Chapter 7: Cailen
"What do you mean... Anima?" I asked, still confused.
"Wait," the man said, "Before we tell you, we need your phone,"
"Why?" I asked.
"We need to make sure that you aren't being tracked or that you aren't recording this conversation."
"I don't have my phone, I left it back at my school," he raised his eyebrows, questioning me, "You can search my pockets, but I promise I don't have my phone."
"Don't worry, we believe you," the woman shot him a look, "Anima mean soulmates in Latin," she began as she pulled out fresh clothes for me from a chest at the foot of my bed,
"but don't worry, you don't have to love your partner romantically or anything. It was just the only way that we could think to describe who we are.
We have Anima partners of all 'shapes and sizes'," she said with air quotes, "Some are romantically involved, but many also love each other as best friends or like siblings."
"Is there anything else you can tell me about being... Anima?" I asked curious
" Well, we don't know much about what we are except for a few things we have picked up from everyone's stories.
We can speak in our partner's mind and even, after some practice, control things telepathically.
No one has ever connected with their partner younger than ten and everyone of us has had to run away from the government," she explained, counting each one off her fingers.
"Me and Sarah are the oldest ones here, we started this entire community," interjected Sarah's partner.
"Yes, me and Josh are kind of like the unofficial parents here." Sarah said with a smile
"Oh, um, that's great," I said wanting to get back on topic, "What did you mean by controlling things telepathically, and how big is this community?"
Josh answered this one, "Once you learn more, you will be able to connect with your partner, and if you both focus on something, you can get it to move, levitate, etc.
This camp is pretty big actually. There are about 15 pairs, and a few people who," he swallowed slightly uncomfortably, "lost their partners."
"Oh," I was at a loss for words. Will that be me if I don't somehow find Asher? I barely even know him and I already feel such a strong connection.
I don't know what I would do if he died before I even met him in person.
"Anyways," Sarah said changing topics, "Here are some fresh clothes for you.
I hope you like them," she looked over at Josh, "We know you've probably been through a lot, so we'll give you some privacy."
When they left, I finally gave myself an opportunity to really take things in. It felt like a decade since I had been struggling to take a test in math class.
So much had happened in the course of, well, I don't even know how long it had been. Seeing one of Asher's memories made me feel like I had experienced another life.
It broke my heart to think about what he must have gone through after that.
Not wanting to dwell on Asher's past, I shifted my focus to the clothing that Sarah had handed me. She had given me a light red cotton shirt and extremely comfortable highrise jeans.
I don't know how she figured out my size, but the clothes fit perfectly. She also gave me sneakers which were a nice alternative to the school uniform flats that I had been wearing.
After I put my shoes on, I looked around the room/tent that I was in.
There wasn't much that I hadn't already seen, except on closer examination, I realized that the small room I was in was actually connected to several other rooms.
They were all separated by blanket walls. The two rooms that I peaked in next to mine were both empty, but they looked basically identical to the room I was in.
It almost reminded me of dorm rooms of some sort, but extremely colorful, with patterned blankets and carpets and natural light everywhere.
I was about to explore outside of my tent, but I decided to check in on Asher first. ‘Hey, are you still hanging in there?’
His response was actually very quick. ‘Yeah, I'm alive, for now. Where are you? Somehow they-- who turns out is the government-- haven't found you yet.’
‘Actually, I'm in th--‘
‘NEVERMIND!’ His thoughts interrupted mine. I don't want to know where you are, so they won't be able to get it out of me.
‘Okay, fair enough. All I'll tell you is that I'm going to find you. Don't worry I'll get you out of wherever you're at.’
‘I think you'll have to do a bit more than that...’
‘What do you mean?’
‘Turns out, they don't just have me. They also managed to get about ten other teens that are also like us. Can you believe that?! There are others! Either way, it would be great if we could all get out.’
‘Totally, I think that I can gather some people to help me. And we'll figure this out.’
‘ Okay, okay... we'll figure this out.’ He repeated what I said. I couldn't wait any longer to tell him the exciting news.
‘Guess what? It turns out that if we practice enough, we can control things telepathically. Maybe you could share that information with the other people there and use that to our advantage.’
‘Sweet! I'll let them know. Thank you.’
‘No problem.’ I kinda laughed, why was he thanking me for something that any decent person would do? ‘I mean we're sorta stuck together now. I'm not ready to lose you yet.’
‘Gee thanks, Cay.’ I smiled to myself, no one has ever given me a nickname before. It was sweet.
‘Bye... Ash.’ He laughed at my attempt to shorten his name. Just then, Sarah called through the curtain doors asking if I was ready yet.
"Yeah I'm coming!" I called back as I walked through the blanket. As I stepped outside I paused to take in a breath as I looked at my surroundings.
This chapter was longer so please continue to part 2