A Time to Reap, The Next 1000 Miles

Oh, So You Like Gangbangs?

Sorry, no porn here, but while you’re reading, let’s talk about the poor unfortunate souls known as Reviewers. As an author, especially since I’m an Indie author, reviews are my major form of credibility and advertising.

One site that I was directed to The Indie View. It’s a site that post links to reviewers that are accepting books in various formats and genres and also a place for want-to-be reviewers to go and sign up to get books. Now, this is a great tool for each person.

Authors will hopefully find a reviewer or two, readers will get free books to read and contribute in helping an author step into the light. That’s the general premise.

Here’s the issue: authors will have to search, hunt, and peck through dozens upon dozens of sites. Mostly, to try and find out if the reviewer is looking for their genre, if they’re accepting reviews and the time commitment. I’ve come across sites that were taken down, no longer reviewing, and no longer accepting more than anything. Other sites have such a backlog, they can’t possibly accept all books and because of such, will not respond to let you know if they are even interested. So, for author’s it has promise, but the payout is not really there in my opinion.

For reviewers…oh, I hope you don’t go in thinking “I wonder if I’ll get many books…” because you will. Books will coming flying at you in such rapid speed and succession, you won’t know what the hell you got yourself into. I hope you have lots of free time and can devour a book in a day. If not, they will get crammed in your cram-hole until you have to deactivate your account.

Hint: set up a review email, don’t use your personal one unless you like sorting.

In the spirit of letting those reviewers rest, and to save myself time (let’s be honest), up until the end of the week, anyone wanting an eBook of A Time to Reap that reads this blog, just email me at JL.Fiction@outlook.com and use the subject line Gang Up on Jonas Lee. Tell me your format of preference and I’ll send you a copy in expectation of a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. Deal?

This is only going out to my folks on WordPress, no other social media at this time. So, take advantage, read some reviews and lets help each other out!



Journey of 1000 Miles

She’s Going to Be so Peeved


ATTD Ch.4

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.

“Huh?”

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.

Journey of 1000 Miles

The Best Foot Forward?

 

ATTD Ch.3

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

Journey of 1000 Miles

If It Just Wasn’t So Damn Sad


ATTD Ch.1

{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!


 

Journey of 1000 Miles

A Glimpse

Man in the Mirror

 

By all other means, today is beautiful. Every now and again there moments where the air is just right, the sun is warm and not too bright. The insects keep to themselves while chirping and buzzing at a distance, it’s not too hot or cold. One can smell the sweet fragrance of the pine trees from the forest close by; a deep and crisp smell instinctively reminding us of Christmas. The breeze is a soft kiss from the clouds and brushes by our skin enough to cool us down and feel at peace.

By those accounts, the day itself is wonderful. For Tyler, his day and his life are consequently coming to an end. He is tied to one of the crosses the Legion carry with them. His arms are wrapped around the horizontal, wooden bar making his shoulders have to arch backwards and causing his chest to protrude. His head hangs downward as his unconscious mind tries to come to clarity.

The T-shaped cross is leaning forward at a forty-five degree angle from the ground. If he could notice, he would see the cross is planted into the field just below the Coughing Rock, an area outside of the town he grew up. The grass is thick and green, showing off the signs of Spring and before the Summer heat crisps it all to brown tendrils. Below him, bending the grass to the ground is a large mirror facing up at him.

The mirror was taken from his house and used to belong to his grandparents. A large deep oak frame surrounded the glass and the edging held intricate carvings with large swooping patterns. The craftsmanship and time spent on the mirror is reflective of elder craftsmanship and was apparent even back then, the large furnishing would have cost quite a lot.

As the sun hit the beveled edge of the mirror, a beam shot up and into Tyler’s face. The blinding spire began to rouse him from unconsciousness and as he opened his mouth, thick strings of blood slowly started to leak out. His shaggy hair hung down in large, wet chunks. Some of it caked with blood and the other locks with sweat. As he gained his bearings, he could at first taste the coppery bitterness inside his cheek, like he had been sucking on a penny for the last hour. Most of his right side around his jawbone felt numb and puffy. Then as he came to even more, the throbbing pulse of pain started to branch out like a quick-growing weed whose roots have burrowed in. It traveled in zigzag branches through his face and landed in a clump towards the side of his head where one of the guards had struck him.

The pain gave way to anxiety as he felt his arms restrained. He had been caught. He can recall the chase as he had leapt through the looking glass at his apartment and they were all waiting there for him. He had only enough time to swallow his rapidly beating heart and start diving through his fire escape. He ran up, not down, hoping he still had a plank draped across to the other roof as he had planned and positioned it many months ago. He remembered scaling to the top at lightning speed and began sprinting over the tarred rooftop. He was nearly to the edge when the guard appeared behind the rooftop exist and thrown his baton, cleanly hitting Tyler right by his temple and dropping him instantly.

Now Tyler began to open his eyes to the blinding afternoon to see what was to come. As he looked down, he noticed the mirror from his apartment below him. It was set for an execution.

From behind him, he could hear the grass being swayed by footsteps. The swooshing noise reminded him of when his brother and him would play tag out in the pasture off their grandparents’ farm. It felt most unfortunate to have to associate that noise with this moment from now on.

“Tyler Rothechild. You have been captured and are now in an executable venture as deemed through the Department of Defense. We are set to carry out these orders at 3:00 in the afternoon on this day in April. We are also giving you the option to reduce the count to life in prison for information leading to the whereabouts of your brother, Aiden Rothechild. Do you understand the charges and repercussions as I have stated?”

Tyler made no sound and simply hung there in the air, waiting. “Clerk, make note the subject declined the auditory answer and nodded instead.”

“Wait –”

“Clerk, that is all. You may choose to wait in the vehicle until the sentence is carried out or the subject confesses.”

A small woman of about 40 years old, shut down the tablet recording the speech and proceeded with one of the two guards toward the Legion’s transport vehicle in the distance behind Tyler. The speaker made his way closer to him and simply began whistling a little tune. From what could be picked up, it sounded like Happy Birthday.

“Tyler, I hope I can call you that, I always find the formal jargon a little impersonal. And truth be told, beyond sex, this is truly the closest two people will ever get; a dying man and his executioner.”

“What is this?” Even though Tyler had heard of executions for Shifters, he had never seen let alone been partied to one.

The speaker simply smiled; an ear to ear grin reminiscent of the Cheshire cat. The smile raised the mustache nearly to the corners of his eyes. Tyler noticed he had an old-style handlebar, the kind men used to wax into curls. That, along with his grin, gave Tyler a shiver.

