Chapter 20: Body and Mind

Hey all, welcome back! Super rough draft, will try to get edits in tomorrow.Took some work to make sure this chapter didn’t feel like too much of aninfodump, but not sure how well I succeeded, so any feedback in that regard isespecially more welcome than usual, either here or on the /r/rational redditpost. Enjoy!


The next morning Red finds himself alone in his hospital room and looking forsomething productive to do. His mom left with Professor Oak last night, Blueis gone to the Pewter Gym, and Leaf is checking out the museum. So Red sets towork looking through all the advertisements for local psychics that offertheir services.

Assisting trainers with challenging pokemon or difficult to learn commands isa psychic’s most common trade, followed by testing people for psychic abilityor damage. But since Red wants a psychic who’s also willing to potentially getattacked by a spinarak, he needs someone whose profile advertises being opento “unlisted requests.”

He realized after talking with Professor Oak that testing his spinarak’smental attack would be harder than he first thought. Even if he squared it offagainst his rattata, since he doesn’t actually know what the attack was hecan’t reliably ensure that whatever it ends up using against her would be theright one.

So the Professor suggested turning to the experts. In the meantime, Red alsoput up a bulletin in the city’s online forum. His advertisement asks for afive minute meeting with anyone who has a spinarak and is willing to answerquestions about it and submit its data for research purposes. Since Reddoesn’t have the funds to pay for their time, instead he offered theopportunity for the trainers to get detailed data about their spinarak fromhis new pokedex model.

“Sounds good,” Professor Oak says over the phone. “And the psychic?”

“Colan Narud. His resume looked good, but his main qualification is that he’savailable today.”

“I’m sure he’ll be adequate. This will be your first one-on-one meeting with apsychic, won’t it?”

“Yeah.”

“Nervous?”

Red reflects on his mood, then frowns. “Well I wasn’t before, but now that youask…”

“I just want to warn you that psychics can be difficult to interact with.”

Red’s brow rises. There are a lot of unflattering sites that discuss psychicsand their powers. He tends to ignore most of them, especially those thatexpress superstitious fears, but he remembers commenters in more generalforums that expressed a distaste for the attitude or personality ofpsychics. Red always figured it was a mix of unease and jealousy, but hedoesn’t expect Professor Oak to have such prejudices. “Difficult how?”

“It’s like dealing with someone from a different culture, with differentsocial norms and concepts of personal space.”

“Is he going to try and mentally hug me or something?”

Professor Oak chuckles. “More of a mental handshake. Psychics tend to dip intothe surface level of people’s thoughts in much the same way we use facial ticsand body language for cues about someone’s emotional state. By all accounts itisn’t entirely in their control: just be aware that what you find offensivemight not be intended to be.”

“Alright,” Red says slowly. “And how do I tell if they _are _doing something Ishould take offense at?”

“Well actual mind reading, though difficult and unreliable, is always aconscious choice. If he seems to pick up on something too specific to gleanfrom surface impressions, you have every right to end the interview. If youwant to take extra steps to ensure your privacy, the best bet is to just keepyour attention focused on your goals and the current conversation. It can helpto write down questions ahead of time, and keep your gaze on them so that yourmind doesn’t wander far.”

“That’s not foolproof, is it?”

“No, any more than me asking you not to think of a pink donphan would stop youfrom doing so. If there’s something specific you desperately don’t want him toknow, you would need much more preparation and practice to avoid him learningit as it pops up from time to time in your thoughts.”

“Ah. So this is why people sometimes hire psychics through intermediaries.”

“Absolutely.”

Red’s fingers tap the plastic railing of the bed. “Would you advise againstmeeting him?”

“If so, I’d have said so by now. I don’t mean to bias your perspective, justprepare you.”

“Alright. Is it okay if I call you after?”

“By all means.”

“Thanks professor.”

Red paces the room after he closes the call, biting his lower lip. Is thereanything he knows that he absolutely doesn’t want to be read by a psychic?

Not really. Red considers himself a private person, but as long as the psychicis as discreet as his professional confidentiality requires, he doesn’t reallysee any harm in having his memories or thoughts dredged up. It’s not like hehas any secrets a stranger would find interesting.


Psychic Narud looks about the same in person as his pictures online, but forone thing: he appears to be much younger. Red had a vague idea that thepsychic was in his early thirties, but when he walks through the door Reddrops at least a decade off that. When he meets the older boy’s gaze, however,there’s a weight to them that seems incongruous with the impression of youth.The psychic has decades packed behind his eyes, like an old mind in a youngbody.

