Write about three realistic goals you would like to achieve in your lifetime.
Lara woke with a start. People were shouting from every floor and out in the streets. She clasped her head to sort out the noise. She didn’t smell smoke; the building wasn’t on fire. They were so loud.
Her eyes shot open in panic and she turned to find the bed empty. Shane was gone. Her stomach dropped to her feet and she leaned over the side of the bed to relieve it of its contents. The whole city was in her head again because Shane was gone.
She shut her eyes tight, tried to remember everything he had taught her. Find your own voice. Focus only on that. Your voice is the only one that belongs there. Focus.
It was no use. The dome was a massive arena and every mind in it was a self-contained rock band clamoring to be heard over all the others. Tears streamed down her cheeks, then floated in front of her.
Lara twisted and found herself floating just above the bed, the blankets and the contents of the nightstand hovering around her. She screamed in frustration as she concentrated on bringing everything back to Earth. Gently, carefully, she lowered herself back to the bed first. It would have been a soft landing either way, but she always started with the heaviest object first.
In practicing the skills Katia had instilled in her, she became aware of the din of voices. They were no longer shrieking in her head like banshees. The dull roar was still a roar, but it was several decibels lower than before. Tuning them out entirely wasn’t possible for her yet, but just maybe, she could smother them long enough to get to the College and find out what the hell was going on.
Moving things was far too taxing on her mind, but if it was working on something else, she could ignore the cacophony for a short while. The danger was that overuse could knock her out, which would also stop the voices for a while, but would not facilitate getting help from another Reader.
Something small then. She Moved her shoes from the door and brought them to her feet. She slipped stockinged feet into the trainers and Moved to tie the laces. Next she used her mind to carry her the paper towels from the kitchen counter and wiped up her sick from the floor. She grimaced as the smell tempted her to vomit again. The noise in her head was enough on its own, but she swallowed to keep it in.
Lara was unsteady on her feet as she walked across the apartment to the door. She could already feel her energy draining. Casting her eyes over the counter, she spotted her handheld and Moved it to her. If she collapsed, it would be a good idea to have a way to reach someone.
She had told herself to only Move small things, but as she warily glanced down the stairwell, she knew she would have to hold her whole body steady. That would get her safely to the bottom and focus her mind on Moving so that she could ignore the rabble in her head.
One step at a time. It took nearly twenty minutes, but she took each step and made it to the bottom without falling down the stairs. Unfortunately, she was at her limit. She slid down the wall to sit on the bottom step as she pulled out her mobile and pressed 2 on her speed dial.
Lara leaned her head against the wall as she listened to the other end ring. Maybe she wouldn’t answer. It was late after all. It was 5 miles to the College. Could she will herself there?
Click. “Do you have any idea what time is it?” Katia’s accent slipped though most when she was frustrated. Lara wanted to apologize for waking her. Spoken words were easier to focus on than internal ones. “Lara? Are you there? What is wrong?”
Her sobs surprised her. When had the tears started again? “Where did he go?” she choked.
“Where? Who?” Katia’s exasperation was tinged with concern. “Lara, what is going on?”
“Shane’s gone,” she whispered. “He’s gone. The city, the minds in the city, I can’t… where is he?”
“Lara, where are you, dear?” She spoke to someone else in Russian, probably Kaz. “Lara, I will come to you. Are you home?”
“Stairwell,” she breathed. The wall was so cool on her back. “It’s quieter here. I’m tired. Where’s Shane? I need Shane to make it quiet.” The din was starting to rise again. She whimpered.
Katia cursed. “Lara, do not do anything, we will be right there.” She continued talking, trying to keep Lara talking, but Lara’s head was too heavy. She slouched along the wall until her head was on the concrete steps. She kept trying to find a voice, just one voice, to quiet all the others. It wasn’t there.
She stared at the opposite wall as the voices danced in her mind, some were real, others were dreams, fragments. She wanted to scream, but she had no voice of her own. If she could only find it, it would silence the others.
A woman appeared in her periphery. Middle-aged, matronly, she took Lara’s face in her hands. The voices ceased. “Mom?” The woman jerked back in shock. Of course it wasn’t her mother. Her mother’s voice had been silenced the day the other voices came alive. The day Shane first stifled them. The tears started anew as she slipped to unconsciousness. Where was he?
