tagSci-Fi & FantasyThe Girl Who Wasn't There Ch. 03

The Girl Who Wasn't There Ch. 03


Welcome to Part 3 of this five part story of the adventures of Ginny, a girl with an unusual psychic ability. To make sense, you really need to read Parts 1 and 2 first -- Part 1 can be found at:


I am once again indebted to ArilynWriter for her kind, insightful and encouraging editing: thanks Arilyn.

Feedback is always appreciated. Writing is a solitary and often time-consuming activity so it is always delightful to hear the responses of readers. Where I can I will always reply and in any case comments and constructive criticism are always informative.

I hope you enjoy this next chapter...


Sitting at the laptop once again I realize why I only write this at night: it is not just that our days are busy with running and hiding and what work we can find but also that I know she would worry to have the details of our lives written down and published.

I have to remember where I have got to in the story. Doc's -- Tanya's -- weekend with Marie went well; they became lovers and a couple, though Tanya was very private and discrete about it. She and I did become more than just colleagues -- not exactly best friends but there was a trust and affection between us that hadn't been there before.

The research continued, of course, though subjects with real abilities remained elusive. The next girl we worked with, Emma, was very gifted at ESP; she and I spent many hours together trying to see if we could learn each other's ability. Neither of us seemed terribly successful.

So we come, at last, to the strange, little woman from Scotland...


CHAPTER 3 -- "Finding a little Mouse"

I walk down the corridor carrying a take-away cup of coffee in one hand and holding the slim folder on the new girl -- the latest subject for Doctor Tanya's paranormal research -- in the other. I tap on the door to Interview Room 2 (good: Room 2, at least has comfortable chairs!) and wait.

After a minute or so the door opens and out steps Wanda King, 6 foot 1 inches of elegant black womanhood, 10 years my senior (though, like me, a post grad student) and with a heart big enough and kind enough to mother roughly half the planet. It doesn't surprise me that she, once again, has persuaded another subject to come and let us learn about them and their abilities. Another fairly common characteristic is that they've often had rough experiences in their lives.

"Hi Wand! Welcome back to the Ministry of Mysteries!" I chirp.

"Hello, Ginny. You know Doctor Tanya would kill you if she heard you call us that, even if most of the campus does? And you calling everyone else 'Muggles' doesn't help either!" I try to look contrite and fail abysmally. If they think we're all "weirdo, hocus-pocus merchants" (in the words of one professor I'd overheard) why shouldn't I label them as boringly mundane? The irony is that we are probably more cynical about much of the supernatural than most of the general population.

"Anyway, how are you? How's the love life?" she asks, genuinely concerned. My failure to form any kind of sustained relationship is a constant concern to her as she and her husband Jackson have been together for years and are still very much in love. The trips that Doc Tanya's research requires her to make are hard on them both.

"Meh! Same old same old," I reply.

"Well perhaps if you would just settle on fishing just one side of the river, if you follow me?" We are back to my bisexuality, which she sees as either wilful indecision or just plain greediness on my part.

"If I didn't know you only had my happiness and best interests at heart I might be offended by that comment, Wand! Anyway, you know how it is: too many cute guys, too many sexy girls!" I complain.

She gives me a look so withering that any mother of a teenager would be proud of it, so I quickly change the topic "How's our new subject -- Freja?"

"It's pronounced 'Fray-ah'," she corrects my use of a hard J sound in the name. "And she's very nervous so be patient and gentle or we may lose her -- literally!" Her voice is a mixture of her usual motherly concern and, what, awe?


"You'll see -- or hear when you interview her. Good luck and I'm off home to my man!"

"Is Jackson in luck today?" I ask, winking.

"Maybe, but not until after I've had a bath and a long sleep!" she yawns. "This one was haaaard work! Oh, and as she needs to stay at least tonight, I've put her in Dorm Room 3 next to your room; the other rooms have that plumbing leak. Her bag's in there already."

"Thanks, Wand. Go on, off you go. Sleep well and give my love to Jackson." I reply and enter the Interview Room as she walks away.

Sat on the armchair, no, curled up and squeezed into the corner of the armchair, is a small female. She has long, dark hair that falls forward hiding her face as she hugs her knees. She is wearing a dark blue, slightly ragged hoodie, with the hood thrown back, and worn, once black, jeans. On her feet is an old pair of walking boots, stained with mud and the laces frayed.