“This? This is the moment where you realize there are one of two basic options. A and B. A, you play big Billy bad ass and try to clam up. This will momentarily save your brother from being found. This option also leaves you with a bloody smile which starts across your throat. Option B, you tell me where he is at, where he might go, where he’s been and we shorten this little chase and both you and your brother become incarcerated at San Joaquin, a nice little hole in the dirt made just for people like yourself. Granted, there is no parole for your kind, you basically stay locked up forever, and you and I know that can mean a hell of a long time for you two.”

Tyler tried feeling out the methods to how he was held in place, they weren’t ropes, they were straps and they were tightly in place, so no wiggle room allowed. His feet were held similarly. There was only two means of escape, A or B.

“And, might I add, Option A, if you don’t already know, will permanently kill you. You see, we found out a while ago that just shooting you here, you eventually just pop back up somewhere else. A guard once, shot a Shifter as he ran for a looking glass. His blood sprayed out and as he made contact, nothing. No going through, no other contact. So we learned in order for your kind to truly be killed, we had to do it in front of a mirror. Hence, below.” He stretched out his arm and did a ta-da number with his fingers.

“You see, as we can describe it, you shift between this world and the others and can transport yourself to anywhere in our world. Shit, you can even come back from death itself… unless your reflection see’s you dying.” The man peered up at Tyler, trying to invoke a response. Spit in the eye, a plea, a curse word or two, but he just hung up there and looked down at his reflection.

“So, A or B? I won’t ask again and there won’t be a second chance.”

Tyler took only a moment to think, knowing his brother was far more important than what his life had to offer. He had the plan and the means to fix things in this world. So for him, the answer was simple, “A.”

The speaker sighed a little, but his grin simply grew wider. He raised one finger in the air and gave a clockwise spinning motion to the guard near the base. There was a crank that the guard began turning and the cross slowly started to lower towards the mirror. The speaker walked towards the base and Tyler could feel his throat slowly close and his heart pound. Then there was a jarring as the cross stopped followed by another one from the speaker jumping onto it and slowly walking up towards his body. The mirror was a short three feet away, if only he could only get a finger on it, the rest could help pull him through. The footsteps felt heavier and closer as he approached. And as Tyler looked down, he could see his reflection squirming trying to find a way to get free and the panicked look suffocating its eyes. Tyler could offer no comfort, but still tried, “I’m sorry. Everything will work out as it is supposed to.”

His reflection tried to embrace the inevitability, but tears formed in its eyes and flew upwards, colliding with the pane. Tyler’s eyes were dry and waiting. As he looked into his reflection, the speaker appeared over him and began to kneel down until he straddled the cross, making it look like Tyler was the horse and he, the rider.

As he twisted Tyler’s hair into his fist and pulled up he whispered, “I’m so glad you went with A. Your kind needs to be put down, and I am just the bastard to help. My name is Christian Del Rey and I hope you find me in Hell when I get there.”

The knife drew across from the left jugular all the way to the right. Tyler felt a long sting, but not much pain. The worst part was feeling the rush of air enter his throat and the wet slicing sound the blade reverberated through him. His head grew lighter and his hands and feet were cold. His reflection writhed and tried hard to escape its death as he accepted his. Finally, both he and his reflection slowly faded like the light from a sun going over the horizon.

Blood pooled around the mirror’s edge until the entire surface was covered. Tyler’s body had one last surge trying to escape the clutches of death, but after a few jerks he went still. The slightly different reflection beneath Tyler could barely be seen through the bloody haze. The reflection wore a different hairstyle and clothing altogether. Once Tyler’s life slipped away on the cross, the reflection changed back to the man strapped above it.

Very few Shifters know what happens when their host body dies. Hosts are considered to be the soul carriers. They can travel in and amongst different realities through mirrors or looking glass as the Legion refers. Once they shift through a mirror, they enter the body on the other side where they want to go. When they shift back, they can exit through any mirror large enough for their body.

This is why the King of America has deemed that all looking glasses throughout the regulated kingdoms cannot be larger than a fist and no two looking glasses should be brought together at one time. In total, there are seven realms. Six rotate around the Prime, where all of the Shifters come in and out.

Shifting helps share knowledge from where they go. Their abilities are increased as well as their intelligence. For some, they also learn greed and become power hungry. This is why the King wants to banish the practice of Shifting and seal off the ability to move between realms. The eldest Prince of America had the ability to Shift and it drove him mad after he returned from the 3rd Realm.

Each realm holds differences within them, some are technology based, others spiritual. The 3rd Realm has the most possibilities because it is enriched with emotions, but it also has the most to lose. Emotions become saturated and without the right guidance can be corrupting.

The Prime Realm feeds off the other six and therefore has a combination of science, magic and spirituality from all of them. Tyler Rothechild came from a family who served as an advisor to the King. When the King learned his Royal Advisor’s sons had the ability to Shift, it was thought to use their talents and have them work as the King’s spies. They would go and find other Shifters and make certain to alert the King of any conspiracies.

Aiden, the oldest Rothechild boy found more truths out between the six realms than he did from the King. He saw the beauty, the tragedy and the natural order of life while he Shifted in and out of his other bodies. It was because of this he realized the Prime Realm would eventually take all of the life from the others if something wasn’t done to stop it.

Pleading with the King got Aiden and his family nowhere. In fact, it nearly got them all detained and killed. Aiden and Tyler lost their parents that day and escaped through a mirror they brought along. Aiden even tried to drag the King through the mirror with him. All he succeeded in doing is making the King go headfirst into his reflection, breaking the mirror and scarring his face in long jagged lines.

From that moment on, the King has placed bounties on every Shifter. Aiden was now alone with his brother gone. He would have to find a way to stop the King and save the other six realms before they all started converging into the Prime and be lost forever.

A Time to Reap

Final Blog Chapter

TTTG Ch 12

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.

“The tippy-top.”

“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.

“What’s wrong?”

“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!

Journey of 1000 Miles

TTTG Ch. 11: In the First Year

TTTG Ch 11

No lie, I am exhausted. After I finally got to sit down and take the day in, all of the flashing and conduit training really takes its toll. Mo didn’t survive past dinner. She fell asleep propped up on her hands at the kitchen table as the water boiled on the stove for my special macaroni from a box.

I lasted at least until I made it up to my bedroom. Granted it was before 8:00 at night and my mother wasn’t even home yet. Still, I beat out Mo. I consider that winning. I couldn’t carry her all the way down to her room for the night so I put her on the far end of the king bed in my room.

If anything, my mom would freak out. But I was honestly too tired to even notice Mo in any way other than my friend needing a place to sleep. I was nice and tucked her in under the sheets while I remained above them. I think this makes a neutral barrier for us both.

