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Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Sci-fi · #228310
Aurora seeks to understand herself as she searches for her unknown parentage.
The doctor’s horrified expression was the last thing Aurora saw before she fled his office, down the seemingly endless green corridor. The heels on her stylish boots clicking a deafening staccato on the dull gray tiled floor as her slender legs flashed, one in front of the other, in her headlong rush for the double glass doors, and escape. No one in the drab gray, high ceiling lobby paid any attention to the petite young woman in her tailored mauve pantsuit.

Aurora bolted down the wide chipped steps in her flight from the old red brick building, running from a past resurrected from the depths of her mother’s solitary hell, running from the present veiled in anguish and this unexpected terror. But no matter where she tried to hide or how fast she ran, there would be no escape from the future, or from days that now promised to be more lonely than she could have ever imagined.

Aurora would be alone, isolated because of her heritage, her differences from all other people.

My God! Why had she insisted on locating her birth mother? If she had left her past alone, none of this would be happening now. But she knew why. The reasons developed as a result of her childhood. And she had to know. She had this drive to understand.

Aurora had always been a lonely child, those early years a painful time of silent tears and hidden scars. Abandoned at birth, left to be raised in foster homes, she’d been the odd little girl with coal black hair and mysterious large eyes dominating a thin elfin face. Those beautiful haunting eyes of hers had been the object of cruel childish taunts.

“Hey, Aurora, can you see in the dark? Aurora’s got cat eyes!” The cruel harassment by the other children had been fed by her exotic appearance, by jealousy and fear of her intelligence, which was so far above average. Aurora possessed the ability to absorb facts and knowledge effortlessly; her grasp of new material, her understanding of abstract concepts put her apart from her peers. In their eyes, she had been neither child nor adult.

Now, in the comparative safety of her car, she drove like an automaton, straining to put as much distance as possible between her, the doctor, and a dream catapulted into a living nightmare in just those few minutes. Minutes suspended in time.

Although she had never been to this part of the country, she drove as if by plan. Moisture dotted the delicate curve of her upper lip as the miles sped by, past the business district, past the residential areas with their safe normal families, content in their safe homes, safe in front of their television sets.

The blur of a black and white city limit sign brought back the flash of white hot agony, so profound there had been no escape, no place to hide from the pain. It began with her mother’s blood chilling scream as it had reverberated around the room, her arms clutched rigidly around a too thin body, drawing back into the chair in retreat from reality.

“No! No! Nooo!” she’d shrieked over and over, her eyes glazed; her inner vision intent on something only she could see. For a few seconds her tormented eyes cleared to glare accusingly at Aurora, eyes ablaze with repulsion and an incomprehensible hatred.

Did she understand what Aurora was capable of doing? Did she understand Aurora’s unusual abilities? Was this way she appeared to be terrified of her own daughter?

But how could she know? Even Aurora herself didn’t know the limits of her mental powers. She’s been so young when she’d first come to realize just how different she was from her peers. She had been young and not able to understand the full implication of this discovery.

She’d been a skinny little girl in the forth grade when she’d accidentally discovered she could strike back at those who mocked her. She could hit back in such a way no one would ever guess she was involved.

Aurora had been eight years old, wearing her first brand new, store-bought dress to a class picnic. Bobby, the class bully, had taken ghoulish delight in taunting her most of the afternoon, doing his best to ruin her time at the class outing.

“Your mother left you under a rock ‘cause you’re so funny looking. Maybe you just don’t got a mother. Maybe you was hatched under a rock like a lizard.” With a fiendish grin, displaying two missing front teeth, he’d mashed a sticky pink wad of gum into her hair. Not on the ends where it could have been neatly clipped off, but right next to her scalp over her left ear.

The final blow to her self-esteem had been the cup of grape drink that he’d maliciously poured over her shoulder, the deep purple ooze obliterating the pretty pink roses on the dress. Tears had filled her eyes, as she’d stood there speechless at this uncalled for act of deliberate cruelty, her chest heaving with anguished sobs.

