A Time to Be Born



“- sandwiches!” I finish exclaiming as I flash back into Eva’s kitchen.

My cool points were pretty far gone after I lost my temper and realized my girlfriend was stranded in the kitchen with a couple of strangers and an absent-memory Eva. I was partially hoping my absence was, for the most part, unnoticed.

I may have gotten away with any slip like that if I had a normal girlfriend. Mo took one look at me and immediately sensed my apology. She smirks in the way she does when she wants to call me an idiot while saying she loves me at the same time.

“Sorry, about that,” I announce.

“My little hot head,” Mo chirps. “Now, before you decide to poof into thin air again, why don’t we hear what’s left to be said. Then, you can go play Houdini.” She somehow makes her eyes larger and more adorable when talking down to me. My mind won’t allow me to get upset with her even when I know she’s trying to get under my skin.

Instead, I concentrate on the largest one-handed spank I can fathom and push the thought over to her. With that, her eyebrows arch and a small foxlike grin draws across her soft lips.

“I think we might just need to go there, see if we can help,” I clarify through my own smile. “Unless there is something else you needed to add,” I open the question up to Rook and Junk.

“Well,” Rook began, “I was going to say how I think there is still someone on the inside working with the Pirates at the Orphanage. And that is how they found us or David more precisely.”

A small trickling wave of panic flutters across my skin as if all the windows suddenly opened during winter. My skepticism has me second guessing whether I should have trusted this brother/sister combo.

Mo picked up on my apprehension. I never fully shield myself from her. Keeping my mind open to her is more of a reflex, like breathing without thinking. She knows I regret my impetuous flash back to Lincoln Square as well as doubts about our guests.

Mo and I had spent our free time pushing the limits of our abilities outside of the city limits. There was a clearing in the country we go to for our “danger training” as she calls it. We also go to crowded malls or events to work on Mo’s ability to sly.

Long montage short, we have had some epic failures and even greater successes. Over the past month, she perfected the ability to dive into people’s thoughts the way a dolphin navigates the ocean surface. At times, she is able to split her concentration and accept thought simultaneously from two different people. Most importantly, they have no idea she is there. My little memory cat burglar.

Rook explains how after David fell into his spell, over half of the troubled kids he was working with left. While she spoke, I sense Mo dipping into the minds of both siblings. Rook finishes detailing her list of suspects as Mo kicks the thought over to me that they were both okay to be trusted. At least that was a load off.

“Who can we absolutely trust from Lincoln?” I ask.

“Aria has been by David’s side since we left. Benny has worked closely with him and is loyal. Jenni and David have been close; I think they are dating outside of the Orphanage.”

The idea of David with someone is disturbing on forty different levels. Mostly, I’m thinking he’s dating a teenager like me. Also, what in the hell happens if he had a child? My great grandson might be the same age as my son? Yeah, that’s where my brain engine took me. The caboose has much worse thoughts, and I’ll leave it at that.

“Jenni?” I wonder aloud.

Junk decides to snap out of his ADHD for a few moments, “She’s one of the adults that came in with her daughter, Aria. She can do cool things with her claps.”

Avoid thinking there is an innuendo there and stop smirking, Carter. “And where is she now?” I manage to force out before Mo elbows me in the side, only stoking the giggle embers into a larger chuckle flame.

“She was infuriated,” Rook takes the attention off my disposition to think juvenilely. “She took off and told Aria to keep an eye on David. I think she was trying to hunt those three down that put him under that spell.”

“What can she do?” Mo interjects.

Rook takes a reluctant breath before explaining, “When Jenni makes a loud clap she can disappear. When Jenni claps loudly enough, she hurts people,” after a dramatic pause, “badly.”

Trying to imagine what causes an ability to act like it does is like putting blue paint on a pallet, then adding a blob of white and black and guessing how many combinations of color they could make. On occasion, the limitations can be narrowed down to being a Leaper or an Eventual.

“Any ideas how?”

“I’m not the expert like David. He has a knack for knowing how one of us works. He managed to get this idiot under control pretty quickly,” she thumbs over to her brother who was drumming a beat out on his lap with his fingers.

“You mentioned she could hurt people badly. Did you see her do something to someone?” Mo empathetically pries.

Looking at the two side by side, it was difficult not appreciating their differences while simultaneously enjoying the contrasts to their individual beauty. Mo, shorter than Rook by almost a foot, had curves any man only hopes to traverse the entirety of someday. Her almond shaped eyes accentuate the sultry fire ablaze behind them. People think she has a nano-modifier that alters eye, hair, skin and nail color. Her eyes were an almost pale brown and shone like honey in the sunlight.

“Nothing I want to talk about, let alone remember,” Rook reluctantly admits.

Rook was very tall and had legs that made it almost impossible to concentrate as they accentuated her every move like she was dancing instead of walking. Her long curls bounce even when she stands still around her flawless skin. No blemish of any kind stood out as if she were made from porcelain instead of flesh. To punctuate her beauty, her mouth makes little motions accompanied with her smile. Someone would hopefully love her enough somewhere in life to understand the infinite combinations they create.

Mo shuffles closer to her and puts her hand out, palm up. “You won’t need words.”

Trusting in Mo’s expression, Rook extends her hand and places her own palm atop Mo’s soft pink one below. “Just remember for me. I can do the rest,” Mo confides.

While Rook closes her eyes, Mo extends her hand to me in order to allow me to experience it as well. As the three of us touch, I feel the pull. My mind feels like a huge piece of metal and Rook’s memories are like tiny magnets trying to stick to me. Mo filters only the ones she wants me to see.

We all relive what Rook had seen. It was a month after they arrived at the Orphanage. Overwhelmed, confused and consistently paranoid were the general emotions of any new Orphan, but those began winding down for most. They slept easier and David was helping them keep their abilities under control. Slowly they were starting to feel safe.

It was shortly after that when a couple of Orphans started feeling a little too much at home. In fact, when David wasn’t around, they appointed themselves in charge and thought everyone was an object of theirs to do with as they pleased like remote controls waiting for their buttons to be pushed.

The two older men had been developing and crafting their abilities for years. One could use his telekinesis to hold people down or away from him and the other could wipe away memories. In this sick world, there are some people who should never exist. Like demons or dragons from stories, their kind should have died out ages ago.

They made their way around to a few of the women in the Orphanage, younger girls and those not equipped to defend themselves. David was oblivious as his hands were full running out of a couple different locations since one could no longer suffice. He didn’t visit much because it appeared everything there was okay.

Jenni and her daughter Aria had been around since Rook and her brother. They never spoke much as most newcomers were introverted as well. One of the men appeared to be fond of Aria, who was around Junk’s age. Rook didn’t see much except for one of the men picking Aria up off the floor as she held still in midair. It looked like he was carrying a mannequin around a department store. When Jenni saw, she sprinted through the doors after them.

Rook was just across the hall and could see small glimpses of what was transpiring on the other side. The swinging doors pushed in and out on a double hinge and when Jenni bolted through, they teetered back and forth. On one pass she saw Jenni reaching past one of the men for her daughter. On the way back she was being pushed. On the next swing, less of the room was visible but one of the men was reaching back to hit Jenni. Another pass and the crack of his palm swept her face. Jenni flew back, landing on the unforgiving concrete floor.