"Hello, my name is Ginny Anderson." I say in a friendly tone, "I'm one of Doc T's , sorry, Doctor Tanya Neal's, assistants and I'd like to talk to you, if I may?" I wait for a reply but she doesn't even react. So, using my ESM to project friendliness, calmness and all-round bonhomie, I sit on the armchair opposite her. I place my coffee on the low table between the chairs and flip open the folder to check the information, reading it aloud:

"Name: Freja Mause. Sex: Female. Age: 23." I'm surprised; with her slight build she looks much younger. "Height: 155cm... what's that; five foot?" I glance up as I hear a small reply.

"Five foot, half an inch, actually," she corrects me. Her voice, barely above a whisper, has a soft Scottish lilt that is quite lovely.

I smile. "The half inch matters then?"

"O aye. When ye have nay many, even a half inch is important."

I laugh. "Good point! Weight: 55 kilos. Hair: Black," I glance up and notice the gleam of her hair: a very dark copper that gleams bronze where it catches the light. "No, that's not right: Dark Auburn. Your hair is a gorgeous colour" I say as I amend the information in the file. "Eyes: Blue." I look and see she has raised her head and is looking at me with two big, wide eyes of the most stunning clear pale blue above a delicate nose in a slim, heart-shaped face. "Sapphire!" I exclaim.

"What?" she asks, nervously.

"Your eyes: sapphire, not just 'blue'. Sorry, Wanda's lovely but she has no poetry when filling these forms in!" That gets a slight smile.

"Aye, she's very kind."

"OH SHIT!" I yell. I had picked up my coffee cup without thinking, lifting it by the lid. Schoolgirl error; the lid has come off drenching my right leg in extra hot skinny latte. I leap to my feet trying ineffectually to brush the coffee off. I glance across at the empty armchair opposite, wishing I had some napkins to mop up the coffee. Empty chair: why is that odd? I look around to see if there is anything I can use to dry myself and my eyes fall on the folder and few scattered papers on the floor. I bend to retrieve them and read the name 'Freja Mause' and I look frantically around the room recalling Wanda's words "...we may lose her -- literally!"

"Freja? Freja? I'm so sorry that I shouted; I just covered myself in very hot coffee and it hurt. I didn't mean to scare you. Freja?" I look around the room but I cannot see her. I try to use ESM again, projecting feelings of calmness and reassurance, but without her to focus on it is difficult. I gradually become aware that she is standing by the door. How the hell had I not seen her standing there? Tanya's research had never suggested invisibility as a real, paranormal power -- that was strictly Harry Potter and Marvell superhero territory. How had this girl hidden in plain sight? "Please, come and sit down again," I say gently, trying to let my remembered feelings of calmness enfold her while beckoning her to the seat she'd vacated so incredibly.

I thought of my ability and that of other subjects we'd encountered over the years. Years of Zener Cards and remote sensing tests for ESP, ESM and precognition, relaxation and sensory deprivation experiments for various 'sixth senses', even highly sensitive scales and meters to detect telekinesis or fire-raising. In a lot of cases the same answer: nothing. At least, nothing when in any kind of controlled, observed situation.

There were a few, however, and they all seemed to have three things in common.

First, the abilities always seemed to relate to people, not things: sensing people, their moods and thoughts, or, like me, influencing people to make them think something or feel an emotion.

Second, they were always quite subtle; so no true thought reading, telepathic messages, or mind control, but rather the feeling of something, sensing emotions, planting a feeling or urge, a vague thought that seemed right. Subtle but sometimes, as I had proved, surprisingly effective.

Thirdly, the few subjects that had positive results were all female. Doc T has suggested that this indicates some link to the sex chromosomes as a genetic basis for these unusual abilities but hasn't tried to obtain any funding to research this. I think she is afraid of the reaction: "So why do you want to research the genetic basis of witches?" might be one of the more awkward questions from the funding board and she had enough of those already.

Freja hasn't moved, so I ask her again if she might sit down.

"Why can I nay open the door?" she asks, fearfully, "Why's it locked?"

Incredible! I'd not noticed her even as she'd been pulling on the door -- this is getting truly bizarre. "It isn't," I reply, "Well, it is, sort of, but you just have to press the green button on the right there and it releases the magnet that holds it shut."