“I’ll...I’ll get you Bobby! You’re mean you bully! I hate you!” And at that moment she truly did despise the older boy.

Her opportunity for revenge had come a little later that afternoon as Bobby and some of the other children played down by the lake. A steep incline led to the water’s edge, shadowed by a huge oak tree; it’s long sturdy limbs reaching out over the dark water. Someone had tied a large rope to one of the longer, broader tree limbs. This had afforded anyone brave enough the thrill of swinging out over the lake before leaping into the cool, dark water.

Aurora had watched from several feet away, partially hidden by some shrubs, watching as Bobby took hold of the thick rope. As he’d backed up to get a good running start to propel himself out over the water, she’d made her silent wish.

Fantasizing Bobby as he dangled out over the water, she’d concentrated on the rope. Aurora concentrated, focused all her thoughts on that single object, visualizing the many strands wound together forming the strengthening bond. One by one, Aurora’s mind saw those strands snap just above Bobby’s hands. The image had been so real, she’d actually heard the minute snap as each thread parted, until at last the bond had been broken.

As the rope had parted in her mind, so it had parted on Bobby, plunging him feet first into the lake, the premature fall taking him by surprise. He’d gulped mouthfuls of water as gasping, terrified he’d surfaced, screaming in panic. Aurora had been as surprised as the frightened boy.

Very soon after this episode, she’d discovered she could do other things with her mind; simple things like move objects, opening drawers or turning knobs. Just thinking about it wasn’t enough; she had to concentrate, apparently to draw upon some inner force to make it work. At least in the beginning. After all these years, she now had mastered control of this skill.

To this day, no one knew of these abilities, or about her being able to hear other’s thoughts. Fear of discovery made her cautious about using her special talents in the presence of friends or acquaintances. It would only make her differences more apparent.

Not knowing who her parents were or where they came from had been difficult for her. There was no one she could turn to for guidance; no one who could respond to her inner questions. Why was she different? This had driven her determination to locate a family, her family. Just one person who was related was all she longed to find. Even if they wouldn’t want anything to do with her, at least she would have a known lineage.

Now, she grimaced as the lights from an oncoming car beamed in her face. “My God, I must have ancestors no one would ever believe!” she muttered aloud. “I don’t believe it myself. Or don’t want to?”

Since becoming cognizant of her telepathic abilities, Aurora had assumed they had been inherited from her mother, female relating to the female parent. There were countless times, when all was quiet, just before sleep took control, she’d become aware of an eerie sensation, as if someone were calling her. The feeling was almost physical in its reality. These feeling had been with her all week, but especially strong last night and today.

Her car sped past the last night-light of civilization, still driving steadily forward into the darkness. A nervous glance in the rearview mirror confirmed a light in the distance, but approaching rapidly. As the white lights loomed closer, her worse fears materialized as red and blue lights began flashing an instant before the shrill cry of the siren clawed at the silence surrounding this part of the road. Her body stiffened as her perspiring hands griped the steering wheel, knuckles straining white under the relentless pressure.

Had Dr. Harris notified the authorities already? How had they found her so quickly? Even if he had followed her to the parking lot, she doubted he had had the time to get her tag number.

The police car was a mere four car lengths behind her. As she watched in alarm, it swung into the oncoming lane, flashed by her with a high pitched scream and a blaze of lights. In seconds, it was far ahead, no more than two red dots in the distance.

Aurora took a deep breath, forcing herself to relax, aware of how tense had had been. Mentally she reviewed what had been said during her brief visit with Dr. Harris. She had to recall not only what information she had obtained, but also what she might have inadvertently told him about herself. He was sure to inform the authorities of the shocking truth about Aurora Kenny. If she had told him about her job or where she lived, it wouldn’t be safe to go back home, even to pack.