The next pass showed less, but enough to see the way feet were tangled as one of the men was on top of Aria and wrestling with her clothing. On the next pass Rook absently glanced around to see if someone nearby might be able to help. And as she heard Jenni bring her hands together, the door opened to show a body implode. Not explode into bits, but fold up like he was being crumpled from a sheet of paper into a wad of trash. Imagery of blood hung in a fine mist and reminds me of Principal Uzman from months ago.

The last pass of the door showed almost nothing, but a man screamed and a thunderous clap followed. After that, his scream gurgled briefly and was no more. Then tears of joy as well as sadness erupted within the closed room. Rook sent her brother to go and find David and bring him back. As she made her way to the door, she knew she shouldn’t open it, yet something made her think it wasn’t going to be as bad as she envisioned.

Sadly, it was worse. A red hue clung to the ceiling, walls and floor. Vapors of blood draped the air in the non-ventilated room as Jenni and Aria clung to each other without another care in the world. Needless to say, David helped to bring them out of the room. He also cleaned it and made sure to find a new location as that building would never house an Orphan again.

As we let go of the memory, the images remain as well as the emotions. Rook has a small stream of sadness trailing down her cheeks. It was not easy to watch, but there’s now an idea of what Jenni is capable of doing. Her absence is neither positive or negative yet, but the fact her daughter is still there leads me in the plus category.

The long silence seems to raise Eva’s curiosity from cleaning up the kitchen. I notice her look over and as much as I could see her want to ask a question, she instead announces that she was going to check on Scarlett and leave us to our plotting. Eva knows we’ll be fine and has grown to trust our judgment.

“We should get to David soon,” I emphasize. “I left there about as soon as I arrived and if there is a spy, it won’t be long before word gets out.”

Nods from the group have me preparing to attempt this mass flash. I’ve transported some hefty things in the course of my teleportation training, but three other individuals will be a first.

I reach out and clasp Mo’s gentle hand within mine and smile an I love you at her. Extending my other hand, I signal the others to join in.

“Wait, will this hurt?” Rook timidly asks before relinquishing her hand.

“Like a mother,” I jest. The terror in her eyes makes me recant, “I’m just kidding. You won’t feel any pain, unless I sneeze or something, then I have no clue what that’ll do.”

She purses her lips in angst and just closes her eyes and extends her arm like a kid succumbing to the inevitability of a shot at the doctor’s office. Mo takes Junk by the hand and as we all chain together, I siphon from Mo and build up strength and concentration.

As an added bit of fun at Rook’s expense, before we flash, I wince and twist my face into a scrunch while taking a couple of deep, yet short breaths in the motion of a sneeze. “Ah, ah…” I feel her hand squirm as I clutch onto it tighter.

On the final achoo I flash us to the Orphanage in Lincoln Square. Anyone within earshot must have thought the floor dropped out beneath Rook’s feet as she screams upon our arrival. And she didn’t stop until I shook her hand letting her know we arrived.

“Sorry,” I admit, “just a little time traveler humor.” I think if she didn’t like me as she does, her slap might have landed full force on the side of my face instead of the meat of my arm. I laugh it off and as much as she tries to stay upset, the smile in her voice comes through as she calls me a jerk.

“Classic,” Mo chimes in.

A small huddle of Orphans starts to collect around us. There are a few familiar faces within the crowd, but most of them are fresh to me. Close to a dozen people stay at the Orphanage. Most that show up have been kicked from their homes. Others were looking for answers since the Academy was gone and the next closest one was about 800 miles northeast in Bottle Bay.

The wondering eyes looking at us are desperate for answers and I’m curious as to why. My own questions will have to supersede theirs for the time being.

“Where is David?” I ask the group.

A couple of hands point the way to a room across from us. As we make our way there, a set of doors similar to the ones from Rook’s memory swing open and a young girl in a long, thick braid of hair comes through and her face lightens up the room.

“Rook!” Aria screams mid-run then gives her a hug. “It’s been weeks, I was getting nervous.” A couple of weeks?

“Well, it’s a little more difficult to get to the west coast from midland than I had hoped. Our money almost ran out in Jefferson Pointe because someone decided to buy groceries consisting of cookies, cereal and junk food instead of our Intra-line tickets.”

A chuckle emerges from Rook’s brother, “Junk – food.” He smiles then goes on embracing his new nickname.

“Aria,” Rook turns to announce us, “this is Carter and –”

“Mo!” the young lady bursts out. “Oh, I know all about you both. David tells me such interesting stories about the two of you.”

As Mo and I display curious looks I have to ask, “Is David awake?”

“Aria has the ability to communicate telepathically, but only when someone is asleep or unconscious.” Rook explains. “She’s the reason we knew to look for you both and where to start.”

“I thought you had a hunch?” Junk stares down his sister with some kind of contempt.

“And I thought you knew the difference when I used these,” she states while doing air quotes. Yeah, they aren’t growing on me. Why do air quotes bug me so much?

“Come on,” Aria sings while motioning us to follow her. “David will want to know you’re here.”

We begin to follow behind Aria’s airy walk toward the door where David is resting. My gut feels like I have a knot tightening somewhere down below my stomach and a small nauseous feeling sweeps under my skin. I look over my shoulder thinking someone has called my name.

In the crowd, I see him. The discoloration from healthy skin to scars crisscrossed along his face in an X and his wide maniacal grin shines brightly against the shadowy contrast.

“You bastard!” I flash directly in front of him and clasp a hand firmly around his windpipe. He outweighs me by at least twenty-five pounds of muscle and despite my desire to simply dismantle him, I wasn’t about to scar any impressionable young minds looking on.

“Carter!” I hear Mo protesting.

“What did you do to David!!” the pressure I cause in my voice squeezes the blood through my veins and I don’t even know if those words are audible as I growl more than I ask.

“Carter,” Lord Ray says in a pleasant tone while never losing his smile or taking notice that my fingers are sinking deeper into his throat. “If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you weren’t pleased to see me.”

“Carter! Stop!!” Mo yells from behind. I’m not sure if she thinks I’m going to kill him or that he even has a chance of getting the better of me. The panic in her voice will have to be ignored for the moment.

My teeth grind together as I have too much fury I’m retraining to even open my mouth as I warn him, “the only reason I’m not atomizing you right now is for the sake of the children around me, so before I lose more patience, tell me what you did to David!”

Lord’s expression never changes from pure delight no matter how I squeeze. “Carter, I just wanted to show up to let you know this is just the beginning. Have fun trying to choke a solution out of me. I’m guessing David dies before you get it out of me.”

I hear Mo directly behind me as I release a war cry attempting one more surge of strength to throttle a response from him.

Mo is in my peripheral and I feel her grab into the crook of my arm and yank me apart from Ray. My frustration knows no bounds at this point as I see him standing there with a smile coaxing me to try again.

“Carter!!” she screams. I finally break my infuriating stare from Ray and see the worry from the glossy eyes looking up at me. Instead of saying any more, she embraces me as my vision goes from blinding fury to confusion.

I hear a coughing and gasping for air somewhere in the crowd as Mo squeezes me once more and then backs away. “What just happened to you?”

