Here is Chapter 8: The Energy Vampire of A Quiet Moment. Hope you all enjoy!!
The Energy Vampire:
Was the word moody? Moody implied some sort of capriciousness of spirit, some sort of superficiality or rather instability of character that caused one to shift emotions quickly and inexplicably. At least that was his interpretation of that description, and it certainly didn’t fit Aimee Marston. What was clear, however, was that her moods did shift and the cause of it was inexplicable to him. But that didn’t mean there wasn’t a cause. What it did mean was that the cause was not readily apparent to him. And it bugged him.
She was still smiling through their meal. She was engaging he and his mother with questions, was responsive to what was said. But as clear as the fact that he had made a grievous error in his choice of entrée, was the fact that something was weighing on her now, dampening her enthusiasm, although she was doing her damnedest to cover it up.
“So, did Jacob always show this artistic inclination, even as a child?”
Mary Wyss nodded, finishing off a bite of shrimp fettuccini that looked so much better than what he was eating. “Yes, I think I first noticed it when he was three. He got a hold of one of Sam’s ballpoint pens and decided the dining room wallpaper needed some redecorating. I have to say it wasn’t one of his best creations.”
Aimee laughed, and Jacob interjected, “You know, you tell that story, but I’ve never seen any proof.”
“Well anyone who knows your dedicated and obsessive nature wouldn’t doubt it.”
“Now Mom, don’t scare Aimee too much before she gets to know me.”
Her look was a little distant, but she was smiling when she commented. “I don’t scare that easily.”
Mary looked satisfied and patted her arm softly, “Good girl, most of the good stuff in life requires a bit of stick to it ness.”
Aimee glanced away for a moment, but again he caught where her gaze continually seemed to travel. The couple in question was still there, eating, but silently, seeming as though there was a strain there. And then she looked up at him with a mixture of expressions, self-consciousness but also confusion. “How’s your food?” she asked him.
He smiled, “As much as I hate to admit it, you two were right. I should have been more adventurous.”
“How about some of mine? I don’t think I can finish it all.”
He began to graciously refuse, but his mother cut in with, “You really should. It looks much better than what you have.” And then she’d secured a side plate that she’d emptied of its Italian rolls and started to put some of hers on it too. “Here, take some of mine too.” She shoved it in front of him making him feel a bit like he was a little kid and then stood up declaring, “I’ll be right back.”
Aimee looked to him with wide eyes filled with amusement. “You know,” he said as he started eating the small plate of food that his mother had shoved at him, “If you ever want to see me again after tonight, I’ll feel very fortunate.”
Again, her eyes sparkled as though she wanted to burst into ripples of laughter. “I like your Mom. She’s very energetic.”
He nodded, “That’s one way of putting it. Another would be that she’s a bit of a steam shovel.”
She shook her head, “I’m having fun. My family, well more on my father’s side, is very restrained. This is refreshing.” She glanced at the plate that he’d already cleaned. “How about some of mine? It’s very good.” She took the plate and started transferring her offering to it.
“I feel like I’m about ten, right now.”
She glanced at him, “Am I making you feel uncomfortable?”
He leaned back and sighed, “Are you making me uncomfortable? That’s an interesting question. Yes, you are, but probably not in the way you think.”
She put the plate in front of him, then looking at him squarely. “Then how?”
“You make me want to understand every little thing about you from what you feel about the meaning of life to what your favorite color of nail polish is.”
“I don’t have a favorite color. I seldom wear it.”
“Now, there’s an important piece of information.”
There it was that sparkle again, as though she were being amused by him. “And this wanting to know these things makes you uncomfortable how?”
He shrugged, “Because I can’t get to what I want to know. Well, the opportunity isn’t here tonight.”
“But tonight, can be good anyway. Just change your track a bit.”
“Change my track?”
“Don’t be frustrated because things aren’t the way you think they should be, just accept them as they are. It’s less stressful.”
“That’s good advice.”
She tilted her head in a way that again made him think of capturing the moment on a canvas. “I have more.”
She pointed to the plate, “Eat that before it gets cold.”
“Now, I feel like ten again.”
“I bet you were interesting at ten.”
They were having coffee after dinner with a lovely desert, and Aimee was running out of time. There was a thin slice of cheesecake in front of her, and Jacob’s mother was telling both of them about her recent trip to Central America to see the Mayan ruins. Although it did sound intriguing, a place she’d never been but wanted to, her mind was occupied elsewhere.
