by Charles Mento
Hsui Tai stormed out of the main room toward her room. She looked into the mirror. Mike shrugged, went to his room and put on a gold necklace. "Hsui Tai, I can still send my thoughts to you," he telepathically sent.
Hsui Tai's mind tickled. She laughed, telepathically. "Oh Mike, I am sorry."
Mike sprayed a mouth cleaner into his mouth, "I almost forgot, I have a gig in a few but if you want to talk---we can. Maybe I can help, too."
Hsui Tai sat on her bed and waited, "Mike, it's just that, in the Temple I was taught not to ask many questions about my parents or my family. But I have those questions with me now."
Mike sprayed deodorant under his arms, "Okay, so what's wrong? Why not tell all of us?"
"I do not know. It was faith or supposed to be faith not to ask."
"You mean you feel faithless now because you are asking," Mike was suddenly next to her on the bed. He took her shoulders and looked into her eyes, "It's okay to want to know. Lots of people search for their real parents."
"Their conditioning makes me feel shame."
Mike put his arm around her back and his hand glowed green, "Well, I can take that brainwashing garbage out of your mind."
"I feel so much better," Hsui Tai stood up.
Mike laughed, "Really? But this thing with your family....you still want to know?"
"More than ever now."
"Well, maybe we can find Matsu Tan again. He was there when you...you were..."
"It's all right, Mike. When I was found by the monks in a Shepard's hut. But that's all I know. Where was the hut? Who left me?"
Mike made two drum sticks appear in his hands, I almost forgot these. "I'm sorry, Hsui Tai, but I really must be off now. They guys are depending on me."
"Oh, go on," she said cheerfully, "I am much better now. A thousand thanks."
"One will do," Mike hugged her, "You're smashing." He jaunted to avoid embarrassing her but he himself felt no embarrassment. Both of them realize how opposite they were in character---he, aggressive, she passive; he loud, she, quiet; he rebellious, she obedient and loyal. But it was more than just a case of opposites attracting. Their personalities evened each other's characters out. What Mike lacked, Hsui Tai had. What Hsui Tai lacked, Mike had. Mike had a more survival instinct and Hsui Tai had more compassion. It was clear that they were sometimes one. What wasn't obvious to anyone, not to John or to them, was that in order for each to go on surviving, they would have to be one.
Mike began to play at the club, with his mind on Hsui Tai's problem. Luckily he could play these songs on reflex alone.
"Nothing yet," Hsui Tai, "TIM told her, I will let you know if I come up with any."
Hsui Tai strode toward her room, tired. It was beyond her why so many girls were fans of Mike. At the same time, Mike was wondering why he always fell for foreign girls---first Pavlov, now Hsui Tai. He had so many European girls hounding him now that his band was becoming more popular. Hsui Tai plopped onto her bed and quickly came to that state between wakefulness and sleep. Suddenly her essence was flying---high above the Lab, above London. She had heard Liz and John talk about how Tyso could make his life force leave his body even before he was a Tomorrow Person. Now she was doing it---and enjoying it. What brought this on, she didn't know. She only knew it was energizing her and making her more aware than ever before. In the past, she thought she had lied to the Shansu monks, telling them she could fly, because they wanted to hear such tales. Now, perhaps all those stories were true---that she was aware, even then, of some innate ability. Innate until now. Hsui Tai soared out of England toward Japan. She felt her spirit flying down, down, down...until she flew amongst the city of Tokyo. But why here? Were they here? Below were hundreds of people filling the morning streets.
Then something happened. Hsui Tai felt herself pulled from the sky, headfirst. Her spirit flew beyond mountains, downward. She plunged into the Pacific Ocean and felt herself drowning. Her body, still on her bed, began to gasp for air.
"Mike!" TIM became aware of the problem, "You are needed at once! Hsui Tai is in extreme danger!"
"She will be dead in three minutes!"
Mike motioned to his band, now called Flintlock, to end the song. He spoke into a microphone, "We'll be taking a short break. Be back soon." Under protests from his fellow band members, Mike raced around the corner toward the bathrooms. People! They were everywhere.
"Mike!" He heard TIM call--and he could swear Hsui Tai's voice called with it. Mike dashed into the bathroom and jaunted.
Someone turned from one of the urinals. "What the...?"
Hsui Tai's spirit, undersea, came up against a dark, gigantic object---a black object. It moved and she saw a giant eye. The creature, a "killer" whale, bellowed and opened its jaws wider. Hsui Tai screamed. This only allowed her to swallow more water.
