Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Fugitive Pair - Chapter 32

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Matt uses his psychic ability to blast all of the emotions he’s gathered at the people inside the Psi Corps office!

I put all of my pent up anger and frustration at Psi Corps and the society which spawned it into my psychic blast of fear, adding my own fear for the safety of my friends, my wife, myself, and even my uncle. The results were…unexpected.

Eyes widening in fright, at least two dozen people shrieked in absolute terror. The eyes of more than half of those shrieking rolled back in their heads and they simply collapsed, unconscious. Everyone else in the office was affected by my mental onslaught. Everyone, including telepaths like Gene and Mark, who should have been unaffected, and psychic nulls like Zav, who should have been immune. Some of them stretched hands before them as if trying to ward off a blow.  Some of them covered their faces as if they were too afraid to face this terror. Some of them simply turned and ran away from me. But every last one of them was affected in some way—with one lone exception.

A middle-aged woman standing at the back of the crowd stared at me. Her eyes were disturbing, blank and almost unseeing. I gave her a quick read, afraid I’d sent her into a catatonic state, and found nothing. It wasn’t that I couldn’t read her—her mind was wide open—but there was nothing in her mind to read. She was completely blank emotionally.

Holding hands with Michelle must have protected her because she neither screamed nor tried to get away from me. Instead, she murmured, “Damn, Matt, that’s impressive!”

Turning away from the puzzle of the unaffected woman, I called, “Zav, where are you? We’ve got to grab the kids and get out of here!”

Off to one side, Zav stumbled forward. Bending over, he lifted the still form of Cassie. My heart leapt into my throat at the sight of the little girl. Then she moved, turning her head my way and smiling weakly.

“I knew you’d come,” she said, her voice barely more than a whisper.

Behind Zav, Gene and Mark lifted an unconscious Kristin. The boys looked shaky but determined. Releasing my hand, Michelle stepped forward and reached her arms toward Cassie. Zav, who was also glassy-eyed, stumbled toward Michelle, ready to pass Cassie to her.

The only other movement came from the far side of the crowd of people, where a well-dressed older man pushed himself off from the wall. He straightened his jacket and flashed a predatory smile. “I knew you’d come, too, Mr. Connaught. People like you are very predictable. I did not know you’d be such a powerful psychic! To the best of my knowledge, no psychic has ever affected a null. Counting that traitor, Zavier Gordon, you affected six nulls. Six! Capturing you will more than make up for me not finding Gordon and his lot living on the station!”

“Are you delusional?” I said, glaring at the obnoxious man who was obviously the office chief. “No one in this office is in any shape to stop us. What you just felt was a wide-spread blast. Anyone who tries to stop us will earn my displeasure and very personal attention.”

“You misunderstand, Mr. Connaught,” the office chief said, his smile widening. “You will surrender to me without a fight.”

“Wow, you really are delusional!” Michelle said as she reached for Cassie. “Come on, kids, we’ve got a spaceship to catch.”

The office chief pointed at Michelle. “That one, Sadie.”

The middle-aged woman’s eyes moved from me to Michelle. My wife gave a sudden, surprised sigh and then collapsed. I rushed to Michelle, lifting her in my arms. Anguish shone in her eyes and she took short, sharp breaths. Her hands locked onto my arm as if holding on for dear life. I tried for a quick read of Michelle, but my abilities slipped and slid around whatever Sadie was doing to her.

“She’s going to die, Mr. Connaught unless I order Sadie to release her.” The smugness in the office chief’s voice turned my stomach. “All you have to do is surrender. Once we have you properly secured, Sadie will release your wife.”

My blaster was pointing at Sadie before I even realized I’d drawn it. “Tell her to release Michelle or I’ll blow her head off!”

“No, Matt!” Zav shouted, stepping between the middle-aged woman and me. “There’s no telling what will happen to Michelle if you kill this woman while she’s psychically connected to her!”

“Listen to Zav, Mr. Connaught,” the office chief said. “Surrender is your only real choice.”

