Gifts and Curses

A young woman’s life is thrown into disarray when the appearance of a stranger brings trouble she didn’t know could exist. Does she follow this man to a place he claims is a sanctuary for gifted people, or strike out on her own against this new threat?

Does this description grab you? Does it make you think “WOW! I want to read that book!” or “That sounds cool, I’ll give it a shot.” What could be done to make it better? I’m requesting feedback on these descriptions so I can refine them.

First chapter of the rough draft. This was all creative writing based off an idea I had. This was also one of the experiments I’ve blogged about. I wrote almost 10k words before I ran out of steam, though around a third of that was the beginning of losing track. This will be in the novel I eventually write, unless it gets horrible reviews here.

Chapter 1

Scott sat in the diner drinking his coffee, watching people. Someone was here, he could feel it. One by one he reached into the minds of the patrons, reading their lives, seeing their futures, searching. A woman meeting a coworker intending to cheat on her husband, a teenager skipping school waiting for his friends, a husband and wife trying to save a marriage that should never have been in the first place. A drug dealer waiting for his buyer, none of them mattered. Scott had learned a long time ago, not to get directly involved.

People don’t want help from someone they don’t understand, someone they don’t believe exists. So he learned to hide in plain sight, his nature yearning to help these people who would try to get him locked up if he did. He had learned to pick his battles, even those that came to him for help. Even those that had seen with their own eyes that he was different, still were afraid to accept the truth. He still wasn’t sure why he continued to seek out those like him in some way or another. Telepathy, empathy, time sight, mind bending, weather control, physical effects, spirit sights and/or effects, emotion control, among other things, so many had one or two, sometimes three, but none had all, like he did.

He kept looking, no longer hoping to find. Either he sought them out, or they would somehow cross his path. Besides, if he didn’t learn about this nudging, he would never be able to control if it, it would always control him. So here he was in this diner, sitting all day, drinking coffee, eating from time to time to keep from being asked to leave, always with that nagging sensation that he needed to be there. Yet there was no one, he had searched all the staff, even the cook that never came out front, he had checked every patron, even the babies, nothing.

Hours passed without a hit, shifts changed, graveyard this time, back to searching. A mother trying her best to provide for her family, a girl trying to make enough money to leave the town, a man trying to make enough money to cover his addiction, not the graveyard shift either. More waiting, new patrons will come. Being the weekend maybe who he was looking for would be among the partyers, looking to sober up. Those like him, the “unfiltered” he liked to consider them, so many looked to drown their sights and sounds, numb their mind for just a little peace and quiet. It never really worked of course, just made them more susceptible, but they didn’t know that, not usually.

“Need a warm up?” the new waitress asked. “Please” Scott looked up to get her name and caught her eyes. In he went, flowing through memories, thoughts, feelings, knowing her in a few seconds in ways she didn’t even know herself. It was her, she was the one he was looking for! Must have come in while he was musing. Now she just stood still, eyebrows moving, head cocked to the side, a look of curiosity on her face. “Angie, yes I would love a warm up.” Scott spoke while nudging her away from the feeling of invasion she was trying to process.

Snapping out of it, she smiled again, back to her profession, and poured him some fresh coffee. “Thank you very much.” he replied to the steaming mug, looking back up at her and smiling, flowing peace to her. She relaxed, smiled back and got back to work. Now it was Scott’s turn to be confused, all the things he saw in Angie showed no hint of her even wondering if she was different, just a kind hearted woman. He felt it when he touched her, she accessed different places than most. She couldn’t be a mind bender, he couldn’t have gotten in so easy if she could hide her memories from him. She was wide open, just like everyone else, she considered herself everyone else. She didn’t know. Another dead end.

* * * *

Scott had made up his mind to leave by the time he got out of the bathroom, but the nagging wouldn’t let him get away that easy. He needed to figure out what that was. As he headed back to his table, he saw Angie watching him as she took an order. She passed the order into the cook and headed straight to him. “Do I know you?” the usual inquiry a gifted asked when he looked through their life. “No, I don’t think so.” Scott feigned curiosity and confusion looking at her face, everywhere but her eyes.

