The breathy whispers inside my head were louder than the class’ muttering and I bit on my bottom lip to stifle a scream as the sighs of words burned the inside of my head. I tasted blood on my tongue, hot and salty. I felt something sticky and warm run down the side of my neck but I paid it no mind; I was too focused on the pain.
“Oh, shit, Miss Loach! Miss Loach, Karin’s bleeding!” Rowan yelled out in a panic, “her ear’s bleeding, Miss!” I tried to move my hand and place it atop his, to show him he didn’t need to freak out. But the pain turned to agony when I removed my palms from their position where they gripped my head, so I snapped them back down, a high-pitched keening noise escaping my throat.
Didn’t this happen to Ryan… telepath… why is she freaking out so much… someone get her out of her…
“Rowan,” I gasped.
“Karin, yeah? Karin, what is it?” He cooed, placing a cool hand on my feverish cheek.
“Ah, telepathy, right?” I smiled weakly, my voice cracking. Realisation spread across his face and he breathed out a sigh of relief.
She’s right. This happened to Ryan. Oh, thank God. It’s only temporary.
The clarity of the voice I recognised to be Rowan’s was astounding, and I tried to focus all my efforts on listening to that voice. It helped a little, and the racket dimmed a bit as I craned within my mind to listen.
Rowan moved to grab something from someone behind him. It was a tissue. He dabbed at my ear with it, crooning soothing words that didn’t make any sense in a hope to bring me comfort. I was just about to tell him that I was feeling a little better, when the school nurse burst through the door, her face was set and her eyes zoned in on me, she made a beeline for our desk.
“I think the barrier broke,” Rowan said briefly, “for telepathy.” He added and the nurse nodded.
She was a little scary to look at, but I turned to face her fully anyway. I expected her to wince when she saw my face, which was probably blotchy from crying and smeared with blood, but she didn’t. Her big blue eyes softened and she smiled gently at me, placing one of her large hands on top of my own, carefully easing it from its vice-like grip on my head.
“We’re going to have to walk to the infirmary,” she told me as she helped me to my feet, “do you think you can manage?”
“Sure,” I nodded. And it was the truth. I could stand up, although I did feel quite shaky and light-headed. The sudden disappearance of the phantom pain was something I was entirely grateful for. I was confused as to why it had left me so fast, and I feared its return.
“Do you want me to come?” Rowan leaped to his feet, knocking his chair over as he did so. Nurse made brief eye-contact with me, searching my face for any rejection of his idea, and when she didn’t find any, she looked over at Rowan, nodding slightly.
I tried not to sigh in relief when Rowan’s arm wound around my waist, his palm settling against my hipbone. It felt like a little too much at first, but after hobbling halfway down the stairs which lead to the Maths floor, I was beginning to feel grateful for his support.
Please don’t pass out on me.
Chuckling, I leaned into his side. He looked down at my quizzically as we limped down the hallway. “I won’t pass out, don’t worry.”
Rowan’s eyes widened in surprise and I heard Nurse huff out a breath of laughter in front of us. His expression of surprise vanished, and was replaced with his usual smirk, “glad to hear it.”
I laughed softly again, shaking my head. “So, this happened to Ryan, too?”
“Yeah, but not as bad.” He replied, looking worried. Then he pursed his lips thoughtfully, “but his telepathy is weak and he has to focus really hard to get a decent reading.”
“Lucky him,” I grumbled, “I felt like someone had pressed my ear up against one of them huge speakers they use in rock concerts.”
“Yikes,” Rowan said. “Really that bad?”
Rowan hummed in sympathy, rubbing my hip gently to bring me comfort. I didn’t question the strange feeling of contentment which spread through my chest; I just cherished its warmth.