Closing her mouth, she stared at me. Awe. “How did you do that?”
“Shhhh. Not here Katy. We can go back to see your grandfather and Mac after we eat our burgers that your friend paid for. Is that okay with you?”
Rapidly nodding her head, I think she was just scared to talk. To say anything at all. Just then, the same young kitchen helper as before came up and slid the plates with the burgers onto our table. Leering at Katy again, his stares were disturbing. Katy noticed now. “Is there something else?” She boldly asked him.
Caught. “No, I hope you enjoy your dinner.” A quick retreat, and Katy smiled.
“Oh, that felt good. Did you see him staring at me?”
“Yeah. I did.”
“Well let’s finish, I want to go to work and talk about this.”
All I wanted to do was sleep. Doing what I had done, drained me. Taking a bite of burger, I was done. The weariness and exhaustion would progress until I would be nearly helpless. Practically asleep, my eyes closed. Hunger now gone. I just wanted to rest, recuperate. Waiting. She ate half her burger, ten Katy finally noticed I wasn't moving. “Denny, are you okay?”
Opening my eyes, I saw she was concerned. However in my current condition I couldn’t feel anything, from anyone. That part of me leaves for a while. It would take time. “Let’s take our food and leave. Sorry, but I’m just exhausted. It’s normal, I just need to rest. Can you flag down our waitress if you see her?”
“Yeah, yeah. Of course.” She then stood and began waving wildly at the waitress standing several tables away. Frowning, the young woman came over and Katy explained that we had to leave. Walking away, shaking her head, I’m sure she was wondering what was going on. Or if the artichoke dip had made me ill. It wasn’t that bad.
Moments later she returned with two Styrofoam boxes. And then told Katy our bill had already been paid. She assisted Katy in placing the burgers in the boxes and then into a plastic bag. Katy picked up the bag with the burgers and helped me to stand. With a stumbling shuffle, we made our way outside. There were benches, Katy thoughtfully sat me down in one. “I’ll go get the car and bring it around. It’s quite a walk and I don’t think you can make it.”
“Thank you.” I truly was grateful for her quick thinking.
Moments later she pulled up at the curb. I was able to stand and began to walk to the car before she was able to get out to help me. Helping me into the low car, she picked up each leg and pushed them inside. Once behind the wheel, I told her. “Thanks again, I’ll just sleep a bit, I should be fine by the time we get there.”
Closing my eyes, I was instantly asleep. The door opening next to me jarred me awake. Katy’s face came right in front of me, she kissed me. “We’re here. Can you walk inside?”
“We’ll see. Probably. I feel better.” And I moved my legs out and stood. I was better. But there would still be more recovery time needed.
Pulling me next to her to lean against her, my gift was returning. Concern now pervaded her thoughts about me. And gratitude. We were in the parking garage. There was probably a lot of dust on her car now. Grateful that she pulled into the garage though, the distance was shorter to walk. It was a long way from the medical offices.
Opening the door, Katy helped me over to a chair and then ran off out through the other set of doors. Closing my eyes again, I drifted off to sleep again. It took about fifteen minutes for her to find Happy, then he and Mac came into the classroom and woke me. Katy stood behind them. Both were leaning down looking at me. Rather odd expressions on their faces.
Mac started the questioning that I had been sure would happen. “Dennis, Katy gave us a quick overview of what happened at the restaurant. Was this event similar to what you did to the sheriff the other day?”
Nodding my head, I think they were already aware of that answer. “It takes a lot out of me. I’m better, my strength is returning.”
Now Happy spoke. “That man was Brett Hendricks. It was an unfortunate event that occurred a couple years ago. We actually had a restraining order to keep him away from Katy. As well as her house. I apologize Dennis, this was a very unfortunate event today. How many people saw what you did? And do you think any of them might be cognizant of what it was?”
This puzzled me. But only for a moment. “None. I’m not Donny. I don’t believe that it would appear as anything more than a big guy intimidating a much smaller man to be nice to Katy.”
“Dennis, we just need to be certain.” Mac took over. “The things we do here are pretty secret. Something we never want the general population to even know that people like us even exist. It could some time in the future jeopardize the work that we do. So are you certain, is Brett going to come out of this the same as the sheriff, no recollection of the meeting with you? And again, that no one that was there and a witness to the event will know what happened?"
"Whew." I exhaled a deep sigh. "I'm pretty certain Mac. There was no untoward surprise coming from any of the other diners. At least in the few minutes that I had before the ability left."
"What? Your empath ability leaves?" Happy was a bit shocked at this.
"Yeah, I just figure it's a sign of the exhaustion that happens to me when I do that. But there was concern from people, fear, maybe they didn't want to be in the middle of an altercation or some such thing like that. But no astonishment, no shock. Nothing like that. The guy just became calm as I stood over him."
"Denny towers over Brett Granpa. About what you were saying, I didn't feel anything the whole time it was going on. Nothing. Brett just calmly did whatever Denny told him to do. He even paid for our lunch."
Both Happy and Mac had been looking at Katy as she spoke. Now they turned to look at me. Sort of delighted smiles on both. Mac asked, "Really, you told him to pay for your lunch as well, and he did?"
