Learning to Trust

“Close your eyes,” Reva said in an I’m-about-to-hypnotize-you tone. “Allow the seat to support your body. Relax into it.”

Justin sighed, releasing a little of the tension he’d been holding on to. Maybe if the telepathy thing didn’t work, she’d let him take a nap.

“Put your focus on your breath, on the sound of your breathing, on the feeling of the air moving into your body and filling your lungs.”

The sound of the car’s tires receded, and he found that it wasn’t so hard after all to focus on his breathing.

“Now, imagine that your body is an empty straw, and that your breath is moving through you, coming up from the soles of your feet when you inhale…then moving back down through your body from the top of your head when you exhale.”

She paused while he took a few slow breaths. “How’re you doing?”

“Mmm.” He might fall asleep if she didn’t hurry up with the animal telepathy bit.

“Imagine what it would look like if you were sitting in a quiet room with Jett. Imagine it like it’s a movie scene you’re remembering. You’re sitting in a soft, comfortable chair, and you see Jett walk up and sit in front of you. Imagine him giving you his attention as if he’s waiting for your next command.” She waited a few beats. “Can you imagine it?”

“Yes.” But he couldn’t believe that imagining scenes in his mind had anything to do with animal communication.

“Good. Hold on to that scene in your mind. In a minute, you’re going to ask Jett a question. He might answer with words, or you might imagine a visual image like a snapshot or a short movie clip. Or he might send emotions or even the memory of a taste or a smell. Are you ready?”

“Yes.” But even as he said the word, anxiety skittered through him. What if he couldn’t do it?

Even more disturbing, what if he could?

“Ask Jett to let you know where he is.”

Justin’s anxiety intensified. The visual image of Jett and him sitting together in a room had fled his mind, leaving nothing but darkness. Strange swirls of color and light bloomed behind his closed eyelids. “I don’t see anything. Just color and light and swirls of energy.”

“You’re trying to see with your eyes. That’s not the way telepathic images come through. It’ll feel more like dreaming or like remembering something that happened a long time ago. Like remembering a place you’ve been or the way someone’s voice sounded.”

He quit focusing on the swirling energy behind his eyelids and tried to recapture the visual of him and Jett sitting together. A flash of something—like a word he was trying to remember but couldn’t—caught his attention but faded before he could catch it. He made a sound of frustration.

“That’s okay,” Reva said in a calm, quiet voice. “Just start over.”

Once again, he brought that image to mind, of Jett sitting in front of him, waiting for instruction on what to do next. The snapshot morphed into a movie clip… Justin imagined Jett coming closer and propping his chin on Justin’s knee. Justin manipulated the scenario by reaching out and stroking Jett’s head. He imagined himself leaning forward and asking the question again. “Where are you?”

Water. The word popped into Justin’s mind, immediate and clear. Then he remembered going to the river with his parents when he was very small. He remembered being afraid to step into the muddy waves. Afraid that he’d be swept away.

His father had been so angry, so dismissive of Justin’s fears. He’d picked Justin up by the arms and thrown him backward into the cold water. It had hit him like a smack on the backside, then shot up his nose and down his throat when he went under. Anxiety swamped him, and he sat up, shaking his head to dispel the vivid memory. “This isn’t working.”

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