Patchy Communication

It wasn’t easy to surprise Lynx. He was a well-traveled Estrella that had seen most of what the multiverse had to offer; including sights that most others never would. Estrellas have the ability to travel between universes at will; but, they can also see the true nature of anything. That true self is represented by an aura in humans. Lynx could tell what someone was just by looking at them. Zero, Unique, Fae, and worse were all easily distinguishable with a glance.

Lynx felt like he’d seen it all and wanted to slow down to appreciate the small things. Instead of universe-hopping he took a job as a deckhand on a cruise-liner. He chose to work cruise ships because he felt like he could help if there were ever any accidents at sea. Lynx never considered himself a jerk; but, his traveling from Earth to Earth highlighted how much more he could be doing to help in small ways. It was this habitual helpfulness that made a decision for Lynx before he could process it. He was too busy being surprised.

“What are.. whoa…..,” Lynx stared at the huddled pair of teenage girls. Their faces were filthy and underfed. Their fear opened their eyes wider which made them sink even further in their sockets. Their clothes consisted of grimy layers of rags covering the holes in themselves. One had vibrant green, stringy long hair while the other’s hair was just as malnourished. Except her green hair was several shades lighter. It wasn’t their urchin-like appearance, nor even their green hair that surprised Lynx. He’d found stowaways before; and, he’d seen every color and type of hair imaginable. What stunned Lynx was their auras; their aura.

“I’m not going to hurt you,” Lynx said. He felt he needed to say something so his stare wouldn’t be so awkward. He’d never seen anything like it. The twins were Unique Souls #11, the Cantaloupe; and, #28, the Watermelon. Lynx flashed his star sight as soon as he spotted the stowaways and saw their auras.

The one on the right with the darker green hair was #28. Her aura consisted of a long golden vine spiraled around her. Small, ethereal, golden-green watermelons were growing out of the vine.

The one on the left with the lighter hair was #11. Her aura resembled her twin’s. Instead of watermelons, her golden vine sprouted ghostly golden cantaloupes. However, Lynx had never seen two auras connected the way these twins had theirs. It wasn’t easy for him to differentiate the two Auras at first because they were both engulfed by a single vine.

“I’m going to help you,” Lynx said. “Come on, let’s get you some food and better clothes.” The girls relaxed at that, and Lynx was again amazed. Auras are active. They move constantly, more or less in accordance with what a person is doing. When Lynx surprised the girls, they froze and stopped their auras. As they started to stand up, the aura vines around them began spiraling around them again. Lynx watched the spot where their vines connected move from between them to circle around the one with darker hair.

“What?” He tilted his head as the vine continued to undulate around her. He noticed that as the connected spot moved, the rest of the vine did too. For a moment, while the girls made their way to him, both auras were around both girls. The vine around the darker haired one was no longer just watermelons. She had cantaloupes on her vine too. Lynx checked the lighter haired one and she also had both as the vine flowed between them. The best skill Lynx picked up in his travels was how to keep cool when weird things were happening. Most of the weird things that happened to him turned out to be awesome once he took a moment to understand them.

“I’m Lynx, an Estrella if you know what that is,” Lynx pointed at the golden stars in his eyes. “What are your names?” he asked while he kept his attention on the vines. The watermelons and cantaloupes switched completely. Now the watermelon vine surrounded the lighter haired one.

“Sidra,” the one with dark green hair said. It looked like they both said it; each of them mouthed the word. However, only Sidra vocalized it.

“Canta,” the other one said in an identical voice. Again, mouthed by both of them.

“This way,” Lynx said. He walked out of the storage room and down the cramped hall of the lower decks. He dismissed his star sight. “Are your parents with you?” he asked.

“No,” he heard Sidra say. But, something bothered him about the way she said it. Lynx froze in his tracks. He turned around slowly, not wanting to scare them off. He needed a question but didn’t want to sound like he was interrogating them.

“So, what’s first? Food or showers?”

“Shower,” Sidra said. Both girl’s mouths moved. Something bothered Lynx and he felt he was almost there. He needed more questions.

“Okay, well I’ll go get some food after I drop you girls off in a room you can use. What do you want?” He asked and focused on Sidra’s mouth.

“Pizza,” Sidra answered. Both mouths moved, but this time Lynx caught on. He looked at the girls and let a big smile take over his face. He wanted to let them know he wasn’t mad or scared.

Son of a bitch,” he thought; amused. “You can hear me, can’t you?” Both girls blinked.

“You’re not scared?” Sidra asked. This time, neither of their mouths moved.