She hesitantly turns and finds the door-release button, repeatedly checking over her shoulder to be sure I haven't moved.

"Try it," I encourage her. "Press the button and pull the door open but, please, come and sit down afterwards. I really, really want to talk to you."

She reaches out and presses the button. She flinches at the thunk sound the door makes as the magnet shuts off. I remembered my Grandma's saying, 'as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a rocking chair factory'; that's this girl for sure. She grabs the door handle and yanks hard, expecting the door to resist, and stumbles backwards as it flies open. I laugh a little and she glares at me, so I apologise quickly.

Eventually, satisfied that she is not trapped, Freja returns to the armchair. She makes herself small again, her legs curled under herself, but at least she now looks at me. Part-hidden by her hair all I see is her small nose, her mouth whose lips are pressed into a thin, straight line, and a round chin with a slight dimple. I can't help thinking that this girl is seriously cute!

I gather the dropped papers together and, just to settle her, I continue reading the notes. "Eyes: Sapphire. Age: 23," I marvel again that she is only three years younger than me; she looks 17 or 18 at most. "Is that correct?" I ask and she nods. "And you come from Malcody. Where's that, Scotland?"

"Aye," she replies, "In the Highlands."

"Sounds like a beautiful place to live."

"The countryside is; the people... less so." She exudes a weary sadness and I hesitate. I am dying to ask about her vanishing but the purpose of this first interview is primarily to learn her background and life story.

I supress my curiosity for the time being and ask, "Freja, I would like you to tell me about your life, the people in it, places and events. It doesn't have to be every little detail, just those that stand out and you think matter. I'll ask some questions to get started but if there's anything you'd rather not answer then let me know and we can move on. Is that okay?"

She nods but is still cat-nervous.

"I'm going to turn on this recorder so I don't spend my time writing rather than listening to you properly. Are you okay with that?"

"Aye, I think so. I've never had anyone worry about listening tae me properly before. Ye an' Wanda are kind people."

"Thank you. So, can you tell me about your parents?" I ask gently.

"Mam died two years ago," she begins cautiously and her voice is close to breaking. "They, the police, said she was drunk when she got knocked down. She may ha' been, she drank a lot, but we'd had problems with the police afore." She is crying and this is not an ideal start to the interview.

"Freja, we can stop if this is too hard for you. I know what it's like to lose your mum."

"Really?" she manages between sobs.

I nod. "It was a long time ago now; I was twelve and it was horrible."

"I'm sorry," she sniffs, "I'm sad she's gone but also angry with her for leaving me on ma own and I feel... " she stops, unable to continue.

"You feel guilty for being angry with her," I say gently and she nods. "It's understandable, Freja; I felt the same. Let's stop this and we can do it another time." I reach to turn off the recorder.

"Nay, dunna stop it. I can do this; I want tae do this." She is quiet for a minute or two and I use my ESM to help her calm and settle.

She takes a breath and continues, "I n'er knew my dad. Mam had me when she were only 17. She left home tae see the world and met my father, Jack Mause, and ended up with him in a New Age hippy commune in England somewhere, Devon or Somerset maybe? She told me she changed her name to 'Dawnbreak Sunchild' -- it was better than Leslie she said. Anyway, she was in the commune. All free love and pot smoking, from what she told me, and she ends up pregnant with me. She said she was sure Jack was my father, not that it matters: the useless shite," she stops, afraid at having sworn. "Sorry," she whispers.

"Don't worry," I reassure her, "I'm sure in your situation I'd be using a lot worse than 'shite' to describe him!" I am rewarded with a first proper, though fleeting, smile.

"Aye, well he was a shite, because he just left Mam and she just fell apart. In the end she came home but wasn't very welcome there. People in the village, all staunch Presbyterians, had very strong views on unmarried mothers."

"Did she stay at home, with her parents?"

"Nay, not exactly. Grampa had a farm and there was a wee cottage on the edge of the farm; they made us live there and would nae let her come back in the home."

"What was your mother like?" I ask.

"Well, she dropped the 'Dawnbreak Sunchild' bit and became just 'Dawn' but she was still into the New Age stuff and dressed and talked like a hippy. She was always going tae be the outsider because o' me so she must ha'e thought she might as well live as she pleased." She fumbles at her collar and pulls out a silver pendent: a five pointed star in a circle about two centimetres in diameter; a pentagram. "This was hers. I wear it tae remember her."

