After our afternoon’s fun and subsequent nap, I had gone for a shower. Louise had gone back to her room to get ready, and, while I got dressed, Josh had his shower. I wondered if it would be awkward when he came out of the bathroom.
Prior to that afternoon, we’d often behaved as a pair of young men might in a gym locker room. We had both seen each other naked, but it hadn’t been a big deal for either of us. I wondered if that was going to change.
I was finishing getting dressed when he emerged from the bathroom with a towel wrapped around his waist. That was normal behavior.
He looked at me but didn’t stop what he was doing. “So,” he said, “you never mentioned this girl Mary before.” He picked out a clean pair of boxers, dropped the towel, and put them on, exactly as he had done every day since I had known him.
“She is just a girl in my English class,” I replied. “She sits in front of me. I haven’t really spoken with her before today.”
“She’s not exactly hard to look at,” he said with a grin, “and you didn’t seem to be having trouble watching her ass as she walked away earlier.”
I grinned back at him. “You know me; I can’t resist looking at a nice ass.”
He thought about that for a moment before looking over his shoulder theatrically.
“So, what’s wrong with my ass?” he asked.
“I never saw you ogling my ass like you did hers - or Louise’s for that matter, or Angela’s, or….”
I looked him in the eye. “You never caught me ogling your ass.”
His mouth dropped open for a moment.
“As I said, there’s nothing wrong with your ass. Except...”
“What?” he asked defensively.
“Except,” I continued, “It’s still not wearing any pants, and we have a party to go to.”
He threw his pillow at me, then started getting dressed.
Louise knocked on the door just as he was finishing, and I let her in.
“What’s taking you guys so long?”
“We’re ready,” I said. “Let’s go.”
Bob’s house wasn’t that far from campus, so we decided to walk since it was a nice enough evening. We could hear the music as we turned into his street, and I worried that the neighbors would be upset at the disturbance.
I needn’t have worried. Since the houses on the street were all rented to students, Bob had pre-empted any problems by simply inviting all of them to the party. It made for a much bigger crowd than I’d expected, but I decided it would be nice to meet some new people. Some of them were bound to have nice asses.
The house was quite crowded when we entered, and there was some cheering and calls of “Happy Birthday!” as the wave of recognition rippled out from the doorway. It quickly became apparent that despite the “Happy Birthday Caleb!” banner on the wall, the party had evolved into something else. I was happy enough with that.
I grabbed a beer from the table and began to circulate around the room, chatting to classmates and friends, and being introduced to some of the students from the surrounding houses who were either ahead of us or were studying elsewhere.
There were a few people dancing in the middle of the living room where some furniture had been pushed back to create a makeshift dance floor. I felt a hand on my arm and turned to come face to face with Mary.
I smiled. “Hi, glad you could make it,” I said.
She leaned in and pecked my cheek. “Happy birthday.”
“Let’s get you a drink,” I said, but she shook her head.
“In a bit, “she said. “First I want to dance.”
She held out her hand, and when I took it, she led me to the dancers and we joined in.
Now, I am fit. I run every day, am on the PSU wrestling team -go Vikings - unbeaten so far this year, by the way - and I go to the gym at least three times a week. Mary danced me to a standstill.
Eventually, I held my hands up in surrender and we went to find a drink and some food. She led me to a seat, and we sat, nibbling at the snacks and sipping our beers while I caught my breath.
I felt a slap on my shoulder and looked up to see Sue with Gordon. She was grinning at me.
“Happy birthday again,” she said, and then looked at Mary.
“Aren’t you going to introduce me to your friend?” she asked.
“Sure,” I said. “Mary, this is Sue, a very good and close friend, and Sue, this is Mary, who sits in front of me in English.”
Sue looked Mary up and down and then looked at me.
“Good choice,” she said. “Remember to use my birthday gift.”
Sue turned to Mary. “Nice to meet you,” she said, before grabbing Gordon by the arm and steering him away.
I sighed and finished my beer.
