Authors: Dale Mayer
"Sometimes, I hear things." He shrugged. "I've learned to listen." He studied her carefully. "That means there
something going on." He looked around at the tiny apartment. "Although what, I can't imagine." His gaze swept her from head to toe and back up again.
"You appear to be fine physically and no one…" He swept his arm around the tiny space. "No one appears to be attacking you, so…" Again, his irritated voice trailed off. He ran his fingers through his hair instead. "I can't explain how I know, but you were afraid. I could feel it."
That he understood she'd been afraid was comforting in a way. It disturbed her to think that he could pick up her thoughts, and from miles away. The silence stretched between them as she considered his admission.
"I was upset."
He sighed in disgust.
She shrugged. Okay, so he already knew
. She chewed on her bottom lip as she considered what to tell him. Given what he'd just said, maybe he would understand. It was either that or book in with the doctor. And maybe both.
"I don't know what's happening to me."
"Explain." His voice was curt, clipped, and all cop.
Alexis paced the small dingy room. She couldn't bear to see the look of disapproval on his face, nor could she get the words out. Alexis changed direction and marched into the kitchen, not caring if he followed or not. She bustled around, making a pot of coffee. She needed a clear head for what was coming.
When she surreptitiously checked on him, she found him sitting down at the old kitchen table looking around at his surroundings with interest.
"Have you lived here long?"
"Just under a year. Although I've been thinking about moving lately. Why do you ask?" she asked.
He nodded noncommittally, still looking around. "Where did you live before here?"
What was he noticing, and what was going on in his mind? She looked at her grimy walls. The walls were bare; she hadn't gotten around to putting up any personal mementos. The same dingy color covered the walls as when she'd moved in, which was probably the same color as the decade of tenants kept it before. Dull, boring, bland…and in truth, it was downright ugly.
"I lived in a little house with a big heated greenhouse in the backyard." Her face softened.
"With your sister?" He probed, searching her face and eyes for the truth. At her wide-eyed look, he added, "Scott told me."
She put two cups on the table and said, her voice now tinged with sadness, "Yes, with Lissa. She was a fighter. Lived much longer than anyone expected her too, but…"
"I don't mean to intrude…" He paused, a wry look on his face. "And I realize it must seem like I'm doing just that."
After a moment, he added. "Try understanding my position. You're the strongest transmitter I've ever connected with. If I could understand the source of the pain you feel, then I might be able to differentiate it from a different transmission. It would also help me if you'd apply a level of control."
Alexis kept her gaze on her cup of coffee, wishing it had something stronger in it. She could use the boost right about now. This whole conversation was too crazy. She studied Kevin over the rim of her mug. He seemed serious.
Almost too afraid to ask, but needing to know, she asked, "Transmitter?"
His stunned gaze pinned her in place. Disbelief oozed from his voice as he asked, "You didn't know?"
Alexis got up and walked over to the sink, where she turned around and leaned against the counter to face him. Putting distance between them didn't help. Confused and a little apprehensive, she had to ask.
"Didn't know what?"
Bemused, Kevin could only gape at her. "You're one of the strongest psychics I've ever come across. And the only one, to date, who had no idea they were." At her look of total incomprehension, he added, "Look, I don't know
this is happening, but the
of it I
explain. When you feel strongly negative about something, you're actually sending out a distress signal to any receivers – psychics who can receive your signal – who are in range. That's why I called you a transmitter. You're transmitting or broadcasting emotions."
Is that what she was?
She rolled the idea around in her head, trying it on. Did it fit? Maybe…in some ways. But there was so much more to it than just that. Like seeing the vision of the little girl, seeing the hallway shift and even hearing the voices.
And if she were transmitting like Kevin said, how come no one else was hearing her but him?
Another thought struck – what about her plants? She'd thought she just talked to them. Was she transmitting when she talked to them? Yes, that made more sense. But what about her understanding of their needs, colors and even their sounds – didn't that make her a receiver, too?
Was there such a thing?
"Does everyone have this ability?" she asked cautiously. "Lying latent until something brings it to their awareness?"
"Researchers say we do, but only a small fraction of the population uses it or even knows those abilities are there to be used. It can also get more confusing because all receivers are transmitters but not all transmitters are receivers." He leaned forward, locking his hands together in front of him. "This whole idea
new for you, right?"
"Absolutely." And with the word came a question. Should she tell him everything, or wait?
He cocked an eyebrow in surprise at her answer, but he continued, "Chances are something triggered this. Something like finding the body, maybe?"
"The finger," she added softly, needing to tell someone. Maybe he would understand. "Something happened when I picked up the bones and realized they belonged to a child's finger." The horrific memory made her wince. God, she didn't want to revisit this.
"Tell me," he urged. "Exactly
started with the finger?"
Slowly, haltingly, she related the weird series of events from the ditch. He let her get it all out, and somehow, in the process, her hand ended up cradled in his.
Mesmerized, she watched the strong, sinewy thumb stroke and slide over her palm, warming and comforting on a level she hadn't felt in many years. It moved over the rounded pad, sliding down the valley between her fingers, sensuous, sexy and definitely seductive.
She ordered her hand to withdraw. But her long fingers had a mind of their own and refused to obey. They chose instead to nestle against his much larger and stronger ones. As if they belonged there…
Alexis broke the trance and snatched her hand free, tucking it into her pants pocket.
She glanced at him.
"Is there anything else?" His question prodded gently for more.
Alexis wavered, but there was no point in keeping the rest from him. As clearly and as succinctly as she could, she described her visions of the hallway, and of little Daisy – and Lissa.
"When you heard the little girl calling you, did it come from outside your head or inside?"
She smiled without humor. "Believe it or not, I'd wondered that myself. I don't have a definitive answer."
