I woke, rolling out of bed. My heart was pounding and the sheets were wrapped around my legs. Sweat poured down my face and I was hyperventilating. I went to untwist the sheets around my legs when I felt a sharp sting to my shoulder. I went up to touch it and felt bit of wet warmth. I pulled back and saw blood on the tip of my finger. My face paled and I raced towards the dresser mirror. I shook even more as I watched the cut on the side of my neck heal before my eyes. Dry blood the only memory of the damage done in my dream' or was it a dream?

'Dad!'? I yelled at the top of my lungs. I heard his heavy feet rumble down the hall way towards my bedroom. He tried to open the door, but the lock was still in place. I went to open the door, but was too late. It flew off the hinges. My jaw dropped.

He barrelled in. 'What is it? What's happened? He zeroed in on the drying blood on my shoulder and his face tightened.

'We need to see grams right now.'? I said recovering as I saw the damage to my door. 'You broke my door.'? I said indignantly.

'What happened to your shoulder?'? He asked, touching the dried blood.

I shivered at the memory. 'I'm not sure; I was hoping gram would know.'? I couldn't get past my indignation and continued. 'But you broke my door dad!'?

He looked at me unapologetic. 'I would do it again. There were some things that your mum was involved in that made the hairs crawl on my neck. I wasn't going to let you get into some of those things if I could help it.'?

That sparked my interest. 'Like what?'?

He clammed up and refused to answer. 'Get dressed; we see your gram within half an hour. You're taking the day off school.'?

I didn't argue, I liked school, and I was going to miss out on midterm exams again. Damn! Yet what had just happened was too important and I sighed and got clothes ready for a quick shower. Twenty minutes later and we were heading down the highway. Leon and Leila had looked at us oddly, as we whisked past them out the door. They asked where we were going and were irked when dad refused to answer.

I watched the sign posts zoom by as dad barely kept to the speed limit. His agitation was starting to get to me, and the fear that I had managed to wash away with my shower was coming back. 'Dad you're making me nervous.'?

He looked at me, took a deep breath, let it out and nodded. His hands loosened on the steering wheel, and he reduced his speed. He knew how I felt about driving. Ever since mum had died, I was anal about making sure everyone wore their seat belts and that they drove to the correct speed limit.

The next turn off had us driving towards grams. Hers was an old sprawling wooden house. It was picturesque with flowers, white picket fence and blue wooden shutters on the outside of white washed walls. Grandpa had died three years ago, and she had become even more formidable in her temper and will. I was not looking forward to this, but this meeting was born of necessity.

She was sitting on the outside porch chair waiting when we arrived. She was a spritely woman of seventy. Although she was short and stocky, she moved gracefully. Long silver hair held in a bun, same hazel eyes as mum and strong, almost aristocratic features. She glared at dad, her hand resting on her walking stick in front of her. She and dad once had an uneasy alliance; nonexistent now that mum wasn't here to act as mediator. Mum was the golden child, an only girl in a house of five older brothers. Grams in her pain had lashed out at dad not long after mums' funeral. The barbs had hit home and dad had sworn that none of his children would ever step foot in her house again. This was a big concession allowing me to come here. He was stubborn and it took a lot to budge him once he had his mind set. If my dad was man enough to set aside his differences to help me, I would not let his sacrifice go to waste.

Grams glare never wavered when her stare locked on me. You would think that because I looked like mum, she would have a soft spot for me. But that was not the case. She got impatient with me because I wouldn't mingle with the rest of my cousins. She felt I had no back bone to all the teasing I got, and had no time for some one that wouldn't stand up to bullies. She couldn't understand why I wasn't like mum personality-wise and punished me accordingly.

This time, if dad had the guts to come back here, then I would stand my ground beside him. I raised my head and stared straight back at her. She did something I never expected. I felt it more than saw it. That click went on in my mind. Something sharp and shiny went flying towards my head. I moved slightly to one side and felt the wind of it as it slid past my cheek. Another came and my body dodged as my mind was still trying to catch up to what was happening. A third and fourth came flying and I did a matrix move and dodged with my back arched and the two' silver stars? Flew past me. Gram was using ninja throwing stars?

A fifth star spun exactly eye level, and my hand came up as graceful as a swan and plucked it out of the air. I was preparing to fling it away when she shouted. 'Enough!'

I stared hard at gram, ready to defend myself and dad if she continued down this path. She smiled at me.

'Stand down boy.'? She said kindly.

