When I woke up, I was disoriented, I didn’t know what was going on. I felt lost and confused, and I knew, because of the images still lingering in my mind, that I had nightmares. I noticed a warm body under me, but I soon realized it wasn’t Kimball’s, and then I remembered. My head was hurting and my body ached, I tried to move, but the effort was too much for me. I wasn’t sure what had happened after I lost consciousness, but I knew that Yoweri was there and I had been at his mercy for a long time.
I felt that the place was cold, but the heat generated by our bodies was enough to keep me warm enough to feel comfortable. Once the panic went away and I was able to think rationally, I realized that things weren’t as bad as I first thought, I was still wearing my underwear and Yoweri was only naked from the waist up. We were skin to skin, where skin was available, but it was me who was holding him, trying to share his warmth, his arms were at his sides, and he wasn’t being inappropriate. I could feel he had put some of our clothes under us, to keep us isolated from the cold floor, and we had my cape covering both of us.
“How are you feeling?” Yoweri asked, but his voice was off, it sounded fearful, and childish.
“I feel like I was hit by a bus, all my body hurts. What happened? The last thing I remember is building the shelter.
“I was following you, and I came in when you were building the shelter and you didn’t notice. I was going to hurt you,” his voice broke, or at least I thought it did, and I wondered what was going on. I tried to move so I could see him better, but the pain and exhaustion I was feeling stopped me. “I didn’t know, Faakhir said that it was the same for all women, that they wanted it, that we weren’t hurting them, but then the memory, it was a memory, right? Those men hurt you, and Faakhir lied…” Yoweri started crying and I couldn’t understand what was going on. The last thing I remembered was trying to use the defenses in my mind to stop him, but it appeared as if I had let him locked in with my memories instead.
I had never paid attention to Yoweri before that moment, I had never questioned who he was or what he wanted. I knew that he was absolutely loyal to Faakhir, so I had never tried to talk to him or change him to my side, but I was realizing that there was so much more to him that I first thought. I knew that he was often with Faakhir during his orgies and gang rapes, but I never thought that he wouldn’t realize what was really going on, or that he could object to hurting others.
“How long have we been here?”
“I don’t know, I have no idea how long I was inside your mind, it felt like hours, but it could have been less time,” there was some light that was shinning through the parts of the shelter that were ice, so the blizzard was gone and it was a new day, it meant that a long time had passed.
“Thanks for helping me, I know that I would have frozen to death if it wasn’t for you.”
“I’m sorry I tried to hurt you. If I had know how painful it could be I wouldn’t have tried it, but it feels so good and Faakhir said it was just as good for the women.”
“Faakhir lied to you, it’s not your fault. You didn’t hurt me, you helped me, and that’s what’s important.” There was something odd about Yoweri, some kind of innocence that was at odds with who he was. It was almost like talking to a child and I felt like I had to comfort him, when just a few hours before I wanted to destroy him so he couldn’t destroy me.
It was bizarre, but even if I was completely vulnerable, I didn’t feel fear. I thought Kimball was the only one that could make me feel like that, because, despite our problems, I knew he wouldn’t hurt me and would do anything to keep me safe, but being with Yoweri felt safe. Maybe it was my lack of options. I had been so used to having Kimball close by to take control if I had a psychic headache or if my body was suffering because I had abused the use of my powers. But I had messed up, despite my precautions I had let myself get in a difficult position and I was at Yoweri’s mercy.
“Are you hungry? I have some food from the plane, it must be here, somewhere,” he offered, as he started searching around us, looking for the food.
“I don’t think I can eat,” just speaking took too much effort and the headache was making me sick.
“I think there’s some water here, you need at least to drink some, you need to stay hydrated…” Yoweri was interrupted when the shelter started falling on us.
My body was so tired that I couldn’t move even if I tried. My mind tried to help, but as soon as I tried to use my powers the pain got so bad that I almost passed out. Luckily Yoweri was able to take me into his arms and move me to the other side of the shelter, the part that was still intact. From the opening in the top I could see some people standing outside.
