Gift: The Rebellion

Rory Stone has a Gift, and the whole world wants to see.

Rory Stone felt that his life was perfectly normal, the days spent with his best friend Towlen even managed to make it vaguely bearable, even interesting, but once he finds he's got a Gift, his world starts tumbling around his shoulders. Tea with the Queen, Shapeshifters missing, children sleeping and never waking up... and Rory is in the middle.

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5. Chapter Four- Association and Energy

“A week? But that’s- that’s only seven days!” Rory exclaimed.

    “I am well aware of that, Rory, but we have to go,” Mr Stone said, a sentence worn by repetition. Rory nodded, resolute. It had been a mere few days since it had been announced that Rory had a gift for Paton magic and now, it seemed, a Ceremony had already been arranged in his honour a week from now. On November the 23rd, the entire nation would either be attending the event or watching it on television. It was to be a bank holiday.

    “Does Towlen know?” he asked.

    “Not yet, but she will soon enough if you don’t tell her. It’s due to be broadcast on all channels in less than an hour, and will be again every hour on the hour every day until the event.” Rory hung his head.

    No one will miss it. Rory heaved a sigh as he grabbed his coat and boots. He was determined to beat the media to the punch.

    He chose a coat with a drawstring hood so that he could hide any defining features from the public eye, not wanting any more hassle than had already been caused. For the past few days, people had been stopping in the streets to shake his hand or ask for his autograph. Some even gave him presents, and he now owned an absurdly large collection of charms. The worst, though, was when people tried to take pictures of him, thinking that he didn’t notice.

     Before he reached the door, Rory turned to his father.

    “Can she come?” he asked.

    “To the Ceremony? Yes, of course,” he said, “now get to school!”

    “Thank, c’mon Sylvan! We’re going to Towlen’s house!” Rory shouted. But- Silence. Not a bark, nor a growl, nor a roar, hiss or quack. Nothing. “Have you seen Sylvan recently?” he asked.

    “Not lately, no. He’s probably wandered off again. You’ll get to Towlen’s and he and Leonora will be messing around in the snow, just you wait and see,” Mr Stone replied kindly. Rory shrugged, unperturbed. Sylvan had gone missing for a couple of days before, and Rory had much more important things cramming mind than a pet that had wandered off to play in the snow. With recent events, it hadn’t really resonated with Rory that he hadn’t seen Sylvan in three days.

    By the time he arrived at Towlen’s house, the snow had soaked through his boots and he had to implicitly conjure a light to keep himself warm.

    The sound of him knocking on the door reverberated in the air around him as the door shuddered in response. After some time of impatient waiting, Richard Hurst appeared at the door.

    “Hi Rory, how’re things?”

    “Fine,” he replied gruffly, an unusually rude tone towards a fair man whom he had known since childhood. He fidgeted with the cuff of his coat.

    “Well… come on in then. Towlen’s in her room. She’s been awfully quiet this morning…” His voice faded into silence and it felt as though half of his sentence had been left hanging. Rory scooted past him and darted up to Towlen’s room. She was already dressed and packed for school and sat on her bed looking morose. She looked up at Rory with wide glazed eyes as he slipped through the door.

    “Have you seen Leonora at all?” was her greeting.

    “No, sorry.”

    “Sylvan?”

    “Not since this weekend.” Towlen stared at him, stared through him, searching for any hint of deception. She sighed and her shoulders slumped as if some invisible weight had been placed upon them.

    “What’s up?” asked Rory, puzzled by her emotions. They were so out of place compared with her usually bubbly personality.

    “Jennifer’s Shapeshifter, Zara, she’s gone too. Marine, that’s Colin’s Shapeshifter, gone, too.” Rory didn’t attribute any importance to this, he did however, realise that his friend was in need of comfort. He sat down beside her and wrapped an arm around her shoulders, giving her a friendly squeeze.

    “You know they’re probably just out on some great adventure. They’re super intelligent, probably out solving crimes or something.” Towlen sniffed a bit, but grinned.

