Extra Perceptory

Updated every Thursday.

Thursday, May 8

Installment K

The psychic impulse wasn't cognitive, it was just a secondary. I nailed down the direction and put my trolley behind a nearby tree, hoping it would be there when I got back.

It was coming from behind the bookstore. I heard the owner's voice, he was enraged.

As I made my way around the corner, my eyes fell upon the scene of the owner brandishing a metal pipe in front of two small boys, one was crying as the other stood in front to protect him. The older had red-brown hair and freckles, he looked a bit older and obviously wasn't about to let anyone come in his way. The other was much younger, probably around four years old. He had straw-like blond hair and a skinny, lanky body. Standing up straight, he probably wouldn't even have come up to Amman's waist, but right now he was knelt down, crying.

Both of the boys looked towards me as I began running for the owner. Stares of disbelief spread across their faces, and probably my own. With a swift lunge I shifted all of my weight forward and took the owner to the ground with a loud smack as his back met the hard concrete of the alley.

"What in the . . ." the older boy said as the owner and I flew before his eyes.

During the excitement I slipped without thinking. The thoughts came at me so fast I couldn't always follow the thread. The owner had been harassing the boys for thievery, and they had been sleeping in this ally for the past two days. But the boys had been separated from their parents and had no where else to go. There was no question of whose side I was on. These kids had suffered more abuse from society than I could ever dream, and were about to see more at the hands of this crazy shop owner.

"You goddamn Russian!" The owner screamed as he shoved my body off of his. Without a moments hesitation, the owner grabbed a nearby metal trash can lid. Before I even got a change to stand, I felt blow after painful blow strike my back. The owner was in a rage as he continued his relentless assault.

The older boy started thinking about how he was going to kill the owner, I couldn't let that happen. What hit me next was miraculous. My thoughts focused themselves without effort and a warm euphoric feeling consumed my body. I lost myself for a moment.

I saw Mira with a man and women standing beside her. I was seeing them off as they entered the airport security entrance. A feeling of loneliness took over. I knew I wouldn't see them again for months.

These are Lena's memories. My mind must have soaked them up subconsciously. Suddenly my hands clenched together as my spine fell inward. I doubled over on the ground, immersed in pain. I couldn't open my eyes, my jaw seemed glued shut.

With Lena's memories, comes Lena's powers. But with Lena's powers comes Lena's struggle.

"Stop!" The younger boy shouted. I had forgotten that the owner was still pounding on my back with the trashcan lid, which was now bent, and creased in the middle.


The owner immediately ceased. He stood breathing heavily as drops of sweat left lines of moisture along his face.

Forget about us. Leave us all alone.

Instantly the owner threw the trashcan lid to the side, then turned to walk away. The lid made a loud "clang" as it cascaded across the concrete for a few seconds before coming to a spinning stop.

"Are you alright?" the older boy asked me. Immediately both of the boys rushed to my side. They probably thought the owner felt his deed was done and left of his own will. And maybe he did, maybe I've just grown delusional.

"Yeah . . . I'll be fine," I said. My head was pounding, and my back ached whenever in motion. After I stood up I tried to keep my spine straight, but my feeble attempt was denied by the realization that my arms and legs both rely on my spine in order to function. I took a few agony filled steps in a vain attempt to walk it off.

"You don't look fine. And you're bleeding . . . a lot."

I touched my back briefly, then brought my hand to face height, or the closest I could come. It was too dark to see the red, but I smelled the metallic bloody stench, then tasted the pungent copper as I raised the three fingers to my mouth.

"Don't worry," I said, "I have someplace I can go. It's really not far from here at all."

The older of the boys, Sigmund, got under my right arm. "Let's go."

And so, the three of us made our way back to my house. It was a short walk thanks to the help.


About ten minutes later I found myself sitting across the table from five-year-old Atticus Caro and nine-year-old Sigmund Caro. I slowly sipped my cup of coffee while the boys told me about their experiences. The boys took chocolate milk, with gratitude and never-ending thank-yous.

"We were born and raised in Italy." Sigmund began after a long sip.

"Our parents were scientists, and psychic researchers. They thought they could escape the coming war by moving here to work for Chekvey but that thought didn't last long. As soon as he found out they meddled with psychics, he revoked his offer. They didn't find out until they had already sold their home, car, everything, and bought two airplane tickets to the U.S. through the French government."

"Really? They tried to fly?" I asked, trying to remain courteous.

"I'm not sure on a lot of the details, but the mass-transit system they had back then was just a cheap knock-off of the North American Tran-system. It was too risky for most people."

"Sorry, go on," I said.

"You don't need to be sorry about anything!" Atticus chimed in.

"Anyway, our parents got to the United States, but they got sent right back. It was a big load the way they did it. They said the US quota for Italian immigration had already been met, and sent them right back home.

"So our parents ended up back in Italy, trying to get by however they could. Their only option was to join the military and face inevitable death by Russian psymen, but my parents were lucky. Once the military realized they needed a plan for the psymen, they pulled my parents from the front lines and put them in research positions.

"After a while the war was over and poverty was all over the place. But luckily, Mamma and PapĂ  had saved up enough money to get us to the U.S. They sent us over first, and said they would see us when we got there. But we never saw them again. It was easy, this place is practically begging to get robed. Our parents taught us how to live without a house. Never sleep in the same place twice, never steal from the same bread store more than three times, always spend whatever you have as soon as you get it. It's easy." Sigmund took in a deep breath and something in the inhalation told me it wasn't as easy as he made it sound.

"Thanks for telling me your story," I said. "But you won't have to live like that anymore. You can stay here now." I looked at the younger child. "But I have a question for you, Atticus. Do you ever get headaches, or feel like there's a pressure on the inside of your skull."

Atticus hadn't been paying any attention to what his older brother was saying, he was obviously very tired, and day-dreaming out the window. "Wha? Well, sometimes, I guess. Not more than anyone else."

"I see." I looked at the wide-eyed yet tired faces in front of me. "It should be time for bed. I'll make you guys a place to sleep."

"You really don't have to Isaac," Sigmund said, not able to hide the hope in his eyes.

"I want to."

"We would really appreciate it."

I let them share my bed, and lay silent in Amman's bed as my eyes began to glide shut.

Oh no! I forgot my trolley!

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