I wasn't so trusting and looked at her with doubt. 'What was that all about grams?'?

She sighed happily. 'I had a premonition you had reached your power. I needed to know for myself if you truly had your mother's skills.'?

'And if I hadn't you would have skewered me.'? I said tartly.

Dad took this moment to butt in. 'It is reasons like this old woman that I thank AND pray each day for not allowing my children near your crazy ass!'

Grams gave dad a sarcastic sneer, 'And yet here you are four years later with one of your so-called children.'?

'ENOUGH!'? I shouted. Both stared at me with shock. 'If I didn't know better, anybody would think I was the parent and you two were schoolyard children arguing about who was king of the mountain.'? My face was burning a dull red at my audacity, but this needed to be said. Centre of attention was still a new thing for me, so one couldn't blame me if my hands were shaking as I spoke to them. I was grateful that my nerves didn't show in my voice. I still maintained my stare at the two of them. That helped with the charade.

'Grams I need your help, something attacked me in my dreams.'? she gasped, Shook her head in denial. Her hands trembled and she straightened her clothes.

'So you know what is happening?'? I asked.

'I think I do.'? She frowned before continuing. 'It shouldn't be possible' he was killed by your mother nearly twenty years ago. How'?'? Shaking herself she looked at me with concern. 'Come inside.'? Glancing at dad she added. 'You too.'? That was her concession to end hostilities between them' for now.

We sat at the large mahogany table a large cup of cocoa in my hands. Grams helper was a middle aged woman, named Elsa, who I remembered as a young child. She smiled at me, gave me a big hug and plonked a cake in front of me. Grams eyed the cake greedily, but Elsa tutted and warned her about her health. Grams sniffed, dismissed her with a casual hand, but refrained from touching the cake. I ducked my head and hid my smile.

When I raised my face, gran was giving me a mock glare. I opened my eyes wide and gave her innocent eyes.

'So what can invade my dreams and physically hurt me?'? I asked in way of a distraction.

Mirth rose in Grams eyes at my attempt to distract. Her look was reminiscent of mum. Then she looked into space. Her face lost that mirth and turned serious.

'Your mum wasn't the only one in our family that had inherited abilities. There were twin cousins that shared gifts, and together, their power multiplied.'?

I got a flash back of my cousin warning me of '?a darkness' not long after I got out of the hospital. 'Cousin Kate had a twin?'? I guessed.

Grams smiled her approval at me. 'Yes.'?

'How come I have never heard of her having a twin until now?'?

Her smile disappeared. 'She went mad after his death. The family decided that it was better to let the past rest. But without her help, we would have had a crazy man on the loose with the power to destroy us all. We didn't want to hurt her more by reminding her of it.'?

My respect and sympathy rose for Kate. 'So what did this '?evil' cousin of mine do? And surely with you, mum and Cousin Kate helping, he wouldn't have been able to do much damage?'?

'Your cousin Simon had been dabbling in the dark side of our family heritage. Our power is double sided James. Tell me what you have been able to do so far with your skills and I will be able to explain better in what I mean.'?

I told her how my face had changed, and how I threw a hundred and sixty pound boy into the wall. Healed Kevin and maybe healed myself after the dream attack. I even told her about seeing mum in some kind of limbo when I died.

She looked impressed and slightly awed, and yet there was a little bit of fear. It seemed I was getting good at reading grams as well.

'Give me your hand James, and relax.'? I placed my hand in hers and felt a tingle flow from our connected hands. Her voice changed. But it was the pure whites of her eyes that scared me. I watched as her pupils clouded over with a white veil. 'Relax.'? She said. I found it weird and tried to do as she bid. A tickling against my mind coaxed and asked to be let in. I said yes and felt a '?mind' muscle relax. She sighed her satisfaction.

'Your latent abilities are two of the oldest powers known to our family James and a third power that has always been active. The first one is the power to heal. But you have the full scale version not some of the diluted streams that flow through our family today. By the sounds of it you can alter your physical shape; self heal, and heal others. That's why your face altered, and your body regenerated after the dream attack and why Kevin is still alive.'?

I stared at Grams wide eyed. It was like a jigsaw piece was coming together inside me as she spoke. I felt light and what she said resonated within me. It seemed so right. Her strange monotonous tone continued.

'The next power is called the warrior. Strength, speed, agility, and a sixth sense when danger is near. As the warrior you have an innate knowledge of weapons, and martial arts.'?