    “Giving Gregory Martin what he has coming to him, maybe,” she smirked, Rory gleefully picked up on the topic of Gregory Martin.

    “Have you seen him lately? He hasn’t spoken to me since the weekend and when I catch him looking at me, Ha! You’d have thought he’d seen a ghost!”

    “Deserved,” Towlen stated, in an all too serious tone that contrasted with her beaming smile.

    Satisfied that he had cheered her up, Rory removed his arm from around her and lugged his back-pack up on his shoulder. Towlen’s bag looked as if it was bursting, but she picked it up with ease.

    “Let’s get to school,” said Rory, “or else we’ll be late.”

    “Not that you’ll get in to any trouble,” jested Towlen. “The gifted one must not be bound by the limits of time!” she swooned. Rory mumbled incoherently as the left the room and proceeded downstairs.

    “Aw, come on! You know it’s true. Jenna told me that you didn’t hand in your Geography or English homework and you got off scot free! I forgot Miss Wilmerson’s English homework and somehow managed to get double detention next week.” She walked backwards in the hallway to face him. Rory averted his gaze.

    “We were both late on Monday, and for the same lesson, same teacher,” she continued. “Mr Barrow gave me lines at break, and what did you get?”

    Rory opened his mouth to respond but it seems that the question was rhetorical.

    “A ‘Stern Telling Off’. What is that?” she exclaimed, throwing out her arms in mock frustration. Rory knew that she would never blame him for the events that had occurred, nor for how others treated him because of it. “The gifted one may never, ever have detention. It’ll be a law soon enough.” She turned back around as they got to the door and Rory shuddered as he thought of the possibility.

    Rory caught Mr Hurst smiling at him from the corner of his eye as he made his cereal. Rory smiled back tentatively, ashamed of the way he had spoken to him earlier. Behind him, Mr Hurst was oblivious to the ‘breaking news’ on the television behind him. As luck would have it, so was Towlen.

    The two hurried out of the door and Rory was once again made aware of how uncomfortable his feet were. He wiggled his toes in an attempt to warm them up. Towlen had already reached the gate.

    “Hey, Towlen!” he jogged to catch up with her and his socks squelched in his boots. “Have you got any, uh.”

    “Any what, Rory?” she was hopping in her tiptoes, trying to stop the snow from seeping into her shoes.

    “Socks, have you got any socks?” Towlen heaved an exaggerated sigh as she raced back into the house and up the stairs. Rory stood waiting patiently on the snow-free doormat.
   
    Minutes later, Rory was on his way to school wearing brilliantly pink furry socks hidden beneath his boots, feeling a bit embarrassed at the fact that he had chosen them over the slightly thinner black ones. Towlen huffed, and a plume mist ascended into the air.

    “We’ll definitely be late now,” she said, folding her arms around her waist and pulling her coat tighter around her.

    “Sorry,” muttered Rory.

    “It’s fine, just… Wear plastic bags over your shoes next time, or something,” she smiled.

    For several long moments, all Rory and Towlen did was stare at their own breath as it spiralled towards the heavens, gazing at the twists and turns of the crystals as they searched for a new topic of conversation.

    All of a sudden, it hit him, an event that he had neglected to remember whilst he was concerned about Towlen and socks- The Ceremony.

    “Towlen, I thought I’d rather tell you than the TV,” he hesitated, trying to anticipate her reaction. She didn’t ask, but simply looked politely confused. “The Queen is holding a Ceremony in my honour,” he blurted out the words and cringed even as he said them.

    “Wow. Well that’s pretty cool, the Queen. Huh… Of England?”

    “The very same.”

    She nodded serenely, with an odd look of acceptance highlighting her face. “Where?” she asked.

    “In London,” he said, and even as he did Rory felt that a strange tension was building between them, like a wall.

    “So effectively it’s being held by…?” she began, Rory shrugged.

