Energy and Matter: Part 4

4.

Told You So

“C’mon, c’mon,” Hailey muttered, cell-phone at her ear.

A pause gave way to Elise groaning, “Nuhgh. Hello?”

“Thank god.”

“Hailey?”

“Are you okay? Did you get home alright? Did anyone follow you?”

Elise yawned, checked her clock. “Hailey, it’s four-thirty in the morning. What’re you–”

“Did anyone follow you home? Did anything seem out of place?”

“What? No. Why?”

Hailey sighed relief, but her voice sharpened. “Don’t go to school alone. Pick me up first.”

Elise groaned again.“Is this about the psychic thing?”

“I’ll explain later. Just promise you’ll pick me up before school.”

Elise sighed, “Fine. I promise. Can I go back to sleep now?”

Hailey swallowed her fears, “Yes. Sorry. Just… please be here.”

“I will be.”

The line cut out. Hailey suddenly realized she’d been pacing. She set her phone on the end-table, sank to her bed beside it. There was no way she’d sleep again, but resting wouldn’t hurt. She laid back on her bed, eyes closed and mind racing. A thousand different scenarios of what could happen raced past. All of them were changed. Being there ensured no-one took Elise by surprise. If Hailey had her way, they wouldn’t take her at all.

By the time her alarm went off, Hailey was wired. She shot out of bed, showered, dressed and ate in record time. Moments later, the front door sounded and Elise slipped inside from the rain. Hailey’s parents had already left for work, relinquishing the house to girls that tended toward mischief. Today, Hailey wasn’t in the mood for it. All she wanted was to get Elise to school safely.

“So, what happened exactly?” Elise asked, having heard the story twice already. She was still confused as to the dire urgency of a 4 AM phone call.

“You were driving to school and got hit. Someone kidnapped you, then started hurting you.”

Elise shook her head. “That doesn’t make sense. It was probably just a–”

“It wasn’t just a dream, Elise! It was the same thing that happened at school.”

“Except it hasn’t happened,” Elise reminded.

Yet. Because you haven’t gotten there yet.

“Who knows if I will?”

Hailey paced through her kitchen, hands rubbing her sore and tired eyes. She sank into a lean against a counter. Elise watched, more empathetic than anything, but Hailey’s dream was outlandish; something like that couldn’t happen, let alone to her. The fact that one vision had come true didn’t mean another would. Even now, there was no way of knowing if Hailey had made parts up.

She believed the mind-reading, but precognition? The last vision could’ve been a fluke, or the dream-vision just a dream. The only thing that really mattered was its obvious affect on Hailey. She was on-edge. Real or not, believing it had worked her up. Then again, if she was right, there was real danger. Elise couldn’t help feeling she deserved the benefit of doubt, for now at least.

“I get you’re worried. And I’m grateful you care and all. But what’re the chances it’ll still happen now that we know about it? I mean, you’ve directly interfered. Doesn’t that guarantee some change? And even then, does anything guarantee it will?”

Hailey’s arms fell to her sides, “I don’t know. I-I mean, I have no idea how any of this is supposed to work. I just… can’t let you go to school alone.”

“Then come with me. It is the reason I came over,” Elise said simply.

Hailey despaired. Elise’s tone was too naive, too innocent. She hadn’t felt the crack of bone, or the jolting whiplash of the car accident. She hadn’t heard the twist of steel and the shattering of glass, or felt hands grappling her limbs. Hailey had. She wasn’t sure she’d ever forget it. The memory made her finger hurt and upturned her stomach.

Elise sought confirmation of their ride together. Hailey breathed to calm her frustration: Elise clearly wasn’t getting the depth of things.

“I just don’t want to have to say I told you so, Elise,” she said finally. “This can’t be one of those situations.”

“Okay. If something happens, we’ll deal. Deal?” Hailey half-nodded. Elise eyed her phone, “We better go, we’re gonna’ be late.”

Hailey did her best to still her queasy stomach as she grabbed up her pack and led the way to Elise’s civic. Her head swiveled, searched their surroundings for anyone or anything out of place. To her dismay, the neighborhood was dull as ever– as if nary a blade of grass was out of place. Everything was all perfectly normal, save Hailey. She didn’t like it. It was the too-quiet silence before catastrophe.

She slipped into the car and locked the doors. Elise ignored it. They buckle up, then eased form the driveway and along Bacatta’s suburban streets. Morning traffic from students and workers grew to a near traffic jam along the main streets toward BHS.

“Don’t go down Armistice,” Hailey instructed.

“What? That’s the fastest way to Orwell.”

“Just don’t. You were hit on Armistice. Go around Elm. Cut through the alleys.”

Elise’s eyes rolled stiffly. “This is getting ridiculous.”

Hailey wanted to snap, but Elise turned onto Elm’s asphalt and kept her fury at bay. Granted, she was right, it didn’t make Hailey wrong. Elm was a long, snaking road that cut a downward slope through a portion of isolated elevation. The civic rolled down through the ran, following the water along its sloping curves and stopping at a cross-street. The water continued on ahead, leveling out in an alley and rolling into its storm-water grates.

Elise gave Hailey a final look, sighed and followed the water. They entered the alleyway behind a set of strip-mall-like groupings sitting back to back. Hailey could see Orwell a quarter-mile ahead, at the alley’s end; the city’s main road and the same one the high-school was on. More and more, she wondered what had changed. Would someone still attempt to kidnap Elise? Or herself? Wouldn’t they have wanted fewer witnesses? And if Hailey was the eventual target, wouldn’t they attempt it doubly if–

The car rocked over a loud blast. Hailey’s nerves shed their sheathes. She was instantly shaking. Elise skidded to a stop in the middle of the alley, threw off her belt and rushed out. Hailey scrambled after her, mind still racing, and stomach rising. Elise fell to a crouch by the rear-left tire. Hailey stumbled over, terrified, found her beside it, coat in the light drizzle and knee wet from the alley.

“God damn it, Hailey,” she shouted. “Do you have any idea what this is gonna’ cost to get fixed!? This is all ‘cause of you’re paranoid b-s.”

Hailey deflated, however relieved she found herself. “I’m sorry, Elise. I didn’t mean–”

“Save it!”

Elise huffed, leaned into the car to turn off the engine, and unlocked the trunk. She fished through it, tossed out a jack, a steel bar, and a dug for a spare tire.

Hailey hunched against the rain, “What’re you doing?”

Irritation bleed through her sarcasm as if a freshly opened vein. “Changing the tire, genius. What’s it look like?” She hesitated, dried her glasses, “Was this in your vision? Blowing a tire on the way to school?”

“No,” Hailey admitted quietly, eyeing the alleway’s ends as cars zoomed past.

