I was originally going to post the conclusion to the other world building of the psychic classes but recent events at work and a request from my wife to post more chapters of story extras made me re consider. Let me know in the comments if you want me to post the clairvoyants and I will do it for next week’s GPFriday. Otherwise I may do a Manic Monday post or something else in a couple of weeks. the Links to the previous chapters will also be below
Children of Legend
Chapter #3: The Zoo in the Park
April 1st, 2020-CE
At first Sean thought that it was an April fool’s day joke. His mother said that she was taking him and his cousin to Mineral Palace park in Pueblo Colorado. The park also had a zoo, smaller than the zoo in Denver, but a zoo never the less. It wasn’t until they were standing at the gates to the zoo that he realized that such a place existed. The park was larger than anything that he had seen in Greeley. The town he was born and raised in had numerous parks, around a hundred of them. Each of those parks were small compared to this one. Some of them had playground equipment, some had tennis and basketball courts, a couple had lakes people could fish out of, some were nothing more than fields of grass and trees. One could run from one side of any of those parks to the other without breaking a sweat.
Mineral Palace park had everything the parks in Greeley had plus the zoo. It was so big that he didn’t realize that they had been driving in it for a block before his mother parked the car. She glanced back to both Sean and his second cousin, Relena, and smiled before handing the attendant the amount for the three tickets needed, “I’ve never been here before but your father has, Sean. Your father grew up here. I think he used to play in this park as a kid.”
“I didn’t think there were any other zoos other than the one in Denver,” Relena stated with a smile on her face, “I wonder what kind of animals they have here.”
She gave her little cousin a smile. They shared the same green eyes but his mother’s hair was browner than the red that Relena had, “There are more zoos around than just here and Denver. I think just about Every state has a zoo. Some states have several. There is a massive one in San Diego. I have been there. It is complete with an aerial tram and a whole host of stores and restaurants.”
“Like an amusement park,” Relena smiled.
They took their tickets and walked through the doors into the zoo itself. Inside there was a small gift shop and a refreshment stand. Sean glanced around, his gold eyes imagining that this zoo offered exactly what his mother was describing until he caught glimpses of thoughts from his second cousin. It was a pale imitation compared to the large amusement parks she had been to in the past. He glanced to his mother and forced a smile. His thoughts came through less in a language than anything else but it was clear. He would rather they went camping than went to the zoo with his second cousin.
“Maybe you shouldn’t be poking around in other people’s minds,” His mother chided telepathically.
Instantly he responded letting her know that he didn’t mean to pry. Like everyone else around him, they all broadcast what they were thinking for the world to hear. He didn’t mean to hear it. He didn’t want to hear it. He didn’t know how to not hear it. It was hard for her to explain it to him. How to focus on something else and let the voices of the minds around him fall back into the din. It was something that she and the few other telepaths she met had learned how to do long before they were his age.
As they walked through the short promenade of shops, she was reminded about how different she, and her family, were from normal psychic families. She had no training but like every other psychic, except her son and his telepathy, she was able to control her telepathy. That was where it ended for her family; no one talked about their abilities and they all did their best to act like they were normal. They ostracized her for being willing to stand out. All except her cousin who they were visiting.
His father was from a different kind of family. They were open with their abilities as long as it was with their own family and other psychics. They made sure everyone knew how to control their abilities and knew how to use them. The patriarchs and matriarchs of that family knew all of the advanced techniques and taught them to the next generation. They usually were good about making sure which members of the family could be trusted with the more dangerous techniques but that didn’t stop them from sometimes abusing these techniques. It also didn’t stop the siblings trusted with these techniques from sharing them with their other kin who were not deemed worthy of being trusted with responsibility. It led to patterns of abuse with those techniques that she hated.
It led her to banning her husband and his family from teaching Sean how to control his abilities and how to use his abilities. She didn’t want him to be tempted with some of the powerful and dangerous techniques that would lead him down a potentially dark road. There was a telepathic technique called a geas. It was a form of mind control; getting a person to do something that they normally wouldn’t do. There were different levels of a geas.