They started to talk, but I couldn’t understand what they were saying, but I didn’t need to understand to know they were our enemies. I didn’t know how I would be able to defend myself, and I forgot that I wasn’t alone, until I noticed that Yoweri had managed to get his hands on a jacket and had moved outside, next to our enemies. One of them got a gun out and pointed it to where I was, but Yoweri moved before he could shoot me and with a few well aimed punches he took care of him. The rest of the group tried to attack him, but even if he wasn’t fast, it was hard for them to follow his movements. Yoweri managed to get his hands on one of the guns and took care of them. I knew there were more, at least if it was the same group I had seen when I was astral projecting, and the noise would attract the rest of them. Yoweri was going through the enemies’ things and I saw him stripping them of their clothes.
“These people are better prepared for this weather,” he said, “it would be a good idea to use their clothes, it seems that their coats have a self warming system that keeps them comfortable.”
In the couple of minutes that I had been outside the heat of the shelter had disappeared, I had gotten cold, and was starting to shake. The pain in my body had gotten worse and even when I had tried to move, my body had refused to cooperate with me. Yoweri got back and dressed me in their clothes. I felt frustrated, angry and scared to be in that position, but Yoweri was taking good care of me.
“They are not the only ones,” I said, “I saw more people in my astral walk, they could be close.”
“And they will come looking for us, in a place like this sound can travel greater distances, they have to have heard the shots,” Yoweri said, his thoughts moving in the same direction as mine. “Don’t worry, I will keep you safe.”
The people who had attacked us was using snowmobiles, but Yoweri walked past them, knowing they would be easy to follow by our enemies. The shelter I had built was near a cluster of trees, and he took me there. As soon as we were inside, we heard the sound of snowmobiles coming our way. I knew they would be looking for us, but I was surprised they arrived so fast. Yoweri sat next to a big tree, with me still in his arms. I wasn’t sure how his power worked, but I was hoping it would be able to hide both of us.
The clothes he had stolen was keeping me warm and comfortable, but there was nothing that could be done for the headache or to keep my body from hurting. Since there wasn’t much that could be done about the pain, I was soon exhausted and fell asleep. I woke up later, when the screaming started. I was alone, Yoweri was nowhere to be seen and I was on the ground, covered by a blanket that I supposed Yoweri had taken from our enemies, and was acting as camouflage to keep me hidden.
I hated not being able to fight, and I hated to be alone and vulnerable, I was going mad. I knew that if I thought too much about it, I would lose my mind. I needed to recognize that I had gone over my limits, and Kimball would get mad at me for it. I missed Kimball, everything was easier when he was close to me.
It was all Inger’s fault. If she had listened to my warnings we could have avoided the whole ordeal. At least this would convince Faakhir to take me more seriously. But I knew that if I was smart about it, I could benefit from the situation. After two disasters like that they couldn’t risk not listening to me, even if I was vague or refused to give them details, the risk of ignoring me would be too high.
I was still thinking about the different arguments I would use on Faakhir to make him listen to me and bend him to my will, when a strong wind took my blanket. The wind was too strong and moved too randomly to be natural, I knew someone with powers was causing it and whomever it was, was doing as much damage as possible. I was able to move a little bit I tried to grab the tree to have something to hold, but then I realized it could not be a good idea. A smaller tree was uprooted by the wind and it crashed against another tree, luckily there wasn’t enough space for it to do much damage, but still the trees shook with the force of the hit. I was still trying to find a way to stay safe when I saw a figure standing a few yards from me, then it disappeared, just before I felt someone kneeling next to me.
“Are you ok?” He yelled, trying to be heard over the wind, and I realized it was Ivan. I couldn’t answer so I just shook my head, frustrated that I was so useless at that moment. “I will try to get you out of here, one of the enemy’s soldiers lost control. I think he got a psychic headache and is on his way to self destruction. We need to get out of here before we are dragged into this.”
Again, I was at the mercy of somebody else. I couldn’t escape by myself, so I depended on Ivan to get to safety. I felt so useless and I hated feeling like that. I wanted to yell my anger, but I knew that wouldn’t help us. Once we got outside of the tree’s cluster I saw a figure floating over the trees, destruction all around him. I couldn’t hear, but even from the distance it was clear the person was yelling and clearly in pain, his face a mask of agony.
