Sleepers

They are called Sleepers. They are extraordinarily gifted humans with supernatural abilities. But there's someone they should fear, someone they shouldn't have trusted, and he's going to eliminate them. You can't escape the threat when it's on the inside.

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1. Now: The Body

Where is he now?”

 

A gasping, ragged breath, then: “He's in a barn, with his back to me, and he's limping. I think he either fell or she stabbed him. I'm hoping it's the latter. Oh, shit.”

 

“What?” he asked, his voice tight.

 

“He turned around. God, Trevor. It's like he knows I'm there, crouched in the corner. Get me the fuck out of here. Please.”

 

“Stay calm, Parker. He can't hurt you, remember.”

 

Her breathing slowed, and her head tipped back, though she never opened her eyes. Her body trembled. When she spoke, her voice was full of relief. “Okay, he...he didn't see me. There was a cat.”

 

“Is he still there?” Trevor asked.

 

“He's leaving,” she whispered. “He's gone.” She sounded exhausted.

 

Hands touched her face, and warmth flooded her body, fueled her. She opened her eyes, and the room slowly came back into focus: a small, cold basement with two chairs and a desk. Trevor frowned at her, his brown eyes hard. He extended a glass of water to her.

“Drink this. Now, slowly, tell me what happened.”

 

Parker's green eyes narrowed, and she put down the glass. “You know what happened. You've been right here the entire time. I was terrified, goddamn it. I've never felt that way before with a vision. There's something different about him.”

 

Trevor sighed, leaned over, and placed his hand on top of hers. “He can't get to you here. You're safe. This house is secure. Even if he has––”

 

“Even if he has abilities,” she finished. “I know. You explained that to me already.” She glanced at the door behind him. “Aren't you supposed to have another appointment?”

 

Trevor smiled. “He should be here soon.” He noticed her expression. “Don't worry, we'll find whoever is doing this.”

 

She wanted to believe that. “I don't just have visions for the hell of it, you know. There has to be some good I can do with them. But so far...”

 

“They're still new. It sucks that we can't help everyone, but we try, and that counts for something.”

 

Parker stood, almost knocking the chair over. She couldn't get out of there fast enough. Trevor never questioned her abrupt departures. He knew these abilities took a toll on her, mentally as well as physically. She looked at him. “It should count for so much more.”

Then she pushed the door open, and went up the stairs

 

“Another grueling session with Maxwell?” a voice asked.

 

Parker glanced up as she shut the basement door. Conner Jensen stared at her from a few feet away. He grinned as she glared at him. She hated all the questions she got from him after being down there. Or from anyone, really. It felt like an invasion of privacy.

 

“It always is,” she answered, walking past him. She rubbed her temples.

 

“Bad vision?”

 

She stopped, turned, and grimaced. “I can't seem to get a good read on him, or see his face. It's always shadowed by something.”

 

“Maybe that means something,” Conner said. “He doesn't want you to see who he is, just what he's doing. Have you talked to Holt?”

 

Cameron Holt was the resident former detective. He'd been called to a murder scene more than six months ago, and Trevor had been there, waiting for him. They talked, and after much convincing, Cameron had joined the team. His powers were still somewhere deep inside him, but Trevor had promised he would be able to access them.

 

He hadn't yet, and that's not to say he didn't try. But after some time, Cam had become fed up with everything and walked out of the basement, refusing help. Until he ran into Conner, who had used his ability to manipulate him into going back.

 

“He's still not speaking to you, is he?” Parker asked, smirking.

 

“No,” Conner said. “I apologized, I don't know what more he wants from me.”

 

“I'm not a guinea pig,” someone answered from behind them.

 

Conner stiffened and turned. “Oh, hey, Cam. What's up?”

 

“Jensen.” He nodded, pushing his brown hair away from his eyes. Then he glanced at Parker. “Fox.” His lips turned upward in a smile. “How are your sessions going?”