Some situations will have to work themselves out on their own. She remembered his words still so clearly. She was questioning Dominick Trevor about the woman who lived near her grandmother.
“Shouldn’t she be told the truth about what was happening to her?”
“Do you think she would accept such knowledge from you or anyone else?”
She thought about it. The person in question came to mind. She was a slight woman, small in stature, and foreign, originally from Italy. The few times that Aimee had seen her grandmother speak to her, it was difficult. Her English was flawed at best. In addition, she was devoutly Catholic, continually wearing a crucifix around her neck. Aimee could see the perils of approaching her about anything. She would probably think she was some sort of heathen or demon sort of creature. She slumped a bit on his antique looking couch. The formal piece wasn’t particularly comfortable, especially for the casual posture of a teenage girl. “I see your point.”
He looked at her with a mixture of kindness and amusement. “So, you give up so easily.”
She straightened up a bit. “Is there something else that might be done?”
He shrugged, “What do you think this woman’s biggest problem is?”
“Her husband, of course.”
“Um,” she wracked her brain for the obvious, “energy, he’s taking all her energy, so she needs energy.”
“Yes, and why?”
“So, she can think and see things clearly. But if I give her energy, won’t he just take it again?”
He sighed a bit in his expressive way, “Perhaps, but then there might be a window, just a small one, when things are clearer.”
The man, the blond man at the table, had asked for the check. If she was going to try anything, there wasn’t much time at all. There was of course the question of if she should. You should only act when you can make a difference. Dominick had told her. With the woman, it hadn’t made any difference. She’d stayed with her husband, stayed connected to a destructive situation. At fifteen, she remembered feeling a bit shattered at the realization that just because she wanted it, things didn’t always work out. It was painful. But it certainly hadn’t stopped her from trying at times that which logic dictated she shouldn’t attempt.
She took a deep breath and focused, allowing the vision of herself sitting with Jacob and Mary to drift into a secondary position in her mind.
It had taken much practice and many years of discipline to master this degree of control. Her focus moved closer to the man, and she was perfectly conscious of the fact that she had left her body behind. The air sort of rippled where she was now. She could feel it acutely. And something else had changed that pleased her. Whatever part of the woman’s spirit that was cognizant of the draining stopped. Evidently, it had felt the change around them and was momentarily stunned.
It was in these critical moments that Aimee marshaled her energy, whirling it like a great storm around her and propelling it forcefully toward its target. In a great sort of whoosh, it impacted him. The man jolted a bit as though in shock and then put both hands to his head.
Quickly, she managed to retreat to her own body, but just barely. He would feel sick from this but hopefully it might give him that moment of clarity. At this point, that was all she could offer him. Aimee’s eyes regained focus, and she kept her head down a bit so that she could master the dizziness. She gingerly took a bite of her cheesecake. She imagined that she would get a dressing down from Iris over this. Perhaps it was futile, but what else could she do?
She glanced up. Mary was smiling at her quietly. “I’m afraid I gobbled mine down. It was good.”
She looked at both of them. Plates were clean. How long had she been out of it? It couldn’t have been very long. She concentrated hard, so that her hands wouldn’t shake. She’d really depleted herself. That’s what she got for trying to save the world. “It’s good. I guess I’m just a little full.”
And then she looked at Jacob. He was watching her with a calm but nearly inscrutable expression. She had an odd uneasy feeling, distinctly like she’d been caught with her hand in the cookie jar. But there wasn’t any way he could know what had occurred. He spoke to his mother while continuing to stare at Aimee. “Mom, while you finish your coffee, do you mind if Aimee and I take a quick look outside. I feel the need of some air.”
Mary’s eyes widened a notch perhaps with surprise, but then she smiled placidly, “Of course not, go right ahead.”
He stood up, picking up their coats from the empty chair where they’d placed them. “There’s a really nice fountain on the side of the building I think you might like to see,” finally addressing her directly.
Aimee looked at them in a bit of awkwardness at his abruptness, but it appeared to be a done deal. “Okay, I like fountains,” she quipped as she rose to her feet.
Mary cheerfully waved them off, “Have fun.”
And then, still with a bit of confusion she pulled on the coat that he held out for her.