Aurora continued to drive into the night as she recalled her conversation with the doctor. The urge to enter his mind to learn what he was obviously slow to relate had been almost overpowering. But because the minute mental probes she’d sent out to link her mind to his had shown him to be highly attuned to telepathic waves, she’d had to proceed with caution. A mind link would have to be a last resort.

Aurora’s birth certificate listed her mother as June Day, her father as unknown. This she had known. Dr. Harris, a tall slender man in his late fifties, his hawk-like face with the hooknose and small eyes mirrored concern, both for his patient and for her. He’d told her about her mother, June; about June’s sensitive childhood with a strict aunt and uncle, who had raised her before the incidents leading to her present condition, which was one of complete mental withdrawal.

“June has never been able or willing to tell the truth about the man who fathered her child. That is,” he quickly amended, “she told a story before withdrawing so completely, no one has been able to question her about any of the elements of her improbable story.

“What we think really happened was somewhat different. Apparently, she’d been dating some young man without the knowledge or consent of her aunt and uncle. One evening when she failed to return from the library, they became concerned. She wasn’t located until about five the next morning, parked in the middle of a back road leading to her uncle’s farm. She was in shock. No one could make any sense of her ramblings. I’m afraid her story was quite unbelievable once she did start to make some sense.”

The doctor hesitated, as if unsure how to continue. Or if he should continue. He sighed, licked his thin lips. “Your mother claims to have been taken by two strange men aboard an alien craft of some sort...at which time you were conceived.”

Aurora’s stunned expression spurred Dr. Harris to resume, to fill in the heavy silence. “As I said before, June was a highly sensitive young woman whose imagination was extremely keen. I was told she spent a great deal of time daydreaming.”

“But to come up with a story like that?” Aurora croaked her lips and mouth suddenly dry.

“Miss Kenny, we don’t know for certain what happened between June and her lover that night, but it’s a safe guess that he walked out on her; left her frightened and very alone. Perhaps she already had an idea that she was pregnant. Maybe that was why he disappeared. Either way, she was upset and in shock. The thought of facing her forbidding aunt and uncle with a pregnancy was more than she could handle emotionally. She panicked.”

“I can understand her fear. But did she really expect anyone to believe such a far-fetched story?”

“Perhaps to her it wasn’t all that bizarre. The abduction story relieved her of all blame, and let her bury any guilt she might have carried over the affair. Then, when it was confirmed some weeks later she was indeed pregnant, she made a complete withdrawal from this world.”

“And she’d been this way since?” Aurora questioned.

Dr. Harried nodded. “Today is the first time she has reacted to any outside stimulus. She must connect you with her affair or alleged abduction, which could be very real in her mind, in her inner world. Apparently, if we can use her reaction to your presence today as any guide, you represent her guilt, something she does not want or cannot acknowledge.”

Aurora stared at the bookshelves behind the doctor’s desk for several seconds contemplating her next questions. “Did she give any details about those men in her story? Or about the one who is suppose to be my father? It may sound peculiar, but if I can learn everything about the past, no matter how preposterous, it might help me accept the present situation. And my mother’s panicked reaction today.”

And something the doctor might say could point the way down another path. Very cautiously, Aurora began to establish a mind link with Dr. Harris. He might have forgotten some small detail that would unlock the mystery of her mental abilities. Sensing his hesitation, her mind gave his a gentle prod. His body jerked at this mental touch. As she anticipated, he proved to be highly sensitive to the mind link.

Aurora knew without asking that no one had considered the possibility of the truth of June’s story. There could be no doubt about the status of her sanity, no reason to question the validity of her abduction tale.

“June said they, the two men, were kind, considerate of her welfare. She was given a physical, during which she was put to sleep. When she awoke, there was one man in the room, standing by the examining table. He smiled at her, told her everything was fine. She said his name was.” Dr. Harris consulted a thick folder, “was Pream. At least that was how it sounded to her. He was about five feet ten inches tall, average build; he had thick black hair and large elongated yellow eyes.” In a betraying nervous gesture, she sensed was uncharacteristic for the doctor, his tongue darted out to moisten his lips. He stared into Aurora’s large questioning eyes. Those eyes!