To me? “What? You can’t blame me for reacting after seeing him right there, can you?!”

I motion back to the smiling Cheshire cat I was pulled from, only he has vanished. Instead, there is a small huddle around a younger teenager crumpled on the floor fighting to escape pain and find air for his deprived lungs.

“Carter, you just took off and started choking that kid,” Mo explains. “I was so frightened. I couldn’t tell what was going on. I couldn’t hear your thoughts. It was like someone cut you off from me.”

As terrified sets of eyes look back at me from the crowd, my heart fills to the brim with apologies and regret. It gets so full, I fight back letting them pour out from the only place they try to exit, in my tears.

“But he was here. Lord Ray was just here.” What just happened? What did I almost do?

Thanks to anyone who has taken the time to read any of these sample chapters! I hope I have tantalized you enough to want to read on. Please feel free to encourage me with comments and likes… or tell me how to become better!

On to the next sample…

A Time to Be Born

She’s Going to Be so Peeved


The one thing breaking my concentration beyond my caregiver lying on the ground was her daughter. I immediately thought she had also fallen unconscious and would tumble down the stairs at any minute. I flashed into the stairwell just as the front door latched. Scarlett looked dizzy at first but soon shook off the imbalance.

Junk had already gone toward Eva while Rook stood above him watching with an older-sister scorn from his incompetence. Scarlett looked past me and saw her mother on the floor. In sheer panic for her mother’s safety and her own she bellowed out a scream.

It rang through the house and each of us with such a pitch that some of the picture frames cracked. The ringing Junk had sent through our ears moments ago was nothing compared to the drill bit destruction Scarlett was releasing. And it didn’t stop. It was a note carrying on non-stop and each second that passed started getting harder and harder to stay conscious.

“Mo,” I squeezed from my vocal cords. I reached down to touch her hand and as we touched I could immediately relay my thoughts. A small nod told me she was on board.

I flashed Mo into the staircase with me as the little banshee in front of us was destined to liquefy our eardrums. As Mo reached for her, the sound got shriller and when her hand touched Scarlett’s pale forehead, her wail stopped. Mo dove in and told her mind to go to bed and forget about seeing her Mom at the bottom of the steps.

Mo scooped her up into her arms and wearily made her way up the last few steps to put her back into bed. By morning, she would have thought she had a bad dream.

Eva moaned a little as she was making her best effort to hoist back onto her hands and knees from the floor. Junk’s caffeinated ability was supposed to last a few days. Is it possible Scarlett woke her up?

Junk removed his cupped hands from both of his ears and noticed a little red spot of blood on each. “Holy s-”

I flashed and put my own cupped hand around his mouth before he inadvertently made Eva go comatose again. Rook was initially defensive and then saw I wasn’t trying to harm him, just gag him.

“How long does his caffeine high last for?” I question Rook.

“Usually?” she tries to clarify.

“No, surprise me with a random occurrence.” I came off a little pissed, just as Mo was coming back down the stairs. Points for me I guess. Mainly, I was upset because Scarlett got frightened. A child shouldn’t have to see their parents like that.

“I don’t time them. Before, he had to sleep it off,” she explains.

“Mo, give me a hand here,” without question, she comes to me and places her hand within mine and puts her other hand on Junk.

“I can fix it with your help,” Mo says to me.

“Hold up, what are you doing to him?” Rook sparks. The protective vibe was very evident within her. My guess was she must have been raising Junk since he was a small child and because of that, a motherly influence superseded the sisterly one.

“His allergic reaction causes adrenaline to mix within another chemical in his bloodstream activating a portion in his frontal lobe which doesn’t know how to calm down. I can find the area we need to disrupt temporarily and remove the chemical,” Mo elaborates.


Mo was now showing off slightly. She had been studying the human anatomy in great depth for the past few months and learning how different bodily functions influenced temperament, performance and possible abilities in others.

I decide to step in and translate. “Mo is locating the area and chemical I need to teleport out of his bloodstream and into his bladder in order to stop his enhanced and rather out of control ability.”

Without saying anything, Rook nods to go ahead, but I sensed her bringing her thumb and forefinger closer together as if to stop us if she needed to. What would a snap of her fingers do to a person?

Before Eva started gaining some sense of where she was and what happened, Mo and I mentally agree to get started and a couple seconds later, we were done. I carefully remove my hand from Junk’s mouth as if a bomb was just defused.

“Your hands are clammy,” he says.

“Well, you kept breathing through your mouth,” I mention as it wasn’t a picnic for me either. “Say something.”

“Something,” he adds with snarky undertones.

“Something with an s – h in it, smartass,” Rook chimes in.

“Shomething,” he blurts out with a small squint of disdain. Ah, a kid after my own heart.

We all look down at Eva still making her way up to her feet. Not helping her like good people would, but staring at her like a placebo monkey who may or may not show warning signs again.

“Thanks, I’ll get up on my own,” Eva states as she stretches her back out. Mo went over to her side offering an impotent gesture of help.

“Sorry Eva,” Mo states while giving her a little space to catch her breath.

“What the hell happened?” she asks while rubbing over some of the sore spots she acquired by losing body control and hitting the floor.

Rook steps forward again. “Yeah, that’s our fault. I should have told Junk not to speak, if I thought that simply telling him would work.”

We moved from the entryway back into the kitchen which was past the stairs and through an archway. Eva lasted in our explanation as long as it took for us to mention Scarlett. After that, she was heading up the stairs in Olympic hurdler fashion.

After a long bout of silence as a collective group, Eva came back down. There was fury in her eyes but it was being restrained by knowing what had to happen in that moment and because Scarlett was unharmed.

“What happened?” she managed to puff out.

Before her uncomfortable stare became hostile, I offered my theory. “I think the act of seeing you collapse and a rush of adrenaline from fear caused her mind to spiral into a defensive state. I think she just showed her ability.”

Tears welled up in apprehensive angst, but there was something more in the way she was trying to cope. I had seen it on the faces of parents who used to come to our school at Pemberton Academy in Lincoln Center, the ones that had no abilities either. They were afraid of their child.

Mo stepped forward to comfort Eva, “It’ll be okay. She is just going to think it was a dream after she wakes up.”

“And if it happens again? What if she gets upset and has a fit over something while you two are out or in public for heaven’s sake?”

Eva was not ready to see her toddler exhibit an ability just yet. No parent is truly ready when it happens, but the younger they are, the harder it always seems to be. It was almost cruel, for both of them. Scarlett would never remember and Eva could not forget. I thought aloud so Mo could pick up on it. I suggested something to try and bring some peace, at least for the here and now.

Carter, we can’t fix everything by going in and rewiring people to forget.

“What is it?” Eva asked. She had been around us long enough to know when we were speaking to each other without words.

Mo turned and asked Eva plainly, “Do you want to forget?” She was offering to steal the memory of the past fifteen minutes as if it was an offering to bestow upon her. There are times when ignorance is the true gift.

A tear fell down Eva’s cheek in shame as she couldn’t look at anyone. She simply nodded her head.

Mo understood; hell we all did to some degree. She placed her hand upon Eva’s brow and took the pain from her. The memories of collapsing and waking to her daughter’s piercing cry were gone. She would find out in due time and with a better venue. At least we hoped. Everyone should be lucky to have such a do over.

