I will never forget the day I met her. I was about 16 years old and it was a day of running for me, with the Tracers hot on my trail. I had exhausted every effort and every gift that I had; it looked as if after two years, they were finally going to catch up with me. It was then that fate rolled its dice, and as I was looking over my shoulder, she appeared exactly in my path. Okay, so she had probably been standing there the whole time and I just didn’t notice but it seemed like out of nowhere. We collided in a messy pile of bodies, and I scrambled to my feet, pulling her back to hers and hiding in the alleyway that we were both passing by. Her voice was muffled by my hand over her mouth as I held her there, listening for the Tracer’s voices to rise up above the otherwise silence. What happened next was nothing short of a miracle. The voices were there but they seemed genuinely confused.
“I thought you said you had her!”
“I did, but it’s like she completely disappeared. Don’t try to tell me that you still feel her.”
There was a short pause.
“No, I can’t. Listen, we tell no one about this. As far as anyone else is aware, she just slipped away again. Got it?”
It wasn’t until their footsteps finally faded into the distance that I released the mystery stranger. She spun around with a fierceness that I had never seen in another human being, a fire in her eyes.
“What in the holy hell –” the moment our eyes met, she froze feeling what I figured must have been the same thing I felt too. I took her raised hand and shook it gently.
“Sorry about that, hun. My name is Aroura, and I think you might have just saved my life.” I had never felt that familiar with anyone upon meeting them. I needed to spend more time with her, to know more information. There was something about her that I couldn’t quite put my foot on. Her whole demeanor changed at that moment, going from fury to recognition in a matter of seconds.
“Ruby…and you’re welcome…I guess…” from that moment on, we became the closest of friends. It was a strange sensation, almost as if we were meant to meet that day, in that very moment. I still don’t know what brought her to me, but I thank the Gods every day that it happened. Without her, my life would’ve taken a much different turn that day. I can never measure up to what she did for me, even if she didn’t know she was doing it at the time.
I’d have to say, Ruby is definitely one of the coolest people I have ever met. After our messy introductions, she agreed to check into a hotel with me so that we could get to know each other better. I was pretty certain at the time that a regular human like her would have a home of her own, but I wasn’t about to risk getting caught after managing to outsmart the Tracers already for two years. I could see the confusion in her eyes as I pulled out the cash to pay at the hotel front desk but I looked her in the eye and silently sent a message to not ask questions until we were alone in our room where no one could hear us. She nodded, and looked down at her feet, kicking them against the floor until I had finished. We headed to the room in silence.
“So…why are we checking into a hotel? Don’t you have a home?” I heard her voice clear as day but never once saw her lips move. It was then that I knew she was a Clairvoyant like me.
How that fact managed to slip past me earlier I didn’t know. I know now, that it was her ability to shield, but at the time, I was floored speechless. I’m sure my shock was obvious as we stepped into the elevator.
“I did…once. I’ll tell you more about that later. Right now I just wanna get up to our room. And maybe catch a shower. I probably stink!” I saw her sniff towards me and make a face.
“You really do stink…when’s the last time you bathed? You smell like garbage…and skunk.” I couldn’t help but laugh at her apparent lack of knowledge on the subject of Clairvoyants and having to be on the run. The disgust on her face was pretty entertaining, too.
“It’s been a while. Let’s just put it that way. More on that later. We have a lot to talk about.” I nodded towards the open elevator doors and walked out, looking down at the number on the little packet of keys that the lady at the front desk had given me.
What a night! It was true that it had been months since the last time I had managed to break and enter, and steal a quick shower. The smell equivalent of a wet dog who had rolled through a pile of week old animal feces filled the bathroom and leaked under the door as the water pounded on my shoulders and cascaded down my body; turning almost black with piled up dirt and grunge. It felt as if I was losing pounds and pounds of what seemed to be the most deplorable dump heap imaginable. I was so engrossed in my cleansing routine, that I almost didn’t hear the quiet, timid knock that came from the bathroom door.
“You can come in, the curtain’s closed.” I called while I started to wrench shampoo through my greasy hair. I heard the door open, and felt a whoosh of cool air; then the door shut behind it. Ruby situated herself on the toilet seat.
“Are you okay? It smells like an acute case of gut rot in here. I don’t feel like trying to explain to someone why it stinks of death in here.” I could only assume she was wrinkling her nose as she spoke. I stifled a giggle to respond.
“Yeah; I wasn’t kidding when I said it’s been a while. I’ve been—well let’s just say I’ve been away from running water for quite some time.” I poked my head out and could see her obvious shock and disgust to the dark suds running down my cheeks. “It’s a long story. Though it is one you’ll be hearing tonight, I’m not sure in the bathroom is the best place to do it.” I smiled and popped back in the shower, scrubbing hard, my hair finally loosening from its ratty tangle. I sighed in relief. “First though, I am curious to know if you’ve heard anything about a race known as the ‘clairvoyants.’” She shook her head.
“I’m not sure what you mean…? I’ve heard the term before, but I don’t really recall where or why. So the safe answer would be no, I don’t know about them.” I dropped the soap. I couldn’t believe she has NEVER heard of the Clairvoyants, let alone had no inkling of a fact that she was one. I picked up the soap and took a deep breath.
“Ruby, have you ever felt that you were just a little bit different than everyone else? Like you maybe had some special intuitiveness that no one around you seemed to be able to tap into?” she gasped.
“You mean I’m not the only one…? Wait, how did you know??” I turned off the water and grabbed a few towels, beginning to dry myself off before wrapping up in them and stepping out into the chilled caress of the bathroom air. I shook my head at her.
“No, Ruby. You’re far from the only one. In fact, there are many people just like you out there in the world right now. There’s only one problem…they’re all hunted like deer, except every day is hunting season.” I saw Ruby’s facial expression change from neutral to worry in an instant.
“Yes dear; we all are.”