The Most Erogenous Zone; Part Nine of Nine


The frightening thing was that the only current sensation I felt from Sara, the young drowned girl, was that ripple of wonder as she smelled flowers, and I only knew she sensed lilacs because I smelled them too at that moment. Other than that, everything I was getting from her was a memory, a lingering image of events just past, but nothing in the ‘now’.I reached again, trying to find her, to call to her, to give her something to grab onto to pull herself back. I’d closed my eyes to focus my mind entirely on the girl, and when I opened them I found Julia watching me even as she continued CPR, a question in her eyes and drops of sweat falling from her nose and her brow onto Sara. I leaned in to give her another breath while Julia continued chest compressions, and tried again, my mouth over the young girl’s cold blue lips and my fingers pinching her nostrils closed as my mind sought hers.I gave her another lungful of air as I tried again to draw her back, but while the air may have helped, I could tell I was doing no good on awakening her or dragging her back. She was there, I could feel it, and maybe she could feel me as well, but there was no connection. I looked at Julia and shook my head, but at the same time asked her again to not give up. She paused once more to check for a pulse and again found nothing.“Jon, we may be spinning our wheels; you know how rarely this is successful, right, especially without an AED to shock her and get her heart started? Less than a ten percent chance, Jon.”I was picking up Julia’s mind only faintly, through the girl, each of us touching her, and while I could read her steely determination to not let the Bastard Death win without a fight, I could also feel her doubt and fear, fear that our efforts wouldn’t be enough.“I know, Julia, but please keep on just a little longer. Maybe the paramedics will come by helicopter… and the cold water, right? Doesn’t the cold buy her more time?”“It does, usually, a little. That copter better show up soon if it’s coming.” She was back on the compressions even before she finished speaking, but I could tell she was tiring. I could maybe do the compressions if I could figure out a way to not kneel, something I couldn’t do, or the other guy that had been doing it, now rested, could take over again if Julia faltered, but I could feel our window of opportunity closing.I was desperate, my mind casting about for something, anything that might work, when my gaze landed on her brother who stood to one side, pale and anguished, fists clenched at his sides. Remembering how Ella had reached me, I called out to him.“Mark! Mark, come here, get down here.” When he kneeled between us I grabbed his hand, soaking up the mental impact of his grief like a physical blow as I placed his hand on his sister’s head. I put mine over his, my fingers laced through his so that we both touched her, and felt him recoil slightly at the unnaturally cold feel of her flesh. I put my other hand on the girl’s shoulder and then instructed him to call her back.“Think, Mark. You can say it out loud if it helps, but think how much you love her, how you’ll miss her, the hole it will leave in your life, in your heart. Try to get your thoughts into her, Mark. Tell her you love her, that you need her to try. Let her feel what you’re feeling.”With my hand on his I was sensing his desperation and heartache, his mourning and despair already beginning even as efforts to save his sister continued, but I also sensed something deeper, a dark, aching anguish, and the realization slowly came that he was thinking of their parents and the utter devastation this would bring to their lives. That was something I could use!As I instructed him to continue to try to reach his sister, I gathered his pain and anguish as best I could, collecting his emotions, his sensations and fear and heartache into one hard, powerful spear point, which I thrust as one hard mass into her darkening mind. This was no nudge, no push, no teasing tickle of thought, but instead a weapon of shock and awe, a hammer blow to Şerifali Escort her mind to pummel her and batter her, a last attempt to knock her out of her now-easy slide into oblivion.When I did it, I felt a momentary searing pain in my head, a blinding flash, and then it was gone and her body jerked like it had been shocked. It startled Julia, who missed a couple of compressions then got immediately back into the rhythm for several more thrusts.When she paused a moment later to again check for a pulse, I could tell she was hoping, but mostly just going through the motions. So when she checked, then moved her fingers and checked again, then looked at me with a look of sheer disbelief, I dared to hope.Her fingers still pressed into Sara’s neck, she said, “My god, I think we’ve got her! I’m feeling a pulse… weak, getting stronger. Yes, oh god yes, a pulse! Strong and steadying… unbelievable! Wait, get her on her side, quick!”We reacted to Julia’s order just in time, rolling Sara onto her side just as her body spasmed again and she tried to draw a breath, instead, choking and coughing and vomiting up a thin gruel of water, mucus, and other stomach contents. She continued to cough and gag for several seconds before sucking in a long, deep, desperate breath, and then cried out, her voice strained, a primal howl of anguish and terror.Her brother held onto her tightly, taking no chances on her slipping away