He walked quietly beside her, leading her out of the restaurant into the night air. Yes, no doubt something was bothering him, but she was still trembling inside and had no ability at the moment to try to figure out what it might be. He absently grabbed her hand, as he did indeed guide her out onto some kind of courtyard where there was a fountain. It would probably be a pretty garden if everything wasn’t dead from the cold. The air was crisp but chilling. Her head was still pounding, and she was feeling nauseated. As they stopped in front of the fountain and he said nothing, she commented a little dryly. “This is nice. I’m surprised the water doesn’t freeze in this temperature.”
He turned to face her, but the patio was dimly lit. His face was in shadows. “Are you feeling all right?” he asked.
“I’m okay,” she lied. “What’s this all about? You’re acting very strange.”
“I’m feeling strange.”
She nodded, perhaps a bit perturbed or just feeling lousy, “Care to be more specific?”
There was a hesitation, and then he spoke rather deliberately, “Yes.” Astonishingly quick, his hands were on her shoulders, turning her gently but firmly to face him. She barely had an instant to catch her breath before his mouth was on hers, and he was kissing her in what felt like a passionate storm. This time there was no delicacy, no gentleness, just raw, unbridled desire. Every inch of her seemed to be shaking, as he poured his energy into her.
He felt absolutely overcome, and it was crazy. He couldn’t get enough of her, and absolutely didn’t want to. When he finally got coherent enough to pull back for a moment, he found the wide green, misty eyes staring at him as though she were stunned. This wasn’t exactly following the don’t be impulsive advice. He kissed her cheek and whispered, “Should I be apologizing now?”
He wrapped his arms around her tightly in an embrace. Her body was absolutely shaking against his. Her voice was very soft and barely audible, “You surprised me.”
Now his lips were in her hair. “I surprised me.”
He honestly didn’t know what happened. One minute they were chatting inanely or rather his mother was chatting inanely at the table, and the next he felt something wash over him, like a wave of cold panic. He had looked at Aimee, and she seemed as though she wasn’t seeing him. As though she’d zoned out a bit but then looked at him sort of blankly.
It was one of the oddest experiences he could remember happening, perhaps ever. There were voices in his head, but they were far away. He didn’t know what they were saying, but somehow, he did. He understood and knew exactly what he needed to do. This, now, was important. This, now, for some reason was what he had to do. Again, without asking, without consulting, just with instinct, he began to kiss her again. And she kissed him back, confirming without words that this was entirely mutual.
It felt as though they were going to go on kissing forever, and it felt as though there was nothing that she would do to stop it. He had given her so much, actually restored a good deal of what she’d given moments before. But there was more, together, the something between them was bonding and creating.
This time she pulled away, out of confusion perhaps. It all felt terribly powerful. She looked into his eyes. They were sort of glazed. It was clear he wasn’t interested in stopping anything. He bent to kiss her again, but then she whispered the words that would draw him back to reality, “Your mother.”
He stopped, “Oh, yeah,” and then again as though the thought actually really penetrated, “yeah.”
She moved out of his embrace, pulling her coat tightly about her. “We better get back in.”
He reached out and touched her face softly. It was electrical, just everything felt electrical now. “Aimee.”
She smiled, “Let’s puzzle it out later.”
He nodded, but he did sort of wrap his arm around her shoulder, as they walked back inside. It was a protective gesture but one that also signaled entitlement. Evidently, he felt as though they’d crossed a threshold, and she was not certain of how that sat with her.
As they approached the table, Mary greeted them with a warm smile saying curtly, “Oh good, for a minute I thought you were trying to stick me with the check.”
Aimee glanced over to the table across the room. They’d left while she and Jacob were outside. She dearly hoped everything would turn out as it was meant to be.
The call at times was imperceptible, quiet, almost undetectable within the roar of life’s emotion. But it endured and that was how she distinguished it from everything else. She calmly watched the candles on her bookcase flicker. It was late, perhaps two. She hadn’t slept well, not much at all. She hadn’t expected to. Her mind was filled with puzzling thoughts. It hadn’t been a particularly late night, nine-thirty perhaps ten when they’d dropped her off. After dinner, they’d visited a bookstore, the one where she’d first met Jacob. And as his mother disappeared somewhere deep within its maze of aisles, they took a walk outside. She pulled her gray wool coat more tightly about her, but the cold seemed determined to cut right into her. And she wished for the warm weather again, she was too worn down to continue dealing with this unyielding winter.
“Too cold for you?”
