Glitches Free Online Serial Novel


Chapter 19

We were walking through back alleys and side streets hoping to keep as low a profile as possible. I was doing my best to shadow buildings and walk under overhangs at each opportunity. Bea was definitely more casual about staying under cover.

“You know, there is a better way to do this, right?” And just like that she vanished.
“Oh woah. I still am not used to that.” I sort of shook my head and looked around to see if I could see her anywhere. Nothing.

And then her voice was inside my head. “Used to what exactly?”

“AH!” I yelled and then I startled, tripping on a loose brick. I was unable to catch myself and I started to fall headfirst. But something caught me from smacking my face on the ground. “Woah.” Her invisible arms pulled me up to my feet and then held onto my arms until she was certain that I was steady again.

“So I shouldn’t do the ear thing I take it?” and then there was giggling.

“Some sort of a warning would be helpful.” I slid behind a garbage bin and as I did so I concentrated on every step to make certain I didn’t look any more stupid than I already did. I pulled my hoody up over my head in an attempt to shield my face from any potential onlookers. I assumed she was close, but I didn’t know where exactly. Then I said more to myself than to anyone else, “Invisibility. I’ve tried twice now and I just haven’t been able to pull it off. Not even a dimmed opaqueness. Nothing.”
Her voice was slightly behind me when she spoke again. “That’s because all the other powers you have mastered are an active lighting of a circuit. This is the opposite. Its a diffusing of all circuits – a lessening of power.” And then her voice switched sides and was now ahead of me a bit. Was she dancing around me as she spoke? “Go ahead and give it a try.”

“People will notice,” I objected knowing full well that I couldn’t care less if people noticed. I just knew she would notice me failing. And I hated to fail. I was the kind of guy that would practice something until I had it down cold, and then I would “try it out” in front of my friends only to master it in two tries. I just didn’t want to.

“Notice you VANISHING?” she laughed again at me. This was becoming a bit of a normal thing, her laughing at me. I couldn’t tell if this was a good sign or if it was in fact really bad.

“Fine. Fine. Fine.” I said, irritated. And then I threw every conscious thought at the idea of my disappearing. I was angry and I shoved every lever in my brain all the way to ten.

“Stop stop stop!” The panic in her voice shut me down quickly.
“What?” I asked completely oblivious.

“You were glowing. You literally looked like you might burst. An evanescent yellow orbish glow surrounded you. It was quite frightening actually.” She wasn’t laughing this time.

“So not the look I was going for then?” at this I laughed.

“Yeah, no. No. Not at all. The opposite actually.” And then she appeared standing right in front of me. “Here, hold my hands.” At this she took both of my hands in hers not waiting for me to move. “Just feel it…” and then we both began to disappear together. It was quite possibly the most intimate feeling I had ever experienced before. Being nothing, and yet at the same time being unexplainably close to her. Invisibly one. In the darkness of this transparency I pulled her close, and held her around her waist for stability.

“My. That is truly amazing.”

“Yes, invisibility is quite the ride.”

“I was speaking of you,” at this I sensed her blush and I felt her slowly step away. As she did this

I became visible again.

“Go ahead and try it again.” She said quietly this time.
Thinking back to a moment ago I just knew I could duplicate this feeling at will. Even today, when I invoke my invisibility, I do it by stepping into Bea’s arms. And that’s what I did with eyes closed and with complete faith that she would catch me.

“Woah.” She said. “You are a quick study.”

“You are an amazing teacher.” I said as I walked around her. I was watching her with my new eyes. “I didn’t realize I would be able to see you once inside. So battling other ghosts basically makes your skills useless then?”

“Good question – no, there are ways we can shield ourselves even here. Those are discussions for another day though. You’ve done well. Shall we away then? I seem to remember we have a date with a drunk.” I laughed and we headed off across town together. I began to wonder if she had noticed the enormous stupid grin spread out across my face. And at that moment I realized I didn’t care a whit if anyone noticed.


I quickly lost track of why we were here. All I knew was that I was sitting here next to Bea and just listening to her talk and talk and talk. After the way our relationship started I thought maybe she wouldn’t ever talk to me. But who knew that she would divulge so much to me so quickly.

We were sitting amongst a copse of aspen on the side of a hill looking down on a parking lot and a liquor store of all things. But as far as I was concerned it was the most romantic of locations imaginable.

“…I give you that the councils are an archaic system and that we probably need to do something differently – but you have to understand that this is the way that it has always been. And just the simple fact that you exist means that you are confronting the status quo,” she had been waxing eloquent for several minutes and then stopped.

I realized that in the normal conversational scheme of things a cogent response was expected here and so I threw out the first question that came to my mind. “At the end of the day I don’t get it. If the councils are for specialists in one of the four fields, and I cross all four, then what is this interview about? Will they just say, your Glitching… erh, Shifting is strongest so we will admit you to the House of Shift? Or will it be something entirely different?”

“Yeah, that is the question. I don’t think anyone knows what is running through the various councils’ minds right now.”

