Authors: Kristine Bowe
To Kyle, who knows how to celebrate
small wins like big victories
Text Copyright © 2013 Kristine Bowe
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without express written permission from the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review.
A Mackinac Island Book
Published by Charlesbridge
85 Main Street
Watertown, MA 02472
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Seers / Kristine Bowe.
Summary: Teenager Elise Felton is both a “seer” and an “extractor”, someone who can penetrate another person’s memories and remove them, and she believes that by working with her mentor Tobias she will be able to recover her own memories, but Tobias has plans of his own.
ISBN 978-1-934133-55-2 (reinforced for library use)
ISBN 978-1-934133-56-9 (softcover)
ISBN 978-1-60734-566-4 (ebook)
ISBN 978-1-60734-673-9 (ebook pdf)
1. Telepathy—Juvenile fiction. 2. Memory—Juvenile fiction. 3. Ethical problems—Juvenile fiction. 4. Conspiracies—Juvenile fiction. [1. Telepathy—Fiction.
2. Memory—Fiction. 3. Ethics—Fiction. 4. Conspiracies—Fiction.] I. Title.
Printed April 2013 by Worzalla Publishing Company in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, USA
(hc) 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
(sc) 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
“Your ID card, please. Miss? Do you have your ID card? Miss? Your
I come out of it. I am in the office of my new school. My third high school in the past year.
The way she spit out that last word brought me out of it. I hadn’t been watching or listening or even present, for that matter, but I guess by the look on her face that her questions started out much less curt than she sounded just now.
“I’m sorry, I … here.” I fumble with my wallet and ease out my school ID. She purposely keeps her eyes lowered as she reaches for it. A trick I use as well. A power play. No eye contact. Her allowing me to smile or sweetly plead with my eyes or make some pathetic face for her to see would be her allowing me to make amends. She clearly isn’t in a forgiving mood and isn’t going to give me the opportunity. Fine by me. I don’t want to pretend to care that I held up the nonexistent line behind me or kept her from another doughnut or cup of coffee or from her doodling or texting or whatever else she does to not work at work.
“Wait here. I’ll print your schedule.” Her voice is more even now. She isn’t pursing her lips as much. She must be telling herself that I am just a teenager and should not be expected to know how to act. She may be mellowing, but I am revving up.
Where am I going to go? Shall I simply pick a class at the end of the hall and hope I’m interested in the lesson? Hope it’s not something I’ve already been taught? Sure. I’ll wait here for a schedule of classes I don’t care to attend.
The secretary waddles back, and as she hands me my list of assignments, I notice how the ring on her pointer finger is wedged on so tight that it pinches back the fat like a dam staving off rising water. I can’t hold back any longer. Get a bigger ring. Get your roots done. Get fewer chins. As I try to decide what it is about this woman that has made me feel as if my gut is boiling, I go in.
Typical brown. Nothing special. No over-activity. No underactivity. Average. Boring. Unfulfilled professionally. Insecure physically. Likes to knit. Knit? Seriously? There’s nothing here. Wait … adopted. Interesting. Why? Foster care until age thirteen. Thirteen? That’s old to still be in the system. She must have been a special teenager, a good kid, to have been adopted that old without all the cuteness of a toddler, the rosy cheeks and all. She must know what it’s like to move a lot, what it’s like to be a new kid. I rub my hands over the memory. High-school graduate. Wife. Mother. Now grandmother. Back to boring. I’m leaving.
When I come back, she is staring at me, of course. I am used to this by now. I glance at my schedule and then look at her. She allows me this time to look her in the eyes. By now she thinks my spacing out may be due to anxiety or social ineptness caused by moving around a lot, and now she is connected to me. Because she moved around a lot, too. And now she wonders about my parents. She wonders if I have the instability she had. She hopes I find the settling down she found. She
me to be happy. She
me to be happy. Because the memory I rubbed a second ago is fresh for her now.
