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copyright © 1999, 2000,2001   Andrew V. Smith. All Rights Reserved

Survival and Balance, continued

she comes face to face with a teenage girl in summer pajamas. Both of them are startled. The girl let out a frightened shout. Although dimly lit, Aunt Penny recognizes Sandy.
          “What are you doing here?” Aunt Penny blurts out. It’s only been a couple of days since she summoned Sandy back to this time in a dream, and now Sandy’s back again.
          Sandy’s blinking her eyes, trying to adjust to the extremes of the darkness and light. The restaurant kitchen light is blinding her.
          Realizing that the teenager’s outburst might draw attention from the birthday crowd, Aunt Penny wraps her dinner jacket around Sandy’s shoulders and hustles her down the nearest dock. Shrouded from view by the sailboats and yachts they can talk in private.
          “No one from the Circle has summoned you that I know of,” Aunt Penny says. She begins to wonder if this has something to do with Melissa’s conversation with the future Penny and maybe there’s a connection between this occurrence and Melissa’s sudden departure. The girl in front of her looks dazed and ‘out of it’. She seems so out of place on this dark harbor dock, barefoot and in her pajamas. Aunt Penny touches Sandy’s cheek. Some of the unconscious energy pours out of Sandy’s cheek and into Penny’s hand. It takes a lot of discipline for Aunt Penny not to jerk her hand reflexively away from the power. As it is, Aunt Penny’s hand jumps a fraction of a centimeter off the surface of Sandy’s cheek and hovers there. It is almost as if magnetic poles of the same polarity are fending each other off.
          With the power of years of mental disciple, Aunt Penny slowly and gently touches Sandy’s cheek again. There is no mistaking the raw unconscious and undisciplined power that radiates from Sandy. This is so opposite her conscious bookish, controlled nature.
          This one is more powerful than we imagined, Penny thinks. This raw, unconscious power will be both useful and dangerous to Sandy. Aunt Penny centers herself and begins to compose the questions she has for Sandy.
          “Dear, this is Aunt Penny. Can you hear me?” Sandy nods groggily. She is very weak on her feet. “You are back in time again.”
          “What is the last thing you remember?” Penny asks.


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