The thought is so odd that Red blinks and looks away, suddenly distrusting hisperception of the psychic. It’s a disconcerting feeling that makes him feel onedge, and Red has to unclench his left hand to shake as they exchangegreetings. He tries to focus on more mundane details.

Narud’s dark indigo hair is cut short everywhere but the front, where it hangsdown the sides to frame his smooth face. He’s dressed in black shirt andpants, with a white overcoat that flares out at the collar and coat tails thattrail down to his upper thighs, almost but not quite a robe. Red’s seen a fewpsychics wearing a similar outfit, but not all of them do. He vaguelyremembers there being different schools or sects, some of which have their owndress code. There’s writing on the white coat, not in the universal Unown, butin ancient Kanji. On the left is written “ataru mo hakke,” and on the right“ataranu mo hakke.” It’s somewhat encouraging to see a psychic dismissive offortune-telling.

“I confess to some surprise,” the psychic says as he draws his hand back andsits on the chair beside Red’s bed. “I expected my client to be a doctor. Isyour arm your only injury?”

“Yeah. Do you normally get called to hospitals?”

“I do, though not for physical ailments. I hope that is not what you contactedme for: as I mentioned on my advertisement, my fee is only half refundable.”

Red fights a frown. “No, it’s unrelated. I was injured in the Viridian pikachufrenzy.”

Narud nods. “A troubling affair.”

“Were you in the forest?”

“I was not.”

“After I meant, to help.”

“No.”

Red waits for something further, but the psychic stays silent, gaze steady onhis. Red realizes he’s waiting for an explanation, an excuse to justify thepsychic not helping out, and one clearly isn’t forthcoming. Perhaps it’sunfair to expect one, or maybe Red’s seeking justification for the vagueirritation he feels toward the psychic, with his overly formal speaking andquick reminder of his refund policy.

Chiding himself for being uncharitable, Red clears his throat. “Well, it waspretty hectic. But no, my arm isn’t what I called you for. I have tworequests: first, I’d like to check and see if I’m psychic.”

“Of course.” Narud reaches into one of the discreet pockets in his coat andpulls out a deck of cards. “First, simply concentrate on-”

“Wait, I’m sorry, I should have mentioned that I took the standard tests acouple years ago.”

He pauses, then tucks the cards away and reaches into another pocket. “Indeed?Then you want me to apply the more direct approach.”

“I do.” No matter how hard he tried during the test, he wasn’t able tovisualize the shapes on the cards from the other person’s mind as they staredat it. From what he read that just meant he wasn’t a natural, but there are arare few with weaker abilities that don’t develop the skills automatically.

“Very well.” The psychic pulls a pen and a folded sheet of paper out of hisother pocket, opening it. “You are aware that this will constitute a directintrusion into your mind, and that I am not responsible for any new mentaldiscomfort or harm lasting less than twelve hours from our meeting?”

“I am.”

“And are you currently suffering harm from any mental attacks or damage?”

“Er. I think so? I was hit by something a spinarak did recently…”

“Describe the effects.”

Red does so, and the psychic writes them down on the paper. “I believe that’ssufficient. Are you aware of what this form is?”

“Yeah, I read it online.”

“Good. Please sign here.”

Red scans the document to make sure it’s the same one from the net, thenscrawls his signature with some difficulty, trying to ensure it looks like theone produced from his right hand. When he’s done he hands it back, palmsslightly sweaty.

Narud examines the signature, then nods and tucks it away. “Thank you. Are youready?” Red nods, pulse beginning to speed up as he tries to prepare himself.“Then I will begin. There is no need to do anything: please let your thoughtswander as they will.”

Red sits still and makes an effort to relax. A few deep breaths later he feelshis heartrate begin to slow, but when he wonders if Narud has begun or not itbegins to race again. He knows the mental scan won’t feel like anything, butafter the last experience of something messing with his head-

empty

dark

Red winces at the memory, and the psychic’s eyes widen. And suddenly Red can_feel something… except _feel is the wrong word. It’s not a sense of pressureor temperature or texture, nothing like a physical touch. It’s like a part ofhis brain separate from where his “consciousness” resides is suddenly… awake.