Mary looked at me. “Is she an ex?”
I laughed. “Sue? No, I’m not her type.”
“You have that vibe between you,” she said, “like you were very close at one time.”
“We still are,” I replied. “I guess I have spent more time with Sue since I came here than I have with any other person. We just clicked. I get to hear about all her conquests and play agony aunt. Up until this morning, we had never so much as kissed.”
“Oh, and what happened this morning?” she asked, looking amused.
“I have no idea,” I lied, “I was sitting at breakfast, and she just walked up and kissed me, probably to wish me happy birthday.”
Mary stood. “Let’s dance again.”
We went back to the dancing but after only two more songs, it seemed it was time for a slow number.
Mary closed with me and put her arms around my neck. Mine naturally went to her waist. As we danced, she asked, “So, what did she get you?”
“Who?” I asked. I had spaced out a little. I’d been starting to notice things about Mary other than her phenomenal ass, which I couldn’t see just now. They’d distracted me, in a good way.
She was about 6 inches shorter than my 6’1”, and was slim, with a trim waist. Her hair was brown, with flecks of gold, and her breasts probably looked larger than they were, given her trim frame, but I would guess they were a D cup. What was most entrancing to me, though, were her eyes. She had golden eyes, the colour of a lioness’s. I wondered how I had never noticed before. They were mesmerising.
“Your friend Sue; what did she get you for your birthday?”
“Condoms and lube. She handed them to me in the cafeteria this morning. Not embarrassing at all.”
Mary laughed, “Are you sure she is not trying to get into your pants?”
“She likes her men bigger.”
“So, she knows how big you are?”
“I mean bulkier,” I responded. “More muscles.”
Mary nodded. “I’m not a fan of huge muscles, but these look fine to me,” she said, running her hands up my arms and back around my neck, before pulling me down for a kiss.
It wasn’t a passionate kiss, but it was tender and sweet, and it took me by surprise.
I must have looked as surprised as I felt, because she giggled. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I couldn’t resist.”
“Don’t apologise,” I returned. “It was wonderful.”
We moved off the dance floor and sat once again, this time on a couple of chairs opposite the stairs. I had snagged a couple more beers, and handed her one. We sipped them as we chatted, learning more about each other.
I told her about my life so far, about where I grew up, the fact I was an only child, and my future plans. I told her that I was hoping to go into law enforcement in some form or other but didn’t have the details sorted.
In her turn, she told me that she was an identical twin, but that her sister and she had made the decision to go to different colleges, deliberately spending time apart so that they could each develop their own identities. The separation was tough on them, but they spoke daily, and she was looking forward to the holidays so she could go home and spend some time with her.
Suddenly, something felt off.
Even now, I can’t describe it. It was like a smell, but it wasn’t coming via my nose. It was a sort of metallic, coppery scent, but mixed with something foul, like rotten meat. I just felt it, and it made my skin crawl.
I looked around and saw that a new guy had just come in.
He was short and a little stocky. His clothes were good quality, but not well-looked-after. They were creased, and had small food stains down the front. What was really off with him, though, was the expression on his face.
He was looking around the room, almost like he had walked into a strip joint. He was openly leering at everyone there. For a moment, his eye fell on Mary and then moved on. Then it settled on someone across the room. I couldn’t see who, but his grin made me feel dirty.
I turned to Mary. “Who is that?” I asked and she looked at the guy, who was now making his way across the room.
“No idea,” she said. “I’ve never seen him before.”
“Maybe he’s one of the guys from the street,” I pondered. “Bob did say he had invited them so they wouldn’t complain about the noise.”
I watched him as he picked his way through the crowd of people. I stood up. I had a really bad feeling about this guy and wanted to see what he was up to.
“I’ll be back in a minute,” I said, getting up and walking closer. I found the creepy man talking to Angela, Bob’s girlfriend.
As I got closer, the ‘smell’ got worse, and then I heard a scream.