The last thing I recall before drifting off was how my bed was seriously the most comfortable thing in all of creation. My muscles melted like butter in a skillet the moment I laid down. There is something to be said about the cool breeze of fall outside of a nice warm comforter.

On top of a mentally and physically exhausting day, I also learned my slightly cranky trainer is actually my grandson from the future trying to protect me. Try, just try and make this scenario believable to someone a few decades ago. Their mind would pop.

On a side note, I need to be nicer to David when he grows up.

As my thoughts calmed into the pillow beneath my head, my body floated off to sleep. It was the most relaxing feeling I could imagine making the exhaustive day worthwhile if this is the reward. I would catch small fragrances of Mo’s soap or perfume, I couldn’t tell. It was citrusy and relaxing in the same. A fleeting glimpse of her resting on her side was all the heaviness of my eyelids would allow as I was out.

My dream started early that evening for me. I was a ghost, I think, floating like a breeze through the streets. Everything appeared like my city. I could see familiar places I had been like the station where I went to school each day. I moved along the air with the track and the first difference I could see was the gigantic crater in place of where my school used to be.

It wasn’t recent as it looked like loose debris had already been cleared away. The hole remained in place of an area stretching out engulfing the entire complex, parking lot, practice field and out into the streets around the property. Something large and heavy fell on my school or something massive exploded.

My dream allowed me to drift down to the nearby park a couple of blocks from where the Pemberton School used to be. I got closer and closer to the ground and stabilized myself at my normal field of vision. I had no recollection of my limbs; I was just a floating mass wafting in the night time air.

Something pulls my focus as I notice a couple of men walking down the dim path. I could catch their features for a second as they passed under the old fashioned light posts. It only took a couple of times to realize it was David and I. As I got closer, I could tell we were talking about something important.

“We simply can’t trust him,” David explains. “I know he’s your father, he’s my great grandfather, and no one wants it to be truer than either of us. But the simple fact is too much of this is coinciding with what happened to that hunter from a couple of months ago.”

“I know that, David.” Boy I sound pissy in this dream. “He came to us at great risk though. If we hadn’t been in the exact place at that exact time, you know he would have died. Call me old fashioned, but I still would like to know the whole story before believing in what someone tells me.”

“And that Hunter? Did he not convince you enough?”

I am starting to question the dream I’m having. Everything feels too vivid. Even though I feel like I’m floating on my back in water there’s something too real about it all.

“That’s so unfair. You know why I couldn’t just let him go.”

David began shaking his head in apology. As he did so, a breeze picked up into a small gust and a red food wrapper hugged around his leg.

“Man, shit. Why don’t people use the poles around here?” David is talking about the receptacle poles, which are literally located on every street corner. Basically, you put trash in, then it crushes, sorts and recycles what it can and burns off what it can’t; all eco-safe.

“Wow, I know this moment,” I casually mention to David.

“What?”

“Give me a couple of minutes and I’ll catch up to you at the shop.” David nods and takes a few cautious glances around and in a glimmer disappears. No matter how many times I see it, it still gives me excited goose bumps.

My self goes over to a bench located directly beneath one of the lamp posts, takes a seat and waits. Whatever dream ocean I’m floating in has a current pulling me in that direction. I look like I’m trying to recall something as my eyes are pinched shut. When I open them, I’m looking right in my direction.

“I know you’re there. I remember this moment, only I was on the other side of this conversation when it happened for me.”

Wait, is this a dream?

“It’s not a dream, Carter. Oh, that’s weird, addressing myself aloud without having a real face to speak to.”

Can you hear me? Am I talking to you somehow?

A few moments go by, “I think I asked if I could hear me, and if it proves the same, then no. I can’t hear you. What you are doing is forecasting. You are asleep right now in your bed at home. Mo’s lying beside you. Because she is there, the Gemini power is working. So she is fueling a submersed talent you weren’t aware of before.”

I’m curious. This still feels like a dream, but in the same way I know that it isn’t.

“This is your first of many forecasts. You are basically doing what Timothy Lord did, only you are doing it correctly. Right now, you have projected your conscious a year in the future. Because you are me, your conscious will always be drawn to wherever I am. So no winning lotto picks, no roaming about trying to expect what else is going on in the world. You will be drawn to me whenever you forecast. After a while I won’t be able to remember all of our first encounters, so I won’t always know when you’re there.”

No way! If he could hear me or hear himself, I guess, I would be squealing with excitement. I wonder how many other hidden gems I have in store.

“Neat, right?” You’re damn right, …me. “Well, the main thing I have to tell you right now is about your tomorrow when you wake up.”

Ah yes, my apparent Doomsday. I hope I have some insights to share with myself.

“First of all, don’t panic. At least don’t panic yourself into flashing out of the room. They’ll be expecting something from you in order to track how you do it. And if they learn how you do it, they’ll also learn how to prevent you from doing it.”

Wait, am I saying once I wake up I’m going to be surrounded?

“Secondly, don’t worry about Mo. They are going to take her into another room thinking if you two are apart you won’t be any threat. She’ll be fine and you both will get through the day unharmed.”

Okay, so no panicking or worrying. And if this really is the future then I made it out okay and listened to my former future self. Wait, what? Crap! Time travel and loops get confusing.

“Lastly, just agree to whatever they say. Admit everything up to meeting David. Leave him out of it. But tell them about Ray and lying about Ray. Tell them about your mother with their questions when they ask. They’ll have you both back to school before the first bell sounds.”

Wait, I’m still going to school? As a student? Not sneaky-ninjaing in through a window or something? Nuts. I was kinda looking forward to that part.

“I know, sucks right? Don’t worry, you’ll have ninja moments later that day.” My future self looks around making sure that no one is approaching. As he does, I am curious what I have gone through in a year. I don’t look older, but there is something about me. Something that’s drastically different.

“Now, Principal Uzman will call you both to the office. Not to spoil it all for you but he basically runs the Program. The Program is the under the scenes organization within the government keeping tabs on people like us, and simultaneously experimenting on people with various levels of abilities. Most are kicked back out into society, not useful or harmful enough to do anything. Others either join into the Program or they simply vanish. Blamed on whatever is convenient at the time.”

I don’t know what creeps me out more, knowing such a thing like the Program exists or having to be in the same room with Principal Uzman who runs it. Principal Uz as we like to call him is pretty much the grossest man I have met. Not because he has a strange oily complexion necessarily, but he looks oddly disproportionate. His arms are too long, always exposing a few inches of wrist past his dress shirts. And, even though he is not an obese man, he has a strange double chin that’s always present.

The thought makes me dry heave and that is hard to do as a conscious projection into the future, well I’m guessing.

“When you are in there, don’t try to out buffer anyone. Not right away. Wait until the right moment. You’ll know when, cowboy. After that, be prepared to act fast work together. You’ll have about 15 minutes to find out what you need. Afterwards, let Mo work her magic and leave.”