Kevin seemed to consider her words. "Is that everything?" he asked.
"It would help if I knew it all," he suggested quietly, his eyes never leaving hers.
She wanted to believe in the understanding, compassion and acceptance he offered. Taking a chance, she shared the last bit about her gardens and the need to transplant the suffering plant to the child's grave.
"You planted a daisy on her grave, and you're saying the ghost child said the same word as her name? That's odd and too much of a coincidence to ignore."
"I know. I'm presuming it's her body we found."
"Anything's possible." He pulled his sleeve back to check the time. "I need to leave. Let me know if anything else like this happens." He paused, gave her a wry look and added, "Or else I'll find out the same way I did last time."
Alexis almost laughed but now that he spoke of leaving, Alexis found the thought of being alone, disconcerting. How stupid. She hadn't wanted him here in the first place. Still he'd gone a long way toward helping her tonight.
"Are you going to be okay here?"
"Of course. This is home." Even though she hadn't put much effort into making it hers. She cast an unhappy glance around the cold place.
"We need to talk some more about your abilities and how you can learn to control them. I have a friend, Stefan, who might be able to help. I'll talk to him."
He walked to the doorway, jacket in hand.
She'd trailed behind him, helpless to abate the sense of loss already threatening.
Slowly, she closed the door behind him and turned to look around the empty room. An odd thought struck. Outside of Scott, Kevin was her first real visitor in a year.
When her sister's cancer had first been diagnosed, priorities had to be set. Everything had been about Lissa. Afterwards, Alexis had remained secluded, inside a wall of pain that refused to ease.
When had that changed? When had the pain reduced her to the point that she'd just been hiding?
Kevin walked out to his car. Given Alexis's skills and lack of control, he had one more thing to do that night. He headed to Stefan's house.
Stefan lived in a huge cedar post and beam home on a couple of acres just out of town. Evergreens lined the long driveway and ringed the property. But that was nothing to the damn plants surrounding the house that looked like they lived on steroids.
His psychic skills, many of them still developing and expanding, were extraordinary. Stefan had worked alongside most major police departments throughout the country. He had often quipped that he'd been forced to learn more and faster just to stay one step ahead of the criminals.
The door opened to a yawning Stefan, rubbing his fingers through his rumpled hair. He snorted at the sight of Kevin. "Did anyone ever tell you your timing stinks?"
"Were you sleeping already? Sorry, but sleep is reserved for those not on guard duty, Stefan. You know that. You can go back to bed in a minute. I'm not coming in." He gave his friend another minute to wake up further.
Stefan was an artist who used his creativity to release the images and visions that haunted him. His art gave a deep insight into the extreme sides of his personality. His work hung in private collections all over the world. He painted when he required release from his emotional hell. Rare were the privileged few welcomed into his inner sanctum. Intensely private and eerily accurate, Stefan walked a path forged with his own boundaries.
"So, what's going on?" murmured Stefan. "Oh…" An intuitive pause was followed with, "You have girl trouble. How very funny." He really looked amused as he propped himself against the doorway. "So, there
ladies in your world." After a heavy pause, his face leaned out, deepening with pain. "One of them is dead, the little one."
Kevin waited for his longtime friend to sort through the onslaught of impressions. That's what happened when you had an extreme psychic as part of your circle of friends. Nothing was private.
Stefan rubbed his eyes. "What do you need from me?"
Kevin knew Stefan had seen too much of this world and the next to be surprised by anything much these days.
"If you have anything that can help on the child's case, I'd appreciate it. But it's the other female I really need help with."
Stefan grinned. "Is that so?" he drawled. "I never thought I'd see the day."
"I'm not sure you're seeing clearly now," Kevin said wryly, crossing his arms over his chest. "Take another look."
Silence stretched between them.
"Right." Stefan was all business now. "What's her phone number and have you told her about me?"
"Not really." Kevin pulled out a piece of paper with Alexis's number on it. Like many psychics, Stefan had no luck remembering numbers. Occasionally, he could come up with dates, but more often, he couldn't recall numerals of any kind. He said it had frustrated him to no end at the beginning, now he acknowledged that as a weakness.
"I'll call her in the morning."
Kevin grimaced. "Or you could call her tonight."
Stefan frowned, his eyes focusing inward. "Not everyone keeps your hours."
"Except I just left her, and she wasn't in any shape to sleep."
Stefan's long-suffering sigh brought a grin to Kevin's face. "Thanks, Stefan. Let me know what happens." He headed toward his car. "Also, if you learn anything about the little one…"
Stefan waved him off. "As always. I'll let you know if I pick up anything."
Kevin honked once and drove away.
Later that same evening, exhaustion caught Alexis by surprise and startled a yawn from deep down. She closed her book, placed it on the paisley bedspread covering her and snuggled deeper into her bedding.
Alexis bolted upright. She searched the empty room. What the hell was that?
My name is Stefan Kronos. I'm a friend of Kevin's.
Damn it. Alexis bolted from bed and ran to the living room.
Alexis stared at the room, absolutely freaked. She spun around in a circle. How did you run or hide from voices in your head? Shivers slipped down her body, and she wrapped her arms tightly around her chest. Her pounding heart had no place to escape and continued to knock against her ribs.
The voice in her head sighed.
Fine, we'll do it your way.
The phone rang, scaring the bejeezus out of her again. She stared at her cell like it was a bomb about to go off.
Cautiously, she picked up the phone. "Hello?"
"I'm Stefan," said the voice on the other end.
Shit. Her knees knocked so badly she had to sit down. Unintentionally, she blurted out the first words in her mind. "Was that you?"
"In my head a minute ago?" Oh God, she shouldn't have said that. Alexis ran her shaky fingers over her face. She sounded like a lunatic.