A delivery van pulled up to the rear of a building far ahead. A pair of men stepped out in jumpsuits and ballcaps, and lingered near the van’s rear. Fear stabbed at Hailey’s chest, but dissipated when they began carrying boxes into the back of a building.

Hailey crouched beside Elise, watched her crank the jack, “Can I do anything to help?”

“No,” she snapped, panting. She apologized, “I don’t know what to make of all this. Yesterday, my biggest worry was–”

Ceramic brakes squeaked a few paces away, cut her off. Both girls stopped to see an identical delivery van now parked before them. Hailey stood up first. Another pair of men climbed out. Deja vu made Hailey’s head swim.

One of the men was older, grayer, and clad in a baseball cap he affixed as he climbed down, “Gotta’ flat, huh?”

Elise eased up beside Hailey, steel bar in-hand and hidden behind her back. As much as she’d doubted Hailey, she wasn’t about to risk it. The two men angled toward them and the girls inched closer together.

“You alright?”

Hailey spoke, “Yeah. Nothing we can’t handle. Thanks though.”

The younger man glanced sideways with a smile. Time slowed. Hailey watched his head turn, something in his ear caught light; fleshy and brown, but too pastel-like to match his skin. It looked like an ear-piece from a spy shows. It was hard to see, but undoubtedly smooth plastic, not skin. She managed a quick swivel; the men who’d been moving boxes were now headed over.

Time resumed. Her body reacted on instinct.

She kneed the younger man’s groin. Fist-jabbed the other’s throat. Elise’s eyes bulged. She spun round, drug Elise down. Gunshots rang through the alley. The van’s windshield splintered. The girls dove for the Civic’s rear-bumper. The elder man gasped on the ground beside them. The other cradled his manhood with one hand, fished for his waist with the other.

He groaned, struggled, “Little… bitch.”

Hailey ripped the breaker-bar from Elise’s hand. Chrome flashed. Hailey’s black-bar smashed downward. The man’s temple caved inward with fleshy wetness. His body was instantly limp. Blood splattered upward, kept at-bay by the rain that gathered strength. The elder man choked for air, terropr and fury in his eyes. He struggled to fall forward, clutched at waistband. Elise’s body worked. Her leg pumped. Muffled screams sounded beneath a loose jaw. Gunfire echoed nearer by. Distant feet sprinted over dirty concrete, countering it.

Hailey peered over the trunk. A bullet shattered the window, whizzed past. She shrank with a squeak. Elise’s eyes were fixed on the man clutching his broken jaw. Her body was frozen again, but her mind seemed to be working.

A second round of gunshots sounded, quieter and higher than the others. A sudden scream prompted them to peer through the broken window. A hooded figure was charging the last jumpsuited man. He clutched his arm on the ground beside his dead comrade. Thin steel flashed, and arterial blood joined the rain in a fountain. The figure didn’t hesitate, didn’t miss a beat. Its blood-soaked Katana drew back, its body focused its sprint on the girls.

Elise bolted. Hailey was a half-second behind. They reached the alley’s end. Elise continued onward, gripped by terror and flight. She knew of no other path but forward, through traffic. Horns blared. Brakes squealed. Still they ran. Hailey glanced back, the figure still after them. It hurled itself into the air, cleared a car and half the road, came down to land with a roll, and was up and running again as unaffected as before.

Hailey’s terror mounted, fueling her forward. Elise’s break-neck pace was almost impossible to keep up with, but she managed to keep close. They got far enough along the sidewalk that they were about to leave the figure behind when another van skidded to a stop across the road. Bodies piled out. Elise diverted back into the road. Automatic weapons-fire echoed behind them. Each round was a stab of adrenaline and dose of fear. The sounds were silenced by the same, singular, high-pitch as before.

Hailey caught up at last, pointed them down another alley. They disappeared from sight, wheezing and panting, stumbling and nearly falling mid-run. Hailey chose a door at random, and burst into the darkened backroom of an empty shop. They shut the door and hid, huddled in a nearby corner with their hearts racing and breath ragged.

Before they could think to speak, the door burst open. The hooded figure appeared, cast in black silhouette. Its pistol rose on the corner where they huddled, the deadly blade gleaming like a bloody beacon at its side. Adrenaline surged through Hailey. The pistol sank to the figure’s side. Before she knew what was happening, she found herself charging. The figure side-stepped. Hailey missed her tackle, dove for a wall and fell to the floor instead.

The figure holstered its pistol beneath its cloak and stepped toward Hailey. It shook off its hood, revealing a cascade of golden-flax hair and brown feline eyes. Hailey rolled to the side, stared up at the face of a girl no older than herself. From a distance, she might have looked much younger. Her skin was fairer than Hailey expected, and she was petite, short.

Her eyes surveyed Hailey with a hardened disappointment, “Seers are usually smarter. And better trained. But just finding out will do that.”

She offered Hailey a hand. Hailey remained still, frozen in place. Her eyes darted between the girl and Elise behind her. “Wh-who are you?”

“Yasmine Roma. Most people call me Yaz,” she said stiffly, eyeing her own hand.

Hailey hesitated, then took it. The girl pulled her up; young, but immensely strong.

“Does that mean … you’re a Seer?” Hailey asked.

“No,” she deadpanned.

Elise slowly inched to her feet. She stepped over as if the floor might give way at any second.

Hailey watched her, “Why are you here?”

“Isn’t it obvious?” She asked with a rising brow. Hailey squinted in reply. “I was sent to retrieve you and your friend before… well, they got here. I was almost too late. You got lucky. Sorry.” Distant sirens bled in from outside. Yasmine’s ears perked up. She swept the pair with her eyes, “We need to go. I cut down what was here, but others will be looking for you.”

“Why?” Elise finally asked.

Yasmine’s gaze danced between them, “Because she is a Seer, and you know too much.”

“How do you know?”

Her eyes fell to Hailey explicitly, “It doesn’t matter right now. What does is that you come with me. Otherwise, you’ll be hunted down for experimentation and dissection.” They eyed her with equal measures incredulity and horror. She ignored both. “Now or never. Or would you rather I leave you here for them?”

“We’ll go,” they chorused together.

“Good.” She headed outside, pressed a finger at her ear, “Off Jackson. Behind the bar.”

Hailey and Elise followed, however apprehensively. In the distance, emergency lights flashed red and blue, or red and white across buildings and roads. A large pick-up with a bed-cap roared down the alley from the far-side spraying water in puddles. Yasmine directed them to its tailgate, dropped it and raised the cap’s blacked out rear-window. A load of electronics and other gear was fitted inside at the bed’s front. The small windows were covered but accessible and holes had been cut in the inner-liner to blow air from conduits channeled from the cab for climate control.

Yaz climbed in and offered Hailey her hand again. She hesitated, “How do I know we can trust you?”

“I’ll give you a good reason when I think of one.”