“We’re sorry,” a different voice said; Lynx guessed it was Canta’s true voice. “Talking is hard,” she said in his mind. He heard Sidra laughing too, while both girls stood in front of him seemingly emotionless.”Yeah,” Sidra laughed in his mind, and finally body as the girls relaxed completely. Sidra grinned and raised her arm to point at Canta, who was smiling too. Despite their activity, Sidra’s voice still came into his mind and she didn’t bother with mouth movements.  “She can’t even do it yet!”

Island Earth

I know you can hear me,” Wyatt sighed with frustration at the repeated, invasive thought. Weeks ago, his plane crashed in the ocean but he did not remember it. The sheer panic of everyone around him caused him to blackout. He woke up on a beach alone with his own thoughts again. It took a few days to get used to having such an empty mind, but now he loved it. The island he washed ashore on wasn’t an especially large island. He could walk it all in a few hours; but, it was bountiful. If he were religious, he might consider it the garden of Eden. The variety of fruit trees and wild vegetables seemed out of place on such a tropical island. In a few short, pleasant weeks, he decided he’d rather stay there than try and get rescued. The island seemed capable of meeting all his needs and he enjoyed the sound of his own thoughts. Then, a strange man’s voice echoed in his mind a few hours ago; it was the first time in weeks that someone disturbed his thoughts.

I know you can hear me,” the voice said. Wyatt was startled to his feet, but he managed to keep himself from replying. Luckily, he’d grown used to variations of that phrase over the years. The internet popularised the idea of mind-readers in public; it made throwing out mental accusations a trend. Wyatt decided to search the island to accidentally stumble across its new resident. Now, he returned to his home base frustrated and alone with the voice still in mind.

“Well, it was nice while it lasted,” Wyatt mumbled to himself; speaking aloud helped keep him from broadcasting. He did not want to risk changing his current peace, but the incessant voice left him no choice.

I know you can hear me,” it repeated. Wyatt took a deep breath, then responded to the thought.

Yes, I can.”

FINALLY!” the voice sounded relieved. “What took so long?” the stranger asked.

Who are you?” Wyatt asked. He sensed this wasn’t going to be a short conversation and slid onto his makeshift bed of leaves to lay down. The one positive of telepathy was that he did not have to face someone to have a conversation with them.

Ah, that’s why you ignored me,” the voice replied. “If you knew about yourself, you’d know who I am.”            

G-,”  Wyatt hesitated because it sounded dumb. But it was the only other explanation with no one around. “God? Did I die in the crash?” The thought crossed his mind a couple of times as he had the best time of his life over the past weeks. He was slightly insulted when the voice replied with raucous laughter.

Nope,” the voice replied when his laughter died down. “No one died in the crash and I’m not God. You can call me, Mundo.”

Where are you, Mundo? I searched the whole island.”

Las Vegas.” Wyatt sat up in his bed.

“What the hell?” He exclaimed aloud, then repeated it for Mundo. “What the hell? I can only read the minds of people nearby.

And I can speak into the mind of anyone on Earth from anywhere,” Mundo replied. “I think my power wins.” It made Wyatt think of the other passengers when Mundo mentioned he could invade anyone’s mind.

No one died in the crash?” Wyatt asked himself aloud. He did not give the other passengers much thought. He assumed they all drowned or someone else would have been on the island with him.

What happened to the other passengers?” he asked.

Rescued.” Anger flared in Wyatt’s gut.

You knew I was here and let them get rescued without me?” Wyatt’s hands trembled. Despite deciding to stay, that had been his own decision. The fact that he was forced to stay was something else entirely.

“Of course. I put you there. I made sure the plane crashed safely near coast guard lanes.”

“Why me?” A million questions flooded Wyatt’s mind, but that one seemed to be the most important.

It’s what you wanted,” Mundo replied. “I wish people would just shut up,” Mundo added with a deep, mocking tone. “I wish I could go somewhere to be alone for a while.” he continued. “I wish I was alone.”

“Oh yeah,” Wyatt had all but forgotten his daily struggles surrounded by people. “What did you mean, ‘If I knew about myself’?'” he asked.

Your favorite number is 28,” Mundo replied. While Wyatt wondered how that answered his question Mundo continued. “I planned to talk to you about it more, I set aside a few hours to check on you. But since you spent most of it ignoring me, that conversation will have to wait until another time. I have other things to do now, so just answer this for me: Do you want to stay there or be rescued?”

“I want to stay,” Wyatt replied. Now that the decision was his again he felt comfortable staying for a while at least. If Mundo was going to check on him again, he could ask to be rescued at a later time.

Cool, I’m headed out. Talk to you in a couple of centuries if you’re still around.”

Wait,Wyatt said aloud. “WHAT?!” he tried asking Mundo mentally.   There was only the silence of his own thoughts.

