Home > The Strange Power (Dark Visions #1)(14)

The Strange Power (Dark Visions #1)(14)
Author: L.J. Smith

Kaitlyn stared at her. "You're kidding."

"Nope." Joyce grinned. "He's pretty innocent about the world-in a lot of ways. He just doesn't see things quite the way other people do."

Kaitlyn shut her eyes. Of course, that explained why Rob casually reached up girls' skirts. It explained everything-except why just looking at him made her heart pound. And why just the thought of him lying in a coma hurt her. And why she had a very uncharitable desire to run over and physically drag him away from pretty Fawn right now.

There's a word for your condition, her mind told her snidely. It's called-

Shut up, Kaitlyn thought. But it was no use. She knew.

"That's enough for now," Rob was saying to Fawn. He sat back on his heels and wiped his forehead. "If we kept working on it every week, I think I could maybe help more. Do you want to do that?"

All Fawn said was, "Yes." But it was the way she said it, and the melty, awed way she looked into Rob's eyes, Kait thought. Fortunately, at that moment Joyce stood up.

"Rob, you might talk to me about arranging that," she said.

He turned and looked at her mildly. "I knew you'd want me to," he said.

Joyce muttered something under her breath. Then she said, "Right, we'll work something out. Why don't you take a break now, Rob? And, Fawn, if you're too tired for another experiment. . ."

"No, I feel great," Fawn said, not sappily but buoyantly. "I feel so strong-ready for anything."

"Energy transfer," Joyce murmured, taking off the blood pressure cuff. "We'll have to explore that." Then she looked up as the door connecting the front and back labs opened. "What is it, Marisol?"

"He is not cooperating," Marisol said. Gabriel was right behind her. He looked particularly gorgeous and somehow elegant-but his expression was one of cold contempt.

"Why not?" Joyce asked.

"You know why," Gabriel said. He seemed to sense Kait's eyes on him, and he gave her a long, deadly look.

Joyce put a hand to her forehead. "Right, let's go talk about it."

Rob reached out and caught her arm. "Ma'am- Joyce-I don't know if that's such a good idea. You want to be careful-"

"I'll handle this, Rob, please," Joyce said, in a voice that indicated she'd had enough. She went into the back lab, taking Marisol and Gabriel with her. The door shut.

Anna and Lewis were looking up from their study carrels. Even Fawn was staring.

Kaitlyn braced herself to look at Rob this close. "What'd you mean by that?" she said, her voice as casual as she could make it.

His gaze seemed to be turned inward. "I don't know-but I remember what happened at that center in Durham. They tried to make him do experiments, too." He shook his head. "I'll see y'all later," he said softly, and left. Kaitlyn was pleased that he didn't turn to look back at Fawn, and displeased that he didn't turn to look back at her.

A few minutes later Joyce returned, looking slightly frazzled. "Now, where were we? Kaitlyn, it's your turn."

Oh, not now, Kaitlyn thought. She felt raw and throbbing from her new discoveries about Rob-as if she'd had a layer of skin stripped off. She wanted to go off by herself somewhere and think.

Joyce was thumbing through a folder distractedly. "Informal; we'll keep this informal," she murmured. "Kaitlyn, I want you to sit down here." She guided Kaitlyn behind the folding screen, where there was a plush reclining chair. "In a minute I'm going to have you put on these headphones and this blindfold." It was a weird-looking blindfold, like goggles made of the two halves of a tennis ball.

"What's that?"

"Poor man's version of a Ganzfeld cocoon. I'm trying to get the money to set up a proper Ganzfeld room, with red lights and stereo sound and all. . .."

"Red lights?"

"They help induce relaxation-but never mind. The point of Ganzfeld testing is to cut off your ordinary senses, so you can concentrate on the psychic ones. You can't see anything with the blindfold; you can't hear anything because the headphones fill your ears with white noise. It's supposed to help you be receptive to any images that come into your head."

"But images don't come into my head," Kait said. "They come into my hand."

"That's fine," Joyce said, and smiled. "Let them come-here's a pencil and paper on a clipboard. You don't need to see to draw; just let the pencil move as it wants to."

It sounded crazy to Kaitlyn, but Joyce was the expert. She sat down and put on the blindfold. Everything went dark.

"We'll try just one target image," Joyce said. "Fawn will be concentrating on a photograph of a certain object. You try and receive her thought."

"Sure," Kaitlyn muttered, and put on the headphones. A sound like a waterfall filled her ears. Must be white noise, she thought, leaning back in the chair.

She felt Joyce put the pencil in her hand and the clipboard in her lap.

Okay, relax.

It was actually rather easy. She knew no one could see her behind the screen-which was a good thing, because she must look pretty silly. She could just stretch out and let her thoughts drift. The darkness and the waterfall noise were like a slippery chute- there was nothing to hold on to. She felt herself sliding down ... somewhere.

And she began to be afraid. The fear swept up and engulfed her before she knew what was happening. Her fingers clenched on the pencil.

Easy-calm down. Nothing to be scared of...

But she was scared. There was a terrible sinking in her stomach and she felt as if she were smothering.

Just let images come-but what if there were horrible images out there? Frightening things in the dark, just waiting to get into her mind . . . ?

Her hand began to cramp and itch.

Joyce had said to let the pencil move as it wanted to. But Kaitlyn didn't know if she wanted it to move.

Didn't matter. She had to draw. The pencil was moving.

Oh, God, and I have no idea what's coming out, she thought.

No idea-except that whatever it was, was scary. Formless darkness writhed in Kaitlyn's mind as she tried to picture whatever it was that the pencil was drawing.

I have to see it.

The tension in her muscles had become unbearable. With her left hand, Kaitlyn pulled the goggles and headphones off.

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