    “I don’t know, the Queen, the whole of England?” he looked at Towlen and her face split into a smile as they laughed, the sound acting as a hammer, battering the tension in to submission.

    “You have a lot to learn then,” she said.

    “What do you mean?”

    “I mean they’re obviously going to ask you to display your talents, and however spectacular your light is, they’ll still want something a little more… Advanced.” Rory stopped dead; the cold began to trickle into his toes as he glowered at Towlen’s back until she turned to face him.

    “What?” she asked exasperatedly, and Rory knew that she was wondering what her punishment might be for being late today.

    “Whatamisupposedtodo?” he wailed “I’ve barely had my marks for a week and you expect me to do something more advanced?” Towlen looked to her numbing feet, thinking.

    “I think…” she started, cautiously slow. “I think that you need to learn Association.” Rory was first dumbfounded by her suggestion, but soon he began to find it hilarious and before long he was bent double, gasping with hysterical laughter. She had to be joking.

    Towlen glared at Rory until he came to his senses and straightened up. His cheeks flushed red.

    “And how do you suppose I learn Association in a week?” he asked coolly. Association was difficult at the best of times, and required much more energy and concentration. Rory thought of all the times that his father had drilled in to him that Association going awry could be extremely dangerous, especially when the user was under stress and pressure, which Rory was sure to be when the day of the Ceremony came to greet him.

     Rory thought of all he knew about Association from his lessons and what his father had taught him, it’s when you shape and mould magic in your mind to become something loosely connected with the meanings of the Paton marks, as the marks are so basic. The fact that stuck in his head most was that many attempt to master Association, but more often than not, the user will only ever be able to produce the most basic associative Paton, never something complex or intricate.

    “Honestly, Rory!” she snapped, breaking him out of his reverie and rounding on him. “You have a Gift, this should be easy for you. So stop pretending that you’re not better than everybody else!” Rory chuckled in amused astonishment. That was not the sort of sentence he thought he’d ever hear anyone say to him, let alone Towlen.

    “Okay, okay. So I probably can do it,” he confessed. “But how am I supposed to learn?”

    “Dad has heaps of books on just about any topic you can think of, he’s sure to have one on Association. If that doesn’t work, we can try the school library, but that’ll most likely have books on the history of Association, not how to do it. Our best bet would probably be the library in Risingstoke; I’ve never failed to find the right book in there.

    “Let’s do the school library first, get it out of the way.” He paused for a second and hummed in thought. “You really have thought about this a lot haven’t you?” he asked.

    “A little,” she shrugged.

    A while later, they were sprinting through the school gates, panting, Towlen checked her watch.

    “Crap,” she whined. They were nearly fifteen minutes late for their first lesson of the day, and already their faces held an ungainly shade of mottled red. The trampled snow crunched beneath their feet, already flat owing to the hordes of pupils rushing to their classrooms.

    They were alone in the staff car park, except for one.

    Gregory Martin blanched at the sight of Rory, attempting to scurry in the opposite direction, meaning that he would be taking the longest route possible to get to their first lesson, physics. Even so, he barely made it past the language block before he tripped on a bench leg, landing face first in snow so compressed that it was nearly as hard as the concrete beneath, and twice as cold.

    Rory started to run towards him, holding out a hand to offer help. Gregory uttered a muffled squeal as he scrambled to his feet, clutching his nose. Towlen grabbed Rory’s free arm as he tailed Gregory.

    “Leave it,” she warned, Rory squirmed under her unusually forceful grip.

    “But- but look!” he motioned to the ground where little red droplets lay saturated in the snow.

    “I said leave it. If you interfere it will just get worse.” she looked pointedly at Gregory, who was skating around the corner.

    “Come one, let’s get to physics,” she said, releasing Rory. He flexed his arm, Towlen’s grip had been so tight that she had staunched the blood flow and as he rolled up his sleeves, he saw left piercing red marks on his pale skin.