“Well, I’m happy to go and chat and listen to their recommendations. I’m not looking to break the system or cause any unnecessary ripples.” And then a thought came to me that I blurted out. “What the councils need is a unifying president.”

Bea’s face darkened at that. “Occasionally we do elect presidents but almost without exception the unifying individual is hellbent on chaos. For example the last president we had was probably twenty years ago. His name was Lord Rent and he was the one that actually destroyed the Empath House and interbred the skills throughout the other houses. Once it was clear what he was doing it was too late. And the infighting and chaos took a number of years to sort out.” She shook her head at the memory of it all. “I just don’t want anything to do with a unifying president. It causes more pain than it solves.”

“Wow, what a civics lesson.” I wasn’t exactly sure what she wanted me to say. A part of me didn’t really care, and yet this was Bea, and she obviously did care for some reason. The memories were fresh still that was for sure. But then it all began to add up. “So were you originally a pure Empath? Were you in the House when it was dissolved?”

A tear slid down her cheek at that and I took it as my answer. “Oh woah.” The politics and the passion were finally starting to make more sense to me. I rolled over her direction and wiped the tear off her cheek and said, “Bea?” She lifted her eyebrows in response. “I’m so sorry. You must have been very young.” And then on an impulse I lifted her chin a bit and kissed her softly and then retreated.

There was no real reaction from Bea at this. And I wondered, if I had made a mistake. And then I had an idea. “Will you show me what happened? Will you show me the chaos you are talking about?”
Bea responded to that with a fascinated wrinkle in her nose. “Umm, are you sure?” I nodded and then she began to walk me through a psychic slide show of her youth. But this slide show was almost as if it were happening to me at 400% speed.

“My twelfth birthday party… we were out playing flashlight tag when the chaos began.” Fires could be seen on the horizon of the mountain town. And it was clear that she and her friends realized there was something wrong. “As we came back to the House…” there were dead bodies here and there. Not just random people, but her family. Then there were sporadic and chaotic images from that point forward. Internal battles, hiding in the woods, scrounging for food. Eventually the chaos subsided and the councils brought her in to interview and her latent ghost abilities were enough to bring her into Ghost House. What was amazing to me at seeing this first hand was the amount and chaos and pain over nothing really. I just didn’t get the importance.

“Oh wow.” The 3D slideshow ended and I saw that Bea was crying freely now. She had lost her family and her House. I just realized by showing it to me she had to rewatch the chaos too. I sidled up next to her so that my arm was around her. “I’m so sorry Bea. So very sorry.”

Then after a few moments the intensity on her face changed. And the next thing I knew she was kissing me. Not like the paltry kiss from moments before, but not too dissimilar to our first kiss. And as we kissed I showed her, in slow motion, the memory of her the first time I saw her. The thoughts running through my head, the hitch in my step when I realized she was tracking me. The amazing beauty that she was and how amazing I thought she was even then. That was like gasoline on the fire.

As we kissed, while our tongues were intwined and our souls melded via images of our first meeting I believed that I could die now. That I understood why I was here on planet earth. I was content. Everything was in perfect peace. And after a minute or two I pulled back and fell onto the grass.

It was quiet for a minute and then Bea finally said. “Thank you for caring so much. I can see how much it all matters.” And then she switched tack suddenly, “You’ve been thrown into the deep end of the pool pretty suddenly and this could get a lot uglier before it gets any better. There will be a lot riding on this discussion with the councils once it finally happens. Maybe it’ll happen sooner rather than later now that the FBI are chasing leads in Montana. That was a key maneuver I must say.”

“Oh that was all Sumner I do believe,” my fingers were on my lips remembering the magic of a moment ago, definitely distracted. “I was just trying to keep up with him after catching two Stun-Gun darts to my chest and a gazillion volts through my system. That definitely was one of my lesser moments so far, that is for sure.” I was obviously avoiding the deep truth behind her comment. I definitely was in the deep end, but I hadn’t yet discovered even the half of just how deep that deep end was.

Then she was about to say something and then hesitated. “Yes?” I asked, curious now.

“Really, it was nothing,” she countered.

“Come now. You are morally obliged to say it now. What is it, I’m an open book. Ask anything. This is your free pass. Definitely a rare opportunity, that is for sure. Don’t miss this…”

“Well, ok then. Will you tell me what you saw in the quad, that day?” she was all but flinching.

And then without thinking I showed her.


Bea snapped out of the memory and said ‘enough’. She sat in the glade, with the sun dancing across her shoulders and her hair, but there was a darkness to her mood. Having just rewatched the chaos of my own youth I wasn’t in a great place either. I hadn’t willfully remembered the shack and all that blood in so long that I couldn’t remember the last time I allowed myself to think about it.
I was shot when I saw a bum in an oversized Cowboys jersey stumbling through the parking lot towards the liquor store. “Might that be our guy?” I tried to sound a bit of an upbeat note at that. But it sounded flat in my ears.

Then Bea turned and looked at me and said, “I understand now. Thank you for showing me. And I am so so very sorry.” I had nothing to say to that. But the silent tears streaming down my face said what I had to say for me.