Leave? Like go back to class, leave or get out of town, leave?

“Get home and your mom will be there waiting. She can take it from there.”

I have a feeling my comfortable night’s sleep might be the last I get for quite a long time. So, wake up without panicking, agree to whatever and make it calmly through a day of school before getting called into the principal’s office to hopefully overpower and mentally interrogate him. Got it.

“Time to get up, Carter.”

The comfortable warmth of my bed and the rhythmic feel of floating are suddenly pulled back into a cold and drafty room. Someone is holding my hand as I come out of the daze that I still believe is a dream.

“Don’t move!”

As my blur tends to focus, there is a dark thing a few inches from my face. As my eyes strain to identify the object it slowly becomes apparent that the barrel of a gun is aimed at me. Poop my skivvies; I’ve never seen a gun in real life let alone had one pointed at me.

“Good morning, Mr. White.” It’s like I knew it was going to be him.

“Dr. Phillips. This is an interesting alarm clock service you’re providing.” I’m pretty sure my voice cracked in there somewhere.

“I received a concerning notice the other day which led us here. Whereas I am thankful for finding both of you here,” as he motions to Mo who is being escorted out of the room by a rather thick-necked gentleman in a suit, “still, I am curious as to how.”

“What do you mean?” I know what he means, he’s asking about Mo and her making it out of the car in one piece.

“We had a couple of witnesses come forward mentioning how you two were fighting earlier today and they thought you threatened Ms. Zester.” His smile was like a poison working its way through my blood.

“Well, as you can see, she is fine. I think whoever told you that was pulling your leg.” I have this strange itchy sensation coming from inside my head. My focus shifts from Dr. Phillips to the man standing in the background of my room. I thought he was a henchman like the one who woke me to the barrel of his gun. I can’t tell for certain, but I think he is trying to read me.

A small rush of panic quickly trails behind my thoughts as I scramble for what to do. Buffer? No, if I make my brain completely blank, they’ll know I’m able to hide something. The best I can do is try to imagine not rescuing Mo and everything else that followed.

“Mr. White, we came over here to question you about her car exploding. People from various angles said they witnessed her in the car seconds before it blew up, they also recalled seeing you there. So, now we are curious if you saw what happened?”

The man in the room is strong-arming his way into my thoughts, not like Mo who can simply pick them up. Luckily I learned quite a lot through David in the last day and I believe I hid all pertinent information as he goes trudging around.

“Is everything alright, Mr. White? You look pale.” His venomous grin makes me think that is what he expects, me in pain. I allow the charade to continue.

“It’s fine, I just have a headache.”

“Well, hopefully it goes away soon. Now, do you know anything about what happened to Ms. Zester?”

“Not really. I was at home and the next minute, she was in my backyard. She thought someone was trying to hurt her but not sure who. We bonded a little bit earlier in the day and I didn’t think she had any other friend to turn to so I let her spend a couple of days with me.”

“Without contacting her guardian?”

“Mo told me her aunt was out of town and not able to be reached, but she would be contacting her as soon as she thought she’d be available.” Where in the hell am I conjuring this story from? Because I know I’m not imagining it, but it certainly is pouring out of my mouth like I actually thought it.

“And you both didn’t attend school yesterday? What were you up to?”

“Mo was still scared the next day. I was caught up on all my assignments so I stayed with her. We walked around and even went to some places where I grew up, sharing some memories to take her mind off of things.”

“Ah, and where would that have been?”

This cat and mouse game gets old, especially since I know I am like a pit-bull hiding as the mouse. “Down by the wharf district. I used to play soccer down at a field around there. We just bummed around the rest of the day.”

At this, Dr. Phillips glances slightly over his shoulder in the other man’s direction. After a couple of seconds, he turns back to me. The toxicity of his smile was gone. “Mr. White, are you familiar with Raymond Lord, known by many as Lord Ray?”

I tried to force a small spike of panic so the Eventual in the room would pick up on something. From there on out, I confessed to being abducted by Lord Ray, all of the things I went through with him and anything else that fed Dr. Phillips’ hunger for information. After he was fully satisfied with my meal of explanations, he left the room briefly and I was alone with the man standing at the other end of my room.

He was ominous as anything I imagined a government agent could be like. He wore a dark suit with a darker undershirt. His tie was a vibrant blue and somehow took notice away from him. Even trying to recognize his features was difficult. The moment I tried to remember something about him, it would slip through like trying to stick margarine to a hot frying pan.

Dr. Phillips entered the room before it got to the point where I became nervous. I still have no idea what that guy looks like.

“Your story corroborates with Ms. Zester’s accounts.” He looked highly disappointed. Ha, good. “We recommend you both return to school tomorrow and have already assured your friend that we will devote resources into what happened to her vehicle and how she wound up in your yard.”

Dr. Phillips stands up and slides my chair back under my desk, signifying it was time to leave. The figure in my room didn’t budge. “Mr. Gemini, if you please.”

A small glare later and the man started moving. Gemini? Somehow that’s too coincidental for me. A part of me really wants to know more about that guy but doing so would tip them off to some degree. For now, it was better to let them go about their business and get out of my house.

After they all left the house and drove safely away, it was safe to talk with my mother and Mo again.

“Well, that went as expected.”

“Expected?!” my mother nearly shouts. “I nearly peed myself coming out of the bathroom to see a gun pointed at me.”

I giggle a little in my head, but thankfully hide that from her in my thoughts and my expression.

“Mo, was that you feeding me a story to tell Dr. Phillips?” Her shy grin confirms it. “How did you do that?”

“Well, you were busy buffering the other guy in your room to what you wanted him to know. I figured you could use a hand. But hey, looks like we get to go to school in a few hours.”

Skippy, just how I wanted to start my morning, three hours earlier than I normally wake up followed by a rigorous interrogation. “Did you pick up on what they called the guy in my room?”

“I heard, Gemini. I also got a little from him on what he was there to do.”

“I felt him poking around inside my head. It was unpleasant to say the least.” Remembering it gives me a small shiver. I hope such a thing doesn’t happen again.

“Did you catch what he was though?”

Now I’m wondering what else I missed besides what he looked like. “No, what?”

Mo was walking to go upstairs and change her clothes. She paused on her way up the stairs, looking over some of the photos on the wall. Her lack of an answer made me ask again as she was staring once again at my family photo.

“What was he, Mo?”

“You just had a Hunter in your house.”