A minor geas would be something that wouldn’t be against the nature of the person being target, just something they wouldn’t do at that moment. That would be something akin to cussing out their boss or twirling around on a bus. A standard geas would be something that they would refrain from doing under ordinary circumstances like defecating in public or starting a fight. A major geas would be things that are against their nature entirely like murder or suicide. A geas was different from planting thoughts or suggestions, something that they can ignore as the target is compelled to follow the geas.
Many telepaths have attempted a minor geas without realizing it and usually can be successful at it. Those techniques don’t fight the nature of the humans targeted. It takes some skill to attempt a standard geas because it does take time to overcome free will and get a human to do something that they wouldn’t ordinarily do in most situations. Only the best could force a human to do something contrary to who and what they are. It was the last one that scared his mother the most.
They walked through to the petting zoo next to the shops. Before Sean was born, his father demonstrated to her what could be done with a geas by making a person run full force into a brick wall. He stated that, while powerful, it was a standard geas as he managed to plant suggestions into the person’s mind that they were being chased by an angry mob and that the wall was no there. He stated that he had never been able to implant a major geas. He had never attempted it because of what a success would mean. It was enough to tell her that their children would never learn how to do such things.
Sean led the pack, unaware of what his pensive mother was thinking at that moment. Most of the time he was unaware of the hundreds of voices surrounding him. They sounded like a monotony of one way conversations. He did his best not focus on them. Most of the time he was successful, they seemed to blend in to each other. Every once in a while, a voice would become clear. In that instant, despite how much he resisted, he was drawn to that voice.
He didn’t know why, sometimes that voice could resist him. He was thankful when they could resist it. His mind would go back to listening to all of the voices and the voice that attracted him would fade away back into the background. Most of the time it was like he delved into something else, exploring what made up another person. He wasn’t aware of what it was at first. He thought it was his imagination running away until he realized that it was the memories and inner thoughts of the adults and children around him. He would say something that would trigger shocked reactions from someone close to him.
He told his mother about it and it was at that time she told him that he was not like everyone else. He was different. He had the ability to hear the thoughts of those around him. She called it telepathy. It ran in his family, on both sides of his family. He should do his best not to read the minds of others around him. He told her that he could hear voices, she told him that it was normal, all telepaths could hear voices, the momentary thoughts, of those close to them. Some people could only hear a couple of people while others could hear a lot of voices. His mother was one of the former and his father was one of the latter. He was one of the latter.
Part of the petting zoo smelled like the family farm in eastern Colorado. The dusty smell associated with the wheat fields and tractors. He closed his eyes and could feel the summer breeze at that moment. He could imagine the fields of green wheat starting to turn gold and the sound of combines being driven into the shop for a tune up and inspection before the harvest. His mother’s side of the family ran several farms, one of them was in Eastern Colorado. His grandparents lived out there.
A screech brought him back to the zoo. While he closed his eyes, he still continued to walk. He now stood several yards away from a magnificent looking bird its bluish green feathers glistening like metal in the sunlight. Its long tail dragged in the dirt behind it.
Not for long. It took a step forward. The tail rose and fanned out as it did. It looked like a hundred eyes were staring back at him in that instant. His blood ran cold. He wanted to run in away from the bird but another screech from the bird made him freeze in place.
“Peacocks raise their feathers under three conditions, to attract a mate, to challenge a rival, and to scare off threats. You don’t look like a mate, you aren’t colorful like a rival so you must be a threat to it,” Relena projected to him.
The telepathic projection made Sean jump. He was only used to Jena projecting to him. His mother preferred to speak and he didn’t know why his father never used his telepathy around him. At first, he didn’t know who projected to him as he was not used to Relena’s inner voice. That was because the voice a person used for their inner monologues was not the same as their spoken voice. The distortion one hears when they speak develops into their inner voice. It was why a recording of someone’s voice sounds different to the owner of that voice. It was what telepaths heard. For ones that are powerful, like Sean, it was hard to sometimes tell whose thoughts belonged to who because of that difference.