The remark was oddly reassuring. Enough that Hailey climbed in and help Elise up after her. Yaz pulled the tailgate up with a length of rope, used another to shut the cap window. The truck began to roll forward as Hailey found herself wondering what the hell she was getting into.

Missed Part 3? Find it here!

Energy and Matter: Part 3

3.

Go Google Yourself

Hailey and Elise found a place beneath a massive oak tree to sit and smoke. By all accounts, it was the perfect day for it; not too hot or cold, lively wildlife, and just enough of a breeze to keep the air from stagnating without blowing the weed away. The pair soaked up the spring afternoon in peaceful silence. Elise’s whispers were quieted by Hailey’s continual concentration on not hearing them. Hopefully, it would become second nature. For now, easing the throbbing headache was enough.

Despite the serenity, obvious tension clung to the air between them. Hailey’s newfound ability had met its match in what Elise had revealed. Given the emotions brewing beneath both subjects, there a conversation or two was to be had. For the moment, they were occupied by the bag in Elise’s lap. She gave the joint a final lick and her tongue ring glinted at Hailey’s eye.

The signs of her changing sexuality seemed more obvious now, but nothing was so glaring out of context. The conversations they hoped to avoid were entwined now, but Hailey kept quiet to enjoy the clean air and pure bud.

She blocked out the whispers by focusing on the wind: whoever had these abilities naturally must hide them expertly– or was incurably insane. She wasn’t sure which direction she was headed yet. Elise passed the joint. She took a deep hit, exhaled a plume of smoke. Her head fogged over to obscure the whispers. The vise lifted from her head, allowing her to relax against the tree-trunk.

“Damn, that’s good weed. Where’d you get it?”

Elise chuckled, “That’s like asking where the bodies are hidden. You know you aren’t getting an answer.”

Hailey managed a snort, “There’s bodies now?”

Elise winked over a wavy smile. Hailey managed a laugh. Elise took another hit. The joint made its rhythmic passage between them without need of acknowledgment, but the tension was nearer than they liked. Elise took the joint back and inhaled a massive drag.

She spoke from a shallow throat, “Guess we should talk ‘bout the elephants, huh?”

Hailey blew a long, defeated cloud of smoke. “I guess.”

Elise passed the joint, “We did ditch class for it.”

Hailey worked up her courage, “You wanna’ go first?”

“Oh no.” She gave a firm shake of her head. “You brought us out here, you spill it. Besides, it’s not like there’s much to say about… my thing, anyway.”

Hailey wasn’t sure she agreed, but went ahead. “I told you, I was… meditating about this book, and now I can hear people’s thoughts. It’s weird. And scary. And I want it to stop.”

“Not to mention pretty intrusive. No offense.”

Hailey deflated, “I know. Who would want this? And why me? And what about that vision thing? Is this how my life’s going to be now? Hearing people’s deepest secrets and living stuff twice while passing out? What the hell kind of life’s that?”

Elise shrugged, “Sort’a sounds like a gift to me.”

“A gift!?” Hailey blurted. “You’re out of your mind.”

“Think about it. It’s like a super power. You get the cool stuff, like hearing what your crush thinks, and the not so cool stuff– like, well, having to see bad things before they happen.” Hailey’s mouth squirmed with dread. “Maybe though, being able to see it happen means you can keep it from happening, like a superhero.”

Hailey’s mouth continued to make funny shapes, “Elise, you’re nuts. This can only be a bad thing. Why would you want to hear what people think?”

She cocked an eyebrow up, “It’d be a lot easier to date… But yeah, I get it.”

Hailey whined, head in her hands, “This is not happening. It’s a dream. A hallucination. Too many mushrooms– are there such things as ‘shroom flashbacks?”

Elise shrugged, “Never heard of ‘em.” She took the last hit off the joint then snuffed it in the grass, “But if you wanna’ know about something, check the ‘net. You know, google it.”

“Google what? How to tell if you’re psychic?” She snipped derisively.

“Why not?”

Hailey groaned, “This is so not good I can’t find a word for it.”

“Bad?”

“It’s beyond that.”

Elise stared off into space, “Beyond bad. Hmm…”

Hailey let her words ring for a moment, “I’ll look into it, but… can I ask you something?”

“Hmm?” She said with a glassy-eyed look.

“What made you realize–”

“That I’m Gay?” Elise said with a raised brow.

“Yeah, sure… gay.”

Elise considered it, “Probably rubbing off to girls instead of guys.”

Hailey’s face crumpled, “T-M-I.”

“You asked.”

Hailey rolled her eyes. “You haven’t told anyone else, huh?”

“Technically I didn’t tell you. But no.”

“Is it hard? Living with that secret, I mean?”

Elise pawed at her hair, flattened it from the breeze, “Not really. It’s not like anyone’s asking. My parents like that I’m not dating and the rest of my family wouldn’t care anyhow.”

“What about your other friends?”

“You mean the invisible ones here now?” She asked with a smart-assed, sweeping hand.

“C’mon, it’s not like I’m you’re only friend,” Hailey argued. “What about Trent and those guys? Or Mal and her group?”

“They’re more acquaintances than friends. Trent and his friends mostly want to bang me. And Mal and the others just mooch my weed. You’re the only one I’d consider a real friend.”

The admission stung her heart a little. “Quality over quantity,” Hailey reassured her.

Elise’s mouth puffed out a little. The rest of her face rose and fell, “That’s what I keep saying.” An awkward silence descended. Hailey broke it to move on, “So, um, any crushes then?”

Is this your way of trying to get me to say I like you?

“Don’t think that,” Hailey corrected. “I’d just ask.”

“Sorry, but no. I’m still trying to figure out what my, uhm– type?– is, I guess. Not you.”

Hailey laughed, “No wonder we can only stand each other. We’re like a couple of whiney old ladies; the haggish psychic and the smart-ass lesbian.”

Elise chuckled, pushed herself up “C’mon, let’s head to your house and google psychic stuff.”

“Okay,” Hailey said, following her up. “And maybe some lesbian porn, if there’s time.”

She shoved Hailey playfully, “Jerk.”

Hailey shoved back, “Lez-bo.” Hailey gave her a sideways hug as they walked. “This person loves you at least.”

“Enough for me,” Elise said, less sarcastically than usual.

They headed back to Elise’s car and made for Hailey’s house. On arrival, they piled their stoned arms full of pantry-booty, then headed to Hailey’s room to sit side-by-side at her desk, surfing the net for anything even remotely related to psychics. Eventually, they ended up on her bed propped in various positions with the high wearing thin. Elise lie near the bed’s edge, feet in the air on a wall, and reading from an e-tablet. At the head of the bed, Hailey sat cross-legged to sift search results for anything outside conclusive proof of human insanity.