Mike was in her room, "She's sleeping! Why did you call me back?"
"Quickly," TIM rolled into the room, "Place your hands on her mind. Together we can summon the other half of Hsui Tai back to her body."
Mike saw Hsui Tai's body jerk and then go stiff. He did as TIM said, with no further questions. Hsui Tai's spirit was jerked away from this mammoth of a whale and shot straight up into the air. "She's breathing normally again," Mike telepathed to TIM. "Hsui Tai?"
"I'm coming back," she barely managed to send.
Mike looked up as Hsui Tai's life force returned. She awakened with a start. "Oh, it was terrible, she cried."
Mike sat on the bed and held her. She cried on his shoulder, "What did you do?"
"There was this...this creature..."
"Big and black with undersea arms..."
"Sounds like you're describing a kind of whale."
Hsui Tai began to babble, "I must not have totally dislinked my spirit from my body."
TIM joined in, "That is possible."
"Or maybe some outside force interrupted..."
Mike was confused, "What're you two going on about?"
Hsui Tai calmed down. "But the flying was beautiful."
"Well, was it terrible or was it beautiful," Mike stood up, "I wish you'd let me in on it."
"Beautiful. My spirit was free."
"Almost free," corrected TIM, "And until we know more about what did happen, I would recommend no further flights."
"Flights? Tomorrow People can't fly like Superman. Unless you did what Tyso used to do."
"I did, Mike. Please, it is the truth."
"Oh, I know. Makes me kind of jealous, you being able to do it, and Tyso. Maybe you and he should meet, you know get to know one another," Mike turned away from her to hide his smirk as his ploy.
"No, Mike. Maybe you can fly too."
"Maybe," Mike laughed.
"I would advise against it," TIM warned.
"In a glider," Mike added, "Now I must go. Mike jaunted again."
"Why do they always leave me alone?" Hsui Tai mumbled.
"Hsui Tai," that is unfair, "TIM answered."
"Can't I think a thought without some comment from you or one of the others?"
"Well, yes, you can if you...Hsui Tai, this is most unlike you. I realize you are upset.."
Hsui Tai laid back down on the bed.
"I am sorry, TIM. It is unfair. I have been taking this out on you, Mike, and the others. It is just that they never ask about my past. I could use their help."
"Since you do not talk about it, I believe they are reluctant to bring up the subject, perhaps afraid of depressing you."
"True," she yawned. Her flight made her tired, yet the boost of power Mike gave her earlier still had that cheer effect on her. She was not depressed but more hopeful than ever. Somehow her flight made her feel this way as well---as if it was linked to her finding her parents. She was soon asleep.
A strange shaped tree, sticking out of the water. Hundreds just the same surrounding it and hundreds of tiny islands. Fallen snow covering the ground of tiny islands. Fallen snow covering the ground of the islands like a thin white blanket. The sea. These were images in Hsui Tai's dream. The sun was bright and beautiful. The point of view took her along the islands toward one ancient Japanese home, built on the side of a beach and a cliff. Suddenly it was night---both dark and stormy. The rain shot across the area in a sideways motion. Inside the home, a large window cover slapped back and forth with the titanic wind. It awoke an elderly Japanese man, covered with blankets. He awoke not with a start, but with a resigned, almost trance like motion. Yet his eyes were wide with fear and terror. He wore his heavy winter clothes--for here there was no central heating--making winters uncomfortable. He was accustomed to this and it was not what disturbed him. Yet something did disturb him. Yet something made his way toward the flapping shutter and reached up to grab its handle. As it blew up for the last time, the old man spotted something beyond the cliff, out at sea. But also nearby. He jumped back, forgetting the shutter. He walked carefully out to his platform overlooking the beach from the cliff not minding the slanted rain which now smote the snow. From here he could see it better. A long black, triangular dorsal find rising out of the ocean. It seemed to rise for hundreds of feet.
In her bed, Hsui Tai felt the man's fear
The old man walked down the platform as if he had done so dozens of times each day. He made his way straight toward the beach, to the water. It wanted me he thought. I must.
No---Hsui Tai, Hsui Tai, Hsui Tai, Hsui Tai. The man did not understand this, so he continued until the water was up to his shoulders--he intended to drown. Then he would be free, he hoped. No---Hsui Tai, Hsui Tai, Hsui Tai...
Hsui Tai saw the black depths of the ocean in her dream and felt as if she were drowning again. She woke up screaming! The old man was underwater....
TO BE CONTINUED...
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