I looked around frantically to see who had screamed, but nobody had reacted at all. It occurred to me that, like the smell, the scream hadn’t come to me via my senses, but had just arrived in my mind. The scream died and I looked back at the guy. I was amazed to see Angela with her tongue stuffed down his throat while she ground herself against him. He, in turn, had one hand on the back of her head, and was lewdly grabbing that perfect ass with the other.
I saw Bob come running across the room, but before he could grab the guy, I heard another scream, this time a more masculine-sounding one, and Bob just stopped dead in his tracks and watched his girlfriend make out with this obnoxious-looking man. His eyes were full of torment, but it seemed he couldn’t bring himself to do anything to break up the kiss – or anything at all.
I finally noticed that there was a dark line running from Bob’s head to the man, and, once I’d clued into it, I noticed another running from Angela’s head.
I don’t know how I knew, but I knew, that in some way, this guy had managed to gain some control over the pair and was basically raping Angela and forcing Bob to watch.
I couldn’t stand by and let it happen.
I moved nearer and reached out for the man, intending to pull them apart. Suddenly I felt a huge weight press down on my mind, trying to wrest away my control of my own body. I fought against the weight; I imagined it being pushed back hard. It persevered for a second, but then it was gone.
The guy staggered and disengaged from Angela, turning to face me, his eyes wide.
“How did you…” he started, but I didn’t let him finish. My outrage inspired me. I immediately imagined that his power was gone, and that anybody he’d enslaved was free.That was the clever bit. There was also the wrestling bit. The guy was no match for me there, either, and the element of surprise worked wonders. I picked him up and body slammed him to the floor.
He curled up into the fetal position and started to cry.
Bob moved forward as if to attack, but I stopped him and diverted his attention.
“Angela needs you,” I said quietly. “Go to her.”
He looked at where Angela had fallen to her knees and was sobbing, holding herself. He went and knelt beside her, putting his arm around her.
I noted now that the music had stopped, and everyone was looking at them, and me, and the guy on the floor.
My attention went back to the guy. I imagined that I knew everything the horrid little man knew. I regretted that immediately.
I just about got to the bathroom as I emptied my stomach into the toilet.
I knew that he wasn’t a student, but he did live in one of the houses on the street. He had moved in about a month prior. His name was Harold Bleasdale. He was twenty two years old, and, just after his eighteenth birthday, he discovered that he could control people with his mind. He had abused that power relentlessly, forcing himself on any woman that caught his eye.
It had started with just getting them to kiss him. Like me, he had been a virgin when he’d found his power, but he’d remedied that quickly and horrifically, forcing a young mother over a park bench while her child had cried nearby.
Of course, as well as practicing his perversions, he’d used his powers to amass wealth. He had stolen and conned and mind-raped multiple people until he’d gotten everything he’d wanted. I hardly needed to imagine myself knowing the future – or what would have been if we hadn’t run into each other. It never would have been enough. He would’ve kept raping and stealing for decades.
As time went by, he got bored with just sex. He started practicing more and more extreme perversions on women - first making their loved ones watch as the woman performed sex acts on him, then making them join in. His intention tonight had been to take Angela and strip her naked, and, while Bob stood by, powerless, force every male in the house to fuck her. He was going to make every single one of them pump their seed into her pussy, in the hopes that she’d become pregnant by someone – anyone – besides her boyfriend.
My nausea had abated, replaced with a blinding rage. I wanted to destroy this man, make it so he never existed, tear him apart, flay him alive. When I went back into the room, Bob had picked Angela up and was on a couch, holding her while she sobbed. Harold was still curled up on the floor, sobbing, with his hands over his head.
There were only a few other people left. Many of the partygoers had left while I had been in the bathroom. I could see Sue, Gordon, Josh and Louise and Mary.
I really wanted to hurt Harold again, but knew that doing so would reduce me to his level. Still, I needed to figure out a way to make sure he was punished. I needed help, and I thought I knew who could give it.
