Woodstock empath noise was harsh, with spikes….

Woodstock empath noise was harsh, with spikes, occasionally softened by soft blue-green pastel intonations that briefly drowned out the noise and offered some needed respite. These kids were actually helping her replenish. “Great skill here,” she thought. She wondered which one of the many young faces wandering by possessed the capacity to intone so deliciously, with such powers to heal her frazzled head. Perhaps it was the woman at the next table who sat cross-legged on her chair staring at her teacup? It certainly wasn’t the fellow on the sidewalk just outside the café dragging on a joint. She resisted looking into each mind as she glanced around her. A talented one could figure them out.

She had long ago learned to shield herself from the sweet lure of weed. It clouded her focus and, she was sure, made it impossible for empath energy to really do its thing. She guessed weed was good for some things. But Telmx had warned her early on to avoid it, even if it meant jeopardizing her connection with people she needed to connect with. “It saps the blue levels big time,” Telmx explained. “Besides, your shield will weaken, and someone might just happen to find you out.” Occasionally J had gotten a contact high, hating and loving it. Bot was far better, and it enhanced rather than diminished her energy. She wondered what would happen if people around here got their hands on some bot.

Careful not to intrude, she looked at Scotty. What would happen if she and Scotty ever split? Well, she would never, never ever involve herself with another. That was certain. Too much pain. If this perfection didn’t last, nothing would. Whenever Scotty entered her own inner place she felt alone. Gone. Like longing for Telmx during years of absence. Could Scotty be reading her thoughts right now? No, she was far too inward, deep within herself. Each one in her private place. How unnerving to be with her and not be with her, not have their thoughts blend. There had hardly been a moment, even in dreaming, when their thoughts didn’t meld. Often they couldn’t peel them apart. It was joyous. Even with Telmx, she never felt such true companionship. Of course, she always knew that Telmx would leave almost as quickly as she arrived. The most time she had spent with her was actually off-world, for the several two and three week visits to Galern II and its various neighboring systems. Besides, Telmx and J were hardly peers or partners like she and Scotty. Yes, J and Telmx really loved each other. Deeply. But there was no way to compare the two relationships. Different. That’s all. Just different. Somehow.

The street was filling up. And it was getting hotter. Dusty dog days of August. Not so up the mountain. Suddenly, a surge of dust and diesel filled her lungs. Ohmygod, it’s here. The roar and the stench from far up the road invaded her temples. “Scotty!” she empath yelled. Scotty was immobile. She turned back to the street just as the New York City bound bus rolled past the cafe, kicking up pebbles and dust. It wheezed to a stop several hundred yards up the street. “Scotty! It’s here!”

A frail blue-green light flickered into her left temple. It wavered and dimmed out and then flickered again. It was mournful, somehow. Was that from Scotty? No, couldn’t be. It had an entirely different timbre, a new, yet familiar vibration. One of the flower children? It pulsated with her, pleaded, like a child crying for its mother.

“Scotty! The bus!” Diesel and pleading competed for her attention. “Scotty!” She grabbed her friend’s shoulders and desperately shook her. What if they missed the connection altogether. Scotty would know how to read the signals. “Scotty! The bus!”

Scotty jerked her eyes open and J welcomed the sudden melding. “Oh jeez, it’s here,” empathed Scotty. “Jeez, what a stench. Let me see. Okay I got it. It’s tough with all this shit in the way. Wait. Here, read the energy this way.” As if J’s brain were a kaleidoscope, the light changed positions. Different angles, same light. Diesel stench and wheezing faded, and the blue-green light coalesced into a tiny effervescent point. J was suddenly bathed in calm, a mournful calm, like a soulful cry, but steady, almost sweet.

“It’s not Gir, but it’s definitely a ‘him,’” empath whispered J.

“Yeah. You’re right. It’s definitely not Gir. Actually it’s not quite human, I mean, he’s not in full human form. He’s—It’s so odd, I can’t read it exactly. Let’s just walk to the bus stop, you know, slowly. Don’t open up too much, just in case. We can’t be exactly sure what we got here. I think it’s okay, but jeez, J, he’s human and not human, almost mineral, I think.