It had been years since I had seen somebody lose control like that, it wasn’t a pretty image and I knew that he would cause a lot more destruction before his body and mind finally gave up. It was an ugly and painful way to go, it was what every psychic feared, those who weren’t a Maxima. Ivan kept getting away from the destruction, and soon I saw a group of rebels pouring out of the cluster of trees, getting away from the destruction. The problem was that they noticed us and tried to attack us, but they didn’t succeed as Yoweri killed them before they could hurt us.
There was no way to know the reach of the psychic, and Ivan was taking no risks, so he got me into one of the snowmobiles and drove away, taking me out of the area. I saw Yoweri taking another one of the vehicles and following us. Before long the psychic got a last blast of energy before going out, and the last explosion of air hit us hard, throwing the vehicles on their sides. The calm that followed was eery, and for a moment we couldn’t move, waiting for what was next. Once it was clear that it was over, I realized that I had lost Yoweri again, and that could be dangerous.
“Are you ok?” Ivan asked me.
“Yes, don’t worry about me, Yoweri kept me safe. Yoweri? Are you alright?” I asked, trying to focus on him so I could find him. His power was an important part of him, and useful most of the time, at others a nuisance. He didn’t seem to have good control, his default was to have his power activated, and I had come to realize that it was mostly because he couldn’t turn it off at will.
“Yoweri?” Ivan asked, surprised. “But he is…” He started to say, but Yoweri revealed himself in front of us, his threatening attitude, and it cut Ivan’s speech.
“Is he hurting you?” Yoweri asked, and I was sure that if my answer had been positive, he wouldn’t have hesitated to fight Ivan.
“No, Ivan is my friend.”
“But he is always insulting you and threatening you,” Yoweri said, confused. Again, I saw him as a young, and, even if his actions sometimes said otherwise, innocent air about him.
“Faakhir is a bad man,” I said, trying to get him back to the same anti-Faakhir mindset he had when I first woke up. “He lies and cheats people around him, and he doesn’t like me having friends. Ivan acts like that with me because he doesn’t want Faakhir to know we are friends, he doesn’t want him to get mad at him.”
“Faakhir wants you all to himself,” Yoweri said, accepting my explanation. “So, if Faakhir knows we are friends now, will he be mad at me?”
“He probably won’t let you go on missions with me or spent time with me.”
“Then what am I supposed to do?”
“You have to keep acting the same way you always act, don’t let him know you know he lied to you about the women, don’t let him know we are friends. Can you do that?”
“Yes, I guess so,” he said, but he didn’t sound convinced.
“You will have to tell me what happened,” Ivan said, “but first, we need to go.”
“What happened to the others?” I asked.
“Inger managed to construct a shelter for us before passing out, she was afraid she was going to get a psychic headache. We stayed in the shelter during the blizzard, but once the blizzard was gone she started to plan our way out, I think she assumed you were dead and glad about it, because she didn’t even pretended to look for you. And I think we didn’t realize Yoweri was gone, or we forgot he was with us in the first place. Once we got outside the shelter, we were attacked, we defeated them, but I used the excuse of going to see if there were more of them to come looking for you. Then I noticed the fight going on and went there, then I found you.”
“I suppose we need to go to the others, but I don’t like the idea of going with them, I don’t feel strong enough to face them. I abused my powers and both my body and mind are facing the consequences.”
“I saw the enemy camp when I was coming this way. Why don’t we take you there and find a place for you to rest while I go fetch the others?” Ivan suggested. “I will take them to the camp and from there we can plan our next move. You can tell them you are fine, but tired or simply do your: ‘I’m too good for you’ act and ignore the others, I’m sure no one will bother you.”
“I think that’s a good idea. Thanks.”
Ivan and Yoweri got the vehicles and took me to the enemy camp. Yoweri stayed with me while Ivan went for the others. Once I was calm and had time to think, I realized that what could have been a terrible situation for me had worked very well in the end. Despite the danger I had managed to get a new ally and had realized that my new allies were willing to protect me even in my vulnerable moments. I had thought that no one other than Kimball would be that kind to me, but they had proved me wrong.