Do you have anyone in your life that has acted as a mentor to you? Have you ever helped someone else out in this way?
“The Academy is a safe place,” the young man with the violet eyes explained in a soothing tone. His name was Shane. He was pushing Lara through a bright courtyard and describing the work that was done in the enigmatic city center. “The people in the city don’t understand. They won’t unless they or their loved ones manifest like we did.”
Lara closed her eyes and sighed. “What does that mean?” She knew what the word meant, but not how it related to the people at the Academy.
“It means their bodies change. Their genetic code undergoes a rapid mutation. Really, they already have the gene, it just gets activated,” he lectured. “Their affinity reveals itself. In most cases, it’s gradual, organic. And for the most part, there are no physical changes.” They stopped by a small pond and he peered into the water. “The eyes almost always change, though.”
Lara leaned forward in the wheelchair and stared at her own reflection in the water. She gasped. Her eyes were no longer both blue. Her right eye might still be called blue, though it was fainter and more grey than blue, while her left eye was more green than blue. As she stared at them, they seemed to shift. The right turned grey and the left turned green. “Why?”
He shrugged. “That’s one of the many things they study here. At first they thought they could identify the affinity from the color of the mutation, but the results were inconclusive. Only the Kin can tell what their affinity is.”
“I don’t understand why I’m here,” she muttered. “I’m not… whatever that is. I was just in an accident. I should be at the hospital, not here!” she insisted.
Shane’s smile didn’t waver. “The hospital is not equipped to treat your particular trauma, Miss Hayes.”
“What are you talk-“ The courtyard exploded with voices and Lara twisted around in her wheelchair to find the sources. She was alone with Shane, but she could hear dozens of voices. Disjointed sentences, screams of joy and frustration, off-key jingles, laughter. They were so loud. Her stomach twisted and threatened to empty. Lara clasped her ears in her hands and cried out. “Stop!”
And the voices ceased. The courtyard was peace and stillness once more. Lara was sweating. Shane mopped her brow and eyed her warily. His face was still soft. “I’m sorry,” he said. “That was probably more than I should have let in.”
“You did that?” Lara’s voice was a hoarse whisper.
He started to nod, then thought better of it. “What you just experienced were the thoughts of the people in the research wing closest to us.” He pointed out a windowed section of the wall that surrounded the courtyard. “I am currently keeping them out for you, but you will learn to do that on your own, in time.”
Lara eyed him skeptically. “How?”
“I will teach you,” he grinned. “All new Kin are given a Mentor to guide them through the changes they are experiencing. I’d say that you are no exception, because you will have a Mentor, but you are an exception because you will have two Mentors.”
Lara frowned as she deciphered his meaning. When she had woken up in the Academy’s hospital wing and heard the dozens of voices of the researchers, she had panicked. The room had spun into chaos and everything had begun floating around her in midair. Had she done that as well? “Do people…” she hesitated, not willing to admit that she might be different, “like us… not have more than one Mentor?”
Shane’s smile widened. “People like us, yes. But people like us are rare even among the Kin.” He stood and looked toward the gleaming center building. For the faintest of moments, his eyes flashed dangerously. Like he had a secret he would kill to keep.
It was gone as soon as she spotted it and he turned back to her. “Most people only manifest one affinity, or one aspect of one affinity. Readers and Movers are two sides of the psychic affinity. Heroes are either super strong, or super agile. In very rare cases, two affinities will manifest. The Sages call them Chimera.” He knelt on the ground and plucked the stem of an immature honeysuckle flower. “Like me. I am a Reader, but I also have an Elemental affinity for Earth.”
He handed her the flower. She was sure it had still been green when he had picked it, but now it was fully flowered. The luscious purple petals reminded her of his striking eyes. He plucked another and tucked it behind her ear. “You are the first to manifest with multiple aspects of a single affinity. I can teach you how to control your telepathy, and even about being an oddity among oddities, but you will need a Mover Mentor to teach you to control your telekinesis.”
Telekinesis. Lara glanced at the flower in her hand. She had made all those objects move in the hospital room. Surely she could move something as small as a flower. It moved as she thought it. She laughed as it floated up out of her hand and in front of Shane’s startled face. She let it settle behind his ear and grinned. “There. Now we’re the same.”
He returned her smile. “So we are.”
Notes: Not the best ending, but I didn’t want to carry it out any further tonight. As soon as I saw “mentor” in the prompt I knew I had to go back to my Dome world and explore that concept. It first popped up in the piece I did for the Three Goals prompt and I knew this would be a good opportunity to delve deeper into it.
Mentoring is a huge deal in fiction stories. Most great novels have at least one Mentor character in them. All the internet lists I have ever seen of “Characters your story should have” have included the Mentor in some capacity. For this particular story, I’ve made it far more literal. And Lara herself is a Mentor, albeit not a very good one.
I’ve had plenty of mentors in my life. I’ve found one at every job I’ve ever had, and been one at some point or another. When I was still in high school, I was part of an after school program that worked with younger kids in the school district and mentored them about the dangers of peer pressure and “drugs are bad” and helped them with homework or other struggles they may have had.
Think about your mentors growing up. What was it about them that drew you to them? How did they help you? Think about times you were in that role. How did it feel? What ways did you guide your mentee? Write these things down! They’re important character traits that could come in handy when creating a Mentor character!
Have a great day! I’ll be back tomorrow!