Young adult, paranormal/historical
Cat Got Your Tongue?
“Wait … waaaait just one minute,” I said. “You can’t be serious. How could you not see it? That thing sat right next to you!” I know my voice must have sounded beyond nervous. That stupid headache again hammered away at my temples and behind my eyes, not helping the situation at all.
“For real? You saw a cat?”
It was obvious Carla hadn’t seen anything, so I didn’t reply at first. I was beginning to wonder if maybe I had been hallucinating or something. Down the hall, I could hear a toilet flush.
“I’m not crazy!” I took a deep breath and sat on the edge of my chair.
“I didn’t say you were but—”
“Lover’s quarrel?” Lobo walked back into the room and once more took his seat.
That question of his made me want to sink through the floor and out of sight.
“Lobo!” Carla screeched. “Cut it out. We’re just friends.”
Without saying it, I applauded Carla challenging the man, but part of me felt a little disappointed. Her statement about us being “just friends” came out a little too strong. Not what I wanted to hear.
“My, my, my.” Lobo looked at us both. “Aren’t we sensitive. Well it’s time to get over it. So tell me. What’s this disagreement I heard coming up the hall?”
Carla sat there with folded arms staring at Lobo like she wanted to wring his neck. As unhappy with the man as I was, I really wanted to find out about the cat. “Look, Lobo,” I said, “ah, when you were in here before, I saw a cat, but Carla thinks I was seeing things.”
“That’s not what I said,” Carla interrupted. “You’re twisting my words.”
“Well, that’s what it sounded like. You don’t understand, I also watched Lobo and Spock look at that cat. I wasn’t the only one watching it.”
“Did you see this little feline creature or not?” Lobo asked Carla in an even voice.
“No. There was definitely no cat in here unless it was behind me, but that’s not what Jeff is saying.”
“Well now!” Lobo said to her, his voice a rising rumble. “How wonderfully interesting. Discrepancies in perception. In this case, however, your friend Carla over there is right.”
“He did indeed see a cat, as did I and Spock.”
Carla looked at him like he had to be kidding, but he continued talking, this time, to me.
“So, explain to the young lady, if you will, what this cat looked like and what it did.”
For a few seconds, I didn’t know what to say. Surprisingly, old Lobo appeared to be agreeing with me. I mean the guy had told Carla and me I wasn’t hallucinating. Man, what a relief! But how she didn’t see what Lobo, Spock, and I did, flat didn’t make sense.
Doing as I was asked, I slumped back into my chair and explained to Carla all about my cat sighting. As I talked, she had a squinty-eyed look, the one that says people aren’t believing a word of what you’re saying. But when I described the cat’s orange, black and white coloring, her eyes widened and to Lobo, she asked a one-word question. “Seloy?”
“Seloy it was,” Lobo agreed, and Carla’s mouth dropped open.
“What’s going on?” I asked. My head continued to ache, but I didn’t want to ask Lobo if he had anything for the pain.
“My cat Seloy,” Lobo replied. “You, Spock and I saw my cute little kitty, so why on earth didn’t Carla see her?”
“Why are you asking me?” I replied. “That’s what I want to know.”
“OK, Mr. Golden, it’s time for you to put your big boy pants on and really pay attention here. By now, it’s clear to you I have the ability to find things out about people in ways you don’t understand, right?”
I couldn’t argue with the guy on that point. By then, for some reason, even the “big boy pants” comment didn’t bother me very much. I needed to find out what was going on.
“You’ve seen for yourself,” he explained, “that there are people in the world who definitely have extremely unusual sensitivities and even abilities of various kinds. The child in the crowd of people around your body when you had the bike wreck for instance. She looked up and saw you hovering overhead when no one else did. That child is such a person, a person very much like you.”
“Me? Come on Lobo,” I said, starting to get extremely uncomfortable, and my shaky voice showed exactly that.
“For a smart kid, you really don’t get it do you? You obviously have the ability to see something Carla could not, don’t you?”
Lobo asked the question, but he went on talking. “Your dream is an example of what I’m saying. A bayonet actually did come up through your mattress in a manner of speaking, but only you could see it. In ways you do not yet comprehend, it was as real as the one you held in here just a while ago. And when my bayonet got so hot in your hand, that meant you had somehow touched on a part of the truth—the truth about what’s happening to you.”
I knew the man couldn’t possibly believe what he said, but my insides still felt like they had turned over somehow. I didn’t understand how the conversation had gone so far away from seeing that stupid cat to talking about me having unusual sensitivities, abilities, or whatever.