“Maybe you think, maybe they sent us an empath booster?” ventured J. “Maybe since it’s not Gir, it’s actually a strong signal from him to look for the booster. What do you think? And maybe it’s sitting right there in the street, in a suitcase, or something, just waiting for us to pick it up.”

J and Scotty got up from the table simultaneously, slowly pulling on their knapsacks, in one motion, as if in a well-coordinated and synchronized dance. Moving like they were attached at the hip, they quickly walked up the steps from the sunken terrace of the café onto the street. Anyone watching them would think they were on some awesome acid trip. They glided up the street toward the Village Green, where the uniformed driver (alien and stilted among the flowing colors of the street) was throwing duffels and suitcases into the hold. By the time they reached the bus, a small cluster of long skirts and sandals and bare feet, bandannas, amulets and crystals were clambering on, and whoever had gotten off had since melted into the town. No luggage remained on the sidewalk, and the driver was revving his engine. No empath booster. No almost sentient being.

“Did we miss it?” empathed J. “Shit! I don’t know whether to call it a ‘he’ or an ‘it’!”

“Shh, it’s here somewhere; don’t you see it?”

The light was more diffuse now, mingling with the errant and unformed empath energies streaming from the guitars, bongos and incense in the Village Green oval. “I can’t keep it centered,” J empathed.

“Okay, hold tight. It’s actually not right here. It’s back a-ways. I don’t know, I think it’s back the way the bus just came. I think it got kicked out of the tire tread or something. This way. I can’t believe it’s not really Gir. It’s so much like him, but it’s definitely not him. But it’s human, sort of, no I think definitely human—a he.” They turned around and walked slowly back toward the café in silence, concentrating. The blue-green light coalesced again, this time a bit larger in diameter, sharper now, and then fading out and then sharper yet again. J followed Scotty’s concentration. The pulsating was engaging. It merged with their breathing. Scotty’s hand found J’s. It was warm and wet, and pulsated with J’s, palm to palm. They walked slowly past the café and continued along the road, past the hardware store and the Twin Gables Guest House. As they approached the Tinker Street Cinema, three energies pulsated in harmony.

The synchronized pulses reached maximum on the right side of the road several yards past the theater. “There’s no one here,” J empathed. Nevertheless, the mournful weight in each pulse surged through her toes. A resigned mournful. Whoever he was, he was bearing a heavy load. Behind her eyelids she discerned a small boy, not older than eight or nine, crouched in a thicket, shivering and crying, as if his heart were broken. His head was buried in his arms and his body heaved in heavy rhythmic sobs, in sync with the pulses. “I found him! I found him!” empathed J. Letting go of Scotty’s hand, she closed her eyes, drawn irresistibly into the tufts of tall grass and shrubbery toward the wooded area beyond. She stopped several paces beyond the tree line, expecting to stumble right onto the slight lad, fearful she would hurt him in her stumble. Nothing in sight. “I don’t get it,” she called to Scotty out loud. “He’s right here, but he isn’t. So weird.”

Scotty was by her side. “I think you’re right on top of him now. I followed you in, I mean, in your mind’s eye, and I almost stumbled with you onto this lad. You resonate with his mournful. It’s so painful. Oh, how painful. We must get to him right away. He’s hurting a lot.” Scotty took both her hands. “Let’s just squat. You know, in ceremonial Imari style. It will inform us, I’m sure of it. Let’s just do that and see what happens. I just have a feeling, you know.”

The two women squatted face to face over a small tuft of grass. Except when a car momentarily drowned the sounds from the woods, the mournful pulses now blended in magnificent harmony with the rhythmic chirping of the birds, the furtive whooshing from nearby bushes, the rustling of the trees. The grieving child filled their hearts, and resonated in some depth of their beings. J hadn’t tapped into such grief in a very long time. So familiar and so overwhelming. All alone, she would be at a loss, actually terrified to go deeper. “Okay,” she empathed, “what do we do next?”

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