I stared at grams and I felt a shudder go through her and me as she continued. 'The last one is what ostracised you. You have empathy, James. It has been the most commonly used of your arsenal to date.'?

I started at that. I gave her a look of doubt as she continued. 'Empathy is the power to read, generate and manipulate emotions. You have a hybrid version of this power. Yours can also act as a battery source''? She clenched my hands tighter. 'As you progress, you may even be able to turn the energy you generate from empathy into a psychic weapon.'?

I looked at dad; he was staring out the window grimly. Grams continued in that droning quasi-voice of hers.

'At the death of your mother, you created a shield around your heart and blocked anyone from ever entering. Empathy, as your active talent from birth, evolved from that point on. No one could read or sense your power while you were shielded; including yourself. You felt like a victim and subconsciously sent that emotion out around you as a beacon. People sensed that and treated you accordingly.'?

Doubt plagued me at the last statement. I had never even known about empathy, why didn't mum tell me before she died? But Gram was still talking. 'Now, not only can you shield your power but it has enhanced the strength of your other talents, in particular you're healing abilities. I suspect that if it was your cousin Simon attacking in your dream, he was trying to get past your shields to suck on your life energy. He would have succeeded. But your journey to the spirit world and meeting your mother had an impact on your empathy. She managed to amp your active talent. Through that, your two latent skills were awoken.

Now, your empathy has changed beyond any power our family has had James. Yours will grow to have an affinity with spirit, animals, and the plant kingdom.'? That faraway look cleared her eyes and it was the real grams staring at me.

'That's enough information for now; you need to absorb it all. We will talk about the dark side of our power later. When you have questions, I will be waiting.'?

Grams looked at dad as she continued talking. 'James will need to stay with me until I am confident he can control his skills and my house has protections against dream walking. He's safer here.'?

Dad gritted his teeth, but nodded his acquiescence. 'I will get some clothes for him.'? He said.

'What about school?'? I asked Grams. 'I can't put my education on hold either, it's bad enough I missed my re-sit for mid year exams, but I can't afford to lose any more days off school.'?

'Elsa will drop you off and pick you up from school.'? Grams reassured me. 'But the afternoons will be our time to teach you to hone your skills. Your empathic gift is unusual, but our family has had many different gifts in the past. But If you go untrained, they can fester and turn' bad.'? She shook her head. 'Enough for now, let's leave bad things for another day. Go rest or sit and think about this session, your choice.'?

There was that insinuation about the dark side of our powers again. I felt Gram's was putting it on way to thick. But the last part, she was right. I had information overload and I needed quiet time to absorb it all.

I said goodbye to dad 15 minutes later. He promised to return with some clothes and all my school books and stuff. I sat down on the steps and watched as his tail lights moved further down the road until they disappeared into the traffic. I put my arms on my knees and just sat quietly.

Was it that simple? Had I created my own misery and demons with my empathic skills? How many people had I affected with my talent and how lasting were the effects? Was it truly me that pushed everyone away, and what about Kevin? He never seemed to be affected by my empathy if his cheating, getting caught, and then persistence in pursuing me was anything to go by. I sighed. This was getting me no where fast. I snorted thinking on what grams had said. I had an affinity to spirit? What did that mean? Also animals and plants? Bullshit! I decided to test that theory.

I watched as someone's cat sat out in the midday sun. Manipulate emotions? I thought. I looked at the cat as it lay curled in the sunshine. I closed my eyes and thought of an urgent desire to come to me. I opened my eyes and looked in the direction of the cat. It kept on sleeping. I snorted my disgust and was just about to go inside when the hairs on my neck rose.

Great danger was coming. I could sense it. Grams came rushing out of the house.

'What have you done?'? She shouted at me. 'My psychic alarms around the house are screaming. Something big and powerful is coming. What did you do?'?

I stared at her, with my own sense of danger screaming a warning at me. 'I-I-I think I called something to me.'? I felt small under her furious glare.

'You stupid boy!'? From the right I could see a shimmer coming closer. The outline looked like a heat wave and it was over 12 feet long in height. 'That's a fairy creature coming towards us.'? Gram's said.

'This is my fault.'? I answered, 'How do I stop it?'?

'Step back, you've caused enough trouble James, let me handle it.'?

I hunched my shoulders and stayed where I was as grams walked down the steps with her walking stick. I watched and it was like she absorbed the light of the sun into her body. With each step she took, her aura seemed to expand until it felt as if she should be as large as a mountain. She raised her stick above her head and sent it banging back down onto the ground. The ground rippled on impact. I heard a roar and watched as the '?thing' lost its invisibility cloak.