"Was she Wiccan?" I ask, intrigued.

"Not really, she, we, were nay part of a coven. She read books and there were people she used to write to and receive letters from; she was what they call solitary. We'd celebrate some of the shabbats, the festivals, sort of, anyway. Watch the dawn at the solstices; at Easter and Halloween she'd say we were celebrating the pagan festivals the Christians had taken over, that sort of thing. It became more important to her over the years."

Freja is relaxing a little as she recalls all this and I strive to find a question to keep her talking. "So, did she follow Wiccan teaching? Or is it a philosophy?"

"I dinnay think Wicca is big on philosophy. Mam always said she believed in the Goddess and the Horned God and the threefold law. And she did try to follow the Wiccan Rede." She sees my look of incomprehension. "Whatever you do, good or bad, comes back to you threefold. The Rede is: 'An it harm none, do as ye will'. We are free to choose what we do but what we choose should cause nay harm tae ourselves, others, or the world. I try tae live by that too."

I think about the words. "That's a wonderful code to live by. Perhaps I should remember it."

"Aye, 'twould be a better world if more people tried to follow it. Mam always thought she was getting the three-fold payback for leaving home and, maybe, for having me, but she tried tae hold tae her beliefs, even though being different did nay make it easy for her."

"I can imagine." I sympathise. "And it must have affected you too; her being different?"

Freja gave a short, bitter laugh, "Ha! Ye have nay idea! 'Bastard child of the hippy bitch' was a name I'd heard a few times; even by the time I started school."

"So school was hard for you?" I ask and she nods. "Were you bullied?"

"Aye, teased and bullied. 'Cause o' my name and bein' small, I got called 'Mouse' all the time. Or more often 'Dirty Mouse', or 'Yuck, a Mouse', ye get the picture?"

"But never 'as cute as a mouse,'" I murmur. Oops! I hadn't meant to say that out loud! Freja looks hard at me to see if I am teasing her. "Sorry, I didn't mean to say, I mean you're not..." I'm starting to blush, so I take a deep breath and started again. "I'm sorry, it's just, well, I think you are cute."

She bows her head and I hear a faint "Thank you."

I pause a moment, then ask, "What happened when you were bullied? Did it go on all through school?"

She nods again and looks at me, moving the hair from one side of her face for the first time. Perhaps my little slip has helped. Maybe I can use that in my defence when Doctor T reviews the interview; my antics in that very first interview haven't ever been quite forgotten.

"Aye, in school and out." She stops and I wait. Sometimes saying nothing is the best way to get answers.

"Like, at first it was only teasing and name calling; normal kids' stuff. Though I always seemed tae be the favourite target." She sighs, "But then someone tried to run me over when I was eight, at least that's what Mam and I thought at the time."

"What?" I ask, genuinely shocked that someone should attempt such a thing on an eight-year-old.

"I was crossing the road on the way to school, I had run ahead of Mam, when this big car pulled out and started heading towards me." I could see from her expression that Freja was almost back reliving the incident. "The car had these big headlights, like eyes, and the front grille like a mouth and teeth. I thought it was a monster looking for me, tae eat me, and I just froze, hoping that it would nay see me, but it kept coming an' coming and I think I fainted. Mam saw me in the road after the car had driven over me but it had nay touched me.

"Mam complained tae the police and they talked tae the driver but he said he had nay seen any little girl in the road. I was nay hurt so the police ended up telling Mam not tae make things up tae cause trouble. Things got worse fae both of us after that."

I have an idea. "Freja, I'd like you to relax and think back clearly. You're eight again. You're crossing the road. Try to recall it, to see it all again. Can you do that?"

Her eyes are closed and she nods, "Aye."

"Okay. The car is coming towards you, getting closer. What can you see?"

"There're the big lights like eyes, the silver teeth in its grinning mouth, but there's a face behind that, a man, looking straight at me."

"It's getting so close now," I say, "where is the man looking?"

"At me! I want him and his monster to stop looking at me!" she cries. Something happens: she seems almost to flicker out of existence as, just for a moment, I cannot recall when the girl left. I close my eyes, take a deep breath, relax and think back. The name 'Freja' come to mind and when I open my eyes I see her curled up in the chair with her arms over her head.

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