 

Parker grinned. “Oh, you know, the same. I still know next to nothing about this guy. Have you been able to access anything yet?”

 

Holt regarded her for a moment, frowning. “Not yet. Trevor's trying though. I know he just wants to help, and I know I shouldn't have left. But he's expecting me now.” He glared at Conner.

 

When the basement door shut, Parker started to laugh. “I'm sorry,” she said. “But he's only been here a few months and you've already made an enemy out of him. We're the good guys.”

 

“I realize that.” Conner rolled his eyes. “But what do you want me to do about it now? I tried to help him, and he got pissed.”

 

“That's because you were an idiot,” Parker commented. “He's scared.”

 

“We were all scared,” Conner told her. “I used my powers to calm him, to make him see we weren't going to hurt him.”

 

“You can't manipulate people,” Parker told him. “You manipulate objects. So whatever the reason was that Cam went back, it had nothing to do with you. But he doesn't know that yet. You're going to tell him, or I will.”

 

**

 

As Parker headed back to her room, she thought about Cam. He'd been trying so hard. But the more he tried, the less he found. He was an empty vessel, and that bothered Parker more than she liked. Because she knew what it was like to be on that side, the side that wanted answers, but only ended up with more questions.

 

“Hey.”

 

She stopped, expecting to see Conner lurking. But when she turned around, it was Cam who had come down the hall, a frown settled in place as he stared at her. He shoved his hands into his pockets and leaned against the wall, waiting.

 

Parker nodded. “How was the session?”

 

His gray eyes swept over her face. “Trevor seemed distracted. He wasn't as focused as he was last time. I think he's given up on me.”

 

“Trevor doesn't ever give up,” Parker said roughly. “He's the one that took you in.”

 

“And I'm useless.” His voice rose. He pressed his hands against the door to her room and balled them into fists. “I don't know how he found me, or why, because I've done nothing to help any of you, or anyone.”

 

“When I was little, I always knew I was different. You know all kids say that, but for me, it was true. The visions scared me at first – I thought I was losing my mind. But then I did some research, and I found out that there were others like me.”

 

“Then Trevor found you.” Cam nodded. “That's how it goes, I've heard. He interrupted a crime scene to talk to me. Of course I didn't believe what he was saying – it was ridiculous.”

 

Parker smiled slightly. “How did he convince you that he was telling the truth?”

 

Cam returned the smile. He started to walk away from her, and she didn't move. She called out to him, and he turned, hands back in his pockets. Reaching up, he touched one of the lamps tacked to the wall. But he never answered.

 

“You know what he's capable of,” Cam replied. “He probably used that little talent of his to get you, didn't he? Think about it.”

 

When Trevor found her, Parker was in her car at the college she attended, in the middle of a vision. Minutes later, when she was able to focus again, she lifted her head from her steering wheel and saw a man staring at her through the window. He looked to be in his late thirties with short brown hair, and the most intense eyes she'd ever seen on another person.

He asked her if she was okay, if her head was clear now.

 

Only his lips didn't move.

 

Momentarily stunned, Parker nodded.

 

That was all it took.

 

“Yes,” Parker answered. She hadn't thought about that day in a long time. She wanted to know more about Trevor––about how he had gained his powers, how he was able to persuade them to leave behind everything they knew and join him.

 

“What did he say to you?” Cam pressed, coming down the hall again.

 

“He asked me if my head was clear,” Parker told him. “That was all it took for me to listen to him. He expressed concern about my abilities and then revealed this idea he'd had to recruit others like me. He needed a team.”

 

“For what?”

 

Parker shook her head. “I had no idea. But a few months later, he asked me to do something with my gift. Something I didn't know I could do.”

 

He waited.

 

“Trevor asked me to tap into someone's mind, to force myself to have a vision. For information. I was scared to say no,” she admitted. “He could have dismissed me, sent me back to my old, cursed life.”