When Eva raised her head up again, Mo implanted the false memory she answered the door and we had some chit chat and introductions before coming into the kitchen, bringing us up to the present.

After that debacle, it was on to finding out more about our new guests and what happened to David. Eva made her way into the heart of the kitchen while the rest of us gathered around the dining table off to the side.

“So, how long has it been since David was…awake?” I began.

“It’s been about five days.”

Good grief, bad news apparently doesn’t travel too fast for us. The next question was mainly to understand the level of care my grandson was receiving. “So, you guys are making sure he’s still getting water and everything, since I assume no one has taken him to a hospital yet?”

“We have a couple of people looking in on him and making sure he’s okay,” Junk interjects. “One of the girls has a sister who’s a nurse and helps us with him for now.”

That’s a relief. Now on to the how, which Mo beats me to asking, “So, how did this happen?”

Rook squares off to Mo for one of the first times since entering the house. Hmm, I guess she can see her. “David has been helping as many kids like us as he can. Most of his time has been devoted to the ones that have certain issues, socially.”

“Delinquents?” I ask, mainly to simplify.

Her smile to me was not so well-received by Mo. In fact I am pretty certain Mo’s new ability is shooting daggers from her eyes. It is a shame Rook seems to be immune to them.

“Just some kids getting into a little trouble from time to time,” she says playfully as the small raise of her eyebrow indicates the kind of trouble she was thinking of getting into.

“Well, I mean …” Did my tongue get fatter?

Mo, who was a prime advocate for not using her powers in any manner of vindictive behavior, reacted.

“Ow!” Rook cried out while briefly motioning to her eyebrow. After a small deduction of possibilities, she whips her head at Mo. “Did you just do that?!”

Coyly, she runs her fingers through the small amount of hair from the top of her developing pixie hairdo. “Me? Oh no, of course not.” All the while, that little vixen was pushing to me the memory of what she did. She actually implanted a false memory of waxing Rook’s eyebrow so it suddenly felt like each follicle was plucked. She’s evil, but she’s my little pocket full of evil.

Making sure to laugh only on the inside, I move on. “What happened after he started helping those certain kids?”

Rook’s eye was watery and a scowl rested in the corners of her mouth. “That hurt, y’know?” she stated as if to announce Mo’s immaturity aloud before continuing. “Once David started spending more time with the kids who needed more help, the rest of us started losing contact. Benny started filling in for David as best as he could, but it was hard to fill that kind of void.”

Benny? That’s familiar somehow. “Did anyone see anything strange before this spell happened? And you might have to explain what you mean by a ‘spell’ to begin with.”

Junk wanted to tell this part so he spoke quickly to secure his spot, “Spells are what happen when you get a couple of Eventuals working simultaneously on making somebody do something.”

“So, there were two people working against him?”

Rook raised her hand up illustrating with her fingers to signal that there were actually three. “There was a lady with a long braided ponytail and a girl about our age both working the spell that made David collapse. I saw them in the backroom before the other guy got them out of there.”

“Does anyone know why he was targeted? And there was a guy helping them too?” I’m trying to figure out exactly what David might have got himself into with a terrorist group like the Pirates going after him.

Both siblings wiggled their heads side to side not knowing much more of the story beyond the brief details they saw. “The guy was really creepy looking, but I don’t know why anyone would want to hurt David. He helped anyone that asked for it,” Rook ended.

Last time I spoke with David, he seemed overly stressed and happy at the same time. I simply figured he was finding his calling to help train others and keep them from entering into the fray of society. Now, I think there must have been more to it he was holding back.

An itch in the bottom of my brain box had me needing to scratch down a little further. Something about the third person there the night he fell under his spell. “The guy,” I directed “how exactly was he creepy?” I almost was afraid to hear the answer.

“I dunno,” Junk gutturally huffed. “Like a creep.”

A slight pursing of my lips and a no shit glance stopped Junk from answering any further.

“He had a huge scar on his face, like right in the middle. It crossed most of his forehead and cheeks,” Rook states.

Oh God, please no. “Was it in a shape?”

“Yeah,” Junk piped up. “Like a big X.”

You have got to be kidding me! That little cockroach is back?! I don’t even think about it and suddenly I am back in the gym where David last said he was going to start housing the orphans. It was not a large open air warehouse like before, more like the get-together found in church basements.

When I flashed in, I had only one name on my mind. Raymond Lord. I was going to find that ass hat and end his miserable existence for good. Some of the younger kids with nowhere else to live camped out there and bunked in some of the spaces they made into rooms.

Children gasped as I flashed into their area unannounced with the scorn Ares across my face. I started looking around for where they were keeping David when it donned on me.

“Crap – !” I forgot my Mo in Temple Falls.

A Time to Be Born

The Best Foot Forward?



Neat was a bit of an understatement. Mostly I was super inquisitive from that moment on until when we all left. Question upon question streamed from my mouth about her and then about her brother. When the patrons started to rouse, Junk ducked out to go and wait by the car. Rook stayed and pretended to be a customer as we dropped the Q & A and went into acting mode as customer and barista.

The groggy people started looking around from their seats as if they had just dozed off into a quick and unexpected nap. Most simply played it off as if it was something embarrassing they had done. All except Eric, who was more fearful something was done to him.

“What the hell?!” he exclaimed to the coffee shop as he addressed no one in general.

I decided to treat him like the crazy idiot I always thought he was. “Whoa, you okay Eric?”

His eyes looked at me as if to relay a resounding hell no and instead tried to seek the comfort and solidarity of thought from his cronies. To his dismay, they were all trying to think whether the scenario was an uncomfortable recollection of what had just taken place or some fictitious memory they had promptly forgotten.

With no affirmation from his cohorts, Eric didn’t bother to stay put and get the crazy looks from the people around the coffee shop. He stomped out with tipping over a chair and flinging the door wide open as the guys he came with calmly got up and left as well.

As Ally came from out of the backroom she had a dazed lack of clarity. She was carrying the tray of cups that spilled previously and been reassembled. She was playing off the notion she set down for a small catnap for whatever reason in the back and is now ready for work.

I gave Rook a coffee I pretended she ordered and wrote on the side of her cup that I would be off at 7:00 and to meet at my house at 8:00. I wrote the address as well.

The remainder of my shift was taking the normal amount of orders while going over the answers Rook gave me in my head. Apparently, her ability can destroy as well as repair objects by snapping her fingers. The largest of which being a small sedan belonging to an ex-boyfriend. The ability to put things back together is limited. Things with moving parts are pretty much out; solid objects only. And for her, she needs a reference or has to have seen it before.

The last thing I got out of her was they were variants of Eventuals. There were no real mental powers, they simply channeled a form of telekinesis and used a “tick” as they called it. Junk shushes people to activate his and Rook snaps her fingers.

As my cleaning duties got checked off and the closer came in, I was more excited to leave than ever before, in part because I was never quite fond of this occupation. Another was I wanted to get home and fill Mo in before she met Junk and, particularly, Rook for the first time.

We didn’t own cars, we relied on city transport when we lived in Lincoln Center, but Temple Falls was much smaller and bus traffic was the only mass transit available. So, the normal cross-town, ten minute venture now resulted in a thirty minute commute while sitting next to some rather large and sometimes smelly individuals.

