Li Ming tracked the afternoon sun as it moved from window to window in the workshop space. The breathing exercises helped soothe her body’s reactions, but did little to rein in her racing thoughts. She faced her students, bowing deeply to the group. They returned the bow, their attention tightly focused on her. Clapping her hands, she signaled the end of the session and stood silently as the group disbanded, leaving her alone with Kennet.
“Thank you for staying.”
He shrugged, his face a study in composure, but his emotions were as unsettled as hers.
“So much for the effectiveness of the training,” she muttered.
Kennet smiled and Li Ming shook her head, sighing. “You offer me something my heart has wanted since Serenity was killed. But to take it. . .” Ren would definitely not approve of her desire for vengeance. She could argue with the ghost of her mentor from now until the sun burned out, but she knew what Ren would say. What Ren had always said: “Let it go.”
Li Ming was through with letting it go. In the eight years since Ren’s death, she struggled to continue the woman’s legacy, teaching other empaths meditation, martial arts, and the emotional shielding techniques Serenity had developed. But Ren’s vision of dialogue and an integrated society ended when a non-lethal stun pellet clipped her in the throat at a protest rally.
“Hallowell can’t be trusted.”
“You weren’t there, Li Ming. The man was seriously spooked. No one can fake that. Izzi thinks--”
Irritation buzzed through her mind strongly enough for Kennet to notice.
“She’s my friend, Li Ming. Please.”
She frowned at him, annoyed at her emotional reaction to his puppy-dog eyes. Then he smiled and she swore at him. “Damn it, Ken, cut that out!”
But he really wasn’t manipulating her and they both knew it.
“She’s not that bad.”
“Really,” Kennet said. He paused and broadcast his unease. “She’s going to meet us here. With someone who can help us. A journalist.”
Li Ming stared at Kennet, waiting for the other part of it.
“He’s a mindblind.”
She was too tired to be angry. Tired and emotionally drained. Let her bring him. He couldn’t possible be worse than she was. And besides, she would welcome the devil himself for a chance to hurt Hallowell and his institute.
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
"MindBlind"--snippet at 26.5 K
First draft material, but I think it sets the internal conflict nicely.