    “-and make sure you have people sitting next to you, so there’s no chance of you sitting near Gregory,” she continued, before striding away towards the Physics department. When Rory didn’t follow she turned on her heels, intending to scorn him until she noticed the blotchy red bruise on his arm, she gasped.

    “What happened to you?” she asked, hurrying back towards him. She made to touch his arm but he flinched away from her. At first, a look of confusion touched her face, then the shock flooded her imperfectly perfect features.

    “Was that me?” she whispered. Her face contorted in horror as she watched the red stain spread, she stared at her hands as though she had never seen them before. Rory nodded in solemn agreement. “I’m sorry,” she murmured, and her eyes dropped to her feet in shame.

    “It’s Okay,” he had never been aware that Towlen had so much strength, especially since her frail looking figure gave no clue. Towlen stepped forward to hug him but Rory stepped back involuntarily. She looked hurt, and Rory was disappointed in himself for acting so idiotically and was just about to apologise when-

    “Excuse me! Shouldn’t the pair of you be in lessons, or do the rules not apply-” Mrs Ragone stopped when she caught sight of Rory. After a muttered apology, (of course they must have been late for a good reason) she sent them on their way. They walked together in silence; the moment had passed when Rory had felt the need to apologise. The interruption had left them each feeling uncomfortable that wasn’t to be dispelled easily.

    When they arrived to their lesson, Gregory was already there. A blood-stained tissue obstructed a clear view of his face and the two were not pleased when they realised that the only three chairs available were on each side of the very unbecoming Gregory Martin, and directly in front of the teacher’s desk.

    It was an unspoken rule among the form that no-one sat in front of the teacher’s desk. They each took a seat beside Gregory, who trembled at the metallic sound of their chairs scraping against the floor. Towlen was right, if Rory interfered he would only make things worse, so they each kept their mouth shut and endured the lesson in embittered silence.

    Mr Picrulo kept his eyes fixed on the register as he filled them in as present, ignoring their late entrance.

                                                               *     *     *

    After each of the two arduous morning lessons, Towlen had managed to pack up her things and leave the room before Rory had even put his pens away. They hadn’t spoken for the last two hours and Rory was already weary of Towlen’s sad expression. He had to apologise.

    With a grand sweep, he poured everything that was strewn on the desk into his backpack, before hurrying to the door.

    “In a rush, Mr Stone?” Rory heaved a sigh before turning to face Mrs Cortrell, who was one of the few teachers who didn’t tolerate anything, no matter the circumstances, circumstances that involved Jenny’s grandfather dying and Rory being a Gifted boy. He spoke with all of the politeness that he could muster.

    “Yes, I am in a rush.” His voice came out higher than he would have liked it, but he soldiered on, he was desperate to leave the confines of the classroom. “In fact, there really is someone that I need to find.” The door slammed shut as the last of a 10F filed out. Chattering constantly so that it seemed more like a hum to Rory.

    “Interesting, you didn’t seem to be in a rush when you were late for my class on Monday.” Her voice was piercing and as cold as the weather. Her S’s hissed when she spoke to him, and mass of tightly curled strawberry blonde hair –obviously dyed- upon her head in a beehive do quivered. Her thin lips were fixed in a permanent sneer and her pencil thin, all too high eyebrows, raised in question above searing grey eyes that sparkled with malice when she looked upon Rory.

    “Have you a worthy explanation, or shall I sign your slip now?” she asked, opening the infamous detention slip drawer as she reached for a pen on her desk. Rory knew that it was of no use to lie. He could have said that he was in a life threatening car crash yet insisted to the doctors on getting to her lesson, even at the risk of being late, and yet he would be doing lines after school all the same.

    Even so, he settled on a popular excuse.

    ”I’m very sorry, miss. I’d forgotten where I’d left my bag, I spent most of my lunch time looking for it and wound up ten minutes late for class, sorry.” He wrung his hands together and waited for the punishment. After a moment, he heard the dull thud of wood being banged together. The drawer had closed.

