Leggings@60+com part 14a
Phyliss was very measuring up a client when I poked my head around the shop door. She smiled and pulled a face at me, “Wholemeal, cheese and onion, thanks,” she instructed breathlessly.
I nodded and went off to get the sandwich from another shop. Feeling generous I added a drink, and some crisps. I hadn’t fallen out over the ‘G.A.N.T’ label, yet it had been a shock. I’d had to move quickly the last time someone had mentioned it. She had no idea the others could and would cause trouble. Most normal people had no idea there were two kinds of absorbent minds. They thought we were all the same. We aren’t!
Still it wasn’t her fault. Her mother I suppose was about the same age as me, perhaps she was one of us. I’d have to ask. I hastened back, still considering.
The shop was empty again, the woman had gone. Phyllis got up and opened the door and changed the sign to ‘Closed for Lunch!”
“I’m really glad you came round,” she said, “I was beginning to think you weren’t ever going too.”
“I had the same song from Paul,” I said softly, “He was most upset. Said I was seeing too much of Sharon. He seemed jealous.”
“Are you meeting him today?” she asked curiously, “I mean how serious is it?”
I stared her down, half afraid of how much it mattered. “I guess it’s quite serious. I was thinking perhaps we’d go out more often.”
She laughed. “That’s mega!”
I had to laugh too, “Very mega,” I agreed joyfully, “I haven’t done this for years.”
“I didn’t mean to offend you the other day,” she said softly grabbing her sandwich.
“I know, it’s just such a difficult subject. Was your Mum one of us?”
“She was the daughter of one of the research staff. Born about the same time,” Phyllis replied, taking out the lettuce, I hadn’t known was there.
“Not one of us – the absorbent mind club?”
“No,” reiterated Phyllis bright red, “She said it was very competitive, and you kept running away.”
“Yes, I asked my Grandfather to find me a home to go too, with other children in the end. The School or research station was in my parents castle – they wouldn’t let me live there. I was too small to object.”
“That’s mean,” said Phyllis, “Mum didn’t tell me that bit!”
“She might not have known. Intelligent children were very much in demand back then. We were supposed to be the answer – to the genius children who burnt out early.”
“All of you?” Phyllis asked curiously, “I mean you’re not like the others.”
“In the end,” I said softly, “Two kinds, psychologically different, the GANT and the VAMP. Opposites really. I think possibly I’m the last GANT.”
“The VAMP’s they were the bad ones?”
I nodded, it was awful really – I wasn’t sure about this stuff, they were bad, because they carried on and on and on. Yet I wasn’t sure about how bad. Over the years some of them had found principles, and were fair to their victims.
“What happened to them all?” she asked, “Mum is ever so curious.”
I hesitated, “I had to run last time we met, they tried to get me killed off. The experiment we were all in. Was about who was better? The prediction is that they were because they were better able to deal with the world. We all tend to overload with emotions… even they do.”
She waited tapping her foot. I realised I hadn’t answered the question.
“Some of them are on HART radio. They like to dish the dirt on people. Say it’s all about ridding society of scum, people on benefits. Etc. They love doing it. Some in the police, the conservative party, anywhere they can have power.”
“I’ll have to listen in,” she said swiftly, “Why did they try to kill you? Was there money involved?”
“Yes, we were all supposed to be helped through life. I never got any help, because I lived with a family, and they never asked for any.”
“So they got theirs?”
“Yes, they just wanted mine as well. Plus any wills I’d been left, or money that I might have won.”
“Sounds dreadful,” she said quietly, “How did they have a go at you.”
“Same way as Sharon, more or less,” I said softly, “I don’t know how to get rid of Sharon.”
Phyllis nodded, “Nor do I.” She hesitated, “She wants me to sell my brother to her.”
“Pardon?” I asked flabbergasted. “She what?”
“I said No, I don’t own him,” she said angrily, “I think she’s mentally ill.”
“That’s very possible.” I said carefully, I wanted to tell her about her about the not washing her hands, yet you can’t rat on people - no matter how ratty they are. I knew that was wrong too, if you saw someone beating up a kid, you’d tell. All the stuff you do at school: not telling, ceases to matter if you become less than human if you don’t react.
“So,” I said carefully, “Why are you interested in the psychic stuff?”
“Mum told me a whole heap of stuff,” she said, her eyes open wide, ”That you were really good at. Sharon had some of the girls doing really odd things, and they got old really really quickly. You on the other hand, haven’t aged much.”
“Good bone structure,” I said quietly, I wasn’t going to tell her that every bone in my body had been broken. I hadn’t been liked in a lot of foster homes, and had passed hand to hand like a rejected doll.