The Monday morning blues infected Tobias as they did every week. He liked going to school, but it seemed that the hatred of Monday mornings was instinct, whether or not you had something to look forward to.
For several moments, Tobias lay in bed, covered by the thick duvet which suffocated his body. His semi-wakened state made him automatically think of all the things to worry about on a typical Monday. Any homework that had not been done, any people to avoid because they wanted to steal his lunch. Unfortunately, nothing came to mind, and as Tobias’ eyes lifted and brushed away the haze of the previous night, he realised it had been almost uninterrupted.
No Voices telling him to ‘wake up’, and no horrible nightmares about his friend Danielle and the Dark man who was no doubt dancing around her corpse right this second, and probably planning how to get Tobias in the same situation.
But nothing had gone bump in the night. Perfect sleep, no disturbances. Odd, how despite everything horrible that was happening to him at the moment – the Voices, the Dark man hunting him, his friend being kidnapped – there was no need for Tobias to wake up screaming at the top of his lungs.
Maybe it was something to do with the Voices. They were changing now, trying to adapt themselves in order to fit in with the kind of conscience Tobias wanted to share his mind with.
Perhaps the Voices were deliberately repressing certain things during the night to stop Tobias from arising suspicion from his parents. They had seemed to move on from the whole ‘our son is hearing Voices’ horror movie scenario, and now they simply wanted to return to normal with their son. And so far, everything seemed to be dulling down. Everything except the peril Tobias’ life was in and the danger that had either befallen or was awaiting in the wings, eagerly anticipating the slaughter of Danielle, the only other Gifted person Tobias had met personally. He was unsure of how many there actually were, but Danielle made accepting he wasn’t crazy easier for Tobias.
Now, Tobias had to get up, put on his school uniform, and then over that, put on his mask of normality. It seemed very peculiar how it had only been four days since the Voices had found Tobias, and yet so much had been thrown violently and uncontrollably out of focus. The mask of mundane was now covering his face for an entire day. There was nowhere he could hide from teachers or students of his school. He now, for the rest of the day, had to put Danielle to the back of his mind, and act like he normally did. But even that seemed suspicious now. Sitting there, alone and secluded, reading his books. It seemed so irregular. Somebody would surely suspect something was wrong.
She is still alive, and will remain so.
Unnecessary information from the Voices? They must be adapting quickly. No prompt or anything of the sort. They obviously changed quickly.
They were referring to Danielle, the captive at the hands of the Dark man, mortal enemy of the Gifted. Tobias stopped where he stood, in the centre of his room, looking at himself in the mirror, wearing his invisible mask, displaying a constant smile which only he could understand the falsity of.
Danielle was alive, for now. She will remain alive, so the Voices claimed. But for how long, Tobias was unsure, and was afraid that the Voices didn’t know either.
He needs her for you, and the others.
The Dark needed Danielle for some unknown reason.
‘What’s the reason?’ Tobias needed to know why the Dark man was keeping Danielle alive, so that if it was directly related to him – like the Voices suggested it was – he could avoid doing anything that would upset or annoy the Dark man, resulting in Danielle being disposed of, due to lack of usefulness.
She will help him find you, and all the others.
Something Danielle had said suddenly came crashing down on Tobias. The Gifted are all connected. He couldn’t remember her exact words, but the implications were strong in Tobias’ memories.
All the Gifted individuals were somehow connected, by their minds, by the Voices. They could develop an ability to tell where somebody else is in the world. The stronger their mind was, the further the range of Gifted ‘telepathy’ could extend, somewhat like a mobile phone.
The Dark man needed Danielle to help him find everybody that was Gifted. First in the city, then in the country, then maybe the world. If he wasn’t stopped, the Voices would become extinct, with nobody to find and join with. Maybe there was precise criteria that Gifted people had to fill. Maybe the Dark man would find everybody that fitted the profile. Maybe he would kill them all.
The Voices would have nothing. They would just cease to exist, unless the Dark man was stopped. Danielle wouldn’t tell him anything, surely. She had survived a stabbing from him, and a kidnapping.
She was strong. Maybe not physically, certainly not at the moment, but her mind had to be strong for her to be able to control the Voices like she did, like all the Gifted people did.
She would endure. Until she was saved. Until the Dark man was killed. Until the Dark man stopped terrorising the Gifted. Until Tobias saved her.
The Voices needed him, and the more and more he thought about it, the Voices were the only aid he had for survival.