A Secret and a Curse, Part Five

Elayne put the bag of potato chips on the counter as Ritchie looked around her apartment. “Man, this place is plain. I didn’t think it’d be so empty!” 

Elayne laughed. “What’d you think it’d be like? All crammed with stuff? I just moved here, after all.”

Ritchie blinked. “Oh,” was all he said. “What’d you want me to see?” he asked.

She shrugged. “Nothing big. Just a book that might help you understand and use your abilities better.” She walked back towards a suitcase and popped it open. She dug around for a minute or two and then pulled the book out. “Here,” she said, handing it to Ritchie.

Ritchie looked at the cover: What is a Connect? He flipped through the pages. “A Connect? Is that what I have?” he asked.

Elayne nodded. “Yes, it is. Humans call it ESP. But I’ve never met one like you. You have two weak Cinnect powers, which results in a strong vibe. But I’ve never met someone with two powers before. Connects usually just have one.”

Ritchie’s nose wrinkled. “That’s weird,” he commented.

Elayne laughed. “Yeah, it sure is.” 

After a few minutes of reading, Ritchie suddenly paled. “Turn on the TV.”

“Why?” Elayne asked. “What’s wrong?”

“It’s an impression! TV people are filming something nearby. I can sense their thoughts.  It’s something really bad. Please!”

Elayne was getting nervous. “Okay, okay,” she mumbled as she switched the TV on. A female reporter with too much red lipstick on was talking. 

“This is the third death without any visible signs of injury or illness. Mrs. Luanna Benson was visiting family when she abruptly vanished two days ago. She was found in the Juniper Way woods, about thirty miles away from her daughter and son-in-law.” The reporter vanished for a moment and was replaced with a photo of a woman with ashy blonde hair, tan skin, and brown eyes. Elayne felt something in the back of her mind; she knew this woman. How? She hadn’t talked to anyone since Polly and Joel, with the exception of Ritchie and Peg.

Suddenly her mind put the pieces together, and she screamed. It was the woman on the plane, the grandmother whose granddaughter had cancer. Elayne hadn’t even known her name. Luanna. Luanna Benson.  

She knew with sickening clarity that it was Cygnus. But how? How had he found her? She’d left her vibe all over the country! It should’ve taken him months, maybe even a year, to find her. But no. He was close. Too close. 

“Elayne? Elayne! Please, what’s wrong!” Ritchie begged.

Elayne covered her mouth, trying to quiet her cries. “I knew her! I knew her! No, oh my God, not again. I can’t do this again! My hands are already bloodstained enough… ” she breathed.  

“You’re scaring me…” Ritchie whispered.

“Good! You should be!” Elayne howled. 

Ritchie looked at her. “What’s happened to you, Elayne? Please tell me. I’m good at keeping secrets.”

Elayne shook her head. “If I tell you, you’re dead. You will die, Ritchie. You’re too young.”

Ritchie looked at her with eyes filled with too much sadness for a ten year old. “If you tell me what’s wrong, I’ll tell you what’s wrong with me, okay?”

Elayne trembled. “I can’t, Ritchie. I’ve blocked those memories so far back… I can only remember them when I’m dreaming,” she said.

Ritchie took a deep breath. “I think I can find a way to help,” he said.

To be continued

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