She shook her head, wondering what it was in her nature that seemed to cover the truth so often. Perhaps, she’d gotten so used to it that the truth now had become an unnatural commodity. “I’m okay.” They hadn’t had a chance to speak alone since the restaurant, since the fountain, since the kiss, although the use of the singular seemed vastly inadequate.
They walked a little further. There were many stores that were still illuminated in the outdoor mall. There seemed to be a bit of awkwardness now between them, where to go now after such unbridled intensity. She glanced at his face. He looked pensive. He had no idea, and she didn’t understand it really. How he could feel so acutely the trouble that she’d been in? How he could have given her the amount of energy that he had and still seem unfazed by it?
“I’m still not sure what to say, if I was out of line before.”
She breathed in deeply. She actually felt as though she could feel the cold air hit her lungs. It would be ridiculous for her to chastise him or appear prudish after what he’d done for her. But it was complicated. To him, he’d just made some moves on a woman that he was evidently attracted to. To her, they had been on the fringes of a powerful spiritual communion. It was one that she neither felt prepared for, nor in the least bit felt comfortable with. Some would call her an intensely giving person, but on a personal level she was as selfish and protective of herself as one could get. He nudged her, “You still with me?”
She smiled but felt an ache around her chest. She had drained herself more acutely than she’d realized. Even Jacob’s energy wouldn’t undo all the damage immediately. “I lied to you.”
His eyes widened a bit, “How so?”
“I am cold.” And then, without another word he linked his arm in hers and led her rather quickly back to the bookstore where he got her a rather warm cup of tea.
She curled up on the couch and pulled the afghan more closely about her. The heat was on in the apartment but not too high. She didn’t like it too suffocating, so in contrast it was always a bit on the chilly side. But she could bundle up in flannels and use the beige afghan that her grandmother had knitted for her. And think about the past, the past long ago and the past hours ago.
The goodbyes hadn’t been that much although Mary had given her an unexpected hug accomplished awkwardly from the back seat. And there had been a flood of genuine warmth from that embrace that told her that she would be accepted if she chose to venture their way in a permanent fashion. It seemed somewhat early for such acceptance, but then she sensed that Mary operated largely on instinct and feeling.
Jacob walked her to her door and told her he would call in the morning. And then, there was a quick kiss, almost chaste, and he was gone.
She sighed deeply and resisted the temptation to turn on the television. Why did all of her evenings end in angst and confusion? Maybe there was something within her that resisted happiness.
She pulled herself to a sitting position on the sofa and crossed her legs. At least, she could check on the young man in the restaurant. She cleared her mind and closed her eyes focusing intently on what she remembered of his face. Moments later, she felt her focus being drawn to another place, along a delicate thread.
But as delicate threads often do, this one was abruptly snapped. It came as a surprise and then a familiar face appeared in her consciousness. Dominick Trevor rose to the surface in her mind. And then his voice as clearly as though she was sitting on his couch on St. Charles Avenue. No Aimee.
She was startled by his interference. These days he rarely made any kind of appearance to her. “What do you mean?”
You have done all you can, let this one go.
It felt like such a painful déjà vu of long ago. “I tried to help.”
Some things aren’t meant to be helped little one. Haven’t you learned that yet?
“Are you saying—?”
I’m saying let this one go and attend to other things that need your attention. Go rest now.
And then his presence was gone.
She felt a cold draft wrap around her heart. It had been a hard pill to swallow, when she first realized that her help was limited and not everything would work out happily. The woman who lived near her grandmother stayed with her husband, although there were many sessions of directing strong and healing energy to her. It had only been a band aid for something to which she did not possess the cure. Within six months, they had moved away and within a year she had seen Dominick Trevor for the last time.
With great clarity, the memories came back. He had left for Europe a month earlier, but late one night he had surprised her with a mysterious visit at her house. Her parents were out, and he knocked on the door. He was as she’d often seen him, in a familiar dark blue suit. She remembered well his animated features that night and the words of encouragement that he supplied her with. He wanted her to continue her path of learning and assured her that there would be many teachers to help her along the way. He had told her to be brave, and that the freest person in the world was the one that did not allow fear to cloud their judgment. And then, he’d said it was time to go. She rose to hug him as was her custom, but oddly that night he told her not to. He said something that she would replay many times again, after that night. He told her that it might cause problems for her. She didn’t understand, but she accepted it not questioning. She watched as he left through her front door feeling odd but unable to account for it.