Goosebumps rise along Red’s arms, and he has to stop himself from yellingaloud. The sensation is distinctly unsettling, like watching a movie ofyourself doing something you have no memory of. His sense of me, the “coreself” residing somewhere just behind and between his eyes, suddenly feels likeit has company in his skull. And that company ismovingshifting_turningtwisting_-

“Stop!”

The sensation immediately ceases. Red’s whole body relaxes and he slumps backagainst his pillow, breathing hard. A drop of sweat slides down the side ofhis face, and his left hand trembles a bit as he wipes it away. “Was that…you?” Stupid question, but he can barely think past the lingeringdisorientation. Part of him wonders if his body’s reaction is a “real” one toa sudden and uncomfortable experience, or specifically a side effect of theinvasion.

“It was.” The psychic reaches into yet another pocket in his coat and pullsout… candy. A variety of it. He unwraps something red and eats it, then openshis palm to Red.

Red is about to refuse, then realizes the psychic might be offering for morethan politeness. He takes a honey flavored cube and sucks on it, biting downto crunch on the outer shell and let the sweet, gooey center free.

“Thanks. So, uh. Was that supposed to happen?”

Narud actually smiles, making him look even younger for a moment. “It was notoutside the realm of possibility. Now that I have touched your psyche, I haveboth good news and bad.”

Red swallows some of the candy, its comforting sweetness keeping him fromgetting too disappointed. He knew it was a long shot. “Bad news first,please.”

“I apologize, but it will be easier to explain the other way around. The goodnews is you have the Gift.”

Red’s stops breathing. “You’re sure?”

“There is no question. Even if you did not notice my touch upon your mind, itwas immediately evident from the strength of that memory. It was thespinarak’s attack, yes? As I thought. The effects of Night Shade vary heavily,and while the fears it evokes in the minds of most are generally harmless,those of us with the Gift have much more fertile ground for trauma to grow.”

A confused jumble of emotions are gathering in Red, and he finds himselfgrinning wide until the last line puts a damper on his jubilation. “Trauma?”

The psychic’s face smooths out. “Would it be fair to say your father’s passingwas a traumatic experience for you?”

Red stares as shock and anger and the echo of deep pain rise up in him. Hepicked that much up from the brief touch?

No. Psychics can only pick up surface emotions and vague impressions.

“Well, you certainly did your homework before coming,” Red says, voice cold.

It’s just a guess, but the psychic dips his head in a nod, completelyunabashed. “It’s important for those with the Gift to know as much as possibleabout our clients. We research the lives of those whose minds we will come incontact with to avoid any unexpected shocks from the use of our powers.”

“And it helps you look more mystically all-knowing.” The psychic’s eyes narrowslightly, and Red tries to force his anger down and soften his tone. “Somepeople might call that manipulative. Not that stereotypes are always borne oftruth, but there’s a reason many people don’t trust psychics. Maybe you shouldbe more upfront with people?”

The psychic’s smile returns, slightly bitter. “It would do little to changeperceptions. People fear what they do not understand.”

“People fear what they don’t understand, yes, but that should be more reasonto be as honest and upfront as possible, not an excuse to be mysterious.”

“I believe you will see the necessity of such practices after you come intoyour powers.”

Red’s irritation with the psychic is tempered by the excitement that rushesthrough him again. “What powers do I have? How can I develop them? Is therea-”

Psychic Narud holds a hand up, and Red stops. “There is still the bad news. Imentioned trauma earlier for a reason. We do not share this informationlightly, but those who fail the initial test who are in fact gifted often doso because some traumatic experience halted the natural development of theirpowers. For many, such intensely negative emotions seems to cut them off fromtheir abilities permanently.”

Red stares at the psychic with growing horror and, unexpectedly, shame. A weekago he hadn’t even suspected he was psychic, and was content with that. Nottwo minutes after finding out he is, being told he’s psychically crippledmakes his gut clench up and his breaths come shallow.

“Be calm. I refer mostly to those who do not recognize their potential untillate in life. You are lucky enough to have done so early, though it will stillmean many years of work to undo the damage that was done. And I must honestlytell you that you may never fully develop every aspect of your powers. Somemay be permanently stunted. But I believe you can recover.”

“I… see. Thank you, that’s kind of reassuring.”

Narud dips his head briefly. “The Gifted are obligated to help welcome newmembers however possible. Allow me to formally congratulate you, Mr. Verres.The discovering of one’s Gift is usually a great day for us, even in suchnegative circumstances.” The psychic smiles. “You must have many questions.Please feel free to ask.”

