Authors: Hannah Davenport
I Can Hear You
Copyright March 2016 Hannah Davenport
Cover Art: BoBooks
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Criminal copyright infringement is investigated by the FBI and is punishable up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.
All characters and events in this book are not real and are a figment of my imagination.
Amber has always known she was different. From an early age she could hear the thoughts of those around her. Once she realized that she was different from everyone around her, she tried to conceal her gift. This led to a life of isolation, being unable to form close relationships with the foster families she has lived with.
Finally she found a home with a single woman named Sarah and she learned to keep her secret to herself. The only person who knows about her ability is her best friend Becky. As she approaches her 18
birthday, she starts to see visions of demon creatures and great warriors caught in a great battle.
Confused by these visions, she is unaware that she will play an integral part in the outcome of the war. As she explores her situation more, she finds that she does have a family and place in another realm. She never dreamed she could find her one true mate, and a home where she belongs.
I stood frozen in an unfamiliar alley surrounded by darkness as I watched swords clash together with the strength of ten men. Sparks flew and a thunderous noise had me covering my ears and hiding my face. I could feel my body shaking, worried for the dark-haired man as his muscles bulged with every swing. Evenly matched. As I tore my eyes from the swords, and the man that wielded it, I looked at his opponent and gasped with fear. Its eyes shot to mine and I saw his hate-filled red ones staring back at me. I couldn’t help but take a step backward. With his eyes on me, the dark-haired Greek god swung his sword true, taking the creature to its knees. When he delivered the final blow, his turquoise eyes turned on me, almost glowing. My heart stuttered before setting a rapid pace. The only thought that entered my mind; RUN!
Drenched in sweat, I sat straight up in bed.
What the hell was that?
Never had my dreams seemed so real. I felt as if I was actually there. I had a bad feeling.
I’d been living in the small town of Sanstone for the last four years after bouncing around from foster home to foster home. Not many folks wanted to keep a child who knew all of their dirty little secrets, so I learned the hard way to be quiet and not ask questions. I basically lived a life of solitude and Sanstone suited me. There weren’t many residents here, less than five hundred. They were nice, simple and most of them were hard workers who lived day by day. Not much happened in Sanstone, Illinois.
When Crawford County Child Services placed me in a home here almost four years ago, I was optimistic. I dreamed of a normal life, some place where I could blend in. A one gas station town would suit me just fine. Fewer people to disappoint, or worse, freak out. Riding down the two-lane road to my foster mother’s home, I imagined what she would be like. Would she be like this town? Aging and welcoming? Would she be resentful of her life, taking care of someone else’s kid? I already knew she was single and that I would be the only child in the home. Thank God! At fourteen years old, I really didn’t want to deal with anyone else.
I have to make this work
, I remember thinking.
Sarah, my foster mom took good care of me, even though she also knew there was something not quite right. I sometimes caught myself answering questions Sarah had never asked. She made an effort to tolerate me and I appreciated that. It was more than other
had done. Sarah was a beautiful woman with kind brown eyes and dark blonde hair with touches of silver. She had never told me how hard the last few years had been on her but; I heard it in her thoughts every day. Every day for the past four years, I could hear her crying out her husband’s name and wondering what her daughter would have looked like at my age. In her mind she was constantly comparing me to her imagination. How could I live up to a ghost?
“Amber, breakfast is ready!”
“I’ll be right down, Sarah!” I yelled. Taking one last look in the small mirror that hung over the bathroom sink, I walked back to my bedroom. My full size bed sat against the wall near the window. I loved looking at the trees. Pulling my mint green comforter over the sheets so it looked as if I had given if some effort, I skipped down the stairs toward the kitchen and grabbed my backpack on the way. Sarah put pancakes on the table in front of me as I took a seat at the bar.
“I made you your favorite this morning, Amber.” I looked down at my plate, noticing Sarah had fixed me three pancakes and smothered them with butter, just the way I like them. I finished it off with some old-fashioned maple syrup.
“I see that, thanks.” I dug into them with gusto. Sarah always made the best pancakes. “They’re great, just like always.” Complimenting her always made her smile.
“I can’t believe you only have three weeks left of high school, time sure has flown. It seems like only yesterday when I took you in.” Sarah got a faraway look in her eyes and I tried very hard not to listen. I did! But I couldn’t stop her thoughts from tumbling into my mind. I ate as fast as I could, wanting to make a hasty retreat.