    “Very well, but don’t let it happen again.” Rory looked at her, shell shocked and rooted to the spot. Her eyes glistened with suppressed fury as she gazed at something over his shoulder. Rory turned and saw the headmaster striding away. Mrs Cortrell’s sneer had increased so that her whole face seemed hideously contorted and out of place. Her desk lay empty of the dreaded blue cards.

    “Leave,” she spat. With a jolt of fear, Rory watched as her fingers itched towards the attack mark on her palm. He leapt towards the door and wrenched it open, skidding outside as he rushed to be a safe distance from her.

    “What happened?” In his surprise, Rory slipped and had to hold on to the wall for support when he almost fell over. Towlen was leaning casually against the wall. Her arms crossed defensively. There was still a shadow of guilt lurking on her features. Now was the time to apologise.

    “Towlen! I’m so sor-” he began, but she cut him off quickly.

    “You don’t need to; it was me who hurt you in the first place.” She looked to his arm, but it was covered in thick layers of shirt, jumper, blazer and coat. Rory shivered at the memory, “and I’m really, really sorry.” Rory chimed in with the last word, knowing that even if she didn’t want him to, just saying it would ease his conscience. He opened his arms wide. For a moment she hesitated, indecision made her brows meet.

    “Come on,” he laughed. “You’re not that strong.” She returned his grin and welcomed his embrace, warm, reassuring, friendly.

                                                                    *     *     *

    The rest of the day passed without incident, but the school was abuzz as the students relayed news about the missing Shapeshifters. Apparently none had been seen since the night of Rory’s discovery of his abilities, and the fear was spreading through them like a disease. He tried to ignore it, though had to constantly reassure Towlen that everything would turn out fine.

    They spent their lunch time in the library, away from their gossiping classmates. Gregory was residing there as well with some friends, away from the cold. Towlen caught him shooting them dark looks and nudged Rory. When he turned to see what was going on, Gregory froze, before skittering away like a frightened mouse, with his friends at his tail.

    “I really think we should do something about that,” Rory said as he pointed to where Gregory had been standing. Towlen smirked before digging her nose back in to A History of Association.

    “Let’s leave it… Just for a couple more weeks,” she said from behind the screen of pages. Rory shrugged, indifferent for the most part. He pulled out a tome from the shelf entitled The Do’s and Don’ts of Association, adding it to the growing pile of books to take out.

    On the way to maths, the two were unlucky enough to pass Mrs Cortrell in the corridor. At the sight of Rory, she turned a frightening shade of puce as her fingers twitched. Towlen grabbed the hood of Rory’s coat and dragged him into an adjoining corridor, so as not to stray into her path.

    Otherwise, day had passed without incident.

                                                                    *     *     *
   
    On the way back home, Rory told Towlen about what had happened in the classroom with Mrs Cortrell. Suffice to say, she was furious.

    “So that’s why her face twisted like some sort of ragged old swamp monster when she saw you in the halls! Jealous! Her fingers may have been itching to set magic on you but I reckon she couldn’t do it for all she was worth! She knows she could never live up to you and everyone loves you for it. She hates it! Oh no, it’s not enough to be the most horrid teacher in the entire school, she has to pick on-” Rory tuned out her ranting. Although he was pleased to hear her stick up for him, she couldn’t stop talking when her temper picked up.

    His mind wandered to Association.

    He had a week to accomplish excellence in a subject he knew little about.

    A week.

    I have a week…

    A week…

   Crap.

   
He put his palms on his temples to help him think, an impulse that he had learnt from his father’s habits.

    A shock of energy weaved through his hands and wound to his skull. Rory had never felt this before; it was sudden, surprising and scary. But he didn’t want to let go.

    The energy spun around his fingers and tangled in his brain. It created amazingly intricate patterns of droplets of energy threaded with golden twine that shone like a spider’s web after a rainy day across his mind, easing the thoughts that clouded reason and leaving him feeling refreshed and somewhat cleaner.