“Check this out,” Elise said, righting herself to face Hailey. “Separation between Seer and norm is genetic, but requires the activation of the Seer’s latent abilities. Most usually, through accessing The Link, an otherwise cryptic name for the state of mind connecting Seers to their sight-based power and the energy that they rely on. Sound familiar?”

“The Link? What the hell kind of name is that? How reputable’s this site?”

Elise shrugged, “How reputable are any of ‘em?” Hailey saw her point. “Anyway, I don’t think there’s a “Psychic Handbook.”

“Probably not,” Hailey despaired.

A knock sounded on her door and she was suddenly glad her psychic abilities were suppressed. The last thing she wanted was knowing her mother’s twisted thoughts. Her head poked through the door, her face an aged version of Hailey’s. She stuck it into the room with her top-half, held on the door’s edge as if about to be swept away on a rapid.

“Hi, Elise.”

“Hi, Mrs. Ferguson,” Elise said with a wave.

“Hailey, your father and I are going out to dinner. There’s money on the kitchen table. Order whatever you want, but I want the change, okay?” Hailey nodded. “Have a good time and be good.”

“You too,” Hailey said. “Have fun I mean.”

Mom let the rapid pull her from the door as it shut. Elise chided her, “Your mom’s kinda’ hot.” Hailey faked gagging. Elise laughed, half covering her face, “I didn’t mean it. I just wanted to see your reaction.” Hailey gagged again. “C’mon, free food’ll help.”

They grabbed their respective tech to head for the kitchen. Before long they’d settled on a pizza from a place down the road. Delivery meant more time to waste on the net– and sneaking to Elise’s car for another joint. They returned lighter than before and in time for the pizza to arrive. For a while, Hailey forgot the world, soaking instead in the ambrosial mix of food and grass so often the cherry atop a good night.

Tonight it felt less good. Something about her fainting spell nagged at her. Contrary to expectations too, even the less tinfoil-hat websites hadn’t mentioned anything about it. Whatever had happened to her, however similar it was– if the web were truthful– there was a definite difference in her. Nowhere had she read anything about fainting or migraines. The most common side-effects ranged from minor paranoia to full-blown psychosis. She didn’t need either of those. Part of her was grateful for headaches and faints instead, but the rest wondered what made her different from other Seers– if indeed she were one.

The more she thought, the more the word seeped into the cracks of her mind. “Seer” had been defined as one whose mental abilities allow access to future, or present, remote events. Her vision at school easily fit the former definition, but what about hearing voices? Was “Seer” separate to her, like she was separate from a “norm?”

Her mind fell to The Link. Supposedly Seers used it to access their powers. If her suppositions and experiences aligned, it was the thing linking them to the “dark energy” her book’s author had presented as the force through which such abilities manipulated reality. If that was true, there was no telling what a Seer was capable of if properly trained.

Dark energy and dark matter were said to be the counter-balances to the universe. In ways, as much had already been proven via Relativity and the blunder of the cosmological constant. In others, the sole question remained of whether or not the “dark” affected them. In no way were there questions of if these things existed. Unfortunately, if that book’s author proved right, Hailey had just been given a sizable chunk of power over the universe– or at least, access to said power.

She didn’t like the idea, liked where things were heading even less. Being a psychic wasn’t high on her list of priorities. Had it been on the list at all, it would’ve been nearer the bottom, far below things like; “don’t flunk out of school,” and “get a job, or get a car.” It made her squirm to think of it being on the list, but it wasn’t the thing bothering her most about being a “Seer.” That was something else. Something beneath the factual tones of net-articles, and even the incredulity Elise used; fear.

Fear dominated all of the information she’d taken in. Seers were simultaneously respected, awed, and terribly feared. She could only think of Tolkien and his “affairs of wizards” when she considered it. Even after her high wore off, and Elise left for the night, Hailey couldn’t help but wonder at it:

What would her life would be like now? Anyone that learned her secret, and accepted it as truth, would be leery of her. She doubted Elise would ever outwardly show it, but she was obviously uncomfortable with someone listening to her most private thoughts. Hailey wanted everything to be a bad dream or a bad joke.

She forced herself into a restless sleep, peppered by dreams of random nothingness. Midway through, one dream hit her hard. She found herself lucid, conscious of the dream-state. Terror stirred her gut. Bile burst up her throat.

Elise slid into her car outside her home. Morning fog rolled beneath overcast skies warning of ill omens. Half-way through Elise’s trip to school, Hailey’s gut wrenched into a knot.

Then, glass shattered. Metal twisted. Elise’s head hit her window. The impact’s bloody orb splintered in a spider-web. In a blink, hands went ’round Elise’s half-conscious body. She was grappled out the door over aggressive shouts.

As if time skipped, Hailey saw a darkened room. Elise was lashed to a chair. Hailey could neither move nor speak. As if stuck on-high, helpless and consigned to watching. A muffled voice demanded something. A silhouetted figure knelt behind Elise. A moment later, a resounding crack of bone echoed through the room. Hailey was ripped from sleep by breaking fingers.

She yelped, upright, sweating, and feeling her hand where the finger had been broken. It was fine. The residual pain from the dream was already fading. No other explanation was needed. The dream was a vision. Another one.

Far from being benign as the last, if reality held true, Elise would be kidnapped and tortured. As the seconds passed, residual guilt from the dream told Hailey it was because of her. She wasn’t sure how or why but her gut confirmed it. If she wasn’t careful, Elise would die soon.

Missed part 2? Find it here!

Energy and Matter: Part 2

2.

In Through An “Out” Door

Dinner was the first time she heard them, but given her state, Hailey ignored the voices. School the next day was another story. At dinner the disjointed conversation between her parents could be reasoned to make sense, somehow. This was different. The unconnected dissonance finally revealed itself in full as she passed through BHS’ rear-doors for its crowded commons area.

A usual morning’s din was sluggish half-speech over silent breakfasting of the less-than-morning students. Today, a sea of whispers crashed against a relative silence beneath it. The sheer magnitude was staggering. Hailey stumbled like a drunkard into the commons, and toward a bench. She clutched her aching head, groping for the mental volume-knob jacked to eleven… and failing to find it.

A voice approximating her best friend’s sounded before her, mired in lisping chaos. It took a couple tries before Elise got her attention. When it finally clicked that Elise Brennan was both before her, and trying to speak, Hailey’s eyes rose slowly. They took in the pear-shaped waist and denim hip-huggers to ascend past her small breasted t-shirt in slack-jawed confusion. It was only once she reached Elise’s thinly-bespectacled, blue-gray eyes that she knew fully whom stood before her.

Elise squinted with derangement, “I asked if you were alright. Hailey?”

She shook off pain, uttered something noncommittal. Elise sat beside her on the bench, scratched the shaved side of her platinum blonde hair, then pawed the blue highlights of her bangs to flatten them; a habitual act.

