The Anglic Gene

An orphan girl unsure of who she is or why a man wants her dead carries a secret. She will experience humanity.

Are you ready?

Join Sophia in a heart thumping adventure across England set in the 1870’s, exploring faith, doubt, love and fear. A story, quoted by the editor as “really something special”, you’ll continue to contemplate long after the journey unfolds

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18. The Test

Sophia placed her hand palm down fingers together on the center of the table.

Richard removed a feathered quill from an ink well and hovered it over her hand. Sophia asked, “Are you going to write on my hand?” With a swift movement, he raised his hand, and then stabbed the quill down forcefully through the center of her hand. Anne screamed and covered her eyes. Sophia’s face turned snow white as if the new wound had provided a drain for the blood to flow from her agonized expression. Her lungs screamed for the air she exhaled in a shocked gasp. She jerked her arm in an attempt to free herself. The quill impaling her hand stuck in the wood prevented her trembling hand from escaping.

“Are you mad?” Michael shouted, leaping off of his seat. He grabbed the feathered end of the quill and reefed upward freeing Sophia’s hand. A trail of blood streaked across the table as Sophia retracted her hand. She cupped her wound and, oddly, the pain subsided rapidly.

“Pass your hand here, dear girl,” Richard said. “Don’t be afraid. I’ll not stab you again.”

“You had better not,” Michael said, glaring at Richard.

She extended her quivering hand towards Richard. He spat on a handkerchief and proceeded to wipe the blood away covering her skin. No wound, her hand had thoroughly healed. “See there, Sophia, you do have tricks.”

“You have a terrible way of testing things,” Michael said.

“Don’t be too hard on me, young chap,” he said, with a nod. “I had to be sure.”

“And what if she hadn’t healed? Then what?”

“Hmm,” Richard said, rubbing his chin. “I didn’t contemplate that outcome.”

Anne, peeking between the fingers covering her eyes, asked, “Is it safe to look?”

“Yes, it is,” Richard replied.

“So what now?” Michael asked.

“Well, let’s see.” He returned reading through the paragraphs, skipping some, studying others intently. “Another test.”

Sophia shifted back in her chair. Anne covered her eyes, “Not another one.”

Richard laughed. “No fear. This one does not involve blood.”

Anne, removing her palms covering her eyes, said, “That’s a relief.”

“Hmm. Let me think,” Richard said, leaving the table. He approached a bookshelf and removed a small ceramic pot. Back on his chair, he tipped the container and allowed four tiny metallic silver spheres to roll onto the center of the table.

“What are they?” Sophia asked.

“They are called ‘ball bearings,’ an ingenious little invention by Jules Suriray. Quite a bright chap.” He focused on Sophia. “I want you to try to move them.”

Sophia reached out and pushed the ball bearings with her fingertips so that they rolled towards Richard. “No,” he said. “Not with your hands; with your mind.”

“My mind?”

“Yes. Concentrate on them and force them to move with your mind.”

“Wow,” Anne said. “If you can do this, you’ll be able to cheat at marbles.”

Sophia shook her head, once dismissing Anne’s idea (although she found it somewhat intriguing) and a second time demonstrating doubt about her ability to accomplish the task. “Move them with my mind?”

“You can do it,” Richard said. “Concentrate now.”

She studied the bearings. Round, small silver balls, no larger than her pinky fingernail. Impossible, she thought. The words move, move, move echoed through her mind. Her teeth clenched from a mix of frustration and concentration. Her eyes narrowed, presuming a tighter focus would help the task. Nothing. “This is stupid,” she mumbled.

“Think of where you want the balls to go,” Richard said. “Be specific in your thoughts. Imagine your hand reaching out and pushing them.”

Her head started to ache from the intense concentration. An image came to her. She saw an invisible hand, a projection of her own, reach out and flick one of the balls with her fingertips just as she had done with her physical hand. It moved. Not far, but it rolled a short distance. The response broke her attention.

Richards’s eyebrows raised. “Ah, there you go.”

“Wow,” Anne said. “That is so weird.”

“It’s tiring,” Sophia said, rubbing her temples.

“Yes. I can imagine it would be, but will get easier the more you practice,” Richard said. “Now try again.”

Sophia returned her focus to the balls and this time her mind visualized them in a new way. They broke down into many miniscule particles—thousands and thousands of them—combined in the shape of the sphere. The air around them appeared as tiny atom particles that formed one giant mesh in which the balls existed. Next, the tabletop appeared as one mass of atoms, swarming like miniscule bees. No longer seeing things as solid objects but as so many parts of a greater object, her thoughts honed in on the atoms she wanted to control. Intently, she focused on the spheres. They began to roll, slowly at first, in unison, in a circle each chasing each other. Michael's eyes widened as their speed increased to the point at which they appeared to be a solid silver ring.

Then the unthinkable. With her mind, she lifted them from the table, creating different patterns by moving them at incredible speeds. First a figure eight, then a more complex configuration of four circles joined together and after that an astonishing representation of a cylinder. To complete the picture the balls moved at velocities faster than light, leaving solid trails. All of a sudden, the balls stopped and fell back to the table, each bouncing several times before rolling to a halt. Sophia collapsed forward. Her head struck the wooden tabletop with a solid thump.

Michael reached over. “Sophia!” Anne jumped out of her chair and stood beside her. Richard, his eyes like slits, just peered intently at Sophia.

Moments later, Sophia lifted her head, touched her fingertips to her red forehead, straining as if her skull weighed a ton. Drops of blood dripped from her nose. She rubbed her brow in an effort to ease the throbbing not only in her head but in her mind.

Richard tossed his handkerchief towards her. “Wipe your nostrils, dear.” She did so, clearing away all signs of blood. “Impressive,” Richard added. “I think that will do for today. You require further practice my dear, and you’ll be able to do that on your journey. Your next destination should be to visit Reverend Robinson of Fuller Church in Northampshire. I’ll send him a message by pigeon post to let him know you’re coming. The side trip will not take you far off your path to Hermitage Castle.”

“Why?” Sophia said, shaking her head, trying to dispel the heavy grogginess that had come over her.

“You’ll find out when you get to Fuller Church.”

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