“Down deep inside,” Lobo said, speaking to my unsaid thoughts, “you actually do understand. It’s your conscious mind that continues to block that awareness. We need to do something to help break through your mental barrier.”
Rapidly switching his attention from me to Carla, he said, “In this case, when I say ‘we,’ I mean you as well.”
“Me?” She looked at him as if he’d lost his mind.
“Don’t let her kid you,” Lobo said to me while still looking at Carla. “She knows a lot more than you think. Miss Carla here has her own, well, shall we say, special talents.”
“Lobo, come on. I don’t want to go there,” Carla pleaded.
“I’ve got to use you as an example. This boy is in danger.”
“Danger?” Carla and I both said at the same time. Again, my insides did a little dance.
“I didn’t see it clearly at first,” Lobo replied, “but now, as your puzzle begins to fit together, some dangerous patterns are definitely emerging.”
Again, Carla and I spoke at once, peppering the man with all kinds of questions. Finally, he stood up and bellowed, “Now you two hold it!” Man, the volume of the guy’s voice was not what my headache needed. In the silence, Lobo looked back and forth between us to see if he had made his point. Satisfied we would wait for him to explain, he said, “To figure out exactly what’s going on, we need to start with some basic education here.” To Carla, he then spoke in a very soothing voice I didn’t know he had. “Carla, I need you to give a little demonstration.”
“Oh no. No way, Lobo! I won’t do it.” Saying she looked upset barely describes the emotions I saw flowing across her face. “Besides, what does that have to do with Jeff being in danger?”
“To get at the danger, this boy needs a crash course in believing what’s happening to him. A little help from you will truly begin that process.”
Carla held his gaze for a few seconds, looked over at me and closed her eyes. “OK,” she said nodding after a few seconds, “OK.”
“Good. Now, finish your drink,” Lobo said, nailing me with those laser-like eyes.
“Finish my drink?” I asked, looking at the Coke can in my hand.
“Did I not speak clearly? Or perhaps you simply don’t know what the words ‘finish your drink’ mean when put together in a sentence?”
Smartass. I didn’t care if he could truly read my thoughts or not. Glaring at the man, I chugged the last few swallows of my Coke, and shook the can from side to side to show it was empty.
“Now,” Lobo ordered, “hold out one hand, palm up, and stand the can on it, bottom down.”I did exactly as he asked.
“Carla,” he ordered looking at the can as if she would know what to do.
Poor Carla seemed even more uncomfortable than before. She shifted her position on the couch. He eyes darted all around for a few seconds but eventually came to rest on the can. After focusing on it for a few seconds, she took a couple of deep breaths and closed her eyes. Nothing happened for maybe ten or fifteen seconds until … well … the damn can slowly lifted off my palm without anybody touching it. I’m not kidding. The thing moved straight up about three inches and just sat there in mid air.
Yeah, yeah I know how that sounds, but believe me it happened. Before I could react, I heard this crackling sound, and watched as the can started crumpling. No lie! The can sort of … imploded, slowly at first and then with a snap, it completely flattened as if somebody had stomped the thing—but in mid air. God it was eerie. The smashed can slowly floated back onto the palm of my hand.
“Holy crap,” I whispered, staring at the red, white and aluminum colored mess. My mind whirled, trying to figure out how Carla had crushed it, but no answers popped into my head. When she finally opened her eyes, she looked at me kind of apologetically. In return, I stared at her in astonishment. Sure she had told me about her unconscious ability to move things. That was hard enough to swallow, but to actually see her levitate my Coke can and crush it?
“What’s the matter,” Lobo asked me, “cat got your tongue?”
Real funny, old man. Grasping the crushed can with my other hand, I looked at it, for a few seconds. “No way,” I said, shaking my head and finding it impossible to believe what I had just seen. “It’s a magic trick,” I said with a halfhearted laugh. “Yeah, that’s it, magic.” Even as I spoke, I didn’t fully believe my own words. I think I wanted to believe the two of them had pulled a smoke and mirrors type thing on me, because to consider anything else was way too wild.
Without saying another word, Carla and Lobo stared at me, causing another chill to race its way up and down my spine. In that moment, it was as if I was looking at the two of them from across a very deep, dark canyon only they understood and knew how to cross.
For a brief description of The St. Augustine Trilogy, click here.
For Sliding Beneath the Surface on Amazon.com, click here
For reviews of this book, author interviews and blog tours, click here.
For the Official St. Augustine Trilogy Facebook Page, click here.
© 2011 by Doug Dillon. All rights reserved.