“You’re out of it today. You get a bag of spacey-weed or something?”

Hailey half-shook her clutched head, fought to sift through the crashing surf to pin down Elise’s voice. She managed dim the others a little, but the constant lisps remained.

“I… something happened last night,” she moaned. “Now my head’s killing me.”

“Were you taking Xanax again?” Elise asked, caustically. “I told you that shit messes you up!”

“No.” She paused to wince and grimace. “I wasn’t taking anything.”

Elise’s face resettled into its usual visage. Her glasses slipped downward. She nudged them back up with a finger, “Good. So, what happened?”

“I don’t really know–” The five minute bell cut her off. Elise stood beside her, helped her up. “I’ll tell you about it later.”

“Are you gonna’ be okay?”

Another noncommittal mutter allowed Hailey to depart for class. Her usual meandering was absent. Class was difficult to focus on. The whispers were a fraction of what they’d been, but much louder, directed. Dozens of voices, too jumbled to be understood, meleed for attention. Hailey didn’t want to understand them. She wanted them to go away. Half way through her last morning class she laid her head on her desk to rest a moment, then was suddenly torn from bliss by a lunch bell.

Oddly enough, lunch was quieter. Internally. Externally, it was the same as ever. Hailey found a secluded corner, and ate from a bag lunch with her headphones fighting valiantly to drown out the ever-present voices. It was a shame the battle was lost from the start, given the voices were coming from inside. Even after finishing her food, she kept them in, hoping to space-out enough to unravel her knotted mess of thoughts.

Everything stemmed from the Dark Matter book. That much was obvious. Nothing made sense without it and everything began after reading it. She tried to piece together– or rather break down, piece by piece– the nature of matter. According to quantum mechanics, its hierarchical structure ended with solid matter. Going backward mentally, she’d begun stripping matter into its more basic forms.

At the time, she’d focused on heat and a leaf. In simple terms, heat was a process acting on a thing, matter, to alter its properties. Conversely, a leaf was the thing acted upon. The collection of energy, or heat, into the matter caused it to warm. The book’s author had often posited a similar transference of energy– from thought– as the cause of dark energy.

Hailey couldn’t even begin to fathom what had caused him to begin formulating his theories, but he fitted them to established facts in a curiously logical way. He’d likened the effects of thought to those of heat produced via friction. Like rubbing one’s hands together, thought and brain-waves produced an effect that radiated from the thinker. EEG machines took advantage of this fact.

However, the author extended these facts to his theory, positing that such brain-waves continued to radiate outward, eventually becoming too sparse to measure via our insesitive instruments. In effect, they did not ever truly fade, merely echoed at lower and lower wave-lengths, transferring their energy from the mind to cosmos. This transference then, might account for the growing increase of dark energy, and in turn, the accelerating expansion of the universe.

When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction on the first body. In simplest terms, every action has an equal and inverse reaction. Newton’s “Third Law of Motion.” Simultaneously one of the simplest, and most revolutionizing, concepts in history. Hailey knew it well, but the Author might rival Newton’s contribution, if his wild theories proved true. If what was happening to her was what he’d suggested– and not a mental breakdown, it meant a revolution for not only physics, but all of human kind.

Hailey recalled a passage from the book while Pink Floyd soothed her mind into soaring further from the din and the migraine it was causing:

If dark energy is then the manifestation of psychokinetic processes— that is, mental processes which create energy– it is a fair assumption to find intelligent life as its source. Humanity included, however much our experiences might dictate otherwise.

“If true, should not see our world as one of possibly many points from which the universe’s expansion emanates? In theory, yes. Unfortunately, none of our observations supports this. One may only further postulate then, that either natural wellsprings exist elsewhere in the universe, or that other beings with similar mental aptitude exist through-out it.

“Taking this to mean there are multiple points of expansion, we might see how, like the gravity-pocked curved fabric of the cosmos itself, the various wellsprings could mesh into a form deceptive at smaller scales and only evident at larger ones. In other words, that while the entirety of the cosmos’ expansion is not fueled by our minuscule place in it, we might nonetheless remain yet a pinhole leak fueling the spillway.

Most things regarding alien life was beyond Hailey’s realm of knowledge, at least logically speaking. Her suspension of disbelief could be extended for the posterity of scientific theorizing, but otherwise, she wasn’t about to speculate on it. In this way though, his theory seemed sound. Combined with her experiences, a lone passage placed him in the realm of right.

“Thus by acting as heat might to molecules, it is possible for pyschokinetic energy, or dark energy, to be manipulated, as well as to manipulate the fields of various, other forms of matter or energy. The only barrier is method with which the force is interfaced. Returning to our metaphor, we bring heat to the leaf only with the right tools. Most of the time, this is a lighter.

“Overall, the interaction of these fields, as evidenced by their effects on the cosmos at-large, might allow for smaller scale interactions (such as telekinesis, precognition, or telepathy) for one who’s managed to harness some method of interfacing with the thought-generated energy. Given the mind may be the mechanism for its creation, the interface itself might be as simple as “the right thoughts, making it no different from setting the leaf alight by passing the proper temperature.”

Whether he’d been right intentionally, or a crackpot stumbling onto one of the universe’s great secrets wasn’t clear. What was clear was that Hailey had begun to access that energy, linking to it through proper, mental stimulation. At least, she hoped that was the case. Otherwise, there was something seriously wrong with her, and she was probably going to end up institutionalized.

When the bell rang to signal the end of lunch, Hailey didn’t hear it. She sensed it– not with her new, special, and completely undesired powers, but by the obvious mass-exodus proceeding around her. She half-stood as something hit her Occiptal. Hard.

She fell to her knees and hands. Crowds surged around outside her, oblivious. She growled an obscenity, fingers nursing with begrudging pressure as she moved to stand again.

A second blow to the temple knocked her sideways to her knees. She staggered. A pained yelp escaped. White-light flooded her vision. Images flickered past. Her lungs fought for air, unable to inflate. A hallway crowded with students parted for EMTs rushing someone through on a stretcher. To her side, Hailey faintly heard Elise’s voice over the tidal wave of whispers.

A moment later, she was staring at the floor from an angle, her head propped against a brick wall and throbbing worse than ever. A small trickle of drool leaked from a corner of her mouth beneath wet eyes. Another groan and she straddled rubber legs for a footing. Her tears wiped black eyeliner to streaks across her fingers.

Her legs half-swaggered, half-stumbled toward the nearest bathroom. The halls were largely vacant already, but Hailey suddenly didn’t care about tardiness. She stood before a mirror, wiping her running eyeliner beneath bloodshot eyes. Her eyes said she’d smoked a joint, her cheeks said she’d been crying. Neither one could be anywhere near the level of reality.

