love. Love as best as we knew how to describe it. We have yet to kiss and already she had my heart.
The doors opened to the station and we stepped out together. The school was a block away and I was suddenly hit with anxiety. My stomach bubbled and a patch of icicles poked down my neck. What would happen today and what if I didn’t do the right thing at the right time?
Mo squeezes my hand in two short bursts. Her winning smile is back and shining at me as her warm eyes peek out below the stocking hat I gave her to keep her pretty melon warm. In those few seconds, she reaffirmed me that we’d be fine.
The first two periods flew by like they were candles on a birthday cake, extinguished in a blink. About half way through the 3rd period, fortunately right before I was supposed to give my speech on the book I had yet to read, the communication link sounded calling for both Mo and I. It even took over the white board in the upper right corner showing our names and pictures. It looked like we were fugitives.
It was amusing to me, simply because they did that with everyone, except in my case, I may indeed be a criminal by the end of this period.
As I opened the frosted glass door reading Principal’s Office, I immediately noticed Mo sitting behind the countertop separating those waiting for the Principal and those simply in there for whatever reason.
I approach the front where Victoria is busy typing away at something. Victoria is Principal Uzman’s assistant and simply one of the nicest people I have ever met. She always has a smile to give you and remembers your name no matter who you are. Her wrinkles were only present in her smile even though she was older than my mother. The love this woman had for perfume was her only downfall. I think she has a misting machine she runs through periodically throughout the day in order to have a fresh coat on her clothes at all times. By the afternoon, she gets mighty potent.
“Hi, Victoria!” I was a little too enthusiastic. I hadn’t seen her in about a year.
“Carter DeTamble, how have you been sugar?” Her slight southern speak comes out when she’s being informal.
“I’m good, only had a few spells so far this term, so I’d say I’m improving.” My sophomore year had me in and out of class a lot. I was leaping out of nervousness I think, but there were a couple of instances when I leapt back into a gym class locker room. Thankfully, it was the boys and not the girls’ side.
“That’s wonderful, hon. So, it looks like you and Ms. Zester are set to visit with Principal Uzman.”
“Yah, I guess so. Any clues you can give me as to why?”
She pouted slightly, “Afraid not, they only have me give out the announcements. I don’t get to be privy as to the why.”
I smiled back knowing as much and she waived me through the swinging bar saloon-style gate leading behind her to the hallway with chairs lined on each side. Mo was sitting patiently in one and as I sat down beside her I noticed panic.
“Carter, I can’t sense anything. I actually tried and I can’t sly or buffer or push. Someone or something here is better at this than me.”
Oh, shit. “Well, that’s not good.”
She giggles nervously, cute but still no comparison to her normal laughter. Hoping to calm her nerves, I push a thought to her. It would be the physical equivalent to a mother stroking her hands through her child’s hair. It was a motion that either put me at ease or to sleep.
As she calmed down she looked at me relieved. A few seconds passed before her face scrunched ever so slightly in confusion. She reached out and held my hand and repeated the look.
“You’re much stronger than I am, Carter.”
“How is that?”
“You can still push thoughts to me. Even touching you, I can’t.”
Curiouser and curiouser. I always liked the saying since we read the classic Alice in Wonderland last year in Literature History class. But I hope something wasn’t overlooked or changed since I forecasted last night. My theories on time travel were limited and mostly theoretical, traveling ahead in time was never a factor so thinking of all the possible outcomes and scenarios was giving me a headache now. Swallowing down the large bite of alternate universes and string theories nearly killed me before the door across from us opened.
Lingering in the doorway, Principal Uzman was standing like a giant mutant. His skin shone even in the dim light of his doorway. I truly hoped that “future me” knew what he was talking about because right now I want to flash with Mo back home and begin running.
“Mr. DeTamble, Ms. Zester, please come into my office.” His voice was the only semi-cool thing about the man. It was low and grumbly like what you’d expect an evil wizard to sound like. If you only heard him talk, he’d be frightening. Mixed with his appearance though, he was simply creepy.
“Ready?” I ask Mo.
“As I’ll ever be.” Her panic was back but subdued as she felt better by my side.
As we walk into Uz Land. Wait, strike that. As we walk in the Land of Uz (yah, much better), I pick up on the thing Mo was mentioning. It was like a high-pitched frequency in the background. You wouldn’t even know it unless you really tried. It wasn’t mechanical though. It was coming from a person.
Whatever it was, it was trying to jam up Mo’s ability and mine I suspect. The only thing was I seemed to operate just fine without it. I could feel the molecules in my body ready to flash on command or buffer out any other attempts on me; although I couldn’t really test it without someone noticing.
Principal Uzman stepped into his office and waited on us to follow. On our way there, Mo grabs my hand with an emphatic squeeze.
“I don’t think this will work for us if I can’t help. I feel useless.”
I give a smaller squeeze back. “It’ll be okay. I’ll figure something out.”
We cross over the threshold into Uzman’s office and I fully expected a veil to drop or a signifying something letting me realize how we were now in the Danger Zone. Instead, it was a poorly lit office except for a desk lamp. There were no windows in his office, so it was more cave than anything. As my eyes adjusted to the gloominess, I realized it wasn’t just Principal Uzman and us. In the far corner, the Deslin twins were standing and looking at us like wounded gazelle in the African open field.
Mo had just enough time to look back at me with actual fear. It wasn’t panic, it was pure blown fear. For that I was going to take great delight in getting my retribution on them.
As Mo collapsed into my arms, I realized the twins were there as a method of getting information out of us. In their wicked smiles I knew together they were able to gang up on Mo who was defenseless and knock her out. The same was going to be directed at me soon.
Crap! I had to take this one on the chin. I couldn’t block them or else this charade would be over before it began. And if that’s the case, who knows what they would do to Mo before I could stop them. I had to let them feel like they’re winning and more powerful in order for them to let their guard down.
Man, this day better end in a win for us.
Thanks for everyone and anyone interested enough to read this far into the first half of The Time Traveler’s Grandchild. As I stated before, if anyone wants to continue seeing chapters, please feel free to email me and I will make sure to pass them along. Otherwise, I hope you will all join me on new stories both short and novel-based as I continue!