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More than Magic
|As the silent driver proceeded along the dark mountain highway, Evan Gordon closed his eyes and his mind drifted over how the last year had brought him to this path.
A year ago, he and his twin brother David were, for the most part, enjoying life. They were, as David would say, 'almost identical twins'. As children, they were as identical as twins could be, but as they began to mature, their differences became more apparent. David grew taller and stronger, more so than their classmates. For some reason they could never determine, Evan's height was similar, but his build was thin and rangy. David's muscle increased; Evan's metabolism increased. The doctors thought it was some obscure virus in Evan's past, but they had no real explanation why David kept gaining muscle weight, and Evan had to eat like a horse to keep from losing weight. Other than his high metabolism, Evan was never sick, nor was David. Both had beautiful black hair and midnight blue eyes and a smile that could break your heart, but those and their height were the only features of their appearance they kept in common.
Both brothers were extremely intelligent, though Evan's IQ was about 10 points higher. As David excelled physically, Evan excelled mentally, both intellectually and … psychically. When they were 16, they discovered that they had a psychic connection allowing them to mindspeak each other, and sometimes to experience what the other experienced. This became rather awkward, since David's physical prowess, even at 16, was prodigious. Not only was he 6 ft 2, muscled like a mature body builder, and strong even for his size, but he was hung like a stallion and knew how to use it. David loved sex and body worship, and his classmates (and others) loved to oblige him, since he was an enthusiastic but mostly gentle lover. Though David's share of their psychic gift rarely allowed him to feel Evan's experiences and emotions, Evan found that he had to work very hard to keep from experiencing David's many sexual conquests. Evan rarely had sex himself, partly because he was so self-conscious about his thin body and less generous endowments, but also because most girls (and guys) were so distracted by his gorgeous hunk of a twin. However, he was no innocent … his 'second-hand' experience exceeded anyone's real experience, except David's. By the time both brothers graduated at the top of their high school class, (in the usual time … neither felt like exerting himself enough to graduate early then), Evan's mental abilities had far outpaced his brother's amazing physical abilities, though he hid the true extent of his talents even from David. They could mindspeak at any time as far as 100 miles apart. Both brothers had perfect memories and easily attained high honors in college, finishing a double-major in Finance and Marketing in 3 years. By the time they were 24, they were on the fast track in New York City's financial district. They kept their secrets: that David was much stronger than even a 250lb, single-digit percentage body fat, muscle junkie could be, and had nearly inhuman sexual stamina and control; that Evan always knew who was at the door or on the phone, knew where David was and with whom, could calm the wildest animal with a thought, could feel when a friend was hiding pain and talk him or her through it.
Then a year ago … the day that changed thousands of lives, and shattered part of Evan's soul forever. David had been on the road for a week, on business. He had boarded a flight on September 11, as many others did. Evan had talked to David on the phone early that morning, since they were beyond their mindspeech range. David told Evan how he looked forward to staying in one place for more than 1 or 2 nights at a time. Evan teased his brother about how all his 'friends' were missing him every night, and kept nagging to find out when David was due back. Much of that morning was now thankfully a blur, but Evan soon knew something was terribly wrong. He felt terror, such as he had never experienced, even when their parents had been killed in a car wreck when the brothers were 20. Hundreds of screams, then a blank, then thousands of terror-filled screams and images of fire and explosion. He vaguely heard people around him as he stared blankly … someone said that a plane had crashed into a building … then everything around him faded as he realized he was with his brother's mind on a highjacked aircraft. Much was hazy, but he recalled hearing David's seatmate on a cell phone saying goodbye to his wife. David sensed his presence and reached for Evan's mind, but Evan was too overloaded to answer. David and this guy were part of a group that rushed the highjackers, but David was shot by a terrorist before reaching the cockpit. David knew Evan was there with him, as he lay dying, as the aircraft began to plummet into a Pennsylvania field, as Evan's mind was ripped by the pain and emotions of a city … a country in fear and shock, as Evan collapsed into a coma.
Evan had been unconscious for a week. Then it took him a month before he could block out the thoughts and emotions of the people around him. It turned out to be an all-or-nothing situation. To protect his ravaged mind from the turmoil about him, he had to block all his psychic ability. He tried to return to his job, numbly working to keep from remembering, but he had little success. Evan finally gave up working, decided to live on his and David's savings and investments, and just drove about the country, trying to forget that day, trying to stay sane through the nights.
Last night, he had found himself in a club in San Francisco that David had enjoyed visiting when in town, a club that catered to beautiful people with exotic tastes. He wasn't sure why he had come. He had been drawn there, even though he wanted to avoid the place, sure that he would be haunted by the good times he had enjoyed, even when in David's shadow. A man and woman approached him and quietly asked if they could join him. They were about his age, fairly attractive in a healthy, but not extreme way. They looked to be brother and sister. For the first time in almost eleven months, he began to sense something … something about these two tickled around his mental barriers, like someone jiggling a doorknob to see if it's locked.
Amanda and Jeff Tyler introduced themselves, offered to buy him a drink, then stunned him by asking how he had developed such strong shields. They said they had been experimenting with developing psychic abilities in those that apparently had none, and had been looking for someone already gifted to take the next step in their research. They wouldn't go into the extent of their talents, only that they could sense that he had psychic ability, but was heavily shielded. Would he agree to help with their research?
Maybe they had persuasive gifts. Maybe Evan was just tired of running from the past and from himself. He agreed to participate. They said they'd send a car to pick him up in the morning to take him to their research facility inland, that they would go ahead to prepare for his extended stay. Somehow, for the first time in a year, he slept without dreams of fire and screams and death and David. In the morning, he packed his bags, left his car in long-term parking, and got into the back seat of a chauffeured Lincoln Town Car for a long ride back into the world of the living.
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