She checked her cell-phone clock: she wasn’t about to be late for class, she was late for class, by fifteen minutes. How? She’d only just heard the bell, only just saw the crowds start to form. What the hell was going on? And what were those images? A vision? It couldn’t have been a dream. It didn’t feel like one. It felt real. Yet to come. Like knowing you were about to vomit, with no way to stop it, but not quite being there yet.

The more she tried to think on it, the louder the whispers grew, and the more sick she felt. Whatever was happening wasn’t good.

She wiped off and reapplied her make-up, then spent the rest of fifth period waiting for it to end in the bathroom. When it was over, she’d have to find Elise, convince her to ditch, and carefully maneuver Elise in the right frame of mind to reveal what was happening. Whatever that entailed, she had to convince Elise of the truth, there was no other avenue forward in her mind.

When the end of fifth period came with the ringing bell, Hailey was once more in the hall near the commons. The geyser of lunch sprayed students into the crowded hall. Hailey eschewed her aloofness and half-ran for Elise’s locker. She weaved in and out of the crowd as fast as possible. Elise was at her locker, prattling on to the girl at the next locker over. Hailey skidded to a stop, doing her best not to pant desperately, and waited for the girls to say good-bye before leaning in at Elise.

“I need to talk to you.”

Elise squinted confusion. She nudged her glasses back up her nose, “Okay. Talk.”

“Not here.” Hailey eyed their surroundings. “Not in school.”

Elise’s brow furrowed, the ring in her left brow catching light. “Oh…kay.”

“Ditch with me.”

She snorted at the thought, “You’re serious? You wanna’ ditch physics?” Hailey was silent, her eyes pleading. Elise sensed the gravity of the situation, and dug her pack out, “Fine, but if we get caught, I’m blaming you.”

“Fair enough.”

Hailey pulled Elise through the crowds that thinned near a stairwell. They were down and into another crowded hall when someone started shouting something. All eyes turned to the disturbance: Vertigo upturned Hailey’s stomach. An Assistant Principal jogged toward them, shouting to clear the way. Behind him, EMTs rushed a student past on stretcher. Hailey’s mind overtook the vertigo, only to see the vision play out a second time.

Time slowed. The Principal jogged past. Whispers rose and fell, internally and externally, Elise’s among them. A second later, the stretcher rolled past, a student’s face upon that she’d never met but had seen once before. As they passed, the crowd’s heads turned to follow with a flocking motion. Only Hailey remained still, blinking hard as time passed outside normal rhythm. She turned her head to eye Elise, mind swimming through molasses. Their eyes met, blackness overtook her vision.

The next thing Hailey knew, her eyes were fluttering open on a tiled ceiling. She lie on her back on something stiffer than a concrete floor. Elise’s face overtook the view above. Hailey squinted at her, head throbbing from fluorescent lights that infected her brain with ultra-bright luminescence.

“Hailey?”

She groaned and sat upright. “Ugh. What happened?”

“You passed out. The nurse is calling your parents–”

“No.” She lowered her voice, “No, I need to talk to you.”

“Hailey, this is a little more–”

“Just trust me,” she said, standing and swaying. She found the nurse across the room, her back turned and a phone in her hand on the far-side of her desk. “Please, don’t call my parents. I’m fine. I’ll go back to class now.”

The nurse whipped ’round, frail frame and eyes moving much quicker than Hailey thought them capable. “Excuse me?” Hailey repeated her request. “I’m sorry, Ms. Ferguson, but I can’t allow you to stay here in your condition.”

Hailey did her best to lie through her teeth; she hated doing it, but was shamefully good at it. “No, it’s alright. I… I was just a little dehydrated. It happens sometimes. It used to happen a lot when I was younger too. If I don’t get enough water, plop! Down I go. I’m sorry. I should’ve paid better attention.”

The nurse eyed her skeptically, searching her for traces of deception, and finding none; a testament to Hailey’s abilities. She was particularly good at appearing innocent, had to be to keep suspicion off her when high– which was more often than not. Hailey feigned shame and relief until the woman softened.

It was a moment before the nurse sighed and hung up the phone, “Very well. I can’t hold you here if you’re up and moving.” She circled her desk for a refrigerator, fished out a bottle of water, then handed it to Hailey. “Drink this. If you end up back in here, I’m calling your parents. Okay?”

Hailey nodded with a small smile. She uncapped the water, sipped it, and thanked the nurse. The aging woman handed her a stamped hall-pass and shooed the girls out. Elise followed behind Hailey, stunned. They diverted from the offices as if heading for the rear stairwell to Physics. Then, with a cursory survey of their surroundings, they passed for the rear-doors and the school’s parking lot. It wasn’t until they slipped into Elise’s late-90s Civic and pulled from the parking lot that they spoke.

“Elise, I’ve been hearing things.”

They pulled onto the main road, “Did you eat mushrooms again or something? I swear, you’ve been weirder than ever today.”

“Elise, listen to me,” Hailey begged. “Something happened to me last night. This weird, white-light thing appeared after I was like, meditating, or something. Ever since then, I’ve been hearing voices.”

Elise looked at her with a question to her sanity, but redirected her eyes to the road. “Look, I don’t know if this is some kind of joke, but it’s not funny so, just stop. First you pass out. Now you’re talking about hearing voices. What am I supposed to think? That you’re nuts?”

“I hope not,” she said, wondering where the line between that and this lay. “Just listen, okay? I don’t care if you don’t believe it yet. Just listen. Can you do that?”

Elise’s mouth squirmed in a frown but settled into an emotionless line. They pulled to a stop at a light. “Fine. Go ahead. I’ll do my best.”

Hailey instantly launched into the events of the past few days; the book, its contents, her thoughts during and after reading. After explaining that she’d returned the book to Mr. Harmon, she continued, “I was thinking about what I’d read, and making these connections about how it might work. How a field, or something with the right properties, could affect bonds between molecules. Then I started thinking about how that might work for a person’s thoughts, if they generated that field. Then all of a sudden, it was like… reality fell away. This weird white-light appeared. I was there, in the center of it, emitting this blue light. Then my mom walked down the hall, and she was blue light too. And then, today in school, I kept hearing all these voices, but they weren’t voices, they were thoughts.”

Elise squirmed uncomfortably, steering them around a corner from a main road to a rural one. A tense silence that Hailey was almost dreading came. A few dozen whispers rose and fell; Elise’s erratic thoughts, both of fear and concern, with questions of whether it was true or not.

“There’s one way to confirm it,” Hailey said, quieting the whispers. “Think of something. Something I don’t know. Something I couldn’t possibly ever guess. Think it, and I’ll repeat it.”

You’re out of your mind.

“Something less obvious,” Hailey said with a roll of her eyes.

I didn’t say that out loud, did I?

“No. But I need to convince you.”

Elise took a deep breath, “Okay. Give me a minute to think.”