“Many questions” doesn’t even begin to cover it. Red is still trying to gethis thoughts in order from the double discovery that he both has psychicpowers and that they’re likely stunted somehow. It’s far too much to take inat once, and Red’s right hand itches to start taking notes. He’d dictate themto his phone if he didn’t have company.

“I do, thanks, but I don’t want to take up your time, and I’d like some to putmy thoughts in order. Would you mind tabling that for now?”

The psychic nods, though there’s a slight crease between his brow. “Yes, thesecond request you mentioned. How else can I assist you?”

“You said that the effects you felt were from Night Shade. Are you absolutelysure of that? Could anything else have had the same result?”

Narud shakes his head. “Mental attacks are often misclassified into differentcategories by effect, as is convenient to trainers. But those with the Giftcan sense their true nature, and once we become familiar with them they areimpossible to misinterpret. The signature here was how it turned your owndeepest trauma against you. The strength of the reaction is from an unusuallyhigh loss that runs through the very core of your identity.”

Red swallows the last bit of the honey candy, feeling simultaneouslyembarrassed and irritated. “I’m obviously still sad about my dad, but it’s notruining my life or anything. Couldn’t it have just been the strength of thespinarak?”

“You misunderstand: think of your psyche like your biological body, with itsown specialized organs, its own homeostasis, its own immune system. Our Giftallows us to manipulate our psyche in ways that others can not, but only afterintensive practice and training. Before that point, our powers act on a purelyinstinctual level, and will often act independently to protect our minds fromharm. Your latent powers devoted themselves to partitioning the pain of yourfather’s loss into its own separate segment of your psyche, and have beenmaintaining it ever since. This partition was weakened by the spinarak to useyour own trauma against you.”

Red opens his mouth to deny the psychic’s words, then realizes he’s justreacting, not actually thinking about what’s being said. He tries to ignorehis agitation, but he doesn’t like to remember the months immediatelyfollowing his dad’s death. Is it possible his recovery wasn’t from his ownresilience and the help his therapist, but the effects of fledgling psychicpowers? Now that he’s paying attention, he notices the way his mind shies awayfrom the thought and comes up with excuses that reaffirm what he alreadybelieves.

“Hold on please, I need to digest this,” he says as he lies back and closeshis eyes without waiting for a response. He begins to take deep breaths,simply focusing on the feel of the bed beneath him and the flow of air in andout of his lungs.

I notice that I am upset. That’s step one: acknowledging that he isn’tthinking clearly anymore. To get back to some semblance of objective thought,he needs to follow through with the rest of the flowchart his therapist helpedhim construct when he was younger, using each point as guideposts to lead himback to clearer thinking.

Step two: identifying why he’s upset. Is it on the behalf of others, orhimself? Clearly himself.

Step three: is he upset at something tangible, or because he encountered anidea he found offensive? Again, clearly the latter. He’s not being harmed inany way. It’s just his ego at stake. So he can take his time in responding tothe offending notion.

Step four: is he upset because of something he’s afraid of being true, orbecause of something he knows is false?

If he’s upset at something because it might be true, then his sense of self isgoing to be reduced. Part of his identity is attached to his resilience.Accepting the idea that his psychic powers helped hide his trauma from himmeans giving part of that up.

If the truth hurts, it’s time for change. If the truth hurts, it’s time togrow.

Red rubs at the stubborn frown line between his brow and sighs. That’s thequestion. Is what he’s upset at true? If it is, then he’ll have to change toaccommodate it. And, as his therapist would say, to thank Psychic Narud forthe opportunity to grow.

He opens his eyes and turns to the psychic, who seems unperturbed by hisabrupt withdrawal. “Can you prove any of this? Is there any experiment we canperform to demonstrate what you’re saying is right?”

Narud’s brow rises and he spreads his hands. “You use the words of science toclarify that which is intangible.”

“Intangible just means it can’t be felt. You’re still making truth claimsabout reality, and that means you should be able to support it with aprediction. Oxygen in the air is intangible too, but if you doubt itsnecessity to remain conscious, I could make this room air-tight and predictthat you will black out.”

“The Gifted and ungifted alike require oxygen to live, but one cannot provethe existence of light to the blind.”

“Sure one can: just let them hold up an object and tell them what each one iswithout touching it.”

Narud shakes his head. “Your ability to see gives you an advantage over them,but you cannot prove the mechanism by which it’s gained. They must simply takeyour word for it.”