My eyes were glued to it. It was 12 feet tall, had the body of a man, and the face of a bull. But it was the raging cock that had me scared. It was huge, well over 14 inches, hard, and dripping pre-cum. I swallowed audibly as its beady red eyes were focussed on me. It ran towards us gathering speed.

Grams slammed her wooden stick on the ground a second time and the '?fairy beast' screamed its rage, before it turned to mist and dissipated under the midday sun. The cat continued sleeping. Grams wobbled on her feet, and I raced to her before she collapsed.

'Never ever call spirit without me there to supervise.'? She said in a rough, tired voice, before closing her eyes.

I checked her pulse and cautiously checked her over with my healing colour scheme I used on Kevin the other day. I sensed tiredness coming from her body and no colour came to mind to help remedy it. I put that down as a good sign. I figured, no healing colour meant her body wasn't in any danger. I lifted her. This time there wasn't even a switch in my head to tell me I was using my skills, she felt so light in my arms. I snuck her upstairs without Elsa aware and lay her on her bed. When Elsa came looking for us I told her I forced Grams to take a nap. Elsa looked at me approvingly, told me I was too skinny, and that she had a piece of pie waiting for me at the kitchen table. I thanked her and went to eat the home made mince pies I remembered so fondly as a young child.

Was I getting cocky now that I had power? I mean I had seen so many movies where the kids that were '?outcasts' had nice personalities and then they turned into real pricks once they got the taste of power. Then afterwards they realised the error of their ways. Was that happening to me? I damn well hoped not. Was I getting cocky thinking I could handle anything that came my way just because I had super powers? If Gram hadn't been there when that fairy beast got to me, I don't think even my warrior skills would have been up to par with that '?beast'.

So far I had just gotten by on pure luck. It was time I learnt to balance myself and eat a bit of humble pie. I had to learn to control my skills or I could get someone like Grams killed next time. Pure luck went only so far, but control and mastery would keep me and those I loved alive. It was time to grow up and take on some responsibilities.

Dad came back around 4 pm with all my stuff and he had rung the school to say that I would be back at school tomorrow. I thanked him, told him about the fairy beast and said I deserved what ever punishment Grams was going to mete out to me for my foolishness. Dad put his arm around my shoulder, hugged me one armed and said he was proud of me. He said it took courage for a man to admit when he was wrong, and even more so to take his punishment like a man. I blushed and felt a warm glow near my heart.

Grams finally awoke around 6:30 pm. I was waiting outside her door. 'I'm sorry Grams. I deserve whatever punishment you think is fitting for me, I should have known better.'?

'I'm guessing you thought my reading of your skills were slightly off?'? she said, her voice still faintly rough. I nodded my head. 'What do you think my punishment of you should be James?'? she continued.

I shrugged my shoulders. 'Something fitting?'? I finished lamely.

She chuckled. 'No Grandson, you will pay, but not today. There is too much for us to do. Tomorrow after school you will came back here to learn to focus your skills better. Since you haven't come up with a fitting punishment, you will have to wait until I am ready to make good on your punishment.'?

It was only fair I thought miserably, lowering my head in acknowledgement. 'Yes Gram.'?

The next day I was walking into school. Elsa had made my lunch and ironed my clothes. I felt like a little kid at kindergarten, but honestly? I secretly liked it. I just couldn't tell her that. I had a reputation to uphold now. I was greeted at the door by Steven and Justine. They asked how I was feeling since they hadn't seen me at school yesterday. I told them it was just a little case of dizziness that dad overreacted to. Justine looked concerned and Steven smiled his sympathy. As I mock-scowled and tried to play down the whole scenario. It was made worse because it was a lie. But it was a necessity, so'

My periphery caught the small brown head and shy brown eyes of Timmy. He was sitting on an outside bench trying to look invisible. I interrupted my chat with my two new friends and walked over to Timmy.

'Hey, bud, I was a little'sick yesterday, but are you coming to hang with me today?'? I smiled down at Timmy's bent head.

'I thought y-y-you had f-f-forgotten.'? He said quietly and very solemn.

I bent down and looked back at him with serious eyes. 'I wouldn't do that to you Tim, that's just cruel.'?

He stared back at me and shrugged his shoulders. 'I'm u-u-u-used to it, I didn't th-th-think you would be any d-d-different.'?

