Torver blinked then glanced behind him. Damn, he thought, I skipped five years. He did an about-turn and ran his eyes along the girlâ€™s lifepath to the place-time he wanted. He focused on it, felt the slight disorientation of his body catching up; then he was there.
He grinned. He thought of himself, sitting in his office, motionless, a vidstill in his hands. It never ceased to amaze him how he felt himself move as if he’d taken his body along, when he knew that only his eyes and his mind did the walking.
The spot heâ€™d selected expanded like a flat-screen vid to reveal the scene heâ€™d glimpsed a few seconds before. Immediately he saw the child, the only splash of color in the dining room. The walls were covered in white silk, the floors with white marble, the table and chairs were white plasmer. Even the woman, whom he almost failed to notice standing beside the child, wore a floor-length white caftan that blended with her white hair, making her face appear as if it floated above the little girl.
Heâ€™d become quite good at reading lifepaths, slowing the flow to a specific time, then to a specific scene with barely a conscious effort, but he never had as much control with others’ as with this child’s. The images of her life were sharper, more detailed than any others â€“ except maybe his parentsâ€™â€” and he could focus for several minutes without feeling that heâ€™d lose his own self if he stayed longer. That sensation of fading invariably brought him out, sometimes gasping, as if heâ€™d spent long minutes under water. With her, he sensed he could travel her lifepath for as long as he wanted.
©2007 M. D. Benoit