"Well, he was a pain in the ass. I was trying to impress a young lady as well. So, yeah, it was kinda funny."
Mac chuckled. shook his head a bit. "Dennis, you continue to amaze me. Look, I don't know what your plans were for the night. Don't want to know. But right now, we need to go over this incident while it's still fresh in your mind. Happy, we need a camera set up."
Walking to the back of the room, I saw that the cabinets contained quite a few cameras. Setting one up in front of me, Mac moved a chair over and pointed to it for Katy to sit. "We need to ask a lot of questions, and Katy being present for the event might help you recall details. Feelings. Whatever. We won't know until we get to a place and find we need her."
The four of us got settled, I asked to eat the burger we brought. Katy ran outside and retrieved the bag. Then, as I ate, they fired off question after question. Pointed ones, looking for specific details, feelings, and mostly, what was going on in my mind as I did what had been done. Although I believe that now I was more equipped to answer with regards to what happened within me than I was even a week ago; I still don't have the specific answers that they sought.
It lasted about two hours. Katy helped when asked. She had true insight into the lack of emotional fallout which was of great concern to both. That then led me to think about what I had learned of my compatriots and this secret organization in the past week. As Happy was putting the cameras back in the cabinet, I sought an explanation. "Mac, something bothers me though, and I hope you can enlighten me."
"Sure Dennis, anything I'm able to tell you I will." He seemed a bit perplexed, but still willing to help me learn as well.
"The incident with Squeaky Fromme. That has gotten me to wonder about the fallout from that. I mean I don't think I had fallout, or carryover into anyone else around us. But then Donny's projection ability works a lot differently than mine. You told me that when he was projecting Ivan the Giant onto me, the crushing bear hug, that you also passed out."
Happy returned to sit down in front of us now, listening intently to this exchange. I continued, "So with that particular scenario letting me know a few defining parameters to his ability, that would mean that when he projected a gun misfire toward Squeaky, then anyone else in the vicinity would have also received that specific, um, what do you call it? When he projects something specific like that."
Mac looked over at Happy now, who just shrugged his shoulders. Returning his gaze toward me he answered. "I don't know. We just call it a projection event. I don't think we ever thought there was a need to give it a more technical term. What do you think Happy, do you have a scientific term for it?"
Happy looked a bit flustered, "I can't even figure out how this aspect works. Or what happens. A name for it is beyond me."
Pressing him for an answer, I repeated myself. “So was there fallout? Collateral input of his projection to others in the crowd?”
Looking a bit sad now, Mac started an answer. “It was risky. We were all concerned that there might be fallout. Complications. During an event like that, the cops, the regulars, they all detained everyone. Questioned them. We lucked out. We saved the President from getting shot, and overall, every person that was there, well, about eleven people right near Squeaky, all said they could feel the gun misfire. Nothing else. No indications that something ethereal happened.”
“Ethereal.” I was nodding now, Just like Mac. “I like that. A more than adequate description of what happens. What we can’t explain, what we can’t allow others to imagine. I like it.”
“Then it’s settled. Happy, from now on we’ll call these events by the name Dennis has chosen. Ethereal Events. What do you think?”
Happy smiled at us. “It’s a very descriptive name. I like it as well.”
“I think so too.” Chimed in Katy. “I mean it was rather unworldly to watch. Denny just touched him Mac, and his entire demeanor changed. No anger, I mean I had heard you talking about the sheriff, but to see it. It was an Ethereal Event.” She leaned over and wrapped her arm around me. Leaning her head against my shoulder, she was at peace. Happy. No lust right now, but contentment. And that was nice.
“Well Mac, I’m sorry that I wasn’t able to give you more information as to how it works. It just works.” I told him.
“Don’t be that concerned Dennis. Even Donny and Mikey have no idea how they do it. They just do it. Someday we’ll be able to measure it I’m sure. Just not today.”
“I for one am just glad he’s able to do it.” Katy raised up from leaning against me. “Brett is just a horrible man. I was just shocked seeing him there. He scared me. Thank you again Denny.” And she pulled my head toward her and kissed me. A short one. A little passion. A thank you kiss.
“I never did get my new shoes.”
Chuckles from the two men. Happy then asked. “Well you were gone all day. At the mall. Why didn’t you get them before going in for lunch?”
Turning red now, Katy had that wondrous smile. “Oh granpa, Don’t make me tell you what we had been doing.”
“Ah, I’m thinking it wasn’t shopping.” Happy said, a bit embarrassed himself. He stood, and grabbed the two tapes. “I’m going to take these over to the lab. We’ll review them later. I think we’re done for now though. Mac, anything else.”
“No, for now we’re done.” Mac said, He rose and began to walk to the doors. “I might be able to catch the last half of that movie, so we’ll see you later. Tomorrow. You have an assignment on Monday. Early.”
With that admonishment, we were alone.
Katy stood, then positioned herself on my lap and hugged me. Tightly. "Thank you Denny. I can't say that enough. I think he really wanted to hurt me. I'm so glad you're in my life now."
"So am I. Let's go. I could use some sleep. Rest."
"Really? You don't want to... You know?"
"Oh, the sleep will be needed sometime tonight. Just not right away."
And she was beaming at that.