'Hey! I don't do that to my friends, and I consider you a friend. I was hoping you thought the same about me?'? I answered.

He gave me raw eyes. It held so much loneliness and pain, that it hit me hard, like a punch to the stomach. That switch in my head came on. I stared at Timmy and felt the healing colours floating at the back of my eye sockets. Yet, there was something more to it this time. I felt and sensed the ties that bound Timmy's tongue in knots. It had an emotional flavour. It tasted like a wheat rye bread on the verge of going stale, nice for a second, but tasting of mould on the last swallow.

Was my healing evolving towards more than just physical wounds? Is this what Grams was talking about how my empathy enhanced my skills? I wanted to test that theory and put my wishes and hopes into making it so. Some other part of me that lay hidden deep inside opened. It flowed through me and connected to the place where my healing came from. It bubbled from my chest and out towards Timmy like waves lapping gently to the shore.

Orange with a touch of red spiralled out of me and into Timmy. He gasped and looked stunned before smiling. I closed my eyes and concentrated on sending that colour and healing into him. The scent of mould faded until all I could smell was the taste of fresh bread out of the oven.

He took a deep breath, sighed in relaxation and smiled warmly at me. 'What ever you did was amazing. What was it you did?'? he asked.

I smiled back at him. 'Did you notice any differences in that last sentence you said?'?

He frowned and then looked at me incredulous. 'My name is Timothy Barnes and I have a stutter.'? He put his hands to his throat. 'I don't stutter.'? Turning to me there was glee in his eyes. 'I don't stutter.'?

I couldn't help the large smile that spread across my face. 'I will see you at morning break. Tim, see ya.'?

'Wait!'? he yelled after me. Rushing up he grabbed my arm. 'How did you do this?'

'Ask me no questions and I will tell you no lies.'? I said with a wink. I looked down into Timmy's eyes. 'This is our little secret Tim, no one must know, can I trust you on this?'

He puffed his chest out. 'We're friends right? I won't tell a soul.'? He said fervently.

'Good. Oh do you know where to meet me for morning break?'? I said gripping his hand on my arm briefly before letting it go and walking towards class.

He nodded his head, a skip in his step. 'See you morning break!'? Timmy shouted as I entered the classroom.

I had maths first period. I hated maths. This subject was my weakest, and I was just above average at this class at best. It irked me that I wasn't in the top five.

For the next half hour I couldn't help it, my imagination started to wander. The lesson was boring no matter how hard I tried to concentrate. But my imagination had fallen into one of my favourite imaginings. Sex!

I could see it as clear as day. I was staring at a warm golden coloured cock. I recognised it as Kevin's and bit down a furious snarl. I needed to change this image, I thought. I imagined what the tip looked like with a foreskin. I was pleasantly surprised to see the tip grow over a lush foreskin. My mouth watered at the sight. I imagined it to be a little paler with veins flowing around the shaft. The cock rippled and it turned into a nice light cream colour. Veins pulsed as the head firmed and grew hard. I watched as pre-cum flowed over the slit at the head of the cock. It built and gathered around the edge of the foreskin. Holding it trapped like a saucer with cream. I hummed my pleasure and excitement at the sight. It looked so real, I could almost smell the husky scent of arousal from this dream cock.

I put the tip of my tongue to the opening of that cock and just held it there. I could feel the liquid silk of cum on my tongue tip and watched as the cock beneath me pulsed with anticipation. Pulling my head away, a trail of cum from my tongue to the slit dangled precariously, like a thin cobweb strand. I greedily lapped it up and tasted the sweet, salty taste of pre-cum. I always loved the taste of pre-cum more because I felt it had more flavour than '?true' cum. I dipped my finger in it and put it in my mouth. I was a glutton for the taste.

I trailed my tongue up and down the shaft. My hand traced over smooth balls and I tickled gently against the perineum. I heard a groan from my dream lover and it shivered over me driving me to be more adventurous. Wetting my finger I played around his sphincter and felt his pelvis buck up and down. His ass came down and I felt my finger penetrate his hole. He groaned his pleasure and I put my mouth on his cock to increase the sensation.

Down I went on my dream cock, my finger pushing against his prostate. Loud and continuous groans a confirmation I was doing a job well done. My own cock was hard and ready, its own lubrication coating the tip.