After a longer than usual ride home thanks to the lady who noticed what I did for a living and then proceeded to tell me how the coffee business is ruining the economy. There was a lot of restraint on my part from not putting her on any given sidewalk along our route. I decided to promptly have a vacuous sense of listening after she started saying how buying coffee was funding drug cartels and terrorism.

After a thankfully quick departure from the bus, I promptly walked home. Mo and I rounded our respective corners at roughly the same time. Her face brightened with a smile and the unlit wick in my chest ignited. For a few moments I had no cares about the day, no memories and no other person enters my mind. I love Mo. I’ve been in love with her I think since she first started poking into my thoughts nearly six months ago.

“My barista, how was your most aromatic day?” Mo greets me when she is within talking distance.

Immediately, I had a small flush of guilt. Not really because there is anything I would do to endanger the relationship I have with Mo, but mostly because I found an attraction in the looks of another woman. And like blood in the water, Mo’s shark sense detected an injury in my emotions and her ravenous precursors were in full gear.

“What are you feeling guilty about, Carter James?” The inquisition had already begun and like anything in this world, the only way to feel guilt free is full disclosure. And this was going to be an unfortunate mantra to live by.

“Okay, I first off want to say how I love you and you are the most beautiful creature in the world to me.”

A scowl was my initial returned response. “You’re not making the best impression so far.”

There was truly only one good way to let this out before I murdered it with too much thought and zero explanation. I walked closer to her and a small fear settled into her eyes. Not like I was going to harm her, more like I was prompting to abandon her. I wasn’t an Eventual like her, but I knew she had a small thought treading water in her mind that I was going to leave her. And for that, my heart burst partly out of pride she loved me enough to be afraid of such a thing and partly in sorrow that she even thought I would leave her at all.

I held my hand, palm up and motioned to it with my eyes in the most assuring look I could gesture without words. Timidly, she placed her own petite hand within mine and we connected. With her as a Conduit, she was able to siphon out the earlier portion of the afternoon and into the evening.

Mo learned all about Rook and her brother, Junk. She knew they were on their way there and what they were capable of doing. She also peeked into me showing off a little, my initial thoughts of Rook’s appearance and me freaking out a little internally on how Mo would react.

She let go of my hand and opened her eyes with relief. “That’s it?”

Confused, I had to clarify, “that’s it? Isn’t that enough?”

“I mean, you felt guilty because you thought she was pretty? Carter, please. You’re a boy and I don’t expect you to keep your eyes off of every pretty thing that strolls by you. I only expect you keep your hands off them.”

Well, that made sense on a far more adult level than my plane of thinking. But that was Mo, my mature powerhouse of a woman. She was leaning in to kiss me on the cheek and stopped short of contact by only her breath.

“And if I catch a finger of yours on someone while we are together, I will dig into both of your minds and remove any recollection of the English or any other language for that matter.” And to seal it off, she planted that paused kiss on me.

“Um, okay?” I was dumb struck and slightly turned on by her violence wrapped in sugar paper.

“Plus, I flirt way better than you when boys talk to me. Yours was a little on the pathetic side,” she mentions while skipping by me and shooting a devilish wink in my direction.

Stab and twist. I was immediately on the offensive side and suddenly wanted a detailed accounting of any and all flirtations ever taking place, which I was not previously informed of knowing.

I flashed briefly from the sidewalk in front of our house to the steps in her path, thinking this would make her stop and force the start of an explanation. She barely stopped her pace and side-stepped by me after delivering a hefty smack on my left buttock while saying, “Good game, champ!”

I mean, how could I be mad at her? Anything up until this point is exactly what she mentioned. Of course I have looked at other women thinking of different aspects of their beauty. From their walk to their talk to the way their bodies curved. It was almost un-American not to, really and any guy saying something different than that is plainly lying right to your face.

Well, women are no different. Granted I have no idea what they look for when spotting a man except low body fat and large muscles. I have never asked and really don’t want to know. I have Mo and she has me. And as her threat stands, mine would be far messier and less repairable if a finger of hers lands on any other man while we’re together.

Once we’re both inside, Eva calls from the back of the kitchen for some help. I would have been there sooner except a small red-headed missile collided with my knees and firmly wrapped itself around me in the largest hug two small arms could give.

“Scarlett, my little ginger snap! How was your most excellent day?” I salute to the small mess of curly red locks firmly attached to my person.

“Mom and I baked a cake!” she exclaims into my kneecaps without releasing me.

I reach down and pick her up under her shoulders and lift her into the air. “You did? That’s great! Did you save some frosting for me?”

She smiles in a slightly wicked way, “No! Mommy let me lick the bowl as long as I showered before bed.”

I generally made it home from my shift in time to see Scarlett being coerced and pulled to bed by Eva. No kid thinks sleep is any fun. In their minds, the party starts just as soon as they their eyes are closed.

“Well, it looks like you still need to put your jams on,” I mention while taking her wardrobe into account. She was wearing a lime green pair of yoga pants with a bright red tutu over it and a bulky sweatshirt of Eva’s draping itself over her more like a blanket than actual clothes.

“Make me fly, Carter,” she giggled.

“Hon, you know your Mom doesn’t like me doing that,” I say quietly, trying to bait a pretty please out of her.

“Please, Carter? I promise I won’t tell her,” she begs with large green tinted eyes.

“I don’t know…”

“Pretty please?” Boom, magic words right there. “With sugar on top?”

Well, with that kind of a bonus incentive, how can’t I oblige?

“Okay, but just this last time,” total BS right there. Scarlett and I both know I’ll do this a thousand times more in the course of her lifetime.

She holds up her pinky as if to initiate a solemn vow, even though she will forget it within a couple of days. We hook pinkies and I look around to see if the coast was clear. Eva’s house had high ceilings, I couldn’t touch them if I strained a vertical jump. I held Scarlett out a ways from my body and gave a cursory pump.

“You ready?” She smiled in anticipated glee as she prepared.

I pumped a second time and on the third I pushed her high up into the air. She soared up to almost three times her body height and as she descended I placed a hand on her polka-dot socked foot and flashed her from the living room downstairs to just above her bed upstairs. I could hear the soft thump followed by sheer happiness in her laughter.

My cue that a safe landing had taken place. I continue to make my way to the kitchen before Scarlett tries to sprint downstairs for another round. I walk in to witness Mo plucking a few green grapes off of their stem and trying to catch them in her mouth. About one in three made it.

“Carter,” Eva announced.

“Hi, Eva. How was your night?”

“I don’t want to have to ask you not to teleport my daughter into her bed again.”

A small trickle of sweat broke out as I was reminded how Mom-vision always worked. They basically see everything in the house. I think there is some neural network symbiotically feeding information between household and mother to relay all wrong doings in real time.

“Wha – How did you even –” I began blundering out while Mo giggles at my circumstance.

“Carter, I know all of my daughter’s laughs at this point in her young life. I stay with her roughly twenty hours a day and I know when she thinks something is funny, cute, hilarious, gross and exciting. She has a different laugh for them all. She made a unique laugh for when you flashed her up to her room the first time and has carried it on ever since.”