I imagined my mother knew exactly what had gone on tonight, and what I had learned about this creep. I didn’t imagine she knew everything he knew, like I did. I didn’t want to subject her to that.
Thirty seconds later, my phone beeped.
_Help is coming, they will deal with him. You help those he hurt tonight.
It was less than ten minutes later when there was a knock on the door. I opened it to see what appeared to be two police officers standing there. I didn’t bother checking to see if they actually were.
“Where is he?” one of them said, without any preamble, or any offer of identification.
I moved inside and led them to where Harold was still curled up on the floor.
They rolled him to his front, cuffed him, hauled him to his feet, and took him, still sobbing, out of the house.
Bob looked up at me as I approached. The look on his face was difficult to read. I saw rage, despair, and some fear.
“Bob,” I said, “take Angela to your room. I’ll come to speak with you both in a little while.”
For a moment I thought he was going to argue, but he simply nodded, gently helped her to her feet, and led her away.
“What the fuck was that?” Sue asked.
“Some creep attacked Angela,” I announced. “I took him down and then called the cops.”
“Wow, that was so fucked up,” Susan said.
I breathed a small sigh of relief.
“Where was Bob?” Josh asked.
I rolled my eyes – at myself, mostly. It was a good sign, I supposed, that he’d asked the question, but now I needed to spin even more lies.
“He was half a step behind me,” I said. “I just got there first. Then he did what he should and went to look after his girl.”
They all nodded, with the exception of Mary, who just looked at me. I was a little unnerved.
“Guys, it’s late in any case,” I said. “Let’s call it a night. I need to go and see if Bob and Angela are okay, but after that, I’m heading home.”
“Do you want us to wait for you?” asked Josh.
I shook my head. “You guys head off. I don’t know how long I’ll be here. I’ll try not to wake you when I get back.”
Sue, Gordon, Josh and Louise left. I looked at Mary.
“I know what you did,” she said. Her voice was even.
“I don’t know what you...” I began.
“Bullshit, Caleb,” she snapped. “Don’t treat me like an idiot. You broke his control and took away his power.”
My jaw dropped. Her countenance softened a little.
“Okay, not totally fair,” she said. “Secrets, and all that. I get it. Sorry I snapped. I have a thing about people lying to me. Let’s go speak to Bob and Angela, and then we need to talk.”
I knocked on Bob’s bedroom door, and a moment later it opened.
Bob stepped back to let us in. Angela was sitting up on his bed, her hands round her knees and her back against his headboard. She looked at me, then dove off the bed and threw her arms around me. She sobbed into my chest, and I stood with my arms around her shoulders. Bob looked broken.
Finally, she settled, and I sat her on the end of the bed. She hiccoughed a few times, and then she looked at me through red-rimmed eyes.
“Want to talk about it?” I asked.
She shook her head, but at the same moment, she started to talk.
“It was horrible,” she said. “I was talking to Sue’s boyfriend when suddenly, this smelly little man just turned me around, leering at me. I was going to slap him, but then I felt him... in my head. It was like I was being pushed out of the way - forced away from control of my own body and trapped in a corner. The next thing I knew he was kissing me, forcing his tongue down my throat, and I was enjoying it. At least my body was. He was holding my head and grabbing my ass with his other hand. It was like I was two people. On one hand, I was there, screaming for him to let me go, screaming at my own body to get away from him, but I was also there, feeling what I was feeling, enjoying the kiss, feeling myself getting aroused as he groped me. There was no doubt in my mind that we were going to...” she stopped there and sobbed.
“The worst thing was, that I wanted it. I wanted him.” She broke down again.
Bob looked sickened. Mary went to Angela, put her arms around her, and started to talk to her in a low voice.
I turned to Bob. He didn’t wait.
“I saw that little creep come into the room. I had met him a time or two before. He moved in two houses down about a month ago. I saw him make a beeline for Angela, and the next thing I knew they were making out. I couldn’t believe it. We had been talking about getting engaged, and she was sticking her tongue down that disgusting little cretin’s throat.”
He took a breath and then continued.