I could feel him getting harder and bigger in my mouth. He was getting close and I put more suction into getting him off. He started to thrust faster, putting his hand on my head to control my movements. I used my tongue on his shaft as he held my head firmly. A few more thrusts and I knew he would spill his fluid into my mouth. I was more than ready to taste it, I groaned my anticipation. I felt his finger push into my ass his cock was ready to shoot.

Danger prickled the back of my nape. I felt a cold chill race down my spine and the hair stood up all over my body. Something evil was in my day-dream. I snapped back to attention in class. Everyone was frozen in place and the sensation of a presence was getting stronger every second.

'Ah guys?'? Everyone remained still as statues as I spoke. 'What the fuck is going on?'? I continued. The warrior within me clicked into fight mode. My power sensed someone was now in this room. I couldn't see it, but I felt it all around me.

'Hello James.'? A voice whispered into the silence.

'Cousin Simon.'? I answered cautiously. Adrenalin was pumping through my system, my mind on battle mode.

'I'm glad my Aunt has been talking about me. Good, it will make this so much easier.'?

He appeared out of thin air from the shadows in the classroom. It was like they were a dark mist taking on shape. Out walked a man in his mid twenties. He had the same coloured eyes as mum, but dark auburn hair and a hawkish, handsome face.

The sense of danger disappeared and my inner warrior switched off. That made me nervous and scared. I tried to summon back that strength, but it slept like a kitten. He held his hands up palm out.

'I assure you, I don't want to hurt you. I just want to talk.'?

'You could have fooled me.'? I said with bravado, hiding the fact my powers weren't responding. 'Why did you attack me the other night then if not to hurt me?'?

He shrugged his shoulders and looked slightly embarrassed. 'I'm a telepath and an empath; your power drew me like moth to the flame. I felt animal urges I had never felt in twenty years. They consumed me and well''? He looked down acting coy. 'I lost control. I'm sorry.'?

I looked around at the still faces of everyone in the class. 'Why is everyone frozen? That seems nefarious to me.'? I stated.

'Would you rather that they listened in on our conversation? Besides they are not frozen, you are merely taken out of time.'?

I was scared at that answer, but I turned that fear into something easier, more useful. 'I would rather that you weren't here in the first place and just left me to have at least one normal day at school.'? I replied tartly.

He smiled. 'I would have left you alone, if your power hadn't flared the way it did. You have an amazing imagination, cousin. Like I said earlier, your power draws me like a moth to a flame.'?

'So why does Grams and everyone think your evil?'?

The amusement left his eyes. 'Because she was jealous of my power and feared me because of it.'?

'So why did your own twin sister turn against you?'?

'She was coerced into believing that I couldn't control my powers. Aunty manipulates people around her as if they were pawns to do her bidding. Why do you think that your father doesn't get along with her? Because he is a strong willed person and doesn't bow to anyone.'?

'Stop.'? I said. 'You're wasting your breath. For one thing, even my mother tried to stop you. In my eyes, that means there was something that needed to be stopped. So why should I really believe you?'?

He gave me a considering look. 'It was not because I am '?evil' that your mum decided to help your Grams,'? The word gram's was said with a snarl.

'It was because I tried to seduce your father with empathy. My aunt, your grams, finally had a way to persuade your mother to help do her dirty work'get rid of me.'?

I gave him cold eyes at that last answer, and yet, his reasoning sounded so' human and believable.

'But why should I help someone that tried to use his powers to seduce my father, after all I would probably have done the same thing in my mothers shoes.'?

'That is why I come to you.'? He said. 'You are just like your mother and if she knew how my aunt has left me hanging in purgatory for all eternity she would have done something to rectify it. You have your mothers' kind heart inside you. I am begging for mercy. Kill me or let me go, but don't let me live eternity floating in mindlessness.'?

A tear trickled down his face.

'Do you have any proof to back up your story?'?

He looked at me with relief evident in his eyes. 'Yes, ask my sister for the whole story.'?

I tried to think of anything else to ask him. 'So what and where are you now?'?

'My body is buried in an unmarked grave. Your grams trapped my spirit. It has been floating in purgatory until your power sparked and drew me back into the real world. So will you ask my sister just to prove I am telling you the truth?'?

I thought furiously and nearly kicked myself for nearly forgetting one important thing. 'I spoke to your sister once before, she's gone mad and it was her that warned me of a great darkness that would swallow me whole until I never saw the light of day. I feel that might have been you.'?

'My sister is crazy?'? he asked; horror crawling over his face. 'How? She was as powerful as I am?'?