A Time to Reap

TTTG Ch. 9: There Was a Certain Man

TTTG Ch 9

What we learned later that evening, the scrambled mix up work Mo did as a conduit shared a lot of information between the three of us. Mainly, my mother was not going to leave Mo or I alone together for too long and apparently a lot of the preliminary training was no longer needed. Mom shared the knowledge of her struggles on how to leap, flash and buffer to both of us. Granted, Mo won’t benefit from anything except the buffering aspect, but nevertheless, she now knows how it works.

I was now fully aware of the limitations and the precautions to leaping. I knew how to regulate my body or harness my ability to use it. Flashing was different. If there was a comparison, leaping was like using a shotgun on a target at point blank range; flashing was using a high powered rifle from a hundred yards away with the precision of a sniper. The more I practiced, the better my scope and the steadier my aim.

My attempts last night were a little hit and miss. My first attempt put me in the backyard, naked again. Awesome. The nudity followed on all attempts up to #11. I had to make Mo close her eyes as I was closing in on my target area. Mom was one thing, girlfriend (when I get the chance to ask her someday soon) is entirely different.

Good ol’ number 11. I flashed from one point of the kitchen to the backdoor. All my clothes still on! I paraded around gallantly.

“Is that your sock?” Mo pointed out on the floor.

“Yup,” also feels like my underwear are on backwards too, “but still, all the main areas are covered!”

A slow clap from both in the peanut gallery didn’t make me any less proud of myself. In fact, I wished I could have been shown during our conduit session just how well my mother did on her attempts. I bet there were some doozies in there as well.

This morning, I made my way out of my room like a vampire from a crypt, the light seeping in from the hallway was blinding in a smear of fluorescent blues, yellows and oranges. As I adjusted my eyes to the single light overhead beaming at me with a penetrating 40 watts of sunlight, I heard the door down the hall open and Mo come walking out.

And I am fairly certain that if there ever was a moment outside of a road accident, a zombie film or my death bed, Mo was seeing me at the worst possible time of day. I must have looked like a kid who just finished crying then got thrown into a pillow fight with dodge balls in the cases instead of feathers.

“Hi,” I roughly manage.

“Good morning.” Her perkiness was adorable and made me fairly ashamed to have to put her through looking at me at the moment. How does someone wake up looking like that? I must master those secrets.

As she walks by me down the hall past me, she sniffs a little and I think sweat started forming immediately as I’m sure that my activities last night and stewing in them all night have left me pretty ripe.

“Don’t you smell manly,” she mentions with a wink as she leaves me alone in the hallway looking like a lost old man in the super market.

My insides smile where my mouth forgets to follow. And for whatever reason in my head, it seemed like the good idea to smell under my arms. Whew, I’m glad she’s not offended, but I am going to hose this musk off.

After a rigorous hose off, I throw on my favorite jeans, a throwback AFI t-shirt from my mom’s era (the one with three rabbits in a circle) and head downstairs for some breakfast and to prepare for the day.

My red sneakers no sooner touch the ground level when the doorbell rings. Cautiously, I look around for Mo who I see heading up the stairs at the back of the kitchen. My mom has no doubt gone to work already, so I timidly approach the door. A quick wave in front of the reveal pad and the thick wooden door becomes transparent on my side revealing an older man in a familiar purple delivery uniform (I order a lot of stuff online). He has a single envelope in his grasp.

I key the code to unlock the front door and as it slides away, the man greets me with a hearty good morning. He dispenses with small talk and sticks to pleasantries as he asks for me by name and then has me sign for my letter. He turns and promptly leaves as he came, wishing me a good day.

Safely inside and behind a locked door, I proceed to the kitchen and mentally call to Mo that the coast is clear. As she lightly traipses down to the kitchen, I am already in the midst of unsealing the envelope.

I open up the slit the pull tab created and shuffle the contents out. A simple photograph was inside. It was a picture of a park that I used to play soccer in when I was younger. On the back there was a time of 8:45 scrawled in marker. Underneath it said flash with your friend here.

“Well, that’s optimistic of them now isn’t it?”

“I guess they know you have the capability?”

As I look at the nearest clock, it reads 8:32. “Think we should try to be early?”

“I assume they would appreciate it more than fashionably late. Plus, what if we have to run the rest of the way in case you miss?” Her coy grin is somehow infuriating and captivating at the same time.

“You think I’ll miss?!”

“You are rather new at all of this. Plus, you’d be carrying a passenger.” Her wink seals my gushy heart in a box and she now has it. Great, I’m a sap.

I snag the closest breakfast bar from the kitchen and stuff it in my front pocket. I motion for her to take my hands and as I begin prepping my concentration for where we need to go. I think back to the times when we were kicking that white and black pocked ball around in the cool spring morning. I can still remember hearing the birds returning from migration and swooping down to the creek that ran by the field.

As Mo clasps both of her hands in mine, we immediately flash. I’m not sure if it was the startle and jolt of her touching me or if it has anything to do with being Gemini. Regardless, we were standing in an abandoned soccer field.

“Whoa!” I exclaim. “That was unexpected.”

“No shit,” Mo says as she is looking down. Conveniently, her pants are missing. Luckily for her, the large sweatshirt she was fashionably sporting covered most of her thighs. Unluckily for me.

“I did not do that intentionally.”

“Uh huh,” she says calmly. Afterwards she shrugs her shoulders and continues to the gate in the chain link fence leading to the field.

She handles a moment that I would normally be mortified in and simply rolls with it. Yup, I might be smitten. Or full of smit. I’m not sure how this works.

I pat my front pocket and realize the other thing I left at home. “Oh, man. I left my breakfast bar at home too.”

“The goose bumps on my legs mourn your loss, Carter.” Never looking back, she begins to walk forward. I admire this girl.

As I catch up and apologize again, her smile forgives me. We make our way through the gate and it’s nearly time as we notice a large SUV making its way toward us. I’ve seen enough spy movies that this is where the thick-necked guys get out and shoves us in. I brace myself with a grin as the vehicle approaches. And the grin leaves my face as the SUV passes us.

A corresponding shrug between us both has me wondering what we should expect. As I look down again, the digital number changes from 8:44 to :45. A pssst sound comes from behind us.

Parked along the curb, a man in an older station wagon sits in the driver seat. Oh, hell no. This is not the awesome ride I was imagining. Although, how did that junker drive up on us without even knowing it?

“You two should get in so we can start.” The middle-aged man with the circular glasses, nasally tells us.

Oh, please do not be –

“I’m David Nelson. I’ll be teaching you today.”

David. This is the sensei, Jedi master we will be learning from. It looks like a powerful sneeze might take this guy out of commission. He looks like he’s both shorter, skinnier and not to mention older than I am. I was expecting some brooding unnatural-looking presence before me, with an eye patch or a scar on his face or facial hair. But no, I get nerdy David Nelson – Trainer. God, I bet he has business cards that say that too.