“I ran over and was going to pull them apart. But then, as Angela said, it felt like someone just came in and shoved me out of the way. The only way I can explain it is if you can imagine you are driving your car, but then suddenly you’re in the passenger seat, in a straitjacket. You see everything, but you have no control. I couldn’t do anything but watch as they made out, and then it got worse. I started getting aroused. I knew what was happening, knew he was going to fuck her, knew that everyone at the party was going to fuck her….”
He couldn’t continue.
“Tell me,” I said.
“I wanted to watch,” he whispered. Fat tears rolled down his cheeks. He put his face into his hands.
I looked across at Mary. She was still talking to Angela. I considered trying to use my power to help them, maybe make them forget this had happened, but I instinctively knew that that would be a bad idea. What’s worse I knew that I would be perpetrating on them the same kind of assault as the rapist had.
“Bob,” I said gently.
After a second he looked at me.
“You heard what Angela said, didn’t you?”
“You know that somehow that creep managed to take control of her mind, to force her into doing what she did.”
He nodded again.
“You know that he used that control to force her body into feeling what she felt, into wanting what she wanted. Even though she would never have otherwise.”
“You felt that control. You know what it was like to be forced out of the driver’s seat. Do you believe that she wasn’t able to fight what he did to her, that she would never have done what she did, if he had not controlled her the way he did?”
Yet another nod.
“Do you blame Angela at all for what happened?”
I noticed that Mary had stopped talking and that Angela was looking at Bob with trepidation.
“Of course not,” he said. “I know how hard I fought. I couldn’t break away, so there is no way she was responsible. I know she would never have done that if he hadn’t…”
Angela was about to get up, but Mary put her hand on her arm.
“Then you must know, Bob,” I interrupted, “that you had as much control over what you did and felt as Angela did. And if you blame yourself for the fact you didn’t intervene, and for the fact you got aroused, what you are saying is that you don’t believe Angela.”
He looked at me wide-eyed.
“I will say this to both of you,” I began. Angela looked up at me. “It wasn’t your fault. You are not to blame. You also need to remember that what you thought was going to happen, didn’t. He got interrupted.”
“Why didn’t he control you?” Bob asked suddenly.
“I surprised him,” I lied. “Whatever he could do, well, I’m willing to bet he was massively overconfident. Got sloppy. Didn’t spend enough time at the gym, either. I body-slammed him before he could do whatever it is he does. I guess I’m lucky that stopped him.”
I reached a hand to Angela, and she looked to Mary, who moved her hand from Angela’s arm. Angela stood and stepped toward us.
I took her hand, and I placed it into Bob’s. They looked at each other and then moved together, clinging to each other as they cried. Both apologizing and decrying the need for apology.
I knew that it would not be quick, but I was hopeful that they would recover.
Mary took my hand and guided me out of the room. She was silent as we walked back to campus. My one attempt at conversation was shut down instantly.
When we arrived at my room, she finally spoke. “Are Josh and Louise in there?” she asked.
As quietly as I could, I opened the door and peered inside. It was empty. I shook my head.
She indicated I should enter, and followed me in. She sat on Josh’s bed. I sank down onto mine.
“How long have you had your power?” she asked without preamble.
I looked at her. She looked at me. It wasn’t a contest of wills, exactly. It was a silent discussion of boundaries and trust. She quickly lost her patience, though she never said a word. Instead, her eyes flared.
I have read that phrase a good number of times. I guess it usually means that someone gave someone else a certain look – fierce, angry, something in that neighborhood. Not so, just then. Mary’s eyes actually flared. They burned, like with real fire.
I sat back, a little unnerved. I also gave up the notion that I was going to bluff her. She knew.
I sighed. “Since yesterday morning, I think.”
“Weird things started then, but maybe the night before. Very hard to say, on that note.”
She continued to look at me. She was not satisfied.
