Home > The Strange Power (Dark Visions #1)(2)

The Strange Power (Dark Visions #1)(2)
Author: L.J. Smith

Kaitlyn glanced at him sharply. He was an okay-looking guy: shiny hair, soft eyes-a lot like Hello Sailor, the cocker spaniel she'd had years ago. Still, she wasn't fooled for a minute.

Boys-boys were no good. Kait knew exactly why they were nice to her. She'd inherited her mother's creamy Irish skin and autumn-fire hair. She'd inherited her mother's supple, willow-slim figure.

But her eyes were her own, and just now she used them without mercy. She turned an icy gaze on Chris, looking at him in a way she was usually careful to avoid. She looked him straight in the face.

He went white.

It was typical of the way people around here reacted when they had to meet Kaitlyn's eyes. No one else had eyes like Kaitlyn. They were smoky blue, and at the outside of each iris, as well as in the middle, were darker rings.

Her father said they were beautiful and that Kaitlyn had been marked by the fairies. But other people said other things. Ever since she could remember, Kaitlyn had heard the whispers-that she had strange eyes, evil eyes. Eyes that saw what wasn't meant to be seen.

Sometimes, like now, Kaitlyn used them as a weapon. She stared at Chris Barnable until the poor jerk actually stepped backward. Then she lowered her lashes demurely and walked into the office.

It gave her only a sick, momentary feeling of triumph. Scaring cocker spaniels was hardly an achievement. But Kaitlyn was too frightened and miserable herself to care. A secretary waved her toward the principal's office, and Kaitlyn steeled herself. She opened the door.

Ms. McCasslan, the principal, was there-but she wasn't alone. Sitting beside the desk was a tanned, trim young woman with short blond hair.

"Congratulations," the blond woman said, coming out of the chair with one quick, graceful movement.

Kaitlyn stood motionless, head high. She didn't know what to think. But all at once she had a rush of feeling, like a premonition.

This is it. What you've been waiting for.

She hadn't known she was waiting for anything.

Of course you have. And this is it.

The next few minutes are going to change your life.

"I'm Joyce," the blond woman said. "Joyce Piper. Don't you remember me?"

The woman did seem familiar. Her sleek blond hair clung to her head like a wet seal's fur, and her eyes were a startling aquamarine. She was wearing a smart rose-colored suit, but she moved like an aerobics teacher.

Memory burst on Kaitlyn. "The vision screening!"

Joyce nodded. "Exactly!" she said energetically. "Now, how much do you remember about that?"

Bewildered, Kaitlyn looked at Ms. McCasslan. The principal, a small woman, quite plump and very pretty, was sitting with her hands folded on the desk. She seemed serene, but her eyes were sparkling.

All right, so I'm not in trouble, Kait thought. But what's going on? She stood uncertainly in the center of the room.

"Don't be frightened, Kaitlyn," the principal said. She waved a small hand with a number of rings on it. "Sit down."

Kait sat.

"I don't bite," Joyce added, sitting down herself, although she kept her aquamarine eyes on Kait's face the entire time. "Now, what do you remember?"

"It was just a test, like you get at the optometrist's," Kaitlyn said slowly. "I thought it was some new program."

Everyone brought their new programs to Ohio. Ohio was so representative of the nation that its people were perfect guinea pigs.

Joyce was smiling a little. "It was a new program. But we weren't screening for vision, exactly. Do you remember the test where you had to write down the letters you saw?"

"Oh-yes." It wasn't easy to remember, because everything that had happened during the testing was vague. It had been last fall, early October, Kait thought. Joyce had come into study hall and talked to the class. That was clear enough-Kait remembered her asking them to cooperate. Then Joyce had guided them through some "relaxation exercises"-after which Kaitlyn had been so relaxed that everything was foggy.

"You gave everybody a pencil and a piece of paper," she said hesitantly to Joyce. "And then you projected letters on the movie screen. And they kept getting smaller and smaller. I could hardly write," she added. "I was limp."

"Just a little hypnosis to get past your inhibitions," Joyce said, leaning forward. "What else?"

"I kept writing letters."

"Yes, you did," Joyce said. A slight grin flashed in her tanned face. "You did indeed."

After a moment, Kaitlyn said, "So I've got good eyesight?"

"I wouldn't know." Still grinning, Joyce straightened up. "You want to know how that test really worked, Kaitlyn? We kept projecting the letters smaller and smaller-until finally they weren't there at all."

"Weren't there?"

"Not for the last twenty frames. There were just dots, absolutely featureless. You could have vision like a hawk and still not make anything out of them." "

A cold finger seemed to run up Kaitlyn's backbone. "I saw letters," she insisted.

"I know you did. But not with your eyes."

There was perfect silence in the room.

Kaitlyn's heart was beating hard.

"We had someone in the room next door," Joyce said. "A graduate student with very good concentration, and he was looking at charts with letters on them. That was why you saw letters, Kait. You saw through his eyes. You expected to see letters on the chart, so your mind was open-and you received what he saw."

Kaitlyn said faintly, "It doesn't work that way." Oh, please, God ... all she needed was another power, another curse.

"It does; it's all the same," Joyce said. "It's called remote viewing. The awareness of an event beyond the range of your ordinary senses. Your drawings are remote viewings of events-sometimes events that haven't happened yet."

"What do you know about my drawings?" A rush of emotion brought Kait to her feet. It wasn't fair: this stranger coming in and playing with her, testing her, tricking her-and now talking about her private drawings. Her very private drawings that people in Thoroughfare had the decency to only refer to obliquely.

"I'll tell you what I know," Joyce said. Her voice was soft, rhythmic, and she was gazing at Kaitlyn intently with those aquamarine eyes. "I know that you first discovered your gift when you were nine years old. A little boy from your neighborhood had disappeared-"

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