“I’m Carter. This is Mo.”

“I know who you are, stupid. I called you here.”

Oh, and he has a lovely bedside manner as well. “Okay, so are we hopping in your sweet ride or are we training here?”

“You don’t see me getting out, do you?”

This may possibly be the longest day of my life. Not only is this guy a gem to look at, he is a class 1 asshole as well. Mo and I start making our way around to the passenger side of the car. I reach for the handle to ride shotgun.

“Nuh uh, you’re in the backseat. The lovely lady can ride up front.” With you, Creepy McGee? I already know arguing that point will get me nowhere, but I’ll have an eye on you, buddy.

We take off down the street and David goes through parts of town I’m unfamiliar with. The wharf district once housed vast amounts of commerce that used to arrive by boat. Shipping logistics started dying out as aqueous magnetic transits (AMT’s) docked at airports. Air carriers developed AMT’s using the earth’s magnetism through water to levitate and move.

Large warehouses and empty buildings lined most of the streets. The property was still considered commercial until the city would appropriate it as residential. It was something I heard in the news, a large project to rezone the district to make affordable housing. That’s because most of the city’s vagrants and poor were squatting in the empty lots. It was also used by various gangs, crime organizations and general riff-raff to keep anyone at bay until it could be torn down and rebuilt.

Now we were having a nice mid-week morning drive through it. Lovely.

“So, we’ll be training today. Together at first then separately.”

Thank you that was a lovely detailed syllabus for today’s activities. And where are we going? If this guy was following a route it must in the shape of spaghetti in a bowl.

“Okay, change of plans. Individual training first.” Super, we must be getting close to our destination. If so, I’m not sure why he’s speeding up. “Do you remember the soccer field, Carter?”

“Yah,” we literally just came from there 15 minutes ago.

“Good, meet us there after your first lesson.” And with that, he grabs Mo by the wrist and they flash. Suddenly, I am in a car’s backseat without a driver, barreling towards a red brick building.

“Holy – ” that was the first part to the last thought I had racing through my head as I approached a wall going 50 miles per hour. From there I flashed out with enough time to spare. And no, not back to the soccer field. I had glanced at the water beyond the building and apparently my subconscious thought it was a nice landing pad.

As I swam up through the frigid cold water, I gasped for air as I recalled how to tread water. It took a few seconds to remember how to flash out of there, thinking I needed a solid surface to start from.

I went back to the building I nearly collided with moments before and saw the steam rising from the engine. The front half of the car was pushed in past the driver’s seat turning it into a snub-nosed station wagon. The car probably never looked better. It would be some small satisfaction if it was indeed David’s car. That asshole.

He nearly killed me just now. Pretty certain my mother will not be very appreciative of that. I look myself over and realize that I flashed with all my clothes intact. I’m fairly impressed with that alone. The fishy smelling water squishes around in my shoes as I walk and I notice a distinct difference. I missed a sock again. Dangit! Why just one sock?

As I furiously squish my way from the accident, a hard thing to do, I think of the spot where Mo and I arrived earlier and suddenly I was there. David and Mo were leaning against the chain link fence looking right at me as I stomped over with my most furious look of angst.

“You almost killed me, you asshole!” Granted I forgot to apply the brakes to my mouth, but it was true.

Without missing a beat, he continued on as if I didn’t say anything. “What was your first lesson?”

Mo was stifling a mad case of the giggles, which actually did upset me. If I reacted a few seconds later I would be a two-dimensional version of myself. Still, as water began chaffing my inner thighs, I wanted to know David’s logic behind everything.

“How to react when I’m in danger?” Bravo, dick.

“No, it’s don’t piss off your trainer the first day. No matter how nerdy he may look, he will still know more than you.”

My fury radically shifts into embarrassment as it is apparent David has both my ability and Mo’s wrapped into one. So, everything I was thinking to myself went out as if I said it aloud. Great move, Carter. I thought I was buffering my thoughts?

“Your buffering skills are at a Kindergarten level, Carter. We need to push you through to high school by the end of the day or else whatever tomorrow brings may get the better of you.”

“Well, I just learned them yesterday, so I guess I consider that progress.”

“Well, you are going to have a rude awakening if you find yourself in the same vicinity as anyone with your mother’s ability. They will pluck the thoughts from your head and the car incident will seem like a picnic.”

I don’t know what to think now. I want to apologize still and ask him to take it easy on me. I’m still a kid in my book and this goes beyond the scare of leaping naked into the past. This was someone coming after me for some unknown reason and it is supposed to happen in less than a day.

“Carter, by the time we’re done today, you’ll be ready to shield, defend and if necessary fight. We’ll teach you both the basics of your gift, the main ways to control it and harness it when you’re apart and how to utilize it best when you’re together.”

Something tells me that this is going to be a grueling day.

David smiles, telling me that it most certainly is. “For now, you need to clean up your mess.”

“What mess?” I’m curious.

“Your station wagon mess.”

Aw, man. How is he assuming I do that?

“Put the car where you originally landed. But get your sock out of it first.” Okay it’s cute when Mo pokes around in my brain box, it’s creepy when David does it. I think buffering needs to be the first chapter in our lessons.

“I just got out of the water. I think I have seaweed in my shorts still.”

“So, just move the car.” Oh, right. That’ll be easy. “It is easy, just think of where you want it and focus on moving it and not your body. You managed to pick up on flashing within an evening. Point-flashing shouldn’t be too hard.”

“I had Mo pumping my mom’s experience into me first.” I’m not sure I want to have her and David practice her conduit powers on me just yet.

“We’ll get to her conduit training later. For now, try it on your own and meet us back here in 15 minutes.” David walks to me hand outstretched as if to shake hands and mend our differences. As I touch palm to palm, I immediately flash to some unknown rooftop in the wharf district. I can still see the water. He did this on purpose. What a tool.

It takes me a few flash attempts to get back to the spot where I ran full speed into a building, but it was still there, steaming away like a metal accordion.

After placing my hand on the car, I tried channeling the way that David was describing. I focused on putting the car in the water. I thought about the car to the water, the car to the water. The next moment, well, something was in the water. It was me. Crapdamnit!

A few attempts later I was making progress. I moved the car itself along with me about five feet away from the building. Nearly 10 minutes have passed and I was still plodding along trying to put the car in the bay.

Finally, after a few dozen attempts, I push my frustrations out and yell within my mind at the car to just get in the damn bay! And suddenly, the car and all of its connected parts are gone and as I look out, I briefly notice it hover above the water before crashing down. I smile from ear to ear as it slowly sinks into the murky abyss.

A quick flash and under 15 minutes later, I go back to the soccer fields, accomplished.