A few dozen whispers sounded at once. They all went silent together. Then, with a depressed longing, and immeasurable fear, Elise’s thought whispered; I like girls.

“Uhm. Oh,” Hailey said, eyes bulging. She stared off at the rural road passing by.

Did she really hear that!? Does she think I’m– no, she’s my best friend, she’d never think that. Would she? Is she like that? I’ve never…

“Like what?” Hailey suddenly asked.

“Huh?”

“Am I like what? A homophobe? Jesus, Elise, you know me better than that.”

Elise cleared her throat uncomfortably, “Um, okay. So… why’d you go all quiet?”

Hailey thought for a moment, shrugged, “It caught me off guard. It’s not the kind of thing I was expecting you’d say. I didn’t expect it to be so… personal.”

Elise’s heart visibly sank, “Can we not talk about this, please?”

Hailey turned her eyes at Elise, “Um, okay, but… listen, I don’t care. I mean, not like I don’t care about you. I do care about you. But it’s not a thing to me. Okay?” Elise gave a slight nod. The whispering thoughts raged forward in a jumble. “Quit thinking so many things at once, please.”

“Sorry, this wasn’t what I was expecting today,” Elise admitted, eyes intentionally forward.

“I know the feeling. We’ll just… talk about it when you’re ready, okay?” Elise nodded. “We have bigger problems. Something’s wrong with me. That kid in the hall? I saw him in this vision I had during lunch. It was like a flash of the future. Before I knew what was happening, class had started. I had to blow off the period because I was so late and felt like I was losing it.”

Elise frowned, angling the car along a gravel road toward a circular bluff of trees that surrounded a gravel parking lot. Bacatta’s Grove Park had always been a mainstay for them, and now more than ever, they needed the serenity it provided. Elise rolled to a stop and shut the engine off.

With visible difficulty, her eyes rose to meet Hailey’s. “If you’re not gonna’ judge me for… well, then I’m not going to doubt you. But honestly, Hailey, this is way beyond me. I don’t know anyone it isn’t beyond.” She reached over, fished through the glove box for a bag of weed and some rolling papers, then shut it and pocketed the items. “But I’ll help however you need. I just hope I can.”

She frowned again. It made Hailey wince. They slid out of the car together and headed into the woods.

Missed part 1? Read it here!

Energy and Matter: Part 1

1.

A Gift from A Book

Hailey Ferguson, aside from being relatively shorter than most of her friends, was an otherwise normal, maturing human being. She dated, studied, got average grades, and functioned as much on a high-school level as anyone could be said to. There was nothing externally remarkable about her, save being five-one in a school where most girls were nearer six feet. In younger years, it made her a target for ridicule, but now those girls were too obsessed with boys, girls, or themselves, to notice her roaming the halls.

Day by day, wandering was Hailey’s occupation. She drifted from one group of acquaintances to the next in a zig-zagging meander, occasionally accompanied by the lone, other human she might call a friend, Elise Brennan. The only time the rhythm broke was when the five minute bell rang. Then, alone or accompanied, she’d meander toward next destination.

Today, she was headed through the Western Stairwell, alone. She wandered down, a passive figure in a sea of hormones and adrenaline surging and roiling all about about her. Hailey was always a calm center of it all and today was hardly an exception. The sixteen-year old dirty-blonde head rounded the stairs for the second level, bobbed down, then rounded another corner for the ground-floor. The river of students gave a final push through double-doors, then dissipated on the other side.

The crowd half-smothering Hailey a moment ago all but disappeared. To others it seemed she did too, along a gradual curve for a perpendicular hallway and Mr. Harmon’s physics class. She liked Mr. Harmon. She liked his class too. But being the youngest teacher at BHS and bookishly rugged put him in a special place for her. Most of all though, Hailey loved physics. His teaching it made him infinitely more appealing.

Hailey loved physics for one, simple reason: it wedded science and mathematics in a way she wasn’t sure couldn’t explain everything in the universe and beyond, given time. Hailey was nothing if not thirsty for those explanations, and others.

Predictably then, not much could’ve made her late for physics class. She’d have rather broken the mystery of her aloofness by running madly to class before being late. Like her rhythmic meandering though, her aloof manner was in no way endangered today. She let her tranquil legs carry her to class and the left edge of the room: a prime window-seat with extra space for her pack on the floor.

The bell rang and the class settled. Mr. Harmon’s ruggedness took its place before the chalk-board with the rest of him. He waited for the last zips of back-packs to fizzle out into the air, then cleared his throat.

“Today’s lesson’s another in theoretical physics,” he said casually. He rounded for the chalk board. “Energy and Matter.” He wrote the words on the board. “The two things that comprise the entirety of the universe.” He turned back and scratched his neat beard. “To review, what is the difference between the two.”

A few hands went up, Hailey’s among them. Mr. Harmon picked Jordyn Sutton– one of the girls as soon called a slut her friends behind her back, as “BFF” to her face. Hailey’s hand sank. Jordyn cleared her throat, “Energy is a force. Matter is a substance. Like the difference between heat and fire; fire’s physical. Heat’s radiated energy.”

“Yes, very good,” he said. “Any others?”

Jordyn’s face went blank. Hands went up again, Hailey’s with them. Mr. Harmon picked her. “Anything physical versus anything with no mass but the potential for change; Ice and cold, food and calories, or light and a light-bulb.”

“Very good,” Harmon said, returning to the board and scribbling out the answers he’d received. “Now, as we learned before, we know there are extensive relationships between matter and energy, as well as anti-matter. Can anyone remind us about Anti-matter?”

Only Hailey’s hand went up this time. “Anti-matter’s like the negative charge to Matter’s positive charge, but when the two meet, they’re both annihilated from colliding. The result is the creation of mass-less objects like protons and neutrinos.”

He cocked a crooked smile, “Reading ahead again.” The room chuckled. Hailey blushed slightly. The lesson carried on. “Yes. Now, just like matter and energy, there exists dark energy and dark matter. We cannot physically measure or observe them, but their effects on other objects confirm their existence.” He drew a large circle beside a smaller one on the board, “We can visualize this. We know the Earth–” he put an E in the small circle “orbits the Sun–” then, an S in the larger circle. “Because we can track the sun’s progress along the sky. But we also know Mars orbits the sun for the same reason.” He drew another small circle, further away, with an “M.” “However, what if we could not see the sun? How would we know its there?”

Someone spoke aloud. “Because Mars and Earth are still orbiting it.”

Mr. Harmon spun ’round, pointing, “Absolutely right, Michael.” He erased the sun, then redrew it with dashed-lines. “Stars like these are not uncommon. They are impossible to see, however we know they exist because of their effects on their neighbors. We can’t see them but we see them acting on the things around them.” He turned back to the class, “In much the same way, dark matter and dark energy can neither be seen nor measured, but we their effects on the rest of the universe tell of their existence.