Melon-Call-y

What’s wrong?” Milo thought the question. He sat on the sun-faded green leather seat of his school bus. The teenager noticed an uneasy feeling in the back of his mind as soon as he woke; and, it grew more uncomfortable as the morning wore on. By the time he climbed on the bus to school, he realized the anxiousness wasn’t coming from him. Though he considered the voice in his head a friend, he rarely initiated contact. He never needed to, she often chatted up a storm. She told him stories about her day or things that happened at school. Secretly Milo felt proud of his imagination for coming up with such a rich backstory.

How’d you know?” the thought formed in his mind with a girl’s voice. “Duh, nevermind. Sorry, nervous.”

It’ll be alright,” he thought as the bus reached the school. He did not know what would be alright, but it was the only thing he could think to say. The broad platitude served him well over the years when dealing with the voice. He grew up with the voice in his mind. He distinctly remembered the voice talking before he could. It was ever-present and he accepted it as a natural part of life.

Milo walked straight to his first class after disembarking the bus. He did not have any friends to stop and visit with. He was friendly enough to everyone, but never pursued any friendships. The voice in his head ensured he never felt lonely. He was the first student to Biology and sat at the tall, black, two-person lab table. Milo doodled while he waited for class to start. Then other students began filing in. He kept drawing, but as more students found their seats he felt panic growing in his gut.

I’m late, I’m late, I’m late!” the thought repeated in his mind. The Biology teacher walked in and closed the door behind himself as the bell rang. The high pitched beep was drowned out. “I’M SO LATE!” she yelled in his mind. Like the silence throughout most of the morning, the stress he felt flowing through him was also new. Before he could try and console her with another blanket statement, a girl shoved the door open and rushed to step inside the classroom. The purple-haired girl in jeans and a rock band’s t-shirt stopped when she realized all eyes were on her.

“Sandra Mata?” The teacher asked. The girl nodded slightly.

“Okay, find a seat anywhere,” he told her, then he looked up at the rest of the class. “Today we have a new student. I expect all of you to do your best and be welcoming to her. Now, let’s get started.” The teacher pulled down the projection screen then dimmed the lights. Sandra found the only empty seat, next to Milo, and directed her attention to the video starting.

PHEW! I made it,” the thought came to Milo. “Sorry, there was a lot going on this morning. But now I’m in class, and we’re watching a stupid movie.”

No problem, I’m glad you made it,” Milo thought his reply. He did not bother mentioning the movie. He knew the voice wouldn’t have mentioned the movie if he wasn’t watching one too. After several spooky coincidences over the years, Milo realized that his imagination knew everything he knew.

But I am sitting next to a cute boy,” her thoughts said. Milo chuckled, amused with himself. Obviously, his imagination realized he found the new girl attractive and built a story out of that. It interested Milo enough to find out what he really thought about the girl.

Oh yeah? Tell me about him,” he replied.

What? You never ask me anything,” his mind replied. He felt a smug satisfaction growing in his chest. “You’re jealous!”

No, I’m not jealous, just bored. Tell me about him. Entertain me!” he joked. Milo hoped his mind was in an entertaining mood.

He’s kind of scrawny, but in a cute way,” she replied. Milo cast a side glance at Sandra to double check, but she was definitely not scrawny when she rushed into the classroom. Maybe his mind picked up more detail than he did. “He’s got bright blue glasses and dark brown hair.” Milo definitely did not see any glasses on her, and her hair was a beautiful shade of violet. He began to wonder what his mind was describing when Sandra nudged his elbow with hers.

“Hi, I’m Sandra,” she whispered. Milo barely heard her, but he nodded and smiled.

“I’m Milo,” he said.

And his name’s Milo,” the voice in his mind said. Milo froze. He felt thankful for the movie playing on the screen and the dim lighting in the classroom. As far as anyone knew he was watching the movie, but his mind was racing.

Hey, why were you so nervous this morning anyway?” Milo asked in his head.

I told you like a dozen times. New city, new school. I don’t know anyone here, and I was almost late today. I was late, but not enough that anyone cared,” she explained.

What’s your name?” Milo asked for the first time. He was not sure if he wanted to hear a name or not.

Are you serious right now?” she asked.

About what?”

It took you 14 years to ask for my name!” A happy flutter vibrated in Milo’s stomach. “It’s Sandra. What’s yours?”  she asked. Milo turned to Sandra and said it a bit louder.

“Hi, I’m Milo,” he introduced himself again. “I’m scrawny, but in a cute way,” he smiled.

NO WAY!” she screamed in his mind while her eyes grew in surprise. Milo gave an exaggerated shrug.

I guess, yes way,” he thought.