Excerpt from working novel, Radio (revised scene)
Unable to turn and face him, I just didn’t know how else to answer Feather’s question about why I had been so focused on throughly checking the whole house to the point of raging frustration without my telepathic sentences sounding more fragmented. Truth is I was starting to question why I had felt the need to do the search in the first place. I hadn’t found a single device like the ones G-M scientists had been developing. My suspicions or rather my assumptions driving my instincts to go on high alert just didn’t seem like a good enough reason because it had failed me for the first time, despite the fact my instincts had saved my unit and I on many occasions in the past. This left me to the brink of tears and breathing to go into shallow, short breaths from complete stupidity and confusion. Feather’s hand continued to rest on my shoulder, giving a gentle squeeze to urge me to turn around to face him. I couldn’t yet. Not until I could straighten the whirling confusion in my mind, though that seemed like a distant possibility.
But gosh! My instincts aside, what was the real reason I searched the house so fervently? I mean, the twins took every precaution to make sure G-M operatives couldn’t follow us after Surge collected and destroyed all of the bugs installed throughout my childhood home this morning. And like Surge had said earlier in the van, this area was surrounded by granite which would cause the operatives’ tracking equipment to malfunction… although, I reckoned it would only do so to a certain extent anyways but what did I know about electronic devices in comparison to him and his ability to detect and manipulate electrical devices and currents.
But, I hoped with all my heart that this place would keep us safe longer than the other houses we had moved to. Giving me time to properly grieve, grow some roots like a normie and not this obsessive and nonsensical paranoia I was feeling. Oh how I wish my mom was still here, she would know the reasons and would give me the knowledge and comfort to calm my frazzled nerves. But much to my dismay, she would never be here again, despite how much I swore I had heard her voice back at our house. It still didn’t feel real, like any moment I would wake up from this nightmare and find myself in my childhood bed, hearing her and Dialect downstairs preparing food. But it was real and it knocked the wind out of me that I nearly crumbled to the basement floor, cradling my knees beneath my arms, and crying so hard that it would flood the basement. Not literally because I don’t have that ability, but that’s neither here nor there. And falling to the folly to the emotions of losing the last blood relative in my life wasn’t going to bring her back, as I wiped away the tears starting to form. God, I hated feeling so vulnerable though at least it was only Feather who was seeing this.
Yet the burning agony of her death residing in my chest still made me aware of the intensity of his gaze upon me. It was as though the unexplainable connection he and I shared wouldn’t allow me to not be aware of him, not matter what my emotional state I was experiencing. Regardless, the array of emotions currently rolling in together within my mind and chest seemed to be wrapping themselves so tightly, I was afraid I might gasp and release a sonic boom. I don’t if I could handle or forgive myself if Feather or the rest of my unit became deaf, permanent or not, or worse their deaths— not to mention damaging the new house
Random as this next thought may sound, how again I wished I had been born a normie, then I wouldn’t have to worry about such things like causing harm to those I cared about from a single sneeze or whisper. If I was a normie, then maybe my parents would still be together and alive. I would be able to speak aloud and not be forced to communicate telepathically. The only things I would have to worry about were whether a boy liked me, going shopping with my friends or whether I would get into a good college…. You know normal girly stuff. Not whether if I could assemble a weapon in under 15 seconds, be forced to see and perform the atrocities I couldn’t erase from my memories or if operatives had been able to find my unit and me. I know what you might be thinking, if I had been, I would never have met any of the members of my unit— the only family I had left. And I would never have met Feather, my best friend in the whole world.
That last thought alongside Feather’s continual gaze on me, my cheeks filling with heat, that perhaps the reasons I was searching for had something to with the suspicious feeling I always had with every move that this new home— new start was possibly too good to be true. Or maybe it wasn’t. Either way, I still couldn’t find the strength to look into Feather’s beautiful dark brown eyes to see his reaction to my erratic answer, so instead I decided to revert to my usual habit by averting my gaze up at the ceiling to listen to Vapor opening the front door with muffled speaking to a strange man before shutting and locking the door. The heavy waft of pizza took the place of the three aromas that had nagged me for I don’t know how long. I looked towards the small windows and noticed the darkness of the night had arrived without me realizing it.
Had I been frantically searching for that long? I thought only to myself.
But this habit of avoidance was one Feather knew all too well, more than anyone in my unit. It was way to avoid any possible judgment of my foolish behavior or assumptions. Though I knew perfectly that he, of all the members of our unit, wouldn’t judge or tease me about because he knew I usually had a good reason behind my actions, regardless if they turned out to be wrong or correct. And without saying anything and knowing I would tell him when I was ready, he wrapped his arms around me. Except… this time instead of turning me around in a platonic manner, his embrace came from behind. An electric tingling immediately rushed through my whole body, sending goosebumps and my heart beating so loudly along with it. I strangely welcomed the intimacy of the gesture, not caring about our unspoken agreement of being just friends as I leaned further into him until we seemed to meld into one another. I tilted my head until it rested on his chest as my hand began trailing up his shirt until my fingers were intertwined with the back part of his hair by his neck, his long black hair starting to drape over my face. I could hear his heart was racing like mine. It was almost calmed me to know I wasn’t alone in feeling how strangely right this felt and a bit nervous about what it would mean if we fully gave into whatever this was. We had never share this level of closeness before until twenty-four hours ago, but I didn’t want it to end. To my surprise, he didn’t show any sign of pulling away. Despite the indication given by both of our racing hearts, I had a strange need to know if our unspoken agreement of a platonic relationship had been thrown out the window by delving into his mind.
Unfortunately and quite peculiarly, I wasn’t able to get a reading. It was as though he had found a way to shield his thoughts from my telepathy. I would have asked why, but I was too exhausted from all the searching throughout the entire house to ask. I allowed his natural earthy musk and his embrace wash over me until I no longer felt paranoid, frustrated, or crazy. Time seemed to stand still until it felt as though we were the only two left in this world and any outside sound, apart from our ragged breathing, was blocked out. I felt like I was home, filling the void of my mother’s death and the abandonment of my childhood home even if it was only temporary. Yet the magical spell, Feather and I appeared to be under was unfortunately broken when we heard the sudden whining of the top step and heard Dialect speak, that Feather and I pulled away and acting like the moment we had shared never happened.
“Pizzas here!” Dialect nearly shouted with glee as she crotched on the top step so she could stare down at both of us.
“We’ll be up in a minute,” Feather said, looking towards Dialect before she stood up and exiting, leaving the basement door wide open, as I turned my whole body to face him.