“I’m pretty sure there are ways to do that too, for light anyway, but I’m notasking you to prove the existence of the mechanism. I know psychic powersexist. I just need evidence to support this particular assertion.”

“Why hire an expert if you do not trust what they say?” Narud asks, soundingmore curious than irritated.

Red frowns. “I hired you to tell me if I’m psychic, and I trust you on thatbecause it’s something I’ve heard is within a psychic’s abilities. I didn’thire you to judge whether my being psychic is what got me over my dad’s death.It’s possible that you’re just attributing something to it that is unrelated.Do you deny that if I asked a different psychic the same question, they mightcome up with a different interpretation of events?”

Narud frowns. “The majority would agree with me. But not everyone is equallyskilled or capable of more subtle insights.”

Uh huh. “See, that’s reassuring and all, but from my perspective thatdoesn’t tell me much. Just that if you’re wrong, you’re wrong in anunderstandable way, like the person who taught you believed in the majorityperspective. Without hearing what the others who disagree with you think andwhy, it’s your word against theirs.”

Narud meets his gaze impassively for a few moments. Eventually he nods andlooks away, gaze distant. I probably offended him. Is an apology in order?He’s not sure what he would apologize for: he really does need something tohelp change his mind, especially when it’s on a topic so entangled in hisself-image.

After about a minute, the fingers of Narud’s left hand drum briefly againstthe arm of the chair before stopping, and the psychic frowns and shifts a bit.Red wonders if he’s having trouble thinking of a way to prove his claims. Itcan’t be that Red’s the first person to ask him for evidence of what he says,can it?

“If you want some help-”

“No, I have an idea of what to do. The problem is whether you are prepared forit. I am trying to think of an alternative that does not leave you a weepingwreck.”

Red stares. “Um…”

“The most straightforward method would be to remove the partition. But thiswould mean returning your psyche to the immediate aftermath of your father’spassing, and would certainly constitute Unprovoked Mental Harm by law. Evenwith your permission, I can not do it.”

Red doesn’t deride the convenience of this answer: on the possibility thatNarud is right, Red absolutely agrees that it would be a terrible idea toreturn to such a state.

But that still leaves him without a good reason to believe the psychic’sinterpretation. “If you remove a partition, can you put it back up?” Thepsychic gives him a look Red can’t quite interpret, and he rushes to add,“Just out of curiosity. I’m not saying I want you to.”

Narud is quiet for a moment, and finally says, “It would be extremelydifficult, and severely invasive. Think of the psyche as a body again. Itwould be like plunging my fingers into your chest to pinch a leaking vein fromyour heart. More likely to do harm than good.”

Red has the impression there’s more to it than that, but the answer makessense on its own. “It’s easier to destroy than create.”

“Just so. And that counts when dealing with one’s own psyche as well.”

“So I could learn to remove my own partition, and then build it back up if Idon’t like the result?”

“Not without months of work developing your abilities. And that is assumingyou can handle the result of removing the partition.”

Red smiles, and it feels bitter even to him. “I survived it before, I can doit again.”

“Can you? The spinarak’s mental attack, Night Shade, is considered a Ghostattack because it targets the emotional weak points in our psyche. For mostothers the effects of this are mild, but those with the Gift have our ownpowers turned against us. What you felt from Night Shade was enhanced, butstill real. Are you so eager to experience that again in full, permanently?”

Red twitches as another echo of

alone

hurts

flashes through his mind. The original attack practically knocked him out, andhe’s still getting echoes of it days later. He thought he just needed todesensitize himself from it, but apparently the damage is done.

Red’s body breaks out in a cold sweat as he imagines trying to live with it

dark

cold

permanently, and he sees Narud wince and raise a hand to rub his templebriefly. “Did you… get that?”

He lowers his hand. “I did, as before. But it is easily remedied.”

“How?”

“Amnesia. The effects of mental attacks are often compounded by repeatedexposure. To increase our resilience to them, the Gifted remove the memory ofthem.”

“Wait, you can actually make yourself forget things? Specific things, withoutit affecting other stuff?”

“With training, yes.”

“But… how would you even know if you succeeded? Or messed up?”

Narud smiles. “It is difficult to explain to the uninitiated. If you wouldlike to begin your psychic training, I am available for that as well. It isalso how we could test what I have told you: when you have gained adequate useof your abilities, you will be able to sense the partition for yourself. Keepin mind however that while it is up, your Gift will be significantly weakened,and it will take you longer than usual to develop it. With that in mind, I canassure you that my rates are quite reasonable.”