In that split second, he figured out it was Relena that projected to him. He figured that he could project back to her but he had not yet mastered projection. It wasn’t that he couldn’t project, it’s just that when he did, all telepaths around him could hear it and sometimes normal people would also hear it as well. He couldn’t direct it like Relena and Jena could. He figured if she was projecting to her, she could hear his thoughts so instead he chose to just think, so what should I do?
“Just walk away slowly and calmly. It shouldn’t chase you,” Relena projected back.
Sean slowly backed away from the peacock. He didn’t take his eyes off of the large bird until it lowered its tail and went about its business. When it did, he turned around and gave Relena a smile. At that moment, he got a flash of someone different standing before him. He knew who was standing in front of him but it wasn’t Relena. It was gone just as quick as it came, “Thank you Relena.” He said.
She smiled and patted his shoulder, “Any time. Why don’t you project your thoughts?”
“I can’t control it that well. Everyone will hear it if I project it. Just thinking it is easier,” He answered.
“You two shouldn’t be talking like that here. It may be a slow day but there are still others here that aren’t like us,” His mother cautioned. There was no anger in her voice, she was just pointing out that they were in public.
“I thought your mother was different than the rest of our family,” Relena sighed.
Sean nodded and pointed to the Triskal in a circle pendant that hung from a silver chain around her neck, “She is. She says she doesn’t wear that necklace just because it’s cool.”
She smiled, “It is called a Triskal. Before it was a Christian symbol of the holy trinity it was a holy symbol for the druids and wiccans. It represents the three stages in any cycle. For the feminine it means Maiden-Mother-Crone or Youth followed by nurturing followed by wisdom. It has many meanings. One of the most important thing to Druids and many other shamans is that there is always at least a third side to anything. Nothing is binary even if it seems that way.”
Relena seemed shocked by her cousin’s words, “Are you saying you aren’t Christian?”
“Depends on what you want to believe in,” She answered back, “I find a hard time belonging to a society that can preach tolerance and love then turn around and spew hatred and intolerance. The teachings of Christ are a wonderful thing, the followers are the problem.”
Sean nodded, “I think I am finally starting to understand that.”
She looked like she had entered a period of mourning for her son even though he was still alive, “Children shouldn’t have to understand that lesson. It should be something that you discover through love and caring and defending those that need defending. You shouldn’t have to suffer the wrath of fear and hatred while still young.”
Relena spun around to her second cousin, “What happened to you. You two have left me out of the conversation suddenly.”
“My teacher tried to kill me,” Sean answered.
Relena’s jaw dropped, “What! Why?”
“Because…” Sean started to say then pointed to his temple.
Relena cocked her head in confusion, “I don’t understand.”
“Why did they have lynch mobs in the south? Why are there white supremacists? Why do people attack gays and transgender people? People hate and fear people who are different from the norm.” She knelt down to speak to both of them in a softer voice, “You may think the rest of our family is stern and mean by trying to keep what we are a secret from everyone and not talk about it but they do it to protect us. A few of us chafe under the strain of not being able to explore our abilities but don’t forget that they do want to keep you safe.”
She pointed to the cages where some of the animals were held, “If some people have their way, we would be in cages to be studied and looked upon by the masses. Others would rid the world of people like us. There aren’t a lot of people like us and there are a lot people that don’t have our abilities. We have to do our best to keep what we are a secret from the masses, not because we are afraid of them but because they are afraid of what they don’t understand.”
* * *
Sean laid on the top bunk in Relena’s room. His mother was in the guest bedroom across the hall. Relena preferred the bottom bunk. Sean offered to stay on the sofa but she insisted that he stay on the top bunk. She asked his mother and her father if it was okay. They agreed that they were young enough that would be okay.
Sean Had a hard time falling asleep that night, the excitement of a rare day at the zoo with his family was still fresh in his mind. Playing with Relena at the park after the zoo was also a fun bonus as well. It was about the time the excitement was wearing off when Relena’s head popped up over the wooden railing from the bottom bunk, “I think Sylvia and Dad are finally asleep. I’m not getting anything coherent from them anymore.”
