Hello! I'm finally back with another installment for the Supers Universe. This one takes up with Stanley and Ms. Truseau a couple hours after the events of "A Protige' is Found." However, you don't have to have necessarily read it or any of the other Supers Universe stories to understand and enjoy today's flash fiction.
You can also go listen to the audio version, along with a playlist of all the Supers Universe audios in chronological order.
The world is full of broken people. It is a truth Adelaide Truseau understands more than most. Doing what she does and being what she is makes such understanding inevitable. Yet, it never seems to manage to soften the heartbreak she glimpses while using her gifts to train struggling supers.
It’s the one facet of them she hates. Those glimpses into the hidden recesses of others’ minds, intentional or not, make her feel like the worst kind of eavesdropper.
The child, Layla judging from the snippets she’d just caught, was too preoccupied with the meal she was trying to inhale to notice the intrusion, not that the fact made it any better.
An indistinct drone and occasional clink of a fork on china filled Adelaide’s ears as she came back to herself. It took another moment to distinguish Stanley’s voice as he asked Layla question after question. As yet another inquiry was met with complete indifference, the teen let out a frustrated sigh and turned to her.
“You think she’s deaf or mute or something?” he asked. “She won’t even look up when you’re talking to her.”
Adelaide shook her head, and her earrings jangled with the movement. “She’s become unaccustomed to positive human interaction,” she said.
“How can you tell?”
Years of experience kept Adelaide from wincing at the question. “I control the abilities of others,” she said. “When I enter another’s mind, sometimes I overhear things.” Adelaide used an offhanded tone and shrugged, minimizing her experience to try and keep her charge at ease, but she didn’t have to be a mind reader to know her efforts were in vain.
“You’re a telepath too?” Stanley’s voice cracked, and he watched her with wary eyes. A bite of his own lunch slid off a fork he was no longer paying attention to and splattered back onto his plate.
Rolling her eyes, Adelaide answered, “Not in the traditional sense, no.” She took her time cutting a bite from her own meal and gestured for Stanley to resume eating when he was still frozen several moments later. “I get flashes of fractured images. Snippets of sound or smell or emotion out of context as I look for what I need to change. It’s not something I can control as a true telepath can.” She sighed. “It’s more of a side effect.”
Stanley shuddered, but let the subject drop as he returned to eating his lunch. Still he kept glancing toward their new pint sized guest, who had almost cleared her plate in the four minutes since they’d sat down.
“What happened to her?” he asked almost to himself.
“I can’t say for certain,” Adelaide answered with a frown. She sighed. “I caught glimpses of a couple I assume were her parents and then various angry faces. Nothing clear aside from the name Layla.”
“But you think she can talk?”
Adelaide shrugged. “I know she understands,” she said. “Whether or not she can or will speak, only time will tell.”
Each story in this series is 700 words or less and is prompted by a first line taken either from a random first prompt like this one or reader suggestions like "Don't Forget Me" and "Culture Shock." I much prefer working from reader suggestions over generators, but to do that, I need to hear from you.
If you have a prompt you'd like to see done, comment below, send it to my Tumblr asks, Tweet it at me, or leave a comment on any of the audio stories from this series. I'll screen shot it, write it, and post it for you.
A. B. England is a small business owner, mom of two, novelist, all around geek, and avid crafter. She loves mythology, fantasy, and all flavors of science fiction.
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