“That’s strange, you feel familiar to me somehow, but I don’t recognize your face.” the residual effects of the reading trying to find a place in her mind that made sense. “I have one of those faces I think, I get that a lot.” Scott replied nonchalantly, yet truthfully…somewhat. He did get that a lot. “Yeah, that’s probably it.” Angie convinced herself. Building the connections in her mind to a common illusion. No one “Has one of those faces”, Scott wasn’t sure where that saying came from, but he used it. He knew that everyone senses in some way a connection to a person that should be a stranger. Though he couldn’t tell anyone that, they wouldn’t believe him, so he just used the lies they tell themselves to hide a truth they would believe to be a lie.

The nagging was back, getting stronger, so Scott stared out the window, trying to track it. He caught some sign, began to follow, and it led him to his future sight. Following the trail the nudging left behind, he saw a few minutes ahead, the possibilities laying out in his mind. It had taken Scott the last few years to figure out a little about time sight. Years before that to accept it was real, then to learn how to see it at will, instead of it popping up when calamity was near.

It is more or less String Theory, just possibilities instead if dimensions. Each choice having varying numbers of possibilities, based on personal and environmental factors. Once chosen, it was “locked” into place. Time was just movement after all, nonlinear, multi dimensional movement, but movement all the same. Even if you walk backwards, you are still moving forward in time. Science would figure it out eventually, maybe. As the milliseconds ticked away, the possibilities decreased. People choosing to stay seated, or get the check, others on the road choosing to eat at this diner, or a different, more favored spot. Scott could see it all, flow through it, analyze the flow, the currents pushing each choice, even nudge a choice if he needed to. But right now he was just tracking.

Right now the trail just circled a point in time, a few minutes away, too many possibilities still in play that could effect it for it to be set. Strange how time was like that, something mundane a few minutes away could be hazy, but something important many years away could be anchored. At least for the time being. Always in motion, the future… Even anchors can come free. “Can I get you something to eat, or maybe some pie?” Angie asked, taking him out of his tracking for the moment. Pie sounded great just then, so he asked for a slice of apple and as he watched her get it, he wondered who she was and why he needed to be here.

Weekend drunks began filtering in as she brought him his pie, a group of young guys were particularly boisterous. Getting so loud he could barely hear her asking if he wanted whip cream, and she barely heard him decline. As he enjoyed his pie, he tried tracking again, but the tracks just circled the present. Whatever that nagging was, it was happening now, so he kept an eye on Angie.

She made her rounds, got orders from the loud drunks, gave them to the cook, just a regular night. Scott looked at the tracks again, but they were still circling the present, making spirals in time. He barely took notice that the possibilities were gone for a short period of time, so intent was he on the tracks. Angie brought the loud drunks their silverware and drinks, mainly coffee or water, a soda for one of them. Scott could see or feel nothing out of the ordinary from her.

As she was bringing the first their food, the loud joking took on a different tone. Scott shifted his senses from surveillance to assessment, and felt anger pouring out of one of the men closest to Angie, towards one of his buddies, a grin still on his face. The angry one grabbed his butter knife, pointing it at the grinning one, his anger building into rage. Scott started to stand up to keep one fool from killing the other, when Angie rested a hand on the angry ones shoulder, the man’s anger bleeding away almost instantly. It came and went so quickly that Scott barely had time to notice. She opened up to a place, brought peace to the angry one, and once he was calmed down, she closed the door she had opened. The grinning man now seemed to be apologizing to the angry one, and Scott settled back into his seat, analyzing.

A peacemaker, that was the only explanation Scott knew of. Kind women had a gift of that anyway, but some, like Angie, took it much further. Few ever realized they were different from others. The nagging was gone now, so Scott sat back deciding what to do next. There were basically two possibilities. Leave her ignorant that she was different and probably never hear from her again, or try to tell her, which she probably wouldn’t believe.

There was a third option of course, one in between both, but Scott disliked choosing that one, too many possibilities that the one you told would wonder and start looking in the wrong places for knowledge, like new age groups. You can end up planting a seed that will guide them to self destruction, or harming others. But Angie was a peacemaker. Even when peacemakers make a bad choice, like getting with an abusive partner, it’s usually to benefit others. They tend to contain darkness, even if they suffer from it.

He’d need to find out more about her before he could choose the correct path. Seeing someone’s history only tells you who they are, how they see themselves is usually very different. Time to go fishing.


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