Dr. Harris was visibly shaken as he continued. “June claims she wasn’t frightened at the time. She said Pream’s lips scarcely moved when he talked, yet she could plainly hear him. It was almost as though the sound of his voice was coming from inside her head. The only thing unusual about his physical features was the absence of the little finger on each hand.”

Aurora’s heart skipped a beat, then began thundering violently in her chest. Dr. Harris had been so intent on relating the details, he completely missed her startled expression, had been unaware of Aurora clasping her hands tightly in her lap.

“I wish there was some encouragement I could give you, but I don’t see any possible change in her condition.” He reached forward, placing a gentle hand over hers, still clenched in her lap.

Aurora drew a deep, steadying breath. “Thank
you for your time and your understanding, Dr. Harris.” She stood up, automatically extending her hand. As his hand grasped hers, as he looked at their two hands, his and hers, he noted the differences. His look riveted on the small stub of a finger on her right hand, then quickly darted to the left hand clutching her handbag. That hand had no little finger.

Her eyes delved knowingly into his. Those startling eyes! They were more elongated than most he’d seen, but it was their color that seemed to hypnotize him.

“My God!” he’d blurted as he’d snatched his hand away as if she’d contaminated him in some way. “Pream’s amber eyes!”

It was then that she’d sprinted from his office, but not before hearing the terror in his mind. Terror induced by something alien in his world.

Aurora was brought back to the present as she turned the car onto a rutted dirt road. The car bounced uncomfortably, but still she kept driving as if being drawn into the darkness ahead. The headlights illuminated a turnoff, no more than a worn path through a dense wooded area. She eased back on the gas, her right foot clamping down on the brake as she turned to follow this path, branches, leaves scraping the windows and sides of the car.

A little less than a mile into the woods, her car broke into a clearing by a small lake. The fifty-foot square oasis was deserted, clearly visible in the light from the full moon. The trees formed a black curtain surrounding the lake and this small island of low-lying weeds and grass.

Aurora switched off the ignition and headlights before leaning wearily against the steering wheel. The silence was soothing after the nightmare at the hospital. Now she concentrated on breathing naturally to calm her body. Forcing herself to sit back, she began to relax mentally, picturing the tension as it began to drain from her body through arms and legs.

She regarded the myriad shiny distant stars in the sky as they stood out, pinpoints of light against a velvet backdrop. He was out there somewhere. Her father.

And somehow she knew that they would meet someday. Surprisingly, she felt no fear now that the shock had dissipated. She was part of him; his genes had given her special abilities. Her voice sounded loud in this quiet place as she questioned the darkness surrounding her. “But will I belong to his world or will I always feel and outsider, as I have here? Will I always feel alone?”

From somewhere came that gentle comforting nudge to her mind, a fragile connection was being forged. A permanent link! “No, you will not be alone, Aurora. You will belong.” His words were as clear as if her had spoken in her ear. And she knew he was here with her now.

Aurora felt herself engulfed in warmth as a sense of peace flooded through her. She’d had to discover her past, accept her reality before he could claim paternity. A soft, tender smile curved her lips as she scanned the row of trees to her right. A tall slender figure stepped out of the shadows, took three steps and halted.

Aurora silently called, “Father?”

In answer, he held out his arms, arms to accept the daughter he’d had to wait to claim.

She didn’t hesitate, knew no fear as she quickly opened the car door and stepped onto the damp matted grass. She smiled through her tears as she walked over the uneven ground to where her father stood.

Strong, comforting arms closed around her in a welcoming embrace. She felt his lips brush against her hair. All at once, her past unhappiness, loneliness washed away with his touch. Aurora had found herself at last.

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