    He closed his eyes and the glowing energy danced before him, leaping and springing in joyous bounds across the ceaseless expanse of space. It filled what should have been the silence of his inactive imagination with a sonorous ringing that interlaced with beautiful tunes that seemed to surround him, but did anything but distract him or haze his judgement.

    In his head, he had all of the information he had gained in the day laid out before him. The energy swung forth and snatched up the irrelevant articles, devouring them whole and erasing their memory entirely. There was scarce left to work with, but Rory was able to find a path through the maze of information. He picked up paragraphs, phrases, sentences and pictures, re-ordering them until they fitted together perfectly, like a puzzle. He could feel that he knew how Association was done. It felt as though he was doing it that very moment. The energy swam closer and clapped and applauded. They sung and cheered his name in their tiny, high pitched voices. Rory, Rory, Rory.

    “Rory.”

    It was faint, it probably wasn’t real. The energy agreed, nodding in unison, perfect, golden unison.

    “Rory?”

    Who’s that?

    No one.
They reply. No one. Just us. Only us.
  
  “
Rory!”

    The flickering gold was closing in upon him. He welcomed it. It was his friend.

    “Rory!” he swayed, indulging in the pleasant environment that they created for him. He was home.

    “Rory!” Something hurt. He couldn’t tell what was causing it or where he hurt. The body was of no use to him, he was one with the energy now. He was energy. He flew with his friends, some had gone though, off to explore. Where have they gone? He flew away, in search for his friends. He left his mind.

    Again, a sharp pain.

    Again. He flinched, an odd sort of out of body flinch. He tried to get back, but he couldn’t find his way. Energy followed, chasing him.

    Again. Harder than before, around him the energy was converging. He wanted to rest, to lie down on a bed of cashmere flowers- and then he was; they made it for him, guiding him to comfort as they abandoned him in solitude.

    A searing pain. What is it? It’s pain, it won’t go away. Where is it? My arm. My arm.

   
The golden threads seeped out of him like water in a sieve as pain whipped him into consciousness.

    “Are you okay?” she asked speedily. Towlen, that’s Towlen. He shook his head to clear his mind from the mist.

    “I’m not sure… What did you do to me?” he was acutely aware that his arm was throbbing painfully.

    “I punched you... A few times.” Rory was annoyed to see that she looked as if she didn’t care in the least, especially given how concerned she had been in the morning.

    “Why?” he demanded.

    “Because you wouldn’t snap out of it! I don’t know what was going on but you stopped walking and you were just. You were just swaying and it was just- just weird! What happened to you Rory?” And Rory realised that what had happened to him might not have been the heaven he had played out in his head.

    “I have no idea.” Towlen looked him in the eyes, trying to assess whether he was telling the truth or not. Evidently she decided he was because she turned around and started to walk again.

    “Just one thing after another,” she muttered. Rory didn’t state his agreement, but followed in silence.
 

                                                                    *     *     *

    They arrived at Towlen’s house shuddering convulsively and soaked through to the bone from their prolonged walk in the frosty weather. Rory was unsure of how long he had been in his state for, but he figured that it must have been more than the few minutes it had seemed.

    The more time that passed at Towlen’s, the less significance that she seemed to hold by the occasion, as she became consumed by her hunt for information in Association. Rory decided that he would question his father about it later rather than bothering Towlen by bothering her father.

    The two were soon warm in Richard Hurst’s personal library. Rory was heating his feet by the fire and skimming through multiple books from the school library, Towlen was several rungs up the sliding ladder of the extensive bookshelf that lined the walls and was slowly moving along, scanning the titles and tossing relevant books on a single chair well away from the fire.

    “It’s no use!” exclaimed Rory. “The school would never expect a student to have to learn Association, only to learn about it. None of these are any help whatsoever.”

    The sense of simplicity that had consumed him when he was under the influence of the energy was long gone and he was sorely frustrated that he had missed a chance to figure it out sooner rather than later. And for that, he inexplicably blamed Towlen.