I looked at him suspiciously. 'She went crazy when you supposedly died.'?

His shoulders sank and he looked down. 'Then there is no way for me to prove my innocence to you cousin. I have only my word.'?

He looked up at me, hope staring out of his eyes. 'I have scanned your abilities, you are a healer, and perhaps you can help heal her too?'?

I looked at him hard. There were some things that I didn't trust about Simon. Reading me was one thing that could get my ire up fast. However, as much as I wanted to shove everything he had said to me away as garbage. I couldn't help but sense that maybe there was some truth in what he had said to me. It fit so perfectly with what I knew. And oddly, what I felt. But I couldn't tell if that was his powers affecting me. So until I could have solid proof, he was considered unsafe to pay too much heed to.

'I will try my utmost to heal her, but I am still new to my gifts so I don't know how effective I will be?'?

He bowed his head as if in prayer. 'That is all I ask. Thank you James.'?

'Okay so what do you know about the '?darkness' your sister was talking about. And why have you not visited her as well?'?

He shook his head and smiled at me. 'Are you saying you don't feel I am the darkness she warned you about?'?

I looked at him thoughtfully. I had to believe that the reason my powers went offline, so to speak, was because there was no threat to me just yet. Which got me thinking on a different tangent; why did my power flare up when he first arrived and then stop?

'I am keeping my options open.'? I finally answered him. I needed to find out more about him. 'Answer my question. These avoidance tactics get tired easily. What is the darkness and why not visit your sister?'?

'I can only give you suspicions on what I think the '?darkness' my sister is referring to. Did Aunty Dearest tell you that our power is like a two edged sword? Depending on what talents you have, your abilities affect you differently. If you're an empath, you feel things more sharply and they cut you deeper emotionally. If you're a telepath, without control, a crowd of people can make you go crazy from all the mind-noise within a day. If you're a healer, bringing back the dead means your life must replace the one that you're saving; after all the bigger the injury, the greater the sacrifice. But you also have the warrior within. Be careful of the bloodlust, the urge to kill. Berserker mode is something that anyone who is using the warrior power can succumb to when they stay in that mode for too long. That can be a form of darkness'?

'She was about to tell me today.'? I answered truthfully. I couldn't see the harm in lying just yet, not if he was a telepath. After all, what I had heard about telepaths from all the TV shows and stuff is they could read minds. No point lying, unless he wasn't a telepath?

Something inside me looked at Simon. It caressed his skin and I knew without a doubt. He was a telepath.

'So you're a telepath. Can you read my mind?'?

He shook his head no. 'Your empathy is odd; it has created a shield of sorts that protects your emotions and mind from manipulation. I noticed that the other night when I was''? He blushed at the memory.

I gave him a cold stare. 'When you nearly ripped my throat out?'?

'I am not only a telepath and empath, but I am also a lycanthrope. I can turn into any animal I wish. But as I was explaining about the two edged knife, I lose control on a full moon. I take it you didn't notice that it was the full moon the first night I came to you?'?

'That was no animal.'? I stated. 'That was some human vampire thing!'? I shivered at the memory.

'Being dead has altered some things.'? He said unsympathetically. 'Besides, I have two forms, the full animal form and the half man half animal form.

I looked thoughtful, absorbing the information as it came. I frowned. Something still didn't add up. It hit me again. I remembered healing Kevin just as he was ready to die and move onto the next life.

'I should be dead.'? I looked at Simon. 'If your theory is right, I should be dead.'? He looked confused.

'I healed someone that was ready to die. You're lying to me.'?

He stared at me and that confused look never wavered. 'No, I'm not, but then again James, your power seems different.'? He shrugged his shoulders. 'Who knows what will happen with your abilities. Our talents and gifts are not an exact science.'?

I looked down. Grams had said something similar. 'How do I know you're not reading the information out of my head and using it to put your own little twist on things?'?

He looked a little frustrated at my stubbornness. 'Ask Aunty dearest to see if she can read you, after all without your permission I doubt she could penetrate your defences either.'?

'You could read my abilities and I didn't even feel you enter my mind.'? I didn't want to admit to him that I wouldn't even know if someone was trying to read my mind. I was still unsure how Grams read me yesterday.

'Obviously you have doubts, I understand that. But our time here must come to an end. If you stay here any longer, you may not get back into real time. One last thing,'? He looked bitter as he stared at me. 'As the elder for our generation, my aunt must train you in control. If you feel your power falling away from you while in training, she is trying to bind your powers' You have been warned. '? With that he nodded his head, disappeared and sound came rushing into the void that had been here only moments ago.

