I was too wore out to run, and too scared, coming on her sudden like that, just when I thought I was out of sight. It was just as if I'd been aiming straight at her, all the way up the hill, just as if she somehow tied a string to me and pulled me across the street and up the hill. And if she could do that, how could I run away from her, tell me that? Where could I go? I'd just turn some corner and there she'd be, waiting. So I says to her, "All right, what do you want? "
She just waved me on over. And I went, too, but not very close, cause I didn't know what she had in mind. "Sit down, Mick, " says she. "We need to talk. "
Now I'll tell you that I didn't want to sit, and I didn't want to talk, I just wanted to get out of there. And so I did, or at least I thought I did. I started walking straight away from her, I thought, but in three steps I realized that I wasn't walking away, I was walking around her. Like that planet thing in science class, the more I moved, the more I got nowhere. It was like she had more say over what my legs did than me.
So I sat down. "You shouldn't have run off from me, " she says.
What I mostly thought of now was to wonder if she was wearing anything under that shirt. And then I thought, what a stupid time to be thinking about that. But I still kept thinking about it. "Do you promise to stay right there till I'm through talking? " she says.
When she moved, it was like her clothes got almost transparent for a second, but not quite. Couldn't take my eyes off her. I promised.
And then all of a sudden she was just a woman. Not ugly, but not all that pretty, neither, just looking at me with eyes like fire. I was scared again, and I wanted to leave, especially cause now I began to think she really was doing something to me. But I promised, so I stayed.
"That's how it began, " she says.
"What's how what began? " says I.
"What you just felt. What I made you feel. That only works on people like you. Nobody else can feel it. "
"Feel what? " says I. Now, I knew what she meant, but I didn't know for sure if she meant what I knew. I mean, it bothered me real bad that she could tell how I felt about her those few minutes there.
"Feel that, " she says, and there it is again, all I can think about is her body. But it only lasted a few seconds, and then I knew for sure that she was doing it to me.
"Stop it, " I says, and she says, "I already did. " I ask her, "How do you do that? "
"Everybody can do it, just a little. A woman looks at a man, she's interested, and so the bioelectrical system heats up, causes some odors to change, and he smells them and notices her and he pays attention. "
"Does it work the other way? "
"Men are always giving off those odors, Mick. Makes no difference. It isn't a man's stink that gives a woman her ideas. But like I said, Mick, that's what everybody can do. With some men, though, it isn't a woman's smell that draws his eye. It's the bio-electrical system itself. The smell is nothing. You can feel the heat of the fire. It's the same thing as when you kill people, Mick. If you couldn't kill people the way you do, you also couldn't feel it so strong when I give off magnetic pulses. "
Of course I didn't understand all that the first time, and maybe I'm remembering it now with words she didn't teach me until later. At the time, though, I was scared, yes, because she knew, and because she could do things to me, but I was also excited, because she sounded like she had some answers, like she knew why it was that I killed people without meaning to.
But when I asked her to explain everything, she couldn't. "We're only just beginning to understand it ourselves, Mick. There's a Swedish scientist who is making some strides that way. We've sent some people over to meet with him. We've read his book, and maybe even some of us understand it. I've got to tell you, Mick, just because we can do this thing doesn't mean that we're particularly smart or anything. It doesn't get us through college any faster or anything. It just means that teachers who flunk us tend to die off a little younger. "
"You're like me! You can do it too! "
She shook her head. "Not likely, " she says. "If I'm really furious at somebody, if I really hate him, if I really try, and if I keep it up for weeks, I can maybe give him an ulcer. You're in a whole different league from me. You and your people. "
"I got no people, " I says.
"I'm here, Mick, because you got people. People who knew just exactly what you could do from the minute you were born. People who knew that if you didn't get a tit to suck you wouldn't just cry, you'd kill. Spraying out death from your cradle. So they planned it all from the beginning. Put you in an orphanage. Let other people, all those do-gooders, let them get sick and die, and then when you're old enough to have control over it, then they look you up, they tell you who you are, they bring you home to live with them. "
"So you're my kin? " I ask her.
"Not so you'd notice, " she says. "I'm here to warn you about your kin. We've been watching you for years, and now it's time to warn you. "
"Now it's time? I spent fifteen years in that children's home killing everybody who ever cared about me, and if they'd just come along-- or you, or anybody, if you just said, Mick, you got to control your temper or you'll hurt people, if somebody just said to me, Mick, we're your people and we'll keep you safe, then maybe I wouldn't be so scared all the time, maybe I wouldn't go killing people so much, did you ever think of that? " Or maybe I didn't say all that, but that's what I was feeling, and so I said a lot, I chewed her up and down.
And then I saw how scared she was, because I was all sparky, and I realized I was just about to shed a load of death onto her, and so I kind of jumped back and yelled at her to leave me alone, and then she does the craziest thing, she reaches out toward me, and I scream at her, "Don't you touch me! " cause if she touches me I can't hold it in, it'll just go all through her and tear up her guts inside, but she just keeps reaching, leaning toward me, and so I kind of crawled over toward a tree, and I hung onto that tree, I just held on and let the tree kind of soak up all my sparkiness, almost like I was burning up the tree. Maybe I killed it, for all I know. Or maybe it was so big, I couldn't hurt it, but it took all the fire out of me, and then she did touch me, like nobody ever touched me, her arm across my back, and hand holding my shoulder, her face right up against my ear, and she says to me, "Mick, you didn't hurt me. "
"Just leave me alone, " says I.
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