Red frowns and looks down, hand rubbing at his neck. “Just to check, is thepartition permanently damaged? Is this… symptom going to get worse?”

“Without renewed attack, your psyche should be able to maintain the currentequilibrium. There is a chance the damage to the partition will be healed overthe months ahead, but yes, there is also a chance that it will weaken, and thesymptoms will get worse.”

“Also over a span of months?”

“It would require some other heavy mental shock for it to happen more quicklythan that. But I do not mean to frighten you: as I said, it is only apossibility that it will get worse, and it may in fact get better. Just solong as you understand there is a risk.”

Red nods. “I appreciate the honesty.” His mouth is dry, and he reaches for thecup of water on the nightstand. He isn’t sure how long they’ll be in Pewter,and he can’t afford to keep spending money on psychic lessons right now. Hecould barely afford today’s hundred dollar fee. Especially if he doesn’t knowhow soon they’ll be useful. Maybe if he starts making money off his research,but for now it’s not really feasible. At least he knows for sure thespinarak’s attack wasn’t psychic. It kind of puts a damper on his hypothesis,but it still might be worth following through to see the results.

He puts the cup back and clears his throat. “Psychic Narud, you’ve been veryhelpful. Your offer is appreciated, and I’ll have to think over my situationbefore making a decision. I don’t know how long I’ll be in Pewter, and amstill working on getting my finances in order.” Also, he doesn’t entirely likethe young man. He isn’t sure if other psychics are better or worse, but itwould be foolish to take Narud as his teacher just because he’s the only onehe knows.

If the psychic picks any of this up, none shows in his reaction. He merelyrises to his feet, hands disappearing into his wide sleeves as he bows hishead. “It was my pleasure to assist you. Be well, Red Verres, until we meetagain.”


After the psychic is gone, Red does some research online to try and verify asmuch of their conversation as he can, and takes notes about theirconversation. It’s unfortunate that he has to type, and one handed at that,since it doesn’t have the same memory aid as writing by hand does, but it’sbetter than nothing.

The results from the web verification is mixed, especially on the metaphorcomparing the psyche to a biological body: many seem to find it too clinicaland mundane, which is not the direction Red was expecting the criticism tocome from. Most of what Narud said seems decently supported however, and whenDr. Willow comes in to check on his arm after lunch, Red asks her if they havea psychic on staff.

“Of course,” she says without looking up from his cast as she undoes it. Hisarm looks much better than yesterday, most of the bruises faded to yellows andgreens. “Why?”

“I had a guest today, a psychic I hired. He told me I’ve got a form of mentaldamage from a spinarak attack, and I do seem to have the symptoms… I washoping to get a second opinion.”

She gives him a severe look. “Why didn’t you report mental damage earlier?”

“Er… I sort of forgot about it?” He smiles weakly. “It’s not debilitating,just occasionally painful. But the psychic said it might get worse, so…”

Dr. Willow mutters something under her breath as she applies ointment thatmakes his skin tingle. “Well, just going off your arm, you should be out ofhere tomorrow, so I’ll flag him for a visit when he’s free.”

“Thanks Doctor.”

“Don’t thank me yet. If you think I’m grumpy about not being told sooner, waittill you meet Psychic Laurie. Brilliant man, but not the greatest peopleskills. Comes with being a doctor and a psychic I suppose: worst of bothworlds.”

“Seems to be a running theme.” Hopefully it doesn’t come with the territory ofbeing a trained psychic, because now that he knows he has the potential, or“Gift,” Red is resolved to become one as soon as possible. Even if it meanscracking open the vault in his head and letting out the horrors within.

His mind is all he is, all that he really has and can ultimately rely on. Ifthere’s some dark corner of it cut off from his use, full of unresolved traumafrom his father’s death hiding in it, he’d rather face it honestly and livewith the pain than go on in ignorant bliss.

When the truth hurts, it’s time for change. When the truth hurts, it’s timeto grow.

Red sighs. He always dreamed of finding out he was psychic, but instead ofbeing excited, it just seems to come with more worries. “Nothing’s ever easy,”he mutters, not realizing until after that he said it aloud.

“Well, one thing is,” Dr. Willow says as she reapplies his cast. “But you’vestill got a potentially long life ahead of you, so better get used to it.”


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