Sasha and Mariel faced each other, sitting cross legged on Mariel’s bed gripping each other’s hands tightly. The toll the twice daily out of body trips to the mine were taking on them showed in the matching creases between their brows.
Tess led them into another slow, careful trip to the mine via the Adamsville house, the car and finally, the mine itself. Impatience radiated off them in palpable waves. Tess knew the countless trips with nothing to show for their efforts was wearing on the girls. It was getting harder to keep them from rushing through the process and, in their words, just get on with it. That they continued to follow protocol despite the impatience twitching fingers and bouncing feet couldn’t hide was proof their maturity was increasing as they mastered new skills.
She watched and waited from her usual position, protecting the girls’ physical selves. Instead of letting them get right into the waiting car, she stopped them when they arrived at the house and led them inside. Stopping in the entryway, the girls turned to face her. She held up a paw as Mariel started to voice the questions Tess heard churning in their minds.
“OK, girls, I’m sensing something different today, and before we go any further, we need to be clear on a couple of things.” Tess began.
“Such a worrywart!” Mariel stage whispered to Sasha.
“Being stuck with a couple of precocious brats like you makes it part of my job description!” Tess retorted. “I need you two to promise you will simply retrieve the information, should your fathers make contact today. You will bring it back but you will not, under any circumstances, take it upon yourselves to act upon anything you learn. Is that clear?”
“Do you want to tell her?” Sasha asked.
“No, it was your dream. You tell it.”
“OK,” Sasha agreed. “Tess, I had a dream last night that I talked to my dad. He told me a bunch of stuff, but he also said today was the day. Mariel agrees the dream was telling us we’d definitely hear from them today. I guess we’re both so jazzed it seems like we’re out of control, but truly we aren’t!”
Curious as to how much they might have gotten from Sasha’s dream, and secretly hoping they were showing signs of a Gift for precognition, Tess asked for a couple of details from the dream she could verify when they finally heard from Phil and Karl.
“Can you give me an example of what you were told?”
“You mean, in my dream?” Sasha asked.
“Yes” Tess replied. “It will be interesting to see if the information in your dream proves accurate.”
“Well,” Sasha began, scrunching up her face as she tried to remember details. “In the dream, Dad said Mr. Adams rented out his mine to some people, and then they hired him to do errands and stuff for them.”
“You mean, stuff like trying to get you to leave town!” Mariel interrupted in angry defense of her friend.
“Yeah,” Sasha agreed, “stuff like that, but other stuff too. He also said there was a reason they’d picked Adamsville and it was important for us to figure out the reason since it could mean the success or failure of something-or-other.”
“Great!” Tess felt certain the information Sasha received in her dream would be corroborated soon. “That’s enough for now. Go ahead and get in the car. The sooner you get within range of your fathers, the better. Something tells me this day is going to prove…um…interesting.” At the last second, she decided not to give the girls too much hope, just in case they ran into problems, or they again failed to make contact with their fathers.
Pausing on the porch, Sasha turned to Tess. “Can I ask you something before we go?”
“Of course.” Tess replied, expecting another question about their parents.
“Why do we have to keep coming to the house and letting someone drive us to the mine? By now, we know the way.”
“I guess I should have suspected you’d get here sooner rather than later.” Tess realized she’d underestimated Sasha’s natural ability to seek an easier solution. “Using what amounts to a way station gives us a place closer to the target to check all the protections one more time so we can ensure your safety. At the mine, we have less control over what or who might figure out you’re there. At the house, we’re close enough to feel their energy but far enough away we can mask yours before you enter their energy field.”
“So it’s like stopping at the front door to put on a coat before stepping outside into the cold?” Mariel asked.
“That’s a good analogy.” The girls continued to surprise Tess with their ability to grasp new concepts, despite knowing they shared many qualities with their exceptionally Talented parents. “Any other questions? I don’t want to wait too long or they might think we’re not coming this morning and stop trying to connect.”
Satisfied by Tess’s explanation, Sasha and Mariel walked down the steps, through the gate and into the waiting sedan. While the virtual car made its way to the mine, Tess left the girls to talk quietly, hoping it would take their minds off what they might or might not discover today. As they drew closer to the mine, there appeared to be an unusual amount of activity. Altering their route slightly, they took a side road which led to the back of the mine instead of the entrance. Although they weren’t physically making this trip, they still had to proceed as they normally would have when faced with a change to an unfamiliar route.
Pulling the car off the side road behind the shelter of a large hill, Tess scouted the area to be sure the girls’ presence would go undetected by anyone other than their fathers. Satisfied her charges were as safe as possible under the circumstances, the car door opened, and the girls stepped out onto the hard-packed ground.
“Stay close to the car and leave the door open.” Tess cautioned. “It feels like something or someone is coming and might even be aware you’re here.” Tess’s fur stood up on her back, and she reached out to a couple of the other adults in the compound in case she had to yank the girls out of there quickly.
“Dad?” she heard Sasha ask.
“Dad?” Mariel echoed.
Suddenly, their tone change, and Tess heard “Dad!” and “Dad!” from two girls who finally got the prize for all their patience and hard work.
“And so it begins.” she thought with a touch of irony, relaxing slightly while waiting for the happy reunion to end and the real purpose of this visit to begin. She didn’t know how much the men had learned but knew before she brought the girls back to camp, they had be able to repeat what their fathers told them verbatim. Those who waited impatiently for information could wait a bit longer to ensure what they received was accurate. Too much rested on developing a plan which stood a real chance of working the f...