And then, the next day her grandmother phoned early to tell her that she’d heard from an old friend in England, that Dominick Trevor had been killed in a car crash in London two days earlier. But, as she would come to see, that was hardly the end of their association.
There was no rest this night, no real rest. It was as though some machine had been set into motion somewhere, some switch activated, lock turned perhaps, and piece-by-piece, gear-by-gear, it was in movement now, progressing forward toward some as yet unseen culmination.
She had no idea when she fell asleep, but almost instantaneously and with no regard to her physical state, her spirit was in motion and the visions began to unfold.
It was a place that she didn’t recognize and yet was instinctually familiar. The floor felt cool to her feet, although she wasn’t barefoot, not exactly. They were a light, barely existent, pair of woven sandals, constructed entirely of a coarse cloth. The coolness seemed to rise from the floor, wrapping around her ankles and her exposed legs. The loose garment that she wore only fell as far as mid-calf. It was unornamented, a servant’s garb, but the material had movement, felt soft, comforting in a way.
She stood in the middle of a large airy room. Memory told her that the house was well-furnished, not a palace, but certainly a wealthy estate. She was fortunate. She felt herself to be and had been told that she was. This was the house of a benevolent master, a well-respected philosopher, scientist, advisor to the ruler. Put into service at a young age, scarcely remembering her own land, it could have been much worse. That truth had been quite dramatically drummed into her head. It could have been much worse. And she should be grateful.
The golden sun shone through the open doors leading out into the gardens. It reflected off the shiny stone floors nearly stinging her eyes with its brightness. And there were tears from it, but were they of pain or of grief? She should be grateful, but she was not. She had no freedom.
A light step behind her told her instantaneously that she was not alone. Instincts took over. She quickly spun to the long wooden table that was before her and gathered the dishes that she had come to collect. Head bowed, taught so early to be invisible, she began an exit through a nearby doorway.
He spoke. She hadn’t looked up, but she’d known it was her master. It was the awareness that she possessed of things, the talent which she kept buried and hidden. He’d told her to wait. And so, she paused, head still bowed never looking directly. He was standing in front of her now, but still she would not meet his eyes.
She saw his hands, his arms. They were muscular, darkly tanned like so many in this land beneath the harsh desert sun. And then she felt his fingers on her chin lifting it upward, so that her eyes were forced to meet his. To her, eyes his face seemed unreal, too flawless. It looked like an artisan’s work, so perfect in its proportion as though it had been expertly chiseled out of marble or some other fine material. But the eyes, now looking at her with curiosity, they were liquid fire — blue, alive, clear-cutting blue like a sky beginning to darken just a shade before a storm. She’d never seen them before, never really seen his face at all. His fingers were warm on her skin, but the chill of fear wrapped about every inch of her. What did he want? The others had told her that he was an honorable man, who treated his servants with respect. She stood there before him, for what seemed like endless moments. And then she heard his voice again, but he spoke directly to her mind. I see you are one of us.
Aimee sat up in her bed. She was shaking. Immediately, she looked to her arms, fully expecting to see two golden armbands there, but she wasn’t wearing them in the dream. She glanced at the clock. It was nearly four in the morning. She lay back on the pillows. She was tired, exhausted really. She wanted no more. No more, not tonight. Closing her eyes, she spent the rest of the darkened hours in calm.
Copyright © 2019 by Evelyn Klebert
Jacob Wyss is caught in a rut, in fact on the verge of being engulfed by it. After an excruciating and disillusioning divorce, his life as an artist in a sleepy-college town at the foot of the Appalachian mountains has become quiet, routine, and maddening in its predictability. One wintry day, his deep restlessness drives him out in precarious conditions to a largely empty bookstore nearly devoid of another living soul, nearly.
Aimee Marston isn’t like everyone else. On the surface, she lives a sedate life working as a feature writer for a small local newspaper in addition to several other editorial jobs to help make ends meet. But just beneath, her existence is largely not her own. She is a sensitive, an empathetic psychic, guided by her calling to use her gifts to help others. Unfortunately, as a result, her secretiveness has made her defensive, protective of herself, and prevented her from having much of a life of her own.
A psychic call for help sends Aimee out on a freezing January morning where her destiny and Jacob’s collide sending both their lives spiraling onto an unexpected and often disturbing track. Two lonely souls connect, not by accident, but by design. Theirs is the intersection of two spiritual paths, two lovers who must struggle to overcome the phantoms of a past life, as well as the challenges of their own inner demons to carve out an extraordinary future together.