    “There’s no need to get mad,” Towlen replied, rather ironically, Rory thought, seeing as her temper was so short, “you could probably learn it without the books if you really wanted. We both know the basics, but it’d be stupid, and a lot safer if we fine-tuned your knowledge first. This stuff can go seriously wrong.”

    Grudgingly, Rory accepted what she was saying, one slip of concentration and you could be shooting lightning bolts instead of glitter, it was much too risky to attempt at this stage.

    Towlen hopped from the ladder, landing on the balls of her feet with all of the agility of a gazelle.

    “Well, that’s about it.” She gestured to the meek pile of three books.

    “I guess it will have to do until we can get to the library on Saturday, and then it will only be three days until the Ceremony.”

    Towlen skipped towards him, a trickster’s smile fixed upon her face. “That, I can fix.” She grinned and winked at him before sauntering out of the room. Rory sat, wondering what on earth she was talking about, until he heard voices in the adjoining room.

    “Daddy, please? Rory really needs to learn Association and both of his parents are working until the weekend!”

    “But so am I!”

    “Oh, please, please!”

    “Look, sweetie I-“

    “Please,” It was a softer response, more vulnerable, it was her last attack.

    Silence.

    “Ok then, but just this once!”

    “Yes! Thanks so much, dad!”

    “Not daddy anymore then?” Rory heard him laugh.

    Towlen walked back into the library, beaming. She took a seat in a rocking chair, smirking as she flipped open a book.

    “Well, that’s one problem out of the way.”

    Rory was sure that it never would have worked if she had been a boy.
 

                                                                    *     *     *

    When Rory arrived home he quickly told his parents about going to the library before asking his father about what had happened to him earlier in the afternoon.

    “I should have told you about this already. Never put your palms to your temples again!” Rory cringed at his dads raised voice, but Mr Stone wasn’t in the mood to notice. He was pacing up and down the living room with a panicked look in his eyes.

    “You do it all the time!” Rory shouted back. His father stopped pacing and turned to face Rory. His voice was slow and serious.

    “But I know how to control it.” Rory scowled at the ground, without looking up, he spoke.

    “What happened?” he said it slowly and carefully, afraid to upset his dad again. With a sigh, Mr Stone sat down on the sofa, and in an unspoken agreement, Rory sat beside him. For a while it was silence but for the twiddling of thumbs. Finally, Mr Stone spoke.

    “Right, so what happens is… Well your hands- Your marks, contain huge amounts of stored up energy, because it rushes there when you do magic, then settles. So- when you put your marks to your temples, you provide the quickest route for the energy in your brain and the energy in your hands to react and combine, to create a whole new type of energy that is completely separate from the two. It helps you think and gives you a sort of… Clarity. That is, before it starts trying to dominate.”

    “Dominate?”

    “Yes, you see with the mind power that helped to create it, the energy evolves and develops a kind of consciousness, it thinks for itself in a way. It… enjoys your company; they help you with your problems and like to look into your memories. They try to make you stay, trapped in your own mind. Once you’ve been in there for too long, it is extremely difficult to get back out again. That’s why you have to learn to know your boundaries and stop yourself before it goes too far, like me. Or get someone to… wake you after a certain amount of time, like what happened to you. Although, if you are woken in this way, it is impossible to remember the advice that the energy gave you, most people simply use that method for practise until they can use it more effectively.”

    Rory let the information sink in for a moment, before asking.

    “What happens to the energy once you leave?”

    “No one knows. Most scientists think that they just transform back in to the energy originally from your mind, but others, the less… practical ones -they believe that they stay in your brain and continue to boost your brain power. Well, most people like to believe that isn’t true.” Rory listened, secretly hoping that it was.

    “So it’s dangerous then?”

    “Yes. They are irrevocably and undeniably the most dangerous species on earth. If you can call them a species, that is.”

 

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