Sean nodded and yawned, “We should be getting to sleep too.”
“You can be so boring at times,” She pouted playfully.
“If we get caught romping around after we are supposed to be asleep then they won’t let us stay in the same room anymore. I kind of like living as if I have a sister,” Sean commented in response.
“You aren’t the only-only child in this house,” Relena commented in response.
“True but you are a lot like Jena. You have better ties with your family than I have with mine,” Sean mentioned.
“My family? Don’t you mean ‘our family?’ You are a part of this family too!” Relena commented.
“Of this side of the family,” Sean nodded, “But you have your mother’s side of the family and I am not related to that side of the family. You spend time with them to, don’t you?”
Relena nodded, “That is true. I do.”
“You also know the name of most of the cousins we both are related to,” Sean added, “I can’t even remember our faces because I have seen them like two or three times in my life. I have spent most of my time with you. You and Ben are about the only family I have outside of my parents.”
“It’s not like I bogart the entire family for myself. You are related to them as well,” Relena protested. She crossed over to the ladder and crawled up into the bed next to him. He sat up and gave her space to sit up on the bed next to him.
“I know they are my family and I am related to them but they hardly associate with us. You and Ben are the practically the only people we visit on anything approaching a regular basis,” Sean explained, “That might be because aside from the grandparents, you are close and we can visit on weekends and the like. You also come back early from vacations in the summer. We aren’t rich like the rest of the family so we don’t get to fly around to a lot of different places all the time. I don’t recall ever being on an airplane.”
“I am sure that they don’t interact with you because they don’t know you,” Relena replied, “Just tell your mom that you want to get to know the rest of your cousins a bit better and she will find a way to make sure you get more time with the rest of your family. How about your father’s side of the family? Don’t you ever spend time with them?”
Sean shook his head, “My mother won’t allow it.”
She seemed confused, “Why not? If you don’t get along well with our side of the family I would think she would make sure you’d get along well with his side of the family.”
Sean shrugged, “I don’t know. Every time I ask she says that they aren’t a good fit for me.”
“Are they psychic like us?” Relena questioned.
He shrugged, “I don’t know. I never met them. My father is psychic so it is possible that the rest of them are. He seems as closed off with his abilities as the rest of us on this side of the family so it is possible that they are just as tight lipped there as they are here.”
Relena shrugged and glanced down. She glanced back up after a moment and asked, “Do you have any psychic friends at your school?”
Sean nodded, “I have two. One is a telepath. One just discovered his power. He can move objects with his mind but he can only do it when he is angry. Pretty strange, huh?”
She shrugged, “I think that is more common than you think. There are over a million people in Colorado Springs so there are quite a few psychics here. There are several in my school. Some of them are telekinetic like your friend. Apparently, it is really common for them to become stronger when they are angry so they tend to go off in fits of rage a lot. Has your telepathic friend taught you anything about your power?”
He shook his head, “No but I haven’t asked.”
“You should ask sometime. My friend has taught me some things. She taught me how to project which is why I can project so well to you. My father doesn’t teach me anything about using my abilities. My telepathic friend also taught me how to form a link with other telepaths. It makes projecting a lot easier and makes it so we can communicate two ways without much thought. It will help you to project to me without having to broadcast it to the world. You want to try it?”
Sean nodded, “Sure but I don’t know what I am doing.”
Relena shook her head and smiled, “For a link you won’t have to. I can form the link with you then we can just talk through it.”
Sean nodded, “I would love to.”
Relena reached out with her mind and touched his. Usually, most people including telepaths reacted to her mind touching theirs but he did not. It let her know that he was used to doing this before. He wondered how much exploring of his abilities he had done with Jena. She imagined the link forming as wispy tendrils of smoke forming between their minds. When they connected, they solidified in her mind’s eye and formed a tunnel for their thoughts to go through, “There,” She projected through the link, “Try that now. Remember to just project through the link.”