“Got it.” I triumphantly announce. “Who’s car was that?”

“Your principal’s,” David replies.

I am not sure whether to be frightened or elated by that statement. Happiness wins over as I can’t help but smile larger.

“Hence why you needed your sock,” he states.

And my smile vanishes. I already know what he’s going to say next and I simply hang my shoulders and shuffle slowly toward them. “Aw, really?”

He nods his head slowly enough to recognize. “Unless you want them finding a clue if they discover the car. You had better retrieve it before a current pulls it out of the bay.”

Man, training sucks.

A Time to Reap

TTTG Ch. 8: In the Days When Judges Ruled…

TTTG Ch 8

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.

“What’s that?”

“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.

“What?”

“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.”

“How?”

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.

“Mo…”

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.

A Time to Reap

TTTG CH. 7: After the Death of Joshua

TTTG Ch 7

The abrupt departure of my mother left Mo and I standing and debating the mind-reader scenario for a while. After a stalemate of ideas, we moved on to the possible scenarios of who would want to kill Mo and why.

Our suspect list included the Deslin twins and possibly faculty at our school. The list was not impressive by any means and the only reason we crossed off accident was the notion that someone was preventing Mo from escaping.

The next step was figuring out why. By all accounts, Mo was a wallflower in the school. Her only notoriety came from her nickname that she received years ago. Even then, the shock and awe only lasted a week until the next kid with an ability had a tantrum causing his powers to activate.

Mo was sweet and I had a hard time believing that anyone would have a grudge against her personally. The next thing in my paranoid mind is thinking that I contributed to it in some way.

We had met that day, officially, and by the end of it, Mo was nearly blown to pieces. That caused me to retrace our steps and come to the only conclusion that something else happened in the principal’s office. My mother even posed the question. Despite how she can pester and irritate me at times, she is one of the most intelligent people I have ever known.

“Mo, did you feel anything happening while you were waiting in the principal’s office?”

She contemplated it for a bit, then came back with, “No. Nothing really.” And as her statement exited and hung in the air, a realization flashed before her. “Actually, there was nothing at all. It was like when your mom was around. All of the static subsides and I am left in a bubble.”

I wonder if it is true then? “Have you heard the stories about the principal’s office being a place where no one like us can use our abilities?”

“I think I’ve heard of some people mentioning it. They had a name for it, but I don’t remember it completely.”

“A guy in one of my classes got called there because he got into a scuffle with another kid at lunch a couple of years ago. The other kid was an Eventual and when he pushed him, he flew about 20 feet back instead of being thrown off balance.”

“Was that Jacob Wells?” Even the way she asks questions at times is cute. She has this little curl to her lip when she’s close to smiling.

Focus. “Ya, I can’t remember the other kids name, Kenny something. I think he moved the next year. But he said that while they were waiting outside the principal’s office, the kid was still mad. Said he tried to ‘do something’ and then looked strangely confused. He thought he was trying to push him from across the hall and couldn’t.”

“Marco,” she wildly interjects.

“What?”

“Sorry, Kenny Marco, his name just popped into my head. He was more public with his pushes than any Eventual I knew besides the Deslins. After he went to the office that day, he never pushed again. We took note from him that exhibiting our full abilities would get us in trouble.”

We both sat quietly while we took that last sentence in.

“Man, I can’t remember what they called that area around the principal’s office.”

As we both dug deeply into our memory, I think that I helped her jog her own. In unison, we both called it out together, “the Shade.”

“That was it. Thanks, Carter. I might have gone a little batty if I hadn’t figured that out soon.” She laughed. It was a dry courtesy laugh, but it was still charming and airy. It didn’t sound forced, just a lighter version of what her smile radiated.

Even after coming to conclusions, we still had no way of understanding how, why or for what reason Mo’s car caught fire. Rather than expand our already stretched brain cells, we both thought it was a better idea to wait for my mom and get her help on the matter.

I started making my way to the stairs in order to show Mo to her room for at least the evening. On the way up the stairs I take note to a picture on our family wall in particular; the one with my mom, my dad and I. I pass by and try not to let the questions start flooding in.

A few steps up, I sense that Mo’s footsteps are no longer following and as I turn around I see that she is analyzing the picture of my family.

“What were you looking for in this one, just now?”

“It’s a picture of my family before my dad walked out on us.”

She looked the photo over like it was a picture she had seen a copy of before, except now she was picking out the things that were missing.

“There was something else to it. You were thinking beyond him walking out. What was it?”

This is different. Usually, as far as our usual went, Mo was deeply inside my thoughts and knew things before I could form the words. “I found out recently that he was like me, a leaper.”

“Wow. Two leapers having a kid together. Did anyone in the DCD know?”

It was a good question. The Department of Chronological Displacement would be very curious on the offspring of two leapers, or whatever my mom was. Maybe that’s why he left? This past week has been beyond confusing and in between adrenaline rushes, I would love nothing more than a nap. And I friggin hate naps.

“I don’t think so. I haven’t had the time or brainpower to ask my mom any questions yet.” I keep making my way up the stairs and hear Mo start following me again.

As I get to the first room on my left, I mention how it was mine. I’d show her later, but for now I move down and to the end of the hall on the left, across from my mother’s. I open it and as we move in, the sensor light activates the crown molding lights around the room. I pull on the chain above hanging off of the fan/light combo and the remainder of the room illuminates.

“This is your room for as long as you need.” I point to the door in the corner and mention that it leads to the adjoining master bathroom. Suddenly I have a flash in my mind of Mo needing to shower and well, my thoughts went a little to R rated before I knew how to wrangle them back.

“Oh my God, I’m sorry, Mo.” I could feel the heat flushing parts of my body and the need to dig a hole in the back yard and put my head in it.

“What are you sorry for?” Odd. That thought was pretty clear. I mentally push the thought, I’m sorry for what I was thinking just now.

Her expression was muddled. “I can’t pick up on you as well right now. What were you thinking?”

“Are you okay?” Suddenly I wonder if my mom has anything to do with this. There are definite trust issues I need to work through with her.

“I’m fine, just tired. Honestly, listening to your thoughts for hours today has made me extremely sleepy. That on top of the adrenaline crash after nearly being incinerated makes it difficult to pick up on your thoughts. But, that’s probably okay. You don’t want me in there 24/7.” She says while winking at me.

It’s been a day, but I already want her to be a part of my life a little too much. I need to use this down time of hers to compose myself and get to know more about her.

“I know it’s pretty early, but I might lay down for a quick nap. Is that okay?”

Well, screw Plan A. “Sure, that’s fine. There should be sheets on the bed. I’ll get a toothbrush and towel ready for you in the meantime. I’ll wake you in a bit for dinner?”

