“It’s nice to hear your voice too,” I said.
“Of course it’s nice for you to hear my voice. Why wouldn’t it be? But you called for more than just that pleasure, didn’t you?”
“My girlfriend, or I should say ex-girlfriend, tried to kill me today,” I said.
“I’m sure it wasn’t the first time,” Amelie said.
“No, it wasn’t. And she’s been stealing from me for five years.”
“No, I’m sure you’re not,” I said. “I almost killed her just now.”
“Tried to strangle the bitch?”
“Sort of,” I said. “I could have done that, but I was going to have her pop a few dozen major blood vessels in her brain. I started tenderizing it to cause pain, a bit of torture, but then I stopped before i caused any real harm.”
“You mean you were going to kill her with your mind?” she asked.
“Yeah. You sound surprised. Can’t you do that?”
“Of course not. Damn, I knew you were powerful, but I never would have guessed,” she said.
“Benjamin could kill with his mind. I’m sure he did,” I said.
“I often thought some of the Halley’s did,” she said.
“I realized what I was doing just in time,” I said. “I still feel so unclean, even though I didn’t carry through.”
“I get it.”
“Do you get this?” I asked. “I just discovered that I had confronted Bethy about the money many times in the past and always seemed to forget about it within a few hours. She even said I once forgot that I had caught her trying to kill me in the past.”
“Look for the memories, they’re there,” Amelie said. “And be sure to look for the way they were repressed. You may find others. Many more are hidden in your mind, I’m sure.”
“You may be right,” I said. “Another clue. Benjamin had dropped Bethy this morning. He wasn’t in her head and she was totally freaked by it. She didn’t know what was happening, didn’t realize it was an outside influence she was missing, but she knew an integral part of her being was gone.”
“I’m not surprised. When did you first take her into the crypt? Did you have control of her at all times?” she asked.
“I know what you are saying. My guess is it is in a repressed memory,” I said. “But there’s more about today. I felt him manipulate my mind today and put a wall around it. Fine. But then I used the way he felt to mimic his presence in Bethy’s mind. She totally bought it. She changed, became bold, and started saying things. I used his voice to encourage her to tell me more and she did.”
“Never, ever do that again,” Amelie said. “Damn, I wish you didn’t do it today. What were you thinking?”
I was dumbfounded. “Uhm, what, I mean, ah, what was wrong with what I did?” I asked.
“Are you flustered or frightened this time?” she asked. “Well, you should be both. Falsehood, lies and trickery are the pathways to evil. No wonder you ended the session by trying to kill her!”
“I didn’t try to kill her or she’d be dead now,” I said. “I started to kill her but backed down once I realized what I was doing.”
“Same fucking thing,” she said. “And it wasn’t just lies and falsehood, it was more. You used his feel and voice. How were you able to do that? The only way you could was by channeling him. You gave him another pathway and let him use your own power against you. How many times has that happened? Dozens of time? Hundreds? A daily occurrence?
“Look,” she continued, “I know this is all so new to you. You’ve been manipulated for most of your life, since you were a kid. It was the norm for you much more than it was for Bethy. Every thought and feeling was filtered through him. Many actually originated with him. There was something in you, a deep-seated power, that kept him at bay or he would have taken you, but you have been his pawn, his puppet for the last twenty years.”
“I guess, yeah, hadn’t thought of it that way,” I said.
“No you haven’t,” she said. “So now, you have a new experience. You are actually trying to fight the voice in your head because it’s not yours. You wake and have a great power instead of growing into the power like the rest of us. You never had a mentor show you how to control it all, just a snake forcing you to suppress it. I wasn’t planning on being deeply involved, but I guess I have to be. I couldn’t live with myself sending a baby into battle without at least some armor and knowledge.”
“Perhaps if we had an open channel,” she said.
Without thinking I sent out a feeler. Amelie was very worried. I could feel her thoughts and see her emotion. For a second I thought I saw something else, something deeper about me.
“Get out of there!” Amelie said. “I never gave you permission to enter my mind. Don’t do it.”
“I’m sorry,” I said. “I’ve been doing it as I meet people and just did it to you out of reflex. I’m sorry.”
She sighed. “Privacy is still privacy,” she said. “Just because you can hear a private conversation by pressing your ear against the wall doesn’t mean you should. In many ways you’re still that 12 year old kid who he trapped.”
“So, don’t do it anymore?” I asked.
“You can get general feelings so you know people are being honest,” she said. “You can also use it if you feel threatened. But don’t just feel random people. You might as well grope them with your hands, only this is far more intimate.”
“Sorry,” I said.
“Plus, it is possible he could follow you in,” she said. “He is much more subtle and I may miss it. Damn! I am blocking almost everything now. I’ll do a full scan later, just to be safe.”
“I’m sorry,” I said. “The last thing I want to do is put you at risk. Right now you are the only stable thing in my life.”
“I know you mean well,” she said. “Here’s a few things you can do while I think about it. Make a thick, almost impenetrable wall. When you find things that stink of him, shove them behind the wall. When you find safe things, put them behind the other wall, slowly and carefully. Filter them to be sure. Also, do random acts of kindness.”
“Random acts of kindness?” I asked.
“When you feel someone being down, be sure to cheer them up. Buy a bag of apples for the lady at the grocery store who’s counting pennies to see if she has enough for bread. Make sure you do it for the person’s sake, not yours. I try to be nice to everyone I meet and so it’s second nature.”
“Hey, yeah,” I said. “I often can tell when a person I meet on the street is blue and I always smile and say hi. I’ll just raise it a level.”
“I really do sometimes feel like I’m talking to a 12 year old,” she said. “I think in some ways you stopped growing when he attacked you. You need to find your wings and fly.”
“Finding my wings? I think that’s what you’re helping with. Thank you for everything,” I said. “Thank you just for being there, for being you.”
I felt the heat of Amelie again, like I did at Winnie’s house, but this time it was very soothing. She was patting me, like a mother with a child. In my head I could hear singing.
“Thank you, that’s nice,” I said. “Are you singing the Hush little baby song to me?”
She laughed. “Yeah, my momma always sang it to me when I was upset or down or whatever. It is soothing.” Her voice continued in my mind, her caresses becoming more than soothing, began to become more intimate.
“Uhm, Amelie?” I asked.
“Uh huh?” she asked in the same sing song voice she was using in my mind. I could imagine her, eyes closed, smiling serenely.
“I’d love to continue this forever, but I’m at work, and well, it might be a bit noticeable, if, well,” I said.
She laughed. “Your problem is you talk too much.” She laughed again. “OK, just call out if you need anything. And I’m not talking about your phone.”
“I will,” I said. “You too. Any time you need anything, or just need to reach out and touch someone to reassure yourself someone is really there. I am here for you. You need never be alone on those darkest of nights. We don’t have to talk, I’ll just be. I’ll just be, and that only for you while you need it. And if you need to baby me to feel secure yourself, I will feel honored.”
She laughed again. “It took my boyfriend over a year to know me half as much as you’ve gotten to know me in three days. Anyway, we’ll talk soon. Bye.”
“Bye,” I said and hung up. Amelie’s imaginary hands left and her voice faded.
I sat and stared at my phone for a minute. “Boyfriend?” I asked out loud.
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