Someone shot a kid just a few blocks away, outside the Berrigan pawnshop, as I was making my way home on foot.
I normally wouldn’t walk home like this, especially not through this part of the city, but sometimes I just get pulled. I don’t consider myself psychic, but sometimes a latent will send out an unconscious call and I’ll have to come. There have been a few weird times when there was no one actually doing the calling, which means I probably am psychic, but it’s enough to have other people’s thoughts and emotions intruding on your own without being aware of the past and future.
I understand random shootings are not unusual for the area, but I’ve never seen someone so callously harmed by another human being before. His emotions nearly overwhelm me as I rush to help him. I have to block him out; I can’t just leave him there.
He was screaming, at first, so I just gently channel the pain out of his mind, get him to calm down, give him something positive to focus on. I don’t even know what it is; I just pull the first thing he has positive emotions about that I can see to the top of his mind. It’s almost scary, but it iss as if my emotions have suddenly leached right out of me, as if in some strange osmosis. For an empath, it’s especially bizarre to, for once, feel absolutely nothing. I kneel down, get pressure on the bleeding, and check him over for other injuries.
For some reason, Audrey is in the area. We’d been sort-of best friends, on and off, for years, and I don’t get why she was here. She has a curfew, for goodness’s sake. And it’s not safe here. I’m not even supposed to be here! I give her a mental swat–you idiot, why aren’t you at home?–to which, she replies by psychically sticking her tongue out at me. She doesn’t just live and breathe and bleed fire. She spits it too. (Or am I mixing my metaphors?)
Besides myself and Audrey, there appear to be three other people who aren’t engaged in crime and don’t live in the area. I’m not trying to get at them, but they are all being rather obvious. Only one of them has what I’d call a really good reason for being there, and she is frustrated. I don’t even consciously read her mind; her frustration is coming off at me and making me irritated, so I ball it up and repel it. I don’t mean to give her a mental slap or reply to her thoughts, it just happens sometimes.
Another girl came up beside me. “I can help. I’m a…” she hesitates before the last word, before deliberately saying “I’m first aid trained.” She has healing powers, I conclude, trying my hardest to keep my thoughts to myself. I keep my hands on the bleeding hole in the kid’s stomach.
“Go ahead,” I said. She bit her lip, but a moment later, I feel the bleeding slow slightly. “Do you think it hit anything vital?”
“No, I hope not…” I stand, letting the healer take my place, wiping my hands on my pants and knowing I’ll probably end up using up all of my parents’ hydrogen peroxide later. Oh, no. How am I going to explain this to them? I think Mom suspects that I have some sort of superhuman ability, but my eccentric behavior is sometimes hard to explain away. But I can’t worry about that now. Hurriedly, I turn my cell phone on and dial 911.
In the aftermath, the healer ends up passing it off to the paramedics and giving a hurried statement before rushing off, while Audrey disappears a few moments before the police arrived, neglecting to give a statement–seriously, she is going to get herself accused of murder due to her habit of disappearing one day–and the other girl leaves around the same time, and the one who actually has a good reason to be there gives a report to the police–she’s a certified superhero. What did surprise me, though, was that it was Starlight. I had almost run into Starlight?
What a night.
“I still don’t understand why you want to do this,” Audrey grumbles, shuffling the papers she’s holding from hand to hand. I snatch them away from her.
“We need backup. I can’t always control my powers. You know that.” Grudgingly, Audrey nods. There have been a couple of times when I would have a–well, the best word for it is meltdown–and Audrey is one of only a few people who can calm me down if I have one, and the only one who knows the real reason for it. “The other reason I’m doing this is you.”
“Why?” Audrey asks. I sigh.
“Because you are determined to use your powers, but you need to learn to use them constructively. We all need back up.” I take a deep breath in preparation. “There were five of us there, counting you and me. I think I’ve seen one of them around before… Did you see the other one, Audrey? I was a bit preoccupied.”
“The invisible one?” Audrey asks, drily. I start.
“Wait, she was invisible?”