She nods her peach-fuzzed head up and down. I smile at how she has changed into so many different ways today from wallflower to friendly to intriguing and sensual and now to completely adorable. I walk out and slowly close the door behind me, hoping she’ll ask me to stay longer.

Alas, I am off to the pantry to see what we have to eat. I get just inside the kitchen when I hear my mother’s car pulling into the driveway. I look at the hovering digital readout on the clock above the sink and realize that it is 5:18. Mom must have gotten off work a little early to make it home at this speed.

The locks on the house deactivate as she approaches the door off the kitchen that leads to the garage and backyard. As she walks in, her eyes hold every expression bundled into one, a rainbow of emotions in her gaze.

“Are you okay?” she asks.

I scrunch my face into the best question mark I know and reply unsure, “yes?”

“Carter, seriously. I know it hasn’t been easy over the last week for you. Today was a close call and I want to know if you’re okay.”

“I know, mom. I can’t say it’s been a piece of cake, but I’m holding it together.” I was, actually. I’m not entirely sure how, maybe in my continual time leaping and facing imminent danger eased the sharpness of any peril.

“I want to talk with you both about today. Where is your friend, Mo?”

“She was pretty tired. She’s up in the guest room taking a nap.”

“She’s cute.”

“Mom.” Oh Lord, please strike my mother mute on this subject before she starts.

“What? Even the whole bald head thing, she’s pretty.”

“Okay,” I say while moving toward the fridge in order to decide on dinner.

“Do you like her?”

Lord, pretty please? “Are we really doing this?”

“Can’t your mother be curious?”

“Curious, yes. But can we not be curious while in the same house as your curiosity? On top of the fact that she can read minds to boot.”

The rarest smile started curving its way around my mom’s face. If there was a thing behind me getting ready to surprise me, that would describe her smile. “Oh really?” she replies.

“What is it that you know that I don’t?”

“I would imagine a lot, Carter.”

Wise ass. Oh, crap. Can my mom read minds? Her expression of mood didn’t even flinch just now. Maybe she was an award winning actress to boot?

“Carter, if you try and over think this too much, you’re going to burst a blood vessel.” I think she just chuckled at my expense. Am I over thinking it? Did she just know I was over thinking it? I’m doing it right now…crap.

“So, why did Mo go blank around you? She said that you must be like her.” Hmm, and if my mom is like Mo, perhaps I have the capability as well. Ooo, this could get good.

“I’m not a reader, hon. Or Eventual as you kids call it. I am exactly what you can be. Time travel was the first symptom. Disappearing from time and reappearing later. Your grandpa was one of the firsts. Thanks to your grandma, she prepared me at an early age for what might come. With that, I was able to survive and eventually I learned that it could be controlled.”

The floorboards squeaked ever so slightly behind us. We both knew it meant someone was entering the kitchen. Older houses have the distinctive areas where a person growing up knew where to step to elicit a noise. We both turned to see Mo standing there, looking apologetic for interrupting.

“It’s okay, hon. Come in and join us. You should hear this too.”

She took mouse like steps, cautiously approaching my mother, trying to figure if she was a friend or foe. She settled at the end of the table between my mother and I.

“As I was saying, I learned to control leaping by choosing when and where. It took the better part of a decade. Then the government found out about people with our varying conditions. Volunteers were called for and at the time I was struggling for money and wanting to go to college.”

“Didn’t you meet dad in college?”

She smiled, recalling her first moments of meeting him, I suppose. “I did. He was a couple of years older and just finishing his degree. I didn’t realize he was a leaper like me until we dated for a few months.”

It never occurred to me how you break the news to someone from back then. Either shock or making them try to believe you were the two options beyond lying.

“He was walking with me one day and I stated that I had to stop into Simon Hall for something in order to help me with my financial aid. He wasn’t stupid. He knew about the tests and government helping to study the condition and he knew that normal financial aid was on the other side of campus. Later that night, he showed me that he was just like me and how I could go further than simply time traveling at a whim.”

Right, because time travel isn’t cool enough, there had to be more to it.

“Your father taught me how to harness time travel down to a focal point in order to teleport. It was like taking a wide angle lens down to a microscopic view. That took me another year to figure out altogether.”

The itchy question in my mind spilled out, “So, why didn’t dad register himself?”

A slightly less enthusiastic smile replaced the previous one on my mom’s face. “He didn’t trust the government’s intentions with their research. He said that it would inevitably lead to either a war or genocide. So, he felt that staying off their radar was best. Soon after their research was completed, the Pemberton School was founded and accepted kids who had been touched or possessed the ability they had seen.”

“I thought the school had been in place longer than a couple of decades?” Mo interjected into the conversation.

“It was previously a private reform school, so in a sense it had been there helping children who needed help. It was purchased and converted quite rapidly in order to start accepting applicants immediately. I think it was more to keep ‘special’ kids out of the public and restrict their abilities while simultaneously continuing their research under the guise of education.”

And now I really didn’t want to go back to school. Not that I wanted to any given day.

“Why did dad leave?”

The question punched my mother directly in the heart and I could see it reflected in the sadness she held back in her eyes. “I don’t think he felt there was a choice. After you were born, we both knew that it was only a matter of time before you started showing your ability. Luckily, that didn’t come until you were 12. After you leapt for your first time, no matter how prepared we made you, it was still the most frightening moment of my life. I wondered for a full hour if you were going to make it back. Even through your excitement on returning, I could barely hold back sobbing.”

I didn’t even remember my mom crying. I remember coming back the first leap and feeling like I was a super hero. I was so excited and after my dad wrapped a blanket around me and hugged me tighter than ever, I simply couldn’t recall anything else.

“Your father didn’t mention anything to me. He packed a bag the next day and just left. No note, no goodbye, no reason. He just left his life. He died for me that day, with no body or grave I could mourn. I was left with memories and questions and you. I had to report your leap and let you know that your father left the next day. It was one of the worst years of my life.”

I felt bad for asking now. I should have just left that in the past. I only remember my mom speaking highly of him up to that day. He simply left and never turned around. I blamed myself and now I am pretty sure that I was the reason.

Both Mo and my mother are harboring tears on the brink of falling.

“After your father left, I had no need to explain that he had the same condition as both of us. We had hidden it from the government for so long and from you that it seemed to prove little use. Then when you leapt back the other night saying that you ran across people who knew your father, I knew that our time to act was closing in.”

“Act on what exactly?” What is it with conspiracy talk that it always has to be vague and drawn out?

“We have to find a way to destroy the Pemberton School before they turn on the kids there.”

Well, how can I not want to help now?

———————————————————————————————————–

LIKE the read but haven’t read the previous chapters?

They’re short and keep you going, check them out here!