Eva turned away from the pot she was stirring on the stove and looked me square in the eyes. She wasn’t like Mo or myself, but she held a power within her to terrify me. I don’t know why or how, but when she had this look, I recalled all of the times I didn’t have an explanation for something and how it frightened me.

“She could get hurt sometime, or worse yet she could start telling her friends at class how her ‘cousin’ puts her to bed sometimes.”

We assimilated into the neighborhood as long lost cousins from her late husband’s sister, whom he didn’t have. It was easier than anything else we concocted. Either way, I saw her point. Scarlett wasn’t aware of the danger we brought to their home or the possible issues she could face herself later in life.

“I understand Eva. I won’t do it again.”

She laughed as the look in her eyes lightened up. “Yes you will. Just don’t do it every time she asks. You’ll become more of a slave to her than you already are.”

I smirked and made my way to snatch a couple of the remaining grapes before Mo littered the floor around her with them. Still, I thought of Scarlett and wondered if she would be safe or if she would start developing any abilities soon.

Her dad, Red, was an Eventual like Mo. He was very gifted at reading into people and delivering suggestive thoughts. Eva was normal and possessed nothing except a fierce love for Scarlett and an eternal desire to help others. She volunteered at a local mission to help the poor and lived off of the life insurance Red left behind. It was enough to pay off the house and expenses for her and Scarlett for the rest of their lives. Even though he was completely unaware of Eva being pregnant, Red wanted to insure she was safe and comfortable if anything happened to him.

As we finished a helping of soup Eva had made, the doorbell rang. Even though we were expecting company, we never had been comfortable with visitors since we moved. Each knock on the door was someone from the Program looking for us or a Hunter who had found our trail. Even with my father working inside the Program to keep us safe, nothing stopped the tension.

Eva wiped her hands on a dish towel while standing up from her chair and making her way to the door. Mo and I followed in tow. A glimpse of movement out of the corner of my eye caught Scarlett sitting down on the top step looking to see who had come calling.

Eva opened the view panel as Junk and Rook stood outside waiting for someone to answer. Putting her hand up to the door scan identified her acknowledgement to unlock and open the front door since it was after her normally set curfew she put on the alarm system.

The door unlatched and slid across into the door jamb unveiling our guests. Eva smiled curiously at them and waited for one to announce themselves. Rook stepped forward as the oldest and did the honors.

“Hi, I’m Rook and this is my brother, Junction. Carter told us to swing by,” she stated as she looked past noticed me standing behind her. She made no attempts to look at or care for Mo.

“Carter explained earlier,” Eva mentioned, “he also says you go by, Junk? Is it okay to call you that?” she addressed the rather peculiar dark-haired boy beneath the red hoodie.

“Oh, sure! I don’t mind at all,” Junk stated. Only issue was Eva never heard the last part as she was lying on the ground.

“Crap! How long does caffeine last?” I asked both brother and sister.

Not sure how great of an impression either has made on Eva at this point. As it seems, this might not be the best foot going forward.


As always, I look forward to any comment you may have

A Time to Be Born

Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth


Now, I handled things very calmly. Maybe a little too calmly. All things considered in my past, a grandson in a state of unconsciousness is rather small on the scale of freak-outs. I calmly made the peppermint mocha for Junk, even upsized him and gave a little whipped cream and chocolate shavings. No cost.

“So, what was that again?” I said as I place the beverage before him.

“He won’t wake up,” Junk calmly stated while staring into the coffee beverage like a man seeing water after coming out of the desert.

“Because of Pirates?” I clarify.


“And you’re here because…?”

“Isn’t he your teacher or sensei or whatever?” The ‘whatever’ got muffled as the whipped cream engulfed his mouth and he nearly fell into the cup. As he lowered from his first large gulp, a pristine mustache was the only remainder and he had no recollection it was there.

“He means a lot more than that to me,” I admitted. “I should ask, who is watching him if you’re here?”

“Oh, I think Aria is sitting with him.”

Granted, I never really got to know any of the orphans, as Mo and I call them, but I don’t think I’d remember any of them if I saw them again. As I began wondering just how many kids David had taken under his wing, Junk began gulping the rather hot latte as if it was water. He seemed rather high strung to begin with, I’m not sure liquid jitters was the best medicine.

“Junk, you came out here over a thousand miles on your own?”

He swallowed the last remaining drops in his cup before answering. “No, my sister is here too. She drove us from Lincoln.”

And as if he had signaled a cue to walk in the room, the door chimed and in she came. Already, I know I am going to get into trouble with Mo later because this was not someone who goes unnoticed. She was tall, had long red hair and even longer legs. The curls in her hair elongated with each step and then snapped back into place showing her movement and gave another emphasis to watch. As slender as she was, she seemed to command her legs to move and plant themselves with a force I could almost feel across the room.

My main goal right now was to try and find as many flaws about her to remember so when Mo meets her for the first time, she doesn’t immediately question my loyalties. So, far, I am unfortunately finding none.

“Dude, what in the hell?” she asked while surveying the bodies lying in heaps around her. Another minus for me, her voice was strikingly similar to Mo’s except for the slight emphasis on her L’s. Maybe that could become annoying?

“What?” Junk asks while trying to finger the whipped cream out of the bottom of the cup that hadn’t been given the time to melt yet.

“Oh, Jesus-fish. Tell me that is hot cocoa,” this time she is addressing me with the statement / rhetorical question. Then I start to actually feel as if I had done something wrong.

“Is he going to turn into a Gremlin soon?” I said in dry sarcasm.

To my surprise, she actually smiled. “Not unless it’s after midnight.”

Well, crap. This girl is really making me nervous now. She understood a historical movie reference and has a smile that could melt butter in a cold pan.

“Is he allergic to coffee?” I skip the ogling in order to not find this girl any more attractive.

A strange twist on her face rested somewhere between apologetic and frightened. “Not exactly. For whatever reason, large amounts of caffeine tend to make my brother a little…unstable?” As my brain tries to formulate an unstable Junk running around, she decides to clarify. “His ability is enhanced.”

Enhanced? “Enhanced?” Yeah, I repeated it.

“Well, you see what he can do when he shushes people. If he did it again, they’d be asleep probably until the weekend. And they don’t wake up until it’s over.”

I’m failing to see the evil behind it or the danger. As my confusion portrays through my expression, she adds, “Junction’s ability is triggered by the way ties the ‘sh’ sound together. Most of the time he has to concentrate and then it releases the subconscious dam he has blocking the telekinetic part of his brain. With coffee or soda, any word with those sound combinations will trigger it automatically.”

Okay, the cogs were turning now. If Junk gets in a Tourette’s attack and starts yelling shit a bunch, people will start taking naps. My curiosity has to ask a few things, some of which being, “What’s your name?”

Her smile returns as she answers, “I’m Rook. You’ve met Junction. And you’re Carter, right?”

“Yeah,” I’m really wondering how they got their names now.

Junk is busy licking the porcelain off the inside of the cup, but he raises his hand up as another hello.

Rook starts to take notice of the time by swinging out an old fashioned conductors watch from her pocket. The action made me wonder what time it was also. Junk said the patrons and bullies would be out for around 10 minutes and I had a feeling the time was drawing near.