Not wanting to look at her as I explained, I laid down on my bed and stared at the ceiling. I had started feeling a real attraction to Mary and wanted to get to know her. Ideally, I wouldn’t be thinking about explaining my sexuality to her this early on, but I supposed I would have to, and accept that it might kill our budding relationship.
“It all started with Josh,” I began.
I explained his dream, Angela lifting her shirt, Kyle and Jennifer, and Susan’s kiss. I told her about Todd’s explosive diarrhea, I omitted the session with Josh and Louise. I even told her about the car I had tried for with my mother. Finally, I told her what I had experienced at the party.
“At what point did you realize that you could use your power to have sex with whomever you wanted?” she asked.
“What makes you think that I...”
“Because EVERYBODY does,” she replied impatiently.
“I don’t remember exactly,” I said wearily, “but you are right. The thought did occur to me.”
I noticed then that she was standing over me and staring into my eyes.
“And how did that make you feel?” she asked.
“Disgusted with myself,” I said bitterly, “that I would even consider such a thing.”
Her eyes softened. She sat on the edge of my bed and then bumped me with her hip. “Scoot over.”
I had moved before I realised, and next thing I knew she was laid alongside me.
“We need to talk, but I’m too tired now. For now, I’m not letting you out of my sight, so I’m staying here. We will talk in the morning.”
I turned my head to look at her. I gazed into her tawny eyes.
“I’m sorry,” I said.
“For?” she asked.
“I get the impression that I have ruined any chance I had with you. My life was complicated enough already, but I really liked you. I’m sorry I messed it up.”
“Liked?” she queried. “Past tense?”
“I kind of thought that ship had sailed.”
“It’s still at the dock, for now,” she said, “but we have a lot of talking to do.”
I don’t know when I fell asleep, but I woke up alone.
Mary had sent me a text, which surprised me since I hadn’t given her my number. I guessed she had somehow gotten it from my phone while I’d slept.
_Caleb. I’m so sorry to run out like this, but I had to leave urgently. I will see you very soon and we will have that promised talk. Take care, Mary
I saved her number to my contacts and noted I had another text from my mother.
_Caleb, I know I said come home Saturday, but skip class and come home today. We need to talk urgently.
I was starting to be a bit concerned about the number of people who needed to talk with me. Skipping class wasn’t a problem since our exams were finished and today would have been simply a round up of the semester and preview of what was coming after the holidays. I would normally have attended though. I couldn’t afford to miss anything.
I went for a shower. That was when I noticed that my scar had gone. Since everything was possible and nothing was a coincidence anymore, I immediately wondered if there was some connection between that and my newfound powers. I had a feeling I was going to be thinking about that a lot – if anything and everything was related to powers. It made me feel exhausted.
Josh burst into the room as I was finishing dressing.
“Hi,” he said. “Good party last night.”
“Until the last part,” I countered.
“Ah, you always get some drunk asshole crashing parties. It’s kind of a rule. You dealt with him, though. Was Bob really mad with Angela for getting with that guy?”
“I don’t think she really got with him,” I said. “He pretty much attacked her.”
“She looked pretty into it to me, “he replied. “But I guess if that’s what they are going with, who am I to argue.”
“I’m heading out to my parents,” I said. “I’ll be back after the weekend.”
He looked disappointed. “You didn’t mention you were going home. Louise and I were hoping you might like to…”
“My plans changed,” I said absently.
His face fell and he put his hand on my arm. “You’re not avoiding us, are you? Has what we did made you not want to be around us?”
I looked him in the eye. “No, not at all.” I showed him the text from my mom. “My mother told me to come home. She needs to talk to me. It has nothing to do with ‘us.’”
“That looks a little ominous,” he said. “Is everything okay?”
“Oh, you know what mothers are like,” I said, laughing it off. “Everything is a drama - but don’t ever tell them that, or you really will be sorry.”
He laughed too. “I guess so. When are you back?”
“Probably Monday,” I said. “If not I’ll let you know.”
I packed some stuff, bagged up my laundry - hey I was going home, it’s traditional - and headed out to my truck.