 

“Is that what you think, that your life is cursed?” Cam wondered, raising an eyebrow. “Oh, Parker,” he said softly. He touched a strand of her blonde hair. “Your life is anything but cursed. You can do something extraordinary. You should be proud of that fact.”

 

“Easy for you to say. You don't have to deal with this burden.” Her eyes widened. “Oh, God, Cam. I didn't mean that. I know you're trying. And Trevor wouldn't have sought you out unless he knew that you could do something, too.”

 

He put a hand up. “It's fine, I'm just the odd one out. But I'll figure it out. I have to, if I want to stay here. I quit my job because of this, so I can't go back there. I just want Trevor to be right, to unlock whatever it is I can do.”

 

“I'm afraid I can't do that, I can only give you so many sessions. Ultimately you have to be the one to unlock what you can do. You should try meditating, it might bring your power to the surface.” Trevor stood beside Cam, all authority and intensity gone from his face. He just looked tired now.

 

“Well, they aren't working,” Cam shot back. Annoyance rolled off of him in thick waves.

 

“Everyone else knows what they can do.”

 

“Not everyone,” Trevor commented. “Bennett is still in the dark.”

 

“Bennett?” Parker searched her mind. She knew everyone here. It was a small group. “The new member?”

 

Trevor nodded. “I just came to find you two to tell you we're having a meeting tonight. Any idea where Conner's hiding?” He looked at Cam and smirked. “You know, I don't appreciate members fighting, or not working together. Whatever he's done, I'm sure he's sorry. He's the youngest on the team, after all. He doesn't know any better.”

 

“He manipulated me into coming back.” Cam cracked his knuckles. “I don't like being used by anyone, let alone a kid with that ability.”

 

Trevor's smirk widened. “That's interesting, because Conner doesn't possess that ability. What a clever boy.”

 

“I don't understand.”

 

“Conner wanted you to think that he persuaded you, when really all he did was speak with concern for another person, without any sort of push.” He looked at Cam. “You came back here because you wanted to know more, because you believed me. Conner thinks he can do a lot, but that's not true. He can manipulate objects, not people.”

 

“Son of a bitch,” Cam exclaimed. “I guess I owe him an apology for getting so pissed. I think he even tried to explain that it wasn't what I thought, but I didn't listen.”

 

“Good. Now, Parker, would you go find Conner?” Trevor asked. “He's around here somewhere. I know you ran into him when we were finished.”

 

“Yes, sir.” Parker nodded.

 

As Trevor disappeared down the hall, Cam grabbed her arm. “Mind if I join you? I think I need to have a few words with Conner.”

 

“I don't mind. But can I ask you some things while we look for him?”

“Only if I can ask you in return.”

 

“Deal.” She smiled. “Okay, so I'm curious about something. Usually something has to happen in order for our powers to be accessed. And since yours haven't appeared yet, does that mean nothing bad happened to you?”

 

Cam stopped. “It's nothing I want to discuss right now.”

 

The silence that followed was heavy. It clung to them as they walked all the way back to the front of the house. They continuously checked rooms for Conner, but he wasn't in any of them. That worried Parker.

 

“Maybe he went out,” Cam suggested.

 

“Anyone who leaves tells Trevor,” replied Parker. “It's one of the rules. I thought you knew that.”

 

“I forgot.”

 

Parker was about to reply when a scream filled her ears. Then a gut-wrenching cry from near the main door. She and Cam ran down the hall, into the main room.

 

A stranger with amber eyes stood and faced them, his hands trembling. There was a body at his feet; blood pooled around the head, mixed into dark hair, and dripped down the side of the boy's face.

 

Parker put a hand over her mouth.

 

“I didn't hurt him,” the man said. “I found him like this.”

 

Conner.

 

Trevor's voice then. Behind them. Getting closer. He was in the middle of saying something, but stopped. His next words came out in a pained whisper.

 

“Bennett, what have you done?”

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