The silence pressed down like nothing I had experienced before. It was suffocating. To make matters more disorientating, I was in the pitch dark. I couldn't tell if my eyes were open or not. The sound of my panicked breathing sounded muffled, as though I was encased in something, though when I stretched out my arms, I felt nothing. I tried speaking out loud, but found my voice frozen.
I took several deep breaths to calm down, light-headed on top of everything. I closed my eyes, focusing.
I don't know if this is working, but anyone.. anyone who can hear me-Soar, Rain, Tales, Raphael... please help us.
There was a soft laugh directly in my ear, making me jump and breaking my concentration.
"That is not going to work young lady, though I must applaud your ingenuity." the voice seemed to wrap itself around me, rough and unwelcome.
"What are you after?" I replied, my voice barely steady.
"You will see," the fear demon replied, "If you survive that is."
"I'm not giving up. What have you done with the others?" I demanded.
"They are alive if thats what you mean."
I was pushing at the edges of my mind, where the fear demon seemed to have placed a barrier, blocking any thoughts.
"Why are you doing this?" I muttered through gritted teeth.
"You'll find out." The voice seemed to come closer and I realised it was in my head.
"GET OUT OF MY MIND!" I screamed, covering my ears uselessly. The laughter echoed in my ears for a long time before leaving me alone again. I felt cold tears slide down my cheek as I remembered when I first realised my powers.
A younger Faye is curled in a foetal position on the floor of a bedroom only a little girl loves. She is sobbing bitterly, hands clamped over her ears.
"Make them stop" she whispers "Please make them go away."
The voices in her head are crowding out her own, tangling with her thoughts and leaving her paralysed. She is five years old. Her older brother comes in.
"Faye!" He picks her up, holding her to his chest." Hey, who do I beat up little bit?"
Faye explains and he grows serious, looking her in the eye.
"Well, you can stop crying for a start," he says gently, brushing the tears from her face. "As for those voices.. well. Its your head isn't it? So take charge. Courage Faye." He smiles at her. "And I'm still here. You can do it Faye. Tell them who's boss." He sits there with her, the room growing dark around them, as she struggles to subdue the voices. The thoughts. Each time she tries to give up, he is there, smiling, encouraging her. One by one, the voices hush, leaving space for Faye's own thoughts. One other voice remains.
"You can do it Faye. Come on little sister, show me that smile.."
She looks up at her older brother and smiles.
"Thas my girl!" He picks her up and spins her through the air, laughing. Then he holds her close.
"I'm always going to be right here," He says quietly, touching her head, "In your memories. And here," He says, touching the place on her chest "No matter what happens little bit."
A week later, he leaves the house, looking proud and a little nervous in his army uniform.
Every time he had leave, he would come home and spend every minute he could with his little sister. He taught her about these powers, telling her they shared a link like no other siblings. That they were the same. He wrote to her as often as possible, guiding her. Staying by her side even though he wasn't there physically.
Ten years after that day in her room, an official letter was pushed carelessly through their door.
He never came home.
"James.." I whispered, getting up. The fear fell away. My brother hadn't been afraid. I could still hear him laughing in my memories. The proud look in his eyes when he realised. Remembering him, though sometimes painful, made me strong. Slowly, the light returned. I was still in the basement. Then, in my mind, a soft murmur. Then a hum. Then the usual jumble of thoughts came flooding back. I touched the chain I always wore, where a silver locket held a single photo. I smiled a little.
Thank you James.
I then looked to my friends. They were standing, though their eyes showed nothing. Soar had joined us without our knowing. Now she was under the fear demon's control.
I sat down on the floor, cross-legged, thinking hard. I untangled the thoughts of my friends from the others, listening hard.
"I see you managed to break free." The voice intruded again.
I smiled. "You have nothing over me." I went back to the stream of thoughts.
After a moment, they stuttered, fading in and out like a hazy radio. I closed my eyes again, refusing to give up. My hand went to the pendant at my throat.
"Tell them who's boss.."
I grinned as the thoughts came back loud and clear. Lace was fighting as well, the others till working things out. Struck my a sudden certainty, I spoke to them all, placing my thoughts in their head in a way I now knew I could.
"It's Faye. Everyone, you can beat this! I know you can. Just find that one place that you feel strong. We all have it. There's a little bit in your head this thing can't touch. Somewhere you are strongest. A memory that always make you smile. The words in a song that make you feel invincible. The image of a place that makes you think of where you feel at home. You find that and you can beat this! You can do it!"
I kept watching their thoughts as my friends fought to break out of the hold. I hoped I had made a difference.