“I know. I can’t believe I’ll be graduating and my birthday is coming up soon. I’ll be eighteen and you can finally get rid of me.” I meant it as a joke but I guess she didn’t see it that way. It was probably too close to the truth. I continued eating, knowing I needed to leave as quickly as possible.
“Don’t say things like that, I love having you here. I’ll miss you when you head off to college.” I tried not to hear her thoughts because I wanted to believe her, but I couldn’t close my mind off.
Just a few more weeks and she’ll be gone. Maybe she’ll find a job before college and move out.
I tried not to let it bother me but I couldn’t help it. I knew it wasn’t personal, I just reminded her of what she lost, but it still hurt. Never belonging anywhere, never fitting in, that was the story of my life.
“I know and I’m thankful that you took me in.” I said, smiling. I had to get out of here. I crammed the last bite in my mouth, chased it down with a glass of milk and then grabbed my to-go cup of coffee. “I’m off; I’ll see you this evening.” Why can’t people just say what they mean and mean what they say? I get so tired of the lying, even though I know she was just trying to protect my feelings
As I walked down the street, I found Becky waiting for me in her usual spot. I met her when I first came to Sanstone and she just wouldn’t leave me alone, determined that we would be friends. She was an outcast like me and with quick comebacks and an odd sense of humor; she had me smiling every time I was in the room with her. She quickly became my best friend, really my only friend and the only one who knew my secret.
“I see you’re in a good mood this morning.” She said as a way of greeting. I just shot her a look, but she waved it away and laughed. “More heartfelt talks with Sarah I see.”
“It is not funny.” I grumbled. “She always says one thing and then thinks another. Do you know how hard it is to have a conversation with someone who contradicts themselves all the time? She is so happy that I’ll be leaving soon even though she says otherwise. Then she’ll think about her own daughter and it’s just too much to deal with. I can’t wait until it’s just me and you, rooming together at college.” Sliding into the passenger’s seat of Becky’s red Volkswagen, we headed for school.
“Yeah, I’m excited about that too.” Becky said as she turned down the street.
“We just have a few more weeks of school and then we’ll be home-free.” I smiled at the thought of being on my own even though I felt like I’d been on my own for a long time. I had to grow up quickly when I realized that the only person I could depend on was
“I know, but we have to finish first. Are you going to prom this year?” I could see the eagerness in her eyes. We never go to dances, at least I don’t, but I know she wants to go to this one. She’s been hinting about it for a while.
“Who would I go to with? These teenage boys only think about one thing. Trust me, I know.” Every time someone had sex, I knew about it. I also knew who they told and if they liked it. Sometimes it was funny when the girls grumbled to themselves because it was so bad. Well not bad… quick. I chuckled to myself as I wondered if college would be better or worse, hopefully better.
“Well I might go if Charlie asks me, but I don’t want to go without you. Can’t you just go this one time? You haven’t gone to any of the dances since you moved here.” Becky used to go all the time but that was before I knew her. She had been popular before her dad ran into some trouble.
“Who would I go with, Becky?”
“Probably anyone you wanted to. You’re beautiful Amber.” I knew I could get a date, but the boys thought I was unobtainable and wouldn’t ask. I guess I was in a way, but not because I was too good for them, it was because I had a hard time holding a conversation. I still slipped up with Becky all the time, but that was different because she knew my secret.
“Yeah right, that’s why so many boys ask me.” I can’t actually say that I know that boys want to date me. That would be weird right?
“They stopped asking years ago because they knew what the answer would be. Please try,” she whined. “It’s our last dance.”
“I’ll think about it.” My lips quirked as I heard her think,
Please, please, please go so I won’t have to endure those snobby girls by myself
. “Stop doing that!” We both laughed as she pulled into the parking lot.
After we walked up the steps of the old two-story brick schoolhouse, Becky and I parted ways. I had math class first thing this morning and I wasn’t looking forward to it. Mr. Hooker always called on me trying to catch me day-dreaming. It was like a weird little game we played. Taking a seat in the back of the room as always, I tried to ignore everyone’s thoughts but it never worked.
Janie sat near the front. She had long, straight blonde hair and as far as I knew she wasn’t dating anyone, but she worried about being pregnant.
Tim had a date tonight and was thinking of strategies to sleep with Gina. I almost laughed aloud when he thought about driving around all day just so he could run out of gas on his date. Then they could be alone in the dark. I guess he didn’t worry about what they would do after when they couldn’t actually get home. I chuckled a little at the thought.
Then there was Marla. She was jealous because Jake asked another girl to the dance, but that’s just Marla, she’s always mad, jealous, or angry over something. With seventeen people in my class, their thoughts just wouldn’t stop as they bombarded me with useless information.