again, clinging tenaciously as her cries of terror dissolved into tears and she began to shiver uncontrollably. I still had one hand on her and I tried to push comfort, reassurance, joy at her triumph over death – something I was feeling strongly, that joy – and her tears gradually lessened, although the shivering didn’t.She was breathing on her own, conscious, and had a strong, steady heartbeat, but she was also hypothermic, the cold water and brief flirtation with death dropping her body temperature.That was something we could deal with, and Julia and the other woman stripped her out of her wet clothes, getting no resistance from her as the rest of us dug in our packs for warm, dry clothes. I contributed my fleece jacket, her brother a second one and soon they had her wrapped in dry clothes and were hugging and rubbing her, trying to get her warm. Her brother, Mark, fussed over her more than anyone, his joy and relief apparent in his words and his actions.She was still shivering, still crying and confused when the paramedics showed up, toting equipment, led by the young man that had met us on the trail. They were shocked but happy that she was up and breathing on her own, although they put her on oxygen while they checked her over and took her vital signs. Winds aloft had conspired with the narrow valley to prevent a helicopter from bringing them to where we were, although it had set them down at the parking lot; they’d made good time getting up the trail.They insisted on carrying her out on the collapsible stretcher they’d brought, and soon had her set up, strapped in and covered in blankets and jackets. As they picked her up to leave, accompanied by the other younger folks that had initially rescued her and performed CPR, in order to take turns manning the stretcher, Sara looked around and said, “Where’s Jon?”Everyone started looking at each other, surprised that she knew the name of anyone other than her brother or their friend – clearly the group effort to rescue her had involved a number of people that didn’t know each other – when Julia pushed me forward. “This is Jon – unless there’s another John in the group?”When nobody spoke up, Sara held out her hands to me, and I took a few steps over to the stretcher and took her hands in mine. The tears started again when she said, “Thank you for being there.”“Oh, honey, I didn’t do anything, I was just a bystander, mostly! These are the folks that got you out of the river, that did CPR to keep you alive – Julia, your brother Mark, this young man…” I nodded toward Julia, then indicated the guy that had performed CPR initially, until Şerifali Escort Bayan he was ready to collapse.He smiled at her and said, “Daniel. Nice to meet you, Sara; I’m so glad you’re okay.”She tearfully thanked each of them before returning to me. “You were there with me when I was so scared, so alone. I don’t know how, but thank you.”“I was… I’m glad I could help, Sara, in whatever way I did. All that matters is that you’re okay now, but let them get you to the hospital so you can be checked.”She held out her arms and I bent for a hug and a quick kiss on the cheek, and then they carried her away. Mark ran back a moment later, under instructions to get my phone number, which he entered into his own phone while I took his, and then the group gradually dispersed. It was as if we were reluctant to part company, all knowing that we’d been a part of something very special, not wanting to let the moment go.A few more of us swapped contact info, and then the group broke up, some heading up the trail, others back toward the parking lot, and in mere moments Julia and I were once again alone with the sounds of the river and the scent of the pines, no trace of the near-tragedy remaining other than my pounding headache.Julia chuckled ruefully. “I guess I’ll never be able to say you don’t take me anyplace interesting!”I laughed. “Yeah, true – fake monster dog attacks, drowned girls, all kinds of excitement; I’m not sure how I’ll top this one.”“From now on let’s keep it to the false alarms, like the dog; that was easier on my heart. Do you realize how close we were to losing her?”“I do, yes. Too close for comfort.”She looked at me oddly. “Are you okay? You still look very pale.”“Mmm, nasty headache; probably a combination of altitude and stress.”“C’mere, let’s sit for a minute while I dig out some aspirin. You’re getting a bloody nose too.”We sat on a large boulder several feet off the trail and she handed me a couple of Advil and a water bottle, followed by a Kleenex for my nose. As I dabbed at it, she asked, “How did she know your name, Jon?”“I’m sure she heard someone say it or something.”“No, she didn’t. She was unconscious – hell, she was basically dead, like you – and what did she mean when she thanked you for being there with her when she was alone and scared? How did you know she was still in there when you told me not to give up on her?”“I… Julia, it’s hard to explain.” I’ve mentioned that there were two times when Julia sensed something strange about me; the first had been during the dog incident, and this was the second, only this time she was sure.“Talk to me, Jon.”I sighed. My head was aching and I felt mildly nauseous, likely a delayed stress reaction and I didn’t want to have to explain my weirdness to Julia, but it was time. Past time; I should have done it long ago, and here, in the peace and sudden solitude of the mountains I loved so much was, at last, the right time and place.