“We should set these guys up at a table or something before they are fully awake,” Rook states while simultaneously looking around for an empty table.

Now, the next thing I did was not really out of necessity, although I could later justify it as one. I teleported or flashed, as we call it, out from behind the counter to where the pile of bullies was heaped. I laid one hand on the top person of the dog pile and flashed him over to a table close by. I proceeded to do so with the remaining three mongoloids and each one landed with a forceful impact as their rears hit the chairs and their faces hit the table. Not my most graceful flash, but I haven’t had a lot of opportunity or freedom to do so in the past months.

“Wow, that was like the coolest thing I’ve seen in a long time,” Rook admits as she looks at me like a celebrity. Which, sadly I was going for in some way. Impressing her was not really something I needed to or should have done, but I guess it was my way of breaking the ice.

Then it donned on me, Ally was still in a heap somewhere in the back room. “Crap sandwiches!” I exclaim as my own personal Eureeka! while making my way to her. As I open the swinging doors and witness the destruction of cups sprinkled around in little bits of porcelain confetti outlining Ally’s sleeping body.

Now, putting those ruffians at a table was one thing to shrug off, the expensive devastation and co-worker was totally something different. Before I could say anything, Rook was standing behind me looking over my shoulder. I wasn’t sure what her perfume was, but it was tempting me to inhale it deeply and I fought against the desire to do so by remembering the wonderful woman of mine working at my dream job this very moment.

“You have a spot back here that you can prop her on?”

I looked over at the pile of large economy coffee sacks we have stacked in the corner. I place a hand on her and flash her to the corner, much more gently than the previous persons. The only thing now concerning me was the cups.

“Ally is going to get blamed for this, even if we clean it up,” I said aloud more as a white flag of defeat.

A small smirk from Rook and she pushed up the sleeves on her designer shirt as if she were ready to get some serious work done. She picked up an unbroken cup that made it through the crash unscathed and rotated it around like she was looking for a price tag. She placed the cup in her left hand while seeming to aim her middle finger and thumb together at the debris below.


In the blink of my eye, all of the broken pieces reassembled and formed back into perfect little mugs. My mouth stayed open enough to fit a small bite of food in while I admired the creationism.

“Neat huh?” Rook asked.

Took the words right out of my mouth.

See?! No April Fool’s. Check back next Tuesday for more Carter and the gang!

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A Time to Be Born

If It Just Wasn’t So Damn Sad


{SPOILER ALERT – Go here to read the story before this story. You can thank me later by telling all of your friends}

In the aftermath of action movies, you know what they never show you? Assimilating back into “real life” and picking up some sort of normalcy. You know why they don’t show you that? It is boring as hell.

What happened after the party on Endor in Return of the Jedi? Or the day after Indiana Jones finds the artifact and gets the damsel? They go into another adventure because anything else would spiral them into perpetual boredom.

And that is where I am; stuck in a tailspin after looking for a spot to land. My current vortex is located up the West Coast, pretty close to nothing resembling Lincoln Center where I am from. This little burg is called Temple Falls with roughly a quarter of the population I’m used to which has its pros and cons.

Pro, it’s scenic with lots of trees. The air smells like is always rain in it. No one is trying to scoop me up to join a government agency to use my powers of time travel, teleportation and telekinesis. So those are all good things.

The cons are basically everything else. The people here are a friendly combination of weird and polite I’m not used to. There’s nothing to do besides work because I am no longer allowed to go to school. Dismantling your former principal atom by atom, even though he was trying to kill you, has its drawbacks. I also am forbidden, yes forbidden, to engage in any activity which could get me noticed. All of the things the government agency wants from me (i.e. the fun things), yup, can’t do them.

So, I’m like a classic muscle car, all gassed up and ready for the road. Just happens my keys have been taken away. It’s a damn shame, that’s what that is.

One huge plus, my girlfriend, Mo, is living with me. No, not in the same room. We are living with an old friend of my parents, Eva, along with her young daughter, Scarlett. She has agreed to give us shelter as long as we need. I was told no funny business by both my Dad and Eva. The term “funny business” seems to have a loose definition in my vocabulary. Either way, I am respectful to Eva and starting to love little Scarlett. Mo tries not to be jealous, but that soon to be 4-year old is wrapping me around her finger on a daily basis.

Mo and I are home schooled in order to have the basic high school degree. In the future, we are hoping there is enough time to let the dust settle from Lincoln Center and we can attend college a year later.

For now, I have a part time job as a barista for a local coffee shop. Mo landed a far superior job in a movie theater, which plays, of all things, classic movies from the pre-2000 era. I mean, how did I not get that job?! Oh yeah, Mo said it was in my wheelhouse too much and it was necessary to work somewhere outside our comfort zones. She slipped the manager a little mind note to get the position and make certain I was never hired.

Regardless, I get to come in on my off days and watch movies for free. At my position at the Golden Bean, yes that’s the name they chose, I have a musky aroma after every shift. What’s sad is I used to like coffee and now, I have a fond distaste.

Oh, did I mention I have a bully? I know what you’re thinking, how?! Well, as it turns out, the store owner’s son was walking in as I was walking out of the shop during my interview. The door hit the phone out of his hand and as I went to pick it up and hand it back to him, he says, “Jesus, watch where you’re stomping around, doofus.”

“What was that, good sir?” I somewhat remember saying.

“I said pay attention! What are you, deaf?”

“My apologies,” I think I stated. Okay, maybe I was not quite as cordial. Because somewhere amongst handing the guy his phone back, it somehow landed in the middle of traffic. Weird, right?

Well, however slight of hand my magic teleportation was, this guy, Eric, assumes I simply launched it behind me. As crude of an insult that was, it was for the better. I didn’t need the attention. As he twists a knot in the front of my shirt to draw me in for a large fist to my face, his dad, my new boss, comes out and tells him to stop making trouble, especially with his new employee.

Signed, sealed and delivered. This guy now had all of the time in the world to harass me. And if it wasn’t for the lack of jobs and the inability of my girlfriend to help me land something better, I would not be getting terrorized by Eric on a weekly basis.

Part of me really wants to see the level of fear his shorts would exhibit if he knew the things I was capable of doing to him. Perhaps, I take him on a quick teleportation to the stratosphere and leave him to experience a free fall? Maybe transport him across town minus his hands and feet? These are the lunatic thoughts I have to keep me calm and complacent when Eric comes by with his friends in order to range havoc on my blissful existence.

It’s just another setting for a superhero movie that never goes anywhere past the initial background story. My shift started an hour ago with another three hours remaining. The slowest increment of time rests somewhere between 3 – 7pm, I swear.

The chime of the door opening makes me stand upright to greet the customer with a large and friendly smile.

“Thanks, for stopping in,” I begin to greet as I realize it’s only Eric, “to the Golden Bean.” I finish with less enthusiasm than a fat kid in gym class. If giving someone the finger, or ‘my formal answer™’ as I call it, was deserving of any person, it would be him.

Alas, I keep my thoughts and appendages to myself. He smiles at me while I imagine him chuckling like a hyena from the doorway, a sign that he has ideas (possibly two) rattling into each other in that big old barrel of a head, which his thick neck supports.