“I hope you have a good day, dear.” Her lips turn up in a half smile. She is secure in her feelings for me but unsure of my response. Do I forgive her for her tone earlier? Do I understand that she was just frustrated? How was she to know that I was just nervous and not one of the tons of insubordinate, ill-mannered punks she has to manage every day?
“I hope you have a good day, too. Thanks for all your help.” I even smile.
Her eyes twinkle. Well, the one I went in does. She is relieved. She would have felt badly all day had I not shown her my acceptance and made her feel as if my transition as the new kid has been made easier thanks to the help of the school secretary.
I don’t enjoy the easy ones anymore.
A Seer is like a mind reader, you could say. A mind reader can hear thoughts, so in the moment, being a mind reader is useful. If you want to know who in the room finds you ridiculously attractive, read minds. If you want to know what the catty girls are squealing about behind your back that second, read their minds. What play are they running? How should I line up my defense? Sure. Read on. Win the game.
But minds change, don’t they? Monday a girl hates my outfit. Tuesday she wishes she had my figure. If I read her mind on Monday, she’s on my list. But I probably won’t ever wear that ensemble again. Tuesday, though, I have no time for her. Why bother? She already wants to be me. What else can I win?
Mind readers can change their reactions to people or the way people react toward them by gaining privileged information and using it to their advantage. It would be comforting to know that you can be sure of your acceptance by others. Never again would you have to rely on body language, eye contact, facial expressions, or the like. You would undoubtedly know. Yes. The popular kids do think you’re cool. No. Not cool enough to be accepted into their clique. No. He isn’t going to call. Yes. He does just want to be friends.
But a Seer travels into a being’s brain. It’s not just about thoughts with a Seer. Thoughts are the key, but not all. A Seer determines not only what the being is thinking but also how deeply that being
think. The more intelligent the being, the deeper the thoughts. Sometimes the depth of thought is innocent, sometimes for the good of us all, and sometimes not.
First we assess basic brain function and capacity. How smart. How dumb. Healthy. Sick.
Then we assess activities and interests. Then past experiences, memories. And motivations. Motivations to cure. Motivations to kill. And everything in between.
We can enter a being’s brain at will. At our choosing. It doesn’t happen upon contact. It is a forced action. Like choosing to open and walk through a door. We don’t have unlimited time in, though, and it is taxing, so we choose our doors carefully. We don’t like to waste trips, Tobias says. We must show restraint, Tobias says. We must always remember our path, Tobias says. I tend to be a tad liberal with my traveling. I have what Tobias calls “problems with restraint and lack of temper management.”
Tobias is my Preceptor, or my mentor. I document my experiences as a Seer in a daily journal and meet with him every evening. He helps guide my future Navigations and choices. He says there is something off about the way I Navigate. Something off about the way I See.
Tobias says that Seers are born with their ability. They can be Seers on their own, without a Preceptor. But although Seers without a Preceptor may travel into their friends, family members, or other people with whom they come into contact, they will not develop their abilities. They will not master their skills or be placed on missions for the good of all Seers and humans alike. They are the recreational. We, those with Preceptors, are the Navigational.
As Navigational Seers age, a desire begins to well up in them. They begin to feel as if they belong somewhere, with someone, though they do not know why. They begin to make moves toward connecting with that someone. That someone is their Preceptor. They have an unspoken connection, like a signal. It will continue to grow in strength as the Seer ages. The signal will build in strength as the Seer nears its source, but a Seer needs time to find and move toward that connection. Seers will naturally and unknowingly travel toward their Preceptor until a Preceptor finds them.
I imagine it being like the way mosquitos find even a bare inch of flesh. How do they find me so fast? Didn’t I just step outside? Yet there they are. I watch them hover over my exposed thigh, closing in and retreating, closing in and retreating, until finally, contact. How must their urge and desire feel to them that they simply cannot keep themselves from finding me, from connecting? Did I hover around Tobias for a while before I landed?