“For example,” He wrote “e=mc2” on the board. “Einstein’s Theory of Relativity was originally written to include a cosmological constant a mysterious force counteracting gravity to form a static, or unmoving, universe. Soon after, scientists learned the universe was not static. And in fact, was expanding rapidly. Einstein then removed the cosmological constant from Relativity, calling it, “the greatest blunder of my lifetime.”

“However, recent advances in technology and high-level mathematics have reintroduced the cosmological constant as dark energy. A force, neither seen nor measured, but known to exist because of that same, accelerating expansion that caused Einstein to rule it out. By all theories, excluding the constant requires our universe to be contracting. Observations contradict this. The universe is expanding, and that expansion is accelerating.

Hailey was entirely enthralled. All of her mental focus was on Mr. Harmon. Dark matter and dark energy had swallowed her whole. It was surreal; a thing existing, affecting an entire universe, but invisible, untouchable. It seemed more the realm of fairy-tale than science. Then again, so might wind to those unfamiliar with it. In a way, too, she sympathized with it in a rare bout of anthropomorphism– it reminded her of kids no-one knew of until it was too late.

When the bell finally rang, signaling the transition between periods, the class rose, eager for their last period and the day’s end. Evidently, Relativity applied more to high-schoolers watching ticking clocks than they realized. Hailey was often a victim of such physics-ails as well, but Before she could scamper off Harmon called her over. He handed her a book titled, “Dark Matter and You.”

“It’s not required, but I figured you’ find it interesting.”

Hailey’s eyes lit up, “Yes. Thank you!”

Mr. Harmon gave his charming, bearded smile. “It might get a little “out there,” with the author’s personal theories, but his science and coverage of others’ theories is sound.”
“I’ll do my best to power through,” she chuckled.

“Take your time. No rush,” he said, ending the conversation with a turn for his chalk-board.

Hailey bounced away and into a final period that flew by, relativity notwithstanding. Geometry was easy. She’d long ago surpassed most of her class, only electing to stay out of the AP class for fear of its homework load. That fact afforded her time to start reading Mr. Harmon’s book. She began gobbling up the information, sprinting through pages that would’ve stalled even the most learned readers. Her desire not to stop kept her reading until long after arriving home. She only just managed to keep from staying awake too late by reading herself to sleep.

By Physics the next day, she’d finished the book. She entered class early to return it, and to her surprise, Mr. Harmon wasn’t the least bit shocked she’d finished it. Despite her agreements about “out there” theories, the book had laid out complex theoretical and practical physics in such plain English, anyone would get it.

A sort of fugue state overtook her that day after school: as if only just beginning to process the information, Hailey’s brain worked. She mulled over the various, outlandish theories connecting seemingly random forces, acts, or events to dark matter or dark energy. One, particular theory though, captivated her more than any others:

In effect, it stated a possible explanation for dark energy was human thought. It’s seeming prevalence in the universe, was explained by the ever-increasing human population. That dark energy, the author posited, might even be the “essence of humanity–” what others referred to as the soul, and science called consciousness, or philosophy the “mind-body problem.” It was a stretch, the author admitted, but a possibility. On both accounts, Hailey agreed, but she became fixated on the idea all the same.

She spent the night sitting on her bed, stoned, and staring at the wall in a pseudo-meditative trance. At one point, she must’ve fallen asleep; the room dissolved, replaced by bright, white light. In the dream, she was marked upon her white-light bed by a blueish light glowing with the same, rippling ethereal quality of everything else. Afraid to disturb the peculiar dream, she let her thoughts float a while.

When she finally ripped herself back to reality, she was sitting again on her bed, refreshed but confused. Normally, sleep made her toss about, and never came during daylight hours. Between that and the obvious oddity of her state, she wondered if it was sleep at all. It wasn’t long before plunging back into her thoughts felt the best way to answer her questions– even if the dream continued to dominate them.

She let the questions echo in her mind, whispers on passing winds that kept the thoughts form remaining in place too long. A long, involuntary sigh escaped her lips and her mind slotted back to where it had been. The walls began dissolving again. Bright light flashed into being. Her heart leapt. Fear coursed through her. Whispering thoughts chased it away. She’d been here once already, even if it was a dream.

But it couldn’t be a dream. It didn’t feel like a dream. And despite her various, underwhelming talents, lucid dreaming wasn’t one.

A knock sounded on the door. Her vision flitted within the strange state, followed the ethereal, immobile white-light of walls to the doorway where another, blue figure glowed– and judging from the outlined-knob, beyond it.

“What the hell?” she breathed quietly.

“Hailey?” Her mom called from outside the door. “Honey, dinner’s ready.”

“Uh– o-okay, Mom,” she stammered.

Her mother’s blue-light figure hesitated, shrugged to itself, then meandered away, exiting the reach of the strange sight. Hailey’s mind was still slotted in place, but she jarred herself out with a thought. The light suddenly fell away, back to the room’s normal appearance. She found herself quietly panting, exhilarated.

However it had happened, she suddenly found herself agreeing with the book’s author. And summarily believing she’d linked something he’d described. The only way she could express her astonishment was with a breathy pair of words:

“Holy shit.”

Preview: Energy and Matter

Energy and Matter
(Coming 4/21/17)

Hailey is a normal teenager, if a little rough around the edges: she does her homework, hangs out with friends, and occasionally smokes a joint or two. Most of all, she loves school, physics in particular. So the book her physics teacher loans her, like most things, is welcomed and absorbed with an unmatched fervor. After racing through and returning it, Hailey finds her thoughts even spacier than usual– and complete with exhilarating trances where the world dissolves into a curious light.

But that light is becomes frightfully blinding when Hailey begins hearing others’ thoughts. As she soon learns, this new ability is only the very tip of an immense iceberg that includes prescient visions. Those visions only worsen matters when she believes her best friend’s life is in danger. Jumping into action means running headlong into a discovery that will radically alters not only her life, but the lives of her best friend and family as well.

Will this dangerous new world get the best of Hailey, or will she find herself mastering of it ? Find out here in Energy and Matter, Friday, April 21st!

Energy and Matter is a Sci-Fi novella of intrigue and action, the first installment in a new series that follows Hailey Ferguson through a life-altering revelation and beyond!

Excerpt from Chapter 1: “A Gift From A Book”

…Her heart leapt. Fear coursed through her. Whispering thoughts chased it away: she’d been here once already, even if it was a dream. But it couldn’t be. It didn’t feel like a dream. And despite her numerous and underwhelming talents, lucid dreaming wasn’t one.

A knock sounded on the door. Her vision flitted within the strange state, followed the ethereal, immobile white-light of walls to the doorway where another, blue figure glowed– judging from the outlined-knob, beyond it.

“What the hell?” she breathed quietly.