What I wouldn’t give for the freedom to use an ability right now. Even if it was to simply leave this place. As harmless as Eric’s attempts were, they certainly were annoying the piss out of me. I was already contemplating how I was going to quit and tell Eva I had to start looking for another job when the chime sounded again.

Somewhere behind the wall of Eric and his three contact sport playing friends, a small little bullet of a kid around my age pushed through. Shoulders and hips went ajar as they all wondered what possible magic caused them to move beyond their brute will.

“Hey!” Eric shouted at the smaller person in front of him. He was nearly a foot shorter than I was and had strands of thick-looking hair peeking out in patches beneath a stocking cap. The small strings to his red-hooded sweatshirt whipped back and forth as he locked his gaze on me and proceeded to engage like a heat seeking missile.

“I’m talking to you, runt!” Eric attempted again.

“Shh,” the kid hissed over his shoulder.

Already I liked him, because Eric hated him, it was evident by the way he was representing a thermometer getting ready to boil its mercury out of the vial. As the kid continued his path straight toward me, Eric started a heavy paced walk to turn the kid around and give him an update on who the top of the food chain was.

I was simultaneously scared for the guy and somehow wanting to know how this was going to turn out. I have grown a strange addiction to dark humor these past months.

“Listen here you little sack of – ”

“Shh!!” The guy said louder and somehow with a ton of conviction. Because not only did Eric stop, he feinted or fell over or decided to take an immediate power nap on the floor of the Golden Bean.

The other tagalongs accompanying Eric decided to stand up for their fallen comrade as they made their way to the little man with his back turned to them. A small shuffle of boots and sneakers quickly made their way from the door to where Eric had keeled over as the newly appointed leader spoke up.

“Hey! Who the hell do you think you are?” He asked, and truly, what a dumbass question. Rhetorical or not, this guy was somehow a few points down the IQ scale from a celery stick.

The kid in front of me sighed loudly out of annoyance and turned just before the lug fully cocked back his hand to hit him. “SHH!!!!”

The sound echoed throughout the establishment and amplified into the base of my eardrums. When he was done, a slight ringing subsided in my head and the sound of a crashing set of mugs came through the doorway behind me in the pantry area. When the guy turned around, all of Eric’s sidekicks lay in a heap around him. Also, the other patrons in the shop lay hunched over their lattes and cappuccinos and I’m guessing my co-worker, Ally was also on the floor surrounded by broken cups.

“Oh, good, so you must be Carter,” he says nonchalantly.

It was pretty much like a drug addict watching someone get high right in front of them. My adrenaline was moving and I was excited and happy and all kinds of curious. For the first time in months, there was a little fizzle in the core of my being and I thought I might involuntarily leap.

He looked around the place, taking in the ambience he left in his wake. “So, can I get a drink?”

“Sure, tall or short?” I asked without missing another second.

“Was that a height joke?”

“Did you take it as a height joke?”

“I don’t know yet, that’s why I asked,” he mentions with a slight smirk in his speech.

“Looks like we’ll never find out if it’s the chicken or the egg then,” I sum up, dryly. “Who are you?” I want to give the impression I am calmly accepting the carnage of bodies around me before I ask any more questions or more patrons stroll in.

“Sorry, my name is Junction.”

I can’t resist, “Like Conjunction Junction?” Yes, classic! I would give myself a high-five if it didn’t look like I was clapping.

“No, just Junction.”

He’s ruining my fun here. “No, I meant like the song.” I was about to explain, but I am sure most people my age didn’t get raised by a mother with a love for all classical things. “Never mind, so, what brings you in today? Looking for an application? Just a quick future tip, don’t kill the customers.” As I look down at the four large teenagers behind him.

“Yup, you’re definitely Carter. David told me you were super sarcastic.”

“David?! How is he? I haven’t heard from him in a couple of weeks. Is he okay?” My calm demeanor must have ran out the backdoor, because this frightened little being is left in his place wondering if my friend, and albeit my grandson of all things, is alright.

The squinting look on his face like he just ate bad fruit makes me think otherwise. “Define okay.”

I don’t think anyone has really asked that question in a way that made me have to think of a definition. “Not dead. All limbs accounted for?”

“Oh, yeah. He’s okay then.” And with that, he proceeded to shed the squirm in his face and start looking up at the menu behind me.

“Wait, why did I have to define okay? And what did you do to these people? Am I going to have to start a body disposal shop now?”

“Relax, they’re asleep. They’ll wake up in like ten minutes, refreshed and ready for the world again.” Junction never takes his eyes off the menu as he reaches into his back pocket to fish out a billfold.

“How?” I can’t tell what he is, but he must be a version like Mo in some way, an Eventual.

“You know the small dent between your nose and your upper lip? Well when you were a baby in your mother’s womb I put my finger up there and told you a secret and went, shh.”

Lord. “Okay, dude. I hope you are prepared to reference your movie quotes, because you can’t pass those off as originals with me.”

He actually looked at me with shock and surprise as if I had never seen The Prophecy with Christopher Walken. A classic 90’s movie about angels and demons, I mean, who hasn’t seen that?

“Um, sorry,” he apologized with a little shame. I’m sure I ruined one of the coolest things he says when first meeting people. “I don’t know, it was just a thing I learned to do when I was twelve. I was getting ready to start at Pemberton Academy as a transfer from Jefferson City when the school blew up or imploded or whatever they said. David found me out and offered his help.”

“So, making people go to sleep. That’s all you have?” I wasn’t saying it to seem like it wasn’t a pretty cool gift, but the hurtful look in his eyes made me think to rephrase the question. “I mean, has David worked with you to make sure that’s the only one. I thought I only had one, and later I developed a way to find out more that I could do.”

A calming relief settled over Junction and he seemed to lighten up. “David has a lot of kids he’s trying to juggle right now. A lot of them have some serious behavioral issues and he’s working with them more than anyone else.”

“Junction, can I call you Junk?” I’m testing the waters, mainly because his name sounds ridiculous to me. Not that Junk is leaps and bounds better.

“Yeah, man,” he said with a smile, “that’s fine.”

“Great. Now, can you tell me what the hell is happening with David?”

“He won’t wake up,” Junk mentions while looking at the menu once again.

“Like he’s sleepy with mono or like he’s in a coma?” I ask motioning with my arms for him to give me more.

“Well, we think that the Pirates put some sort of spell on him and now we can’t get him to wake up. Ooo, can I get a short, peppermint mocha?”

Just so we’re all up to speed: my name is Carter James Price. People back in Lincoln Center knew me as Carter DeTamble. I can travel in time, teleport to anywhere I can think of and I’m almost 18-years old. My 38-year old grandson, David, who traveled back here in time himself, has apparently been put under a spell by Pirates of all things. My mind-reading, telekinetic girlfriend and I will most likely have to go back to the place we’re being hunted from in order to save our grandson. Oh and some high school sophomore named Junk, who lulls people to sleep, is standing here trying to buy a $10 coffee with a coupon for a free ice cream and $3.

It would be hilarious if it just wasn’t so damn sad.

If you have made it this far and wonder what in the hell is going on? This is a sequel to The Time Traveler’s Grandchild. Go check on that one before you get really confused, as if you aren’t already…

I hope to get any suggestions or comments from you! Thanks for reading!

Later today I will post out another Chapter, so come on back!