All around her was the buzz of conversation. In her mind, there was the constant murmur of unspoken thoughts.
Silently, she sipped her coffee and continued to gaze out of the window at the river view outside. The local ferry was passing the cafe, it’s bow wave disturbing the calm water.
Entering a crowded café was always a challenge to her sensitive soul. Venturing out from her cottage into town was a weekly endurance event.
The constant babble almost drove her insane.
As she took a bite of her scone, she tried to block out the cacophony of conversation.
“I can hear you listening,” came a clear male voice in her mind.
She dropped the scone back onto the plate. Eyes wide, she scanned the café, searching for the face that went with the voice.
“I can see you searching for me.”
A chill ran down her spine and she began to tremble.
For over twenty years she had gone to great lengths to hide her enhanced listening abilities. Coping with it as a child had been torture. Being a teenager had been even worse. School and college had been like a prison sentence to her. As soon as she had graduated, she had sought out a job that allowed her to work from home, saved up for the mortgage deposit then bought her secluded cottage and retired from the world around her as much as was possible.
She’d heard millions of unspoken conversations over the years. Inadvertently eavesdropped on innermost thoughts. Every unspoken word ringing in her mind as clearly as if they’d been spoken out loud beside her.
Never had someone spoken to her in her own mind before.
She felt instantly violated.
“You appear to have dropped your scone.”
“Who are you?” she asked silently. “Where are you?”
Carefully she filtered through the dozens of conversations going on around her. Breaking all of her own unwritten rules, she searched the thoughts of the customers in the café in an effort to find “him”.
None of the voices matched.
Her senses picked up a strange silent spot near a table where six guys, all in their twenties or early thirties, were sitting. All of them had long hair, tattoos, biker jackets and had their motorcycle helmets stowed under the high stools they sat on. None of them were looking her direction. All of them were pouring over a map spread out on the table.
With shaking hands, she picked up her scone and took a nervous bite. A bead of jam stuck to her lip. She deftly licked it away.
“Strawberry or raspberry?” asked the voice, its tone mildly curious.
“Raspberry,” she replied silently before realising what she was doing.
“I prefer blackcurrant myself.”
“Who are you?” she asked again, scanning the room.
“A fellow soul searcher.”
“A soul searcher. At least that’s what I like to think I am.”
“Well, you’re not searching mine,” she snapped indignantly.
“Too late. I already have,” mused the voice. “You’re worried that you’ll miss the deadline on the article that’s open on your laptop at home. You’re going to pick up your dry cleaning when you leave here. You have chicken simmering in the slow cooker in your kitchen for dinner. Enough for two meals. Oh, and you forgot to put wine in the fridge before you left. Pinot Grigio.”
Her blood ran cold. Fear began to seize her.
All thoughts of finishing her scone and the coffee vanished.
Grabbing her bag, she paid for her coffee and fled from the café into the street.
By the time she had walked the three miles homes, carrying her dry cleaning, she had almost calmed down. As her beach front cottage came into view, she spotted a large Harley Davidson parked on the pavement. There was no sign of the rider.
Quickly she ran down the steps to her front door. A shadow at the side of the whitewashed house caught her eye.
Someone was sitting on her bench gazing out at the river.
Slowly she made her way round the narrow path .
A young man, more or less her own age, sat there with his long denim clad legs stretched out in front of him. His leather jacket and helmet lay beside him on the bench. Long dark hair tumbled down over his shoulders, cascading down his back. His eyes were closed and she wondered for a moment if he was asleep.
Suddenly his eyes opened. They were deep, dark brown, liquid pools of melted chocolate. He smiled.
“I brought the Pinot Grigio.”
To be continued…….