The rest of the session flew by after that. Next period was the same. Lunch time came around. I spoke to everyone, made the right noises and jokes, but my mind was else where. Timmy was a big hit with the group. I had told them about the bullying beforehand, and the girls had turned into clucking hens by the time he got there.

As for the boys, they asked if I wanted to come along and '?help' them with some straightening out. I watched the anger in Sam's dark brown eyes. His long brown hair flashed in the sunlight, and I watched as gold highlights flickered and winked. God he was good looking when he was angry.

I smiled into his eyes, and some sort of spark ran along my veins as he returned my look. He gave me a speculative glance, before we headed off. Play it cool I thought to myself. Something inside me said this smacked of betrayal but who was I betraying if I flirted a little bit?

We saw the two bullies with their friends. My warrior switched on and I walked with lethal grace. The power was exhilarating and I felt euphoric. 'Hello boys.'? I said. Their heads swung around and both boys' eyes widened before they realised where they were. They tried to show faces of bravado, but I could smell the fear on them. It made the warrior inside me smile with glee.

'I warned you guys that if you hurt someone less able than yourself, you would be seeing me a lot sooner.'?

One of their friends behind them decided to pipe in. 'So is this the guy that beat you two?'? He asked incredulously. He gave a braying laugh and looked me up and down. Turning to the two that stood uncomfortably he continued. 'You let this pussy-looking boy beat you?'?

Paul came right up face to face with the big mouth and asked. 'You think I'm a pussy-boy too Rick?'?

The big mouth had guts, or he was stupid, I was still debating that, as he stood there and stared at Paul. I mean Paul was in the wrestling team. He was the top in our district. Sam came up directly behind Paul just itching to punch someone out. I could feel it.

William the serious put a restraining hand on both boys. Steven hadn't come nor had Eddie. Not because they didn't want too, but because William as the leader had suggested they stay with the ladies. Too many guys ganging up on people would surely bring the teachers down hard if anything went wrong. So the less in the group the more inconspicuous it would be to any onlookers. And Steven had a way of making anyone comfortable. So he would help Timmy. Eddie was the jokester and charming if he put his mind to it. William was betting on it.

'How about we go one on one after school?'? I asked. My group looked at me incredulous. They hadn't been told on how I had kicked those two boys' asses. I just said that I got in a few lucky punches before a teacher came to inspect what all the noise was.

The warrior was riding me, and I could feel the urge to fight flow into every fibre of my being. The big mouth must have seen that look in my eyes, because he paled and swallowed audibly.

'Nah I couldn't beat a pussy-boy like you.'? He said trying to stick his chest out in an intimidating manner.

I laughed long and loud. 'Afraid?'? I sneered at him.

He knew he couldn't back down now. He would lose face. 'Fine pussy-boy, I'm gonna enjoy kicking the shit out of you.'?

'Lets go guys.'? I said. The warrior roared inside me. It wanted satisfaction. Before I knew it I had the big mouth up by the neck. No one had seen it and they gasped. It was like I had disappeared and reappeared in front of big mouth. There was a big feral smile on my face.

'Oh yes I am gonna enjoy kicking the shit out of you.'? I dropped him to the ground.

'Your not human you freak!'? I heard him scream as we all walked away.

The rest of the boys were giving me wary eyes. I screamed my frustration into my mind. I needed to control my powers sooner rather than later. I felt the warrior settle within me. I needed control I said as I repeated it as a mantra in my head. My powers were starting to take over my personal life. I was starting to understand the fear that our power was double sided. My warrior had very near taken over and caused a lot of havoc. I could still feel a small sense of invincibility and a tiny part inside craved that feeling again.

'Ah guys,'? I said. 'I need a little time alone to think, so I'm just gonna head to the library.'?

William nodded his head and walked back to our spot. Everyone followed except Sam. That old shyness overcame me and I looked down.

'You're not a freak.'? Sam said.

'Pardon?'? I asked.

He walked up to me. I had to raise my head to look him in the eyes. 'You're not a freak. You're different from anyone else I have ever met, but you're not a freak.'? He stared into my eyes, and a blush crept up his face. 'I like who you are.'? With that he turned and walked off leaving me speechless. Was he hitting on me? My heart pounded with the idea. I strolled off to the Library to think.



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