Trying to shut them out, I let my mind wander to my mom again, not Sarah, but my real mom. The older I got, the more I thought about her. She died right after I turned four, so my memories are few. More like snapshots of times we had together. I remember that we moved around a lot but I don’t recall where or why. She constantly told me I was a very special little girl and to never reveal my real name. “Just use Amber,” she would say. I don’t remember if she ever told me the reason why. Not knowing who my father was, I often wondered if I got my odd ability from her or from him. I sat there day-dreaming about my real family when Mr. Hooker’s voice snapped me back to attention.
“Well Amber, what’s the answer?”
I’ve finally done it; she’ll never get this one right.
I smiled when he thought about the answer in his head. He had a look of triumph and for one minute, I thought of letting him win, but only for a minute.
Smiling I said, “1,315,” and his face fell. Maybe I should have just said
I don’t know
. I felt sorry for him, kind of. I’m valedictorian of my class for a reason, well because I can hear the answers everyone thinks. I guess it’s the same as cheating but it’s not like it’s intentional.
“That’s correct.” He started teaching and my mind wondered back to my parents again. I knew the answers to everyone else's questions, just not my own.
The morning passed by at a snail’s pace until it was time for lunch. I met Becky as I walked into the cafeteria. The tables were filling up fast so we hurried over to the only one left. I couldn’t help but listen to her as I unpacked my turkey sandwich. I hid my smile. Becky was trying to figure out how to ask me to go dress shopping with her. Sometimes she forgot that I could hear her thoughts.
“I was thinking Amber, why don’t we go shopping Friday? We can go to Indianapolis. It’s not that far and we can be there in two hours easily. I’ll even drive.”
I opened my mouth to say okay, but Becky continued. “We need new clothes and that’s the best place to go. They have everything there.” I waited for her to stop talking, but she kept pleading her case. “You’ve never been there since you moved here and I could show you around. Please say yes!”
“Okay.” She looked at me with wide eyes and I laughed at her shocked expression. “But let’s go Saturday instead, just so we’ll have more time.”
“You’ll go?” She squealed, while bouncing in her seat. I was just hoping she wouldn’t start jumping up and down. “I can’t believe it. In all the time I’ve known you, you’ve never ventured out of this small town. I’m so excited! It’ll be great!”
“Calm down!” I hissed at her, and then laughed. I really hoped that I could do this. I’ve been in the city before when I was younger, before the voices became so clear and loud. It was hard to concentrate then but this was a sacrifice I’d gladly make for Becky.
“Hey there, mind if I sit with you?” Charlie asked while staring at Becky. He stood at about five-feet-nine and had the body of a runner. With his sandy blonde hair and blue eyes, he was handsome enough and his thoughts didn’t make me want to smack him every time he was near.
“Not at all.” Becky gushed.
Becky stood at five-feet-four. Her long blonde hair only emphasized her bright green eyes and pale skin. I imagined what they might look like together.
“Soooo Becky, are you going to prom with anyone?” Charlie asked and I burst out laughing. Becky shot me a look that screamed
I couldn’t help but hear this poor guy praying that she didn’t have a date and promising to do anything if she said yes. He had it bad, but that’s a good thing. She deserved a guy who would treat her right.
“Sorry, I’m so sorry. I really wasn’t laughing at you all. Please continue.” I waved my hand for them go on. I guess I’m a liar, too.
“No, I’m not. I’ve been trying to talk Amber into going.” She saw his face fall. “Not like that! I meant because I don’t have a date and if she went then I would have someone to talk to. Good Lord, we’re not like that.” I couldn’t help but snicker at this fumbling train wreck.
Clearing his throat several times, Charlie finally asked, “Would you like to go with me?”
I noticed Becky’s hands tremble before so she tucked them under the table. “Sure, that sounds great!”
Usually I found it difficult to be around people but sometimes, like now, I really enjoyed it. I knew how excited Becky felt and not only that, I could hear it in my mind. I could hear how hopeful Charlie was. They both wanted to scream with excitement but instead, played it cool.
This was just another part of my life I had come to accept. I’ve never had a boyfriend and the fact was I never would. I knew I was destined to live my life alone. How would any man want to be with someone who knew everything… and I mean every thought that passed through his mind? I knew the answer… he wouldn’t. Was that why my mother had been alone?
“Ok guys, I’m gonna head out. Talk to you later Becky,” I said as I grabbed my bag and headed out of the cafeteria.