“Okay, but try to keep an open mind.” She was staring at me, locked in. “Ever since my accident, since I woke up from my coma when I touch people I feel their minds.”She looked dubious, much as Ella had, but she had the advantage of knowing that she’d witnessed something weird going on. “You can read minds.” She sounded as skeptical as she’d looked.“No, not at all. It’s hard to explain – it was hard for me to grasp – but I can feel things now. Not thoughts, but feelings. You know, feelings, emotions, the things people’s thoughts inspire, but not the actual thoughts, not things that I could verbalize. I’d know, for example, if you were feeling sad, but not why, or if you were excited about something, but not have any idea what was so exciting. Does that make sense?”“No, but I’ve seen it in action so I’m inclined to believe you. What am I feeling right now?”“I have to be touching you, skin-to-skin, or I have no way to know.”She slid closer to me and put her hand on the back of my neck, gently rubbing it; it felt nice and seemed to help my headache, but when it came to reading her it Escort Şerifali wasn’t working like it should have been. I could still pick up her feelings, but it was all very blurry, indistinct. No, blurry is the wrong word; it was more like static, an electrical crackle muddying up her feelings and emotions. I was still reading her, but not well, bits and pieces obscured by noise. It made my head throb.“Unh, crap. It’s not working very well, Julia, it’s fucked up and making me feel like crap, but you… you still feel euphoric, the high because Sara lived I guess, what we all had, and, uh, you’re incredulous…” I laughed softly, which made my head spin. “And you’re worried about something.”She nodded. “Well, you nailed that, despite the messed up senses. I’m worried about you, Jon; you look terrible, and your nose is bleeding again. Are you all right?”“No, I don’t think I am. We better get back.”We started back almost immediately, taking time only for a long drink of water, which helped my stomach and head. As we walked, Julia carried on almost a soliloquy, asking about how and when I knew of my abilities and sometimes answering her own questions when my short replies failed to satisfy her. I was definitely fading, far from my best.She was curious about me ‘reading’ her, of course, and when I’d begun, what I’d felt, and didn’t seem surprised when I told her that she’d been the only person that I couldn’t read at all. Not one trace from her until the silliness about the circumcision/Jewish thing that had left us both laughing and disarmed, when her walls had tumbled and her mind had finally opened to me.Learning that, she fell silent for quite a while, a period during which I went downhill not only on the trail but also mentally and physically. When she asked if I had begun to try to influence her moods and feelings about that same time I almost missed it, lost in my own sick misery, but I affirmed her suspicions, apologizing for meddling in her mind. She again fell silent and I was afraid I’d ruined things completely, making me feel worse still.Thankfully she worked it out and was not too proud to admit that I’d helped in some small way. “I should be very angry with you, Jon, for not trusting me, and for trespassing in my head, into my mind. And I am, in a way, but the truth is that I only started to come out of my black mood, started to live again at about that same time. Whatever you did, whatever way you invaded my head and messed with my thoughts and moods, it must have helped.”“I’m glad.” I was, although I’d have rather left the discussion for when I was at full capacity. “I knew even then that it was wrong, but I just wanted to help. You were so sad and hurting so much.”“You did help, Jon, immensely, I think, and I’m grateful. Just don’t ever do it again.”“No, ma’am.”She laughed. “Even when you feel like crud you make me laugh. Of course, when I say don’t ever do it again, I mean without my permission. As long as I know it’s okay.”“You should know that I can’t necessarily avoid it. I don’t have that control, not yet, so if we touch I’ll know your moods… if this static clears up.”She thought about that as we continued down the trail, my condition deteriorating. “Good enough, just don’t try to put anything in, to change my mood, not unless I know what you’re doing.”“That’s fair… one thing, though: there is this arousal thing that happens sometimes, something I don’t always control. Eva felt it, and Angie – even Brad, although God knows why. You have too.”“Oh my God, that’s what that is? That’s you?”“Partly, I think, plus I care about you. Julia, where are we?” My question wasn’t metaphorical, about where we were in our relationship; I really had no idea where we were on the trail. “Are we almost there?” My head was screaming and my field of vision was narrowing into a dark tunnel vision.“We are, Jon, just the uphill to the parking lot. You look like death; are you gonna make it?”“I don’t know. I’m fading, Julia.”I don’t remember much of the climb, just that it seemed endless and that she had to help me, half-carrying me, my arm over her shoulder, only her steely willpower dragging us up the hill. After the brutally difficult climb, she took my keys from my pocket and drove us home. The next twenty-four hours were lost to me, although Julia stayed and took care of me as my headache raged.When I…

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