Iain opened the door to the sleek, black car, letting Brandt step out before closing it behind her. She walked with careful steps, the filthy slush of the street hissing around her boots with every stride. The air was effervescent in her nose, cool with that hint of scent she could never quite place but would know anywhere. It let a chill shake her that had nothing to do with the January weather. At the Center they’d once likened it to the way a hound gets excited when it catches a trail. She was not a dog, and preferred not to be compared to one. Dogs were not special. She was special.
“Which way, Miss Brandt?”
Her lips widened in a grin that showed her eyeteeth, making Iain flinch. “If I knew that yet, don’t you think we’d be walking that way?” Her eyes fluttered, the bite in her words at odds with her expression.
“I just thought—“
“Well, that’s very interesting!” She tapped a gloved finger to her chin. “Here, all this time I thought we had a nice division of labor. Sort of like a union, where I do the thinking, you do the being large and stupid, and we don’t step on one another’s toes.”
“I’m sorry, Miss Brandt.”
She shrugged and flicked a bit of fuzz from the lapel of her tailored red coat. “Don’t be sorry, be doing your job.”
With deliberate fingers she pulled one hand free from the glove. As soon as the tips of her fingers brushed the concrete building, her mind slammed full of visions: people coming and going, brushing the wall and moving off in their chosen direction, bumping off of every other person and creating infinite threads in a tapestry of time. A quick suck of air, and a breath out, and the maelstrom of images dimmed, allowing her to hone down to just one figure, a scoop of light setting them apart from the others. The telekinetic. She pointed in the direction they needed to go, choking back nausea and rocking on her feet. Iain caught her, waving a vial of salts beneath her nose. She pushed him away, steadied herself, and started walking while calling over her shoulder to him, “Well?”
©b.r. hill-mann 2019