The mind readers book 1, p.1
The Mind Readers, Book 1, p.1Lori Brighton
The Mind Readers
Copyright 2010 Lori Brighton
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This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademark status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.
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The Mind Readers Series:
The Mind Readers, book 1
The Mind Thieves, book 2
The Mind Games, book 3
The Mind Keepers, a novella
The Mind Readers
The man sitting across from me at the café was thinking about murdering his wife.
He imagined stabbing her and pretending like it was a robbery. Or perhaps, he thought, he’d take her hiking, push her off a cliff and say it was an accident; that she’d slipped. I wanted to tell him it wouldn’t work, that in those CSI shows on T.V. they always suspected the husband first.
Instead, I huddled deep within my down jacket, the diner booth pressing uncomfortably hard against my back. I didn’t dare move for fear of drawing attention to myself. I didn’t want to know his thoughts. I wished he’d keep them to himself. But I suppose he couldn’t help it. The thoughts seeped from his mind like the fog currently drifting in from the harbor.
Slowly, I slid him a glance out of the corner of my eye. With his thinning brown hair combed neatly into place, and his blue button-up shirt free of wrinkles, he looked like a normal suburban dad. But if there was one thing I’d learned early on in life it was that normalcy, as we thought of it, didn’t exist. It was amazing and frightening what humans were capable of.
His pale blue eyes met mine. My heart slammed frantically against my ribcage. I dropped my gaze, my long, dark hair falling around my face like a curtain. He’d noticed me looking at him. He was wondering if I was a virgin. He hoped I was. Pervert. Bile crawled up my throat. I wrapped my hands around my cup of Chai tea, hoping the heat would warm my insides. It didn’t.
But the guy sitting at the table next to me who’d been imagining killing his wife and was now imagining seducing me wasn’t the problem. No, it was the guy sitting across from me, the man with his bright orange hunting cap pulled low over his eyes, the guy waiting for the right moment to rob the café… he was the one who worried me.
For a second I thought about alerting the owner. Common sense and years of warning got the better of me and I remained stubbornly silent. With a trembling hand, I latched onto the strap of my bag, gripped my cup and slid from the booth.
My conscience screamed at me to return, to help, say something. But those years of warning overtook any soft feelings. Shifting my bag strap to my shoulder, I rushed from the café before guilt got the better of me. Outside the air was crisp, cool. So normal. It was early fall and the bees were swarming an overflowing trashcan. Dumping my cup, careful to avoid the stinging insects, I pulled my hood atop my head and stuffed my hands into the soft, fleece-lined pockets on my jacket, trying to get warm…always trying.
A black truck zoomed by, sending fall colored leaves of orange, red and yellow into the air. For one brief moment, as the leaves settled around me, I felt like I was in the safety of a snow globe. But safety was an illusion. We were never safe. Not the people in the café. Not the few pedestrians strolling down the sidewalks. And certainly not me.
A deep shout resounded from inside the café, a muffled demand. I shouldn’t have been surprised, still my heart made a mad leap for my throat. People screamed, the sound noticeable even through the thick glass windows. I wouldn’t turn back.
I stepped off the curb, glanced left, then right and darted across the street. I had five minutes to make it home in time and couldn’t be late…again or Grandma would worry. I focused on the long road that led to our small Cape Cod style cottage, focused on the crunch of brittle leaves under my sneakers, focused on breathing. I would not react to the scene around me. I couldn’t. As Grandma repeatedly warned, my very life depended on silence.
A sudden blast rang through the air, vibrating the glass windows. A flock of black starlings burst from the maples lining the road. I flinched, sucking in a sharp breath of cold air and resisted the urge to drop to the cracked sidewalk. Surprise faded quickly and guilt churned deep within my gut. A sickening shame that was almost unbearable. So much regret. Angry at myself, I shoved the feeling aside. Emotions would only weaken me.
A woman with gray hair who was walking her poodle next to me froze, her gaze pinned to the café. “My God, I think they’re being robbed!”
I didn’t respond but continued down the sidewalk, forced my feet forward as she fumbled with her cell phone.
Taking in a deep breath, I slipped the ear buds of my iPod into my ears. Home. I had to make it home before I was late, before nerves got the better of me and I was sick all over the sidewalk. Or worse, before I turned and raced back to the scene.
But even as I attempted to ignore the guilt thrumming in time with the music, anxiety clawed its way into my lungs, making it hard to breathe. I knew, deep down, I could have stopped it. If only I wasn’t a coward. If only….
Sometimes it really sucked to be able to read minds.
The Mind Readers, Book 1 by Lori Brighton / Fantasy have rating 3 out of 5 / Based on30 votes