Sean could see what his second cousin did right away and knew what to do. Jena called what she did a bond. It was more stable than a link, as what Jena referred to it. Sean could project through it just fine, “Jena actually calls this a bond. I think we have a terminology difference here.”
In that instant, she could see why he didn’t flinch when she formed the link. His telepathy had a force to it that hers did not. There was power behind his projection and speed with it. She almost missed his projection as it came through so fast. The telepaths she knew at school were all weaker than she was. Now she knew how it felt to be in their shoes. His telepathy an order of magnitude more powerful than hers just the same as she outclassed the telepaths she went to school with.
She recovered from her shock soon enough, “What does Jena call it?”
“She calls it a bond. She says links are fragile and can be severed by simple missteps. A bond can be forged and not broken unless one of the telepaths willingly breaks it or they drift out of range from each other,” Sean replied.
“Have you tried a link with her yet?” Relena questioned in response.
Sean shook his head, “She said my abilities are still too wild. I would break a simple link with a projection. I will have to learn how to control my abilities before I can use a simple link like that.”
“How long have you known her?” Relena asked.
“All my life. We were born on the same day, in the same hospital, in Greeley,” Sean replied.
“Wow. Show her to me,” Relena asked.
An image of Jena appeared in Relena’s head. A girl with reddish brown hair and green eyes as well as pale skin. She looked like she could be more closely related to Relena than Sean. Sean had brown hair and gold eyes. The fact was not lost on either of them, “Were you switched at birth? She looks like she belongs in this family more than you do.”
The thought saddened Sean a bit. The thought made it feel like he had one less place in the world where he felt welcome. Those higher feelings came through the link as well. She shook her head and her familial love for him came through the link. It was a misunderstanding. Sean shared that he was a natural birth and was never put in the nursery after Sylvia gave birth to him. He was a member of the family. It was possible that Jena belonged to a branch of their family, they would just have to trace their lineage back to find it. It would be a topic of discussion for another time.
He shared the feel of her talents with Relena. While Relena, Ben-her father, Sylvia, and he all had Clairvoyance; Jena did not. They all had telepathic abilities. Ben did not possess the ability to heal. Sean did not know if his mother possessed any such abilities but he felt that she possessed more abilities than he had seen so far. His father had other talents as well but he never presented those talents in front of his son.
Relena questioned how he knew that Jena could heal other people. He shared his experience of the attack with her. The memory of being choked was jarring and she almost severed the link to stop the experience. She could feel the bone in his neck snapping and when she finally released him, when the teachers came, he was still choking because his airway had collapsed. With the gentlest of touch, Jena placed a finger on his neck and it felt like the pain was sucked out at that moment. Not all of it but with the pain leaving, air came back through his throat. He was able to breathe. The bone in his neck was healed. The doctors that looked him over later said it was a miracle that the bone in his neck did not break.
“I didn’t know there were abilities that allowed people to heal others by touch,” Relena commented over the link.
“I suspect that she can do more without touching a person but what happened to me was pretty bad and she didn’t have much time to react. She saved my life. I don’t know how to thank her for that. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for her,” Sean commented.
“You would if you would have let your teacher turn on the other boy,” Relena stated over the link.
“I couldn’t do that. He is also my best friend. I couldn’t let either of them suffer like I suffered. They were only trying to protect me. I couldn’t let them take an attack that was really meant for me,” Sean protested in response.
“How did she get a job as a teacher in the first place?” Relena questioned.
Sean shrugged. While they were privy to the thoughts of the adult world, they still looked at them through the eyes of children. They couldn’t understand what fear and hatred did to people in general. That was why their parents tried to protect them from the outside world and let them know that they had to keep their talents a secret. There are people in the world that wouldn’t understand that they are just children. Some would see them as being possessed by some sort of demon. Some would see them as demented. Some would see them as crazy. Others would see a threat where none existed. If they weren’t careful, the actions of fear and hatred could plant a seed of malice in the heart of the innocent. That was what their parents really wanted to protect them from.