They’d piled three blankets over me by the time I was finally coherent enough to get undressed and bedded down. The rain continued to pound us, though the worst of the thunder and lightning passed within a few hours of sunrise—or when sunrise should have been. I hadn’t been the only one trapped under the tent when it collapsed, but I was the only one who hadn’t been in a position to crawl out on my own. The untenable nature of our situation in these tents as a long-term solution had suddenly become abundantly clear. There had been more than a couple murmurs I’d overheard, as I’d been practically force-fed a hot drink by the fire, about moving into one of the less-damaged seeming buildings. The sounds of something collapsing not far away stopped those murmurings dead in their tracks.
Part of me felt like the blankets were suffocating me, the other half just wanted to burrow even deeper underneath them to get warm again. I was still shivering, even buried beneath them. My panic had mostly worn away, leaving only the cold in its wake. I wasn’t sure which was more unpleasant.
I finally decided being cold was worse, and burrowed deeper under the covers.
I peeked out from between the folds of blankets toward the sound of Carolyn’s voice. She had a blanket around her own shoulders as she sank down to sit on the corner of the pair of mattresses I shared with Thom. I caught a fleeting glimpse of Kellin and J.T. behind her somewhere, though they both vanished after a moment. I clawed some of the blankets away from my face and slowly sat up, holding the three heavy blankets tightly around myself as I did. “What’s wrong, Care?”
“Marin…what did I do?” She bit her lip, staring at me. Her eyes were bloodshot and rimmed in red.
Has she been crying? My mouth dried up and my tongue tried to shrivel. “I’m not sure, Care,” I said quietly. “Kel might know better than I.”
“She said to talk to you,” Carolyn said quietly.
Of course she said to talk to me. I swallowed the bitter taste in my mouth and shook my head a little. “What did it feel like?”
“I just…I knew I couldn’t let that come down on your head, that’s all. That you had to get out of the way. And I was waving my hand like this.” She made a get out of the way! motion with her hand. “And then all of a sudden I felt something and you got knocked sideways and the tent came down on top of you.” She caught her lip between her teeth. “I’m scared, Marin. I know it was me, I just don’t know how I did it.”
I laughed weakly. You’re not the only one who has that happen, Care. Trust me. “Don’t be scared,” I said. “You and Kellin talked, right? About…about things?”
She nodded slowly. “Yeah. She said that it could be a long time before any of us could figure out what I could do or if I could do anything. Something about air spirits and connections…and practice. But how can I practice anything if I don’t know what I did in the first place?”
Good question. I frowned a little, drawing my knees up to my chest under the blankets. “I’m not sure what you did either, Carolyn,” I said after a long silence. “I felt something solid catch me in the side and knock me sideways. Maybe you…maybe you pushed me.”
“But I was fifteen feet away.”
“I know.” I watched her, waiting for the words to sink in. Her eyes widened as they did.
“That was me.” Her lips thinned. “But how did I do it, Mar?” She seemed shaken, but less shaken than I honestly might have expected. “How can I figure out what this is, what I can do, if I’m not even consciously doing anything?”
I wet my lips and stared at her. “How did I figure that out when it comes to my visions, Care?”
She deflated, slumping. “…sorry, Mar.”
I shook my head. “It’s okay. I understand the feeling.” Better than you realize, in fact. “If I were to venture a guess—and I’m just guessing here, really—it was your need that sparked it. Your desperation.” It may be a long time before you’ve got any kind of control, Care. I’m sorry.
“Which is why I don’t remember how I did it.” She frowned, hunching a little. “This isn’t nearly as straightforward as I hoped it would be.”
“Nothing ever is, is it?”
“I don’t know,” she said. “JAVA wasn’t that bad.”
We laughed. I caught a faint glimmer over her shoulder in the midst of our laughter, a glimmer I thought solidified into something more for a bare second, then was gone again. Must be my imagination. “No, the compiling software just took custody of everyone’s souls, that’s all.”
Carolyn shook her head, grinning, then paused, reaching around toward the back of her neck.
“Just something tickling, that’s all.”
I saw the glimmer again, and frowned. Just a tickling, or something more?
Carolyn froze, looking stiffly toward her shoulder, eyes widening. I saw the glimmer reflected in her eyes and frowned. “Care?”
She stared, as if transfixed by something I couldn’t see. Her jaw fell open and she looked quickly at me. “He wants to know if I’m his human godmother.”
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