“I don’t know what happened,” Lilly said for what must have been the sixteenth time in the last five minutes.
Back in our suite, watching TV in an attempt to forget about the execution we’d failed to stop. Failing to forget our failure.
“It’s simple: your powers didn’t work.” I sighed. “You haven’t got the hang of them yet, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it fails sometimes.” I paused. “Seemed like you got pretty close, though. Almost had them.” I forced a slight smile, hoping to cheer her up. “A little more practice and I think you can do it.”
“That’s the thing.” She shook her head. “I did have them. I was in control; I made them put down their weapons and then… and then… I don’t know what happened.”
“They resisted,” Flutter explained.
“I guess… but…”
“How could they resist if you already had control?” I asked, “Speaking from my experience as your mental training dummy, once you’re in control, it’s nearly impossible to even try to resist. There’s no way they all managed to push back hard enough when you were already in control.”
“It felt different, though. When I go inside your mind, you push back immediately. Instinctively, I think. And you keep resisting, until I break through. But back there… they hardly resisted at all. Not until the sudden push at the end.”
“Different minds work in different ways.” I nodded. “And my mind is definitely… different.”
“Yeah.” She gave me a smile.
“Try my mind,” Flutter offered.
“Umm…” Lilly hesitated, clearly not fond of the idea of invading yet another mind. “Thanks, but you don’t have to–”
“You need someone else to practice on,” Flutter insisted, “I–I don’t mind.”
Lilly glanced at me. “I suppose Alex could use a break.” She returned her focus to Flutter. “You’re sure about this?”
“I–I should probably warn you, I–sometimes I… go a little overboard…” Lilly blushed.
“I’ll hit her if she goes too far,” I promised, “Snap her out of it.”
Lilly took a deep breath. “Ready?”
I felt their minds battling for about 30 seconds, until Lilly forced her way inside and Flutter started dancing (really badly).
“Wow.” Flutter blinked several times, now free of Lilly’s influence.
“You okay?” Lilly asked.
“Fine. Just…” More blinking.
“You get used to it.” I smiled and turned to Lilly. “So how does her mind compare?”
“It’s… your minds are definitely different, but… you resist in pretty much the same way. And frankly, your way makes a lot more sense than waiting until I already have control. I find it hard to believe that you’d be the exception here.”
“The way I see it,” I said, “There are two possibilities: either all the angels at the execution have the same counter-intuitive, logic-defying way of resisting you… or the resistance came from someone else.”
“Someone else?” Flutter asked.
“Of course.” Lilly gasped. “Someone was protecting them. Once they realized I’d gained control, they forced me out.”
“Seems like they’d have to be pretty powerful to force you out of someone else’s mind.” I groaned. “And clearly, they like murder and torture. If I had to take a guess…”
“Jack,” we all said in unison.