“God I’d love to do her…”
“I wonder if I could find that outfit in my size…”
Ananda had to fight laughter, curling an errant lock of dark auburn hair around her finger as she fought through the crowd of people around her. Laughing for no reason, at least none that could be seen by the general population, is typically frowned upon and usually makes finding friends much more difficult. This she had learned the hard way thanks to the cruelty of middle school students and their need to be popular. Still, it never ceased to surprise her how many inane thoughts humans regularly had running through their minds. Sometimes, Ananda had to totally isolate herself in order to get a moment’s rest, particularly when surrounded by the chatter from all directions. Her honey-colored eyes flitted back and forth as she scanned the mass of people around her, thoughts flying into her mind in rapid succession.
It wasn’t like Ananda couldn’t turn it off, her ability to hear other people’s thoughts. When she was younger, it was definitely more difficult to sift through the roiling voices and images that seemed to seep into her head with little direction or effort. At first when her ability manifested at the tender age of eleven, Ananda was terrified as were her parents, who were ignorant of such abilities. Her older brother Ryan had been a source of strength and stability for her as the family went from one psychologist to another attempting to find a reason or cure for the ‘voices’ Ananda claimed to hear. It was he, who helped her find a center in order to control the flow of voices until they were barely more than a brush against her mind. Ryan’s move across the country for school was rough though manageable for Ananda as she began to explore the range of her ability and discover the fun she could have with it. Her moral compass wasn’t as low as some, so she didn’t use it for anything that would get her ahead academically, but she did use it to benefit herself and those she loved.
“Ananda, over here!”
Refocusing on the crowd around her, Ananda spotted one of the few people she could actually call a friend. Kerri wasn’t what anyone would call quiet. Her small stature and pixie-like features made it seem as if she could be blown away by a single puff of air, but her exuberant personality and sharp, sometimes biting, use of sarcasm made her seem larger than her thin frame. Bright red hair the color of the sunset and eyes that seemed to change color depending on her mood completed the full package that was Kerri Donahue. However, it wasn’t just Kerri’s larger-than-life personality that drew Ananda in, it was more of what Kerri didn’t exude. Her mind was quiet.
No matter how intently Ananda poked and prodded, she could only get a faint hum and vague feelings from her friend’s mind. Rather than being unnerved by that, Ananda felt a sense of relief at finally finding one person who didn’t give her a headache just by being around so often. Even with her brother Ryan, Ananda had to occasionally leave in order to calm her own mind and get some relief from his mind’s ‘voice.’ The fact that Kerri seemed oblivious to how special she was sometimes made Ananda pause and wonder if she was the only one out there with a strange ability. Was there someone out there like Professor X who was searching for people like her? Was there a way to find others? Or did she spend way too much time reading comic books and hoping that some parts of those stories were influenced by actual facts?