Lara woke up in the College’s hospital wing. A strong sense of déjà vu overwhelmed her and she struggled to keep from tossing the room with her Moving. If the door opened and Shane walked in, telling her it was all an elaborate test, she would kick him into next week.
The door did open, but it was Katia who entered, not Shane. She had the woman from the stairwell with her. “Lara, this is Collette. She is a Reader also.” She hesitated. She was holding something back, but Collette was blocking Lara from Reading. “She is to be your Mentor now.”
Lara made fists in her blankets. “I have a Mentor.”
“Yes, well, you see…” Katia stammered.
“Shane Dolan is an Exile,” Collette announced. Katia’s hand hit her own forehead with an audible slap. “There is no further need to discuss him.”
The words fell over Lara like a collapsing building. No one was ever Exiled. It was a sentence as good as death. Her chest constricted, her breathing became quick and shallow. The room began to shake and she noticed Katia straining to hold it in place. “I told you, she is not stable enough to be told these things like this.”
Collette waved her hand dismissively. “Nonsense. She would have uncovered the truth sooner or later.” The silver-eyed woman leaned close to her face and sneered. She did not appear motherly now. “Honestly, what has he been playing at these last three years?”
Lara’s breathing slowed and she glared at the older woman. “I don’t need you.”
Collette leaned back and laughed. “Is that so?” Katia groaned.
Lara screamed as the voices flooded her consciousness again. The cabinet doors slammed open and shut as her mind went haywire at the unexpected intrusion. Katia struggled to hold their contents in place. She was a powerful Mover, but Lara’s power was unpredictable when she was in distress.
Collette grabbed Lara’s head and the voices vanished. “I will not coddle you like that boy did,” she snarled. “But for now, rest up. You won’t learn a whit if you’re too exhausted to listen.”
Lara glowered at Collette’s retreating back as the woman left the room. Her eyes were hot with frustrated, angry, and confused tears, but she willed them not to fall. Katia exhaled loudly and dropped into the bedside armchair. “Well, that could have gone better.”
Lara rounded on her Mover Mentor. “Why did you bring her?” she snapped.
Katia lazily raised her shoulders. “She was next strongest after Shane. And only one still crazy enough to be awake at the hour you called me.”
Shane. “Was she telling the truth? Is Shane really Exiled?”
The Russian sat straighter in her chair and clasped her hands in front of her. She avoided Lara’s eyes. “I have not had the opportunity to confirm,” she said carefully. “But is not surprising to me.”
“Katia.” Lara stared the other woman down until she met her gaze. “The Sages don’t just Exile someone overnight. Where is he?”
“Collette is hard, and she has never approved of Shane or his methods, but she is no liar.” The blonde woman was sympathetic, her eyes sad. She knew more, but Collette’s power was blocking out everything for Lara.
Lara would just have to figure things out the old fashioned way. Arkadios would answer her questions. First things first, she would need to meet with him to find out what he knew. Then she would need to get rid of Collette. She wasn’t fond of the idea of learning control from anyone other than Shane; it would feel like a betrayal. But if she could, then she could leave. Go find Shane. Bring him home. Or make a new home.
She sighed. “I have so much work to do.”
Notes: Ayy, another Lara piece. Not exactly lifetime goals, but she’s setting herself goals nonetheless. Then again, she doesn’t know how long it will take her to master her abilities or then to find Shane again. For all she knows, it could be a lifetime. And we met a new character! I thought she was going to be nice. Turns out I was wrong. She is a raging bitch. Wonder what her deal is.
Personally, my three lifetime achievement goals would be: 1. Write this damn novel already. 2. Get a big house and foster/adopt ALL the kittens, start a satellite branch of Kitten Academy. 3. See Hamilton on Broadway.
So what about you? What are your #goals? What do your characters want to do with their lives? Stuck? Ask a friend! Ask a stranger! Get those ideas flowing and write em all down!
Thursday’s prompt: List a few phobias you have. When and how did you discover you had these fears?
Fear is always a good way to get to know your characters, and yourself! Maybe another character interview session for this one? Well, I guess we’ll see what happens when I sit down and start typing tomorrow! See you then!