Chapter 12: Family Reunion

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Chapter 12: Family Reunion

“Is he here?” I asked Lucia, as I wandered between the concrete planters on the rooftop patio of my apartment building. Nearly four inches of snow had accumulated during yesterday's blizzard and the brooding grey sky threatened another dumping. Lucia remained by the door; she hadn’t stopped scanning the common area since we’d arrived. She looked absolutely terrified, as if she might run back into the building at any moment. The elevator ride up had been the same. I'd tried to get her to open up about what was scaring her, but she wouldn't budge.

As I looped back towards her, Lucia’s eyes snagged on something to her right, and widened. She took a quick, shaky step backward and reached for the door handle.

“Is that a yes?” I said.

Lucia nodded, slowly and deliberately, her eyes still fixed on what I couldn’t see.

Without warning, she was thrown off her feet and slammed into the wall behind her with incredible force. The air burst from her lungs with a wet “wuh” sound, before she crumpled to the ground.

I rushed to where she’d collapsed, dropping to my knees beside her. The snow soaked through my yoga pants in seconds. I hardly noticed.

“Lucia? Lucia? Are you okay? What happened?” I yanked off my glove, tossed it to the side and pushed my hand up against her neck. She had a pulse. Good. I moved it up to her face. She was breathing. Better.

This had to be what Lucia had been so afraid of. But why hadn’t she warned me?

“Lucia?” I said again, gently squeezing her shoulder. I was scared to shake her in case she’d broken something. She remained unresponsive. “Lucia!” I repeated louder.

Still nothing. Shit.

What the hell was I supposed to do? Back when I believed I was human, it would have been a no-brainer: call 911. But now? Call Bruce? Get Lucia’s mom? Wait it out a bit? Try some magic?

“Come on, Lucia,” I pleaded. “Snap out of it.”

I shoved my hand into my pocket and wrapped my fingers around my cellphone. Should I? Could I? I looked at Lucia’s prone figure sprawled in front of me. Her secret was as big as mine, and I owed it to her to try to find us a way out of this that didn’t compromise it. I could already predict what would happen if the sorcerers found out psychics were real – and human: they’d hunt them down, bond with them, and force them into service. They'd be both a tool and a weapon, but never again free.

Maybe the psychics knew that too, hence their strict avoidance of supes – until Lucia screwed that all up. Now I had the opportunity to mess it up even worse. All I had to do was make the wrong choice.

I checked Lucia’s vitals again. No change. I squeezed my eyes shut. Come on, brain, tell me what to do here! Trying to think while I was this exhausted was like trying to swim through quicksand.

Damn, damn, damn.

As five minutes stretched into ten, I decided to go downstairs for some supplies. If nothing had improved by the time I got back, I'd call her mom; if this was a psychic thing, she’d know best. Of course, I'd have to come clean and that would probably mean the end of our friendship, but perhaps protecting their secret would earn me a few brownie points. I sneaked back into the apartment and grabbed a couple of blankets from the hall closet: supernatural elements weren’t the only ones we had to contend with. Bruce was still ensconced in his office, doing whatever it was he did in there, and for once, my luck held – until I stepped back out onto the roof.

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