I lowered the blaster and looked back at Michelle. Her eyes darted about rapidly before finally meeting mine. With an obvious effort, she held them on me. Michelle’s mouth opened and she fought to speak.

“I must say I’m impressed with the strength your wife shows, Mr. Connaught,” the office chief said. “Once she’s properly broken, she’ll be an excellent incentive for your good behavior!”

I ignored the man, leaning close to hear what Michelle was saying.

“R-r-read…me…n-now.”

Tears stung my eyes and my voice filled with anguish as I whispered, “I tried and I can’t get through!”

Michelle’s head jerked left to right and back again. “N-n-no…t-take…out.”

Could I pull this out of Michelle’s head like I’d removed her fear when we abandoned our spaceship outside of Piscain Station? I couldn’t punch through Sadie’s power to read what Michelle felt, but maybe I could get around Sadie’s defenses. After all, Zav told me I was the first empath he’d ever heard of who could draw feelings from people.

Reaching out with my ability, I found the slippery, impenetrable ball of Sadie’s power. I tried simply yanking it out like I’d done with Michelle’s terror, but the psychic ball slipped free of my ability’s grip.

“You’d better make up your mind soon, son,” the office chief chided.

Ignoring the man, I went after that ball of power again. This time, I used my own power to envelope the squirming mass of psychic energy. When my power fully engulfed Sadie’s, the middle-aged woman gave a sharp gasp.

“What’s going on? Is something wrong?” The confidence ebbed from the office chief’s voice with each word.

“You said it yourself, John,” Zav said, his tone light and conversational. “Matt’s a very powerful psychic—only he’s even more powerful than you realize!”

Careful to keep my grip on Sadie’s ball of power, I gently drew it out of Michelle, reeling it into my own mind. Once I had the thing in my own head, I found it much easier to keep it isolated.

With a loud gasp, Michelle sat up and said, “I knew you could do it, babe!”

“Noooooooo! She’s mine!” Sadie’s voice sounded rough, cracked, dry, as if she never used it, and the cry sounded just like that of a young child deprived of a favorite toy. “Gimme back!”

“That’s not possible!” John, the office chief, said, disbelief in his voice. “No!”

I stood and locked eyes with Sadie. I felt her fighting against me, trying to find some way to break free of my control. With every move I blocked, the woman grew more frantic. Spittle flew from her lips as she screamed her frustration.

“Looks like Matt has countered your living terror, John,” Zav said.

“I admit he’s surprised me, Zav,” John replied, his tone returning to normal. “There’s only one problem—he can’t protect his wife forever. Once Sadie feeds on a mind, she can always find it again. This young man can’t keep her out forever. When he drops his guard, that young woman is as good as dead.” John’s voice almost purred when he added, “But I can control Sadie, Matt. If you surrender, I will keep your wife safe. You have my word!”

Never taking my eyes off of Sadie, I said, “Yeah, you’ll keep Michelle safe until you want me to do something that goes against my morals—then you’ll order this pathetic creature to attack my wife. Or one of my friends. You will always have access to someone I love too much to let Sadie take.”

“Yes, Matt, I will.” The smug tone was back in John’s voice. “And there’s not a damned thing you can do about it.”

Michelle drew her own blaster and pointed it at the office chief. “I could simply kill you.”

He laughed, a harsh and cruel sound, and said, “Then who would control Sadie? I trained her. Hell, I raised her. She obeys only me.”

Michelle turned her blaster on the frothing woman. “Then maybe I’ll shoot Sadie, first.”

“While your husband is psychically connected to Sadie?” John’s voice grew even more smug, something I hadn’t thought possible. “Are you willing to risk your husband’s sanity or his life?”

“Goddammit!” Michelle cried, her frustration evident, and lowered her gun. “I can’t do it.”

“I can,” I said and shot Sadie between the eyes.


What will Sadie’s death do to Matt? Find out in Chapter 33, coming Friday!